Ask Team Practical: Secret Details


by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical
Ask Team Practical: Secret Details | A Practical Wedding

Our wedding is coming up in May of this year, and the details are falling into place quickly. Each time that I talk with family and friends, they excitedly ask me about the details of the wedding: What is the band like? What is my dress like? What about the decorations? What will the food be like?  So far, I’ve been answering quite openly, sharing that we have a swing band, and we’ll have a photobooth, and so and so is going to sing this song during the ceremony, and we’ll have a campfire with s’mores after the reception…

But I’ve noticed that every time I open my mouth and share a detail from the wedding, I have this nagging feeling that these details should be kept secret from the wedding guests—that the whole day should unfold as a surprise for them. They will look on and participate with delight as the details of the day encapsulate and communicate who we are as a couple. And if I share the details with them ahead of time, it might somehow spoil their experience.

Looking for some wisdom from the APW community on this one. What should and shouldn’t be shared pre-wedding day?

Sincerely Hoping for Helpful Hints

Dear SHHH,

I’m going to burst some major bubbles for you guys today. Ready? Your guests don’t really care about the details. Most of them are coming to watch you get married. A few are coming out of a sense of obligation. And a few others might be coming because there’s free food. But nary a single guest is coming to your wedding with the expectation of being dazzled by a successive unfolding of your relationship as told in party form.

Not unless they read too many wedding blogs.

If someone is asking about the details of the wedding—”What are your colors?” and, “Will you have a first dance?”—it’s because they care about you and are showing an interest in your life. Not because they care about your colors. And if they do sort of care about your colors, it’s more in a, “Weddings are pretty! Let’s talk about weddings!” sense than any sort of hope of finding out the mysterious end to the romantic saga of your wedding day. It’s like when your friend asks what you’re wearing to that thing you’re both going to tomorrow. Is she really waiting with bated breath to find out whether you wear the dark skinny jeans or the black pencil skirt? Meh. It’s more like, I’m interested in talking to you, clothes are fun, let’s talk about your clothes. That’s the way with wedding details.

If someone asks more generally about the wedding—”Have you started planning?”—they’re probably trying to find out what kind of food you’ll be serving (s’mores bar?!) or if there’ll be an open bar. (I hate showing up to a cash bar without cash.)

This is real talk, my friends. The details are lovely. But they’re really for you guys as a couple, even if you’re picking them because you think your guests will enjoy them.

So, no. With those things in mind, no. The wedding won’t be ruined for your friends if you tell them about your swing band or your photobooth. You don’t need to caveat your wedding conversations with spoiler alerts. Your friends don’t care. In the best, most genuine and loving way possible—they really don’t care. Your wedding isn’t a show. Your friends love you and they ‘re excited to see you get married. That’s why they’re asking about your wedding planning, and that’s why they’re coming to the wedding.

Okay, that and maybe the s’mores.

*****

Photo by APW sponsor Gabriel Harber.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • Maddy

    I generally try and find out the colours so I don’t wear the same colour as the bridesmaids….it happened once and someone asked me if I was one. Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable experience and one I don’t want to repeat! I’m heading to another cousin’s wedding in 3 weeks and i’m glad I made myself well aware of the colours because it seems every dress ever is eggplant at the moment (winter in Australia, default colours for bridesmaids become eggplant, navy, red and dark green)

    • KB

      THIS – people should start putting this information on the invitation, like “Black Tie Optional – Bridesmaids Aquamarine.”

      • Maddy

        Damn right. Even trying to infer the colours from the invitation can be a disaster: WHAT!? YOU MEAN THE YELLOW ON THE INVITATIONS IS ONLY AN ACCENT COLOUR!?!?! WHO EVEN DOES THAT!??…..yeah…

    • Stephanie

      My dress, instead of being the expected white gown, is a deep lapis blue. I have shown a picture of my dress to pretty much everyone who will be coming, mostly because I love it madly and want to show it off, but I admit in the back of my mind, I want to make sure people know what color I’m wearing so that they don’t wear the same.

      • Caz

        Oh man! I’m doing exactly the same!! I’m going to be wearing green and even had a dream the other night that my beloved oldest friend (who is in fact designing and making said green dress) told me that she was making herself a dress to wear to the wedding from the same material! ARGH!!

        • http://asashaparty.blogspot.com Sasha

          I actually put in the dress code on the website that my dress would be light blue. I was okay with other people wearing light blue, because I was still going to be in the floofiest dress and have the veil and you know, be the one getting married, but I didn’t want anyone to feel awkward about showing up in light blue. And I also wanted people who wanted to wear white dresses to know that they could without it being a faux pas.

