We are starting to plan our wedding and I am overwhelmed. I would love to know your thoughts on making a wedding awesome!
Who do we invite? [Other Groom's Name Redacted] has too many friends! I have a lot of friends too, but how do I get them out here? Should I book a hotel? What time is best? Will people want to be here for the cherry blossoms or will the weather be too iffy? Is it okay if we make the wedding vegan? How do I keep my dad from saying something embarrassing in front of Ian Mackaye?
p.s. please make the advice incredibly, incredibly long so that it takes literally hours to read! Thanks!*
Oh boy! Planning a wedding can be an unexpectedly stressful thing to do. You think “oh yeah, just my good friends and family hanging out together having wine, what could possibly go wrong or make me turn into a psychotic wreck hysterically sobbing on the phone to Steve about how “EVERYONE’S GONNA HATE ME”? The answer is: lots of stuff! Lets take your concerns one by one:
1. Who do you invite / your old man has too many friends:
Making the guestlist is absolutely the first thing you should do. Everything else follows from there (size of venue; how many forks to rent; etc.). A wise person told me once that a wedding is either 100 people or it’s nobody. If you invite friends, you have to invite all your friends, and you and your partner put together have way more friends than you think you do. The only way to have an actual small wedding is to tell everyone “family only” and then have maybe one friend each. Or just elope. However, here is a Helpful Hint: Many of the people you invite WON’T COME. So you can invite more people than you can actually afford to feed, knowing that some of them inevitably won’t make it. People have lives and babies and weird illnesses and are in France doing archival research, etc. They won’t all come! But it’s still nice to be invited! But yeah, you sit down together with a big piece of paper and you just wrack your brains thinking of every single person you want to invite. It will definitely be way more people than you could possibly imagine. Then you just go from there, culling via categories that make sense. If your list has 200 people on it you have to tell everyone they can’t bring dates. Stuff like that.
2. How do you get your friends out there? Girl what are you talking about?! That’s not your job! You send the invites and the rest is up to them and the lord. Everybody understands that weddings have to be held in some physical location, and that not everyone in the world lives in that precise location. Nobody is expecting you to help them get there. However, you should definitely reserve a block of rooms at a reasonable hotel that is near the reception, and then inform everybody about it (see about group discounts). YOU ALSO MAKE A WEBSITE! You make a fun wedding website with some dumb picture of you two kissing or whatever, and you put all the info on the website. Hotels, maps, how to get from the airport to the hotel, the address of the wedding, fun stuff to do in the neighborhood, etc. Then you just put the url on your invitations, and everybody has what they need.
3. What time is best? I don’t know! But honestly, who gets married in the morning?? Mormons or something? I think a late afternoon wedding, sliding into an evening reception, is really the only way to go. Because, drinks and dancing = the entire point of a wedding, aside from the actual getting married part which only comprises like 15 minutes of this huge hours-long odyssey. Also you have to have toasts.
4. Weather: I am the kind of person who, if I planned an outdoor wedding, would spend literally every single moment of every day in the months before the wedding stressing out about what if it rains. Then it would actually rain. If you are the kind of person who can withstand this sort of grinding daily torment then by all means, get married outside. Outdoor weddings are beautiful. However, make this clear on your website, so people can bring their sunscreen and their allergy pills and an umbrella and an extra coat. April seems pretty chilly to me, on the east coast, frankly. April at night on the east coast? That seems chilly as hell. Nothing wrong with a classic June wedding.
5. Making the wedding vegan: OF COURSE! The cliché about weddings is that they are “all about you,” which isn’t true–they are actually all about your mother–but perhaps nowhere is it more legitimate or reasonable to exercise this cliché than when it comes to picking the food. How many bullshit bacon-heavy weddings have you attended with nary an eye-blink of complaint? Now it’s time to enforce that same dietary rigidity on your unsuspecting friends and family. The stomach is the window to the soul, after all, and your wedding menu is where you get to showcase all the things most important to you, such as animal rights and how terrible zucchini is. Remember our wedding cake, with the shark and everything? Vegan also! Totally reasonable. Also please have a cake, it’s the only really fun tradition left.
6. How do you keep your dad from saying something embarrassing in front of Ian MacKaye? I’m not sure what kind of embarrassing we’re talking, here, as I’ve never met your dad. Do you mean your dad will say awkward republican/homophobic things? Pretty sure Mr. MacKaye can handle that. Or will your dad deliver a very nuanced and well-researched diatribe about how punk rock was stupid? Again, I think dude has been there, done that. Or do you just mean your dad will tell him adorable stories about the time you pooped your pants in second grade? Well, everyone loves those stories and I’m sure Ian MacKaye will be charmed. One thing about weddings is that nobody judges you for some weird guest you invited. Nobody is like “Hmmm, the bride’s aunt is certainly very drunk–the bride must be a terrible person.” Weddings are all about groups of random strangers coming together because they love you, and everyone “gets that.” I say don’t sweat it.
That’s it! I have lots of other advice about money and fork rentals and how to deal with your mother who may suddenly turn into a Crazed Wedding Energy Dervish but I don’t know what your deal is. If you have follow up questions don’t hesitate!
Oh, one final important piece of advice: GO ON A HONEYMOON!!!!! I know, I know, you’re thinking, weddings are bullshit anyway, I’m not going on a crap bourgeois honeymoon, but trust me, you want that honeymoon. You can’t just go back home to your house or whatever, with the dirty dishes in the sink. You need a couple of days to decompress and talk about the wedding and freak out about all the shit you did wrong, and also you need a couple days to look into each others’ eyes and be all “WE DID IT, WE’RE GONNA DIE TOGETHER” and go on dreamy walks through the countryside where you meet an old French farmer who starts furiously telling you that “America and France need to be united against the Chinese menace” and you have to back slowly away, but even that isn’t enough to break the delicious reverie of honeymoondom, for no one is as blissfully self-centered as newlyweds, and so even 40 years later you’ll be like “remember that racist French man we met on our honeymoon” and your old man will be all “oh yeah, that was DELIGHTFUL”
*I added this p.s.