Saturday, August 31, 2013

they did

Within the span of 10 months we've been invited to 8 weddings.  We've experienced every bit of Pinterest cuteness and cliche and charm from burlap-wrapped nosegays of baby's breath to signs inviting us not to pick a side when we pick our seats for the ceremony.  We've eaten the cakes, the cupcakes, the cheesecake bites, the beef tips and the broasted chicken--washed down by a few gallons of beer and wine.  We've witnessed one amazing speech given by a bride's twin sister and maid of honor and a blatant bridezilla (not at the same wedding).   At one reception, the guests exceeded the capacity of the venue, and I sloshed across raw sewage in the ladies' room because the septic system overflowed.  At another, the priest didn't show, so a groomsman jumped in to run the show at the last minute.  (I never found out what a "sand ceremony" was, which was the one unique thing I looked forward to that day.) So, after signing my name to 8 checks and 8 "Congratulations on Your Wedding" cards, I feel qualified to make some observations:

1)  One of the best things about a wedding is coffee after dinner, with dessert.
2)  The best and easiest gift is still money.  (Besides, who has time to sift through a gift registry?)
3)  The trend of slideshows seems to have peaked--and thank God, because they're almost always the same and therefore almost always dull as shit.  (Write a woman who has no business judging since her wedding was the bastion of bad taste in many ways, but still...)
4)  A few words about outdoor summer weddings--unless staged in a shady spot or near water, it's going to be unbearably hot and that makes the entire experience uncomfortable for everyone involved.  If this trend continues, Mr. D and I have to invest in some DriFit formal wear (are you hearing me, Nike?).  And ice packs.  Nothing screams tacky like standing up post-ceremony with one's entire backside covered in sweat-clinging clothes.  Seriously gross.
5)  The ceremonies seem to be shorter than ever these days, so I'm glad to attend.  But when the gap between ceremony and reception exceeds an hour, well, it's asking too much of one's guests to just hang out with nothing to do while they're all dressed up.   If you plan the ceremony hours before the reception, count on a small audience at your ceremony.   Unless you are gracious enough to plan something for your guests to do (and eat and drink) between saying your vows and tossing your garters.
6) I like the trend of bridesmaids wearing dresses in the same color but not necessarily the same style.
7)  Classical music is still the best for processionals and recessionals.
8)  I really hate forced games, on-the-spot videotaped interviews with guests asking me to give the new couple marriage advice, and a general refusal to kiss when glasses get clinked.  On that last one--go ahead and put your spin on it, but refusing to kiss at all is crap.
9)  It's surprising how unimaginative wedding readings are--I'm hearing the same ones I heard 20 years ago.  *yawn*
10)  A few speeches during dinner is acceptable, but we really, really don't need to hear from every single member of the bridal party.
11)  Guests, it's a wedding, which means flip-flops and t-shirts is just rude.  There's no excuse not to wear something nice--khakis and a button-down or a sundress at the very least (unless the bride and groom aren't dressing formally--in that case, follow their lead).  Anything less makes you look like a douche bag.
12) It's nice to read who is in the wedding party and the relationships between the party and the couple.  Include that in the program more, please.
13) "Grand marches" are still lame, though.  Especially when they delay serving dinner or clear the dance floor once the party gets grooving.  
14) Bride and groom--you have to work the crowd.  If you don't feel like mixing with your wedding guests, we have to wonder why you invited us.  Staying cloistered in your corner, surrounded by only your closest friends and not moving from that spot tells me a) you only invited us to get a check or b) you should've planned a smaller reception.

At yesterday's wedding the bride and groom read their own vows, which were funny and sweet and charming.  I know not everyone is clever enough to write their own, but I mention it because it made this particular union stand out from the rest--it felt so personal to hear them speak from their hearts the way they did.  Slapping names all over napkins or party favors isn't half as personal as hearing a couple's love story presented in their vows or through the speeches made by their closest friends and family.

Here's to the happy couples--their optimism and devotion.  And here's to free weekends now that wedding season has finally ended!


