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When Weddings Drive Us Mad


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

When Weddings Drive Us Mad | A Practical WeddingEvery so often I get a email or a comment from a reader saying something like “Thanks for helping me keep my head on straight about weddings” (which makes my day each and every time), or “here are pictures of my amazingly kick-*ss wedding, I read your blog every day during the planning process” (really? MY blog? It helped you plan this amazingly beautiful and grounded shindig?) And then, every so often, I get emails that say “I don’t know how you are so grounded when it comes to this wedding stuff. It’s amazing.” On that front, I need to come clean. I’m not *that* grounded and sane when it comes to wedding stuff. I’m relatively sane, sure, when you compare me to the absolutely insane, but I have my moments.

This week we had our first real wedding brain bender. The brain bendy part is that it was about the silliest of details: the Save The Dates. If 80% of our guests were not traveling in from out of town, we’d probably skip the whole save-the-date thing. But they are, and they are the types that like official advance notice of parties, and my hand would get to tired writing out that many personal notes, so we’re doing them. I want them to be fun, irreverent, saucy‌ a little like us. Easy, right? Siggghhh. I have too many ideas, none of them quite work, David has some opinions but not definitive opinions, and to top it off, I know perfectly well that no one really cares about Save The Dates other then the couple. I am not of the school that you need to “sell your wedding to your guests” because, for gods sake people, if people don’t love you enough to come if they can afford it, you probably should cut them off your list.

So, here we are, in a flurry over nothing. We sat down to have a little chat about this save the date nonsense this weekend, and after we voted down half the ideas for being to complicated to execute (did I suggest messages in a bottle? Of course I did), and the other half for being trite and in-authentic. After that, I might have stomped away, calling my dearly beloved and “*sshole.”

So. We’re collecting our thoughts over at Chez Practical, and hoping that one day soon they turn from ever so much fluff into yummy cotton candy goodness. In the meantime, feel free to leave in the comments.

1) A ridiculous wedding fight you had with your one true love
2) Some crazy, quirky, sassy inspiration

Many thanks in advance.

Some of the best paper goods invites ever, from this amazing wedding
**Update: These are DIY paper goods, kids! NOT expensive paper goods (would I do that to you on a post like this?)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16624661901390379959 Kristin

    Meg, I have *definitely* been there. During some honeymoon planning I actually *threw* a book across the room. I don’t think it hit the floor before I realized how ridiculous things had gotten.

    As for tips for Save the Dates, I know this gets done a lot lately, but how about something with pictures of you both? I’ve seen a lot of cute photo booth style shots holding up signs, I even saw one today where people wrote on their faces :p It can be pretty reasonable if you print them postcard style yourself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04648271315206010571 Tafe

    While it goes against my desire for artistic creativity, I am seriously considering an email save the date. It’s practical, it’s green, it’s cheap, and my grandma probably wouldn’t even know what a save the date card was. I seriously can’t think of a single person on my guest list who doesn’t use email.

    2nd idea: send it with another holiday card depending on your wedding date – thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, whatever.

  • http://eatdrinkmarry.blogspot.com Maggie

    Ooh, the guest list. Suddenly our 140-seat capacity ceremony spot was supposed to hold 180 folks. Eek.

    But for whatever reason, we’re completely in sync when it comes to paper goods. ;-)

    And for what it’s worth, I really do love your blog… even more so that even you have impractical moments, too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    oh, Maggie, we’re in sync with paper goods too, but in this case we are both lost.

    And Tafe, email save the dates are great if they work for you! I think most of our guest list does not use email, however, by which I mean to say we are really lucky to have lots of elderly relatives :) But don’t worry, in the end I’m sure they’ll be relatively green.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07800516366672737329 Alison

    If you could find a bunch of vintage postcards of the area or state in which you are getting married, it would be great to get a custom stamp and send them as save-the-dates (either as a postcard or in little envelopes.) Maybe someone on Ebay sells site-specific lots.

    And now my list of maybe-useless ideas: candy bars repackaged with custom labels printed out from your computer… this could even be stretched to a Willy Wonka “you’ve got a golden ticket” theme (and now I’m barfing), information stamped on cool old maps of the area, a crossword?, change up the photobooth trend by making copies and cutting the strips and attaching them to little cards with tiny paperclips, a paint-by-number?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13401121415118871107 Erin

    We had a fight this week about envelopes… yes, envelopes… Who cares about envelopes!!! We don't anymore!

