Thursday, July 19, 2012

more than just a kegger


Dear ESB,

I'm getting married in a month and then having five parties across the country. Your fabulous readers helped me find a stand-in for the Alternative Gift Registry a few months ago (we went with WeJoinIn; thanks ladies and gents!).

Now I'm back with another question. Part of the reason we chose to do a very small (ten people max) wedding followed by five parties is because neither of us is keen to share our deepest emotions with a few hundred people. Instead, we want to do our own private thing for the actual act, and then party with a few hundred people.

However, we do want to acknowledge what we're celebrating at the parties. We want them to feel like they are coming to something that is more than just a kegger in a back yard. Maybe this is cheating, but we want to capture the feeling that everyone present is part of our community and our marriage, but without actually getting married in front of them.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to commemorate the fact that we got married at each of the parties without making either of us cringe? We're tending towards something lighthearted and maybe participatory. My better half nixed my idea of a tongue in cheek wedding re-enactment, which admittedly would have been challenging to pull off tastefully. 

Oh, and it would be helpful if the suggestion didn't require a projector, karaoke machine, or anything else that I would need to find and set up in five different locations.

*****

The answer is so obvious I almost missed it....! Ask a couple of key people in each city to prepare toasts.

Also: CAKE

(Photo by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs)

53 comments:

  1. Yup. Definitely toasts, cake, and champagne. Oh and dress up. You're going to dress up right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. maybe a little white(ish) dress?

    ReplyDelete
  3. We did this same type of thing with tiny ceremony followed by big party. We arrived at the party 30 minutes after our guests and then had the DJ announce our entrance as "the newly married Mr. & Mrs. so-and-so" - No one there had seen us since we got married so they were truly excited, all on their feet clapping, hollering, taking pictures and all that jazz. He wore a suit and I wore a fancy dress. We also had a big cake, like ESB suggested. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm surprised ESB is condoning this woman throwing FIVE parties in her own honor, and now asking people to toast her... for an event they weren't invited to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I can see why people sometime throw 2 parties, my cousin and his fiance eloped and then had a casual celebration in New York with his family and a casual celebration in Switzerland with the bride's family. 1 wedding +5 parties is like you're going on tour or something. Yuck.

      Delete
    2. Seriously, this. The couple should just make t-shirts with the dates and cities of their WEDDING TOUR 2K12.

      I sure as shit wouldn't toast them for something they didn't feel I could be present at, due to the ~deepest emotions~

      Delete
    3. What Jess said...it's insulting to the guests at the five parties.

      Delete
    4. For goodness sakeJuly 19, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      I agree! Yuck. Just get married, share your emotions and then get on with your life.

      Delete
    5. Laziest guest ever here, but would rather they spend their money and travel to my ass then have to spend money to go them.

      Let's think with our wallets... this is way more considerate, IMO.

      Delete
  5. "we want to capture the feeling that everyone present is part of our community and our marriage, but without actually getting married in front of them."

    people be crazy. isn't commemorating/reenacting a wedding a lot more cringe-worthy than just getting married in front of everyone? having five different parties because you don't want to be mushy in front of people just seems like such an exhausting alternative.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You could bring along a small framed photo of your wedding day and place it somewhere prominent in each space. Or it would be almost as easy to get a digital picture frame and load a selection of photos from both your wedding and each celebration as they occur. Then guests at each celebration can see images of both the wedding and previous parties, without the hassle of setting up a projector. We loaded old photos of guests' past weddings on a small digital frame and just placed it on the table during various wedding-related gatherings. It was super easy and people got a kick out of seeing the old images.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am shocked at ESB's response today...

    So you don't want to invite people to the big day, and THEN you are going to ask them to help you with your five big parties??

    Yikes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. pretty sure she didn't say that she wanted people to help with anything...

      seriously, what is up everyone's ass today? maybe the couple have lived in lots of different places and are doing the very considerate thing of not expecting everyone they know to travel to a wedding.

      I thought this website was all about choices and people doing what works for them regardless of traditional/convention. These guys don't want a big ceremony (not unlike some people who elope), but do want to celebrate their marriage with their friends and are hoping to do so without being a hindrance or cringey.
      If i got invited to a wedding-celebration party but not the private-10-people-only ceremony i wouldn't even blink. Anyone who is offended by that is maybe over thinking this a little.

