Ask Team Practical: Friendors, Greeting, Photoshoots, & Feeding People


Today Alyssa is handling a grab bag of wedding etiquette questions. She’s tackling handling friendors (hint: they’re friends, not vendors), and doing your level best to greet guests.  She’s also discussing one of my personal wedding planning pet peeves: Feeding people on time (for goodness sake), and the importance of being really present at your wedding (because no, it’s totally not a photoshoot).
Ask Team Practical: Friendors, Greeting, Photoshoots, & Feeding People | A Practical Wedding

We’ve delegated a majority of our wedding responsibilities to family and friends. I am thrilled to have help from our loved ones, but also a little nervous about bestowing so much responsibility on non-professionals. My biggest concern is executing my reception decor vision with a few friends as my set-up crew. It goes like this. When Friend A got married last year, Friend B was her DIY decor coordinator. She was in charge of interpreting the bride’s written directions and putting everything together, so I asked her to do the same for me. (We have a venue coordinator for the basic stuff, we need someone to help with the centerpieces and DIY details I’ve poured so much OCD into.) I recently found out that the first wedding Friend B coordinated turned out to be super stressful for all involved, and that she had left a bunch of things undone and frazzled the bride. What do I do? How do I prepare (logistically, and mentally) to avoid a stressful and disappointing experience with this?

~Cross-Country Control Freak

Yay for you having so many people that you love being able to pitch in! That really is a blessing, so thank your deity of choice (and your friends and and family for being such nice people). In regards to Friend B, it’s important to remember that they are your friend, not a professional. It’s not fair to not-hire someone and then expect them to behave as if you did-hire them. Of course your friends want the best for you and will do the job to the best of their ability. That said, if you decide you need things just so, it’s time to think about shelling out the money for it. Peace of mind definitely has a price.

But before you run out and hire someone, may I suggest that this is a good chance for you to start letting go of stuff that you can’t control? Because here is the truth: all of the details you poured your time and effort into might not end up perfect, no matter what you do. Hell, it might be your fault; how many grad posts have we seen that say, “And then I forgot XYZ” with the next sentence is almost always being, “And it didn’t matter.” You want to formulate a good plan that will leave you as relaxed as possible on your wedding day…. but in the end? The decorations are not what really matter. As the very wise Anna said, “Perfect weddings don’t existbrides who say their weddings were perfect are women who made the conscious decision not to give a shit. I have read so many blogs where brides stated that their enjoyment of their wedding was hampered by the mistakes. I’m a pretty neurotic lady, so I know that I could have been one of those brides myself, but I consciously decided to turn the perfectionist part of my brain off and have an awesome time. It’s your choice too.” So if you don’t want to be a frazzled bride, make a choice to let it go… and make that choice now (though by all means, ask some less spazzy friends to help or hire someone if that’s going to give you peace of mind).

But mostly? Keep remembering how lucky you are to have various people to help, even if the help doesn’t turn out perfectly. And make sure you write them amazing thank you notes.

****

My husband and I had a lovely wedding and were wholly in the moment all day. I tried to make the rounds to the tables before and after the pictures with the photographer, but after the second round of pictures I felt like I looked around and a lot of people had left. I made a point to say hello to my family and my husband’s closest family as well as our out of town guests but I worry that I did not get to greet and thank all the tables for coming. About an hour before the end of the reception I noticed that lots of people had left and I felt very sad, although I was grateful that our closest friends and family were there to boogie with us and throw flower petals on us as we left (which was awesome!). But weeks later I was talking with my mother-in-law and she gave us “feedback” on the wedding and how we didn’t get to greet everyone and she noticed how we didn’t come to her table. I am worried that the next family event will be awkward and that people will judge us. How do I handle this and stop beating myself up? And for those planning a wedding, how should they handle greeting guests while still enjoying the day and time with their new spouse?

~Worried About What People Think And I Hate That I Do That in DC

Honey, replace that “DC” with a “TX” and your sign-off could be written by me.  And because I feel for you, know that I mean it when I say, “Let it go.”

I’m sure your mother-in-law meant well with her feedback, but does she expect you to do better at your next wedding? At this point, all that is necessary is an acknowledgment of your minor faux pas.  If you know to whom she’s referring, make an effort to talk to this person at the next family event.  “Oh, hi Aunt Lou!  I haven’t seen you since the wedding; I am so sorry that I didn’t get a chance to talk to you there, there were so many people we missed and we feel terrible about it.  How are you doing?”  There.  You acknowledged and apologized.  Anything beyond that is asking for too much.  If they wanted to see you that bad, they needed to make an effort at the wedding to at least say goodbye.  They also need to remember that this is a wedding and you might be a teeny bit distracted.

For those still planning, try to remember that while you are the happy couple, you are still the host of this shindig. Do a receiving line if it makes sense for you, or try to visit every table.  Delegate someone to remind you to visit with people especially those are older or who’ve made a long trek.  At every wedding there are folks who will want to monopolize your time, so having a friend to give you a gentle “Go talk to Mee-Maw,” reminder can help you break away and be a gracious host. And remember, the wedding is a awesome party, and the pictures are just a way to remember that party. So if you can find a way to do formal pictures before the ceremony, after the party is over, or the next day, you’ll have far more time to party with the people who came to celebrate with you (and they’ll appreciate that!)

And for guests; if you want to talk to the couple and haven’t had a chance to, go talk to them. Trust me, if they invited you, they want to talk to you. If you try to and are blown off or ignored, then you can be all offended and wave your fan and mutter, “Well, I never.” But not till then.

****

My fiancee and I have a disagreement about our photos after the ceremony and before our reception.  Our venue is a gorgeous garden with a lot of great opportunities for shots, so she would like to stage some photos with our immediate family using props, bringing in a chaise, etc.  I think this could possibly be a nightmare to organize and people like my 80-year-old grandmother won’t understand what we are doing.  The photographer assures us she can get it done, but it will take “a little longer” than normal family shots. Help?

- To Chaise or not to Chaise

First off, I would like to caution that while working in wedding blogging, I have developed a deep hatred for the “furniture in a field” photos.  I just want to shake the photo and scream, “Stop pretending you found that couch in the meadow!!! You did not find it there, you brought it there!!  Why would you lay on a random couch you found in a meadow?!?”  But that’s a personal problem I might need to work out on my own with the help of a professional.

That aside, this IS a nightmare idea.  While it sounds beautiful, it is something that you both need to schedule at another time with your photographer.  It’s amazing that she’s being so accommodating, but spending “a little longer” directly after your ceremony posing at your amazing venue is not time well-spent.  Let your partner know that because you adore her, you want to spend your wedding day with her and your families and friends.  Family photos are beautiful because they show the generations present at your wedding, not because of props. (Besides, if I handed my grandmother a mustache on a stick to use in a picture at my wedding, she would have hit me with it.)

That aside, your wedding is not a photoshoot.  This goes for people who aren’t doing anything as elaborate as this reader and her fiancee.  Take the family shots because you will adore them later, but then stop taking pictures and let people eat for goodness sake.   A good photographer will make the shots after the ceremony short, quick and painless as possible so that you can stop spending your time recording your wedding and start spending it actually being there. Don’t increase the time away from the party with extra shots, no matter how pretty.  Schedule those before the ceremony or after the reception. Or give yourselves a gift and schedule a whole shoot where you can focus on getting those artsy amazing shots. But be present at your wedding, you’ll be much more grateful for that later.

And did we mention to feed people in a timely fashion, even if you’re off in a chaise lounge in a field, or god knows what? Because seriously, you get hitched, and then you feed people the food and/or booze. It’s that simple.

****

What say you, Team Practical?  How did you handle friendors?  What are you tips for greeting guests (and getting over the guilt if you didn’t)?  How did you handle post-ceremony pictures?

Photo: by APW sponsor Lauren McGlynn Photography

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.  Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh).  We’re not kidding.  It brings us joy.  What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!?

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  • http://LeahAndMark.com LeahAndMark.com

    In regards to the ‘Photoshoot’ for the family portrait – while I tend to agree that it’s a good idea to stay away from such a big production – it’s doable.

    But some conditions have to be met – specifically, for the photographer, it can’t be some sort of half-assed, let’s-try-and-see-how-this-goes type of affair. It has to be planned, the props, the furniture, everything has to be READY and IN PLACE long before the people are ready to ‘stand-in’.

    Like a photoshoot with big celebrities. You don’t have them arrive and start testing lights and moving furniture while they’re there. You have assistants stand-in so that you can get the correct lighting, test the poses, etc. You have EVERYTHING READY so that people can just get in the photo, stand there, and you take it. It literally takes the same amount of time that a regular formal picture takes.

    If your photographer isn’t up to operating in that manner, then your wedding day is not the day to make an attempt at it.

    I think we know what that photographer means when they say ‘A little longer’ – it means as long as it takes… which could probably be a lot longer than it should take on your wedding day.

    M.

    • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

      I agree with this… and if one-half of the couple REALLY REALLY wants this photo session to happen but you don’t want to bog down the timeline, I’d suggest a day-after session.

      • http://www.accidentallyyours.wordpress.com Novice Wife

        Or before the wedding? If you’re not committed to the whole first-see-each-other-at-the-ceremony thing, that could be a great time when people haven’t arrived yet so you don’t have to play host.

        We did it and I really enjoyed the side benefit of having some time (basically) alone with the hubster before the whole shindig started.

        • Steph & B

          We did some before the wedding shots. And I’m glad we did. We probably should have scheduled some more time–and by more time I mean I should probably have told the groom to start getting ready three hours before I needed him (yes the bride and all the bridesmaids managed to finish an hour before the boys).

          And as for the whole waiting for first-sight at the ceremony? He was really adamant about it and afraid that seeing each other before would take away from seeing each other at the ceremony. And then he changed his mind at the last minute and agreed to get together to give gifts before the ceremony. Seeing each other didn’t take away from the “wow” factor or emotional part of the ceremony where the groom and bride see each other. He still balled like a baby as I walked down the aisle with my dad.

        • http://www.lilpets.wordpress.com Sandy

          We did before the wedding shots at my first wedding. I agree that it was nice to spend a little time with my ex during that time and it helped me to relax, although there were feelings of panic that I probably should not have ignored, but that’s another post…

          I wanted to say that I have been to two weddings lately of people who were close friends of my fiance and I was really put out by the truly inconvenient lack of consideration for guests at both. One had a ceremony at noon and then the reception hall did not open until 5pm. It said specifically that guests would not be allowed in until after 5 on the wedding program. This left us with 4.5 hours to kill in a town that we were completely unfamiliar with, dressed in formal attire. The other was very similar with over 3 hours between the end of the ceremony and the opening of the reception.

          I agree with previous posts that your guests are adults and you don’t need to plan every second of the day for them. But some consideration must be made for this time between ceremony and reception. I felt in both instances that it really detracted from the overall feeling of the day.

          • ellobie

            I have experienced a couple of these and the most common reason it happened was because the bridal party was tooling around in a party bus, drinking and snacking and taking photos in pretty places around town. It was super fun when I was IN the bridal party and totally pissed me off when I was a regular (but felt like a 2nd class) guest.

      • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

        A wedding we went to this year, one month before ours, had a 3 hour reception. They spent around an hour+ on photos, and then had a private dinner. Of the 3 hours we were there, they weren’t even in the reception hall for 2 hours of it. They did all the traditional stuff (first dance, mother/son, father/daughter, toasts, bouquet, etc) & a slide show and only left us with about an hour to dance and have fun. Didn’t even let the DJ start until they got there!

        Dude. DUDE. It was ridiculous. Thank goodness they had playing cards as favors, or a mass exodus would have occurred before they even arrived.

    • meg

      I object to photoshoots during the reception, period. It’s a party, not time for a photoshoot. It’s time to spend time celebrating with people who you really care about, who may never gather again till the last party thrown for anyone… which you won’t remember.

      You want a grand old photoshoot? Do it before the wedding, or the next day, or the next week. BUT NOT DURING THE RECEPTION. And that’s my final word on the subject.

      Not that I ever have opinions.

      • m

        Sometimes you cannot do it beforehand, and if you can’t get a few family and group shots in afterward, you will simply never have those people all together again. Our families (who live in different countries) would have been really sad not to have family photos, so you also need to consider the feelings of your guests.
        We scheduled ours during cocktail hour so people who weren’t in the shot right then were able to be chatting, mingling and drinking.
        But I totally understand what you’re saying Meg – don’t hold up dinner and if you want to have props and crazy poses and spend hours doing it, do a first look or shoot it another day.

        • Rachel

          I’m trying to convince my fiance to take photos before the ceremony. The time we have with our guests is so precious, I can’t bear to waste any of it posing and smiling. Also, the photos are important to both of us — we went overbudget on our photographer for this reason — and I don’t want to rush through the photos so we can start the party. But the traditional first look at me while I’m walking down the aisle is important to my man, while I’d prefer our first look to be more private anyway.

          Support for my CLEARLY SUPERIOR position in this argument would be greatly appreciated.

          • Steph & B

            Just saw your comment, Rachel. Look at my reply to Novice Wife.

            We did the same with our photographs. In that we spent more on our photographer than anything else for the wedding. My memory is pretty flukey at the best of times (thanks migraines), so we wanted to make sure that we had everything documented.

