A Wedding That Starts On Time
June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
In my little girl head, underneath my pigtails, I wasn’t dreaming of my wedding day. I can’t say I had large expectations for it at all. When my life really did come down to it, the decisions were overwhelming, the etiquette was suffocating, and the true meaning lost. I hadn’t dreamed of a big wedding, but I was given the job to plan one. I had my wedding bucks and I might as well spend them.Little girl forced portrait. Thank you Pintrest.
Mister Red and I wanted to elope a few years ago, but my mother had other plans. She wanted the wedding she had been dreaming of since I was a little girl. Fair enough, I supposed. I know I sound like a spoiled brat for turing up my nose at a wedding fund my parents had saved my entire life. I know I’m a horrible person for not keeping my mouth shut about it. I can only explain that I am old enough to know the importance of that kind of cash and poor enough to know exactly what I would have done with it. None the less, technically it was their money, and they could spend it however they wanted to. So let’s throw ridiculous party and sign legal papers on the same day!
As we were first planning, I took control. I’m a TV producer, I got pre-production in the bag. I knew exactly how to eek every cent of value out of the event and it started with schedule. This wedding was going to start on time.
Oh there were, nay-sayers.
“Weddings never start on time.”
“I will be shocked if yours is the first wedding to start on time.”
“Every wedding I’ve ever been to started late.”
“Weddings don’t start on time anyway.”
Um… mine does.
Tick Tock, til the bride drinks.
I was considering the cost of the venue. I’m not about to waste 10 mins of open bar at $36 per head because I wanted to reapply my lipstick or get one more bridal portrait. No, I’m paying the professional photographers to capture over 2000 pictures on the fly, I’m sure one of those will be good enough.
Everyone you hire is a professional. Well, except for the coordinator. Venue coordinators must have a turnover rate higher than the McDonalds Drive Thru window. We went through three coordinators at the same venue in less than six months. I knew more about the job than they did. We did ask talented friends to help out, not expecting that they would be more professional than the coordinator. Professionals deliver, friends deliver. You learn quickly who to trust.
Starting a wedding on time meant setting a schedule and sticking to it. I sent my PDF to key players and referenced it often. I buffered just enough time in case we ran behind, we could make it up in other areas. Then I put someone in charge of keeping us on time. I think that person is key. They have one job. I also started to spread the word among the guests that we were starting at 6pm and WILL be the only wedding they probably ever attend that starts on time.
Even though I hadn’t day dreamed the details of my wedding, my expectations became clear. I only had two (well, three if you want to count my groom showing up). One, start on time. Two, don’t waste any money on stupid shit that didn’t reflect the celebration we wanted to throw.
In agreement to party down til death.
We shaved an hour of photography cost by omitting the “getting ready” portraits. I really don’t need to be photographed professional in my underwear or without makeup. To cut down on time and so my family could enjoy the cocktail hour they were paying for, we did formal portraits before the ceremony. Mister Red and I did a first look and exchanged private vows. Okay, full disclosure it was a Top Ten Letterman List and it was mostly jokes. By doing so we cut our grief in half because I didn’t have to stay hidden from him or anyone else (I’m not into theatrics), and we cut our ceremony down to about 10-15mins, AND we spared everyone from our annoying humor and inside jokes (for the most part).
All the jokes landed, even the one about me being a piece of property.
There was a snafu with the ceremony music because our coordinator dropped the ball, but the we were AHEAD of schedule so our talented friends were able to put out the fire in time. When the processional began lining up, we actually had to wait as two guests rushed down the aisle to their seats. Our Officiant announced that it was 6:03 and we were starting on time. People cheered. Or maybe I imagined that. I was gloating. In your face everyone. What can I say, I’m motivated by adversity.
Although we did a lot of DIY (you honestly don’t need Minted.com, just card stock and a printer), we put money into our guests’ enjoyment and used the details to express who we are. Star Wars cake, dancing to Led Zeppelin, Photo Booth with handmade props recycled from another wedding, specialty craft cocktails, giving out whoopie cushions as favors. Yes, whoopie cushions. It’s kind of a social experiment to give 100 adults whoopie cushions. They were a hit.
It’s never not funny.
I think it’s a common misconception that the bride is the guest of honor. The bride is a host. She picked out the food, she picked out the venue, she picked out the colors, she invited the people, she is the designer of the event. A gracious host makes sure her guests are comfortable and happy. A gracious host gives everyone a moment of warm welcome and gratitude. A gracious host doesn’t get too drunk while getting her hair done and puke in the bathroom before she dances with her dad.
There’s got to be a guy in the back looking up her dress, I hope its the groom.
A gracious host gives the people dinner and a show. And starts that shit on time.
And throws a good after party.