      Delete
    2. Why don't you go ahead and take a little look at her registry....

      And then of course you can step off your pedestal.

      Delete
    3. I don't want to take a look at her registry, because that would make me a stalker.

      Delete
  8. If you want to make them feel like they're "a part of your community and your marriage," then invite them to your wedding. The entire purpose of getting married with your community as witnesses is to involve them as part of your marriage. If you want to keep the ceremony private and just celebrate with them, then have a toast, some champagne and cake and stop there. Don't let the 5 parties go to your head.

    ReplyDelete
  9. People are being a tad harsh. There are many good reasons why a 5 low key party tour makes more sense than one big wedding in one location. For one thing, it ensures that your guests don't have to pay $$$ to travel, stay at a hotel, and be available that specific weekend of the wedding, etc. I have gone to a bunch of post wedding celebrations that are in my home city, for which I would not have had funds or the time off work to actually travel to the ONETIME event if it were in some other state. Let's not be so down on people trying to do something a little bit different to ensure that everyone is included in the fun.

    As for how to make this a marriage related party: One thing you could do is invest in a polaroid camera and have people take pictures of themselves at each event with a well-wishing/piece of advice message in the back of the pic. You can then lug around the photos from one event to the other and just spread them out on a table or tape them to a wall at each event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would make a whole lot more sense if the bride stated that they're doing five different parties for budget reasons/accommodating guests who can't travel to the actual wedding... but she said it was because she and her future husband don't feel comfortable sharing their "deepest emotions." that's the the silly part.

      Delete
    2. I hear what you're saying, but the truth of it is, you weren't invited to a wedding. They didn't even give you the CHANCE to go to the wedding. They just said 'hey, come to this party in our honor.'

      Nowhere does it say you HAVE to celebrate with every person you ever knew. You invite the people that you want to share your special day. Then you move on. Anything more is just an excuse to continue to celebrate yourselves.

      Delete
  10. Cake, toasts, grand entrance, first dance, whatever you’d do if you were having a regular reception. But do your best to make each party different from the next, so you don’t get exhausted/bored (and so guests at later parties don’t have all the fun smashed by looking at FB photos posted by guests at earlier parties).

    I disagree with the people saying five parties and no wedding invite is rude. Part of the reason I disagree is because I am assuming that if you are having that many parties, they are taking place in far-spaced locations. Personally, I’d rather my friends host a party in my hometown than spend my $$$ and travel xxx miles and possibly use a vacation day just to see them get married then only get to talk to them for five minutes after the ceremony. Just me?

    I support your ceremony-less parties 100%. That said, are you sure you want to do FIVE?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think what many people are reacting to is the number 5, less than the not-invited-to-the-ceremony-ness. Although something about the combination of the two is kind of irritating. I would also rather not spend all that time and money to go to a wedding far away, but there is something special about knowing it's a one time event...not a 5 time thing. I feel like 2 parties is the max you can get without being a crazy person.

      Delete
  11. I totally neglected your plea for lighthearted participatory events. What about a different theme for each party? One can be a daytime garden party event with croquet and horseshoes, one can be a late night discoball-tastic dance party with a great DJ, one can be a casual thing on a waterfront with the option of paddle boating, tree climbing, tire swinging… you get the idea. Cake and toasts still apply. Hope you enjoy event planning!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I do think that some people are being a little mean. We had 2 weddings because my family lives on the east coast and my hubby's family lives on the west coast. To "include" everyone, we got married by a justice of the peace in the east, and had religious ceremony in the west. Obviously our arrangement wouldn't work for everyone, but maybe if you have ordained friends in the different areas, they could do a marriage blessing for you? This would be a little more formal than a toast and perhaps will make everyone feel like they didn't miss out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, but what you did was get married two different ways with two groups of people. Thus, people invited to both parties were included in your marriage. Without your idea of a marriage blessing, it kind of seems like they're saying, "You weren't special or close enough to actually be invited to see us get married, but you are close enough to help throw us a party to celebrate!"
      For me, the issue is a combination of not inviting those guests to the weddings, having FIVE parties, and asking guests to help out rather than hosting them. If any one of those aspects weren't there, I would feel better about it, especially the "helping out" part.

