Your wedding day is the happiest day of your life.
It is not the happiest day of mine.
I turn 24 this year, which puts me at the beginning of a good ten years worth of weddings. Probably longer.
Admittedly, being a single girl in remission from heartbreak I am somewhat
bitter cynical. Weddings do not excite me.
Instead, they invoke a state of mild panic.
Oh my god, what am I going to wear I’m so pale who the hell am I going to take as a date oh god I’m dying alone shit fuck bugger this is going to be so expensive and who the hell am I going to take?!
And then there’s this:
One day, when it’s my turn (see, not totally broken), I’ll probably pin the bejeesus out of pretty white dresses and ‘Save the Date’ ideas. But I’m hoping I’ll remember where I am right now and remember to just not.
I’m sounding like a bitch. I know, I apologise. It is incredibly special to watch two people, deeply in love, dedicate their lives to each other and it is an honour to be invited to witness this. Weddings are beautiful events, an entire day devoted to love and happiness. And your wedding is about you and the love of your life. It is not about anyone else.
But, let’s be honest, you do want your guests to enjoy themselves too. It’s just a little bit about that.
Every time I go to a wedding I make little mental notes about what works and what doesn’t. This is what I’ve got so far, and please feel free to add your own suggestions.
1] The Lead Up
Your wedding is hugely exciting for you and planning it is half the fun. This goes back to my earlier comment about pinning. Pinterest. Facebook. Twitter. Please, please I beg you.
I feel the same way about weddings that I do about drinking. I have no problem with you drinking (i.e. getting married) as long as it doesn’t ruin my fun. Don’t be an annoying drunk (i.e. bride). And don’t throw up [wedding vomit] on my shoes [and by shoes, I mean social media channels].
I am happy to put on a pretty dress and throw petals on your big day, and my joy and excitement will be genuine. But for the love of god, do NOT post daily updates about your wedding plans for the six months leading up to the actual event. Because by the time your wedding day rolls round, I’ll probably hate it.
And no official Twitter hashtag and NO BBM status countdown. Just, no.
2] The Ceremony
Not being a religious person, I admit to some apprehension about being invited to a church wedding. I can absolutely understand wanting to be married by your own priest/pastor/rabbi/dominee/occult leader. Someone who knows you and knows you as a couple. But let me tell you, the two hour wedding sermon held in Afrikaans which I had to sit through was two of the longest hours of my life.
I respect your religion, I respect your right and your desire to be married in your religion. I am merely suggesting keeping the ceremony as simple and to the point as possible, bearing in mind that some of your guests are not church goers and are only there out of love for you. Not to be saved.
3] The Dress
This has nothing to do with the guests comfort, but as a side note pure, stark white dresses have an unfortunate tendency of looking cheap.
4] The Awkward Gap
Between the ceremony and the reception there is always this awkward period when the happy couple is off having photographs taken and the guests are left to fend for themselves. I have only been to one wedding where they got this bit right. Immediately after the newlyweds drove away from the church, we walked down the road to a little coffee shop where we were served coffee and cake. We were then also informed that there were drinks and snacks available at the reception venue already, if we could please arrive there no later than X time.
This allowed older guests to escape to their hotel for a quick nap and us to pop into a nearby pub for a drink. We arrived at the venue an hour early, where a DJ was already playing and drinks were flowing freely. There were comfortable couches and a beautiful view and time sped past.
This was infinitely more enjoyable than standing around (no chairs, in heels) in the cold (not allowed inside until newlyweds arrive) for three hours, clutching a glass of champers (the only drink being served) with nothing to entertain us and no idea what time the reception would officially begin.
[One cousin did her photo’s before the ceremony to avoid this awkward gap, but tells me later she regrets it because neither of them are wearing wedding bands in the photographs].
5] The Speeches
Everyone loves a short, sweet, heartfelt speech. No one likes your Uncle Piet’s half hour, droning monologue detailing every major event in your life since the day you were born. Pick your speakers carefully.
6] The Extra Mile
Do something a little bit different. One wedding I went to had an ice luge. Seriously. And it was such fun, we even got a ninety year old uncle to take a shot from it. Another wedding had couches outside around a big fire pit. It was such a relief to be able to sit somewhere other than a straight-backed chair around a dining table. We could chill, have a drink and a smoke and a laugh. It took away some of the stiffness that goes with a smart event and we ended up sitting outside with the bride and groom until well after midnight.
My last little tip, as the forever guest, is to do what you want to do. What you think will make it fun. Don’t do what you think you’re supposed to do because that’s tradition. Bugger tradition. Your wedding is a celebration and your guests are there to celebrate with you.
So stop stressing, stop fussing and just have a party.