Receptions are the bulk of the wedding expenses and, with 13 months to go till my own wedding day, it’s what I think about the most. I’ve talked about desserts, my love of black and white cookies, and…okay, so far, I’ve only really focused on the food. I must be a fat man trapped in a small man’s body.
A reception is easily 40% of a wedding budget. You invite a lot of guests to your party, asking them to attend and bless your wedding with their presence, and then get them drunk and have your videographer capture when your Uncle Harry drunkenly hit on a 17 year old and your Aunt Maria accidentally fell into the wedding cake. Joy for the whole family. So, when most wedding planners look on ways to squeeze the most blood from stones, they talk about the reception. DIY is the king at reception. Make your own decorations, your own food, your own cake stands, your own cake topper, etc etc. Invitations might be the most talked about DIY project but receptions are where DIY can save you the most money.
And one of the most DIY projects around is to take your guest list away from your mother and family and squish it. No business partners, no coworkers, no extended family. Make the reception small which means less mouths to feed and more time for your Uncle Harry to embarrass himself on your wedding video. Not necessarily a win-win but the money saved might be worth it.
But what happens if you’re not going to do that?
My fiancee has decided that whoever assumes that they’re invited to our wedding can come. We’re giving an open call invitation to our church. I told my mom to invite anyone from my extended family that she wants to (just give me a heads up before hand so I can send an invitation). And why? Because I don’t think our wedding should be merely restricted to something intimate. I have a lot of friends, a lot of communities I’m apart of, and I’ve always been the type of person who likes to stand up in the middle of the room and declare publicly where I stand, what I believe, and why. It doesn’t matter how coherent I am – what matters is that I’m going to stand up and accept the good and the bad of whatever I want to say and do. Don’t hide, don’t scurry into the corner, change your facebook status – let the world know. Big and bold, that’s me.
And what isn’t saying I want to marry this woman and spend my life with her than doing it front of every single person I know? I’m not bragging (though it’s hard not too – she really is that pretty), I’m just affirming to everyone that this is what I’m trying to do, for better or worse, and for all time. Not only God but my family and friends will be in on the ceremony. And if I’m unwilling to pledge my love and commitment in front of everyone, then something would be wrong and it would be a sign, to me, that what I wanted wasn’t what it should be. I’m not that man in De Beer’s commercial yelling about his love, in front of strangers and pigeons, saying that I want to spend my life with this woman. I’m saying it in front of my biggest critics, supporters, my family, friends, and the entire body of Christ. That, to me, is a statement that I need to make.
So, since that’s important to me (and my brother agrees that I need a big wedding), how do you handle it? It means making the reception less food and drink focused and more people focused. It means me not eating, thanking everyone for attending, posing for pictures, high fiving my friends, giving them some cake, some champagne, and having the ceremony in the middle of the afternoon, before dinner and after lunch. And it also means that since I live in the greatest playground on earth, New York City, that my reception doesn’t need to compete with what’s around me. I can show all my guests a good time outside and once I get them inside, I can stand and say I do and actually smile with teeth which is something I rarely ever do.