    For our save the dates, I printed postcard style ones with a calendar (our date marked with our E&E; monogram) and the info on the back (including our website). My fiance had written a funny poem about us and we nearly used that… decided it was a little too irreverent for our audience. It was really funny, though!

  • bluemeany

    I love your blog.

    Did anyone ever fight about how he proposed? He was sitting down and I didn’t realize what he was doing until too late… and I missed most of what he said! (I suck) I was just dissappointed that he never got down on one knee.

    PS in case you are wondering his knees are perfectly fine, he just wanted to buck tradition, it just happened to be a tradition I liked!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02183612185291880272 backyardwedding

    We fought about the proposal too. We’d already decided we were going to get married before it happened and the whole thing felt so forced. He actually proposed three times (the first two of which i rejected based on the ridiculousness of the proposal) before I finally decided that we were both being insane and said yes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    Oh yeah, it was the honeymoon for us too. As you know we definitely have different opinions on that one… but I won so it couldn’t have been that ridiculous a fight ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11350962842054378467 carak

    What about just sending out a photo (or turning it into a post card) – like the card you featured a few months back:

    http://www.apracticalwedding.com/2008/05/diy-guilt.html

    I’ve seen this specific card several times now, and I LOVE it! I think it could be done very simply, too – take a photo, photoshop in a few details, and even just print the photo (from Walgreens?) and send in an envelope in the mail. If coffee’s not for you as a couple, you could take a picture of details that mean something more… for example, when I saw this, pancakes first came to my mind because we love to make pancakes together. If I were to borrow their idea, I might make heart-shaped pancakes, with berries and OJ, with the details on a book.

    Love your posts!

  • Anonymous

    We sent out magnets. I found a guy on ebay who did them unspeakably cheap and he did a great job. At the time, he didn’t have a lot of advanced equipment, so they had to be on a white background, but other than that, we could do whatever we wanted. We put our picture and really basic info like our names, the date, the city, and “formal invitation to follow”.

    We figured if we sent something we’d like guests to put on the fridge to remind them, they’d have to have a magnet. So we just put the STD on the magnet! They were the size of a business card and were so cute and cheap.

    I did so many other DIY things that I had no problem turning the magnet printing over to someone with professional equipment! :)

  • http://www.bathtubbrewery.com mel

    My fiance (that’s right, he proposed about 2 weeks ago!) and I are thinking about e-mail save the dates to help cut costs, but we do have people like Grandma and Grandpa that don’t rock the PC…however, since tafe mentioned sending something with a holiday card, that could TOTALLY work for us when it comes to non-computer users! Inspiration! Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15895113271529055644 Amanda

    I’m a big fan of the magnet save the dates (at least from what I’ve seen of them). They are totally practical — ie, they won’t get thrown away in a few months. The paper stuff is so beautiful, but except for maybe two or three people, everyone will throw them away.

    Oh! They also have that paper now that has a seed inside of it, so when you go to toss it, just plant it. I’ve seen one or two brides do invitations on that paper and it still looks really beautiful (I believe it’s also cheaper, but I can’t promise).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13781314774264492284 blind irish pirate

    We fought about his side of the family being so freaking huge (80 people for family only) for nearly 6 months of the planning process. I had conceded to it early on, just because it’s what he wanted. But anytime I got annoyed with the amount of guests or the budget, I’d get little barbs in my voice and say something snide like, “Well, if only your family wasn’t so huge.”

    I’m not very nice. :( Come to find out, it doesn’t even matter!

    Save the Dates were skipped on our end, but I always liked the look of photobooth ones, or some sort of silly caricature/picture of you and your fiance. Not very exciting. Which is why we didn’t do them. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13781314774264492284 blind irish pirate

    I just read through some responses… I like Peonies’ suggestion: postcards. I think that 2k Wedding did vintage post cards at one point for either RSVPs or save the dates.

    Either way, creative, fun, quirky, and semi-eco-friendly. :)

  • Anonymous

    Okay, this could be a really dumb idea, and it’s more the fluff that you mentioned, and not the cotton candy.

    Maybe do something related to Mad Libs? Maybe that’d work better for the RSVP or something, but I don’t know. Good luck!

  • http://openid.aol.com/reb7975 reb7975

    A photo is nice, or how about using the wedding location or season as inspiration. There are some great unique premade ones for sale at specialty paper stores. Don’t take it so seriously and keep it simple.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18158492409598444709 Terry

    I don’t know that I can be of much help with the STDs, we skipped them in favour of phone calles to all the out-of-towners. Either we called them, or had our folks do it, so between the 5 of us, that wasnt so bad a load. I do think postcards are super adorable though.

