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06. 17. 2008

How to plan a simple wedding. Yeah, right.


It's June, after all, so let's talk weddings. Simple weddings specifically. And let's be clear up front that there's no such thing. Some weddings are simpler than others, maybe, but the possibility of a truly simple wedding is a myth.

My suspicion is that simple weddings aren't possible because that's the way we like it. Nothing about marriage is simple. Why should the initiating event be any different?

Case in point: a wedding I attended a few weeks ago. The bride insisted she wanted things simple, but her idea of simple was to skip the caterer and have her mother do all the cooking. For 200 people. Including the wedding cake. And hold the wedding and reception, and feed all those people, at home.

The mother of the bride is an old friend, so all Spring I heard a great deal about the burdens of putting on a biggish wedding at home, and preparing all the food as well. But the MOB is an excellent cook who gives big parties featuring her food. Even though I thought it was demented, it was quite clear that she loved the challenge of putting on this wedding pretty much single-handed.

So she did and it was swell - even though there were the usual assorted calamities. The brand-new refrigerator died, so the buttercream destined for the wedding cake spoiled and a new batch had to be concocted the night before W-day. The airline mislaid a bridesmaid's luggage, which of course contained her special dress, custom-made to match the other bridesmaid dresses because she was 8 1/2 months pregnant; the luggage was found thousands of miles away and the Big Dress returned, also the night before.

Etc. Happy endings all around, just like in the movies.

To each his own and whatnot, but I think it's nuts to take on such a stupendous project and trust that the Hollywood tales we've been raised on ensure that all will be well. A born delegator, that's me.

These musings were prompted by the Zenhabits blog, which published a how-to on simple weddings. If you're planning a wedding, you will probably have thought up most of these common-sense tips on your own and adopted - or rejected - them according to your definition of "simple." But two pieces of nonstandard advice struck me as particularly useful simplification tips.

The first is to designate a coordinator to handle details and run interference. There are people who do this for a living, of course, at no doubt hefty expense. But if your most organized and responsible friend or relative will agree, you can get these precious services for the price of a warm thank-you note, a hug, and maybe a bunch of flowers.

The other is timing. Hold the wedding (1) on a weekday; and (2) in the morning. The reception will then be a lunch buffet, simpler and much cheaper than dinner, and you can even get away with serving no liquor - except maybe champagne. (But remember there's always Freixenet.) Also, on a weekday many guests will have to go back to work. So the festivities will wrap up early, and the happy couple can segue quickly and painlessly to the honeymoon. Brilliant.

Posted by Tam    Category: culture | feature
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