Friday, June 12, 2009

Planning, Planning

We're having a wedding reception here on the Fourth of July. Since bride and groom both live in other states, the planning has fallen to me. I have wonderful friends who have offered much help, so that part is easy. Usually, communicating with the principals is also easy, so figuring out what is important is "no big deal." But I've been surprised along the way.

Online wedding checklists are so silly. Do you know, the first thing they say is, "Remember that this is YOUR wedding; make sure it reflects YOU." The second thing is, "Hire a wedding planner." How is a wedding planner going to plan a wedding that reflects the bride and groom? A professionally planned wedding, in my opinion, is going to be like a public school education; one size fits all, with little room for individuality. (And, yes, I know the can of worms I've opened there, but that's a discussion for another time.) I know that a wedding planned by Mom or Mother-in-law is not going to be perfect, either, but a friend or relative is in a better position to understand the personalities of the bride and groom than a hired pro. So there!

The wedding industry is phenomenal. The upcharge for basics, because they're for a wedding, is ridiculous. Two years ago, we had a 50th anniversary party here for my parents. We rented a tent. Cost? Less than $200. I called about the same tent. For a wedding? Three times that. Stupid, stupid, me, should never have said the "w" word; that's an automatic upcharge! And clothing...the guys are in military dress, so the expense of tuxedos is unnecessary. But dresses for the women has been...enlightening. The costs for a simple frock, just because it's for a wedding...well, you can imagine.

Catering proved silly; a menu much simpler (almost bare-bones) than what they had planned cost twice what it would cost us to make it, for less than half the food. (Yes, a caterer would take some of the pressure off of us, but having the party here puts it back on anyway. So, we are cooking.) Renting a hall added costs upon costs, because ordinary humans can't be trusted to cook food that won't kill off their friends, and must hire licensed professionals to do that. Wine and beer ordered from the local liquor store cannot be trusted, either, and using the bar at the hall puts us into an uncomfortable position. Do we have an open, expensive bar? Or make our guests pay for some of their drinks? How welcoming is that?

So, as hillbilly-ish as it will appear to some, we will have a nice buffet in the yard of our house, with a keg and coolers. There will be dancing and bouquet-tossing, but the kids will get to swing on the swings and play in the pond, if they'd like. There will be farm smells; some guests will have to "get over it." In the end, the bride and groom will not be saddled with ridiculous debts, fun will be had, and, hey, they'll be married. Isn't THAT really the point?


Karen said...

What? No ice sculptures? Weddings have gotten ridiculous in their extravagance. Why do normal middle class families feel the need to put on weddings that reflect the lifestyle of the wealthy? You guys are showing great wisdom. You plans sound like a lot of fun.

Betsy said...

Keep blogging about this because my son is getting married August 4th in another state. I can copy your ideas!


Elephantschild said...

It's going to be awesome.

(I found a skirt today for the occasion.)

Melody said...

I should add...
This is not meant to denigrate anyone whose wedding is more elaborate than this one will be. Our son is not in a position to have an extravagant wedding. If he were, he might. I'm just tickled that his tastes--and those of his bride--are so simple and sensible.

Cheryl said...

Hey Melody, it sounds like EC just RSVP'd! (BTW, EC, make sure you pack some jeans for the reception.)

I can't wait!

Wendi said...

Sounds great! Wish we could come!