Michelle
Rockstar October 2022

Good and bad things you have learned from past weddings

Michelle, on April 16, 2021 at 10:06 PM Posted in Planning 3 39
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Is there any detail or setup that struck you as genius or complete disaster that influenced your own planning?

For example, maybe one wedding had a pre ceremony cocktail hour or couches set up along the dance floor..while another wedding was everything not to do out of inconvenience toward your guests.

39 Comments

Latest activity by Michelle, on May 6, 2021 at 12:42 AM
  • Lisa
    Super October 2021
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    The one genius thing that has stuck with me is all the suggestions to number your rsvp’s! So when people forget to write their names, you already know who it belongs to!
    • Reply
  • Rebecca
    Master August 2019
    Rebecca ·
    • Flag

    My absolute favorite things about all of my friends' weddings, were the personalized touches.

    As in decor that was tailored to the couples' favorite things, or pictures of them growing up, or a ceremony that was full of specific jokes and stories about them.

    The most important thing I have learned is that if you don't have good food, or enough food, or ... say, forget PROTEIN... people will NOT be happy.

    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I absolutely hated weddings with large gaps in between ceremony and reception so for my wedding I really didn’t want that
    • Reply
  • E
    Super July 2023
    Eniale ·
    • Flag

    The last wedding I helped film, some of the invitations said the wedding began at 4:30 and some said 5:00.

    The planner claimed they just messed up the invitations. I don't buy that. How would you mess up only part of the invitations? (My theory: this wasn't an accident. They originally intended to have half the people come for the ceremony at 4:30, and expected the cocktail hour/reception to start at 5, when the rest of the guests would show up. Then after the invites went out they had a change of heart and decided they wanted everyone present for the ceremony, so they claimed the invitations "accidentally" had the wrong time for some guests. This meant the ceremony didn't start until 5, so all the people invited at 4:30 sat around for over half an hour. 100% bungled.)

    There was a beautiful venue.... that the only parking for guests was 5-6 blocks away. This is at the absolute top of my "never ever ever do to guests" list. It was in a downtown area so there really was no way to efficiently set up transportation (and the parking was a free-for-all anyway so there wasn't really anywhere specific to pick them up) so everyone just had to walk.

    Any kind of untrained professional doing a job is another one. DJs who are "friends" who just go up and make clowns out of themselves were a big one. Just because your college buddy can set up a Spotify playlist, doesn't mean he's a DJ. And yeah, guests noticed. Sorry to say it, but everyone could tell, and it impacted the experience. Dances being started without any announcement, music being clumsily interrupted for mic checks (literally cutting the music dead and barking into the mic "UH WE ARE CHECKING THE SOUND EVERYONE, CHECK CHECK")... No one would have ever told the couple, but as a vendor I definitely heard guests chatter.

    I saw "unique" experiences, but they were usually executed poorly. One wedding had a fire dancer, which on the schedule sounded awesome. Until all the guests were simply herded out back of the venue, into the parking lot, where this performer awkwardly waved around fire fans in the dark with no music. It was a great idea, but I assume the venue didn't want the open flame inside, so it ended up just totally weird and uncomfortable.

    Brazilian dance performance, again sounded great - but these girls file into the reception and they are in sequined nipple tassels and thongs. 3 straight minutes of jiggling, jubbly G-stringed booties. While I personally thought this was very cool (and seriously, these girls were TALENTED) a glance around the room indicated most of the guests thought it was very, very uncomfortable. The couple was not Brazilian, the bride did not take Brazilian dance, so there didn't seem to be any cultural or personal aspect to this, either, making it all the more awkward.

    There are only two unique experiences I saw that I remember going over well: one was an animal meet-and-greet with a sloth during cocktail hour, and the other was a wedding where they hired a pair of stage magicians who performed a really cool illusion during dinner. In the case of the sloth, the animal was handled by a professional and guests could choose whether or not to go see it (most did). In the case of the magicians, it was done during dinner when everyone had their plates and had all been seated (everyone loved it).

    My bottom-line on unique experiences (like caricature artists, cigar rollers, dancers, magicians, animal guests) is always deal with professionals, and try to make it something your guests can choose whether or not they participate. Guest doesn't want to meet the sloth? Cool, they can stay on the other side of the room. Everyone gets herded out into the parking lot to watch a weird, music-less performance? Not so much. Also... consider making sure all performers' costumes cover at least 50% of their bodies.

    • Reply
  • JM Sunshine
    August 2020
    JM Sunshine ·
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    You have attended some very unique weddings to say the least! I had to laugh at the image of the Brazilian dancers and the particular audience!
    • Reply
  • E
    Super July 2023
    Eniale ·
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    I used to assist my husband filming weddings, so I have been to a LOT of them, probably more than the average person. As a result, I've seen a LOT of things! And since it was my job to document it, I was very, very observant, and I was there from start to finish so I didn't just get one small part of the day. Whole different perspective.

    The dancers are probably one of my favorite examples, because the performance was spectacular! The music was amazing, they were SUPER talented, and yeah, not gonna lie, they were drop-dead gorgeous so they were a lot of fun to watch. But man, there were a lot of people who spent three minutes counting the ceiling tiles.... I think had they been more covered, this would have been a huge hit.

