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here comes the whatever

Although we still haven't set a date for the wedding - it will probably be about this time next year, but it depends on whether and when we can book the Unitarian Church - every so often I have glanced at the myriad "alternative wedding" books and websites that are squarely aimed at the supposedly non-bridezilla indie rock pseudo-hipster who would rather read Bust than Brides. I thought I might find some genuinely imaginative ideas for catering, dress-making, invitations and that sort of thing. But all these sites and books seem to operate on one premise: that your basic idea of a wedding involves a huge amount of fuss. It's taken for granted that you want elaborate flowers, and wedding favours (whatever the hell they are - I mean, I have a vague idea, but we don't do that on this side of the Atlantic), and place settings, and elaborate table decorations, and a guest list that includes everyone you've ever met along with all your parents' friends. So basically all the suggestions seem to be about doing these big things cheaply or in a different way rather than doing something completely different. I read one guide that offered radical suggestions like "you don't actually have to ask the neighbour you haven't talked to since you were five!" Wow, what a relief. Budgetting tips include getting friends to provide the flower arrangements (why the obsession with flowers? I don't care about flowers! I mean, I like them, but they're hardly an essential element in Patsington and I deciding to formalise our commitment to and love for each other) and making your own wedding favours. I dunno, it's not like I want to just have a reception upstairs in a pub, but nor do I think that anything beyond decent food and excellent music are wedding reception essentials. We may end up running off to elope after all (except we won't really, because I do want my family and friends to be there)...


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Argh, poor you trying to negotiate this with a degree of dignity! N's and my plans for our civil partnership party are basically to hire a big pub-top-room and have a jam session. This is N, in a nutshell, and suits me pretty well, too.
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
It's starting to sound more and more appealing to me! To be honest, the only reason we're not is because of food and space. I should add that neither of us are getting any pressure from our parents (Lord knows P's parents are getting their OTT wedding needs fulfilled by his sister's big bash). But it's just hard to find advice on doing the basics that doesn't assume the basics involve what to me seems like absolute madness!

You haven't set a date yet, have you?
(no subject) - cangetmad - Mar. 28th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Mar. 28th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:22 am (UTC)

I must mentally run through my friends' various nuptial gatherings and see if I can think of any genuinely nifty small-wedding notions.

Dip and Sinead had their reception in Dip's parents' house - obviously you/the 'rents may not want to do this, but there was a lot of stuff adaptable to, eg, a function room: nice buffet food, big tasty cake, nice wine, music, speeches. And Paul and Beth had brilliant caterers.
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Ooh, all suggestions for caterers gratefully received. How big is Dip's parents' house? I can't imagine we'd fit everyone in the family seat, even with Mary's Folly out the back.

We were wondering about the possibility of hiring the house in the park next to our house...
(no subject) - biascut - Mar. 28th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - biascut - Mar. 28th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Mar. 28th, 2007 11:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - biascut - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - socmot - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - therealjo - Mar. 28th, 2007 12:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leedy - Mar. 28th, 2007 12:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:31 am (UTC)
I try to lower expectation of Any Future Wedding as I think I'd rather like just a ceremony followed by a cocktail partyish thing. A bit special, but without spending tens of thousands of pounds.

Of course as for me it's all HIGHLY hypothetical it's easy to pontificate....
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:41 am (UTC)
Oh, I think the low budget is perfectly possible. It's finding the right venue that's most tricky, I think, even for cocktails. And then, everyone has to be able to access food at some point. We were thinking about the possibility of the immediate wedding party (family, basically) going for a late lunch immediately after the ceremony so the rest of the guests could feed themselves and then all meet up at the reception afterwards, but that seems a bit rude.
(no subject) - socmot - Mar. 28th, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bradybee - Mar. 28th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leedy - Mar. 28th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Mar. 28th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollydot - Mar. 28th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wonderlanded - Mar. 28th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leedy - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - biascut - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollydot - Mar. 28th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glitzfrau - Mar. 29th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
I hear you! We are still only talking about getting married, but the whole thing scares me.

I'm trying to get my hands on this book: http://offbeatbride.com/ but it might be too North American in nature for you.
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
Hee, I've actually already ordered that book from Amazon because it was the only one that looked vaguely sensible!
(no subject) - starfishchick - Mar. 28th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)
My sister and her husband hired their favourite local restaurant for their wedding reception. The food was very good and while it was slightly squished it was exactly the way they wanted. Afterwards everyone headed to a nearby pub where their friends played DJ and there was an immense buffet (which I was too stuffed to go near but it smelled great). What about the restaurant where you and Patsington decided to make it official on Valentine's Day? Would that work? Would they be able to do that?
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Starfishchick, thanks for introducing me to that website...now I'll never get any work done today! I like this article it links to, which sets out the offbeat alternatives to food, flowers, etc: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/genderf/2003620081_genweddingstuff.html

I kind of agree that the one thing I wouldn't scrimp on are the photos. Work those journo contacts, stella!
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
Blimey, it does sound like a bit of a palaver. I've already decided that if I ever do it it'll be the local register office and a room on top of a pub. Good luck with it all!
Mar. 29th, 2007 10:47 am (UTC)
Register offices aren't very local in Ireland - there's only one per county, so as Stella was saying to me, the queue for the Dublin one is giant. And you can't get married in hotels! Damned priest-ridden country, grr, &c.
(no subject) - yiskah - Mar. 30th, 2007 09:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
I missed you saying you were engaged -- congratulations.