            It was really nice to have some time alone together. We were a little rushed because the boys took so long to get ready. Go figure. But we were able to laugh and kiss each other. And admire each other. He was able to turn me around and tell me that my butt looked good. I was able to tell him that he was an ass and that he was objectifying me.

            We couldn’t have done any of this if he had waited until the ceremony. And the best part? It didn’t take away from that first ceremony moment AT ALL. Homeboy was crying before I even made it down the aisle. And he cried through the entire wedding, and then tried to blame allergies. I did keep the processional song to which my dad and I walked a secret, so he could have at least one surprise.

          • marbella

            The traditional first look coming down the aisle was extremely important to T too, and something he had been looking forward to for a long time, so we couldn’t do a ‘first look’ or pre-ceremony photos. But actually because our group/family photos were not very formal and more fun, they were a great way to spend time with our guests.
            Don’t sweat it, just keep it short and fun and not stressful for those involved and make sure guests who aren’t have drinks/nibbles and entertainment.

          • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

            I’ve seen a first look setup before where the photographers positioned the groom at the front of the church and had the bride enter and walk down the aisle (since seeing her for the first time coming down the aisle was important to him and getting couple portraits before the ceremony was important to her). Not sure if that would be a possibility at your venue, but I thought it was a really sweet compromise that let them have both the practicality of the first look and the romance of the aisle walk.

            (I’m all about first looks, since at my wedding, we had so many guests step INTO the center aisle to take pictures during the processional that my husband and I couldn’t even see each other until I was nearly at the front of the church. I was so glad we’d done a first look and that his first glimpse of me hadn’t been with the deer-in-the-headlights look I was wearing at having so many cameras pointed at me! :))

      • http://indiealbany.com irisira

        YES. We did all of our wedding party and “us” shots pre-ceremony. The obligatory family photos had to happen after, though, as many were coming on a shuttle and being there early would have meant that they didn’t have a safe, sober ride home. (OR not drinking at our vineyard wedding, which some people chose not to, but I didn’t want to make that choice for them, re: photos.)

        As a result, we wrapped up photos quickly and I got to my cocktail hour the same time as everyone else. :)

      • Aiyana

        We took a few photos before our ceremony and it was lovely. We also took a few more after the ceremony with just the two of us, and though the photos are nice, the real benefit was spending time together, making eyes and melting all over the place, before being thrust back into the crowd. I don’t think it is ALL about spending time with your guests. Spend time together too, for a bit, and so what if the photographer is watching.

      • http://www.kaylaearwood.com Kayla

        I completely agree. We have almost no photos of my husband’s family. Know why? His siblings were late for the wedding. Like, not late for the pre-ceremony photos but late as in his mother forced us to hide in a separate room to wait on their lazy ass to get there before I could walk down the aisle, late. She wanted so bad for us to take a break from the reception to redo formal photos and I secretly made sure that didn’t happen. Yes, family photos are important but not as important as being truly at your wedding and not in an empty church smiling for the camera again. At Christmas that year, we took another portrait of all the family and will have that to live on in infamy. No harm done. And don’t even get me started on the hell we went through when my husband chose not to have them in the wedding party. Hello, unreliable!

  • Nicole

    “Stop pretending you found that couch in the meadow!!! You did not find it there, you brought it there!! Why would you lay on a random couch you found in a meadow?!?” But that’s a personal problem I might need to work out on my own with the help of a professional.”

    Clearly one would assume that a random couch in a meadow is a horcrux, and stay as far away as possible. But that’s just me.

    I heart you, Alyssa.

    • Amy March

      Or a really luxurious port-key.

    • http://whenhoyametsaxa.blogspot.com/ Kathleen

      Either way, you’re probably going to be dealing with the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office if you get yourself involved.

    • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

      I think this is my favorite wedding-related comment EVER. Definitely going to be on the lookout for horcruxes now.

      • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

        Does anyone know why the plural of “horcrux” is not “horcruces”? It bothers me to no. end.

        • Another Thea

          Probably the same reason they changed the title to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the US. Or JK dropped the ball.

          • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

            My love for APW has just grown exponentially.

          • http://bridezillatobebecky.blogspot.com/ Becky

            Ditto, Melissa. Huge train of HP references in a wedding blog? Only here :)

        • http://foxandtoad.com/blog Nadine

          On Mugglenet they used to call them “horcrii.” I liked that.
          Also, speaking of “why would you do that??!” I do so love the Cradle of WTF: http://cradleofwtf.tumblr.com/
          (I actually think the “adorable hands holding adorable things” is generally cute, but collected together here…oh, it’s delightful to lampoon.)

          • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

            AHAHAHAA!!!!!

            I blame Twilight. 100%.

          • Class of 1980

            Cradle of WTF made my day. ;)

          • Steph & B

            Maybe we should have a post about all the ridiculous things that wedding photographers or photographers in general have asked us to do……some turn out looking great. And some. Not so much.

          • Lee G.

            Yes yes yes!!

            I’m so glad I finally finished reading this ATP. I got distracted last time…(Does anyone else think of mitochondria when they read ATP? Hmmm… This could be why I get distracted.)

            Anyway, I frigging can’t stand the gently holding things photos. They look so awkward and no one has a head. And really, why in 20 years would you want to look at a photo of someone’s hands holding some kitschy artsy thing?

            So yes, silly photo shoots.

            Harry Potter forever!

        • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

          In the books, I’m pretty sure it is horcruxes: http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=113

      • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

        We love Harry Potter (I read every book except #2 to my soon-to-be). I am secretly hoping to sneak some minor details into our wedding day for our HP nerd friends to enjoy. Any ideas, APW folk?

        • http://foxandtoad.com/blog Nadine

          I’m the same way. In a nod to the books that we thought wouldn’t take over the whole affair, we’re naming our tables after places in the magical world. We’re also doing some tables with Game of Thrones places, and some from Dune.
          I’ve also considered a quote on the program from HP.

          • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

            I think we’re doing owl table names . . . we love owls. But maybe we should rethink. We still have plenty of time to consider.

        • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

          Golden Snitch cake.
          Deathly Hallows symbol in a corner of your program.

          • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

            I love the Deathly Hallows idea :-) I’d love to see all my guy’s super-conservative relatives tilting the program this way and that trying to figure out if the minister’s daughter (me!) put some sort of pagan symbol in her wedding day.

        • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

          We did a HP movie night for the English club at my university and a friend of mine made Hedwig cupcakes! They had coconut shavings all over them, round owl eyes, a Runts candy banana beak, and a chocolate envelope under the beak. They were awesome AND delicious.

          Also, I just saw some beautiful golden snitch necklaces (quite cool, seriously) on etsy:

          http://www.etsy.com/listing/66510903/the-golden-snitch-a-harry-potter?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=golden+snitch&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade

        • m

          We had feasting tables in a secret nod to making it feel like Hogwarts. Ha ha ha!

          • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

            <3 that would be awesome. I am sad because I don't think my venue has that option.

            Secretly, if it were just me planning the wedding (and not my mother — she has a financial stake in all this, so we compromise), I would do an HP thing. But it's not. Maybe I'll have to plan an HP party this fall instead. Hmmm . . .

        • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

          This is, apparently, a thing! http://www.themarysue.com/harry-potter-weddings/ I thought the wand favors were super-cute (and I’m not a favors person at ALL).

          • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

            yes, I love the HP wedding pics I’ve seen! My mom has vetoed this idea (she’s financially involved, so we compromise sometimes), so I am going for subtle touches — ones my friends into HP will totally understand but that won’t baffle my family or make my mom comment yet again about what I’ll think of my pictures in 30 years.

            I am, however, having an HP birthday celebration this year. There are some awesome recipes out there for butterbeer cupcakes and other HP treats (http://www.thepastryaffair.com/blog/2011/7/10/harry-potter-treats.html)

    • meg

      No, no, horcruxs are always hidden safely. It would in fact be a luxurious port-o-key.

      • Ashley B

        I don’t know, a big ol’snake doesn’t feel particularly well hidden to me.

        • http://www.kindofamess.com Alyssa

          Dear God, I love every one of you fellow Harry Potter nerds so much right now….

          • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

            Doesn’t it just make you want to kiss everyone?

            Or at least fashion a gigantic group hug?

        • meg

          Mmmhum. That’s not what JK says. Go back and read, ladies. HIDDEN.

          • http://whenhoyametsaxa.blogspot.com/ Kathleen

            Obviously most people* would keep Horcruxes well-hidden, but Voldemort didn’t always. He got careless with some (e.g. intending Riddle’s diary to be used, sending Nagini places to work for him) because he was overconfident in the fact that he had so many.

            *Most people who would make Horcruxes, that is, which most people wouldn’t do.

            (I just finished rereading the entire series earlier this week, and am perhaps over-eager to engage on HP questions. But I know exactly where each Horcrux was, and a couple were not so well hidden.)

        • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

          Hells Yeah! angina nothing!! Hahahaha

          • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

            I have no idea why this says angina! Haha It should be Nagini- Voldemort’s snake horcrux.

  • http://rachael-maddux.tumblr.com Rachael

    Man, amen to the “random couch outside” hatred. I think maybe the only time that would work for me is if the couple is doing a photoshoot themed around Season 1 of The Wire and they’re posing on the terrace at a Baltimore housing project (Omar lurking in the corner of the frame with a shotgun optional).

    • L

      It could also work if it was Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind-themed. Actually, has anyone ever done a study of when photo shoots involving incongruously-placed furniture really took off? I bet there was at least a spike when that movie came out…

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i’ll be honest in that i thought this was cute when it first started.

      at this point it’s like, WHERE ARE THESE FIELDS WHERE PEOPLE ARE GROWING VINTAGE FURNITURE.

      • http://www.accidentallyyours.wordpress.com Novice Wife

        and are they using pesticides or is it organic?

    • http://foxandtoad.com/blog Nadine

      HP comment followed by The Wire comment? APW ftw.

      • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

        For real!!! Another reason APW people are the coolest.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      We may or may not have referenced The Wire on our wedding site. *cough*

      And that shoot would be completely possible . . . just a few short blocks away from our wedding were some shady rowhouses where I’m sure some re-ups were happening.

    • http://explainingitall.blogspot.com Clarissa

      YES! My fiance would probably want to do this if I mentioned it to him. That’s just got me trying to picture what a “The Wire” theme wedding would look like…hahahahaha.

    • meg

      Oh, now I TOTALLY WANT TO Do a wire themed photoshoot….

    • myrna

      Okay, the HP thread was making me happy, but a comment about teh Wire, aka greatest television show knwn to man?!? Oh, man. Now I kind of want a The Wire photoshoot…only if my partner can learn to spit like Bodie (but only for the photoshoot, and then never again).

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Ummm… it was said by Alyssa and it has been said by everyone, but I am go on and repeat it: the details won’t matter THAT much in the day, it is just prettiness. On the contrary, we put up our decorations (chinese lamps, set the photobooth, bring all kinds of things to the venue) the night before the wedding in a team that consisted of 7 persons: my brother, his girl, a couple other friends, my sister, hubs and I, and I was positively SURPRISED about how GOOD it turned out. (I had had nightmares trying to figure out how to hang those lamps). My brother is a climber, and he knew just which knots would be perfect. And we just prayed that rain didn’t come during the night. As much as we did not forget to bring anything, on the day itself, some stuff was forgotten in boxes that stayed laying somewhere in the floor. But everyone had fun, nothing was missed, no one noticed, reallly, REALLY. It’s the wedding magic that everyone talks about. But if you feel soooo strongly about things, then I think you should think of getting a day coordinator. There are some really cool sponsors from what I’ve read, and since it is someone external, they will be fully there and only concentrate on The details. You want your friends to be able to enjoy and be present at your wedding as well.

    • Amy

      Just one thing to add – if you have so much stuff that you need help setting it up, have you also planned on how you’re going to break it down and transport it back home? Some venues (if you’re lucky) will let you break down the next day, but do you really want to put your (hopefully drunk at this point) friends on the hook to break down your venue at 1am or whenever?
      The thought of trying to marshal my friends and family into packing stuff into boxes at 1am was more than enough incentive for me to hire a pro. She took care of tearing down, putting stuff into boxes (or tossing it) and I didn’t have to think about it when I just wanted to collapse at the end of the day.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        I would second this. After doing our own post-wedding clean-up, this is certainly something to think about- and maybe mentally prepare for, if you are doing your own clean-up. I didn’t realize we would have to clean up ourselves that night (because we had to strike everything), and was disappointed to find ourselves doing that, almost alone, at 3 am. Oops. If I were to do it again….I think I would hire somebody to do that for us.

    • Amandover

      I’m gonna suggest that if you don’t have a friend who absolutely geeks out about the honor of decorating your wedding, you might want to consider cutting decorations, letting go of the design, or hiring a pro.
      A good friend of mine was asked to coordinate the “indie-chic” decorations for her friends’ wedding. She said, “Sure!” Then, when they couldn’t get into the space until the day-of, my friend spent hours laying out hundreds of bottles and paper hearts and yarn, etc. in a concept that really didn’t appeal to her personal aesthetic, trying not to “ruin” her friends wedding, and wishing she were less resentful of the couple on their wedding day.
      That said, we didn’t hire anyone. But we personally laid out each of our centerpieces, and I let go of the guestbook and picture displays that my mom put out. And I forgot the placecards. And it didn’t matter. : )

  • Jess

    Love this!

