Help me navigate the untraditional wedding waters
April 3, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Yay, we got married, it was awesome, perfect for us, we invited NO ONE! However, it is a first marriage for both us, who are each in our early thirties and I'm having a hard time reconciling competing ideas from friends, family, and even my silly head. Can you help me figure out to include our loved ones in the celebration in a way that is fun for everyone and stressful for no one? (This gets a little long and rambling)

About three weeks ago, I took off work a couple hours early, I met him at our house and we walked ourselves down to the courthouse married. I asked if he would pick up some flowers so I would have a bitty bouquet, he got pinwheels because he is awesome and sweet. We told our parents just a couple of days beforehand so they didn't have time to freak out, drive down and crash the party. :)

Here are some more pictures. Thanks for reading this mess.

I didn't want the fanfare, I'm not great at being the center of attention in a fawning way, if that makes sense. Its like, I don't mind commanding a room if I am being entertaining or am doing a kick ass lecture on something awesome, but I don't like the odd adoration weird reverance, gushy weirdness. He is also going to deploy sometime in the next handful of months, his parents and mine have latched onto that. Like, what we did wasn't "real" just something that we had to do in order to get the paperwork for the Navy fulfilled. What's worse is that I kind of feel like he bought into that too! I keep hearing from him, friends, his family, "oh, don't worry, you'll have a "real" wedding when he gets back". We had a real wedding! We just didn't invite you! We both have big, traditional families and this isn't sitting well with them.

So that's the set up we love each other very much and we are going to be awesome.

We are planning on a big celebration in a month or so at the bar I work at during the weekend. We would have a whole seperate, private area that we could designate as non-smoking, we can decorate, etc. I want all my friends no matter their marital status, their kid status, age, etc to come and have a grand old time. However, it is not a wedding, its a celebration of our joy and love and all that. The decorations I am picking up are much more colorful, like a birthday party, and I'm trying to work in a vintagey nautical theme too! Yay, cool!

So first question is about the invitations, I am mostly doing it all by FB and maybe evite for family friends who don't have FB, with business sized cards to hand out as little reminders. I am having trouble with wording. Things I wish to convey:

I'm married! I don't want to be sneaky about the fact I'm already married. I want to clear that this is a wedding celebration and not a wedding.

EVERYONE is welcome for as long and short as a time as they wish. We'll be there from 6pm to 2am and we expect people with kids and older folks to be ther early and the partyers to there later.

Light appetizers will be about and a cash bar plus a full dining menu is available if you need something more substantial.

The bartenders are my people, my friends, please for the love of god, tip appropriately and treat them kindly.

Lastly, we are going to be moving around the county. We don't need presents! I like the classic "We value your presence more than your presents", we have not registered anywhere.

This dovetails nicely into the whole "wedding" enterprise. People want to throw me showers. I am a little uncomfortable with this, I love love love small, heartfelt, thoughtful gifts, but people want to buy me "stuff". I've never been a gift card person, but that is increasingly seeming the way its going to go. I've been spreading the word discreetly (through MIL and such) that we won't be able to transport much, but gift cards or cash would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, the big question for me, I feel like this celebration is going to be our wedding celebration. I feel like its a little weird/greedy/attention seeking, something to have a tradtional church ceremony later. Sure, a part of me is just a sliver sad that I'll never get the dress and the attendents, and pictures and all that, but really just a little, because DAMN that shits expensive and really when I think about it, I just like playing dress up and taking pictures and you sure don't need a church for that. (Not to mention we aren't particularly religious, though our parents our hard core catholics and southern baptists, respectively). Is it secretly evil, to just pretend right now that, yeah sure, we are going to have a "real" wedding at some point, while knowing that is extraordinarily unlikely? I don't want people to be waiting, or feel like they are going to get me two sets of gifts, sigh.

Can you help me? You can tell me that all of the above is nonsense and just go to the bar and have fun, but the weight of the expectations is kind of getting to me.
posted by stormygrey to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have the celebration. This is not uncommon especially for the people who run off and get married in some exotic locale.

You seem fine with the major points that you want to get across. It can also help if you have any "super-connected" friend or family members that you can express the above to around the time you send the invites out. That way the super-connected people will spread the word about your intentions.
posted by mmascolino at 9:12 AM on April 3, 2012


Years ago I remember posting something in a thread that kind of applies here, in a bit of an oblique way. clicky
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:14 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things I wish to convey:

I'm married! I don't want to be sneaky about the fact I'm already married. I want to clear that this is a wedding celebration and not a wedding.

