fireflies and cottonwood

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Wedding hits and flops September 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 9:31 am
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The fabulous Indiebride has a message board called Kvetch, where women and some men can share ideas and give advice on countless topics.  In the thread “Suggestion Box,” one popular thread is called, “What was a hit? What was a flop?”  Genius.

After their weddings, brides will come back to the forum and report what went well at their wedding, and what (often surprisingly) did not.  For example, often brides will report that no one had heard their vows, and they wished they had used microphones.  Or they will be surprised that no one used the guestbook.  Obviously, for anyone planning a wedding, this is a goldmine of ideas, things to consider, and advice.  Here’s an example:

“I’ve been to about a million weddings and here are some memorable hits and flops from those I’ve been to:

–Assigned seating. Especially when I don’t know many people, I hate the awkward hunt for seats. This is especially true if they haven’t given me a plus one and I’m there alone. 

–Something to drink as guests were coming in before the ceremony. I’ve had lemonade and cocktails and both were nice. 

–Doing something unexpected. Favorites: groom’s cake in shape of beer stein (he was of German heritage); bagpipes; homemade strawberry jam from bride’s dad as favors; unusual readings.

–A heartfelt thank-you toast by the couple. More meaningful than any favor.

–Couples who memorize or at least write on cards the main part of their vows so the officiant’s prompting isn’t breaking up the flow every three words.

–Failures of coordination on timing issues. A) last of guests still standing in line at buffet when cake cutting started; B) caterers still setting up when guests began arriving; C) long lag times between ceremony and reception at a location where many guests had driven and had nothing to do in between; D) waiting around forever (going on two hours) at cocktails waiting for pictures to be done.

–Not enough quantity of passed appetizers, so guests are stalking waiters coming out near the kitchen doors.

–Bride and groom not making it around to speak with everyone personally. At one wedding, I left without ever meeting the groom. I get he was busy, but how about a two minute, “Oh, I’ve heard so much about you, thanks for coming”?

–Bride and groom leaving too early. Why leave at 9:30 when your band keeps playing til 11? The party is over when the couple leaves, so it feels kind of lame after they’re gone. After I got all dressed up and traveled for these events, I was disappointed that things ended so soon.

–Music too loud during dinner.”

I think the best thing about the thread is that while I personally might get caught up in the things _I’m_ most interested in (readings, colors, food, ceremony) it might not naturally occur to me to think about things like timing, sound, flow of food…  It’s so helpful!  So, on that note: what are some hits and flops you’ve seen at weddings, including your own?  Or, things you wish a bride and groom would consider for guests?  Please advise.


8 Responses to “Wedding hits and flops”

  1. Andrew Says:


    1.) A guest book in the room at the reception, rather than at the door. If there’s a line at the guest book when people are coming in, some will skip it and forget to return. But if it’s somewhere where you pass by or go to several times (maybe near the line for the bar?) it gives you several chances.

    2.) We didn’t have a DJ at the wedding, so we had one of our friends act as Master of Ceremonies. I thought that went well.

    3.) Bride and Groom: make sure you eat! Feed yourself first! It was good advice for us.

    4.) Try to visit all the tables, sure, but that’s hard. I don’t think we got around as much as we wished we did. Having a receiving line helped, because then you at least hugged everyone or shook their hands and said hi and thanks for coming.

    5.) Try to be efficient with the photos. Our photographer took a lot of candids and we liked a lot of those better than the posed ones.

  2. eric Says:

    1) To what degree would assigned seating result in the construction of an ethnic minority section? Or in the least, a “wedding” minority section? What will it mean to be seated in the back? Near the aisle?

    2) I’ve been at many weddings where the b&g memorized their vows. I’ve been impressed. However, let’s think deeply here. To what degree is that impressiveness a socially constituted idea that is passed down to us from the memorization of basal readers? Dick-and-Jane books? “Good” poetry (can’t we all recite Frost’s “Mending Wall”? Is this a good thing)? One possible solution: rewrite the vows and memorize, thus subverting the dominant tradition–you’ve created and then memorized, giving the sense that your vows are not internalized dogma, but statements that are built from your relationship.

    3) Is the writer advocating the toast instead of the favor? I agree that this is valid, but how can we avoid the negative association of your being “cheap”? If you do this, unfortunately in this day and age, you will probably need to spend extra money on the centerpieces and food (multiple vegan options) to avoid that kind of conclusion. And even if you do, there’s always going to be that one cousin (we’ll call him “Cousin Jodut”) that will always expect even more expensive favors because of the expensive food, and will leave cranky.

  3. Jan Says:

    Actually I don’t think favors are necessary, but if it is something you want to do, then I think something like Andrew and Lynette did that holds some meaning is cool. I suggested a little cookbook of your favorite recipes but anything like that would be good. And it is something that distant family members might be able to help with.

    Leigh mentioned various colored bread sticks in glass vases as a center piece, then people could nibble on them if they are hungry. I thought that sounded cool.

  4. Amanda Says:

    I remembered one “flop” that made an impression on me (apparently not enough to be remembered all the time). I, like most people, enjoy being able to hear the vows and officiant. I was at one wedding where the microphones were too close. When the bride and groom kissed you could hear the smacking of their lips. The two stopped when they realized what was coming through the speakers. It made for a good chuckle but, in general, way too intimate.

  5. girldogtorch Says:

    Ha. I guess that’s what the rehearsal might be for–not just running through the whole thing, but also checking sound. So we’ll have to have a rehearsal kiss. 😉

    We’ve also been thinking a lot about various forms of guestbook. Polaroid guestbooks can be neat–people take a few moments to snap a photo and write a message on it, and you can put someone (a young teenager is often good at this) in charge of making the rounds with the camera. I’ve also seen note cards, where people can right messages and stick them in little envelopes, or in a beautiful container the couple keeps. But I agree that many couples spend a great deal on a guestbook, and it doesn’t get used–on Indiebride, the guestbook is often on the “flops” list. Maybe put it on or near the bar? People return there, and often have to wait a few minutes…

  6. Amanda Says:

    Chris and I are wanting to do the Polaroid guestbook. we’ve figured out the logistics of it, but we’re fearing that it may be near impossible to get the supplies to make that possible. Aren’t they trying to phase out Polaroids? We may have to stop talking about it and start shopping.

    My thought on the Polaroid is that people get their picture taken and are left with the photo and no other option than to put it in the book. If they don’t put it in the book, I can know who they were by the discarded picture of them.

  7. girldogtorch Says:

    Oh, there are entire threads on Indiebride devoted on getting, procuring, and keeping Polaroids and film before they go away forever. We’ll be happy to share that information (and the cameras, too, if you want) with you.

    I think you’re absolutely right–once people take the photo, you have it, whether or not they place it in the book themselves. And I think people like the immediacy of it. And they can be funny, or serious, or inspired by others’ photos.

  8. Maeve's mom Says:

    My sister and her husband framed a 10×10 engagement photo in a 20×20 frame with a huge white mat. Guests signed the mat (with or without a little message). They had the glass put in later. It’s still a lovely addition to their home unlike my traditional guest book which is packed away in my basement. Just a thought.

    Also, do NOT leave your reception until the music, bar and fun are over. One of my mother’s biggest regrets to this day is leaving her reception early. My dad’s brother paid the band to stay an extra hour, people got up and sang, danced on tables. You have your whole honeymoon to do you-know-what so take the entire reception night to just enjoy friends, family and the celebration!

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