    I went through the same thing at my reception… I’m a really slow eater. Really slow. And by the time we ate, I was starving and happy to sit and rest for a little bit. So I sat there and enjoyed my meal and talked to my new husband (!!) and talked to my sister and the guests that were at tables close to me. And then suddenly, I realized that my husband was making the rounds, talking to guests and I was *still* eating. (He’s a fast eater! And hates sitting in restaurants after he finishes eating!) And suddenly I felt really panicky and guilty.

    And then I realized that it was okay. My husband and I are a team. He stepped up and talked to guests and allowed me to eat some much needed protein. We didn’t plan it that way, it just worked out. And it was fine. I finished up and made some rounds myself and then the dancing started and everyone seemed happy. I talked to as many people as I could throughout the night and I don’t think I missed many.

    We had a photo booth, which was great fun. At one point, my husband and I stayed in the photo booth and guests rotated in to take pics with us. It was a great way to talk to people, be able to sit down, and get fun pictures.

    And YES! If you’re a guest, approach the bride and groom! It’s a crazy busy day, but it’s so nice to be able to talk with family and friends.

    Whew, that was long. Too much coffee already!

  • http://somethingshavehappened.blogspot.com/ Siobhan

    I’m worried about feeding people in a timely fashion not least me and my fiance. There is an hour and half where we cant eat and I will really want to eat so we might need to investigate nibbles so we don’t eat our hands.

    As for friendors – we are booking friends who do wedding stuff professionally and paying them. They are offering discounts but we are hiring them and paying them. It makes me less stressed as they do know what they are doing and we are drawing up a contract of what they expect and what we expect (which also means I can’t go crazy on them).

    I’m interested to hear what other people think about photos. We are not that interested as our wedding is not a photoshoot (love that phrase – using that phrase) but family are leaning on us to get “good” photos without explicitly stating what that means so managing expectations is hard.

    Good advice as ever.

    • Jess

      Yes, be sure you eat! Can you pack some snackies to eat between the ceremony and reception (if you have to travel there)? We had some pretzels, fruit leather, and bottled water. We also stopped briefly at my parents’ house and had some quick sandwiches, chips, and beers. We were able to take some photos and the groomsmen loved being able to eat!

      Photos were important to us, so we found a photographer that we LOVED and worked with her on the shots that we (and others) wanted. It was quick and painless. We should be getting them today or tomorrow. I can’t wait!

      Know that your wedding will be awesome. It will be.

      • Jamie

        Yes yes yes! Make sure you eat!! I tried to force myself to eat but apparently it wasn’t enough and I had a woozy episode. One of my bridesmaids had to run around looking for something to eat and found some orange juice, so I had my “Shelby, drink your juice” moment. The photographer got some really funny pictures of this, but still, EAT! And bring some snacks for between the ceremony and reception.

        • Amy

          Not only should you eat, your bridal party will love you forever if you give them food/booze during the pictures. My bridesmaids all got survival kits for the day in their purses which included granola bars, and my FIL made sure to pack coolers of water and beer for the formal pictures.
          I think every single one of my bridesmaids tore into the granola bars the second we got into the limo. Nobody wants low blood sugar related meltdowns on their wedding day.

          • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

            I actually got this tip from Weddingbells.ca! So my Mom and sister/MOH have planned to pack a cooler of finger food (fruit/veggies/lunch meat/cheese/crackers etc) and water and beer the night before the wedding to send off with the groom to put in the rented SUV so we can eat during pictures. The last thing I need is a hangry MOH during the photo shoot!

          • Class of 1980

            Eat something before the ceremony too!

            At the largest and most expensive wedding I ever attended, the bride’s brother fainted dead away in the middle of the ceremony. He was a groomsman and fell down with a loud THUNK, causing everything to come to a halt until he could be bundled into a pew.

            He had not had time to eat a thing. It sure made that wedding unforgettable!

          • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

            You are amazing! Food is a must pre-ceremony and even pre-reception. I was once in a wedding where I got there at something like 9 am, and she didn’t have any food planned until the 5 pm dinner. And even then, dinner started late because we had to wait for the priest to come and bless the food. Thankfully, I had a cliff bar in my purse, and I split it with one of the groomsmen so that we didn’t die of hunger.

          • Stephasaurus

            This is an awesome idea. I’m totally doing this at my wedding. I remember how hungry we were at my best friend’s wedding a few months ago. We (the bridesmaids and bride) ate bagels while we got our hair done at 7:30AM, her ceremony was at 1:30PM, and no meals were planned until the reception started at 5PM!

      • http://www.songforyouevents.com Kris

        As someone who’s been commissioned often as a “friendor,” I have to agree that it’s worth the time, $$ and effort to make it legit and sign a formal agreement. A lot of my pals know that I’m a DJ and have asked if I would play at their weddings because they know my musical style and trust me – plus, I woulda been invited to the wedding anyway. It can be hard to balance being someone’s friend w/ being paid to help them, but it can be done with a lot of communication and clear expectations. If you’re paying a friendor (even w/ a BFF discount), you should still expect total professionalism and follow-thru. Just be realistic about what you both need and can provide.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        Ohhh man does this need to go on my list. I’m one of those people who goes from “I’m not hungry at all” to “I’m absolutely ravenous and 30 seconds away from being a raging bitch” in no time flat. Snacks will be wherever I am post ceremony.

    • http://LeahAndMark.com LeahAndMark.com

      As professional photographers, the way we see it – is that while your wedding is not a ‘photoshoot’ it is still a time to take very good/excellent/beautiful/amazing portraits of the TWO OF YOU.

      Everything else is negotiable/debatable/optional

      And the wedding couple portrait session doesn’t have to take an hour, or even 45 minutes – and not having props or furniture can cut out a lot of that. However, at the same time, some people REALLY WANT THOSE PHOTOS – and that’s of course fine as well – but it takes time.

      And you have to Schedule that time into your wedding day outline.

      Almost everything about your photos, depends on your photographer. Some photographers work fast enough that they can knock out a beautiful set in 20 minutes with the 2 of you, and then knock out your family formals in 20 minutes as well. Of course we always would like more time, but the best wedding photographers will put your wedding, your schedule, your comfort above ‘their photoshoot’.

      You should get the feeling from your wedding photographer that they absolutely know what they’re doing, and that no matter how crazy things go with your wedding schedule, your wedding photographer will still make beautiful photos. Because that’s the way your wedding photographer should see things as well (I always hope that things will go smoothly, but you know, sometimes it goes haywire and I’m not going to make the couple feel bad because things went out of control – it’s my job to deal with it.)

      • Hannah

        Just chiming in to say that while I *love* our formal wedding photos, I’m really happy that we were clear from the beginning with our wonderful photographers that we wanted to experience the day itself rather than take up lots of time with picture posing. Some of the best choices we made were to decide (before the wedding day) to limit the number of family/wedding party family portraits we wanted (seriously, it was: my parents & sibs, his parents & sibs, my parents, his parents, whole wedding party) and to decide (right after the ceremony) just to take the formal portraits nearby rather than traipsing off into a field for them. The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes. The pictures are beautiful, and we got to go back and join our families and friends.

        So, the short version is: ditch the couch in the field, or take those pictures before or after the wedding day!

      • meg

        It’s funny, while I love you Mark, I disagree on this. We have great photos of us both before the service and after the service (which our photographers got in 10 minutes god bless em). But we don’t use them, at all, ever. We know what we look like, we don’t need it framed.

        The photos we use are the real stuff: the service, our family, the dancing. Even the photo my parents have framed is us cutting the cake with my grandfathers saber. So… yeah. I’d argue that the least important pictures are the ones of the two of you, because there is nothing to do with them.

        But hey, good wedding photographers will give you ALL the pictures so you won’t have to choose ;)

        • http://LeahAndMark.com LeahAndMark.com

          ha. I see what you’re saying – but for some people, they will look absolutely amazing on their wedding day, and arguably, ‘their best’, nevermind how meaningful the day is to them because of that whole getting married thing.

          I would argue back that photos of the couple on their wedding day are Not the ‘least important’ pictures, and are in fact up there with some of the Most Important ones.

          BUT – it also depends on what those portrait pictures look like ;-)

          I hope I wrote that like a true wedding photographer. hahaha.

          • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

            I am going to agree that I am very much looking forward to the pictures of the two of us. We’re not really picture people. (I carry my camera around in my purse at all times for work stuff, but when it comes to hanging out with friends it never occurs to me to bring it out). After an 8 year relationship there is a serious lack of pictures of just the two of us (especially where we both look good). I don’t need a ton, but a few good shots of the two of us together is something I look forward to treasuring.

          • http://twitter.com/emilyrose423 Emily Rose

            Hmm. As a past LeahandMark client and general fan, I appreciate what you’re saying but I kind of disagree. My favorite pictures from our wedding (that you took!) are the moments, not the posed portraits. Some are of Ben and I, some are of random guests, some are of family members.

            Another little disagreement – I actually found the most important photo to me three months later is the traditional, boring, everyone-standing-in-rows family portrait that includes about 50 family members from both sides, looking a little stiff but mostly smiling. Why? It’s the only time we will EVER get that experience. We could go get photos taken of ourselves looking dolled up any old day.

        • Steph & B

          I’m gunna have to agree with Meg on this one. And maybe this is partly because I’m absolutely freaking out about my wedding portraits right now. We’ve only seen the select bunch that the photographer has featured on her blog and not the whole batch.

          But to be honest. I despise all but two of our wedding portraits together. One is from our day after session in the centennial mountains where I climbed a tree (when you’re in Montana, you may as well take advantage of the scenery) . And the other one is right after our ceremony. That’s not to say that the pictures aren’t beautiful. The colors, the lighting, and the scenery (all the jazz that makes photogs drool) are amazing. But those things had nothing to do with us and everything to do with where we got married. And we look absolutely nothing like ourselves. We are cheesy and awkward people with big huge awkward toothy grins. None of our pictures have these grins. And I mourn that loss.

          The pictures that I absolutely adore, however, are the ones with other people in them. And the candid ones where we are laughing and talking with our nearest and dearest. Unfortunately those are rare in comparison to all the awful vogue-type posy pictures of the hubs and me. And this makes me feel awful because I love our photographers and I love their work, but I hate our pictures.

          If you don’t want the whole shooty type thing, talk to your photographer. We did with ours, but our sit down talk about what we wanted was a year before the wedding. Be sure to reemphasize that you don’t want photo shoots and stand your ground. Second there are always photographers that specialize in journalistic shots and that would help minimize the wedding cheese factor of wedding photography. And make sure to smile in all of your pictures. Even if you are told not to.

          • http://LeahAndMark.com LeahAndMark.com

            Ouch. I agree with you on that point. Despising your wedding portraits is definitely something that should be avoided at all cost. Whoa.

          • Amandover

            I’m gonna say that this is a very subjective issue, and personal to the couple. For me, I ADORE the photojournalistic shots. BUT we chose our location for the beautiful natural scenery surrounding it, and on the day, it was drizzling. So we moved the ceremony inside and put up plastic sides to the dinner pavilion. This all turned out very nicely, but the only shots we have of us in that gorgeous scenery are the portraits. That image of being dressed up on a wooded riverbed is what I always dreamed of, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

          • meg

            Seriously… our wedding portraits are AMAZING, and I still think they are the least important pictures. So maybe you’re not missing as much as you think ;)

          • Steph & B

            I think I’m just worried because there are so many wedding portraits and I’m worried that there aren’t many of the candid and family shots that matter.

            But once again this might just be the kind of pictures that our photographer wants to advertise. I wasn’t this neurotic about anything while planning the wedding. I guess this is karma for feeling kind of smug about that fact. So now I’m just going to obsess over our wedding pictures until I see all of them. Because, you know, it’s a wonderful use of energy to worry about something that you have no control over.

          • Steph & B

            I would just like to apologize if there was any kind of misunderstanding about what I said above. Especially to whomever replied to my post earlier this morning (I don’t see it anymore, so maybe it was removed).

            First off, I do feel incredibly fortunate to have had the photographers that we did. They have been absolutely wonderful to us. And this is probably why I’m so upset (read: guilty, very very guilty and ashamed) that I don’t like our portraits. Because I love/adore our photographers as photographers and as people. This dislike has absolutely nothing to do with our photographers and everything to do with us. We freeze up in front of cameras and we should have reminded our photographers of this fact. And part of me is paranoid that we ruined some wonderful shots for them.

            I shared this experience because Siobhan originally had asked what we had to say about our photography experiences and keeping our wedding from turning into a photo shoot. I thought perhaps my experience would weigh in with Meg in that the glamor shots, while beautiful, aren’t the pictures we always end up cherishing (for some people that is).

            In no way did I mean to sound disparaging toward those who want extended portraits. Nor did I mean to insult Leah and Mark AT ALL (who weren’t our wedding photographers so sorry if it came across that way). Their work is wonderful and beautiful, and given the fact that they are fans and supporters of APW, they are without a doubt wonderful and beautiful people as well.