          And yeah, one of the first friend weddings I went to the bridesmaids all just wore whatever they wanted in the same color, and I was wearing the exact shad of blue, and kept getting things, like staff telling me it was cocktail hour because they thought I was a bridesmaid. Awkward.

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I did that once, too! They were all wearing different dress style, but the exact same hue of eggplant as my dress. It was awkward!

    • Lindsey d.

      Oh goodness.. I did this in March.. Even worse was that I was a plus-one and didn’t even know the bride and groom! I kept my shawl on all night to try and detract from the fact that I was wearing a navy one-shouldered dress, just like the bridesmaids….

    • Lisa

      I once almost wore pretty much the exact same dress as the bridesmaids. Luckily I was making small talk with a bridesmaid/friend at the bachlorette party (on Thursday) and found out what the bridesmaids were wearing. So I went shopping on Friday and bought a new dress to wear to the wedding on Saturday.

    • Diane

      I got married in late April. I loved seeing my friends and family in their fancy duds but I can barely remember what most of them wore. One of my cousins even wore ivory (which for me has always been a wedding faux pas) and I only know this because of looking back at pictures now posted on Facebook. I was in such a wonderful bubble of love and joy through that evening that unless someone had walked in wearing my exact dress, told me to my face that they had done so, and then announced over the PA that they looked better in it, I probably wouldn’t have even thought to care. Which isn’t to say it isn’t awkward to show up accidentally wearing something just like the bridesmaids, just that, with any luck, the bride and groom won’t even notice!

      • Kara E

        No kidding they won’t notice! Honestly, the only thing -I noticed- was that my new brother in law wore his tie with a tux shirt (with the funky points) –after I had made my brothers go get “normal” collars to go with their ties.

  • Martha

    I totally agree with Liz!!! And even if you wanted to surprise your guests, I don’t know that they can really picture your wedding in full based on just descriptions (unless they’ve been stalking your pinterest board).

  • KINA

    Agree! I love have had some very dear friends get married, but I’ve only asked about their details in the past if I felt like they would enjoy talking about them.

    • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

      I used to refrain from asking about details, which was honestly really hard for me. I love talking about weddings! But I always assumed that everyone asked and that the couple would be bored of talking about the wedding. Now that I’m planning a wedding, I’ve realized that people don’t ask/are interested nearly as often as you think pre-wedding planning. Now I ask people about everything, because I’m honestly interested and excited and I’ve realized that most people aren’t. I know that while I’m planning, I’d love for people to care about the details as much as I did, so I don’t hide my enthusiasm anymore!

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    Plus, even if people know the details, that doesn’t really compare to experiencing them. You can describe the swing band in detail- hell, even play them a couple songs- but it’s not going to hold a candle to the live music. Same goes for the other things you mentioned- experiencing them, in the context of celebrating all the joyfulness of your wedding, will leave all your descriptions in the dust, no matter how skilled a word-smith you are.

  • Amy March

    People aren’t going to look on in delight at how your details encapsulate who you are as a couple. They’re going to enjoy the day. Share as much or as little as you want!

    ETA: if there is a detail that’s really meanigful to you, to me that’s an incentive to share it now. So even if day of no one notices that your mason jars are your great- grand-mothers, you’ve still shared that with people.

    • KC

      Yes! If people know that a particular detail is special in some way, they can be on the lookout for it, rather than having it just sort of blend into the wedding smoothie.

      (Of course, a lot of wedding “details” aren’t special in this way [does the way the tablecloths are hemmed say something deep about your relationship? Probably not.]. Just saying that, where applicable, a little extra comprehension can add a lot to experiencing and understanding and enjoying something.)

    • meg

      TRUE THAT. If you really care about a detail, you should tell people to notice it in advance. It will save you heartache later, when you realize they didn’t notice it because you didn’t point it out…

      • macincolorado

        Exactly! Case in point… at our wedding two weeks ago, we had only three details we really wanted people to know about. Three. Because no one really cares about the details when there is sheer LOVE all around them! My dear sister couldn’t travel to the wedding, so her photo was in a locket I carried with me and showed everyone I could. The other two were a special German wedding cup given us by my parents, and the ring box my new husband stained and painted with our initials. Our lovely officiant mentioned them both when they came up in the ceremony. Solved, easy peasy. I learned so much from this site and Meg’s book, and the impact up showed in every wonderful way imaginable! Thank you all!

