I think J and I have gotten to that age. You know, the one where everyone seems to either be buying a house, getting married or having a baby. This year alone marks three couples we know who have gotten married and two that have gotten engaged. Ah that brings me back to the nostalgia of January 18, 2003 - the fateful day of our wedding. It has been described as a queer, Quaker, fragrance free, feminist, Vietnamese, Pan Asian, Tex Mex BBQ. The whole thing went on without a hitch. The rentals came on time. The flowers came on time. The food was delicious and the decorations were gorgeous. It was as DIY a wedding as we could get without actually catering ourself (which we so weren't going to do because really we're not masochists).
A lot of the success came because we went to other people's weddings and cribbed their good ideas and learned from their mistakes. For the readers who might be getting married (or planning a big event), here are some tips, for making your special day a sane one:
1. Take as many pictures as possible beforehand. I know we're two guys getting married but this applies to the ladies who are invested in hiding their dress from the groom until the moment they walk down the aisle. I know you want to see his face go all OOOOOO about you in your dress but is it worth having your guests wait an extra hour at the reception?
2. Feed em early and often. Ok, I probably won't convince anyone to do their posed couple shots before the ceremony so I'll have to recommend that you have hors d'ouerves and drinks available for your guests when they first get to the reception so they won't be miserable by the time you make your grand entrance.
3. Buffet baby! I know people think buffets are tacky but I love buffets. People can eat what they want and the vegetarians can avoid the meat dishes without flagging a server to find the vegetarian option. The other benefit of buffets? - seconds!
4. Have an MC (and use a sound system). You don't necessarily have to hire a DJ (we burned cds) but designate someone to get the program going during the reception and make sure everyone can hear them. People will miss things like speeches and cake cutting if their aren't directed to pay attention. West Coast Rebecca was our and she did a fabulous job.
5. Get me the manager. In regards to the caterer, make sure the person you are talking to when planning your wedding is the person who will actually be there at the reception. If it isn't, make sure you meet and go over things with THAT PERSON. Things get lost in translation and people forget to write things down.
6. Find a safe person to toss your bouquet (and garter). I know there supposed to be all this spontanaeity but here's a scenario you don't want to happen - An engaged woman catches the bouquet. A man WHO SHE IS NOT ENGAGED TO catches the garter. He puts his hand dangerously close to her vajayjay putting the garter back on. Collective EEEEEEEWWWWW goes through the crowd.
7. Ditch the band, even better, ditch the DJ. Provided that your reception space already has a good sound system. It's far better to burn some cds with music you know you'll like then to rely on a band which will butcher your favorite songs or a DJ that will end up playing the macarena.
8. Use Unique Places. Unique Meeting, Wedding and Party Places in Greater Washington is one of the best wedding resources out there. It's organized by size of the location (for 50, 100, 150, and 200+) and lists the price range for the place and gives narrative of the amenities. The only down side is when you find out there's a huge dearth of reasonable (less than $3000) places that seat 100.
9. Ko Gi Bow is not actually the front for a drug cartel. You know that cake company Ko Gi Bow in Adams Morgan? The storefront is seriously run down looking with an old cardboard cake and a dilapidated trellis. Inside you see Spider Man and Dora the Explorer cake toppers and you think maaaaaybe not. Well if you're Asian this is the perfect cake place for you. It serves the classically Asian style of cake which has a light but moist sponge and frosting with a whipped cream consistency. You can choose your filling of fruit cocktail or strawberries (that's a tough choice). And when you look for how you want your cake to look, bypass the crazy ones with the bridges and doves and fountains. Ask for pictures of the one the owner made for his daughter's wedding.
10. Make sure someone packs a doggie bag for you. Because of all of the excitement, you will eat like three bites of your wedding food. And of those three bites, you'll remember one. We DID remember the food that was packed for us that we ate with our hands at the hotel with the world's most comfortable bed.