It seems like these days everyone is trying to “one up” each other in weddings. Back in the day, weddings were much simpler. Couples would get married at the bride’s home church. Guests would proceed to the church fellowship hall for cake and punch (there were usually pastel colored mints, too) and stand in a receiving line to congratulate the bride, groom, their parents, and sometimes the bridal party. The cake was not usually that great and there really wasn’t a need for a coordinator because the ladies at the church knew just what to do and they did it.
Don’t get me wrong. Just because it was simpler doesn’t mean it was better. While weddings are much more complex these days, I also think they are so much more fun! And people agree with me! We are seeing that a much higher percentage of invited guests come to the wedding. The rule of thumb used to be around 50% of the number of people you invited came. Now, it’s closer to 80-85%. I think this is because people enjoy the food, fellowship, music, and they desire to witness the most special bond two people can share.
I love that weddings are more complex, but what I don’t enjoy is the thought that couples have to do something so memorable for their guests that we’ve now included helicopter exits, airplane exits, floating cakes, fireworks shows, and skydiving. It’s just unreal the lengths people will go to make a lasting impression at their wedding. Can we all take a deep breath for a moment? I think the age of social media exasperates the issue, but that’s a topic for another day.
While I wholeheartedly support a couple’s desire to do something unique and memorable, I just question the sanity of it all. Adding three or four momentous events adds stress to the day that is so unnecessary. There are already so many details that need to be ironed out and executed. Most guests are just happy to watch your vows, see you all dolled up in your dress, have some good food, drinks, and dancing. What makes the evening memorable is not the party tricks, but rather the personal touches. You can leave a lasting impression without bringing in the big guns, so to speak.
My favorite personal touches that don’t add a lot of stress include personal vows, surprise choreographed dances, creative groom’s cakes (we see so many different things these days!), and photos of the couple spread out around the reception area. I also love photobooths, unique sign in books, and date night idea boxes. Some other fun personal touches include “dancing on a cloud” first dances, reception lounge pieces, donations to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts, and a really good DJ that gets the crowd moving instead of just a playlist from an iPod. There are so many great ideas out there that don’t add to your stress or break the bank.
So many of your guests don’t come expecting a helicopter to take you away to your honeymoon destination. A “simple” wedding by today’s standards can still reflect a couple’s unique personality and style with just the colors, flowers, centerpieces, and venue choice. So, I give you permission to do something memorable. Just don’t feel like that meaningful “something” has to be an event to keep up with the Joneses. Just add something that reflects both of your personalities and passions in a simple, yet memorable way.
Erin created Wonderfully Wed, a wedding coordination business in the Brazos Valley, in 2007. She is a wife of 22 years and a mom to 5 amazing children.She and her team work to make “the best day of your life even better” through their expert advice, organization, and coordination skills. For more information, visit wonderfullywed.com