      Delete
  13. We had two "weddings" (in separate countries, so not as many guests had to travel) and I wore the wedding dress for both and we reenacted the ceremony (in another language) for the second wedding. In addition to that, nice invites, a guestbook (actually a photo book that guests wrote in -- the same for both events), a "first" dance, mazel tov dance, cake, and toasts made both weddings clearly weddings. But I have to admit, I was much less excited about wedding #2 than wedding #1 and I think it was because I was exhausted. If someone told me I also had to do Weddings 3, 4, and 5 I might have tried maiming that person. So, yeah, be prepared for fatigue.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm totally on board with the five party plan... we had over 200 people at our wedding and i honestly don't think i spoke to more than 10 of them. I would've loved to have a handful of picnics/bbqs/beach-parties in various cities to see (and actually celebrate with) the people i love. I'm with ESB on this: cake and toasts. Also, including photos from the actual marriage celebration would be nice - maybe blow a few up, or get a small poster made with a handful of pics to hang up at the various party venues... they can be part of the party decor and would have more of a presence if they're blown up than just in a small frame.
    have fun! and congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  15. People are being way harsh. Did none of you even read the writer's previous post? Three of the places she names are Boston, Madison, and San Francisco. She said, back-yard-with-friends parties. She is trying to be accommodating, taking her own time and $ to travel to see people to share her joy about being married rather than asking people from across the whole country to come to her, on one specific day, for lots of $$. As a tight-budgeted young person, I think this is way accommodating. Also, please note, she said specifically she doesn't want wedding-reenactments or anything cheesy like that. (Multiple coast / wedding brides, I'm not talking about you, two weddings are very reasonable in your situations)

    And Writer - I totally agree with ESB. Simple, classy, toasts and cake and champagne. I wish you the best - have an awesome time!

    ReplyDelete
  16. How about a ring warming at each of the parties?

    Also I hope you have fun and your guests do too, 5 parties (or indeed a wedding tour) sounds like fun to me. This lot (to use an American phrase) should te the stick out their asses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is a ring warming? I'm intrigued.

      Delete
    2. Tie your rings into a fancy ribbon bow and have your guests pass them around and either think good things for you or have a little pray or say a little poem to themselves. We did it during our ceremony and then they were at the front for when we needed them. You could do it during some toasts.

      Delete
  17. obv just both wear your wedding clothes. i'm kinda jealous just thinking about it. i mean, i only got to wear my damn wedding dress once. go and rock the shit out of yours!

    and also like ESB and a few others have said, do the good usual wedding traditions like toasts and cake.

    ReplyDelete
  18. There are lots of comments already and I'm sure these things have probably been mentioned but what about the following:

    1. Have a receiving line at the door/gate an have a grand entrance when everyone's arrived with someone introducing you over the mic as Mr & Mrs [insert name]
    2. Have a first dance in front of everyone.
    3. As ESB said, have cake and speeches/toast.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "we want to do our own private thing for the actual act, and then party with a few hundred people. "

    gag. seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh gosh, we did something similar - we got married at the courthouse and then threw a reception a few days later. Reading all these harsh comments makes me wonder if all our friends secretly hate us for it! My husband was REALLY uncomfortable with the idea of getting married in front of people--he is very private. I think he would have preferred to elope to Vegas, but I wanted to share and celebrate with my friends (neither of us have much family to speak of), so that was our compromise.

    Anyway, we didn't do an "entrance" or anything (and no first dance!) but we did a toast and I thought it worked well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guarantee you no one talked ill behind your back. A friend of mine did this recently. Everyone understood and enjoyed themselves at the reception, just as I'm sure they did at yours. Every bride/groom is different and if people don't comprehend this then it's their dilemma, not yours.

      Delete
    2. no no no, you didnt have FIVE parties. totally different.

      Delete
  21. The whole wedding tour isn't my cup of tea, but people have different tastes. Some of youse need to tone it down a bit. It's not like she's having five full on traditional weddings, different gowns, different rings, caterers, different professional photographers etc. They are back yard parties. It's not like she's even asking for gifts. She's accommodating everyone and doing all the traveling. I can't recall the number of times people have gone looney tunes over "OMGZ YOUR FRIEND IS SUCH A BITCH FOR MAKING YOU FLY SOMEWHERE. FUCK HER, FUCKING BITCH."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is exactly what i thought! she is seriously accomodating and smart. i mean, let's all get serious: the cost of 2 people traveling to multiple cities is still cheaper than the cost of a few hundred people going to one city.