  1. I haven't been to a wedding in ages, but #5 always drove me crazy!

  2. A very good list! I shared this post for all the brides (and mothers of brides) I know. I saw Bill Cosby perform (twice!) and he did a bit on weddings that was spot on. His message? No one really wants to go to your wedding. NOBODY. Except your mother. Plan accordingly.

    Over thirty years later, I still feel bad that my wedding was on a hot day (not expected for the area) and everyone had to sit in the sun, while the wedding party stood in the nice cool shade. I apologize belatedly. And I'm rather grateful there was no Pinterest then.

  3. I haven't been to a wedding in ages, thank goodness.

    This is all excellent advice. Nicely done.

    I have to say, I love the idea of personalized vows, but the thought of speaking such personal heartfelt thoughts in front of all those people freaks me out. Then again, I would have eloped if I could have, because again, to me, the whole thing is private and personal.

  4. My parents got married with nice clothes and a couple of friends for witnesses. Turns out my in-laws did the same thing. Then Rob and I got married with just our parents as our witnesses. I suppose there might be people who want to see someone other than a son or daughter get married, but it's not me. We figured we were sparing everyone a painful and expensive day, and I love it when people return the favor :-)

  5. You would have LOVED the vows at my daughter's wedding. They were so THEM.

  6. I've not been to a wedding for a while, these days they seem so much more personal. When I got married, a long time ago, they were all much the same, no one wrote their own vows and the venues were usually local hotels (always indoors due to unpredictable UK weather!)

  7. Whew! You've been busy!
    I have to say, I don't disagree with anything you've said here - and I'm glad you're done.

  8. I do love a good wedding. Sadly, we haven't had one this year, but we are very much looking forward to my cousin's next year, when Edie will be a junior bridesmaid and Pat will be the officiant.

  9. My sister wanted to stay away from clinky glass they made a cute sign that to get a kiss, sing a love song...totally back fired and kept us roaring all night!

  10. Great observations! Jon's family is really good at throwing fun weddings, and we will be attending a lot of them. One niece and one nephew are currently engaged, two got married this past spring and there are several more nieces and nephews of marriageable age.

  11. It is such a bittersweet time of year. You've been in the celebration mode. We haven't had too many weddings but expect that is the next round of events to come. Have a great school year!

  12. that's a lot of checks to write...I know full well what you mean and you observe correctly. a 'right on' entry.
    life is good

  13. We are at the in between age where none of our friends are getting married and our kids aren't old enough yet so I am missing wedding season, or maybe I am just looking for lots of excuses to get a babysitter and go out. ;)

  14. That is a lot of weddings! Neither my own wedding nor my son's wedding included a fancy reception (just cake, coffee, and punch) so the greeting happened in a receiving line. The combination of interesting family dynamics (best not to let some people get too much to drink, esp. around others who are self-righteous) and being too poor to afford a party-style reception puts us firmly in the boring camp.

    Mostly, I now want to hear about your own wedding!

  15. We have been to a great many of weddings and bridal showers in the last few months. Whew!
    Agreed on the outdoor ceremonies. While beautiful they can be really uncomfortable. Not only the heat but the bugs (BEES) and noises (planes, cars, etc.). Ugh.

    I always loved the traditional vows. There is something so romantic about saying the same words that millions of people throughout history have said to their loves. But, the right personal vows are always a lovely touch. I still regret that Todd and I didn't tell our "How we met" story at our reception. It is such a fun story.

    I also have a pet peeve about too many (or too long) toasts. Ugh. People.

    The last wedding I went to was lovely but there was SO MUCH waiting around. There was three and a half hours between the ceremony and the reception and it was an hour from my house. Grace, my mom, and I went to the ceremony and then we drove home to get the men so we didn't have to wait around. But there was so much waiting at the reception too.

    The wedding before that was outside (we got the ONE spot in the shade!) and then in a barn. The barn was beautiful but the only bathrooms were Port-a-pottys. That is a major no-no to me. It was yucky trying to use a port-a-potty in formal wear.


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