Sunday, June 22, 2008

#321: sharing (the news) is caring.

the fiance had a couple of friends visiting from out of town this weekend. the 4 of us set off on saturday morning to meet up with some other folks and ended up stuck in the car, enduring traffic and curvy roads together for over 2 hours. it wasn't fun for the fiance, i'm sure (he was driving)...but it gave the rest of us plenty of time to chat it up.

as we talked about weddings and receptions (they brought it up, not me!) was clear that in our capacity as guests, we'd all at one point either applauded brilliant ideas...or pitied the oversight of a significant detail.

so i asked. what was the most memorable thing you've seen at a wedding...and what was something you would have done differently.

friend #1 talked about a wedding he attended where flip flops were available for the women to change into during the reception. he didn't see it as a 'trend'...he simply saw it as a thoughtful and cool move by the bride and groom. (interesting be thoughtful and cool...)

friend #2 talked about an outdoor wedding he attended where many of the guests were adverse to the sun. guests kept running for cover under the shade which broke the flow of the reception and kept everyone separated for the most part. (!!!)

it made me realize two things...first, to not close myself off to an idea just because i think it's too 'trendy' (guilty!)...and second, to take a closer look at my guest list to make sure they'd all be ok with some sun (especially if i decide to move forward with an outdoor wedding). and i really appreciated taking away those points from our conversation.

so. let me ask kindly share your best or worst experience as a wedding guest. hopefully we can all learn a little something something from each other.


Erica said...

I disagree about the flip-flops, unless your wedding is very casual. Most BM's "flop" around in them, lose posture and look silly.

Don't light a cigar halfway back up the aisle.
No candle seances to deceased family.
Don't play "Bad to the Bone" while fishing for the garter.
Don't put overweight BM's in dresses not suited for them.

If you do have an outdoor wedding, just provide lots of umbrellas and easy-ups, trees. I think it's actually a neat effect to have lots of umbrellas around.

ah, that may be all I got for now. There's more, but probably enough for this comment! ;-)

miss purple said...

My best experiences as a wedding guest had to be 1) open bar (duh) and 2) snack buffet at one a.m. We were all hurting for some nosh at that point (see number 1) and it grounded us enough to be able to keep happily dancing until the wee hours. It was, hands down, the best party I've ever been to.

kaitl said...

I was at a wedding once where the ceremony was a 30 minute drive from the reception hall... and there were NO directions for how to get between the two!
(luckily, I'm anal and had googlemaps directions printed... there were about 5 cars that followed me to the reception)

mary fran said...

i second the directions thing. i once missed an entire wedding ceremony because the directions to the church were sooooo bad. and i wasn't the only one!

Teana said...

i was always bothered when the invite said the reception was immediately following the ceremony except you get there only to have to wait an hour for the bridal party to show up with nothing to do. so either have a specified time for the start of the reception or at least have some snacks on hand to bide the time in between. trust me, people are less angry when they're eating!

Rowena said...

outside reception? remember mosquito repellent. I agree about the umbrellas, trees, other shady spots. Or maybe make it not in the heat of the summer, so the sun feels good, instead of overwhelming.

Drinks and snacks always help to ease the down times.

One of my favorite weddings was actually one that was a community affair. We pitched in. BMs made the bouquets and boutinneres, a sister did the bride's makeup, the day before, there was a lobster/clam bake and everyone pitched in to make it happen. And the BMs did wear flip flops, and it worked fine, especially since it was a beach wedding. As long as it's appropriate to the situation, it's fine. Stilettos would have been foolish.

I think the most important elements are good people, good food (and booze), good music... the rest is cake. Probably also good photography, so that you can remember.

Britt and Sean said...

My favorite part fo a wedding, and something we incorporated into our own recent wedding, was using non-traditional songs for processional, recessional, and all other events. For example, the guys walked down the aisle to "Bittersweet Symphony" (the instrumental portion) because my husband is a HUGE Seahawks fan and that is their theme song. Us girls walked down to "Lullaby" by Dixie Chicks and we all walked back to "Walking on Sunshine"! Everyone cmomented that it gave a very personal effect to the ceremony and was a pleasant surprise and set the tone for fun and festivity for the rest of the day!

The other favorite thing we did, that I would absolutely recommend to everyone, is hire a hairstylist (and/or make-up person) to do everyone's hair at someone's house. That way, you aren't getting ready alone and you can spend the day bonding and sharing the fun! And there is usually a good price break for a group session, too!

My pet peeve at a recent wedding was the the wedding party had assigned seats with the bride and groom but their signficant others had to fend for themselves and had to sit at the back of the room where we couldn't see anything or spend time with our SO.

Brandy said...

5:00pm wedding, 8:00pm the first sight of food. SO hungry...

east side bride said...

$10,000 you rock! This is so helpful. I'm v. worried about sun, too. Obsessing about whether to buy parasols...

