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20 Wedding “Must-Haves” You DON’T Need

In honor of Wedding Week on Dear Wendy, I’m re-posting this helpful list, originally published on February 6, of a bunch of wedding must-haves you can totally skip if you want, no matter what your grandmother or best friend (or, ahem, Gator Girl) says.

budget wedding

Four years ago today, I got engaged on a snowy bridge in Central Park on a Friday evening after work. Five months later, Drew and I were married in a sunny garden in Central Park on a Friday morning surrounded by about 70 of our closest friends and family. I wore a dress I bought on eBay for about a hundred dollars. I did my own makeup and hair. I made my own bouquet. We didn’t have a wedding cake. In fact, there were plenty of things we didn’t have and didn’t do that lots of people, “experts” and concerned citizens alike, proclaim are wedding must-haves. And yet, despite our apparent missteps as planners, we had a beautiful wedding — one that some of our guests still count among their favorites, several years later. For any of you stressing about all the details you’ve been told you have to include in your wedding, here are 20 wedding “must-haves” we happily skipped — or could have skipped — and you can too (if you want! And if you want to include them, that’s perfectly fine, too.).

1. STDs (Save-the-Date cards).
We sent an email to people as soon as we had a date and venue picked out. No one complained that they had one less thing to stick on their fridge or pitch in the garbage after marking it on their calendars, and we saved at least a couple hundred bucks on cards and postage.

2. An Engagement Party.
Because you’re already getting a party with gifts and attention and accolades. It’s called your wedding. And people will already be spending enough time and money to be there for you.

3. A Bridal Shower or bachelor/ette parties.
See #2. Now, if someone in your life wants to throw one of these for you — or, in my case, surprises you with one — enjoy yourself and be genuinely appreciative. But don’t think just because you don’t have these parties that your wedding will be any less special or your marriage any less valid.

4. A wedding band.
Make a playlist on your iPhone — or whatever you use — and hook it up to a portable speaker and be done with it.

5. A wedding website.
Despite what some people may say, a wedding website is not necessary — even for weddings with more than ten guests. You know what people did in the olden days before the internet? They included all necessary information on the invitation and answered the phone when people called with potential questions.

6. A gift registry.
It’s helpful to have one, sure. And creating one does increase the odds of getting stuff you actually want and will use. But you know what will happen if you buck tradition and skip a registry altogether? Your guests will figure something out. They might even use original thought.

7. A wedding party.
Bridesmaids, groomsmen, a Maid-of-Honor, a best man, a ring bearer, flower girl, blah, blah, freaking blah. You know who will be sad if you don’t give a handful of your guests special titles and make them dress in matching outfits? Pretty much no one.

8. A florist.
Go to Youtube and see how easy it is to pick up some flowers at a wholesale market or even a drugstore and make your own bouquet. Boom! That just saved you, like, several hundred bucks.

9. A wedding cake.
Have a wedding pie if you want! Or cupcakes. Or individual flutes of chocolate mousse that people can clink together for a “toast.” Or, if you really want a cake-cake, go to a bakery, order a large sheet cake and have them write your names and wedding date on the top. Boom! That just saved you another several hundred bucks.

10. A white wedding dress.
Or an expensive dress. Or a dress you find after going to a million bridal stores. Instead, try a site like JJs House where you can find hundreds of beautiful dresses at bargain prices without even leaving the comfort of your home.

11. Wedding favors.
No one’s going to miss not having pastel-clored M&Ms with your initials in a little baggies tied with a ribbons in the color of your wedding placed lovingly on their dinner plates. Promise.

12. Chairs for everyone.
You know who needs a chair for your 20-minute ceremony? Old people, maybe disabled people, and the pregnant ladies. You know who doesn’t? Everyone else. It’s a few minutes. They’ve stood in lines at Disneyland for five times longer.

13. A dance floor.
Anyone who wants to bust a move when Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” starts playing will find a corner or push a few chairs out of the way or climb on top of the table to make that shit happen. Anyone who wishes there was a place for the dollar dance needs to go back to 1987 and finish watching that episode of “Moonlighting” where Bruce Willis said something sexist.

14. A weekend ceremony.
For a variety of reasons, we had our wedding on a Friday. Yes, that meant that most of our guests had to take a day off from work if they wanted to be there. But there are probably worse ways to spend a Friday off in the summer than at Central Park, followed by a delicious — and free — lunch in Manhattan with your family and/or friends. And if there’s not, then people could have sent their regrets and we would have understood.

15. A professional makeup artist.
Personally, I hated the idea of a professional makeup artist. I wanted to look like myself, not like what some stranger thought a bride should look like. If you decide to use a professional makeup artist, have some photos to show the makeup person for inspiration, and make sure you do a practice run beforehand or you may end up looking like a Dolly Parton drag queen in your wedding photos.

16. A guestbook.
It’s fine if you want one, but if you don’t, just skip it. You’ll remember who was at your wedding through photos and cards you’ll save.

17. A rehearsal dinner.
And you don’t need a rehearsal for that matter, either. I think most people can figure out how to walk down an aisle without practicing first.

18. A block of hotel rooms.
If you have only a small number of out-of-town guests, like we did for our wedding, it probably doesn’t make sense to reserve a block of rooms at one hotel. It’s perfectly nice to email those guests a list of, say, 1-3 recommendations of conveniently-located, reasonably-priced, comfortable hotels and let them go from there.

19. Assigned seating.
We had assigned seating, but I’ve been to weddings that didn’t. And while I do think it’s easier — and a little more comfortable — on guests if they don’t have to hustle to find a table where they know someone or where there are enough seats for the people they want to sit with or where they have to save their seats with their purses or cell phones or what have you once they find a spot — you know what will happen if you don’t spend hours making a seating chart? One way or another, guests will find a place to sit. And all will be fine. And you’ll probably have fewer grey hairs to cover up on the big day.

20. A wedding planner.
Everything you need to know, you can find on the internet for free.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

becboo84 BecBoo84 February 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

So this is completely off topic, but Wendy, it made me think of you: http://go-go-go.org/2013/02/04/how-to-visit-chicago-like-a-chicagoan/.

avatar Amanda February 6, 2013, 1:10 pm

WWS x 10000. I’ve been to a few weddings and the only thing that I remember from all of them is whether the food and cake were good.

Fabelle Fabelle February 6, 2013, 1:11 pm

Sending this to my boyfriend, at risk of him reading the site :) haha. Because seriously, that man is likely to drive me insane whenever we get married. One time, we were talking about it, & I said something like “I don’t really want bridesmaids or anything at our wedding” & he was all like “WHAT omgggg, unheard of!” I’m afraid he’ll be a Groomzilla..

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 1:43 pm

same! since we’ve been to a fair amount of weddings together now, he actually likes discussing wedding plans with me. He wants a big traditional wedding that is going to cost us money…and is delaying the engagement. I’d rather just get married at the courthouse sooner rather than later, but it’s important to him so whatever :) The only non-traditional thing I’ve put my foot down on is having georgetown cupcakes (no they are not overhyped that are actually the bomb diggity) instead of cake.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 1:54 pm

Those cupcakes are amazing.

Imsostartled Imsostartled February 6, 2013, 2:32 pm

That’s what our friends called my husband during our engagement. But, to his point it was unfair, because he was only showing interest in things that typically aren’t “groom” things and wasn’t throwing a tantrum. It was interesting to see how many traditional elements were really important to him. For me I was like “traditional! Yuck!” I want to frolic in a meadow on a Wednesday with a handfasting. While he was like I want to have ALL of our family and ALL of our friends at our wedding, it should be in a church and we should do all of the things done in typical weddings. He thought I was ridiculous for being like “We don’t need a wedding party!”. Ultimately it was a mix between the two and fit our personalities perfectly.