    • Lisa

      Or have the important-to-you details mentioned some how in the program or by the officiant/MC/people-herder. Example: My friends had appetizer stations at their wedding, nothing ground-break there right? But what made them really special was that each station was themed around a country/place the couple had traveled together. The wedding coordinator or someone announced the cocktail hour and explained why the stations were special.

  • Aly

    OMG I want s’mores at my wedding so bad. I think it probably isn’t feasible, so I will live vicariously through everyone else’s s’mores!

    • Kat

      We’re doing s’mores and a bonfire too…buying some regular old marshmallows but going to make a few homemade awesome fancy ones. My mom used to make them when she was little and said they’re not hard at all to do, so there’ll be some dipped in peanuts, coconut and chocolate too. WEEE!!!

    • Sara B

      We had s’mores at our wedding. We put the ingredients into little bags as favors instead of doing a bar, but our venue made us a “fire pit” using sterno and clay pots.

      • Parsley

        Other than the ceremony itself, the end-of-the-day campfire and s’mores was my favorite part of my wedding. Have fun with that!

  • Mags

    This response is spot-on. It was actually what I was thinking when I read the question: most guests don’t care. That said, if you do want something to be a surprise, go ahead and leave one or two things out when you share about your wedding. The only first dance I remember (other than my own) was one in which the bride and groom broke into a choreagraphed salsa dance midway through the song (the music also changed) which was so much fun and so them. Or if you have special favors/dessert bar/etc for the end of the night, go ahead and keep that private so the guests become pleasantly surprised (but also be aware that some guests may leave before the surprise because they aren’t expecting it). However, most times I come back from a wedding, even a wedding of people I love, I can’t remember the table decorations, the colors, or what the dress looked like. So if you tell a guest like me these things before the wedding, it might still be a surprise, because I’m likely to forget.

    • Laura Lee

      I agree 100%. Anything that you are planning to be a surprise should be shared with minimal people ahead of time. We have two fairly big surprises planned for the ceremony that I’m bursting to tell people about but don’t want to. Since you ladies are internet strangers, I’ll let you in on the secrets.

      The first surprise will be that right at the end of our first dance, the music is going to suddenly change and 4 of our friends are going to pop out of the audience and attack us. We both practice kung fu (as do the 4 attacking friends) so we wanted to include it in a fun way. I think the guests will really enjoy it, and that making it a surprise will be fun. The only bummer about it is that in my big ballgown style dress, I’m pretty limited with participation in the fight. So even though I’m capable of throwing the boys around the room and kicking ass, I’ll be playing more of a damsel in distress role.

      Surprise number two will be that right after we cut the cake and feed it to each other, the DJ will play the happy birthday song and the groom and I will be carrying a cupcake to his sister/my bridesmaid. It just turned out that the only date that worked for us and our venue was her birthday. She gave us her full blessing to get wed on her birthday, but I want to still do something special for her on her birthday.

      • Caroline

        We got married on my grandmother’s birthday! We also surprised her with cake and the DJ instructed everyone to sing to her. She loved it!

  • Maddie

    Actually, I disagree. I have planned a wedding and attended many weddings and I LOVE the details. I appreciate all the time and effort a couple put into planning all the details. Of course I’m there to celebrate your day and to watch you get married, but those details are fun! And awesome! And yes, I care about your colors and your flowers – not because I’m going to judge you on your decisions, but because you took the time to put it all together, and I’m going to appreciate that!
    That being said, I kept a few things a surprise, simply because I wanted to. There were certain details I put time and effort in, specifically because I wanted to surprise my guests! But I did share a lot as well. I think it’s up to you to find the balance between the two. If you want to share, go ahead, nothing will be ruined and I certainly don’t think your guests would be disappointed knowing some of the details in advance! But also feel free to keep other things a surprise. It’s YOUR day! Celebrate your marriage AND all the work you put into the celebration!

    • Copper

      I love the details too. But I don’t love them any less for knowing them in advance. Actually knowing them in advance makes me feel like I’m in on the fun.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

    I agree with this, too. There were details we didn’t share because we wanted to keep some things a surprise, while at the same time we didn’t want to commit to a detail and have to change it later (which happened a lot!). I think, though, if there is a detail you want to keep to yourself, keep it! We kept our theme a secret (baseball) until the invitations went out and it was fun to hear folks’ first reactions!