            Once again, I am very very sorry if my anxiety was misconstrued as negativity or ungratefulness. This was not my intention at all. And I really truly am sorry if I needlessly upset or offended anyone.

          • D-fly

            Steph, I did misinterpret this when I commented earlier, and I am very sorry. I really should have read that through better before coming down so hard. I thought that you where both naming and publicly putting down you photo before seeing all the images. I now realize I was way off, so sorry.

          • Steph & B

            Well, I’m glad that we worked that out. I shall have to work on my clarity and my rhetoric. :)

      • Caroline

        Like Hannah, we didn’t spend a whole lot of time between the ceremony and reception taking our wedding portraits, but I’m really glad we did. It wasn’t necessarily about looking our best, but hey, fancy lenses did help. And really, just having a photo of us that wasn’t a self portrait with a crappy timer or my husband’s not-really-long-enough-arm was a nice change. Sometimes its nice to have a couple fancy pants shots of yourselves, along with the candids, even if you are not necessarily going to make canvas art of out of them.

        Also, there was snow. That melted the next day. And I would have been pretty sad if we didn’t take a couple shots together on the ACTUAL day, when it was pretty and Narnia-like, rather than gloomy and mudpit-like.

    • Marina

      Designate a friend/bridesmaid/relative/whoever to make sure you eat and drink water. That should be their only task. It doesn’t have to be only the food served at the reception, although it should include a few bites of that. (I ate far more leftovers the day after my wedding than I did at the reception. And it was yummy.) Have some food on hand that you can eat without utensils, has protein, and isn’t messy. Cheese, pre-made nut butter sandwiches, hardboiled egg, granola bar, whatever. You may not get a chance to eat more than a couple bites at a time, so make sure to have it available at multiple points. And if absolutely nothing else, DRINK WATER. Lots of it.

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    The “photo shoot on a different day of the wedding” was really popular in Russia, at least in Moscow. When I was there I kept seeing TONS of bridal parties all over town at different monuments, parks, etc and someone who lived there finally explained that they weren’t all getting married that day – they were just doing photo shoots!

  • rachel

    Amen to letting things go and letting our friends take over! I was laid off a month before my wedding and chose scrambling to find a job to come back home to after our honeymoon over wedding planning and preparation. The week of our wedding was crazy and chaotic as I began a new job and attempted to direct family and friends in the myriad of projects yet to be done. My biggest “letting-go” moment was handing over a box of supplies and some vague directions the morning of the wedding to some dear friends who agreed the day before (when I realized who the crap was going to meet the caterer and decorate?!?!) to decorate the park pavilion where we were having our reception. When we showed up after the ceremony, the place was gorgeous- they totally went above and beyond what I imagined it would look like and tossed some of their own creative ideas in as well. I’m still incredibly full of gratitude for their last minute rescue and how beautiful it all looked. Letting go is a good thing :)

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      ditto this, hugely. i’m type-A and a crazy anal perfectionist. not everything was set-up the way i would have wanted, but it was set up by my FRIENDS. these people cared about me so much that they spent hours putting 800 tealights onto tables. that’s much more moving than the perfect placement i had envisioned.

    • Steph & B

      After talking with a good friend about my wedding when we got back, she very wisely said: “Weddings are really about the art of letting go.” And really she is one hundred percent right.

      The day of the wedding, I sequestered myself off with my bridesmaids. The day before the wedding was stressful. I had not only planned a wedding day, but a wedding weekend for 45 of my nearest and dearest. And when you bring together several different families there is bound to be drama–old and new. By the day of, I was over all of it, so I hid. I went down to the main reception area once after I realized that I didn’t have seating assignments for dinner and saw that my wonderful husband had taken care of EVERYTHING. All of my DIY decorations had been beautifully placed and arranged. The tables were set up. And some of our family friends were stringing up our escort cards.

      I grabbed a PB & J and went back to cabin where my maid of honor played with my hair and my mom told me stories about her wedding day. BEST DECISION EVER.

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

    if your photographer wants to do couches in a field, make it for another day. i would feel super rude asking my family to stand around while we rearrange the furniture just-so. photos are a pain-in-the-butt in an already busy day. keep that ish as quick as possible.

    as far as greeting everyone- alyssa is so right about the “let. it. go.” people who have been married KNOW what a busy day it is (and sensible people who haven’t been married usually have the idea, too). people who criticize a wedding are usually looking for something to criticize, in my experience- unless, you know, you serve the food 2 hours late.

    we didn’t do a receiving line, but something with a similar idea. we “dismissed” the rows. like, you know how you have ushers? and they cue your row to leave? josh and i walked through the church and did that. it felt more personal and less forced than a long-behind receiving line, and we got to say hello to each and every person.

    • http://www.brianasnyderphotography.com brianasnyder

      We did the same thing as Liz–dismissing everyone–and it was so wonderful! We exited, took a few minutes to ourselves while the music played, then came back in and dismissed our guests row by row. It was so nice to get to hug everyone we loved right after the ceremony! We didn’t have to stress about it at the reception, and I felt so connected to everyone, hugging our family and friends while I was still wiping away happy tears (and some of them were too!)

    • AnotherCourtney

      I think the dismissing rows idea is GREAT for a small-ish wedding. It’s definitely personal, and you’re right about sharing that immediately-after happiness with everyone.

      However, the only time I’ve actually been a guest at a wedding where this happened, it was the largest wedding I’ve ever been to. They had over 200 guests, and we were sitting in the back half of the ceremony set-up (not even the very back!). It was one LONG wait until the couple got to our row to let us leave. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if one of the girls with us hadn’t been planning to dash off to the restroom as soon as the ceremony was over, but we all got a little squirmy, and we felt guilty for taking more than a second for a quick hug in respect for all the people who were still patiently sitting behind us.

      So, small wedding = awesome idea. Large wedding = probably not the best option.

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

        which makes me wonder if weddings still generally do the ushered-out-by-rows thing? because my thinking was, it’s going to take a long-ass time ANYWAY, whether i do it or the ushers do it, so who cares. at least i’m not having them wait to be ushered out and then wait again to shake hands with every member of my family and bridal party.

        alyssa, do you know?

        • Noemi

          Personally, for our wedding, there were a lot of people, and I knew we did not want to stand in a receiving line, greeting everyone at the door on the way out. As a minister’s daughter, I usually do this every Sunday with my family anyways, and I knew my husband would be very shy and uncomfortable giving/receiving hugs/kisses from so many people! We did our best to greet people at the reception, and my husband and I did stand in the receiving line the next day at church. Then we had a little bit of food in the social hall afterwards, and I got to really talk to my “church-family” in a more relaxed way.

          So, the day of the wedding, we walked down the aisle, waited for the rest of the bridal party, and snuck out through the social hall exit of the church, then re-emerged at the front of the church for photos. The parents did do some sort of receiving line, since some of them thought it was absolutely necessary.

          And as for the dismissing of rows? We didn’t have ushers, and most of the guests were from our congregation already, so they knew the drill– rows closest to the front empty first, then all the way down the line to the back row. They definitely were fine with this kind of self-direction, plus, if anyone had to sneak out to the bathroom, they could exit out of the side of the pew instead of into the center aisle.

          • Moz

            As a singer who has had to make more than one fast escape from a wedding after my job was done – believe me, if you need to get out, you can.

        • http://www.kindofamess.com Alyssa

          You know, I have NO IDEA. At my wedding, and every wedding I’ve been to, you just stand as the bride and groom leave and then everyone files out afterwards…
          I should research this…..

        • Marina

          Um, I didn’t have ushers, I had a parade…? But it totally wasn’t a church wedding, so… probably not what you were asking at all…

      • Steph & B

        Another way to get time with your guests if you have a small wedding is to serve your guests dinner. We didn’t really dismiss any of our guests. We just kind of pooled around the chairs for family portraits (a plus to having an outdoor wedding) and hugged anyone who was nearby.

        We left it to everyone to wander down for drinks and small appetizers (aka cheese and crackers). We met them there after 20 mins. Did our toast. Crept off and surprised everyone by serving them dinner with some of our wedding party.

        Three pluses to this: We got to wear cute aprons that also functioned as bibs. We didn’t have to pay caterers to serve food. You get to see all of your guests and give them their food.

        It took the six of us 20 minutes to serve 45 guests (the caterer plated the food for us). We gave them their main plate of food, a baked potato, and poured them wine. Our caterer says that it takes about 45 min to serve a 100 guests. And as long as you have a few people to help you out and are organized, it’s not too big of a deal. Of course if you have a big fancy formal meal with lots of courses, this could be problematic.

        • Marina

          Oh wow, that is a super sweet idea! I love it!

  • http://theambershow.net Amber, theAmberShow

    The thought of going around to every table made me want to hyperventilate, so my new husband and I stood at the doorway between the cocktail hour and the reception and greeted everyone as they walked in (while the band played the Cissy Strut! Super fun!)

    It left the traditional receiving line time (immediately after the ceremony) for us to hide away one-on-one and have an “OMG we just got married” freakout/love-fest/champagne toast, saved us from doing the “AND NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME AS HUSBAND AND WIFE…” thing wherein the bride waves her bouquet in the air while everyone hollers (soooo not my style *shudder*), and we got to see each everyone at least once.

    • RAS

      I really like this idea of greeting everyone between the cocktail hour and the reception rather than doing the more traditional receiving line or having to remember to do it during the reception. It totally makes sense- thanks!

    • Noemi

      Just had to find The Cissy Strut on You-Tube– and it sounds so awesome! I can just picture my guests being compelled by the awesome beat to strut into the reception hall like they’re straight out of a 60′s hipster film. Cue the big hair and the flowy clothing… very Austin Powers. Yeah Baby! :-D (I apologize if I got the era completely wrong!)

    • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

      Oh, man, I so also want to avoid that announcement moment where I’m supposed to wave my bouquet in the air. We’re getting married in December, so our intention is to have folks with candles stand outside the church for perhaps two minutes while we walk out and go to our car, and then we will be first to the venue (with a photographer) and do a receiving line there.

    • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

      Cissy Strut, FTW!! Great song choice!

  • Carly S

    Cross-Country Control Freak– What if you decide on the details that are most important, and try to create some sort of mock-up/ example and take pictures to give your friend? Like the cake table, or centerpieces, or whatever. That way she knows what your top priorities are, and exactly how you want them to look. The other things can just be a bonus!

    • Marina

      I honestly think if you want something to look a certain way, you should pay someone to do it. Or get someone who shares your aesthetic and will enjoy doing it to do it. If you don’t want a friend to put their own creativity and thought and love into a task, why are you asking them to do it? I would worry that I was treating a friend like… well, like a vendor. Someone that’s there to do a task for me and that’s their only importance to me.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    Re: Friendors–think long and hard. If they do this professionally and you’re paying them, okay. But if they just volunteered to do it, you end up taking what you can get and being grateful for it.

    I just had some people really pull through above and beyond, and some fail so hard that it’s still eating at me a tiny bit. My advice, that I wish I’d listened to, is that it’s not worth saving the money if you can’t handle it being done very very wrong or not at all.

    The decorations were something that people really really pulled through on. It still makes my heart warm to think of.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      Good advice, Jo. And if you’re walking the line between friendor and acquaintanc-or (or whatever that word mash-up would be), think really REALLY hard about it. They may be cheaper than a “real” professional… but you will probably get what you pay for. Which might be okay with you, but if you leave out any kind of contract and things don’t end up how you wanted them, well, then you’re pretty much up a creek without a paddle.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        And you might decide that acquaintance-or is not worth it. I’ve known several people who’ve lost friends over having them be a friendor.

        • Amy

          I’ve seen the “friendor” thing go horribly wrong for friends of mine recently. Hiring a friend/semi-pro photographer for your wedding day when they’ve already screwed up your engagement pictures just because you feel bad about hurting their feelings is not the best idea.

    • http://www.songforyouevents.com Kris

      Yeah, I think the key is finding friendors who have professional experience already. I love being able to help my friends pull off insanely original true-to-who-they-are weddings in a way that comes from really knowing them and understanding who they are (I mean, playing meditation chants at the wedding of my friend who leads a meditation group…that’s a no-brainer for me, maybe not so much for the DJ dude randomly found on Craigslist). But just because you’re close, doesn’t mean they know how to work with clients, get ish done and take care of what you need. But if they are good at way they do, trust their work and take it seriously enough to pay them something. If you’re just looking for the hook-up, you’re probably not looking for quality. I’ve already decided that when my partner and I have our big day I’m asking a few DJ friends who can split the job (and they’re all gonna get paid) – because I want to support them but I also want them to enjoy the day. Being “on-duty” the whole time at a wedding where you’re also a guest is a drag. So remember, if you’re using a friendor, find a way to make sure they have a good time AND get the job done.

      • Marina

        This! I hired (and paid) friendors because I wanted to support their business as well as having them involved in my wedding. For me, it was almost MORE important to pay friends because I knew how hard they were working to make money.