Even though I think I was pretty laid back about the wedding there were one or two times where I freaked out. “MY DRESS ISN’T POOFY ENOUGH!!!” even though I had no desire whatsoever to look like a princess or have a poofy dress. The wedding industry can get to you…

bittergaymark bittergaymark February 6, 2013, 1:16 pm

Deliberately opting to not even have enough chairs at your own wedding? Guests randomly deemed fit enough shouldn’t mind spending your entire ceremony on their feet? Um, no… Hell no. Look, I am sorry. But talk about tacky. I simply won’t stand for that.

avatar mf February 6, 2013, 1:25 pm

Ha! “Won’t stand for that.” I see what you did there!

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 1:25 pm

Sorry, Mark, but we had our wedding in Central Park where it’s not allowed to have more than a handful of chairs. People have ceremonies in public parks all the time where it’s not usually possible to bring in chairs for every guest. I’d rather stand at a lovely 20-minute ceremony in a beautiful and historic park than sit on an uncomfortable bench in a stuffy church for an hour.

bittergaymark bittergaymark February 6, 2013, 1:32 pm

Really? What an odd rule for Central Park to have. I guess, I am having trouble wrapping getting my head around this notion in that EVERY wedding I’ve ever been to has seemingly been, well, endless.. I know, I know, that I find weddings, well, boring, so it’s true that they often would maybe just “seem” to drag… but no, look, there is no way that any of them have truly been even remotely brief. Not with all those “readings” and special songs belted out by somebody who thinks its American Idol auditions, dreary slow-witted preachers, and those hilariously self-penned vows that often simply thesaurus themselves over and over and over…

A twenty minute ceremony? Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure…

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 1:36 pm

Yes, 20 minutes. There were no speakers, no long walk down the aisle by multiple people (there actually wasn’t a real “aisle”), no special songs or any of that. It was very short, there were chairs for the people who truly needed them, plenty of benches for people to rest on in the minutes before the ceremony, and then we chartered three buses that people immediately boarded afterward to ride to the reception. Really, the amount of standing was very minimal, and it seemed worth it to us to have the wedding in the park, a place that’s special to us for a variety of reasons (and also much, much cheaper than most other venues in manhattan!).

lemongrass lemongrass February 6, 2013, 2:59 pm

My wedding was similar- park wedding, 20 mins tops and we didn’t have chairs. Our ceremony consisted of the officiant’s small speech, our vows and thats it. No speeches, songs, etc. There were no elderly or pregnant women attending so we didn’t need chairs. Nobody complained! I’ve been to weddings without chairs and as long as they are short I don’t mind at all.

avatar MMcG February 6, 2013, 4:05 pm

Mine was 20 – and that included the prelude and other music! And it was on a beach and some people stood because there weren’t enough chairs or they didn’t want to be in the sand and it was fine. I think there’s a difference if your talking the full hour+ Catholic mass though…

and this is different than if the issue was chairs for dinner. If you need to sit to eat, you have to have a chair to sit in. But I’ve been to plenty of places where even cocktail hour has limited to no seating and there are lots of high-top tables and it was fine.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 1:37 pm

I agree, Mark. One of the worst things about being a bridesmaid is having to stand during the whole ceremony, especially in heels. I certainly don’t want the guests to have to deal with it too. I was in a wedding last summer where the ceremony lasted about an hour. There was communion, the groom sang a song to the bride, a sermon, some jokes, the bride pretty much impromptu started giving her own sermon, vows, etc. The very second I got out of the room after walking back down the aisle I had to take my shoes off because my feet hurt so bad. I just don’t think it’s practical in most cases, but I can understand why some people need to skip chairs.

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 1:46 pm

A friend of mine had a ceremony so short that we didn’t even have a chance to sit down after she walked down the aisle. It was over in literally 5 minutes.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 1:50 pm

i have to say, i find all those readings and things to be very un-necessary and boring. they remind me of church.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 1:56 pm

That’s probably bc weddings that have that stuff are held in a church.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:26 pm

ive actually never been to a wedding in a church…. haha

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:32 pm

That’s surprising. I’m trying to think of how many I went to in a church v. not in a church. Even the ones not in a church still had a lot of religious things.
The readings were from what then? Just something someone at the wedding wrote, or like a What is Love reading from the bible?

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 2:38 pm

What readings?

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 3:23 pm

Readings at weddings.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 3:32 pm

Not everyone has them. Most weddings I’ve been to do not.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 4:07 pm

Same here, I meant the ones katie was talking about that’s she’s heard at weddings.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:39 pm

hmmm.. lets see. ok, the last religious wedding i was at was religious readings- we said the lords prayer, the guy prayed, bible readings, a “hand ceremony”, and then the vows were like an really expanded version of the traditional ones. the last non/sort of-religious wedding i went to was prayer, a lot of readings of poems, original writings, and maybe even just a speech or something, then a hand ceremony, then the traditional vows.

if im remembering right. like i said, i kind of feel like its church and i tend to zone out. lol

Fabelle Fabelle February 6, 2013, 2:41 pm

yeah, I’ve never been to a wedding in church either. And I’d consider most of the weddings I attended to be pretty “traditional” but the vows were just short things, & there were little poems about love & stuff. No prayer at all, I don’t think?

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 3:07 pm

Yea, if you’re not a churchgoer, or religious, you’re prob gonna find that stuff very boring. And maybe even if you are religious!

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 2:42 pm

A lot of times people read poems and stuff. Or a passage out of a book they like, or something like that.

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 2:45 pm

Do you mean the “Love is patient” etc. reading? I was at a wedding once where the MOH quoted it in her speech, and told us all it was a quote from The Notebook. *facepalm*

CatsMeow CatsMeow February 6, 2013, 2:49 pm

hahahaha

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 3:08 pm

That’s what I meant, and wow that is facepalm worthy!

avatar Foxxdye February 7, 2013, 2:54 am

I liked it better when I was imagining that Night at the Roxbury got it from the Bible!

Astronomer Astronomer February 6, 2013, 1:51 pm

Haha, I beat Wendy! Mine ceremony was, like, maybe 8 minutes long. Or as we like to say, three stops on the Red Line. We got married on Chicago’s L with no permit, so we hustled everyone on and off pretty quickly.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 1:57 pm

that’s awesome!

avatar painted_lady February 6, 2013, 1:58 pm

That is awesome. I want to do that.

avatar Jessica February 6, 2013, 2:23 pm

All of the weddings I have been to in the last few years have had secular ceremonies that were twenty minutes or less! Lucky me!

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl February 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

Most lutheran ceremonies I’ve been to are under 30 minutes. The catholic ones? looooooong. ugh. Definitely need chairs for that.

I did go to a ‘no chair’ ceremony in a park in colorado recently. They and chairs for some of the elderly, which didn’t bother me. What DID bother me was that they were late, no one knew where to go (it wasn’t obvious where the ceremony was to be held). It would have been nice to have a sign, or one person in charge to direct people.

avatar Jess B May 16, 2013, 8:54 pm

Catholic ones are only long if you do the full mass (i.e. the Eucharist/Communion). Since many of our guests were Protestant, we didn’t do the mass, which kept it around 20-25 minutes. Of course, Catholic weddings are required to be in a church*, so that took care of the seating issue.
*Yes, you can request to be married elsewhere – typically in another type of church/synagogue. No, I’ve never heard of outside weddings being permitted. The official stance is that marriage is a sacrament – like baptism – that should be celebrated in God’s house and before God as a means of recognizing the holiness of the bond.

avatar wendykh February 8, 2013, 1:12 am

Mine was 10. People drank cocktails and smoked during. We walked to a lovely waterfront spot from the reception hall and went for it.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:06 pm

I’ve been at a wedding with no chairs. It was in the lobby of an art museum. The bride and groom and officiant (my boyfriend actually) stood on the stairs, and the guests stood around them. The ceremony lasted just a few minutes. It was lovely.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

Sounds like Chuck and Blairs wedding :)

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

Haha, I don’t know who they are.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

Get with the times, rachel. Gossip girl! Helloooo. I loved that stupid show.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

Ah, no I never watched that one…though I don’t think you can say get with the times when the show hasn’t been on for years :p

It was pretty awesome though. The front wall of the museum was all glass, so a bunch of random people in the street stopped to applaud when they kissed.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:33 pm

I’ll have you know it just ended last year. So there.