EVERYONE is welcome for as long and short as a time as they wish. We'll be there from 6pm to 2am and we expect people with kids and older folks to be ther early and the partyers to there later.

Light appetizers will be about and a cash bar plus a full dining menu is available if you need something more substantial.

The bartenders are my people, my friends, please for the love of god, tip appropriately and treat them kindly.

Lastly, we are going to be moving around the county. We don't need presents! I like the classic "We value your presence more than your presents", we have not registered anywhere.


How to convey that? How about an invite with that exact text on? Just send that out to everyone and have a fun party! :)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:17 AM on April 3, 2012


Your families will continue to view the celebration as your "real" wedding, because weddings are important to a lot of people, not just those getting married.

They will also want to give you presents, not for your sake, but because it is important to them. The majority North American culture dictates that it is rude to attend any kind of wedding or wedding celebration without giving some kind of gift; some North American subcultures will feel fine giving money, but others are uncomfortable with that. However, not registering somewhere makes it more difficult for those people -- my relatives asked me explicitly to register somewhere (though I did not wish to) because it was too much for them to pick out a present otherwise.

My overall point is: weddings are not just for the couples. They are community events with community expectations. It is obviously your choice whether you wish to fulfill those expectations or not, but don't be surprised if people have them.
posted by jb at 9:18 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Invitation:

WE'RE MARRIED! AND WE WANT TO CELEBRATE!

Date, Time, Place

EVERYONE is welcome for as long and short as a time as they wish. We'll be there from 6pm to 2am and we welcome all our friends of all ages, including the kiddos.

Light appetizers will be about and a cash bar plus a full dining menu is available if you need something more substantial.

(The bartenders are my people, my friends, please tip appropriately and treat them kindly.)

Lastly, we are going to be moving around the county and it will be tough to pack any of the cool stuff you might want to gift us. We don't need presents! We value your presence more than your presents!



Don't pretend anything, start your life together in an open and honest manner. These days there are so many ways to do this, I think your way is just fine. And besides, you really do want to set the tone for both sets of parents that you are grownups and get to handle this in the way most comfortable for you. Trust me, SET THE TONE NOW.
posted by raisingsand at 9:19 AM on April 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


We're in a similar but different situation right now.

We didn't care at all about presents and showers and things like that. What I have come to realize is that people really want to do things for you and buy gifts. I too felt that registries were weird and didn't understand them, but I kept being told that we were really hard to buy things for and people didn't listen when we said we didn't need things. So we registered for stuff we wanted but could never justify.

I think your party might be clearer if you actually call it a reception. "Come celebrate that we got married and it's awesome!"

I would not keep up any idea that you are planning to do a full big church wedding later if you aren't actually planning to or it can cause endless "so when is the real thing" and resentments as time passes. I know this from experience.

Lastly, congratulations!
posted by sock it to me at 9:19 AM on April 3, 2012


Sister Renault also had a don't-invite-anyone wedding, and that was fine and all, but...

You will have to give family something in the way of ritual and participation. I would suggest that in addition to your celebration, you have a more formal sit-down, dress-up dinner where toasts can be made and rambling speeches given.

You could incorporate that into your current celebration plans, of course, but when it's as loosey-goosey as it looks like it's going to be, that sense of ritual and participation by family and friends may not be there.

Weddings aren't just for the happy couple, of course. They're for everyone who loves them as well. Giving them something to do allows them to do that. A simple party, well, it's nice and all, and it's what you want, and everyone is happy to give that to you, but it's not the worst idea to have some accommodation of other people's expectations and need to go through this cultural convention, ridiculous as it may be. A second wedding isn't necessary, just something to allow people to play the roles they've been expecting to play.

So yeah. I would do a formal dinner as an add-on.

As a footnote to Sister Renault's exclusion wedding, while we were happy for them and everything, there is a sense that we missed out on something. Because we did. It was heightened by Father Renault's passing a couple of years later. If we could have done a proper send-off to the happy couple, I think those feelings would have been greatly alleviated. My two cents.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:19 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


PercussivePaul's linked comment is excellent.
posted by jb at 9:21 AM on April 3, 2012


You might ask yourself what would scratch the "I want a real wedding" itch without being dishonest (about the fact that you're already married) or breaking the bank.

