Sweating the small stuff in weddings
This isn’t one of those ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ stories.
I’m telling you to sweat the small stuff. Small stuff needs sweating over -- at least when it comes to weddings. Don’t do as I do and think big picture.
Take the cake, for example. It’s never just about the cake. What kind of cake? Who’s going to make it? How many tiers? Cake decorations? Cake toppers? Gluten free? Vegan? A Styrofoam cake for display and have a slab of cake out the back for serving? Homemade cake? Am I allowed to bring homemade cake into the venue? Cakeage? WTF is cakeage? Can’t we just cut it ourselves? Nan wants a fruitcake – doesn’t she know I hate fruitcake? We need a table just for the cake? Can’t it just sit next to me? Do we have to have a cake?
That’s just the cake.
You know if it were totally all up to me, there wouldn’t even be a cake. There would be a tiered cheese in the shape of a cake.
The deal is that you have to sweat a few details now so you don’t have to on the day.
And some details, as you’ll find all over the interwebs, aren’t even worth a thought.
Just so this entry doesn't turn into Ben Hur, Im just looking at papery products and invitations. What you have to have, and what to ditch.
You’ll need invitations as you’re probably going to be the ones organizing the soiree. One piece of advice – do not go mental when picking out or making invitations for this event. You will be tempted, it will feel a bit wrong, but this is not the time to spend cash on these invitations. Why? No one will care. And in the months to come, you really won’t either.
My engagement party was almost a year ago and I am thanking baby cheeses that I designed the invites on the computer and had them printed out at Officeworks. And you know what? They were just fine. I splurged a little on having them printed on nice stiff paper, but I’m sure I was the only one that noticed.
Save the date cards
There’s this line from Lisa Simpson: ‘Romance is dead – it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized and sold off, piece by piece’. This is how I feel about Save the Dates. Or STDs *snigger*. This little morsel from the US has infiltrated into our psyches as something we need. It usually comes in this form –
These cards are helpful to let family and friends abroad know that they may want to start checking for cheap flights and accommodation in advance, and most people like getting fridge magnets, but really, this would be a great excuse to get on the blower for a chat, pass on all the info and feel good that you got in touch personally.
Verdict? Total waste of money. Except the thing about the fridge magnet.
One of the first two things I read in the Saturday paper is the free classified section and announcements – births, engagements and deaths. I love them, so I say do it, but it’s really your folks should pick up the slack on this one.
Wedding Day announcements
Meh. But definitely use this as a way to freak everyone out that you’ve eloped.
You’re going to need these and chances are you are going to go troppo over them. But it’s never just the invitation, amirite?
It’s more like a wedding information package that feels like it could double as a prospectus.
You’ll need the main points – Your names, the names of who’s invited, ceremony time and location, a dress code and RSVP information.
I’ve read that you should only put any registry information on your wedding website. Bollocks to that. How is old aunty Beryl going to find that? I don’t think there is anything wrong with directing people to where they can find the stuff you want or need. While I am a massive fan of cash, especially for couples in their 30s (like us) and have lived together for years, I have always appreciated having a perve at the stuff they’ve picked out. And you know what? Some people like being told what you want, even if it means cash or vouchers. Whether you get them or not is another thing.
Be careful your handwriting does not resemble my GP’s or your chosen font is too fancy to read.
If you’re worried that your hippie cousin Tansy will interpret ‘lounge suit’ to her boyfriend as this (see below), you might want to keep yourself well-versed on what a lounge suit is.
But guests also need to know on the invite if it’s a more casual affair. Nothing worse than rocking up to a Sorrento Beach ceremony in full black-tie top hat and tails.
Also, if you’re doing something 'special' with your invitations, especially 3D stuff like tiny shells, wax seals or goggly eyes (or a weird shape like we’re having… urrrgh) you’ll pay extra for postage. Cut that stuff out and make them as light as possible if you have a tight budget.