That sounds amazing though.

Betsy Betsy February 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

I was standing at two of the last three weddings I attended, as both were on the beach, and everyone was perfectly fine standing for the brief ceremony. The first was a windy April day on Cape Cod and everyone was much warmer as we were, standing close together. At the other, the tide quickly came in and we were all easily able to run away. Of course, if your ceremony is going to be an hour long with readings, musical numbers and what-not, then provide everyone with a chair.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 2:39 pm

Meh. I think it all depends on the length of the ceremony. If you plan a fairly lengthy one (I’d say more than 15 minutes long) you need a seat for everybody.

But if its supposed to be a short one, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable amount of time to be standing. Of course the couple must let their guests know this well in advance so they can plan footwear accordingly, or give them time to let the couple know they may have a health issue that must be accommodated.

Honestly I’d far prefer to stand for a short ceremony then get a seat and have to sit there for an hour. Really a wedding (IMO) should not take that long.

avatar ktfran February 6, 2013, 3:49 pm

My cousin had a lovely garden wedding that last maybe 15 mintues. Everyone stood, except as Wendy stated, the disabled or really old. No big deal and to this day, one of my favorite weddings. I

avatar lemongrass February 6, 2013, 1:20 pm

I skipped lots of those and I had a really nice wedding. I will say that if you have kids in your wedding party then you should do a rehearsal, especially if you are getting married in a park where the walking path might not be clear. It’s cute if they are 4 and mess it up, not so cute at 8 or 9 :)

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 1:59 pm

Also re: kids…Bridesmaids, groomsmen, a Maid-of-Honor, a best man, a ring bearer, flower girl, blah, blah, freaking blah. You know who will be sad if you don’t give a handful of your guests special titles and make them dress in matching outfits? Pretty much no one.

I know mine loves getting a “special title” and dress. lol

lemongrass lemongrass February 6, 2013, 3:01 pm

My husband’s niece was so happy to be a flower girl. She had been to several weddings and really wanted to be one. My nephew got to walk her down the “aisle” and he was really happy about that, too. To make it even cuter, they held hands and we didn’t ask them to! They just did.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 1:28 pm

I really think a rehearsal is necessary if you have any other people besides the bride walking down the aisle. It really helps to time the music and figure out if you need to walk slow-ish, fast-ish, or if it doesn’t matter at all. I’m also a proponent of wedding websites. They’re free, they take minimal effort, and they really help guests. I’ve had more than one occasion where I’ve left the invitation at home and needed to look up the address or exact time on the road. It’s much better to take half an hour to make a free site and add that stuff than it is to receive phone calls from lost guests on your wedding day. Maybe that’s a bigger deal when you have a lot of guests, but it certainly makes it easier.

I completely agree with you on a lot of this stuff though.

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 1:50 pm

We’re also having everyone RSVP through the wedding website so we don’t have to deal with response cards or Canada Post (you all think USPS is bad? It’s a dream in comparison!)

landygirl landygirl February 6, 2013, 1:55 pm

We had our rehearsal dinner the day of the final game of the World Series in 2011 and my in-laws are Cardinals fans so they kept disappearing to the bar in the next room to watch the game. Just close family and out of town guests attended. It was super casual and was a blast.

avatar Desiree February 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

Totally with you. I am doing a full Catholic ceremony, so a rehearsal really is necessary (or I won’t know what to do!). And with 3/4 of my guests out of state, the wedding website is also really useful. I think the rise of long distance weddings has made the website more important. But yeah, the rest I agree with.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

It’s necessary if you are planning a big production – and I think Wendy’s main point is you don’t HAVE to have a big production to start with.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:46 pm

I think it’s necessary to have either way, big or small.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 2:57 pm

Agree to disagree. If there is a very small wedding party (or no wedding party) and the extent of their duties are to show up, look nice, and stand by the couple during a brief and simple ceremony, a quick debrief before the ceremony should be fine. But again, I think the point is you can do whatever you want for your wedding. For you that may mean having a rehearsal dinner. For me it will not.

There are no wedding laws that can be broken, and no wedding police will haul you off to wedding jail if you do something wrong.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 3:05 pm

I’m not saying anyone else should have to have one if they don’t want it. I’m just saying that I would not feel comfortable being in a wedding without having rehearsed it first. Hell, I can’t make a phone call without rehearsing what I’m going to say first. I think it’s important for the key players to know exactly what they’re doing, if for no other reason than to calm their nerves, but in reality, it should prevent a lot of problems too.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 3:15 pm

And even if you do have a big complicated wedding and decide not to have a rehearsal dinner – what’s the worst that can happen?

There might be a few moments of confusion where things don’t go smoothly? That’s really not too big a deal (and chances are it might happen anyways). I mean, no one will get hurt or killed, the marriage will still be valid, and its not like your guests are expecting professional production values.

Is it helpful to have a wedding rehearsal instead of just giving directions to your attendants for these types of weddings? Yes of course. Is it required? Nope, it’s your choice to have one.

bittergaymark bittergaymark February 6, 2013, 3:10 pm

Okay, as a performer, the way that rehearsals are always so slipshod… so vague and just merely talking the group through things baffles me. I mean, you rarely ever actually rehearse anything. And look, I do think the lack of a proper rehearsal is why so many weddings resemble a 2012 Britney Spears lipsync fest rather than, say, a Madonna concert. Far too many weddings are just sloppy! With people stumbling around like little lost sheep trying rather desperately to find their way.

Have a god damn rehearsal. Do the walk down the aisle. Time it all out out so its not the clusterfuck it all too often is. Hell, I was in a wedding once where NONE of us could remember WHICH aisle to go down as there had been a endless debate about it and as there were FOUR to choose from, we (of course!) went down the wrong one… Whoops. (It was really easy to do as the “proper” aisle wasn’t logically apparent.)

Honestly, I can’t imagine getting married without a proper rehearsal…

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 3:12 pm

Yes! And even if it’s a small wedding with no aisles or walking in or formality whatsoever, it just makes sense to me to show up to the place and scope everything out beforehand.

avatar Kristen February 6, 2013, 3:38 pm

I’m so glad we had a rehearsal. It took two or three times for the bridal party to get their timing worked out and get the little kids used to walking down the aisle. It also cleared up a lot of the “when do I do this?” questions, like my dad handing me off to my husband, etc. It made the actual wedding a lot less stressful knowing we had practiced!

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 3:24 pm

Maybe people shouldn’t try to put on professional productions if there not actual professionals? I dunno – just a thought. If you don’t know what you’re doing – maybe don’t try to stage a show comparable to cirque de soliel

avatar MMcG February 6, 2013, 4:12 pm

Just a though but sometimes it’s not about the show… it’s the venue. I was in a wedding once (not a big production at all) where the beautiful church was a really old historic one in New England, and there weren’t pews – there were boxes! like box seats (apparently that is how they raised money to fund the church back in the 1700s) and if we hadn’t rehearsed it would have been a disaster. Although it was easier to keep the flower girl in line because she was locked in:)

avatar Sarah February 7, 2013, 12:17 pm

I agree that a rehearsal is a good idea. For my wedding we spent about 30 minutes doing 2 quick trial runs, just to make sure everyone understood the speed/timing and where they were supposed to stand afterwards – but ours was held in a backyard and we didn’t have any kind of alter, we just had a giant tree as a sort of canopy- plus there were 3 flower girls all under the age of 6. As far as rehearsal dinners go, we actually had a sunset shrimp boil over looking the bay with immediate family and members of the wedding party, with drinking and dancing galore- it was almost as fun as the wedding! I recommend using it as a fun way to unwind before the big day!