    When I look back on my wedding, and when people talk about our wedding (which was only two weeks ago, so it is fresh in most folks’ minds), we all remember how much love there was throughout the day, and how much was celebrated. I’m trying to write a graduate post but I need to pare down three pages of wedding..

  • Sarah NCtoPA

    Some guests may be asking for details if they have food or mobility issues. I am getting married in a Quaker service as it is my fiance’s religious background. Many of my friends and family are asking detail-oriented questions because they don’t want to make any missteps and/or are generally curious. To that end, we included a leaflet on Quaker marriages with our invitations. I highly recommend this for anyone doing a “less traditional” wedding.

    • Caroline

      Brilliant. We should definitely enclose a pamphlet on Jewish weddings in our invites, since very few of our guests will have been to one. I hear so many tales of people not visiting websites if you have one. A pamphlet in the invite is so smart!
      Thanks.

      • Sarah NCtoPA

        Totally true! We spent a fair amount of time creating our website and not too many people (even good friends!) have visited it yet.

    • Emmy

      We’re in the same situation as you, Sarah! I take every opportunity I get to explain the Quaker ceremony to our non-Quaker friends, especially since they sometimes seem uncomfortable about it. It’s useful for people to know what to expect, especially if your wedding is a bit different.

      • Sarah NCtoPA

        We are having someone read a statement about our ceremony before it starts to people. Let me know your email and I can send it to you if you’d like.

  • Erin E

    Thank you for keeping it real, APW. We get so caught up in our details and their importance that a (gentle) smack in the face is sometimes necessary to remember how our concerns stack up with the rest of the world’s concerns. Yeah, it’s kind of a bummer to read that no one cares about my favors the way I care about my favors, but I appreciate the reminder… it helps to keep perspective.

  • One More Sara

    The only thing I would add is that you should talk to your partner about anything that s/he would like to keep a surprise. I like telling people lots of stuff, but my partner wanted to keep the live musician we are hiring for cocktail hour a secret. Had he not said that like, 3 minutes after we signed the contract, I probably would have been on gchat that same day showing my bff his youtube clips. I’m also borrowing a veil from a friend, but only our immediate families (and the friend) know. We want to see if anyone notices ;)

    tl;dr sometimes it’s fun to have secrets for the sake of having secrets. talk to your partner about which, if any, details the both of you would like to remain a surprise.

    • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

      My father and I planned a pretty awesome father-daughter dance (not choreographed but just as fun) that only my partner knew about, and then? My father surprised me with EVEN MORE as part of that dance. It was all kinds of epic.

    • http://www.mollyeverafter.com/ Molly Ever After

      I totally agree with this. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we had a cake on each table as the centerpiece. I really wanted that detail to be a surprise for our guests because it was different and I thought they’d think it was fun (and they did). I was bummed to find out that my mother-in-law had told of my husband’s family members about the cakes, so we asked her to please keep that detail to herself in the future. But 90% of the details were fair game.

  • Amy

    I really understand the sentiments of the original poster, I don’t like giving away the ‘secrets’ of our wedding, as I think it might take away from some of the surprise and excitement on the day. And I can remember the details, colours and flowers of all the weddings I’ve been to, but I know not everyone does.

    However, I’m trying not to be too precious about it, and I do talk about it if people are genuinely interested / excited.

    Also, I’m very careful not to give too much detail away to one of my friends who is getting married before us, and I’m pretty sure that aspects of our day would end up ‘borrowed’ by her if she heard about them first!

  • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

    Naaaailed it. Well done, Liz, as usual.

    I will add: if you’re getting some slack from guests (raised eyebrows over that swing band, for example) feel free to keep details private, to protect your feelings and sense of excitement about the event. Shy of that, share to whatever extent feels appropriate for you.

  • js

    I took a lot of criticism for so much of my wedding decisions that I stopped sharing them so I wouldn’t be hurt. Its great people are responding positively to what you’ve shared. I think people do notice the details, but more so in the sense that they contribute to the overall feeling of your wedding day. You should keep doing you and what feels true to you and your partner and people will respond to that. Tell them or don’t tell them, but not to keep it a surprise. Because I also found that people who count want to be in on the details, they want to know why you’re including a certain reading or why you’re wearing your grandmothers’ necklace even though it doesn’t match the rest of your wedding jewelry. People care about the small stuff when they care about you.