Need to be packed in with the invitation. To have any hope at all that it will make it back to you all filled out, you need to stick a stamp on it. Remember that if you do put a stamp on it this is still no guarantee it will be returned to you by the RSVP date. Yes it’s rude, yes I understand that you’ve made it idiot-proof. Expect to chase them up.
Do your guests really need a map? I supposed maps can be useful if you’re having your wedding in the Balangalo State Forest.
*If you are invited to a wedding in the Balanglo State Forest, you have my explicit permission to take a plus-one – as long as your plus-one isn’t a backpacker. Maybe even take a weapon. In fact, don’t go.
Really old-school. You won’t need to buy these. However if you ever come across one of these it’s basically an invitation to bring a guest. It’s for their details. These are rare. Choose your plus-one carefully.
Kitchen Tea Invitations
So which are you going to have? A bridal shower or a Kitchen Tea? There ain’t much difference between them, in fact I would consider them pretty much the same thing. But rethink being tempted to have both.
Think about this. You’re probably going to have an engagement party, then a hens party and then you’re going to have a wedding. HOW MANY PARTIES DO YOU NEED?
But either way, you won’t need to worry about these invitations anyway as these soirees are usually thrown for you.
Only if you’re having a sit-down reception.
If you’re having a cocktail-ish function, I can’t stress how helpful nametags are. I did this for my engagement party, everyone had a tag that had their name, which side they ‘belonged’ to (me or The Mister) and an interesting fact about them. You had no excuse not to strike up conversation with people you didn’t know. And there was a panicked couple of seconds when I forgot my Uncle Tony’s name, then I glanced at the nametag. A lifesaver.
Totally optional, we haven’t even decided that yet. At other people's weddings I like having my own little rundown of what deliciousness is coming my way, but I’m starting to feel ambivalent about providing it. The Mister wants one menu per place, so I might leave that job up to him. But I have a feeling our venue may provide this as part of the booking.
If you want to save cash, do up a chalkboard of what’s on the menu, download some free software and print up something from your computer – or get everyone to fight over one menu per table. I’m not sweating this small thing. Yet. A month out from the wedding I’m sure I’ll be having nightmares about the font and the amount of love hearts and birds on the menus :/
You may very well have linen supplied or rented for your sit-down reception, so skip this bit. But if you’re having a more laid-back gig, like a BBQ or cocktail reception, your napery may end up being a little more papery.
Which I would probably just stick to one basic colour that goes with your décor. Nothing wrong with white, and black can look really smart too, as well as saving you the grief of whipping out the excess-ordered ‘Sharon and Pete, Love Sweet Love’ napkins at every time your mates come over for fish and chips.
Thank you notes
For the love of God, don’t forget these. You think people don’t care about such things? NO WAY. Your guests have bought you a present or given you cash – sometimes even people that didn’t come to you wedding sent some trinket or money order to you. You need to thank them, not via email, Facebook or text message. Hand written notes are the only way to go.
Some thank you note tips – try to write them before you go on your honeymoon. Treat them like a parking ticket – get it out of the way as soon as possible otherwise, months later, while you won’t get taken to court (maybe), you will be judged in other ways.
Stuck for what to say? Take a picture of you and your beloved using the slow cooker they got you or drinking a bottle of yummy bubbles you bought with the cash they gave. Write a ‘Dear John and David, thanks for the hot pink fondue set!’ on the back of the pic of you and new husband tucking into some hot cheese, or ‘With your generous gift, we bought this amazing limited edition bottle of Riesling, which we raised our glasses with in your honour’. You get the idea?
It’s hard to not get overwhelmed by this sort of stuff and I used to be the person that would say to people ‘hey, don’t sweat it’, but it’s like renovating a kitchen, one job slyly turns into five jobs and next thing you know you’re trawling invitation websites at 3am like porn.
Stop. Make a cup of tea. Think about the weddings you’ve been to. Put everything in a list of what is number one necessary to nice but not so necessary. Hand it to someone else, perhaps someone who has had a wedding before and get them to be brutal with it.
Are people really going to care about the gold-embossed Wir Wenzlaw Rough font in 12-point?
Pippa blogs at The Wry Bride