Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What We Want in a Wedding

Our concept of how we want our wedding to be is definitely still fuzzy, but it's starting to take shape, so I want to formulate some of the thoughts we've had so far. Also, by the way, I totally bought three wedding magazines to read on the plane to Austin and Martha Stewart Weddings is by far superior to any other wedding magazine I've seen. I can't wait for the next issue to come out. In fact, I briefly considered ordering back issues on Amazon. Is that sad, or should I just go ahead and do it?
  • An evening wedding with the ceremony at six and the reception going until around midnight
  • Formal photos before the wedding, with us seeing each other for the first time in a private place
  • Possibly some fun photos of the two of us in our wedding clothes at some photogenic spot in DC, like the Lincoln Memorial or somewhere else that's a clean white colour with nice lines--since it will be November, we can't really go for charming nature shots
  • An emphasis on candid shots capturing moments and emotions and little details from throughout the night
  • Torsten in a classic black tux and me in a white dress, possibly with some subtle purple detailing somewhere
  • The bridesmaids in purple dresses, all different
  • The groomsmen in black tuxes
  • Me with a purple bouquet and the bridesmaids with either white or mixed-colour bouquets
  • Approximately 75 guests in attendance
  • An intimate, personalized ceremony, with a reading written and read by a friend; a song sung by a friend; possibly a sand ceremony like Shauna's; us speaking to each other with words we've written ourselves before taking simple, traditional vows; and a secular officiant
  • A cocktail hour between ceremony and reception with a full bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, and us there, talking with our guests
  • Soft lighting at the reception, including lots of candles, fires in both fireplaces, maybe some Chinese lanterns or twinkly lights around the room, and some lamps with nice shades
  • An open bar throughout the evening
  • Music by a DJ who is good at reading the crowd and gets lots of people on the dance floor
  • A basket of flip flops and/or slippers for women whose shoes are hurting them, either for dancing or for going home in
  • Favors at every place setting on the tables, possibly a plant in a pretty pot--although we may have to find an alternative favor as most of our guests will be from out of town and might have trouble transporting their plants home
  • A coffee/cappuccino bar that includes alcohol such as Kahlua and Bailey's for people to make their after-dinner drinks a bit more interesting
  • A three-tiered cake in white and purple with different types of cake in each tier, possibly with a super-retro ceramic bride and groom from the 1950s (or earlier) on top
  • Quiet music played by the DJ during the meal so that people can actually hear each other talk; us walking around during part of the meal, talking with our guests
  • Tables of different sizes and shapes without giant floral centerpieces that block people's views of each other
  • A guestbook that is basically a big blank book with either a Polaroid camera or a digital camera with a printer and a friend manning it--so each guest gets their photo taken (with outfits showing), then has their photo glued in book and writes their message next to it
  • Couches and armchairs by the fireplaces for non-dancing guests to sit in, chat, and relax
What do you think of this? Are there things that sound totally off, or things that you think should definitely be on that list (whether or not they are currently there)? If you're planning/have already had a wedding, what are/were the most important elements for you?


  1. That sounds lovely. We tried to do the same thing with the guest book, but we apparently weren't clear enough that people should write something other than their name, so we just ended up with names on each page with a place for the picture. Oh well.

  2. Every bit about that sounds fantastically perfect. It's great that you have such a clear idea of what you want, your description made me feel as if I was there!

  3. this post made me a "happysad." yes, "happysad." hi, i'm bb and i make up words.

    as in happy but sad because i realize how much i want to marry M and plan our wedding.

    ps- it sounds wonderful so far, and its so great that you know what you like and want! yay weddings :)

  4. Wow, you are so on top of this. I agree with Stephanie -- I can almost imagine being there!

    The open bar and the flip flops are some of the best ideas I've ever heard!

    Really, it all sounds lovely!

  5. OMG i love SO MANY OF THESE THINGS. polaroids to use in the guest book? GENIUS. basket of flip flops? I LOVE YOU.

    i also totally love soft mood lighting like you described for your reception. and the quiet music at dinner / lack of ginormous centerpieces - excellent. i mean, i want my reception to be a big party and all, but i also want people to be able to visit. (ha. i talk like i have a wedding to plan. WHATEVER. THE WEDDING IN MY HEAD.)

    also! i've probably mentioned this before here, because it irks me so much, but THANK YOU for being AT your own cocktail hour and/or taking pictures first. it's so awkward when you have like 2 hours between the ceremony and the reception and your guests just have to... stand around. or something.

    also! i know this is really long already, but fyi on one of the best favors i've ever received from a wedding: one of those wine cork thingies you put in half-drunk bottles of wine, but the top was a cute silver heart and i think it has the bride/groom's initials on it. sort of like here (sorry, i can't embed it for some reason?): http://www.americanbridal.com/heart-wine-stopper-dsfc1901.html

  6. This is fun. All these ideas sound AWESOME.

    We did the polaroid album thing at one of our receptions.

  7. Sounds like a beautiful wedding!

  8. Oh, you should totally order the back issues. How many times are you going to plan a wedding? Theoretically, only ONCE. So buy the issues. It's fun.

    Receptions that go until midnight are tricky for people with kids. That's not a reason not to do it, just a complication that comes with the timing.

  9. 3carnations--That's good to know. We'll have to make sure to be clear.

    Blogging Barbie--I like the word "happysad" and I look forward to the day when I get to read about you planning your wedding!

    Alice--I would love to hear about the wedding in your head. And I like the favor idea a lot! Something useful is the goal here (i.e. NOT sugared almonds).