The most bummer wedding I've been to didn't have table assignments, and I didn't know anybody, so my bf and I ended up perched in a corner feeling left out. Also, they didn't block off the pews in the back of the (big!) church so everybody spread out and it felt really empty...

megan said...

If you're doing your wedding outside, please provide bottles of SPF.
I left a wedding one time with a sun-burn! And, do whatever you can to provide shade. Good luck!

hwong14 said...

i was once in a wedding where the bridal party sat at the head table with the bride and groom (we were even perched up on a stage, groan), while our SOs were at other tables with people they didn't know. not a big fan.

my friend went to a wedding where they served all heavy hors d'oeuvres (fine), but they included smallish steaks that needed to be eaten with a fork and knife, and there were no tables to stand or sit at, since everyone was supposed to be mingling. so if you're going to do all finger foods, make sure they can all actually be eaten with just your fingers.

Britt and Sean said...

Oh, and I should add: skip the favors. A complete waste of money, especially if you're already providing food/beverages. Although they can sometimes be "cute", no one hangs on to them or thinks back fondly of the ones they've received. I went to three weddings last summer alone and couldn't tell you what their favors were, but I sure didn't keep any.

And skip the guest book unless it is going to be a household item used regularly or something incredibly imaginative for a scrapbook (if you scrapbook....and look back at your scrapbooks fondly.) No one looks at guest books afer the fact, and if someone didn't show or sign, who cares at that point? Are you really going to hang it up somewhere for 10-20 years? We used a beer growler we already had and use a lot, but we would have never bought something specifically for this purpose.

Focus your money on what you and everyone else are really going to appreciate and remember later - a great party - the BIGGEST PARTY YOU'LL EVER THROW!

For us, it isn't a great wedding reception unless there are lots of people on the dance floor living it up and wholeheartedly enjoying themselves. So, we thought hiring a great DJ was money well spent. Not only was he great at reading the crowd, he knew the general timeline for events (cake, toasts, etc.) and kept the night flowing smoothly without anyone else having to worry about it. He also interviewed us for a few hours (over drinks) on what our style was, our favorite songs, how to blend with the norms of our families, etc. I've been to a lot of weddings where the DJ was lame and bad at reading the crowd and not a single person was on the dance floor - such a shame and a waste to hire someone if that happens.

Riley said...

I agree with Rowena - good food, good people, good booze, and good music. Unless something is really really cool or over-the-top OR really really BAD, nobody's going to remember it. They'll remember whether or not they had a good time!

My best experiences?? 1) At a wedding reception that ended early enough for the kids and older folks, afterwards all the people that were willing joined the bride and groom at an "after-party". This allowed for them to just really let loose, without worrying about offending great-aunt Elsie.
2) A recent wedding we went to really re-inforced the fact that you don't need fancy centerpieces, pricey favors, an expensive band, to have fun - you just need fun people! The simple centerpieces, cake, food were all fine.

Peonies and Polaroids said...

The great things I remember about weddings are not the favours or any of those little details that we brides spend weeks and months thinking about but the atmosphere. I remember a very touching ceremony by a minister who had known the family for 30 years. Good food served on time always helps. Do not leave your guests hungry!

Bag things I remember - the bride and groom disappearing straight after the ceremony to have their photos taken and not reappearing until the start of the meal 4 hours later. It's nice to talk to, or even just see the couple whose wedding you are at!

Food served late. Bad bad bad. Hungry guests are not happy guests. Especially if the reason the meal is late is because the bride and groom are off somewhere getting their photos taken!

Ceremony and reception sites miles and miles apart and having to spend an hour on a bus. People don't go to weddings to spend an hour on a bus.

Cora said...

I would have to say my biggest pet peeve at weddings is bad timing. Whether it's a wedding that starts 45 minutes late, having to wait 90 minutes for the bride and groom to finish taking pictures before the ceremony or just not knowing what's coming next or what the guests are supposed to be doing at a particular time really bothers me.

I echo everyone else's sentiments having good food, people and music present. The rest always takes care of itself.

I did read somewhere that it's a good idea to place older guests near the dance floor at the reception so they feel like they're part of the party without having to dance if they're not up to it.

sara said...

We split the difference - outdoor ceremony / indoor reception. But we were in Texas, in the summer. San Diego in October or Maine in February are different scenarios, obviously.

If you're going outdoor (or beach), please don't go too formal. I hate seeing ball gowns and tuxes in a park or on a beach. Just not appropriate.
BTW, I love this blog. I had a $10k budget for my wedding, probably ended up about $11k thanks to an extra party my parents threw, but everyone was shocked at what I did with $10k. Granted, this was 10 years ago (!!!) but all my friends were doing $30k shindigs then.

Jill said...

One little but thoughtful thing that stands out in my memory is the care basket that my friend had in the ladies bathroom (don't know about the mens, but I'm sure there was something in there too...) She had things like mints, deodorant, bobby pins, clear nail polish (for runs) lotion, hairspray, feminine products, etc, in a decorated basket. I thought that was really thoughtful and considerate and I'm planning on doing that for my wedding.