    • meg

      Totally. If I didn’t want people’s opinion, I didn’t tell them about it in advance :)

    • CII

      This! I tend to refer to details when I am trying to set expectations, particularly where there is something not traditional (we will not have save the dates, my dress will not have a train or be floor length, there will be no bridal party), or something

      Also, I’ve refrained, mostly, from offering details about major decisions (venue, time of year, time of day) until we’ve set them in stone because I worry that people will offer unsolicited opinions (I don’t like that place, I think you should have a summer wedding, I don’t like those colors, etc.) I’ll share only once we’ve made the decision (or when I’m soliciting input and advice actively). Then I’m happy to talk about it, in mind-numbing detail, in fact…

    • CII

      This! I tend to refer to details when I am trying to set expectations, particularly where there is something not traditional (we will not have save the dates, my dress will not have a train or be floor length, there will be no bridal party),

      Also, I’ve refrained, mostly, from offering details about major decisions (venue, time of year, time of day) until we’ve set them in stone because I worry that people will offer unsolicited opinions (I don’t like that place, I think you should have a summer wedding, I don’t like those colors, etc.) I’ll share only once we’ve made the decision (or when I’m soliciting input and advice actively). Then I’m happy to talk about it, in mind-numbing detail, in fact…

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    If you don’t want to share yet, don’t share yet! But beyond the spot-on advice about them not actually caring, I also wanted to add that they are mostly trying to show excitement about your wedding and things are the socially-accepted topic of conversation. Even though it might be awesome if they actually came out and said, “How are you feeling about this transition? Have you grown as a couple during your wedding planning? Are you feeling nervous, excited or both?” – most people don’t know how to do that. So they ask about favors. But if APW has taught me anything, it’s that you can answer however you’d like. Feel free to take that “what about the band” into a “Ya know, we thought we would want a DJ all along but when we really started talking to our family, a band just sounded fun and we found one we think you’ll all really enjoy.” or segue into another story or anecdote about you as a couple, wedding planning, etc. You don’t have to give away all the details to share of yourself during this specific and special time with other people, you can hedge around; my guess is that you’re giving them what they actually wanted – a moment to engage with you and show their excitement.

  • Jaya

    I’ve actually been wanting to keep details a secret not to make it a surprise…but to avoid judgment. I know, I know, this is cowardly of me. But I sort of have this idea that the less they know, the less they’ll disagree with? I’ve had a few instances where I’ve shared ideas–just ideas!–and have been met with anger or confusion, so in an effort to do what I want without too much input, I figure the less people know the better. Is that nuts?

    • http://andshelovesyou.com Lucy

      I kept a TON of stuff a secret to avoid the usual judgement. People may call it cowardly, but it kept my stress level down so I’ll go the cowardly route any time. Unless someone actually needed to know (and give their opinion) about something, I didn’t tell them. On the day of the event, people will look at your choices and love them anyway, if they notice at all. And if they don’t, fuck ‘em and you definitely made the right choice by not telling.

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

        We found this to be very true: “On the day of the event, people will look at your choices and love them anyway, if they notice at all.” What might have provoked a fight or worry beforehand was just “so us!” on the day of the wedding and people seemed to like everything.

    • Liz

      I’d call it “smart” not “cowardly” to avoid unnecessary confrontation.

      • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

        Totally – it’s like giving your kid a weird name. If you actually wait and introduce baby Schmorgasboard in person, only the real assholes are going to make snarky comments, but if you start sharing it in advance, people will feel free to point out all sorts of mean rhyming nicknames.

        • meg

          Please name your baby Schmorgasboard and surprise me with it. I think my face would be a welter of confusing thoughts that I was trying to keep under control.

          • KC

            … and we’re planning on naming the next one Casserole! Aren’t they lovely gender-neutral names?

            (this would be really fun. But kinda mean to the kids. But oh, the faces as people try to figure out polite things to say!)

    • Rachel Wilkerson

      I so feel this. A lot of times, I don’t tell people until a decision has been made and we’ve paid a deposit. Letting people know that before I share a detail seems to keep judgment at bay (to my face anyway). But I feel like if you mention you’re considering something (even strongly!) people think that means you want their negative opinion. I just wait until details are finalized to share them so I can be more confident. (Though close friends and family can hear all the potential ideas, as I know they won’t have a ‘tude.)

    • Lauren

      I have been doing the same thing. About odd stuff! Like my dress, I freely share with anyone who asks (other than the fella, I am a traditionalist in some ways). But my headpiece, which I am delighted with and obsessed over and generally love in so many ways, I have been keeping close to my chest. I just know some people will have Opinions so I am waiting until they will be truly a jerk if they bring it up when I show them (aka at our wedding).