      Delete
    2. and oh yeah, where the hell did she even say that every person at every party had to attend the other 4 parties? PUT THE CLAWS AWAY, CRAZY CUNTS!

      Delete
    3. I agree with you. But I just can't stop thinking that 5 is a lot of any kind of party for any kind of milestone.

      Delete
  22. I'm less worried from a guest viewpoint, than I am worried for the bride's sanity... if they're private people, 5 parties seems like it would be worthy of a mental breakdown

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I initially thought that but I guess it depends on the type of party and whether people in each location are helping out with the venue, catering etc. I'm a worrier so 5 parties would just mean I would be worrying until they were over but I know people who had 3 parties following their small wedding and they seemed to go perfectly because they had people to help organise things in each place.

      Delete
  23. Who cares if she wants to fly around the country to celebrate with her friends and family? And when did parties become a bad thing? No one is going to care about her wanting an intimate ceremony with only 10 people and not getting invited to said 10 person ceremony. Or at least, adults won't.

    I think toasts and cake sound perfect. I think the best thing is to spend time with your friends and thank everyone for being a part of the celebration of your marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm with ESB. Champagne toasts and cake. When can we start shopping for five different white party dresses?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Bride here. First off, thanks so much for all of the thoughtful suggestions. We had batted around the idea of opening the floor up for speeches, but ESB and others are right, we should ask people beforehand if they want to give a toast. I also love the digital picture frame idea.

    To clarify, in addition to being a bit shy, we also chose this approach because (a) it was far more convenient and cheap for our guests; (b) it allowed us to be way more inclusive than we could have been if we had to pay for one large reception; and (c) we're hoping it will allow us to really spend quality time with the people we care about rather than being pulled 300 different ways over the course of a five hour period. The vast majority of people are only coming to one event, and yes, I will be wearing my dress (handmade by my Mom; thanks Mom!) to all of them. The whole point of the question was to find thoughtful ways to make people feel more involved and integrated.

    We've been very transparent with our friends and family about what we're doing and why we're doing it. Pretty much everyone has been somewhere between supportive and really excited. We're pretty happy with our plan, and either our loved ones are too or they are all doing a damn good job of faking it.

    That being said, I wasn't naive enough to think that I would write into a blog with the subtitle "an evil club of mean hipster brides" and get only unicorns and rainbows in response. It's cool, people have their own opinions. Our friends and family get it, and that's what matters most to us.

    If people have other thoughtful suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ****thumbs up****

      Delete
    2. I think toasts, cake and dancing will be perfect for signifying a wedding without the full blown wedding re-enactment and then you could either have the digital photos or, if there's time, an album for guests to sit down and look through at the parties. Enjoy the wedding and the parties and, as you say, if your friends and family get it that's all that matters.

      Delete
    3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your plan. I think it sounds lovely and if I were your friend, I would not be offended at all! Who doesn't love low key celebrations with friends??? I wish I would have done this, it sounds perfect.

      Delete
  26. I'm all for not making people travel. Here's how you have a party for yourself without looking like a primadonna or a brat: invite people to a party but don't say what it's for on the invitation.
    Get a person or two people in the town where the party will be held to send out invitations to "a small dance" (if you are having dancing) or "cocktails" or "an alfresco feast" or whatever. Then when the guests arrive, you circulate, and then get someone to make a toast in your honor.
    You ought't, I think, ever send out invitations yourself to honor something you have done.
    Photos of the wedding on one of those digital frames is a good idea, but not too many. 90 seconds worth, maybe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was mad unclear: other people can invite people to a shindig in your honor, or you can invite people to a shindig but not in your own honor.

      Delete
    2. You can't ever invite people to your own party? So no inviting people to your own birthday party, your own wedding, anything? But giving someone else a list of names and having them do it for you is fine? Or is it fine to invite people to celebrate something you are doing but not something you have already done?

      That's crazy.

      We eloped in June and are throwing a party in September. We are inviting our friends to come for food, drinks, dancing and cake. To all the people who 'sure as shit' wouldn't toast me I'm glad you aren't my friends.

      Delete
  27. I know several people that have done this and it was always appreciated by the guests.
    5 Cities? That's nothing. Try 19+ States.
    This has some good reasons for the "bring the celebration to your guests" approach. It was definitely cool to see the bride + groom show up at random locations across the country in their wedding wear.

    ReplyDelete