  • Aly

    About the “your wedding is not a photoshoot”- make sure EVERYBODY involved understands that concept. I was clear in that I wanted about 30 minutes of photos after the ceremony, and then I wanted to EAT. We did just my husband and I, bridal party, immediate family, a couple with my grandparents, done. But then, during the reception, my mother in law managed to get her parents ready for pictures (not an easy task as both are in poor health) and we happily obliged by taking a few pictures with them. When we got our pictures back however, we discovered that the photoshoot with the grandparents lasted a LOT longer than the time we spend there- his mom just kept bringing in other family member/friends to pose with them, insisted on taking multiple shots, etc. It must have occupied the photographer for at least 45 minutes. Granted, this was taking place during the dancing, so its not like people were starving and waiting to eat, but that time could have been cut in half and I would have loved more photos of people dancing and enjoying themselves.

    Moral of the story: tell everybody to enjoy that day and not get to distracted/focused on pictures!

    • Amy

      Our photographer asked us point blank during our last pre-event meeting “who is paying me? and “what (if any) family issues should I be aware of?”. Sounds crass, but after we explained that we ourselves were paying her and that there might be family members who wanted to treat the wedding as a photo shoot she felt more empowered to take only the posed portraits we asked for and spend the rest of the time doing the candid stuff we hired her for.
      She had apparently encountered many weddings where one pushy family member tried to control the photos and knowing who she could safely say no to allowed her to avoid spending time doing posed photos of each and every second cousin present.
      And maybe this is just my family – but it also helped to remind people to please not use their own point and click cameras to take pictures at the same time as the photographer. Its hard enough to get 10+ people to smile at the same time, trying to get them to do that when 4 other family members are lined up behind your photographer just makes it that much worse.

  • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

    For the first commenter, I’d just make really detailed timelines/call sheets (A Los Angeles Love recently posted a GREAT set), and then go to dinner with your friend to go over them. And ask her to tell you if she needs any additional help or instructions before the wedding. Maybe draw a diagram/layout of your venue spaces for a better visual aid. Good communication can solve a lot of issues.

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  • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

    I’m going to separate this comment into halves. The first is THINGS MELISSA WOULD HAVE DONE, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT AGAIN (or TMWHD,GTOTDI) & THINGS MELISSA DID DO, THANK GOD FOR APW (or TMDD,TGFAPW)

    TMWHD,GTOTDI
    1. Scheduled “day after” photos. We spent maybe 10 minutes snapping away after the ceremony, and hurried through them so we could eat (private dinner) & join the party. Our reception was only 3 hours long and we wanted to make the most of it. While I love our photos, my favorites are NOT from the set of photos we took after the ceremony, save for a few. I would have liked more family shots and more time spent on them, but the few that I do love, I treasure. Nonetheless, we look most hurried in the photos because we kept saying “OMG WE NEED TO HURRY. I’M HUNGRY.” So. There is that.
    2. Had a receiving line. A handful of people couldn’t stay for the reception, but we were so busy hurrying through pictures, I didn’t get to see them (see above.). And by the time we hit the reception, I just wanted a glass of wine and to dance with my new husband and all my friends. And damn it, I did and had a blast. I didn’t get to see everyone or talk to everyone – I completely missed all of my husbands work friends, save for one who made it a point to come say goodbye to me. I kind of felt guilty, but let it go fairly quickly. It’s a wedding. People are busy. A friend told me shortly after, “People know if you want to talk to the bride, you have to go do it yourself.” Now you can spin that however you like, “etiquette this or that”… but I think a lot of people acknowledge this. Any wedding I’ve been to, I made a point to go say hi, hug, off I go to party. Most of my friends are the same. If guilt is still slapping you around, follow Alyssa’s sound advice & set up a coffee date afterward to catch up and thank them for coming. Do not feel guilty for enjoying your wedding. NO NO NO.

    TMDD,TGFAPW
    1. I made the conscious decision to let sh*t go. This wasn’t easy, I’m a control freak (Hi, my name is Melissa……). BUT. In reading the copious amounts of grad posts a month prior to my wedding, I realized that a lot of the things I was stressing about didn’t matter. And yeah, it took a while to sink in, but it absolutely did. I may have had a mild panic attack the day of, but when I was taken on a tour of our venue to see the set up, I felt a huge sigh of relief and got very excited. BECAUSE OF those posts, I decided to nix heavy duty DIY decor & favors. It doesn’t matter unless you want artfully done shots of THINGS instead of PEOPLE HAVING FUN. My mom & I spent the last month hitting garage sales for eclectic, sort of vintage-y, pearl & funness items, old books, etc. We put them all in a huge box, gave them to the people doing decor & said “make it look like THIS”. That’s it. We gave them a theme – & they delivered in a big way. Especially because I had very minimal expectations about what it was to LOOK like. I just knew what I wanted it to kind of FEEL like.

    Truthfully, the only time I looked at those tables, etc was when I peeked before the wedding. After that? Not one bit. It. Doesn’t. Matter. Now is a great time to make this your new mantra & enjoy the wedding. I wish I had grasped on to it sooner.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      I love this comment.

      • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

        Ha! Thanks for making it through my novel ;)

    • Christa

      Me too!

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

    I have two thoughts:

    1) Friendors – a friend who has just started a wedding invite business did custom invites with us and she was AMAZING. But she’d been doing graphic design work for a while and knew exactly what was involved and how to do it. But for the friend day of coordination stuff – we had a friend coordinate decorations for us with about 75% success. I think unless the friend has experience running events somehow (even if it’s just stage managing a show in college), you might want to think about setting aside the money for a professional.

    2) Visiting – I felt so. guilty. that we couldn’t visit everyone at the wedding and in hindsight, the way we visited tables was all wrong (and my idea. YAY). I figured we’d sweep up one side of the room and down the other, not realizing that this put family & family friends at the very end of the list. We never actually made it to that end of the room. If I had to do it again, I would have started with them first. (And worn different shoes, but that’s a whole ‘nother post)

  • Abby C.

    Oh, my feelings are all over the map on this one. First of all, thanks Alyssa for mentioning that, as a guest, if you really want to talk to the couple, go DO it. The couple is probably a little overwhelmed with everything and I always give them the benefit of the doubt. I always make sure I give them a big hug before I leave, too. (Sometimes this has involved ninja-like stealthiness to duck in when the bride is free so that I don’t interupt other people.)

    Regarding photos, though, I think this is why First Look is a great idea. You get the best of both worlds – time to do whatever artsy photos you want without taking away from your guests, plus you can join your guests as soon as the ceremony is over, so you can really enjoy your cocktail hour sipping beverages and chatting with your favorite people before you sit down to eat. Or, if you’re not having a cocktail hour, then you can feed those hungry people straightaway! I personally really do want some artsy photos, and I also want the chance to spend some quiet time with my FH alone before the stress and bustle really sets in, so First Look works for us.

    What about friendors you actually pay? We have a friend who is a burgeoning photographer. She’s been launching her business over the last year (I’ve been trying to get her to be a sponsor of APW!) and we really respect her work. We also are pretty insistent on paying her what a going rate for a photographer would be around here, because we feel she deserves the respect and reward of the professional she is. We’re getting a contract with her, as well.

    • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

      I hired a friendor photographer, signed a contract with her, paid her, etc. It was a great decision on our behalf because we loved her work and knew she would be completely professional and easy to work with. Hiring her was one of the best decisions we made.

      If you’re going to hire a friendor, just make sure you feel the same way about his/her work, references, business practices, etc. that you would feel about any vendor you would pay. Remember that on the wedding day they are a vendor who you are friends with.

      And agreed on your first comment. The people I ended up talking to at our wedding were the people who approached me. I wish more had done so.

  • http://www.accidentallyyours.wordpress.com Novice Wife

    On visiting – we adopted a suggestion I saw somewhere (whoops, for not being able to give recognition) and we physically moved our chairs from table to table during dinner, eating a course or half of a course with each table. We actually made it around to all the tables, got to have some complete conversations, and managed to eat too! Win, win, win!

    The downside is, I would imagine this only works if you have a small(ish) wedding – we had about 8 tables to visit.

    • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

      We had twice the number of tables, but also a really long dinner (ten courses, as is traditional in Chinese culture), so we managed to make it all the way around the room, too. At least half the tables had some dear friend who fed us off their own plates while we were all chatting. I think because it’s such a common saying/cliche now that the bride and groom never get to eat at their own wedding, our friends were super proactive/protective of making sure we got some food. I was *stuffed* by the end, haha!

  • SMW

    With regards to the greeting guests part:

    We *definitely* missed greeting a lot of our guests. We chose not to do a receiving line b/c we think they’re awkward. Well, turns out it’s kind of hard to take initiative and go up to tables where you don’t recognize anyone and thank them for coming….? Also it was 150 people! Every time I turned around I got stopped by someone who wanted to chat with me about my job or dog. C’MON, PEOPLE!

    Anyway, I had major major guilt about people I thought of later who I hadn’t acknowledged. Gradually I’ve gotten more perspective on it and for those who are truly important to me, I’ve made a point to attend their events (when I might not have normally) or made sure to send them the first thank-you card. Just little things but it made me feel like I wasn’t just hiding from the issue. I sent emails to a few people just to say thanks and apologize for not having a chance to talk. Everyone reacted 110% perfect about it. They understand! It’s a crazy crazy day…

    • Aly

      We did the greet-people-by-table-at-the-reception, with 160 guests, and I totally feel you on the taking-forever and awkward-conversations thing. For anybody else who wants to do this, here are my suggestions: Have some totally lame, but simple, talking points to bring up with the tables of people you don’t know at all. We talked about the good weather (outdoor wedding and reception) and about my dress (it was short. people loved it.), which got boring over and over for us, but not to the people we were talking to. Second suggestions: spend more time with people you know are going to leave early. We talked to older folks and those from far away for the longest, and at the tables of friends we basically said “hi, thanks for coming, we’ll talk to you more on the dance floor later” and moved on so we could cut down on time. Nobody complained!

    • Amandover

      After my dad told us about feeling snubbed by a couple that didn’t circulate tables, we made a point to do so. But the great part was that we had props: our favors! It gave us an excuse to visit every person, and then a visual cue that we needed to move on to everyone else. It also made sure that everyone actually got a favor, and we could explain that it was a CD of us singing/playing love songs. I highly recommend the “favor delivery” method.

  • amysee

    I am just floored by the idea that someone would give anyone “feedback” on their wedding. I’m sure this particular mother in law is really a lovely woman and this was meant to be helpful, but honestly.

    It also surprises me how people can leave without saying goodbye to the bride and groom! I don’t know where I get the idea that this is what you’re supposed to do (well, I probably got it from my mother- “noIdon’tcarehowmuchyouwanttojustleaveshe invitedyoutoherbirthdaypartyyouaregoingtosaygoodbyeandthankyourightnowthis instant”), but I feel like that is just the right thing to do. I never expect to actually spend that much time with my friends on their wedding day unless I’m in the bridal party, and that goodbye might be the only chance I get.

    (Also I think I’m a little cranky this morning. Probably not the time to be thinking about etiquette issues. :) )

    • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

      Agreed. Several people left from ours without saying goodbye, and I was a little hurt by it. Then again, I wasn’t able to make all the rounds, but why would you come to MY wedding, as a witness of OUR love and commitment, and not make an attempt to say hello? Or even goodbye?

      • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

        I have been to weddings and not said goodbye to the bride or groom, simply because I could see that they were very busy trying to chat up all their guests AND have a good time too. I felt it was more considerate to allow them the extra time to visit and whatnot without demanding more small-talk time with them. Most weddings I’ve been to, I saw the bride or groom in the receiving line and maybe had a 2 min chat and that’s it because they are SO overwhelmed. I don’t know….when I think about my wedding (4 weeks away!) I get anxious about trying to make sure everyone (all 190 guests) gets a piece of me or Craig. I want to be able to dance and have fun at our wedding without feeling guilty about not chatting up or saying goodbye to every single guest.

        • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

          I can understand that.. especially with large weddings. With smaller weddings, though? IDK.

          Then again, I did spend most of the night having a blast, dancing and whatnot. It only stung for a little while. But I won’t lie – at first, it did.

          • Noemi

            I actually read about that here first, the sting of having people leave without saying goodbye, or even getting a chance to interact with them. So, I was prepared. I did my best to go around and talk to people, and I was so grateful when somebody took a moment to say goodbye before they left. I mostly didn’t worry about it if some people left without saying goodbye, though this did mean that I missed a photo opportunity with my husband’s grandparents, who slipped out sometime after dinner unnoticed.

            One of my husband’s uncles, who I had met a long time before, when I greeted him by name before dinner, was surprised and said, “You remember who I am!” He definitely was happy to be recognized and treated like a member of my family– which he now is! That moment alone made me feel so glad that I did get a quick chance to go around to the tables and say hello to our friends and family.

      • Marina

        I was a little hurt by people who didn’t say goodbye at my wedding, too. Mostly because if you take the “wedding” part out of it, I would never leave a party without saying goodbye to the host, no matter how busy they were. But I got over it–I think most of them said goodbye to my parents instead of me or something.

    • http://hartandsolphoto@gmail.com Maddie

      Legit people will always be legit. Cranky-assed people will always be cranky assed.

      We somehow never made it to Michael’s grandmother during the reception. She still thinks our wedding was the best she’s been to. And she has like 20 grandchildren. You know why? ‘Cause she’s the bomb.