    Tessie--How many receptions did you have? And why?

    Swistle--I think you're right about the back issues. I may just do it. Also, that's a good point about the kids--though there won't be any kids at our wedding. There will be one ten-year-old, from France and used to staying up late, and the next-youngest will be 14 and I'm pretty sure that all the others will be of voting, if not drinking, age. And I can only think of two invited guests who have kids that would not be coming to the wedding. I suppose they can leave early if they need to.

  10. Flip-flop/slippers! Love. And the fireplaces/twinkly lights. LOVE. Special after dinner drink options. LoveLove.

    Also, can I come?

  11. I LOVE the flip flop idea! And the fireplace/soft lighting. We had a fireplace available to us at the reception, but it was still 76 degrees out at 9:00 p.m., so it just wasn't doable. You are SO organized with your planning!

    And I think you will love the sand ceremony. We just put in a new glass corner shelf this weekend to showcase our sand vase - it looks awesome!

  12. I say:

    Order the Martha Stewarts! If you like her style, see more of it.

    Strangely (for me) I think the purple will look beautiful.

    I love that your wedding is going to be in November. I want a Fall wedding, too.

    LOVE the flip-flops idea. Both times I've been a bridesmaid I brought my own for dancing. Super idea.

    It sounds like it will be gorgeous.

  13. The flip flop idea is AWESOME, so is the polaroid idea, but I'd hate to be the photographer. :-)

    And I love all the purple...

  14. Are you still in Austin?

  15. So you're saying you like purple? :-) Kidding. It all sounds lovely. I particularly like the photo book idea, as well as the personalized reading written and read by a friend (you know, since I just did one of those myself for a friend's wedding).

  16. THe flip flops idea is GREAT! I LOVE that idea.

    If I ever get married, I'm totally jacking your list! :)

    And, Martha Stewart...the bombdigity.

  17. The flip flop basket sounds like the best idea ever!

  18. Most Important Element of a Reception: Make sure you have time to eat! :o)

    Love the basket with flip-flops and the guest-book idea.


  19. You have a great vision. I'm thinking about doing the flip flips too. I'm going to steal your idea and do a "What we want in a wedding" post today!

  20. I love the idea of the pictures for the guest book. I might totally steal that from you :)

  21. That all sounds great! If I had done a formal wedding, this sounds like I would have liked it. Even people who hate going to weddings - men ;) - would have to appreciate these little touches.

  22. Ah, November weddings. Those are the best kind. Order the back issues- you're totally right, Martha Stewart weddings is the best of the bunch by FAR. I saved my issues for a year for my best friend who I knew was going to be getting engaged in the near-ish future and she was really glad to have them, even though they were "out of date."

  23. that all sounds beautiful!! i am also doing a flip flop basket, since we will be having our wedding on a lawn, under a tent - i want everyone to feel as relaxed as they can and just enjoy!

    thank you for the comment yesterday - i went onto netflix and got a yoga DVD, what a great idea!
    i also did read that glamour mag article, and its so inspiring! i know i wont last every single day (im partying all weekend coming up) but on the day-in day-out i'm going to be good. i hope it helps!

  24. Oh weddings, how I love you.
    This sounds like a wonderful evening. Candle light is a great and inexpensive (if you do it right) way to add ambiance and warmth to a reception. Also, I'm completely with you in regards to a favor that is usefull and not just sugared almonds. This site http://www.myownlabels.com/ has a lot of really cool and usefull options that you can personalize. You can use these on pre-made wedding cookies, wine, or maybe the ingrediants for your favorite cookie that they can then take home with them and bake.

  25. LOVE the coffee Cappucino bar! Never seen that before! :) Great ideas! You've got great style, I love it.


  26. 75 is such a nice number. Hard to do though - so many people seem to come with a whole slew of others attached - i.e. "if we invite Jan from the office then we need to invite Paula and Rose" or "if we invite cousin Fred then we need to invite his two sisters." Everyone seems to end up with 120, which seems to rule out all the really nice small venues.

  27. Jeez! That sound perfect! Note to self - if I ever do decide to go the more traditional route, I will keep this list on hand!

  28. (I'm reading some of your older posts....)
    This sounds like an absolutely fabulous wedding!!! Only one suggestion....watch the whole 'open-bar' thing...some friends of ours had planned a two week trip to Italy the month after their wedding....well they didn't get to go because they spent all the money paying off the bar tab. :( Boo!
    LOVE the flip flop idea!! I totally wore flip flops with my wedding dress. Take that Fashionable Anyone!

  29. wow, your plans sound awesome. the flip flop/slipper basket idea is great...i've been at so many weddings where i just had to sit because my feet were killing me.

  30. That sounds so perfect, I love your ideas! The idea to have comfortable shoes available for ladies with hurting feet is brilliant!


  31. I really like all of these!

    I was never someone who had an idea of what their wedding was going to be like, so planning a wedding in 5 months has been....lots to take in.

    The most important things:
    - Mostly we want a ceremony that reflects us, that is really humble and down to earth

    - We decided to do our pictures after the ceremony so as a trade off we wanted our guests to be able to leave the ceremony, go home and change or hang out, and then come back for the reception so there is no being 'in limbo'

    - We are using local vendors within walking distance of the venues for everything from food to flowers to cake.

    - I wanted to make the favours by hand (I'm making apple butter and blueberry jelly)

    - And finally to make everyone feel at home, and have quality time with everyone at the wedding

    Can't wait to hear more!

  32. OMG! It's gorgeous! Almost makes me want to get married all over again lol