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 1:40 pm

I agree you don’t NEED a lot of this stuff, but a lot of it does make it easier for guests or yourself. My SIL thought about doing her own flowers. Until she had a friend whose flowers were wilted from a wholesale vendor. And putting together 20 centerpieces the day before your wedding? No thanks. Plus the block of hotel rooms usually gives people a discounted room. Not trying to be difficult, just playing devils advocate :) I definitely agree on the bachelorette party, professional makeup artist, wedding planner, and cake though.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 1:48 pm

Well, what if you didn’t want floral centerpieces? You don’t need them if you don’t want them. And if you only have a few out-of-town guests coming to your wedding, it’s probably not enough to get a block of rooms anyway (as was the case with us). I know you’re just playing devil’s advocate but if the devil in this case is the wedding industry, trust me when I say it doesn’t need an advocate. My point of this post is to argue that tradition or what you read in wedding magazines or in the comments section of your favorite advice blog or what your mom or your aunt or your best friend tells you to do isn’t necessarily the best — or the only — choice for you.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 1:51 pm

amen.

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 2:04 pm

No I agree that you don’t NEED anything at a wedding besides two people, an officiant, and a witness(s) (legally speaking). But there are practical reasons that people do have these things, depending upon the wedding. Like you said assigned seating makes things easier, registries can be useful, etc…

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 2:06 pm

Oh and my addition to the list: THE ELECTRIC SLIDE or any other choreographed dance.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:16 pm

Wrong. I will take my gift back if they don’t play the electric slide.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

Most of these things are extras that actually don’t make things easier, but make things more complicated — a guest book, a wedding cake, a wedding band, a wedding party, the perfect dress, a rehearsal dinner, an engagement party, STDs. People get them either because they truly want them — which, great, they should get them if they want them and can afford them — or because they’ve been told through the wedding industrial complex that runs rampant in our society that they OMG HAVE TO HAVE THEM. My point is to say, no, actually, you don’t need them at all, and in many cases your wedding will be even nicer and you and your guests even happier without them.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:18 pm

Many guests will be happier without cake? False.
I’ll give you STDs. I’d be happier if going to a wedding didn’t result in an STD, but cake?! Come on people! :)

Fabelle Fabelle February 6, 2013, 2:30 pm

I dunno, every wedding I’ve been to, I somehow managed to miss out on the cake? My mom usually will be asking me questions afterwards like “How was it? What did the cake look like?” And I usually have NO CLUE, because I didn’t pay attention, nor did I even get to eat it. So as a guest, I probably wouldn’t miss having cake :)

I do remember one wedding where they had a dessert buffet table though, which I certainly did partake in & it was lovely (one item was a chocolate fountain & dippable items like waffles). But not necessary at all.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:33 pm

Also, traditional wedding cake is boring in my opinion. And you never know how good it’s going to be.

I guess I could be considered a cake snob though, haha

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:37 pm

Have you watched the cake boss’ new show, Next Great Baker? You should try out next season!

fab, I’ve enjoyed those dessert buffets more than a cake too. What’s better than a cake? Lots of cakes, and pies, and brownies, and ice cream.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:45 pm

I’m a cake snob too, katie. I should have been a baker, because I think I’m better at that than anything else. I hired someone else to bake my wedding cake with major reluctance because I think I could do it better. I at least found someone who doesn’t freeze any of her cakes (a major improvement on most bakers in the wedding industry), and the sample I had was pretty good. She also bakes us a cake for our first anniversary and a cake to take on our honeymoon, so if it is good, that’s really exciting. We’ll see how it goes.

Do you bake for a living, katie? I know you’ve said you were in the food industry

I just feel like a cake is an essential part of a wedding, delicious or not.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 4:21 pm

do i bake for a living..? hmm. ill say yes. i was trained as a “baker”, i am a “baker” by trade, but i have never held the title of “baker”. its a weird issue, baker vs. pastry chef.

re: frozen cakes- if there is a functional purpose, thats fine. there are plenty of functional reasons to freeze things in pastry shops. if its for convenience, or if its because they dont have a well-run enough bakeshop that they cant make cake as they need it, thats an issue for me.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 4:31 pm

I’ve always been really curious about what the difference is between baker and pastry chef.

I don’t know what functional reasons there would be to freeze things, but I’m not doubting that there are good reasons for doing it sometimes. I HATE frozen cake though. Cannot stand it. I would rather eat a live worm than a frozen cake. People say that you can’t tell the difference, but I definitely can, and it’s sickening for me. I think it tastes like what I imagine rat poison would taste like. I think that if you don’t want to take the time to bake a cake the day before the event, you probably shouldn’t be baking cakes for events.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

usually, at least in the contexts i have run into, bakers just bake stuff. think, make batter/dough and put it in the oven until its done and take it out. also, its usually only specifical to bread. then, pastry chefs do that, but they also do all the pretty stuff- sort of taking what the baker bakes and then making it look good. but its going to vary all the time. i did everything (bread and pastries) at one job, and i was a “pastry cook” and the overnight shift at panera who bakes and finishes all the bread/pastries are “bakers”. its subjective and weird and makes no sense.

if a bakery is freezing cakes, it should only be overnight for functionality (im thinking of setting mousses, ease of un-molding, and sculpting). if they are freezing cakes for any longer, yea thats bad and im sure you can taste the difference!

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 5:01 pm

There’s a cake place here in DC that refrigerates their cakes for like a day or two. They say its so the flavors can ‘soak in’ but their cakes are always super dry for me. Plus I hate having to wait for my cake/cupcake to defrost to eat it!

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 2:33 pm

Just because there’s no cake, doesn’t mean no desserts!! Our caterer does an awesome table of cakes, tortes, cheesecakes, pies, etc. Most weddings I’ve been to barely half the guests eat the cake and they’ve even forgotten to cut it at some!

avatar camorzilla February 6, 2013, 3:27 pm

I didn’t have cake- I had cupcakes and a candy bar. People were plenty happy.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 5:01 pm

I was thinking how cool that you handed out candy bars, then realized you meant a bar with candies. Duh. Also cool though.

avatar Kim February 6, 2013, 3:32 pm

I got very confused when I saw “… STDs.” Oops, wrong STDs.

Jess Jess February 6, 2013, 4:08 pm

“if the devil in this case is the wedding industry, trust me when I say it doesn’t need an advocate.”

Never have truer words been spoken. Brilliant, Wendy. Brilliant.

avatar MMcG February 6, 2013, 4:14 pm

Wendy – FWIW I think that lots of places away from NYC don’t require minimums to arrange a room block. I know in my case I didn’t need a minimum, guests just had to reserve by a certain time or the rooms were released to the public. Having the room block (sans minimum) could also make transportation easier.

avatar Kristen February 6, 2013, 3:42 pm

We ended up buying silk flowers and putting together our own bouquets, which wasn’t too bad. We were able to make them several weeks ahead of time and then just fluff them the day before the wedding.

As for the cake, we found a great solution to help save money. We had the cake person make a three-tier cake, but only the top tier was actually made out of cake. The rest was decorated styrofoam. Then we served people slices of cake that came from giant sheet cakes, and no one knew the difference. It was great!