      You can only do your best. And there is no point in apologizing for that.

      • http://www.kindofamess.com Alyssa

        “Legit people will always be legit. Cranky-assed people will always be cranky assed.”

        Consider this phrase stolen. With credit given, of course.

  • Dori

    I would add two points about photography:

    1) While the wedding is not a photoshoot, it is a rare opportunity to get beautiful pictures of people who are rarely together in the same place, looking great. So the photos aren’t just documenting the day, but rather the way people are looking and interacting at a given point in time. We did about an hour of photos before the ceremony, and it sucked, but I know many friends and family members will be really happy to have the beautiful photos that resulted.

    2) Appoint a photo wrangler. One of my best (most “assertive”) friends volunteered for this. I gave her a list of shots and who would be in each one (e.g. couple, aunt x, cousins A, B, and C) and she corralled the relevant people. It helped a LOT and let the photographer focus on the actual photos (rather than the traffic control).

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      Weddings are the only times we have full group pictures of my dad’s family (my mom’s family is good about scheduling professional pics of the WHOLE family ever few years when a new cousin or spouse is added) so it is definitely worth it for me to spend a little bit of time tracking down everyone who is able to attend!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      This is very good advice:
      “Appoint a photo wrangler. One of my best (most “assertive”) friends…”

      It is very good to have someone directing people and making this grouping and arranging part clear and efficient. I wish we had had a specific list of all the family photos and who was to be in which ones, because we winged it and there were a couple we missed, inadvertently, and it would have been way better to have someone “assertive” directing it all from a pre-made list.

      I like doing that kind of stuff normally, but not on my wedding day. I wish I had been more organized in advance about that, but it was one of the things that got skipped during crunch time. I would say that it was not a great thing to choose to skip. Oh well.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        Definitely have a list of the photos you want, maybe even talk them over with the photographer and come up with an order so the wrangler knows what’s coming up without having to bug the photographer/bride.
        My sister had a very informal reception for her courthouse wedding and somehow I became the photographer (armed with my Godmother’s DSLR I did my best…which would not be good enough for me but she has been smart enough not to complain).
        It was really stressful trying to think of all the permutations on my feet (my family’s really into this…come to think of it I need to make a list so that we limit the absurd amount of combinations).

  • katieprue

    Feeling feisty today…

    You know what bugs me more than furniture in the field? F*cking bathtubs in the forest. What, you went hiking in your tuxes and found a hermit in the woods who also happens to collect vintage bathroom fixtures? I didn’t think so.

    • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

      Hahahahahahahahahaha

      I don’t care if it’s fiesty- you’re hilarious!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Hahaha! Though, oddly enough, there is an old bathtub in the tree-filled yard behind our apartment complex that has been there since we moved in last year and I have no idea why it is just there with grass growing around it…. Maybe we should go out and do a photo shoot with it. :)

      • Katieprue

        Don’t lie, you planted it there for future photo-ops. :-D

        Ridiculousness aside, my first thought on seeing a lot of these photos is, “She’s going to have a rust stain all up the back of that dress!” How DO they do it?

    • http://www.piecesofanna.com/ Anna

      I totally saw a photo of a bathtub in the forest while browsing for wedding dresses on Pinterest today. So, you echoed my thoughts exactly!

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    I’m a fan of the receiving line or dismissing the guests from the ceremony or the idea of greeting guests as they entered cocktail hour . . . it may be a little formal, but at least there is some eye-to-eye, physical contact with everyone. We did a receiving line because I’ve seen people visiting tables and honestly, I wanted to sit down and eat my freaking delicious dinner, just like my guests were doing. It can also be a little awkward, greeting people and chatting while everyone’s trying to eat. We visited a couple of tables, of course, especially for our older guests. We also made it clear to the photographer that we wanted to Smile, Shoot, and Scoot . . . which we did. Family photos and our private photos were taken after the ceremony, and we still made it in time to enjoy some of cocktail hour, where we mingled with our guests.

    Plus, I may have mentioned it to a few people that if they wanted to talk to me, they could find me on the dance floor.

    • Kristin

      As an alternative to the recieving line, we served our guests dessert. (Ice cream sundaes, so it got a bit messy) That way we got to say hi to everyone at our pretty large (150 people) wedding without it feeling too awkward.

      We also invited everyone to the “rehersal dinner”, which was really just a BBQ and to my parent’s place the next morning for breakfast. Not everyone took us up on the offer (and really we couldn’t handle that many people) but it was an extra chance to spend time with friends and family we don’t see often.

  • Jeannine

    hey cross-country control freak,
    knowing what you do now, that “friend b” while wonderful to help, might not be the best person to be the set-up consiglieri, why not break down the diy components into various tasks and divvy them up among different people? two people on banner duty, two people on centerpieces, etc. and at that point you can say to friend b, you’re my point person, but really i need you on task a and anything else is gravy, knowing that the primary responsibility for everything doesn’t burden just one person. this may be exactly what you have done, so i apologize if this is redundant to what you have planned, but i just wanted to share that initially i had one friend who was in charge, but as things progressed, it became easier for me to delegate/assign/ask for a favor of many different people beforehand instead of having everything go through one main “in charge” person. that is, we had about 15 people who helped in very small and very large ways the morning of the wedding and i know that having well-defined and actionable items for each person, instead of putting someone else in charge of delegating and deciding all of that on the fly, helped them help us out to the best of their abilities.

    and yes, becca’s example on alosangeleslove was a total light bulb moment that i stumbled about a week before the actual wedding. definitely an excellent resource is you have a mix of friends and vendors and how to pull that off.

    and, as many people have said so far, yes to letting go the day of and letting whatever comes about surprise you–my experience was looking around in wonder thinking, man this is totally beautiful beyond what i had envisioned, even though there were a few things where i thought, huh, i guess that element was unnecessary or fell kinda flat, whatevs. i don’t want to sound dismissive of your diy concerns and set up stress because it is stressful to hand off the final execution of your work to others, but i do think that the wedding endorphins will make you see whatever final shape your projects take with a very generous and happy interpretive perspective.

  • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

    We didn’t have a receiving line, because it didn’t work with out venue at all, so during the dessert reception, we worked our way to every table. (Our families do dance, but are always more focused on visiting. And drinking.) It took a while to introduce each other to our huge families, but it work, and by the end of the night, I could at least identify half of his aunts and uncles and a dozen cousins. (HUGE family.) And had some really great conversations with people. Everyone were good about it – it was clear we were taking the time to actually TALK to everyone. Though, at one point, a trio of his cousins came up and told us that we’d been taking too long to get to their table and they wanted to meet me already. Which sounds kind of rude on paper, I guess, but was actually pretty funny and sweet, and very his family. I think it worked so well in our case is that everyone basically was on the same page: wanted to meet the new family member, wanted to chat, wanted to drink, wanted to dance.

    And anyone we didn’t talk to enough? Understood. There were 150 people there and only so much time. But there will be future family functions where you’re not the centre of attention and then you’ll have time for more talking. (At one of David’s cousin’s weddings this summer, I think I talked to almost everyone, and ended up in some great, long conversations with at least a dozen of his cousins. And danced like a maniac.)

    • Noemi

      Exactly the point about other family weddings! I didn’t meet my cousin Adam’s new wife at his actual wedding (I didn’t even know until years later, looking at fb photos that she had worn stick-on rhinestones on her forehead), but since then, at other family weddings? I have gotten to chat, laugh, and get to know her. I love the happiness, joy, and coziness of a family wedding!

  • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

    I am surprised by how many people are saying that photos are annoying! Perhaps it’s just our photographer who is totally rad, but getting photos done, in my opinion, is a really fun part of the day.

    Our photog is a friendor (she was recently dubbed one of the top 30 wedding photogs in Canada by Wedding Bells magazine) and I was nervous to ask her to do our photos because I didn’t want her to feel obligated to give us deal. So I sent her an email and said we’d love for her to be our photographer and this is what we want done (photos of the ceremony and formal shoot to follow and then come to the reception as a guest- we will have various friends and family designated for certain shots we want at the reception). She was game and gave us a phenomenal deal. Consequently, we are doing the family/friend shoot at the ceremony location immediately afterwards and then hopping in our rented SUV to go to a location of our photog’s choice for the formal wedding party shots. Since our wedding party is quite small (6 of us plus 2 flower girls) we’re looking forward to it as time spent with our wedding party. Plus getting photos taken by an unreal photographer is so fun!

    As for the receiving line, since we are doing a private family dinner followed by a cocktail reception, we have chosen to have our MCs announce that after the cake cutting, the bride and groom will hand out cake as part of the receiving line. That way, we give everyone the opportunity to come up and greet us and we give them cake- yay!

    We also have a TON of friends (non-pros) doing our music, flowers, decor set up, videography, etc etc and I have very little demands or expectations about it- I trust that they will all do wonderful jobs, and to be honest, their help means more to me than the perfection of their work.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i guess what i meant was that in light of the REST OF THE DAY, those photos are no fun.

      i loved our photographers and i’m the nerd who has framed photos of her own wedding all over our house- me and the husband kissing under this tree, staring into each others eyes, etc.

      but it was hard to want to devote much time to that all when i was getting EFFING MARRIED. aaaaaaah!

    • Sarah T

      Can you talk a little more about the private family dinner followed by the cocktail reception? Is the cocktail reception for everybody? How many people? I’m thinking of doing something similar, but my mom is freaking out about the friends who won’t be part of the private family meal and what they’re going to so. Except that none of my friends are complaining… Sigh.

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

        i’m going to butt in where my input wasn’t requested. (shocking, i know)

        we had a dessert reception for everyone and then a private family dinner. we had over 150 people for dessert and then 60 (i have a big family) for dinner. reasons why it worked:

        1. we didn’t have a lot of out-of-town guests, so there weren’t a ton of people left to fend for themselves in an unknown city.
        2. we had the dessert reception FIRST. so our guests weren’t left stranded for 2-3 hours between ceremony and reception. the family who were invited to dinner, just didn’t pig out on cake.
        3. we got things started midday. so dessert reception was at like 3ish i think. kind of a midday snack. dinner started around 7, i believe.

      • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

        Sarah,

        We are getting married on August 20 and we are doing a Private Family Dinner from 4:30-7:30 pm that is grandparents, parents, sibs, nieces, wedding party and closest friends (esp. those doing MAJOR jobs for the wedding like set up, cake, flowers, etc) maxing at 45 people. We also asked everyone except our grandparents, parents and wedding party to pay for their own meals…and we got a wicked deal at a locally owned Edmonton restaurant: $75 for the private room and $36 for a three course meal (soup/salad to start, entree and dessert & coffee buffet) which INCLUDES gratuity and GST (Canadian thing)). Our cocktail reception begins at 7pm with cocktails (we are giving 2 free drinks to every guest and free non-alcoholic bevies plus some cheese and cracker platters) until 8pm. At that point the wedding part arrives and our MCs announce us and we go right into speeches and the slideshow. We are doing a receiving line as we pass out cake and a lat night lunch (sandwiches and whatnot) at 11pm. I am THOROUGHLY pleased with this plan since we are both uni students full time and it not only allows us to invite 200 guests to the reception, but gives us the chance to spend some quality time with our nearest and dearest. Check out my wedding blog for more deets (click on my name). xo

        • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

          Athena,

          Wow, yours is really soon. I’m September 10, also coming up quickly! If you have time, could you email me at sarah@ my website (linked in my name)? I haven’t found anybody who’s doing something similar, with the gap between the ceremony and reception, and it would be good just to have some solidarity!

  • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

    I was just a friendor for a friend’s wedding. I made her cupcakes! I also picked up the small cutting cake, but I think that was more of a time optimism thing on her part (as in, she thought they’d have time to pick it up but realized they didn’t). It’s a good thing I picked up her cake, actually, because I went to the bakery the day before and discovered that the cake wasn’t supposed to be ready until right before the ceremony. Since it was small, I got them to move it back to a time when I could pick up the cake and still get all my cupcakes ready.

    Anyway, back to the cupcakes. I made 177 of them! And this was a big leap of faith on my friend’s part. I’d only ever made perhaps 48 cupcakes (two batches) prior to this. I didn’t originally agree to the large number; it just sort of kept creeping up, and I finally asked “how many people RSVP’d? I’ll do the best I can.” I have to say that I DID practice each recipe . . . but I didn’t practice one of the types of frosting. Cupcake types: funfetti with canned frosting (easy peasy), vegan chocolate with non-vegan vanilla buttercream frosting or powdered sugar, key lime with key lime cream cheese frosting, and raspberry with raspberry buttercream. I baked the cupcakes in Portland on a Thursday and took them up to Seattle for the Saturday wedding. And, yes, they stayed moist but that’s because I had great storage containers (cupcake carriers and an under the bed box).

    I feel supremely lucky that the cupcakes turned out amazing. I didn’t eat a single one while I was baking so that I would have enough cupcakes. I made key lime cream cheese frosting for the first time during the day of the wedding, and it worked out great. I learned how to use decorating tips the week before the wedding when making cupcakes for my engagement party. Overall, it took me 6 or 7 hours to bake and 4 hours to decorate. I made all the frosting and decorated at the venue. I wouldn’t suggest it for the faint of heart, but it was the best possible option for me, and I’m glad I did it that way. And, overall, I had TONS of fun and am so happy that I could be there for my friend.