You want to do a photoshoot with your husband in nice clothing that you'd never normally get to wear? Do it! Rent or borrow something to wear, hire a photographer or call in a favor from an artsy friend, and take some pictures! Incidentally, if you've got all these friends and relatives clamoring to buy you something, maybe you can "register for" a session with a photographer or rental on a gorgeous location to shoot in or whatever piece of the project you can't do for free.

You want to make vows in front of the people you love? Do it! Vows and toasts and speeches are awesome! They're not just for weddings! Hold a big party, stand up with a glass of wine, and tell your husband exactly how you feel about him.

You want bridesmaids? Lemme tell you, the next best thing to a bridal party is a bunch of good friends who are also your "event planning team." You'll want to call in some favors if you're planning a party this size anyway. Call up the people who would have been on your dream bridesmaid list, ask them "You wanna help plan a party?", and then enjoy that satisfying feeling together when it all comes together.

Finally, if your parents are intensely religious, could it be that the urge for a church ceremony is partly an urge to do (what they'll see as) the right thing and to make them happy? I want to be careful here and not sound like I'm pressuring you into a religious ceremony — my first wedding was totally secular and there were basically no guests and it was awesome — but if you want to make some sort of religious gesture for your family's sake then I see nothing wrong with that, even after you've already had your "real" wedding. F'rinstance, think about how you'd feel about someone on the Baptist side of the family giving a prayer and a few words of blessing for your happiness together. Would that feel good? Would that help you feel Really Married? Then just do it, and don't worry about the fact that you're less religious than them. As jb says, weddings play lots of different social roles for lots of different people. And if you want to participate in them, then participating in the rituals your family wants or expects will not make you a total eeeeevil sellout — it will in fact probably make for a lovely shared moment and lots of happy memories.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:25 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminder: the wedding and the marriage are two different things. The wedding you have mostly doesn't say anything about the marriage (I mean, if y'all were both drunk it might, but going low-key rather than high-key doesn't say anything but that you are low-key people in a shit economy with an impending deployment). Anyway, people do this all the time exactly like you are and what they do is send out something that says pretty much what you said:

I'm married! I don't want to be sneaky about the fact I'm already married. I want to clear that this is a wedding celebration and not a wedding.

EVERYONE is welcome for as long and short as a time as they wish. We'll be there from 6pm to 2am and we expect people with kids and older folks to be there early and the partyers to there later.

Light appetizers will be about and a cash bar plus a full dining menu is available if you need something more substantial.

The bartenders are my people, my friends, please for the love of god, tip appropriately and treat them kindly.

Lastly, we are going to be moving around the country. We don't need presents! I like the classic "We value your presence more than your presents", we have not registered anywhere.


If you have any photos of the day, you might include one in your invite. You DID get married, it's fine, you're not having a ceremony at this party and whatever people want to do in their heads about that is their issue, not yours. (My mother sends random official type mail to me with my real legal name on the address, but cards and stuff to both of us has Mr. and Mrs. Hislastname which is not my name and she knows it, but whatever, I can't own that issue for her.) People put a lot of shit on you when you're married, and you're probably going to have to deal with various flavors of it every time you move, so start practicing now to just let it go. You will have a great time at your We Got Married Party and you won't even have time to stress about all this stuff on the day, so just plan your party and let the guests deal with their own baggage.

Congratulations!
posted by Lyn Never at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2012


"Dear Friends and Family,

If the news has not reached you, we are married! [Ceremony information -- just where and when]

Now we want you to come celebrate with us! Everyone of all ages is welcome!

[Party information]

We will enjoy your presence without presents! [Maybe the footnote about moving and not wanting things before you move --- but don't be surprised if you get some money or some gifts, anyway --- this happened to Dr.E and I who did almost, but not quite, the same thing as you]."
posted by zizzle at 9:28 AM on April 3, 2012


You're already getting good advice about your party/gift, so I just want to address this:

Is it secretly evil, to just pretend right now that, yeah sure, we are going to have a "real" wedding at some point, while knowing that is extraordinarily unlikely?


I wouldn't call it EVIL, but I definitely think honesty is the best policy here. "We aren't planning on that. We had the perfect wedding FOR US." End of discussion! No one has a crystal ball, and since you sound ever so slightly ambivalent on this point, you don't have to say concretely absolutely no never ever, but you can tell the truth, which is that you already had the wedding you wanted, and you aren't planning on a do-over.

