Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wediquette Part III

I’m totally and utterly bored, so more posts for you folks!

Seems my recent posts have friends wondering about my intentions – but I must admit that the subject lends itself to so many arguments/debates/discussions that it’s easy fodder for a blog. Heck, I could start my own blog on the topic and I’m not married!

So, continuing on our theme of “wediquette”…

(By the way, I see that name is being used for at least one blog already – oh well)

More questions and thoughts:

1. Invitations

I, for one, do not understand the self-addressed stamped envelope RSVP in this day and age. You’re just gonna track the confirmations on a separate medium anyways (even if you just jot them on a piece of paper) so why do you need them? Are people that shallow that they need to receive an overpriced card to feel they are truly invited to the event? It’s not like you need the invite to get in, anyways – who checks these things at the door? I’ve never been asked for my invite and I don’t always know the groomsmen at the door. It seems to me that a cool electronic invite (no, not an “evite" – those don’t work for my email address, by the way, for some bizarre reason) would be better, coupled perhaps with a cool postcard-type hard copy just to be sure. Recently, I’ve seen friends use variations on this, with full size posters folded up or interesting fold-out cards with all the deets – including how to RSVP by website or email. Please don’t try to make the argument that a formal invite is more personal – it really isn’t. I don’t need fancy paper – just date and time. Besides, I always felt that they were worded awkwardly. What do you write where it says “Philip Sullivan will _______ attend”? “…Definitely” attend? “Maybe” attend? And what about “Number of guests: _____”. Including me? Does this mean I can bring a guest? I’m sure the “experts” would say that if a guest is invited the invite would read “Philip Sullivan and Guest”, but that’s not obvious to everyone, so don’t be surprised if Uncle Jed brings his hooker date.

2. Guests

Ok, so I’ve always figured that I’d have to limit the number of folks I invite to the reception (assuming it was a catered dinner at a hall) – but what about after dinner? I mean, can I tell some folks to come by at, say, 10pm to celebrate with the happy couple or is that gauche? Is it an insult to invite someone post-dinner? Surely people understand that halls have limits on guests for dinner and that inviting them for the party half of the night is better than no invite at all, no? It’s like a night out at a fancy bar for them. I always thought I’d invite the world to my wedding – hey, if we have history and you care enough that you wanna come see me get married and have a drink with me afterwards, that’s awesome – but of course I can’t have the world for dinner. I probably could invite the world if it were an evening service with cocktail reception as suggested in my previous post… I always thought a wedding would be nice excuse to have a “this is your life” gathering of old, long lost and new friends – probably the only time you’ll be able to do it before they gather for your funeral! If I have to limit it to, say, 100 then, hell, 90% of my Facebook friends wouldn’t make the cut! :P

3. Cake

Is this a big deal? Really? I mean, I have to say that at 75% of the weddings I’ve been to, the “cutting of the cake” is an afterthought and probably the most wasteful expense of the whole day. Personally, I don’t need it. Is there symbolism or importance behind it that I don’t know about or is it literally just a dessert tradition? I’d rather have ice cream. :P

4. Photos

I’m a fan of having the wedding and reception close together. I think it’s kind of nuts to expect guests to attend a ceremony, take 3 hours off, and then show up somewhere else for a reception. If you’re from out of town, it can be downright inconvenient. I attended a wedding once where the four of us from out of town went back to the motel and napped between events! Kinda takes the wind out of the sails, don’t it? But I understand that half the point of this is to allow the bridal party to take the time to go to a park and have photos taken. See, the idea is that you can’t take photos before the wedding because the groom can’t see the bride before the ceremony. That’s actually one tradition I like and plan to uphold. But what to do about photos? Well, for some, the photos taken at the reception would be enough. For some, you don’t even need a photographer or formal photos – the snaps people take at the reception from, say, disposable cameras on the table are enough. I’m a fan of doing some quick shots while people settle in at the reception venue or even taking the shots at the venue itself if suitable. I don’t need a lot of fancy group shots – just a few of the wedding party, family and the big group. What do you do with them afterwards anyways? Sure, it’s nice to have a few shots, but the best shots, in my mind, are not the posed shots, but the candid ones. I prefer a natural shot than one that looks like the poster for The Usual Suspects. And there’s no effing way I’m having a photographer hover around the ceremony like I see at some weddings. What’s the point of taking pictures of an event if the photographer is PART of the event? At times, the guests can’t even see because the photographer is at the front, 5 feet from the priest, shooting flash shots with a super loud super sized camera. WTF? No way. If I have a photographer, they better have a telephoto lens. There’s no way a photographer or videographer stands in front of a guest. What for? So I can show the guests afterwards the ceremony that they missed?

5. Gifts

As I’ve said before, for Pete’s sake, GIVE MONEY. I just don’t understand the idea of having a gift registry. Sure, it takes the guess work out of giving gifts and ensures the couple won’t get doubles, but there are just too many issues with it. Does the couple choose the premium item they want or the sufficient item? What happens if you don’t get a complete set of dishes or whatever (that comes in pieces)? How do I get my gift to the reception? What if I don’t have a car and want to take TTC? What do I do with it during the service portion? (who wants to carry an item all day while dressed up and then show up all hot and sweaty?) If you just give money, then the couple can examine their finances after the event and take stock of what they can and can’t afford to do with it. What’s the point of having fine china if you can’t afford a table? The top priority for me is to break even on the day. If everyone covers the cost of their plate then the rest is gravy. Starting off a marriage in debt would suck. If you have some left over, then great – now you can put that money towards a down payment on a house. You can’t do that with embroidered linen. So now that we agree that guests should give money instead of a physical gift, how do the couple make this known? An invite might normally include the fact that the couple are registered at The Bay, but how do you say “don’t bring gifts, bring money”?

6. Centrepiece

Look, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass less about the bloody centrepiece, but it seems that for some folks, “winning” the centrepiece is the highlight of the night. I’m all for giving the guests a little gift/souvenir (a.k.a. bonbonniere), but it doesn’t need to be elaborate and it shouldn’t spark riots. I’ve seen all sorts of contests run (and their “trick” variations) to see who would get it and it usually drags on way too long and seems mighty lame by the end. Besides, if people really care about it, you’re just disappointing 90% of your guests – the ones who don’t win. But if you do insist on running a contest, then arrange to have the centrepieces set aside with the winners’ names. You’d be shocked at the number of times people who did not win the centrepiece will walk off with one, just because it’s sitting on a table unattended as they exit (heaven forbid the winner is dancing).

7. Bar service

This is a pretty big one and can really polarize opinions. Open bar or cash bar? The open bar is obviously a treat for the guests and the most welcoming, but it can lead to a big expense for the couple, potential scamming by the hall (if they do the billing by “measuring” thing) and issues with crashers and sobriety. The cash bar might come off as cheap, but it does allow you to have more guests (see item 2) and allows for some control over their intake (they can’t drink if they run out of cash) and your expenses. I’d prefer to have an open bar, but I can see the merits of a cash bar.

Hm… Ok, I think that’s enough for today. Don’t wanna freak Dan out too much.

So what do you guys think?

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