We celebrated my daughter’s wedding on Friday. It was a beautiful, intimate and elegant wedding. Vows were exchanged without a hitch; the flowers, candles, linens and band, particularly the band, were everything we’d hoped for. Food and spirits were delicious and plentiful, toasts were tasteful and, most important, the bride and groom looked relaxed and happy. All flowed smoothly... I think. If something didn’t, it wasn’t enough to notice, but then, unlike my daughter, details frequently escape me. I’m a good enough kind of person.
I did notice that guests looked comfortable; the dance floor was filled while the band played, plates were emptied and people stayed late, all signs of a successful event. Was it all necessary, I wondered, all the worry and organization, all the hours spent on the smallest of decisions, all the meetings and follow up with professionals who provide the services and products for an industry that has shown no decline despite the economic woes of the past few years? The question intrigued me enough to seriously consider the qualities necessary for a wedding to be deemed successful, what must be included and what can be left out when budgets are stretched, as they usually are.
The unnecessaries, according to Jeanette
Favors are unnecessary. Most people leave them behind.
If wine is served during the meal and champagne for the toast, an open bar for the duration of the reception is over the top.
Expensive flowers are unnecessary. Whatever is seasonal works just as well.
Linens need not break the bank. After all, when the glassware, flowers, candles, china and silver are on the tables, the linens barely show, especially during an evening wedding.
The choice of cake should not take up an inordinate amount of time. Guests are dancing and socializing during the serving of the cake and, frequently, never eat it, which breaks my heart because I am particularly fond of cake.
Stylish and painful shoes are unnecessary, particularly for the bridal party.
Pass on new underwear and expensive jewelry.
If there is a choice between teeth whitening and waxing, always choose the whitening.
If the wedding is outside or at the beach, women should reconsider having their hair professionally styled. Better yet, wear a hat.
I’m not convinced having makeup done professionally is necessary either, but I’ve become a fan of false eyelashes in place of mascara. All the crying in the world won’t leave raccoon circles under your eyes.
More than four toasts are unnecessary.
The necessaries according to Jeanette
A reasonable schedule and a wedding party who can tell time.
Feed the bride and groom during the day, especially if an evening wedding is planned
Vows should be meaningful but not too humorous or too sentimental.
Candles. There is nothing more beautiful than the glow of candlelight after the sun goes down.
The band. An accomplished and professional live band is a gift for the guests as well as for the bride and groom. Give up whatever you must for this treat.
Flowers, no matter what kind, speak of celebration.
Good champagne, the kind with the smallest of bubbles...enough said.
Guests seated with those they know, and are comfortable with, are happy guests. Smaller table groups encourage conversation.
The bride and groom should know every guest’s name, greet him personally and thank him for coming.
Dancing lessons. Dancing is fun when you’re confident on the dance floor.
One final thought: There is little point in taking people to task for arriving late, failing to schedule a haircut or not bringing a jacket. It’s too late. As long as you’ve invited people you love and the bride and groom show up, all will be well.