  • http://pinterest.com/katerees711 kate

    I think this is exactly why I have 200+ pins and can’t commit to making any of the “details” a reality. I have two helpful moms who three months ago I told hold off until we’ve move and now we’ve been in our new home for six weeks. and I’m still not sure what the projects are. I’m worried that we’ll put a lot of time and effort into them and they’ll go completely unnoticed. That would be a bummer!

    • Liz

      For what it’s worth, I put an ass-ton of time into making things pretty. And it still makes me happy to look back on the photos and see just how pretty the glass drink dispensers with floating lemons and the little floral cupcake liners looked.

      I don’t know if anyone else walked in and said, “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE BEVERAGE DISPENSER” and I can guarantee that no one tucked the leftover cupcake paper into their purse to save for later. But the details made ME happy, even if no one else noticed.

      Maybe looking at it that way will help narrow down that Pinboard?

      • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

        That’s how I looked at my details. I wanted the lovebird tags on the favors. I wanted the favors to be homemade mustache cookies. They were the details we squealed about while planning (the opening day decorated cake? our favorite). They made us happy.

        • meg

          OMG. Snarfle choke. I mis-read that as our “openly gay decorated cake.”

      • http://www.mollyeverafter.com/ Molly Ever After

        Yep, this. We spent a fortune on our letterpressed invitations. I’m sure the vast majority of people tossed them in the garbage, but every time I think about or look at our invitations, I smile because they’re so damn gorgeous and exactly what I wanted.

    • Kirstin

      I have the huge pinboard too! I ended up deciding to keep it private, because I didn’t want my friends and family making assumptions or giving feedback about all of the things I pinned, most of which won’t actually happen on the big day. I know I may be going overboard with the pinning, but no one else has to see it.

  • Allison

    Kudos Liz. This is a good reality check.

    I was recently in a wedding with all the “bloggy” details. Did the wedding look fantastic? Yes. Did anyone comment on all the coordinating items and personal touches? Other than the photo booth, no.

    Even as guest who appreciates all the time and thought that goes into the day, the things I remember most other than if the bride and groom looked happy are: Was it too hot/cold? Did I get enough to eat or drink? Those are the baselines. No one will care about the stripe-y straws if they can’t also get a beverage.

    In terms of it being a secret, the bigger the impact of the item, i.e. serving breakfast for dinner, having a fun band, musical routines the more it could make sense to keep it private. The color of the napkins, less so.

    • KateM

      To this point, not all but some of the most blog “worthy” wedding I have been too, we are talking about seriously stressed out brides. Some it was pre wedding stress and some it was day of, the bride did not appear to enjoy her wedding day. There can be a lot of reasons for this, but I think sometimes we are so caught up in the details that we loose sight of the big picture. Liz sets realistic expectations, and that is important so we are not disappointed on the day of, that people don’t notice the details that contribute to overall feel. It is ok if you don’t love your wedding day, but hopefully not for these reasons.

    • Copper

      That’s such a good point. Even when I was looking for details specifically, the last wedding I went to the two things I noticed were 1) the pastor turned the ceremony into an Proposition 8 PSA opportunity and was otherwise offensive to my sensibilities (which, if that’s what the bride and groom believe in that’s their business, but it’s not true that the ceremony gets lost in the hubbub!) and 2) sunburns all around because it was outdoors midday in southern california with no shade whatsoever and no warning to guests. Little details get the time, and sometimes the big ones overshadow them all.

    • meg

      Have you guys ever drunk out of paper straws? As someone who goes to a lot of pro blogger events, I have. They are TERRIBLE. They sort of melt in your mouth, and I mean that in the least tasty way possible. Just in case someone is debating splurging on them or not.

      And if you already bought them, strike that whole first paragraph. They’re so cute!

      • Kara E

        Yes! Can you imagine what KIDS do with those cute paper straws? Let’s just say gross disgusting mess… [Sorry to the parents of the kids at our wedding.]

  • ElisabethJoanne

    A few weeks before the wedding, I posted photos of my shoes and the glass-for-breaking on Facebook, for just family to see. Mom asked if I really wanted to spoil the surprise. I told her I didn’t care. I could also have told her that because my dress was floor-length, the the glass-for-breaking would be wrapped so as not to shatter all over the church, these were details guests wouldn’t see otherwise.

    Personally, I’m a “marinator” – To really appreciate something, I have to think about it before and after the experience. It’s up to the couples, of course, but I think if you share details with me ahead of time, I’m much more likely to appreciate them, than if I merely observe them day-of.

