Attending your first marriage after you’ve been engaged

The first wedding you attend after becoming engaged yourself fills your head with so many things you’d never thought about during a wedding before. Some main themes which ran through my head were:

– I need to pay attention for good ideas to make my own
– I hope they don’t use or do something I already plan on doing
– How can I steal an idea without exactly copying – I’ll need to pinpoint why I like it!

The wedding I attended was for Nick’s cousin Danielle, sans Nick. Her and her now-husband are great people, so I was more than happy to go stag.

Way Wedding

Alright I’ll get on with it; my thoughts on various elements of their wedding:

The church

First, I’d like to begin by saying that Nick and I are not really considering getting married in a church. But churches do have wonderful architecture and impressive views, so I was eager to see. Upon arriving though, I saw that the church was very plain both inside and out. There were no windows where the ceremony was held, and no fancy architecture to make up for it. Luckily the couple decorated beautifully with tall columns strung up with lights, as well as flowers and candles. I really have nothing I intend to steal or abhor from the location ideas, so I want to use this space to congratulate the couple on turning a plain space into something gorgeous.

(+) Bridesmaid dresses

I was so happy to see that, besides color, Danielle had chosen the exact same look for her dresses that I am planning on – all short, chiffon, and the same color, but different dresses for each girl. And it looked great! Each bridesmaid was beautiful in the dress that fit her best. Since I don’t plan on using peach/coral themes, I don’t feel bad using the same look as she did.

(-) Bridesmaids during ceremony

There was one particular detail about how the bridesmaids stood during the ceremony that absolutely drove me crazy – they only held their bouquet with one hand, and let the other hang at their side. It looked so awkward, and because of that I couldn’t help but stare at the bridesmaids when I should’ve been watching the bride. Thanks to Nicole at the right in the picture below for using both hands.

DandC Bridesmaids

(+) Casual Officiant

Danielle and Chris’ officiant was incredibly relaxed and casual, and was able to make small jokes without them seeming planned or forced. I was recently at a wedding where the officiant tried to make a joke about Everybody Loves Raymond, and it received no response from the audience. So kudos on their selection!

(+) Bridal jewelry

First, I’d like to establish that Danielle was absolutely stunning from head to toe! She is a tall, skinny girl and chose to wear an elegent mermaid dress that really flared. But what I want to point out at this moment was her jewelry. Her necklace, earrings, and bracelet all matched with oversized, I’m guessing rhinestones that shone so bright and laid gracefully on her. What really pulled it together was the small jeweled detail on her dress where it flared.  Marvelous.

DandC Jewelry

(+) Short and sweet ceremony

I LOVE short and sweet ceremonies. As I am not religious myself, I’m really just eager to hear the vows and the pronouncing of man and wife. Their ceremony, while having some religious elements, really felt like it was about the two of them and nothing else. Very simple and romantic, I hope to have the same.

(-) No receiving line

Danielle and Chris did not come out after their ceremony to have a receiving line – which is fine, totally cool with that. What bothered me about this was moreso that no one knew there wasn’t a receiving line, so all the guests milled about the lobby waiting to see the bride and groom, but alas they did not show. Word finally spread after about 15 minutes of waiting, so we were able to head out.

I have no problem with the lack of a receiving line. I do have a problem with lack of communication.

(+) The hall

For anyone in the metro-Detroit area looking for a beautiful venue that doesn’t require much (if any) additional decorations, I’d recommend Danielle and Chris’ hall – Blossom Heath Inn in St. Clair Shores. Columns surround the circular dance floor in the middle of the room, as well as line the walls and windows. In the corners of the room are tall potted trees, and the windows bring light into the room from all sides. Truly beautiful, and the cream tones went well with the peach color scheme of the wedding.

DandC hall

(+) Idea – match your decorations to the hall

And not the other way around! The fact that Danielle’s colors and decorations matched the architecture and features of the hall already left her with less work to do, and a better over-all picture. For example, if your hall has earth tones, don’t try to impose hot pink. You’ll end up spending more time, effort, and money to cover up the hall you’ve picked!

(+) Hors d’oeuvres

Prior to the reception starting, delicious hors d’oeuvres were served on trays. And there was a variety too, which a picky eater such as myself likes. It was a great way to tide people over until dinner was served without filling them up (although I’m sure someone did fill up on those).

