So Don’t Waste Your Time Or Money on Them!
Reading through Kathryn’s Good, Bad, and Ugly series about her wedding got me thinking about the things that weren’t necessarily good or bad, but just meh. Things that were totally fine, but that no one really seemed to care about. Since I’m in the midst of planning my own wedding, I know a lot of us are rethinking what our weddings might look like due to the pandemic and trying to cut out some unnecessary extras without compromising the experience for our guests. I asked Kathryn to help me come up with some things she felt she could have done differently from a bride’s perspective to save herself some money and/or stress, and I’ll share what I thought from a guest perspective. If you read any of our posts about her wedding you know I was super involved, so if I didn’t notice, I promise your guests won’t, either.
Even though picking out the cake flavors with Kathryn and Joe was super fun, I didn’t actually eat a single slice at the wedding! I also didn’t witness them cutting the cake; I only know it happened because I saw photos. Now, I will say I lobbied hard for a fun groom’s cake because I love giving the groom that little moment to let his personality shine through, even if it’s a bleeding armadillo. (Especially if it’s a bleeding armadillo—my fellow Steel Magnolias fans know what I mean.) But wedding cakes are just soooo overpriced. I tried to convince Kat to have fake layers and serve sheet cake or just get one from Sam’s (in the end I got to fulfill this dream because we got her bridal shower cake from Sam’s). Wedding cake hardly ever tastes amazing and few people are going to care what it looks like unless it’s heinous or extravagant. Honestly, if you feel like ditching the cake altogether, do it! Kat and Joe had this amazing mousse desserts as favors and I could have been happy as a clam eating an entire tub of those.
A Choreographed First Dance
Will people notice your first dance? Absolutely! Will they care if you spent weeks learning the perfect choreographed routine? No. If you think it’ll be super fun to go to dance lessons with your fiancé and it will put you at ease on the dance floor then by all means, go for it. As for your guests, your first dance isn’t for our entertainment. Sure we want to watch you, but if you are content to sway with your new husband while you chat or laugh or cry, that moment will be just as special as if you were waltzing across the room.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t remember centerpieces from any weddings I’ve been to. Kathryn’s mom did a lot of work to make beautiful centerpieces, and I know they were beautiful from seeing them before and after the wedding. During the wedding, though? I was busy eating, drinking, and dancing. Like wedding cake, centerpieces can be incredibly expensive, and you have to multiply that by however many tables you have. If you have someone who can help you make the centerpieces like Kathryn did not only will it save you money, but it’ll add a special personal touch to your wedding. Kat also used our bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces on half of the tables, which was easy peasy and gave everyone else another chance to see those beautiful flowers she paid for!
I promise you that no one, not a single soul, wants to own anything with your names and wedding date on it (unless its a koozie, but I have a soft spot for koozies). Likewise, no one will care if you don’t give them a favor. In fact, your out-of-town guests will probably be grateful they don’t have to pack an extra item to take home. Favors get left behind at venues, thrown out, forgotten; they’re an unnecessary strain on your wallet and on the planet. If you must have a favor, the best ones are consumable. One of our friends had homemade moonshine, which everyone drank at the reception, Kat had the above-mentioned mousse which, again, everyone ate at the reception. If you have close friends and family that you think will want a memento from that day, have your photographer take a photo with you and them and get it printed and framed for them. A picture with you will be worth way more than any tchotchke.
Now I am not saying guests don’t care if you serve alcohol—I would personally hate a dry wedding (if that is your vibe, go for it!) What they won’t notice is the kind of alcohol you’re serving. Most venues have a rule against shots being served, which means none of your guests will be tasting the liquor straight up, so save your money and buy the mediocre brand or the wells. Mix it into a cute signature cocktail and no one’s the wiser. Same with wine and beer: the majority of your guests probably don’t know the difference between a $10 or $25 bottle of wine. If you’re able to provide your own alcohol, hit up Costco or Spec’s where you can return unopened bottles and make sure your bartenders know not to open anything unnecessarily to save even more.
Like favors, this is another item that gets left behind and is pretty eco-unfriendly. Weddings use a ton of paper, from custom napkins to individual menus to escort cards. Now I am all for a beautiful invitation, I helped pick Kathryn’s and I love them, but think about how many paper items you really need. Could your escort cards be reduced to writing on a mirror (which you can hang in your home afterwards)? Could you have one menu per table instead of per place setting? If you’re really into sustainable paper like me, could your invitations be printed on seed paper that your guests can plant later on? Wedding websites are also especially helpful with paper reduction, all the cute custom maps and registry information and anything your heart desires can be added to your website for much lower cost than printing and it’ll save a few trees, win/win!
As with everything, these are no hard and fast rules. Maybe you have a certain brand of alcohol that you just love and want your guests to experience, maybe you’re an avid gardener and want to grow your centerpieces (if so please send me a photo because that sounds incredibly cool). I don’t want to convince you not to pour your heart into something that really matters to you, just to help you let go of the things that might be stressing you out, but shouldn’t. As long as guests are fed, drunk, and kept at a comfortable temperature, everything else is gravy to them.
Looking for more wedding planning? Check out Something Old, Something New, our blog series about wedding planning from the perspectives of a bride who’s just been through it, and a bride just starting the process!