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

      A “marinator”….I like this. I think I am a marinator too!

  • http://andwontonmakesthree.wordpress.com Heather

    We tried to keep a few things “secret” at our wedding because our wedding wasn’t very traditional and we wanted some things to be a fun surprise. I also ran into some challenges with my husband’s family in regards to certain things, which wasn’t the end of the world, but whereas I told my family to dress in whatever they wanted – the more colors the better – my husband’s family wanted to know our colors so they could dress in the same ones – they literally wanted to dress like the wedding party and did it as close as they could, which was kind of weird to me since most people avoid doing that, don’t they?

    • Stephanie

      I’m actually dealing with the “dress like the wedding party” issue right now. First of all, we don’t have a wedding party. (Then how, you might ask, could someone dress like the non-existent wedding party? I’m glad you asked!)

      Our wedding is at a B&B — ceremony on the patio, dinner inside, dancing and general merriment back on the patio. It’s not formal at all; I’ve told the guests that it’s more “business casual” than “business suit.” My fiancé, however, is wearing a suit.

      My dad has been pestering me with questions about my fiancé’s suit — what color, double-breasted or single, how many buttons, what color tie, etc. Finally I asked him why he cares, and he said he wants to make sure he buys an outfit to match my fiancé’s so he looks like he’s in the wedding party. I told him that we don’t HAVE a wedding party, so that really isn’t necessary. And he got weirdly stubborn and just kept repeating that he “wants people to think [he's] in the wedding party.” Even though we don’t have one.

      I realize that a black suit is so common as to be unremarkable, so it’s not really going to be a big deal in the end. But it’s not the suit that bothers me as much as his stubborn insistence on looking like he’s part of a non-existent wedding party.

      I get that I’m his only daughter (and 1 of only 2 kids), and even at the age of 41, there are ways in which he thinks of me as his little girl. I get that he wants to feel included, feel like he’s an important part of our wedding day, and wanting to have matching clothes is just how it’s manifesting.

      It’s still a little weird to me, but I’m trying to let it roll off my back.

      • KC

        If you have the option of corsages/boutonnieres, and can tell him ahead of time you’ll be giving him one (along with the rest of the family, maybe?), that might help? I don’t know, though. The “how will people identify that I am an Important Person in this wedding” question and how that expresses itself gets… weird. Really weird.

        • Stephanie

          A special boutonniere is definitely on the list. I don’t know if it will make him less concerned about matching, but it may chill him out somewhat.

      • Brenda

        Maybe you could gently remind him that he’s your father, and everyone knows he’s your father. He doesn’t need to match the groom or look like he’s in the “wedding party” – he already has a special role because he’s your dad. Absolutely no one will say “who is that man standing with the bride looking so proud?”

        • Stephanie

          “Who is that man walking the bride down the aisle? If only there were some way to tell based on his clothing!”

          Truly, if he wants a new suit, getting a black one like my fiancé is fairly unremarkable because it’s so common. It just seemed like a weird detail for him to get so attached to.

      • Kara E

        Sounds like your dad wants to make sure he looks like the father of the bride and is? might be? feeling a bit insecure. Can you give him any guidance? Like “Dad, I’d like it if you wore “x”?”

      • meg

        Awwwwwwwwww. That is probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. He just wants to be included and have people know you’re important to him, and he’s not just some random wedding guest, and he doesn’t quite understand the non traditional stuff, and is worried that he won’t… be honored in some way. Basically.

        Tell him what the suit looks like, give the man some flowers, remind him that you love him a lot, and tell him he’s definitely included.

        In short. Adorbs.

        • Stephanie

          When my brother got married, Dad also worried that he would be left out. He told me, rather than my brother, so I passed that info on to my brother so he could think of how he wanted to include Dad. And plans were made, and it all went well.

          So in retrospect, it’s not surprising that Dad is worried about being included in my wedding. I think he and I need to sit down and start figuring out what song we want for the father/daughter dance.

          And he will look great in that suit. :)

          • Kara E

            Sounds like you know how to love your dad. I wish you ALL the best.

    • Liz

      If it’s about being recognized as Important on the day-of, I’m with whoever suggested corsages etc.

      The few times I’ve heard people talk about this, though, it was mentioned as a matter of looking good for the photos. In which case, you may want to talk about coordinating-versus-matching and give some ideas for how immediate family can look like they “belong” in a picture together, without veering into Awkward Family Photo territory.

  • Kirstin

    I am trying to hold stuff back for a few reasons.