(-) Bartender going against the couple’s wishes

To be fair, the “couple’s wishes” I’m referring to right now is that they were asked not to card anyone since no children would be attending (except for the two that were obviously children). I’m not surprised that bartenders still did end up carding people, the fact that it happened is not the issue here. The issue is that when I was carded, the bartender took nearly 30 full seconds to analyze my ID! She checked out the front, back, and held it up to the light, as well as feeling it all over. I was surprised the bartender did this (to more people than just me), especially since the bride and groom requested it not happen in the first place.

(+) Tall & skinny centerpieces

Usually I’m against any tall centerpiece for the usual reason – it blocks your view of at least one person at the table. I want to congratulate Danielle and Chris though on their selection, as the vases were skinny enough that this really was not an issue. I know now that there are tall centerpieces out there I would like.

DandC centerpiece

(+) Favors

The favors provided at each place setting were not favors at all, rather a donation to a scholarship fund in the name of the bride’s father who passed away a few years ago. Not only was this touching and added a personal element, it also helped local students. I wouldn’t have used a normal favor anyway, so this was a great alternative. I will definitely consider this for my own wedding.

(+) Photographer’s business cards

These were only half-business cards, as most of the information provided was actually how to access the wedding photos online. Such a great idea to let everyone have access to the photos! It was also nice that the info card had Danielle and Chris’ engagement photo on the front, so everyone already had a photo to take with them.

(+) Cake cutting

The bride and groom were actually taken to the center of the dance floor to cut their cake. I liked this because normally the cake cannot be moved, so the couple is against a wall somewhere being absolutely adorable and only a handful of people can see it. Not to mention I bet the photos turned out better this way.

(-) Time between dinner and dancing

It seemed like forever between the two. Everyone was long since finished with their meal before the lights dimmed for the dance floor. For the bride and groom I’m sure this was great, as they could leisurely visit all their guests and take pictures without losing the light or scattering the crowd. But as a guest, we found ourselves having to amuse ourselves for a long time. This led to lots of drinking, and helped a few people get sloppier more quickly than usual.

(+) Kid-free!

Don’t get me wrong, I like kids and I think they add a rich element of amusement to a wedding. This wedding only included the children that were directly involved in the wedding party (junior bridesmaid/groomsman), and I feel it adequately filled the amused-by-children quota for my evening. This was my first time attending a kid-free wedding and the best part was that I didn’t notice. What I mean by that is, when I attend a wedding filled with kids, I do notice – they hog the photo booth, flail on the dance floor, and at least one inevitably cries. I mean, adults do all of this too, but we’ve had practice on how =)

So while I wouldn’t entirely rule kids out, I must admit I did enjoy it and am more strongly considering it than I was before.

(+) Photo Booth

I’m going to go out on a limb here and have a surprising (even to me) observation – I was actually happy that there WASN’T a photo booth! Normally I am all about the photo booth, as I even mentioned above how I hate when all the little chitlins hog it. But what I noticed from this wedding not having one was that, since there was nothing to distract people, everyone was actually on the dance floor. I really felt like the reception was more cohesive without adding in the extra layer of something to do. At my own wedding, I hope the dance floor stays packed all night! I’ve decided that whatever Nick and I have will only be available before dinner. More on that idea to come in a later blog.

(-) Photographer from the guest perspective

I did not notice the photographer taking many pictures of the crowd. I hate being caught off-guard for photos and am generally pretty good about keeping an eye on where the camera is, but at no point in the evening did I feel like I had my picture taken. Not sitting in the pew at the ceremony, not milling about during hors d’eouvres, once during dinner for a posed shot (not candid), and not while dancing either. Maybe when the pictures are posted I’ll be proven wrong, but I felt like the photographer was missing when it came to capturing the guests of the ceremony.

And finally,

(-) Early-ending reception
The reception for Danielle and Chris ended at 11:30! I was shocked to see how early it was when the DJ announced his last song. I think even he was shocked, because he stopped playing Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” in the middle of the song (love the irony) just so he could play his last song in full. We left feeling like we were ready to keep partying, but since none of us lived near one another and therefore making no location ideal, we just ended up going home. I stayed up until 3AM that night reading a few more chapters in the 5th Game of Thrones book.

Overall, after attending my first wedding post-engagement, I have almost all good things to say =)
With a 13-to-6 positive-to-negative outcome, I’d say Danielle and Chris’ wedding was an absolute success via the eyes of Sarah. I’m so happy I was able to pick up things I liked and didn’t to use for our own special day, as well as realizing that some things are simply out of my control.

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One thought on “Attending your first marriage after you’ve been engaged

  1. Pingback: Judging other people’s experiences – take the poll! | Our Detroit Wedding

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