June 26, 2008

Wedding

Having just been intimately involved with a wedding here are the things I learned.

Photography
We relied heavily on friends and family which had lots of good points:
  1. free
  2. we keep all the originals
  3. lots of candids
  4. we have 1,200 pictures
The downsides are:
  1. they vary quite a bit in quality,
  2. we missed a lot of important shots, like the family portraits because
  3. there was no organization for any of the shots
  4. there was no expectation of professionalism
In hindsight, I should have arranged with some of the groom's men to be in charge of organizing the photography.
Style and originality
Be as as unique as you want to. We had a wonderful minister who did an amazing job and she gave us a unique ceremony that many people seemed to enjoy. We also had leis shipped from Hawai'i and my nephew being a flower boy dressed in aloha gear.
But plan ahead. We had some really great ideas but there just wasn't enough time to arrange for them.
Invitations
We made our own. We designed them in Publisher, used flower graphics that our friend made, printed them at Office Max for about $75 and cut them ourselves. This was a really good decision. We got a lot of great feedback from everyone (grandparents & friends). It really set a nice mood for the ceremony. My cousin advised that as soon as you mention the word Wedding to a professional anybody the price jumpes about %100 because they know you aren't a returning customer.



We did the same for the RSVPS . The glaring error that we made was in not leaving a place for them to write their name. We received so many RSVPs that said "All 5 of us will be coming" and we had no idea who they were. Sometimes though, no matter what you do, the ravages of the USPS can deliver only the useless husk of a one grand RSVP.

Marriage License
We got ours at the Richmond Circuit court. It cost us $35 +$2.50 for a certified copy of the marriage license. To help the process go smoothly, arrive in a good mood, bring cash, and your ID. Turn off your cell phone.
Location
Our ceremony was held at the Unitarian Church in Richmond, and Artworks in Southside hosted the reception. We really lucked out. We only had 6 months to find a place. I suggest start calling as soon as you can, a year before is not too early. Seriously, start calling now.
Having the reception at a venue that already has some decoration helps a lot. Ours was at an art studio so there was lots of gorgeous stuff on the walls already. My brother had his at a nursery, so all of his pictures have plants in the background.
Food
Don't expect to eat on your wedding day. I was lucky, I got a little bit of food during the reception, J got less. We didn't really eat until we got to the hotel room where my uncle had arranged a gift basket with delicious bread and other treats.
My dad arranged the catering, mostly from a Mediterranean bakery. He complimented it with food from Costco for those with more delicate palettes. We got lots of compliments on the food we barely touched.

Minister
We had the best minister possible. She is a family friend and has been a part of my life since I was a baby. She's beautiful, smart, resourceful, talented and was absolutely perfect for us. She made the ceremony. She kept me from folding from nerves, she kept me sane, she gave me a kiss. Choosing the right minister will make your ceremony a real success.
Getting married is one of the best experiences of my life. The months leading up to it were very very difficult and put a lot of strain on us. The wedding day completely made up for it. I could not have asked for anything better.

Please comment on your wedding if you've had one, or with expectations if you haven't and plan to, or why you won't if you're not.
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