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 1:42 pm

I’m getting married in two months, today! And this list makes me feel a lot better about choosing to cut out so much of this stuff that felt unimportant to us (like no cake! We get the sideways glances for that). We did block rooms since it gets out of towners a better rate and there was no cost to us, just a phone call. We are also nixing long speeches, slideshows and the bouquet/garter toss.

avatar kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 1:44 pm

omg, have you ever been to a wedding where they groom pulls off the garter, and then who catches it has to put it on the woman who caught the bouquet? Usually they are perfect strangers and it is so creepy and uncomfortable and way too sexual for a wedding for me. It’s so weird!

katie katie February 6, 2013, 1:53 pm

the last wedding i was at, a little girl (like…9?) caught the bouquet, and then this middle aged man caught the garter. i was like, omg. wtf is going to happen next. i dont want to watch.

thankfully, he gave it to her littler brother, and they didnt do the putting-back-on of the garter.

i also hate this tradition and think its weirdly creepy.

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 2:01 pm

And embarassing! No one needs to see any of that.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:02 pm

I was at a wedding where it ended up being cousins. And they did it! So creepy.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

It’s disgusting in my opinion. I litterally turn away (or leave the room) when it’s going on. The last time I did participate I caught the flowers and my fiance caught the garter. Thank goodness there was no putting the garter back on business because I would have refused.

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 2:23 pm

Add Garter to the list of things I didn’t have/do.
My husband would have refused anyway.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl February 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

this totally happened to me. GIANT Catholic wedding out in LA and the brides family was Filipino. HER LITTLE BROTHER caught the garter and had to put it on my leg. ZOMG

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:00 pm

I hate watching the groom go up the bride’s dress for the garter. It is so awkward and embarrassing for everyone to watch. We are absolutely not doing that because we just think it’s inappropriate. He can put his head up my dress as long as he wants AFTER the wedding when everyone else is gone, ya know? I guess I’m not a fan of sexualizing weddings at all.

avatar Desiree February 6, 2013, 2:50 pm

AGREED.

lemongrass lemongrass February 6, 2013, 3:06 pm

Yeah we didn’t do that for the same reasons. I did plan to throw my bouquet but I totally forgot to. Or I may have been too drunk to remember. One of the two :)

othy othy February 6, 2013, 4:36 pm

My MIL bought one for our wedding. We conveniently ‘forgot’ it at home the day of.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 5:24 pm

Eww, that’s really gross….

avatar Matcha February 6, 2013, 4:50 pm

Exactly! Ew.

avatar Desiree February 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

My wedding is in exactly two months as well! Congratulations to you and good luck with the rest of the preparation!

avatar Pamplemousse Rose February 6, 2013, 6:05 pm

And to you!! It seems like a lot of time, but I’m starting to feel the crunch a bit…

mandalee mandalee February 6, 2013, 1:49 pm

Love this list, Wendy! I got married without plenty of these things and no one noticed. No wedding website, just info inserts. Regarding favors, my MOH is getting married this year and called me to ask me what my favors were because she couldn’t remember and thought it was something with food. I reminded her that I didn’t have actual favors, and just made a donation in our guests name instead. So, if your MOH won’t remember, neither will anyone else lol I think maybe a 1/4 of our bridal party attended the rehearsal, but they walked slowly in pairs just fine.

Basically, a wedding is the signing of the marriage certificate and the vows you exchanged, everything else is just extras. I really wish the wedding craziness would die down. I blame Pinterest, wedding boards, and all around crazy expectations for thinking it needs to be such a huge production to be memorable and meaningful.

raptor gillociraptor February 6, 2013, 1:50 pm

I totally wore the same J.Crew dress for my inexpensive wedding! :)

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:00 pm

My dress is from JCrew too! Bought on super sale with a coupon!

avatar MMcG February 6, 2013, 4:19 pm

Ann Taylor rocks as well, nice fabrics for very good prices. It all came in a box, I tried it on, picked one and DONE.

On another note… I’ve already dyed the dress dark to reuse but I can’t decide if I want to make it shorter.

landygirl landygirl February 6, 2013, 1:50 pm

I loved our wedding day. It was at the end of October, which in the Bay Area means beautiful weather. It was warm and sunny and we had a small ceremony in our backyard with just family and out of town relatives. My husband’s younger brother performed the ceremony and the dog got to be there too!

We had a reception afterwards at Delancey Street which is a wondeful organization that teaches a trade and new life skills to people who have had a tough life. All of the servers are people who are in the program and turning their lives around. All of the profits go back into the business. They were the best staff one could hope for. They did everything from setting up the tables, making the flower arrangements and cleaning up. I barely did anything. It was great.

We had a variety of cupcakes which were delicious. No hard alcohol but we did serve beer and wine. No wedding party, no dancing, just dinner and music played from a songlist on my iphone. I had a lot of positive responses from my guests saying that they had a great time.

Delancey Street is in several cities throughout the country and they have other business, including movers, who are excellent. If you ever get a chance to us their services, don’t hesitate.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:06 pm

Delancey Street sounds awesome. I’m going to look into it. Thanks.

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

So there’s of them in the US, one fairly close to me. I didn’t see that they offer to have events tho. Did you have to ask them to?

Anyway, thanks for mentioning them. I think I found a new charity!

landygirl landygirl February 6, 2013, 2:34 pm

It’s under catering. I’ve used there movers several times and they told us about their catering services.

http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/entercatering.php

Here is the general website address for anyone interested

http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/aboutus.php

katie katie February 6, 2013, 1:54 pm

so- did you guys know that in colorado (and other states too i guess, but i only know of colorado) you can marry YOURSELVES? isnt that the coolest thing ever??

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:02 pm

That’s crazy! Do you also have to divorce yourself if you want to marry someone else? I guess property division is much more simple, and you don’t have to pay alimony.

mandalee mandalee February 6, 2013, 2:07 pm

I think that’s awesome! I know at some counties, not sure about that whole state, that allow you to do that in Pennsylvania. I wanted to do it so bad, but life got in the way, and we had to get our marriage certificate before the wedding. *hangs head in wedding etiquette shame* lol

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:32 pm

mandalee- every county in PA is required to issue the liscense now to anyone (not just Quakers) who meet the state requirements. There was just a court case about this.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:11 pm

Yup. You can do it in PA. It stems from back in the day when PA was founded by Quakers. In the Quaker tradition the couple says their marraige vows to each other in a normal Meeting for Worship (what a church service is called). The couple would just stand up together and share their vows in front of God and their friends and family and bam! Their married! The do not beleive you need some one to declare or some outward sacriment to be married.

I’m Quaker and we’re having a traditional Quaker ceremony. The liscense in PA is called a “self uniting” liscense, my fiance and I sign it and then we have two witness sign it and I file with the state. I prefer this way a lot because no one is declaring or deciding I’m married. That’s my fiance and my decision and we’re declaring it to each other.

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:17 pm

Oh umm…. I definitely did not understand this the same way you did. I thought Katie meant that GatorGirl was allowed to marry GatorGirl in Colorado. haha

I really wish we were Quakers. I just love the ideas and traditions. I love everything I’ve heard about it actually.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

ha! i totally didnt know if you honestly didnt know what i meant or if you were being funny… lol

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

haha, umm…. Right, yup, I was just being funny! That’s it….

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

There is a Quaker meeting in your town :) There are a couple different branches of Quakerism but this is the type I am (and the kind I think is the best). You should check it out.

http://www.fgcquaker.org

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 3:10 pm

I’m really surprised there are Quakers here. I’ve never even met a Quaker besides knowing you online. I don’t really get everything it’s all about. I think I just have a lot of beliefs that don’t fit into religions, and I’m kind of looking for people to share them with.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 3:16 pm

You should look at the link. It’s got a lot of pretty great info. Quakerism used to be a huge religion but it’s been shrinking. The views/stances of the Religious Society of Friends are evolving a lot right now so it’s a pretty interesting time. I’ve been educating my self a lot more as we want to raise our children is some kind of religion and am finding all kinds of new about a religion I not only grew up in but attended a high school and college based in! It’s pretty awesome if you’re looking for something more about personal relationships with God rather than following x, y, and z rules. (To each his own though, I’m not trying to say other ways are bad!)

theattack theattack February 6, 2013, 3:24 pm

I’ve definitely been reading the link instead of working! haha Thanks, it’s super helpful! I don’t really believe in one God, so I’m not sure if I would fit in there. I just feel things spiritually and respond to them, and from what I’ve read, it sounds like Quakers sort of do the same thing? I just don’t really believe in the structures that most people believe in. Sometimes I think I’m pagan, and sometimes I think I should go to Unitarian church or find some Quakers. I’ll check this out some more. Thanks!