    • Reply
  • E
    Super July 2023
    Eniale ·
    • Flag

    Oh, one last thing: long vows.

    I have been to more than one wedding where the couple took out literal two-page, college-rule paper for the vows, and I watched the light in their guests' eyes slowly die.

    When the time comes to write our vows, we both have a 90-second time limit.

    • Reply
  • S
    Expert November 2021
    Sara ·
    • Flag

    One "disaster" that happened at a wedding I attended was when the couple did a fake send-off in the middle of the reception, because they didn't book their photographer to stay until the very end and they wanted the photos with the sparklers. Well, over half of the guests were confused and took that as their cue to leave. The bride and groom ended up with a very empty second half of their reception!

    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
    • Flag

    Things I've notice people don't like:

    Gaps, cash bars, long dinners, long speeches/entrances, "table visits", when the B&G don't personally speak to everyone

    Things i've noticed that people remember

    Food, flow of event, music (not specifics, just that it was a good range and not too tailored to one persons individual taste)

    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    Didn't like: Long, drawn out, heavily religious ceremonies. If that's you're thing, then fine, I respect that, but as a guest that isn't religious...it's draining and uncomfortable having to sit through a long religious ceremony.

    No seating chart OR place cards. For the love of all that is holy, please have one or both lol. Went to a wedding with neither, and me FH and our friends ended up standing THE ENTIRE WEDDING since there weren't enough tables and seats for everyone.

    Cash Bars. I'm sorry, but if I'm spending a good bit on a gift and going out of my way to attend a wedding/party that YOU are hosting...I don't plan on paying for drinks, nor will I be happy if I have to lol.

    Do like: Personal touches. I love seeing signature drinks the couple personally names. Monograms on napkins, cups, drink stirrers. Anything with the couple's pets on it. Just the little details that a couple does can really elevate a guest' experience!

    Plenty of food options! I don't like plated dinners for the reason that they don't offer many options. I love a buffet service because you can customize your dinner plate how you want it.

    Personal vows. Again, I don't like the traditional vows that so many people recite. I'm a sucker for personal vows that tug at your heart and draw tears. The best!!

    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag
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    That's interesting that you've noticed people didn't like table visits!

    FH and I personally love this option of seeing guests because it's a way to ensure that we see everyone in a timely manner!

    • Reply
  • Chelsea
    Expert June 2021
    Chelsea ·
    • Flag

    Lack of seating arrangements at the reception. I recently went to a wedding where they had a "sit wherever your heart desires" sign, which was cute.... but my fiance and I ended up at different tables for a little while (until someone kindly swapped with us).

    For ours, we decided to give folks table numbers.

    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
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    It's just kind of awkward for the B&G to interrupt someone's dinner and stand at the table for a few minutes. And unless B&G eat super fast, it really makes dinner drag longer than necessary. I'm very pro receiving line or "releasing" rows at the ceremony!

    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    It's interesting to hear a different opinion on them because where I'm from, table visits are common and preferred!

    • Reply
  • Melody
    Expert April 2021
    Melody ·
    • Flag

    Honestly the main thing that comes to mind for me in terms of what I've hated happened at my cousin's wedding... They had speeches from about half of the wedding party (14 people in party, 8 doing speeches) and then opened up the floor for literally anyone who wanted to say something to or about them. Speeches lasted for 1.5 hours and I was just dying at the head table because I couldn't get up to go to the bathroom.... It was torture. Y'all, please don't make your guests sit through that!

    • Reply
  • Courtney
    Expert September 2022
    Courtney ·
    • Flag

    When my aunt and uncle got married, my uncle walked down his mom and came back up to walk his mother in law down the aisle. He gave each a hug and kiss on the cheek and I thought it was a really cool touch, so we're planning on having my FH walk the three moms (his mom, my step-mom and mom) down.

    I also worked at a zoo and we did animal meet and greets at all but 1 wedding and they were my favorite part. 50% of the time we had a penguin walk down the aisle and then we would have another animal brought in during the reception either during the dinner line or during cocktail hour. I can't wait to have some at my own wedding Smiley smile

    My least favorite thing has been self-catered events/buffets where there's no menu listed anywhere and people would have to ask what was being served.

    I don't like super long ceremonies/vows either. I've seen a few where the couple did personalized vows, unity ceremony, readings, and then standard vows. It took forever.

    • Reply
  • Courtney
    Expert September 2022
    Courtney ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Oh my god, that reminded me of a Father of the Bride who literally had a powerpoint slideshow and went on for a solid 15-20 minutes. We had an animal scheduled to go out right after him and we thought it was going to be maybe 5 minutes tops. By the time we got in we had time for the bride and groom to interact and then we had to bounce which was super disappointing.

    • Reply
  • Melody
    Expert April 2021
    Melody ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Wow, that's long!! And such a bummer that it meant there was only barely enough time for the bride and groom to interact with the animal. That's also pretty much exactly why we're only having speeches from the best man, maid of honor, and one bridesmaid. My dad is great and I love him, but any speech from him would probably be a minimum of 10 minutes and filled with lots of crying. Love my dad, but don't want to put my guests through that!

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Excellent idea
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I hear you on that. I once attended a wedding with a 9am ceremony and 6pm reception which didn’t go over well. All the others including those for Catholic relatives had no gap beyond the drive to the reception venue
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