September 26, 2008

How to make your wedding the party of the century

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:47 am by Mitch

As Molly says, the wedding went off pretty well. I’m sure people would say they had a good time regardless of whether that was true or not, but I don’t think they’d be so enthusiastic about saying so. Over the course of planning this wedding, I learned a few things that I think might be useful for other people to know. Here are some of the most important tips I learned for making a wedding fun and economical.

Your friends and family want to help. I felt a little weird soliciting a friend to act as our officiant, but he was honored beyond measure to play such an important role in our marriage. We got him some nice gifts for his efforts and he truly seemed to feel like we didn’t owe him anything. Same thing happened with our musicians — they were just psyched to set up somewhere and play for someone they cared about. You wouldn’t get that with professionals. Don’t be afraid to reach out and see what people might want to do for you! You may be surprised.

Get creative when hiring vendors. We couldn’t have been happier with the services all of our vendors provided (Molly will go into detail about this in a later post). And all of them charged much less than the going rate. Why? Our photographer was superb, and has plenty of experience shooting weddings, but since she’s still a college student she charged us a low rate (we asked for less postproduction work than usual). The DJ was the host at a pub trivia host I attend each week. He’s a professional with plenty of experience, but since I went to him directly and not through a company, he gave me a good deal. And despite what the terrifying, monolithic floral industry would have you believe, you really can get great flowers from an independent florist working out of her home. With minimal effort, and some networking, you can save thousands of dollars on your vendors.

Take pictures before the ceremony. This was the smartest thing we did. I know some people have a superstition about the bride and groom seeing one another before the ceremony, but that’s nonsense. By getting the pictures out of the way early, we worked out most of our nerves. More important, we had much more time to spend with our guests. We even dropped in on the cocktail hour. I’d hate to have missed all that time to be taking pictures.

Put your own stamp on it. Every wedding does most of the same things, but that doesn’t mean you have to do those things the same way you’ve seen them done before. Plan your wedding in a way that reflects your personality! We had a few surprises throughout the evening: Molly’s dad handed me a fake dowry when he was giving her away. When we were introduced at the reception, Molly and I ran around the room high-fiving people. And we had an ice cream sundae bar in place of cake. I’m not saying you should do these things specifically. But look at what opportunities you have to put your own stamp on the event. That’ll make it memorable for you and your guests.

Pay as much up front as possible. I can’t overstate how good it feels not to have any debt hanging over us as we begin our marriage. We cut costs in every way we could, and we also made sure to pay however much we could at every step of the way. We didn’t have to, in most cases, but you don’t want all those bills coming due at the same time. Nor do you want to put stuff on the credit card and have it building up interest while you’re trying to enjoy your honeymoon. This is true not just for weddings, but for every major purchase in your life. (Here I should mention that we were fortunate to have some significant financial assistance from our families, which I know isn’t always the case for people.)

Have awesome friends and family. I guess this is luck of the draw more than anything. But it sure helps!

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1 Comment »

  1. Mike Johnson said,

    Seriously awesome time. The later part of the night was too good a time, but hey, it happens.

    Well done to you both, it was a beautiful ceremony and a fantastic party.


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