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 3:33 pm

I think you’d fit in. It’s like the most hippie organized religion. Every meeting is different though so…

avatar MMcG February 6, 2013, 4:24 pm

“Best” most ironic part about Quakers (if you are from the Philly area) are the number of schools that have Quakers as their mascot. How freakin’ tough are you supposed to be as a high school football team or NCAA program when your mascot is a Quaker!?!

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:43 pm

I went to a Quaker high school and college and both were the “Fighting Quakers”. Talk about hypocritical!

CatsMeow CatsMeow February 6, 2013, 2:29 pm

I will totally get married to myself. And I’ll make a gift registry too, but only a short one because what I REALLY want is for everyone to give me cash.

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 3:27 pm

Is it weird I’m kinda a fan of the Dodge Dart registry? Thats SO cool. a car paid for in increments.

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 2:17 pm

My friends had a Quaker Wedding in Rhode Island (they’re from PA though), and they married themselves. They had to have some sort of witness who signed off on it, but it was still pretty cool. Oh, and there were no chairs during that ceremony either :) It was on the beach and we all stood around them in a circle. It was awesome.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

yea, i also love it for the same reasons- no one gets to decide im married but me and my partner.

if im able to do it in colorado (or PA, who knows? lol), ill do it. its so cool.

Jess Jess February 6, 2013, 4:11 pm

GG, did I know and forget that you are from PA? Did we talk about this once with the meetup idea? I know you are having a Quaker wedding so it makes sense but I didn’t make the connection. I’m from Philly.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

I know, all you have to do is sign the paper, you don’t need an officiant or witnesses. Another reason Colorado is awesome.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

That’s how one of my best friends got married at Casa Bonita :)

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

omg casa bonita wedding? so epic. besides the food being terrible, that is so awesome. lol

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

Haha, yeah, obviously the food is awful, but who doesn’t love that place? They had a cliff diver sign one of the witness spots, just because.

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

haha thats like icing on the cake. so cool.

honestly, id be fine with eating their sopapillas all day, so i wouldnt even care. lol

avatar kaylyn February 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

agree with most wendy! i think the ones i disagree with are rehearsal dinner, chairs and dance floor. i think the rehearsal mainly so people know where the heck they are supposed to be standing, the chairs- well ive been to one without chairs- no thanks lol. and the dance floor is just necessary. But to each their own and thats when weddingss become unique!

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 2:16 pm

We didn’t have a DJ, a dance floor, a wedding planner or an engagement party and it turned out fine!
We also didn’t have readings during the ceremony.

One of my wedding guests actually sent me a card after the wedding saying how much she enjoyed the wedding, and that the whole weekend felt like one giant hug, so I must have done something right!

avatar lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

What a nice compliment!

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 2:18 pm

I love the way you described the bridal party Wendy!

Also, I think it’s funny you mention the dollar dance, I find that not everyone has heard of that one.

I’ve been to some awesome weddings that didn’t include many of these details, the important part was seeing people I care about joining their lives together.

avatar sarolabelle February 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

I don’t know about the cake. When can you have a 3 tier wedding cake if not for at your wedding? It is a once in a lifetime thing!

katie katie February 6, 2013, 2:23 pm

….whenever you want? lol you can have a fancy cake for any occasion you deem it to be necessary!

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 2:30 pm

I could have easily gone without a cake… My husband on the other hand… The cake was the only part of wedding planning he was in charge of! He told the lady he didn’t care what it looked like, as long as it tasted good, and he got what he wanted. Every single piece got eaten.

sobriquet sobriquet February 6, 2013, 2:24 pm

I wish I could discreetly send this list to my boyfriend’s brother and future sister-in-law. They are tight for money, decided to plan a wedding in an 8 month span, and I think it’s going to be miserable. They are having their wedding across the country and doing everything they can to please people who completely disagree with their marriage. I mean, vehemently disagree with it. There is no doubt in my mind that they will talk negatively about the couple at their own wedding! And not only are they taking their wedding across the country to them, they have decided to have a completely dry wedding to please these people. My boyfriend and I have mentioned options like having only wine and beer and a certain cut off limit, or even a CASH bar, but they don’t want to offend them. They’re spending a hundred bucks taking dance lessons to have a special dance, but they can’t spend $100 on 20 bottles of barefoot wine? Oh! And they’re not even going on a honeymoon! I asked her about it the other day and she said it would probably be a year until they could take their honeymoon and that we should come with them. (what?!?)

Sorry, had to vent a little bit. I hear about the wedding planning all the time lately and just have to bite my tongue and act like it’s going to be wonderful. I just think it is so silly to spend all that money for people who don’t even want you to get married! And then not even go on a honeymoon!

avatar Lucy February 6, 2013, 4:19 pm

Don’t have a cash bar: This is what happens: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=8838501

Also, dry weddings can be great. The percentage of people who act like assholes is so much lower than when people are drinking.

the_optimist the_optimist February 6, 2013, 2:45 pm

So I participated in a few really amazing VERY low-budget weddings that were part of a Pop Up Chapel in New York. I’m an ordained minister and married two same-sex couples at Columbus Circle the week after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York. Check it out: http://popupchapel.com/. It was pretty badass. Granted, a lot of things were donated (chairs, party favors, cupcakes) but it gave me a TON of ideas for if/when I decide to walk down the aisle myself. Seeing twenty four couples who basically wanted nothing more than to be legally wed to one another put a lot in perspective for me. Weddings are what you make of them. Thanks for the list, Wendy. I wholeheartedly agree.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

So my thoughts…I’m totally with you on most of these (pre-wedding parties, a wedding band, bridal party, florist, wedding cake, favors, weekend date, hair and makeup, guest book, rehearsal dinner, wedding planner) but some things really are for the comfort/ease of your guests.
Save the Dates- Our wedding is on a holiday weekend. Sending a cheap ($17 total) post card to all of our out of town guests gave them plenty of notice to plan for the travel (and save $$). We could have sent an e-mail, but I personally enjoyed sending the postcard and we got a ton of positive feedback on them.
Wedding Website- Necessary? No. Super helpful to a lot of guests and minimal time invest? Yes. The bulk of our guests are from 400+ miles away and we stuck a ton of info on the website; hotel info, directions, local attractions, etc. We’re also having an online RSVP so we don’t have to deal with the BS of the postal service (and we can’t figure out where to send the RSVPs to so that decided it). I also really enjoy reading people’s wedding websites- how they met, the proposal, funny facts. It’s cute.
Gift Registry- Do you want 3 George Foreman Grills? I don’t. Registries solve that.
Chairs- So maybe you’re only having a 20 minute ceremony. But what about the 30 minutes people arrived early? And the 10 minutes late the bride is? So now we’re talking an hour standing; in heels, maybe holding a heavy blender/wedding gift, possibly in the sun or a stuffy church. Give your guests seats, for their own comfort.
Dance Floor- who wants to dance while moving chairs?? A little space in the corner is not that hard to do.
Assigned seating- Again, this one is guest comfort to me. Trying to find a table or splitting your group because there are only 2 seats when you need 3? Ugh. Just make a chart ahead of time. If you’re not having assigned seating please have 10% more seats then you have guests. There will inevitably be an empty seat or two at tables so extra seats ease this.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 3:08 pm

I think you’ve been reading too many wedding websites.
Look, you say that some of these must-haves are for the ease of your guests, but then the first example you use — STD cards — you say you did because you got personal enjoyment out of it. That’s great! Do things if you enjoy them, absolutely! Do things if you think it will make things more comfortable for your guests and it’s fun for you to do — I suspect creating a wedding website was/is fun for you (again, great!). But if something is a lot of trouble for you — so much so that you’re having crying fits and stress attacks, for God’s sake, just skip it. Honestly, no one else is as wrapped up in your wedding (you, being general here, not YOU-YOU) as you are and people really won’t care if most of this stuff is nonexistent at your wedding. And if they do? They’re boring and don’t have enough going on in their lives. Truly.