    Our biggest stupid wedding fight was about wedding colors. She wanted black. lots of black. Black dress, black invitations, and so on. I was specificaly hung up on her wearing a white dress, not a black one, just becuase I’ve dreamed of seeing her as my bride for so long, i had this picture in my head. We ended up setteling for a darkish ivory dress with gothic styleing, but seriously, this was like a 3 month argument that even spawned a small flame-war on the OBB forum, when other people and their opinions got involved. I know the dress is a big part of a weddings style, but it got so absurdly out of proportion. Not so grounded.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03208244458086146065 Blablover5

    We skipped the STDs, it just seemed like too much extra work. Instead we sent out the real invitations a month early.

    But I’ve had questions everytime I make something. I have a bad habit of when I work on something just seeing the flaws so I have to put it away for a month or so and then pull it out so I can see how good it looks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10567306554165246459 Rebecca Green

    The easier question to answer is, “what didn’t we disagree about?”

    Believe it or not, one of those things is our save the dates … we made photo cards on shutterfly for under $100 (for 100) and people loved them. It was a collage of 9 photos of us in different beautiful places that said “join us for the beginning of our next adventure.” It was a great way to “introduce” my fiance to my big Greek family through photos. We’re using the same theme to name our tables at the reception — each table is named after beautiful places we’ve been and has a photo or two of us there.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15146969435974379636 Courtney

    This is fantastic! I almost broke up – yes broke up – with my future hubby for suggesting a “movable feast” for our reception. Upon describing this event, it was essentially a pub crawl.

    Also, the guest list is the biggest challenge. He wants 400 people and I want 80. Good thing we have a while to figure this part out! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09384044696343954901 DomestiGals

    Ooh, Rebecca, Shutterfly is a great idea!

    My BF (yeah, he’s not a fiance yet but we’ve booked our wedding venue and caterer… more about that on our blog!) and I will probably send an e-Save-the-Date to our friends and younger family members. My future father-in-law is a printer, so we’re hoping his gift to us will be StDs for our computer illiterate invitees, as well as programs and anything else we can get him to do!

    I hate to admit it, but our silliest fight was one that I lost… my BF insists on having our caterers serve this local Chinese food dish (from a STRIP MALL, I kid you not!) and I really didn’t even want to ask the caterers to do it – but it was important to him, so I asked, and yes, we will be serving chow mein at our reception. Classy.

  • http://www.mingaling.net mingaling

    Chicken. We fought about having freaking chicken.

    The long story is that we’re big foodies, but certain members of his family apparently don’t eat anything beyond a chicken breast. I was adamant about having food that reflects our tastes and personality, and it got pretty ridiculous. In the end, there is no chicken, but it wasn’t worth the fuss.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00200355770459406830 CL

    Oh, Meg, we all go a little nutty! To add on to the picture save-the-date ideas, if you use VistaPrint, you can get 100 postcards for only the $4.99 S&H; charge, however you design them. This goes for many of their other products too – that's what we're likely going to use for ours. After all, what's more practical than free?

    Stupid fights? Oh, many. The award probably goes to a blowout we had over which Pearl Jam song would be best for aisle-walking… only, we're getting married in the Catholic church, in a full nuptial Mass, and secular music is verboten. Whole fight? Moot, moot, moot.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    Oh yes, I’ve been there too.

    We fell out quite early on over songs to walk down the aisle to. The Boy and I have very different tastes in music (there is some crossover, but it didn’t occur to us to look there for quite some time!) and he hated with a passion everything that I suggested. And by suggested I mean things I had already set my heart on. It wasn’t pretty. We didn’t discuss it again for another 16 months and chose a song the night before we left for the wedding.

    That’s my advice – leave it longer and then you’ll both be so desperate to get it done you’ll use anything.

    Or a pretty picture of a bit of your venue printed on to a postcard. I like postcards – cheap, simple and fitting to the informality of a save the date. Unlike our save the dates which were ridiculously over the top and time consuming.

  • Anonymous

    First I would like to say that I LOVE your blog! As for save the dates, I know a lot of people have suggested pictures, but we got great responses from everyone about our photo save the dates. I am a scrapbooker so I wanted to do something fun and cute. I did a picture matted on a 5 x 7 card and a little calender on it also. I bought a roll of magnet from Michael’s for like $3 and cut into pieces to attach to the back.

    If you have a lot of elderly family they will especially appreciate receiving the picture (at least ours did).