Congrats on your marriage and I hope your celebration is wonderful!
posted by pupstocks at 9:34 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like Lyn Never's suggestion about doing photos. Why not get a photographer for the party if you want it?

I think there's a lot of weird baggage with weddings and stuff, and it's hard to navigate how you feel if there's any ambivalence. I think the wording for the invite you have is good. I probably wouldn't even mention presents or a registry, instead letting a few friends/family members let people know what you expect (or don't).

My dude and I had a courthouse wedding this summer and didn't tell anybody until after the fact. We did have a family dinner with both sets of parents and siblings, and it was more than I wanted but it made everybody else happy. So yeah, your family could easily treat this as the real thing if you let them/treat it like the real thing.

I also agree with pupstocks - let people know you had the wedding you wanted and that this is it. It can be tiresome, but if that's what you want stay firm. This weekend I went to my brother's second wedding reception (he got married out of state, so most of his friends/our family couldn't attend). Seeing it all over again just reaffirmed I don't want that no matter how much our parents want me to. Stick to your guns and be happy!
posted by kendrak at 9:39 AM on April 3, 2012


I think you are thinking too much about what other people may or may not be thinking! Just do what you want. Free yourself to do what you want, be what you want, celebrate how you want. People will show up because they care for you both and it will be a fantastic event if you focus on it being a celebration. We don't have enough times for celebrations in our lives, really, which is perhaps why people make such a big deal about weddings.

Congratulations!
posted by amanda at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2012


Just for the record, and to expand on something somebody said above, some people -- at the minimum, your great-aunts and all those extended relatives -- will bring gifts. They just will, either because they didn't read, or because they owe *your folks* from prior weddings, or whatever. Can't fix it. Given that, you have to decide whether you'd rather retrn a bunch of crystal vases or set up a skeleton registry for a few things you might actually use. I like the idea of suggesting a formal photo session (whether formally attired or otherwise), and anything else you might enjoy -- a camping tent, some Dr. Who videos, one really good pair of wine glasses, a gift card for Amazon, a fund for future (post-deployment) honeymoon travel, anything that's not a room full of white elephants and housewares designed for a different era and lifestyle (or maybe a few of those if you'd like a couple nice things)! Your relatives will crook an eyebrow, but they'll do it! And you'll be glad you have a good pancake griddle that you use every weekend and not some gravy boat mouldering in the cupboard...

Good luck! I think you're right to be more excited about your life together than about A Day, but this is indeed a social-norm minefield. Having strong opinions will help you navigate it!
posted by acm at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2012


This question reminded me of these invites (second image) I recently came across. Basically, "Please join us for a party celebrating our recently nuptials!" It doesn't convey everything you're looking, but it's sweet and lighthearted, and a good start.
posted by logic vs love at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2012


You're planning a wedding reception. Getting married quietly and then having a party (or not) used to be quite common. Not everyone can afford to host a large event, and if you don't have a commune hall tradition with local women to supply the food, then it's that much harder.

This website has some nice wording options if raisingsand's suggestion doesn't work for you.

Rituals are good for people, and I think you would find including a bit of it in your party will be enjoyable for everyone. Think about which traditions for your families weddings & receptions you like and try to incorporate them into your party. For me, that would be toasts/speeches & a fancy cake, but you might prefer other traditions.

Even though the Internet & media make the wedding out to be all about the bride, I found that when I was the bride I could still make the day about my community of friends and family and just enjoy being with them & celebrating my love with them.

Similarly, people are happy for you because they love you & want to help make your new life together easier... Giving them a registry helps them do that. Even of its a travel fund, or a future house fund, or whatever.

Finally, you're totally on the right track... Have a party, invite everyone you love and celebrate with them.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 10:03 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think some people may have missed the fact that you'd be expecting people to pay for their own food and drinks (beyond a few appetizers).

To me, that is very different from hosting a party for your wedding. It may be for your extended family also. Will being 'invited' to stop by a bar and buy themselves a drink with you - with no ritual or anything for them to witness at all - scratch *their* itch for a wedding? I kind of doubt it.

If you're doing it for yourselves then do exactly what you want to do, but if you're doing in part for your family, you may want to give some thought as to how you can actually host an event that will be meaningful to them. I imagine that that will need at least a minimum of ritual - vows, perhaps, or at least speeches - to give some structure to the party. I appreciate the thought of making it convenient for all your friends but I think that the feeling of sharing an important moment is actually more important than the convenience in this case - and of course you can always tell people one on one that you'll be just as happy if they show up whenever.