I felt like the whole wedding thing was a giant, snowballing trap. It's very easy to start with one vision and get upsold into something very different. It seems like the people who do best with it are the ones who stick to what they think is important, and ignore the books saying they need a videographer/a limo/$15-a-head favors for 300/ a bachelorette ski weekend for their 30 sorority sisters. Good luck with staying out of the madness.
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
David and I are getting married in, like, 60 days, and I've learned firsthand what a huuuuge pain in the ass planning a wedding is, especially when you butt heads with "so-called wedding traditions". For instance, we're not having any flowers, none, not even for centerpieces, and for some reason, this is giving my mother in law fits. Fits! I say, your day, do what you want. You want a good time with your friends in the pub, then do it. I joined the IndieBride website - I think it's literally like, Indiebride.com for the forum. Some of the people do have some actually interesting ideas, and some wedding are actually indie. :)
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Is it possible to get the Dining Hall? Though if it is, it might be awfully expensive. (And if you can't get the Unitarian church at a date you fancy, don't forget you have the right to use college chapel - though again, it can get booked up well in advance).

Oooh - and an idea for the cake: friends of mine despise fruit cake and all its empty promises, so their wedding cake was a huge set of strawberry pavlovas. Mmmm, delicious, and so much more edible!
Mar. 28th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Deleted my comment cos I suddenly decided I was saying too much about other people for an unlocked post. Hope you get comment notifications.

Summary: I've enjoyed a number of small, different weddings. Meal in restaurant or buffet in hired building, or no laid on meal. All enjoyable.

I'll put back the bit about me:

We went for the standard church, hotel, 120 for dinner thing, so can't give any direct personal experience. Though if you do want sort of thing and it's just the fuss about deciding flowers and whatever that's the problem, then go for it. Most hotel wedding packages include standard flowers on the table, place names and seating plan display, cake stand and microphone for speeches.
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine did a cute thing with Hershey's kisses at her wedding, where she removed the little paper tag and replaced it with a slip of paper with the couple's new address, and put one at every seat at the reception, and I've seen similar things done with the new address pasted on the outside of a packet of flower seeds. Otherwise, most wedding favors are just nonsense- I don't need some stupid little plastic or cardboard or ribbon doodad, and the wedding couple don't need to spend the money to get me some stupid little random doodad that I'm just going to throw away, or leave at the reception. It's all part of the wedding industry's broader "your life will suck without all of this!" scam.
Mar. 28th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Hee. We had leather bookmarks with our names and the date on them, and some Celtic borderthingy. We still have some left over. People actually kept them and we had found a women-run business in SF to do them, so it was groovy and affordable.
Mar. 28th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Heh, heh. Your average American wedding costs $15,000. Mine was cheaper than that, but I confess I did do the whole churchy thang with music, a full wedding party and a sit-down reception thereafter. I didn't pay for most of it, however, so that was okay. :ducks: The worst part? It took 18 months to plan. Eighteen months of five hours every DAY. For me. My sister and mom were doing about half that.

Childbirth was way easier.
Mar. 28th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
I always think it's interesting that you can't put "organised my wedding" on your CV. I mean, if you organised a full day event for over 60 people in any other area of your life - a university ball, or a conference for work - you'd totally have it down. But of course, weddings are just indulgences for girls, they don't require organisational skills!
(no subject) - kristamm - Mar. 29th, 2007 10:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
It's difficult, isn't it? When you're talking nearly 100 people, it seems to be more or less assumed that you're doing the full fancy business, but really, why would you?

I'm glad at least that it sounds as though you're getting to do what you want, without pressure from parents - good luck with finding something that feels right.
Mar. 29th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Secondly, bravo to you for avoiding what the Consort and I call the "Wedding Industrial Complex."

It helps that we were together for some 13 years before we got married, so our respective families didn't butt in with insane requirements and long invite lists. But in any case, the advice I give to anyone planning a wedding is to avoid anything with the "wedding" label on it in any form.

An example: We decided that we wanted to serve cheesecake instead of a traditional wedding cake. I went to a local bakery well-known for their cheesecakes and asked them about the cost of cheesecake for my wedding. As soon as he heard that, it was all so-many-dollars-per-slice, special delivery charge, blah de blah. I stopped him and said, "how much does it cost to serve 100 people cheesecake if it isn't a wedding?" The baker asked, "Oh, you don't want a decorated wedding cake?" Me: "No, I want to serve a nice dessert to my guests." Honestly, the cost was almost half of what they charge for a wedding cake, and it was delicious.

I skipped the flowers too, and put candles on the tables. No favors, either. Oh, and having my dress made was actually a lot less expensive than buying a fancy formal gown... but then it wasn't a traditional wedding dress, it was a red velvet thingy.
Mar. 29th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
Have you had a look at indiebride.com? The site isn't updated often, but the forums are very busy. People there run the range of those like me, who wanted the dress/sit-down dinner, etc but not the huge price tag or squicky traditions, to people doing truly unusual ceremonies and receptions, to people who are eloping and want to chat with other people who've done the same.
( 47 comments — Leave a comment )


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