    First, like others, I would prefer to avoid unwanted feedback or “advice” on the decisions we are making. I have had a few folks make somewhat rude comments when we say we are getting married on a Sunday, or what location we picked, the size of our wedding, etc. I would like to shout back, “I don’t care” and “You’re not helpful!” Not constructive.

    Second, honestly I feel like people get bored with me as I talk about the details. I think this post is spot on that people ask to be nice, but don’t always genuinely care. I see their eyes glaze over. And I don’t want to feel like that is all that I have to contribute in terms of conversation. Wedding planning is not the only thing going on in my life. So I hold back.

    When I first bought my dress, I was sharing pictures with friends. Like SHHH, I had that feeling of regret that I was sharing too much. So I have stopped showing pictures, and now give broad descriptions. That was the one piece that I am holding back, more for me, than for the other reasons above.

    Finally, we are going to have a pretty small wedding. Often the people are asking are not going to be invited to the event. So I try not to get too much into details, so that I’m not enhancing the fact that they may feel excluded once invitations go out.

  • Kate

    Share the details, people love to share in your joy and anticipation. It will only make the story sweeter on the day of.

    on a side note: a s’mores bar!?! BEST idea ever!!

  • Katie

    I cannot agree with this essay more. People ask about your wedding because they are excited for you…. not because they are invested in the details. They just want to see you having a good time, and have a good time themselves. I listen to a local radio show in Boston hosted by a 60 year old guy with a great wry sense of humor. Often brides will call in all excited about their wedding, or asking advice on some wedding dilemma, and he will literally scream at them, over and over, “Nobody cares about your wedding!” It’s hilarious, and true. I try to remind myself of this when I find myself putting too much thought into inconsequential details!

  • Kate S.

    I’m getting married this July and have been talking up a storm about the details. I read something about a year ago that stated, essentially, that a wedding is not really about the day but rather about the whole process leading up to the day (similar to how graduating university isn’t really about the graduation–it’s about everything that happened leading up to it *and* the graduation). Talking about our wedding details to friends who are actually interested is a very deep pleasure for me and I wouldn’t sacrifice that just because of some silly notion that everything should be a surprise. And, as mentioned above, I want (some) people to know how much work and thought I’ve put into all of this so (if they choose) they can make a point of appreciating the effort. While we’re planning most of the details under the assumption that nobody else cares much and we should only do these things if they make us happy first (not to please everyone else), if you’re fortunate enough to have friends who are willing to at least pretend to care as much as you do, talk their ears off. Won’t you enjoy it so much more if you get to share all this excitement as you go?

    • Kate S.

      I’m getting married this July and have been talking up a storm about the details. I read something about a year ago that stated, essentially, that a wedding is not really about the day but rather about the whole process leading up to the day (similar to how graduating university isn’t really about the graduation–it’s about everything that happened leading up to it *and* the graduation). Talking about our wedding details to friends who are actually interested is a very deep pleasure for me and I wouldn’t sacrifice that just so everything can be a surprise. And, as mentioned above, I want (some) people to know how much work and thought I’ve put into all of this so (if they choose) they can make a point of appreciating the effort. While we’re planning most of the details under the assumption that nobody else cares much and we should only do these things if they make us happy first (not to please everyone else), if you’re fortunate enough to have friends who are willing to at least pretend to care as much as you do, talk about the details! I know others have totally different circumstances (I have very few unsolicited opinions/criticisms coming in), but I’m finding I can milk a lot more enjoyment about those details if I can share the anticipation with loved ones.

    • Brenda

      My wedding is in July too! I completely agree. My friends and family are interested because they’re excited and they care about us. They’ve also been touched to be included and appreciate knowing why we’d like them to do the things we’ve asked. My mother has said she really appreciates how thoughtful we’re being about everything. That said, we haven’t got a lot of “details”, because I just can’t be bothered. I want to have a meaningful ceremony and a fun party, and look nice, and that’s about it.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    If I’m asking a friend about her wedding, it’s because I know it’s taking up a lot of her time and energy and I’m interested in what’s going on in her life. I don’t care what the groomsmen wear, but if she’s telling me that she’s spent the past two weeks agonizing about it? It matters to her.

    Asking about the wedding is an easy shorthand sometimes for supporting the marriage. It’s also sometimes a chance to get information about what’s expected of me as a guest – do I need to bring cash for the bar? Are they serving something I’m not crazy about? – then that means I should plan on having a snack beforehand so I’m not hangry at the reception. She’s spent months making paper flowers? Then I want to notice them.