Down with the wedding industrial complex! Down with it, I say!

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 3:26 pm

I will admit I’m up to my eye balls in wedding planning and it has been stressful, but for me it’s mostly about making my guests comfortable. We have guests traveling over 400 miles (most of the guests acutally). I’m doing everything I can to make them as comfortable as possible. Advance notice, a website with tons of info to ease travel, chairs, an abundance of seating…makes it easier on them.

Skipping the bs (flowers, princess dresses, favors, sparklers) is a great idea, but skipping things that make youre guests more comfortable- not okay in my opinion.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 3:30 pm

But, see, not everyone has a wedding like yours. Not everyone has out-of-town guests. Not everyone has a wedding that’s longer than a few minutes and necessitates chairs. Not everyone even has a reception. Yes, for YOUR wedding, these things you mention probably make the guests more comfortable. But for people who have non-traditional weddings — like, on the subway or in the lobby of an art museum or in a public park, all examples that people mentioned today — some of these “must-haves” really, truly are not only unnecessary, they may not even be legal.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 3:42 pm

My point is after finding the right person to marry your guests comfort should be #1. Your reception is a thank you to guests for being witness to your marraige. It’s not a party for you, it’s a party for them.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 6, 2013, 4:05 pm

Ohhhh I’m having flashbacks – you were one of the people that told me I was selfish for having a destination wedding weren’t you?

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:08 pm

Oh no. I”m having a semi destination wedding. It’s 400+ miles away for half of the guests. I think destination weddings are cool and would have had one if my family wasn’t HUGE.

avatar bethany February 6, 2013, 3:45 pm

My wedding photographer just posted her wedding photos online… They got married in a Redwood forest with about 30 people standing in a circle. It looked amazing.

avatar Christy February 6, 2013, 6:58 pm

Ooh who was it? I love Redwood forest weddings!

avatar Bethany February 6, 2013, 9:57 pm

She posted them on her personal fb page, not her website :( they were amazing!

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 3:49 pm

I love this Wendy! I mean, people should do what they want because they want to, enjoy the planning/creating aspect of it (and can afford it, but thats another issue entirely!) I can’t comment on the wedding stuff since I’m not at that stage, but comparing this to a birthday party, I can either have a Mtv style My Super sweet 16 extravaganza that I stress and cry and waste tons of $$ on, or I can do something more low key within my sanity and budget. Now would my guests LOVE mp3 players as invites with a guest performance by the backstreet boys and a super expensive meal. Um, YA! But would a party at my house with evites, grocery store snacks and a playlist be ‘wrong’– no. Not at all.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 3:57 pm

But should people do what they want when it creates discomfort for their guests? Who have possible traveled and most likely bought you a gift?

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 4:01 pm

Nothing Wendy wrote above creates discomfort for others.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:06 pm

Not having chairs? Not potentially having enough seating? I’d be pretty uncomfortable. Not having enough notice to plan my vacation days and/or save up money if I need to travel? Pretty frutrating as a guest.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 4:13 pm

Obviously some people can’t stand for 20 minutes, but you can get around that by having some seating available for those who need it. I’d be happy to stand in a nice park for 20 minutes.

And you can tell people when your wedding is going to be without sending out official save the date cards.

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 4:14 pm

You can’t stand for 20 min? And I missed the part of the no notice. Also, all employers have a different rule about vacay days, a bride can’t be expected to know them all, maybe ask a few for the people she deems must attend worthy. She can hope for the best and when the invites are sent out for the rest, whatever method she chooses, emails, paper invites etc.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 4:18 pm

You really, really, really don’t have to send STDs to give people advance notice. You can email them, as we did.

Jess Jess February 6, 2013, 4:22 pm

We did an e-card from paperless post which looks as good or better than the real thing. Cost 16 bucks but came with a comment pace and the ability to track when people opened them. Even better, the same company provides all their ecards in paper form. So our real invitations, which will be sent by regular mail, will match the e-card (which doesn’t matter, I realize, but it’s fun). We set up a simple wedding site (for free) so we could do online RSVPs instead of mail-back cards.

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 4:26 pm

Oh Wendy –a plain ole Email for something WEDDING RELATED ZOMG?! amirite?! Its not official wedding related unless its delivered by baby cupids playing the harp ;)

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:41 pm

I would be annoyed if I was standing for 20 minutes, in heels, holding a gift. Yes. I would be annoyed.

And I’m totally on board with e-mail STDs. I thought about doing them but we had a cool idea for a post card so we did that. Obviously you can’t accomodate everyone, but it’s nice to try and give people advance notice if you can. Especially if you were doing say a weekday event (which I think is a great idea) or a holiday weekend (like I am). I don’t understand why taking your guests comfort into consideration seems like a nuts idea.

Lili Lili February 6, 2013, 4:47 pm

@GG–Standing for 20+ min in heels holding something psh, I call that my AM bus commute ;) Of course, I know thats not the standard for most events, just ones I’ve been to lately–like my company holiday party that was in a club, we all just stood around (or by the bar actually heehee). I’m not trying to debate you, just showing that guests don’t always have to sit for it to be polite and comfortable. But if you have enough seats, power to ya!

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:53 pm

You know in reality every wedding I’ve been to has been 30+ minutes, some closer to an hour. So I’m sure that sways my opinion. Also, I’ve often experienced the bridal party running behind 15 or so minutes, which adds to the time. I totally understand the chairs or a website or a post card isn’t necessary, but it’s nice. And if you can do it (monetarily, etc) I think you should do it for sure! Don’t skip something to save yourself time/money/effort that will inconvience your guests in my opinion.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 4:54 pm

But GG, no one’s arguing with you that having chairs for your guests’ comfort is a good thing, we’re just saying it’s not mandatory to always have chairs in every situation.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 5:43 pm

GG if you were given notice that the wedding was to be standing you would be able to wear flats instead. Unless there is a rule you have to wear heels to weddings I am unaware of.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 6:14 pm

@ele4phant Well, that sort of plays into what I’m saying. Make your guests the most comfortable you can. If you absolutely can not have chairs for your ceremony, let your guests know. Then they can plan their shoes accordingly. Guest comfort should be very high on the list.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 6, 2013, 6:37 pm

I respect that your guests’ comfort is top of your priority list. And I appreciate that you rate chairs as among the most important factor for a guests’ comfort, even for a 20-minute ceremony in a garden where there are plenty of benches for people to sit on during the minutes leading to the ceremony. And I understand that you think a wedding is for the guests and not for the bride and groom (I disagree with this, by the way). I guess what I don’t understand is that given all that, why you think asking half your guests to travel a long distance during a holiday weekend isn’t sacrificing their comfort and convenience, at least a little bit, for the sake of your own. I would happily travel a long distance on a holiday weekend for the wedding of someone I care about (I’m going to later this year, actually), just as I’m sure your guests will, but I would just as happily — actually, more happily — stand for a 20-minute ceremony.