    A caveat: I love to bake. And I still shouldn’t have been quite so slipshod, but I know little tricks to fix things if need be. And I was ready to sub in a type of frosting I can make with my eyes closed if need be. Oh, and I had contingency plans just in case all hell broke loose (sheet cakes from Costco).

    This friendor experience turned out really well, I think, but I am still awed that my friend placed that much trust in me.

    • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

      You’re awesome! Your dedication to your friend’s day must have meant SO much to him/her! I have a friend making wedding cake for me (3 bundt cakes and a slab cake) and already the amount of time, energy, money and thought she’s put into them is more than I could have asked for!

      I can see why you were trusted with that job! Kudos!

      • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

        Thanks! I know my friend loved it. She’s another APW lady ;-)

        I secretly think she trusted me because she knows I am super anal. haha. I actually did have to let a few things go when making the cupcakes and just enjoy the process. That helped me keep from melting down when we realized that a can of soda in the fridge fell on half a tray of frosted cupcakes. Whoops! Good thing frosting is easy to fix.

      • Seanie

        Leah is SUPER AWESOME. Don’t let her humbleness fool you…woman is a rock star :-D

    • Seanie

      …I just wrote this huge reply, and the interwebs ate it! >.<

      Leah did the most amazing job on our cupcakes, and I totally knew she could handle it. I think it also helped that I stayed flexible, with additional people willing to supplement with a few dozen here and there if need be. I didn't even have to really ask her if she could get the cutting cake, she just made it happen.

      And that's why I love friendors. They "just made it happen", to everything.

      80% of our wedding was friendored, and we wouldn't have had it any other way. We're pretty lucky though, because our community is just…like that. Our friends and family did anything and everything they could to make sure that everything was taken care of and that we got our awesome day. The only things that weren't friendored were the bouquettes/boutineers (done by the amazing Princess Lasertron!), the venue (Marysville Opera House), and the cutting cake (Hoffman's Bakery). Everything else, from the table decorations to the cupcakes, the officiant to the photographers, hosted pot-luck to the dj, wedding invitations to programs, everything was taken care of by friends or family who jumped up and said "I CAN DO THIS!".

      It was truly humbling and heartwarming to be surrounded by our community who all came together despite money, travel, and time constraints to make our amazing day happen.

      I <3 my Leah!

      • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

        Ah! My bouquets were styled after Princess Lasertron (loosely… at least in concept)! Except we DIY’d ‘em, because it was miles cheaper. Took more time (i.e. 4 months), but it was a very bondy-type experience.

        LOVED my bouquet. & I love that I still have it!

      • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

        thanks! Your massive amount of friendors was amazing. I was impressed. Not sure I’ll be able to pull off the same for my wedding, but we are going with local businesses, which does make me happy.

  • http://pixelfilmstudios.com Pixel Film Studios

    This might be the greatest wedding blog conversation…ever. Ever.

  • liz

    Our strategy for visiting our guests was to eat half a course (we had a salad, soup, and entree), then make the rounds. When we saw the next course being served, we returned to our table to eat. It allowed us to visit every table (15 tables, ~140 guests – although a few people were probably missed because they were grabbing drinks at the bar) and still enjoy our food. And I didn’t bitch anyone out due to low blood sugar.

    The phrase “your wedding is not a photo-shoot” was my motto. Granted, I get a little jealous when I see my friends’ bloggable shots of their silhouettes kissing at sunset, making a heart shape… but then I remind myself that my photographer didn’t ask us to leave the room mid-party, and therefore we didn’t miss it when the DJ played Don’t Stop Believin’ (like my friends did). And I fricken love the picture of us singing Journey to each other.

    • Amy

      What, you mean your videographer didn’t ask you to slow dance outside on a balcony to non-existant music just to get a good ending montage? No? Just me? Ok then.
      Ha – it looks fabulous on film, but it cracks me up every time I see it. Aww, how romantic, dancing alone outside by ourselves…to no music…with someone filming us…

  • besidethepoint

    We definitely were concerned about the greeting-all-our-guests thing, especially since nearly everyone was going to be traveling pretty far to our event. So instead of a rehearsal dinner, we had a “welcome” party the night before, to which all of our guests were invited. Just wine/beer and hors d’oeuvre. It gave us an extra opportunity to see everyone more casually and for them to meet each other. It was awesome to be able to greet our guests as they got into town and –as it turned out– thank them profusely for powering through a snowstorm to get there.

    Fortunately, it was easy to set up because we had it at the inn where everyone stayed, and where we also had the ceremony and reception. The inn also did all the catering, so it was simple to order the food/booze and space for the extra event. Also, our wedding party was only our siblings (3 total), so we didn’t feel we needed a rehearsal dinner, which would have kept us away from the guests who were arriving from far-flung locations.

    It definitely took some of the guilt/pressure off not being able to spend a lot of time with each person at the official reception. (I still feel a bit sad about not having more time, but we did our best)

    Anyway, I totally recommend this route…IF it’s not going to be a bear to do (i.e. booking a separate venue, hiring different catering, ratcheting up expense, adding complication for guests, etc.). Because the conditions were right for us, this ended up being one of the smartest things we did with our wedding.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i love this and it doesn’t even need to be a super-big deal. we did something similar, only we had pizza and beer and cheesesteaks. laidback and easy to plan (um, we called in the order an hour in advance) and everyone got to relax and see everyone else.

  • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

    Just in case any prop-loving peeps feel completely marginalized here, I totally love out-of-place pieces. Love. I’m even contemplating buying a clawfoot tub for our bottled sodas. AND our reception’s in a forest. THAT’s right. Tub. In a forest. And I love it.

    But my family throws parties like it’s our job. We’ve ALWAYS had unexpected items multitasking at events and we are incapable of smiling in un-posed pictures. So I’m making sure there’s a vintage couch and some other stuff in our couple-shot-location. When else do I get to wear a gown and pretend I’m a model with my inhumanly attractive partner? I’m not wasting my kick-ass photographer’s (Kelly P what whaaaaat) skillz with shots of just US. I mean COME ON. Also the items won’t go unused post-wedding, so it’s not a waste for us.

    If that’s what you want, and you’re not going to kill yourself making it happen, then do it. And then brace for Alyssa’s eye-rolling when she sees the shot of you two kissing on the CUTEST CHAISE LONGE YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE EVER.

    • meg

      Tub in a forest is fine. Chaise lounge in a forest is fine. Taking those photos when you should be at your reception *is not.* Guests do not come to your wedding to sit around while you do a Vogue photoshoot. You want to do that? Do it before or after the event. But during the party, be present with your guests and what’s happening, don’t have a photoshoot. That’s the point here.

      • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

        During the cocktail hour is really the only time that works in the scheme of our wedding. Trust me – I tried to finagle pre-wedding couple shots, but it couldn’t happen. We’re doing our GROUP shots before the wedding, but then we’re doing our (quick) couple shoot afterward. And everybody is being fed mad of them appetizers during that time. And then we’ll go hang out with everybody.

        Wasn’t side-stepping the point. Just making sure people who like pretty props don’t feel all alone in APW-land.

        • Stephasaurus

          I’ve been at weddings where photos in between the ceremony and reception took a little longer…it’s no big deal, really! As long as there’s a cocktail hour for the guests to enjoy. I always thought the point of a cocktail hour was for guests to have something to do/food to nibble on while the wedding party was off taking pictures. It always seems to work out nicely. :)

          • Ashley B

            I just hate the idea of missing my own cocktail hour for pictures. It’s getting to drink yummy drinks, eat delicious food and hang out with all my nearest and dearest. Or take pictures.

          • Stephasaurus

            Ashley – I’m not saying anyone should miss their cocktail hour! But some people value photos more than being at their cocktail hour. Others couldn’t care less about photos. I’m just saying that whatever they choose to do, it’ll all be okay.

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    To CCCF – Alyssa is spot on with the advice of choosing to let a vision go (or at least to let it be a little bit amorphous). One couple I know threw an AMAZING wedding. Like, belongs-in-a-magazine amazing. The pictures were gorgeous, everyone commented on how beautifully decorated the venue was and how thoughtful all the details were. But even now, more than a year later, I’ve heard the bride complain that her friendor DOCs didn’t set everything up *exactly* as she envisioned it and that the beautiful reception space that everyone else had oohed and aahed over was a big disappointment to her. I think that might be what we call “losing the plot.”

  • http://arduousblog.blogspot.com ruchi

    This post made me feel a little guilty: the feeding people on time thing.

    We can’t get married until dusk Saturday which means our ceremony in November won’t start until about 5:40. And then the service will probably be half an hour which puts us at 6:15 pm. And THEN they have to flip the room from the ceremony to the reception which means an hour and a half cocktail hour which puts us at 7:45 pm. And then the guests have to be wrangled back downstairs, and we have to do the hora and the hamotzi and by the time we actually feed people dinner I’m guessing it will be 8:30 pm.

    We’re having pretty heavy appetizers served at cocktail hour and we’re warning parents about the late dinner, but I’m a little worried nonetheless. Part of this is cultural too, for an Indian wedding, dinner at 8:30 pm is actually on the early side (I’ve heard of weddings where people didn’t get fed until 10pm.) But for our non-Indian guests, I’m a little worried that it will feel pretty late. But I don’t know what to do about it except warn people and have good appetizers.

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      Ruchi, I think that’s all you need to do. Maybe add something to the invitation about ceremony at X, reception to start at X, dinner to start at approximately X?

      Mostly, people can just deal with having to wait, but if you have folks who have diabetes/take medication/etc… it’s always good to make sure they know.

    • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

      I think as long as you get the word out (either via invitations, website, or word of mouth), you should be fine. I coordinated a wedding recently where the dinner wasn’t set to start until 9.15pm, but the couple had quietly spread the word beforehand and had substantial passed appetizers during the cocktail hour. I think most of the guests ate a snack before arriving at the 7.30 ceremony and while a few families with small children left early, everyone else was totally fine.

    • Emily K.

      We did the Hora right after dinner. I’d highly recommend it if you can. I think people are a lot more enthusiastic about dancing when they aren’t hungry.

      • http://arduousblog.blogspot.com ruchi

        Interesting. I’m going to propose it, but I think my fiance’s family feels strongly that after dinner, people are too sluggish from food to get into the true hora spirit. Sigh, sometimes there’s no winning.

    • Marina

      I think it counts as “on time” if you tell people what the time will be and then it’s at that time, no matter what the time is. :)

  • Cristina

    We were able to make it to every table to say hello, but I felt pretty frazzled and we only had 90 guests (11 tables). For a larger wedding, I would definitely recommend having a receiving line or greeting people as they enter. I tried to greet everyone during cocktail hour as well, but it was tough because people will always grab you for pictures, etc.

    For the slow eaters or lightweights out there, like myself, I have a few tips:
    * Eat the hors d’oeurves! You may end up standing for most of dinner, so at least this way you will have a base of food and not get more tipsy than you meant to.
    * Order something that is easy to eat. I am not a vegetarian, but I ordered the vegetarian option for myself because I knew that I would have an easier time eating ravioli than slicing up duck breast and creating perfect bites for myself. I am a painfully slow eater (according to others), and this allowed me to eat in the few minutes that we gave ourselves at the beginning of each course.
    * Just in case, make sure you go to the “most important” tables first. Of course all tables are important, but there will definitely be some that will notice whether or not you stopped by (e.g., your parents, in-laws, older relatives). These are also the same tables that are least likely to be enjoying the festivities (i.e., bar) too much to worry about this and are the most likely to leave a little earlier and have you miss your chance to greet them properly.

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

    A friend of mine did the videography at another friend’s wedding. It all came out well, but my friend told me later she felt like she missed out on her friend’s wedding because she was so busy trying to capture everything. Just another potential issue to consider when asking friends to be your vendors.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      YES. i meant to say this! close friends and family who will want to enjoy the day? let them enjoy the damn day. my mom kept insisting that she’d wash the dishes during the reception (i know, WTF, mom) and i flatly refused.

      • http://www.kindofamess.com Alyssa

        This is why I insisted on having a photographer and not have my photographer aunt take the pictures. (Besides, my photographer is stunning and I adore her.)

        I went to a friend’s wedding whose father is a photographer and he spent the whole time taking pictures. I know he got some AMAZING shots, because he’s just that good, but when the mother of the groom is dancing by herself during the family dance because the father is taking pictures, that’s just sad to me….

  • Diane

    While I don’t necessarily love having to wait for an hour or two as a guest between the end of the ceremony and the time that the wedding party arrives at the reception, I think it can be expected, especially if the reception occurs at a location that is different from the ceremony. People eat some appetizers and have a couple of drinks and it’s totally fine (I think that this is especially fine if invited guests are able to bring a +1). Personally, I love the pictures I took with my wedding party after the ceremony. It was sort of like a photo shoot, I guess, but it was also an awesome hour spent with our closest friends. As soon as the reception started, I felt like I was running around to get a “hello” in with everyone, and I didn’t really have any more quality time to spend with the wedding party. I really like the photos that my husband and I took together after the ceremony. Yes, we already know what we look like, but honestly, the photos show our “We’re married!”emotions on that day and how happy we were in that moment. Also, I felt like the time between the ceremony and the reception was the only time that my husband and I were really “present” with each other. The rest of the evening we raced around the reception hall greeting everyone else.