Since it sounds like money is an issue, my suggestion would be something along these lines:

Invite everybody to celebrate your marriage with you, from 5pm-6:30pm. That's early enough that you don't have to feed them dinner. Spring for enough bottles of wine so that everybody can have a glass, and start everybody off with a full glass. Say your vows/speeches, have them drink to anything but yourself (each other, the value of family, peace, etc) and have someone else raise a toast to you. Pass appetizers and have milling and socializing about until 6:30. That's your event, it's a treat for your guests, they don't have to pay to celebrate your marriage, and anyone who wants an early night or a cheaper dinner can head out with an easy conscience.

The invitation can note that you and your husband plan to hang out at the bar afterwards and would love the company of anyone who wants to visit with you. They can get dinner at the bar if they want, or head out and come back any time up until 2am because yay! celebration!
posted by Salamandrous at 10:11 AM on April 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I keep hearing from him, friends, his family, "oh, don't worry, you'll have a "real" wedding when he gets back". We had a real wedding! We just didn't invite you! We both have big, traditional families and this isn't sitting well with them.

Can you have conversations with them where you try to understand what exactly it is that they're feeling? Weddings mean a lot of things to a lot of people. If you can tease out the emotional issues, you can figure out creative ways to address them besides just "Fine, let's do a big traditional 'real' wedding later." (But I do recommend actually trying to face these issues head-on and see if you can find ways to address them that satisfy both you and them, rather than just putting it off and pretending you're going to do something you don't intend to do.)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 11:34 AM on April 3, 2012


I agree that the word you are looking for here is, "reception". Receptions are not weddings, they are the celebrations that follow the wedding ceremony.

I would say something like, "Please join us for a reception to celebrate our March 31st wedding" or something like that, making it clear that YES, you are already married and this is a party to celebrate that fact.

People want to throw me showers. I am a little uncomfortable with this

No, you should not have any wedding showers, just like you should not a bachelorette party, because you are already married. That doesn't mean people can't get you presents or celebrate your newly married status with you!

I love love love small, heartfelt, thoughtful gifts, but people want to buy me "stuff".

Lastly, we are going to be moving around the county. We don't need presents! I like the classic "We value your presence more than your presents", we have not registered anywhere.


People WILL bring presents to this party. I know you aren't asking for them, but people who love you and wish you well want to commemorate this occasion--which is a major milestone in your lives--by bringing you a gift. They do this because that's how we mark milestone events, like birthdays and anniversaries and graduations.

For that reason, it's not a bad idea to spread the word to anyone who might be asked, like your parents, if there is anything you really need. You are a young couple starting out, even if you are going to move around you probably do need some things, right? You also want to let your closest family members know that you are, "worried that we will not be able to transport any presents because we will be moving around so much". They can then tell anyone who asks that's how you feel, and many WILL opt to give you some cash or gift cards.

But you don't get to tell people what to get you at your party. That's tacky. And telling them to get you nothing WILL make some people get frustrated because OF COURSE they will get you a wedding present, and now they don't know what you want. Of course, it will also maybe relieve some of your friends who don't have money to buy you a nice gift. Them's the breaks, I'm afraid. You can't please everyone, and you shouldn't worry about trying to.
posted by misha at 12:11 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


As requested, All of your worries are nonsense. People will come and they will have fun. A good number of them will bring a gift, no matter how much you stress you don't want gifts. You can have the party, you will have a great a time. People at mine were surprisingly understanding about me (and us) being pulled 100 different ways.

As an aside, I REALLY recommend one of those photobooths at your party if you can swing the cost (they aren't super cheap, but they're TOTALLY worth it).

Exhibit A
Exhibit B (PS she stole our animatronic Elvis bust. Old ladies are sneaky.)
posted by DigDoug at 12:26 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is all kinds of great, Digdoug! I don't mind slinging money at things that are awesome.

As I come from a teetotalers who have bad cake and weird mints and that's it for weddings, they will be fine with a vegetable tray and cake, now if I can only convince the bar to let me bring in punch with a whole tub of sherbet dumped in, it'll be perfect!
posted by stormygrey at 12:37 PM on April 3, 2012


A tiny suggestion---we used Moo Postcards as our invites for both wedding and reception. They were very well received and very affordable, compared to going to a regular printer. Say wedding anything and prices double or triple. At least.
posted by bonehead at 12:52 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


stormygrey, someone up there suggested you spring for a full dinner for everyone, and I don't agree. Not only is it prohibitively expensive, it goes right to that formal place you don't want to be. Now it's a dinner party, where guests feel stuck if they sit by someone they don't know well. It just feels more stodgy, formal and uncomfortable.