My point is, you can’t possibly accommodate every single guest AND be true to yourself and your own needs and wishes. You do your best. And you hope if there is a little discomfort — and, truly, standing for a few minutes is about as small of a discomfort as you can get — and inconvenience, that your loved ones will be gracious about it because they love you and the most important thing to them is being able to watch you get married. Even if they have to stand for a few minutes. Even if they have to travel during a holiday weekend. Even if there wasn’t a wedding website reminding them how you met the groom and where they could find a great chicken parm near their hotel.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 6, 2013, 6:54 pm

Ditto.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 9:00 pm

Well, in regards to asking guests to travel- our families live in two different states, over 400 miles apart and we live evev father (PA, NC, and FL). So it was either one side (mine or his) travel and we travel, or everyone invited other than the two of us travel. We picked the first option that created more of an inconvience to us (planning and hosting an event over 900 miles from our house) but created less of an inconvience to more of the guests (about 40% of the guests are from out of town in reality). So, there wasn’t really a good option in regards to location.

There is also a family dynamic that I think gets over looked a lot, and a cultural aspect that gets over looked. I’m marrying into a Southern family- there are certain expectations and things that “have” to be done. Asking my fiance’s famly to stand would be taken as very rude by 99% of them. Not blocking a hotel for his family that is traveling would be considered rude. Not having welcome bags at the hotel would be rude. Not inviting all out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner is not okay. Seriously, I’m not joking. Yes, they would be happy to travel the distance to watch us get married even if we committed all these snubs and they would still be happy we’re married, but is it worth it to me to snub people that are about to become my family just so things are a little easier on me? No.

avatar wendykh February 8, 2013, 1:43 am

As a GRITS again, I`ll say this shit is WAY more important to you than them. WAY more. Will they scoff if god forbid there are no welcome bags? Yes. And they`ll be over it in 10 minutes.

avatar ele4phant February 6, 2013, 7:38 pm

@GG did I miss where people said it was totally cool to tell guests nothing about the condition of the venue?

Whether you invite people by post with an std, by email, by phone call, or carrier pigeon, it seems common courtesy to tell people basics about the event: when and where and basics about the surroundings so they can plan accordingly. And this doesn’t go for just weddings, but any get together you throw – no matter how grand or small.

Seeing as you’re okay with a standing wedding so long as you have adequate notice (which I haven’t heard anyone suggest anything otherwise) what is left for you take issue with?

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 9:17 pm

It’s not that I’m “taking issue” with the suggestions…I really think the over all point is awesome. Don’t fall into the cookie cutter the wedding industry feeds you! Awesome, I agree. I think most of this stuff is nuts. But if you are going to invite people to an event, as your guests, they need to be properly hosted. Would you invite people to your house for dinner and not have enough chairs? Ask them to pay for drinks? Not let them know you’ll be outside in April (when it might be chilly)? No. None of us would do that. We all would treat our guests in our homes better than that so why wouldn’t you treat a guest to your wedding, arguably the most important event you will ever host, better?

I’m not advocating for princess dresses and 7 course meals, or even a traditional white dress and cupcakes. Just host your guests the right way, making them comfortable and aware of conditions such as no seating, outdoors, or not serving dinner. That’s all. Buck tradition- get married at the zoo in overalls and have hot dogs for your wedding meal. That sounds awesome. But let the people your hosting know what the heck to expect, in a timely manner and in a polite and easy to understand way. Goodness.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:11 pm

Also, not being able to sit with my fiance or whom ever I came with at dinner because open seating left only 1 seat at each table would be pretty annoying.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 6, 2013, 4:09 pm

Yeah I find it a little self involved that you actually think that skipping these things creates discomfort for your guests. I mean how did people ever attend a wedding without a wedding website?! Or a seating chart!

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:18 pm

I mean a lot of them could be skipped. The website for example. An absolute must have? No. But a nice, free, easy thing to do? Yes. I mean I’m sure for your destination wedding you gave your guests a lot of info to make their travels easier. A contact person at the hotel, what airport is best, what the schedule of events was if you had any events leading up to the wedding.

All I’m saying is take your guests into concern when making decisions. Don’t invite 100 people for dinner and only have 50 chairs. Let people know they will be standing in grass for an hour if you’re not having chairs for the ceremony (which I think you should). Do what you can, with in reason, to make your GUESTS comfortable. They are your guests after all, you invited them.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 6, 2013, 4:21 pm

Actually I didn’t have any events leading up to the wedding. And yes I told them where the wedding would be. But that was about it. I think you should realize that you do all these things because YOU want to – but they really really are unnecessary.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson February 6, 2013, 4:19 pm

But you’re saying that not sending out save the dates was a comfort for your guests and I’m sure even you can see how ridiculous that is. You liked doing it. Someone complimented you on it – but honestly they probably complimented you on it because they know you liked doing it. Not because it was some monumental help to them.

Since everyone on DW can tell you really care about your wedding I can only imagine that everyone in your life knows how into wedding planning you are – so of course they’re going to compliment you on things. It means a lot to you and they care about you and want to be nice. But that doesn’t mean that the things you’re providing are for their benefit and not your own.

That would be like if I said that when I lost weight for my wedding I was doing it for my guests comfort – because white never looks good on fat people. When really I did it for myself. You do these things because you want to. Not because you’re doing your guests a huge favor.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

I whole heartly beleive that letting my guests know about the location of my wedding 400+ miles from where many of them live, 6 months before my holiday weekend weeding was for their benefit. I agree I did not have to print and send a postcard, an e-mail or phone call would have sufficed, but I still think it was nice they got notified.

We received a STD notice 6 months before a wedding we would have to travel 450 miles for about 6 months in advance and it was a life saver. We were able to budget for the travel expense, make a hotel reservation WAY in advance during a very busy weekend where all the towns hotels sold out 3 months in advace, and I was able to take time off of work. It was to MY benefit, not the couple getting married.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 5:04 pm

Knowing about the wedding was to your benefit, but you would have known about the wedding from an email just the same. I’ve never received a save the date card for a wedding, but I’ve always managed to plan for them.

avatar GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 5:08 pm

Right, like I said…an e-mail or phone call would have sufficed.

avatar rachel February 6, 2013, 6:02 pm

Ha, okay, fair enough, you did say that.

I guess my point was, as you agree with, the “convenient for your guests” part is the actual knowledge of the date ahead of time. The addressing and mailing of actual, physical cards is something that you chose to do, and doesn’t have an effect on the comfort of your guests. It’s the actual physical save the date cards that everyone is saying are unnecessary. It’s nice that you did them, and I’m sure they looked great, but probably people wouldn’t have missed them.

avatar wendykh February 8, 2013, 1:26 am

I think you seriously over estimate the priss factor of your guests. I can find a hotel room and diner. Seriously.

avatar Valerie February 6, 2013, 2:56 pm

I love this list! I think the most important thing in planning a wedding is finding the things that are important to YOU and your spouse-to-be, and including those personal touches in your wedding. I’ve been to many “cookie-cutter” weddings where ALL THE THINGS were included because “they were supposed to be,” but none of it felt personal; I couldn’t see any of “the couple” in those weddings. I think when people try to include all the things mentioned above, everything gets kind of lost or glossed-over, instead of focusing on the touches that make the wedding unique.

For example, with our wedding, we did do favors, but that’s because my husband and I love baseball and we wanted to commemorate that somehow, so we gave everyone their seating assignment (our venue required assigned seating, fortunately it was easy for us!) on a “baseball ticket” that I designed and we printed out ourselves in a popcorn box filled with Cracker Jack, candy, etc. And everyone took theirs home at the end of the night. We also didn’t do a “wedding cake” either. We got a $13 round cake to cut that we topped with some flower petals, and then we served guests delicious chocolate cake from one of our favorite Chicago-style hot dog places (Portillo’s anyone??). Instead of doing a traditional guest book, we knew that we wanted to put together a wedding scrapbook, so we made little cards for people to fill out with “wishes for the bride and groom” that they could then paste on scrapbook pages.

Anyway, short version, do the things that are important to YOU, not what theknot.com says is importat for you to do! :)