    • Stephasaurus

      I’m so looking forward to our “just us” wedding photos too! Yes, we know what we look like, but we’ll never look like that again — same exact emotions, a wedding dress with a snazzy suit, and married just a few minutes before the photos were taken. Those are beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime photographs.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Photos really depend on the culture surrounding the wedding. Definitely don’t ditch your guests to take them, and don’t make them wait for you. But the way we did it was take photos with our families and guests at the ceremony immediately following our noon-ish ceremony. And then the guests were free to go do what they wanted till the reception at six.

    His family went to their favorite family restaurant for lunch (moment of confusion when his mom thought we’d be joining them). My family went and found food somewhere and stopped at a one-hour photo to print one of the after ceremony photos so it would be at the reception. And we took the photos of just us.

    We got to our reception about an hour early to make sure everything was set up. And then we did the reception. Our photographer took photos during the reception but none of them were posed. And that’s just how ceremonies, receptions, and photos work in the culture surrounding our wedding.

    As for greeting guests, we stood at the door of the reception at the beginning greeting everyone. Our parents then found those people they knew but didn’t have to spend the night introducing themselves to half the guests who didn’t know them. I was NOT going to do a formal long receiving line that everyone had to make their way through like a viewing at a funeral.

    After cutting the cake, him singing to me, and us dancing, we walked around saying hi to those we’d missed who came in while we were doing that stuff, and then we sat down to eat before getting up and greeting people again. At least one of us said hi to everyone.

    • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

      Thanks for pointing out that what’s appropriate completely depends on the cultural context of your wedding. Almost every LDS wedding I’ve been associated with has done the photos after the ceremony followed by a couple-of-hours- to many-hours break before the reception. This is so standard where I come from (Arizona) that I used the same format for my non-temple ceremony, even though there was no real break between the reception and the ceremony (just enough time for people to drive through Tucson’s monsoon-flooded streets to the downtown reception location).

  • Rachel

    I wholeheartedly agree about couches in meadows, it is ridiculous and awkward. The same goes for picnics in meadows where they bring just a few pieces of fruit and some gourds. People that is not a picnic, that is you with some gourds in a field. Thank you for putting it out there.

  • Stephanie

    To Chaise or not to Chaise:
    My husband and I did our “bride-and-groom” photos two days before our wedding. That way we were able to relax more on the wedding day and spend more time with the immediate family and bridal party photos before the ceremony. The only photos we took between the ceremony and reception were the huge-extended-family photos. This schedule worked really well for us. I got the idea from a friend who said having her bride-and-groom photos two days before really helped her to relax on the day of the wedding, and she was right.
    I could see you being able to get the chaise photos you want with the immediate family before the ceremony. Best of luck with everything!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      We know people who have done that. But if we had done that we would’ve missed out on the blizzard photos that happened on our wedding day and instead would’ve had dreary dead autumn rainy photos.

      You do what works for you.

  • http://www.kindofamess.com Alyssa

    Work has kept me too busy to comment, but I did want to add that my husband and I did amazing, very artsy, photos at an abandoned building on our wedding day. But we did them AFTER the reception. And I would have LOVED to have beautiful artsy photos with my family, but that’s why I plan on using a certain amazing APW vendor in my parent’s area to take some family photos for us. (sans couches in meadows.)

    I didn’t want my snark to get in the way of the point, which is that your wedding guests and time spent with them and family should come first. Be a model another day, but on your wedding day, be a happy smiling bride who is too busy having the time of her life to pose for pictures. :-)

  • april

    Me and the Mister made it super clear to our rock-star fantastic photography duo that not only did we want the personal / family photos / staged shots to be lightning quick, BUT: we also wanted to attend our cocktail hour, have a tequila shot, and smooch and hug our friends. That meant no “vogue-ing”. At least not for long. Our photographers stole us away well before the ceremony and then immediately afterwards for super quick photo session of “YAY WE’RE MARRIED AND SMOOCHING BY THE OCEAN AS THE SUN SETS” Annnnnndddd DONE. I think we ran back to cocktail hour. And everyone was happy to see us and let out wild whoops, applauded and rushed to the bar to get us a drink. Those are the photos we framed, BTW. The cocktail hour with friends…

    So.Yeah. Your people want you to hang with them. The photoshoot can happen later. We’re planning the glam-a-thon picture fest for our 5-year anniversary in Paris (where we met). BOO-YAH! :D

  • http://www.thehandmadeevent.com Kari

    Okay, chiming in to the big crowd here, but I actually have experience as both a bride and a planner on these topics so have to put in my two cents.

    1. DIY stuff going out. This was really important to me on my wedding day. I had been obsessed (and worked like a dog) making lots of things. Umm, like everything that was used for my wedding, and when not everything went out (because of a tornado) I was really upset. Don’t be me. Here’s how not to be: A. try to let it go. Things will go missing (even if you have the best help in the world, sometimes a project gets locked in a car, sometimes it breaks while your mom is bringing it over, sometimes the sparklers get lost). It happens and if you just know that it isn’t the end of the world it helps. BUUUTTTTT B. sometimes you just really want those things (I did) and because it is important you have to make arrangements for them to come out. My problem is that I didn’t have enough help. Well, I didn’t have enough help that knew exactly what I wanted. I had willing friends and family, but I hadn’t given up control enough to give them an idea of how to set things up beforehand, and during they really just wanted to do a good job, but also wanted a drink from the bar and to talk to people they don’t see everyday.

    This is where hired help comes in. Not just trying to pitch myself (though, um, that’s what I do) but sometimes if you spend a lot of time, or energy, or money on something you want to make sure it goes exactly the way you want. A coordinator, or planner, or paid taskmaster is insurance that it happens. It may be the cost of doing business if you are worried about having this friend be responsible (though she might be great – just really prep her first, and since you aren’t paying her, be grateful that she is doing it for you. As my old boss used to say “A favor done poorly is still a favor” Perhaps she also is better prepared after the last wedding and it will all go fantastic.)

    2. I think that the greeting people between cocktail and dinner is an excellent idea! I used to think that receiving lines were stuffy and old fashioned, but I am on board with them now (maybe the royal wedding changed my mind?) My new favorite thing that a bride did to combat this problem: She had the photographer take pictures with the couple and each guest (or couple/family) as they came through the line and then when she wrote her thank you cards later, she included that picture. It was lovely and she made sure that she had a minute with everyone. Works better for smaller weddings, obviously, but can be done.

    3. Which brings me to photos. I am so over the thrifted furniture in the meadow, too. Also Mad Men themed shoots at airports or train stations. And I like vintage furniture and wear vintage clothes! It just seems so “put on” in a lot of cases. Certainly I wouldn’t have guests wait while you did it. You will look gorgeous on your wedding day – and your photographer will capture all of that. You can also look great during an engagement/love shoot (which I never really got behind until I started to know wedding photographers and they have excellent reasons for them – you get to know each other and feel comfy in front of the camera, and you aren’t on the same kind of time crunch). This is also why doing the family posed portraits – with a first look -may also be good. You get to spend more time with your guests and you don’t feel rushed trying to get “exactly” the picture you want. A bride I just worked with had a brilliant solution for a similar problem. She really wanted pictures of her with her little bridesmaids (her nieces). Very specific pictures and she knew that to corral the little girls would be an effort – especially on the day of, because they may be tired or wound up or cranky that day and she didn’t want to have to fight with that. So, she arranged with her photographer to do a shoot with her and the girls in their dresses the week before. The pictures look great – they had plenty of time and didn’t feel rushed – they scoped out the best places to take pictures the day of – and the bride was able to join her husband in actually attending cocktail hour. There is always another day (that doesn’t inconvenience guests or stress you out).

    • Liv

      But see, on that last point, those aren’t wedding pictures to me. Might be a good time saver, but still. Yes you’re in the clothes and at the place and everything, but I wouldn’t acll them wedding pictures or probably put them in the wedding album or anything.

  • http://weddings.anne-schwarz.com Anne

    I’m a wedding photographer and the people who hire me usually aren’t too keen on posing for photos for hours on end. And it’s totally understandable! Who wants to be dragged off into the woods and sit on a Chaiselongue or in a bathtub for hours while the party (and it’s probably the most important party of your life as well!) is happening elsewhere? Also, having to smile for an hour straight is actually quite painful!

    Anyways. From a professional point of view:

    If you don’t want a lot of posed pictures, hire a photojournalistic wedding photographer. I agree with Meg, all my couples love the unposed photos of them and their loved ones best and although everyone’s happy with their posed photos, in the end it’s about memories and not about playing dress up.

    Make a list of group photos. Discuss it with your photographer. Take into account that every photo will take about 4-5 minutes so if you want 20 different combinations that’s going to take a while.

    Appoint a ‘photo wrangler’ (love it!). I usually hand a list of group photos to the ushers or best man or someone who seems organised and let them herd people while I focus on getting good shots.

    And finally, make sure your photographer is friendly, relaxed and 100% fearless. You want them to be invisible, unpushy and agreeable, yet professional enough to keep everything under control… even your controlling mother in law!

  • http://www.jclawgroup.com/blog Jeena

    I agree with Anne’s comment about finding a photographer that is “friendly, relaxed and 100% fearless.” We had two photographers at our wedding – one hired, and another good friend of ours who is a professional photographer. Both photographers pulled double duty not only as photographers but as guests. I mean that in a sense both mingled, got to know the guests, and celebrated the happy occasion (and took pictures). We had the “first look” before the ceremony and got bulk of the pictures out of the way. There were pictures at the reception but none were posed. We also broke away for a bit during the reception for additional pictures but the guests ended up joining us for to see the beautiful sunset. It was easy for us because we only had 13 guests. I am sure this would not have worked with a larger wedding.

    Also, I totally agree with letting go of stuff that you can’t control. At my wedding, the flowers weren’t delivered on time and the caterer showed up late (with one man down). We only had 8 of the 16 menu items served. There were lots of other things that didn’t go perfectly – but you know what, it really didn’t matter. We ended up cutting lavender from our garden and used that instead of fancy table flowers. It also turned out 8 Tapas items were more than enough to fill everyone’s belly. I guarantee you, your wedding will not go perfectly according to plan. But guess what, nothing in life rarely does.

  • MamaMelli

    So I’m super-late to the conversation, but I would like to add that our post-ceremony shots took 2 hours. 2 FRIGGIN HOURS! Our photographers went bat-shit happy on us and just wanted to take photo after photo, and, being the bride and groom and all, we weren’t watching our watches. When they finally let us loose for dinner, we realized how long they had taken. That’s the one thing that really bothered me. I love all the pictures they got of us, but I wonder sometimes what people thought of us and the fact that we took 2 friggin hours worth of pictures while they waited to eat (not to mention that the poor caterer had to keep food hot that whole time).

    Just remember that, while you’re planning on photos taking a little longer, A- you’ll probably only end up throwing 1 or 2 of those photos that took an extra 30 minutes into your album and B- your Great-Aunt Helen in the wheelchair with the 7:30 bed time may not love being made to wait even longer for food.

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  • Heather

    Hello!

    I just got married and had friends and family in charge of venue set up. It was beautiful beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t believe what they were able to do and what they thought of. It was not what I planned – it was better. Even better is that it was family and friends. I can only hope they had a little bit of fun doing it.

  • NEWTIE

    I realize I’m probably a few days too late to get a lot of responses on this, but I have a question about greeting people & I’d love some opinions:

    My ceremony is going to be in an open space; there’s no real private place for me to “hide” or something as the guests enter and sit. I was thinking I’d like to greet people as they arrive — and while I might not be able to greet everyone as they come in, I thought it might make it over all more likely that I would get to see and talk to everyone before the day was over. But is that a crazy idea? I’ve never heard of a bride and groom greeting people as they enter the ceremony, so that makes me worry it’s just nutty.

    Also, I think if I’m saying hi to people, it might help me feel more grounded and less nervous than if I were cloistered away somewhere waiting for the music to start.

  • j.

    first time commenting here- apw is awesome!!! the bit about the photos of furniture in fields made me laugh out loud!

  • ellobie

    To Chaise or Not to Chaise… I get your frustration and I see your point. If this is something your fiancee rrrrrreally wants, though, I encourage you to help her figure out a way to accomplish it without having to delay dinner. If it still isn’t feasible, then I encourage you to put your foot down and scrap it.

    I am still really sad that we don’t have pictures from our wedding day of us walking through our neighborhood and taking the train to our wedding/reception spot. BUT it was redonk hot and would have been murder on our bridal party. Even if we had stuck to the plan just the two of us, my not-cheap makeup and hair would have melted and we both would have been a sweaty mess by the time we walked down the aisle. So I’m glad he put his foot down and nixed the walk/train part of our pictures. I DO wish, though, that I had realized how sad I would still be and had our photographers come back for a do-over after our honeymoon (hint: great way to convince your lady to push those must-have photos to a different date).

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