Wednesday, July 27

what makes a wedding fun?

Back in 2011, someone in an online wedding planning community I participate in asked what differentiates a "fun" wedding from a "boring" wedding?  I reposted my answer here on the blog, with some elaboration and some sneak peeks from our wedding. I wanted to share it again today, since I still believe so much in this message.

The things that make weddings "fun" for me are:

Happy guests!  Photo courtesy my college Apartmentmate Senora M.

1. Not feeling awkward at dinner; getting to sit with people I know, or at least people who are close in age/interests. As wedding hosts, don't invite people out of guilt or because you feel like you "should," invite them because you can't imagine celebrating your marriage without them, and it will be easier to seat cool people together. I've always appreciated it when I could tell that a bride and groom put in the extra effort - like one where even though I didn't know most of the other guests at my table, we were all alumni of the same college so we had a lot of common ground.  I got really stressed out about our seating chart, so I let Mr. Spin make some of the final decisions about who should sit where.  When he had to put someone with people they didn't know very well, he made sure they were people who would get along and maybe even form a great friendship.  We ended up with some awesome groupings of people and I saw several of my friends from different circles adding each other on Facebook after the wedding- proof that new acquaintances, at least, were forged.

Bridesmaid Philly and another college fellowship friend getting their groove on! - photo from BM Philly

2. Good music. Even if there is no dancing, play a thought-out set of music during dinner rather than the "smooth jazz" most DJ services bring. We worked on our playlist for a longtime, digging through everything from our old CD collections and our parents' favorite music, to the soundtracks of our favorite movies. But really, dancing is going to make a wedding much more fun- that's why I knew our wedding reception would not be held in a Baptist fellowship hall. Sure, alcohol helps loosen people up, but so does playing the cha-cha slide!  If people are sticking to their chairs even after the dance floor has opened up, the bride has the right to drag them out.  It's an actual rule of weddings that no one can say no to the bride, so milk that moment while you can!

The centerpiece at our wedding party's table - Photo from Vinton War Memorial

3. Personal touches - like, "oh, those J. Crew bridesmaid's dresses with pockets are SO Carolyn, and they match the flowers on the invitations she designed!" or "Katie and Aaron are cyclists and there is a bicycle on the program, cute!" or "Susie is quoting Journey in her vows!"  People loved the book centerpieces at our wedding because they know we are nerds, and some were even finding "hidden meaning" in the books at their tables - a coworker asked if the Emma table was more special than others since she knew I re-read that particular Austen novel every year.

The sparkler exit did not go perfectly, but our photographer got some great pictures!

4. Some way to be involved as a guest - give me some confetti to throw, a "we will" to say during the ceremony, a word search, a photobooth, something cool to sign, a sparkler to hold... some way to feel like I'm really a part of the celebration, not a spectator watching a performance. We call it a wedding ceremony for a reason.

Our "Social Hour" bar menu - Photo from Vinton War Memorial

5. Keeping the serious parts meaningful but efficient: you do not need to make your guests sit through "The Wind Beneath My Wings" while you stare lovingly at one another and light candles. That's just cruel. If you do photos after the ceremony, give guests something to do (photo booth, crossword, puzzle, scavenger hunt, neat venue to explore, cool guest book), something to eat (cocktails, appetizers, crudites, milk and cookies, something!) and somewhere to sit if their feet hurt (high heels are killer). If you aren't doing a fancy choreographed first dance, invite your guests or at least bridal party to join in halfway through so guests aren't watching you do the seventh-grade sway for three minutes.

We burst into giggles during our first dance.  Photo from Senora M.

6. MOST IMPORTANT: the bride and groom at a fun wedding don't take themselves too seriously. You are not auditioning for Four Weddings, and your wedding is not really going to be The Best Day of Your Life (because in reality, that would suck- the best days are still to come!). Loosen up, don't sweat little details, and take time to enjoy having all your favorite people in one place because it probably won't happen again.

What details and decisions have made weddings you have attended FUN?  Are you adding any special FUN touches to your wedding day?


  1. I think this is a great post and love your ideas! And it is sad that part of me is looking forward to making up a seating chart, hoping to see how certain friends of mine will hit it off together?

  2. Shoshanah, I think it's GREAT that you're looking at your seating chart that way! For some reason I dreaded making ours... we ended up with exactly as many guests as chairs and I was really afraid someone who hadn't RSVP'd would show up and not have a seat, but didn't want to pay for another tablecloth :)