EVERYONE is welcome for as long and short as a time as they wish. We'll be there from 6pm to 2am and we expect people with kids and older folks to be there early and the partyers to there later.

Light appetizers will be about and a cash bar plus a full dining menu is available if you need something more substantial.


That being said, light appetizers and a cash bar when you two are going to be there for 8 hours?! That's...not very realistic. If anyone in your family (or your friends) wants to celebrate with you, they could end up spending a lot of money at this party.

You work at the bar--can you negotiate any discount on food and/or drinks? What about a limited bar? You could at least have some champagne set aside, for toasting or to go with the cake.

I don't say this because I am a big drinker; I don't really drink.

But you aren't offering any non-alcoholic beverages either, are you? I didn't get that from your post, if so. At a bar, non-alcoholic drinks are often expensive and not so great. What about those kids that are coming--their parents are going to be spending a lot just to get their kids sodas they can drink.

And about that cake--Are you going to wait until the end of the evening to cut it? Because the kids that come early are seriously going to want some cake!

I don't mind slinging money at things that are awesome.

I'm kinda wondering why you are fine with budgeting for an "awesome" photo booth, but are offering so little party fare for your guests. I just feel like you need to have something more than "a vegetable tray and cake."

On preview, that punch with sherbet you want, at the very least!
posted by misha at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You want to have a big party, so have a really nice party.

Dear Family & Friends,

Please help us celebrate the marriage of Ms. Stormy Grey and Mr. Terrific Guy on March xx, at City Hall, by joining us at a party on May 1, 6 p.m. until closing, at Local Tavern.

Stormy & Terrific


Invitations can be on Moo cards, photocopied, or whatever you like. One couple I know who were living overseas asked people to help them furnish their home when they return with sentimental furnishings. I wish I had the phrasing; it was very sweet. I think invitations with details are a kindness; people like to know what to expect.

Have a big party, and treat your guests well. Give guests a bar chit or 2, or ask the bar to stock a keg of your favorite beer, and bottles of your favorite red & white wine, at some fair price. The bar likely has to have a licensed bartender do any serving, and probably has to prepare any food and drink, to meet food prep codes. Give them your punch recipe. Budget tips for the waitstaff.

Have them serve substantial food; when you invite people at dinner time, it's nice to feed them. But it doesn't have to be foie gras and caviar; it can be sliders, coleslaw, baked beans and chicken fingers. Ask the bar to keep soft drinks and water readily available.

Nothing says wedding celebration like strings of fairy lights, candles and flowers, and in your case, I'd add lots pinwheels. Take the same picture groups you'd take at any wedding - a varied mix of family groups and friends. This is a long party, so plan parts of it. Have a time for family introductions, and maybe some speeches. Maybe you have friends who would do a video montage of pictures and clips. Do the macarena, the chicken dance, or whatever party dances, songs or traditions you want to invent. Ask the friends you'd ask to be bridesmaids to help you plan and prep. Go out the day of, and get manicures and pedicures. Wear a spiffy dress.

As far as presents, you don't get to control other peoples' behavior, as they don't control yours. Tell family to tell anyone who asks that you will be traveling, and can't store much stuff, and that you genuinely don't expect gifts. Ideally, you will get some cash, and can pay for the party.
posted by theora55 at 4:00 PM on April 3, 2012


There's really no way you can politely remind your guests to tip their bartenders. Many people would argue that there's not really a way you can politely host a cash bar at all, but if that's what you're doing and you're really worried about the bartenders not being taken care of, include that in your own budget. Because, really, "I think some of you are going to tip poorly and because these people are my friends, I don't want that to happen" is not a message that goes well with "this is a happy celebration".

The thing about asking for no gifts is that a lot of people will interpret that to mean you want cash instead. Some people will then be cranky about that. Don't register. Tell everyone who asks (and tell your family to tell everyone who asks) that you're going to be traveling and really don't want to acquire any new stuff and that presents aren't necessary. That's about all you can do. It's not necessary to mention this on the invitation. People will figure it out themselves. And have a plan to get gifts home from the bar anyway, because people will still bring you stuff.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:10 PM on April 4, 2012


« Older I am very vain and particular ...   |  I need help deciding the benef... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.