Working at the golf course, I have witnessed more weddings than I can count. I love weddings, and when it comes time for people to start thinking about their special days, they often want to know my opinions. Here is what I usually tell them:
-Use candles and mirrors on your center pieces: In my personal opinion, people notice THAT you have center pieces, but they do not always necessarily remember WHAT your centerpieces are (but they will remember if they sat at a round table, the center piece went up the middle, and they uncomfortably had to bend around the center piece to see the people on the other side). Candles, mirrors, and colored napkins will go a LONG ways to enhance your reception atmosphere (and, if you decide not to do assigned seating, be aware that people will probably move around chairs to sit by who they want to, and there will probably be single-open-seats at the tables).
-You won’t remember what you didn’t pick: The ONLY regret I have ever heard about someone’s wedding was, “I wish I would have gotten a better photographer”. Check: splurge on the photographer. We will spend so much time (and anxiety attacks) trying to figure out the perfect date for our wedding, the perfect venue, the perfect color combination, the perfect table decorations, the perfect playlist. And, at the end of the day, we will never know what would have happened had we gone with the other option. I don’t think our marriage will really change if we choose the golf course or the restaurant for our venue. The same amount of people will be able to attend (and will not be able to attend) if we get married June 2nd or June 9th. We will never know anything different, so when you find yourself in that panic attack, just pick something and go with it. I know you will be so pleased that you did.
-Expect 25% of your guests to not show up: Things happen. While this is the biggest day of YOUR life, it is not necessarily the biggest day for your guests’ life, and nothing is more harboring than to watch a bride be disappointed that “not more people showed up”. Of course, as a guest, if you RSVP, you are expected to come, but sometimes, things do happen. People get sick, accidents happen at work, children slice their appendages open. Especially if most of your guest list is from out of town, you have to consider how much money it may cost (flights, rental cars, hotel rooms, gifts, etc). So, when making your guest list, just keep in mind that not everyone will be able to attend, but hopefully most will.
-Remember, it’s THEIR day: As I watch my friends get married, their anxieties are often tied up in, “One of my co-worker’s was talking about how tacky she thought their wedding favors were”, “One of my friend’s said at her wedding, this one guy didn’t even bother to show up OR send a gift”, “My mom said she would disown me if I didn’t wear my hair down”. What is at the root of every single one of these comments is other people’s expectations. As humans, we certainly are very judgmental because judging others allows us to further ourselves. We grow up, hearing all of these judgmental comments, so when we go to plan our own weddings, we keep all of these things in mind: “She said she didn’t like the way they did the bouquet toss, so I will make sure to do mine differently”, “She said the food wasn’t very tasty, so I will make sure I pick something good”, “She said she thought those colors clashed together, so I need to make sure I pick nice colors”. However, everyone always has their own opinions, we are NEVER going to make everyone happy, and at the end of the day, it’s about YOU and whomever you are marrying. If they want to throw a wedding on a Monday night with glow sticks and fun-fetti cupcakes, then so be it.
-The day will go by quicker than you expect: You most likely have spent an entire year planning every single detail for your wedding, from the table decorations to the flavor of cake, to what color your garter is. You will start getting your hair done at as early as 9 AM, and wonder why your photographer wants you ready at 1 PM. On the timeline, dinner is not served until 7 PM, so you have no idea what your guests will do to entertain themselves until then. Three hours of the dj sounds like a long time, but the day will go by quicker than you expect. You probably will eat an entire cracker and a bite of cake all day. You will be greeting so many people that you have NO idea who didn’t show up. And, suddenly, before you even know it, you are being whisked away to your new life together. The day will go by quicker than you expect, so make sure you take a moment to soak it all in; to soak in the support of all the people who came for you, to soak in all your hard work, and to soak in the celebration of your new life together.