    Ashley

  • http://fiveblondes.com Erica

    We had a silly wedding fight just yesterday. I booked our engagement photo session for next month, at 4:30 in the afternoon (this was one of the option I was given). I tell my fiance about the time and he FREAKS, saying it will NOT work because of his work schedule (which is 9-5, but he often gets home earlier).
    He gets mad at me, then mad at the photographer (luckily he didn’t call them).
    I tell him he is overreacting and that he should ask his boss before we change anything. So he does…and ends up taking two full days off of work.
    ARGH.

  • http://promtoaltar.net/blog Nicole

    I blogged about ours here:
    http://www.promtoaltar.net/2008/08/#000081

    If you’re going to do them, you should have fun with them– so much about weddings are taken way too seriously.
    Believe me, no matter what you do people will oooh and ahhh over it!

    I had a breakdown over the fact that I thought we should splurge on the print method for our invitations. He made me see my craziness, we made a practical decision, and we haven’t looked back.
    Not a single person commented on how our invitations were printed.

  • Susan Bailey

    I don’t have any crazy stories of wedding fights between my boy and me. But on the save-the-date front, we did popout maps of NYC. I found all the graphics I needed on istockphoto.com, used a free Illustrator-alike to manipulate the images, and ordered the paper goods through Vistaprint. It was a bit DIY-intensive, especially with folding up those cards, but totally worth it. Most of our friends and other guests had no clue that they weren’t professionally done!

    Anywho, the steps and some pics are here: http://wedding.susanjbailey.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01176600641338092725 E

    I think the biggest fight was when I asked him to go buy a shirt for the ceremony and he complained about having to go to the mall, at which point I flipped the eff out and yelled for a good ten minutes about how I’m doing everything for this wedding and he can’t be bothered to buy a GD shirt. My point was valid–as he later agreed–but it was definitely a bit…dramatic.

    We talked to people in person instead of STDs, but when we initially considered doing them the idea was always to make our own postcards through one of those web services where you can get like 150 postcards for 40 bucks. We both like cheesy postcards, so we’d put a photo of the location on the front with some sort of silly caption.

  • missesquire

    I got an email STD for a wedding last year and it was great! But make sure to mail something to older guests who are not tech savvy.

    Also, this is not really about wedding fights, but this post made me think of it …

    During the planning process for my wedding I would sometimes suggest really outrageous things (ice scultpures of the two of us, peacocks wandering on the lawn, releasing as many doves as we had guests, etc.) just to get a rise out of my fiance, who is very practical. I would alway pretend I sincerely wanted and even needed whatever it was. Then when he said “have you lost your mind?” I could say reveal I was not at all serious. :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18209533406055486161 Rachel

    Pretty much all of the fights over wedding stuff have been over ridiculous and small things! Like the color of the bridesmaid dresses, whether or not I should be petty and tell his sister to shove it when it came to her not liking the dress – or whether or not I should be nice and let her choose a different style. I mean really, when I logically think about it, I know it’s petty shit.
    So we’re lucky in that way.

    Inspiration??? Searching the web. Really, I don’t know how some of these people just “come up with” this stuff. I think they secretly stress over it more than they let on.

    By the way, our Save the Dates were just photo cards that our photographer did up for us. Simple and only $1 each – including envelope. And they were metallic!! Which is cooler than it sounds….

    I also like the idea of the “Wordle” Save the Dates. Budget Savvy Bride blogged about that….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09945813943336222370 Luis

    Well we haven’t really blown up about anything but we do disagree on a lot of different things.

    I think it all comes down to us being such different people. He tends to be more formal than me, so he didn’t like my idea of getting married in converse shoes (my usual uniform).

    oh well, I suppose in the end no one will remember too many of the details.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05650363231006892289 Mrs. in May

    Oh- I hear you Sister-in-Planning!
    I stressed over the Save the Dates big time, then one day FH said- we need to get these done. So I was like- fin- you pick ‘em! And he picked ones that were really classy, fit the color scheme and were totally affordable. Now- I may have picked something different, but really I was so excited that he was participating and came up with something great I went with it! NOW- if I could only get him to give me addresses so I could just mail them out!!!

