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!