  • amanda

    haha, I can so relate to this! My fiancee and I made our save the dates this past weekend, and we very almost murdered each other! It’s funny in hindsight that he had to buy four bottles of glue because none of them were making him happy…at the time not so amusing

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11711266239364382681 amanda

    courtney – omg the idea of 400 people doing a pub crawl made me laugh out loud.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12435697594154408096 jessica lynn

    those paper goods that you posted took my breath away. too bad they probably cost 20000000 to create and make. meh. best of luck with your save the date quest. they will turn out beautiful, i already know.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16779338788620063452 Alice

    We fought about the proposal too! We’ve been together for years so I knew it was coming, just not when. I will just say, it was less than stellar and I made him do it again, which was ridiculous of me. But the way he proposed was ridiculous of him (and he’ll admit it).

    As for STDs (ha!) we will probably be doing postcards. Not sure what will be on them though…I still have a lot of planning to do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04151848025569897213 marnieleigh

    I’m at the STD stage and my first idea got me a “You’re really crazy”. I love it when he calls me that!

    While eco-friendly, I’m adverse to STD emails because they can get lost and believe me, from someone who works in the dot com world, emails favor living in the trash. The good ol’ postal service is far more reliable.

    As for ideas, I’m leaning toward photo postcards for the following reasons: as you said most people don’t care about your STDs but if it’s a photo of the two of you, it may make it to the fridge. If you are inviting people who have never met you or your guy, it’s nice for people to see what you look like, the STD should be about the couple – something cute about the two of you – and as beautiful as they can be I don’t think fonts and wallpaper graphics do that. Lastly, postcard postage is cheaper.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10933407474487393296 The Broke-Ass Bride

    We had a stupid fight over a seersucker suit that I got obsessed with 10 months before our date. It was d.u.m.b.

    For save-the-dates, I love the one lately of the book and cup of espresso that were photoshopped to include the info – maybe there’s a vignette that would be appropriate for you two?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04949135596695787724 Paisley

    I’ve seen a lot of cute STD ideas. You could do one where you make yourself into wii characters or one with two lego people dressed like a bride and groom. These are good for guys who are computer/video game nerds. I also saw one where you had your photo made into paperdolls which was so unique. We did a postcard that incorporates our wedding style and colors but is more whimiscal than the actual invitations would be. I got them designed by some one on etsy, they’re cheap and i love them!

  • The Virtual Bridesmaid

    Lots of Great tips!

    Shannon
    The Virtual Bridesmaid
    http://blog.viddia.com
    http://www.viddia.com

  • http://lovestained.wordpress.com Jeni from Kansas

    Let’s see…our most recent argument (I have to be honest that it wasn’t our first) was about who would cut the cake at our reception. His mom is making the cake for us, and tradition is that whomever makes the cake cuts the cake, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. He said that we’ll ask a bridesmaid instead and I glared at him for even mentioning the idea. After much bickering I decided that I will cut the cake so that I don’t have to ask anyone else to, and he’s going to service it to everyone.

    I am a fan of postcards, and they’re super easy to make with cardstock and a quirky pic of you and the beau. You can even through the bugger into the printer so that you don’t have to handwrite anything, so as to avoid the killer hand crampage.

    We are doing a photobooth strip that I am creating myself. The DF (darling fiancee) is trying to take advantage of my photography skills all the way down to me taking our engagement photos…it’s not happening but it was quite flattering that he thought I was capable.

    I digress…you can create these on your own, throw them into a business envelope in a fun color, and call it a day. Swing by my blog if you want to check out my post regarding how to do it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00991638626164427455 Jessica

    We’re getting married in May 2009, but my honey’s from Wales, so we wanted to give his friends/family some time to plan. And since we were doing cards for some, why not for all? We’re getting hitched under some lovely live oak trees, so I drew an outline of a tree on 8 1/2 by 11 with our names and stuff on the right bottom corner, tucked under a limb. Then did the text of a poem that means something to us in the trunk and out into the branches. The printer ended up giving us 80 cards for free ’cause she knows us, but at Kinko’s it would have been 53 bucks. They look like us, they’re sweet, simple, and honest. You know, it doesn’t matter if something’s cliche or everyone does it or whatever – just draw something you like and send it out! Think of it as an invite for a really kickass, over the top dinner party. :) good luck!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09086142807086386230 Mrs. Andi

    Um, ok, our fight has been (so far) about actually getting engaged in the first place! I'm gung-ho, his feet are glued to the floor.

    & as for this idea, I mentioned it to him & he said "What, is that some of the wedding horse *poop*?" (Poop substituted to keep it clean.) *sigh*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03209113339750185034 nina@mount pleasant wedding

    We're not doing Save-the-date. To be honest, I didn't know what they even were before I started all this reading about wedding stuff on the internet. We're getting as much of our info together as possible and sending out invites this fall for our wedding next summer. One less detail to worry about!