The Little Things

Mrs. Bee and I are becoming professional wedding attenders. We go to more than a few weddings a year, which is amazing to me because we both think of ourselves as not knowing many people! Anyway it’s humbling going to other people’s weddings, because you realize how many things you wish you could change about your own wedding. I really think that weddings are becoming a competitive sport. The bar is being raised in so many ways, many of which cost a lot of money!

If Mrs. Bee and I had gotten married after all these weddings we’ve been to in the last few years, I think we’d feel compelled to double our budget! The cool thing though is that the best things about my favorite weddings were all pretty affordable. So to hook up all those poor grooms out there, I thought I’d make a list of inexpensive or free things you can do to make your wedding special.


You can *really* tell when a bride and groom have planned a wedding around their guests. I think a key thing is making sure guests can easily find and get to your wedding. It’s a bunch of little things and they’re mostly cheap or free: putting a great map in your invite… putting signs on the street corners pointing to the venue… making sure there’s parking near your venue… posting signs in the lobby… basically the little things that make it easy for guests to find the place, and to settle in. I’ve been to sooo many weddings that were hard to find and people got lost! By the time the ceremony starts (usually late, because so many people got lost), everyone is already in a bad mood. A stressful start to the wedding, and hard to recover from!


I totally underestimated the importance of the Slideshow, and the Best Man Speech. If these are pulled off right, they add so much energy to a party! Everyone starts laughing… and the mood is set for the dancing. Oh and also about the Slideshow: there is something magical about wedding slideshows, where every nostalgic photo evokes peals of laughter from everyone old and new. I think it’s because so many guests have known the bride and groom for so long, they can relive their memories with each slide. And the guests who haven’t know the couople for that long get a chance to see photos of their past.

Anyway I was a skeptic when it came to the slideshow, but now I bow down before their might.


This may be somewhat random, but outdoor weddings can be amazing and yet so cost effective. My sister had an outdoor wedding, and the venue was gorgeous. It was a double set of savings: there no need for flowers, and we barbequed the food. You may be thinking: damn, Mr. Bee’s family is so ghetto. But can I be honest with you? It was some of the best food I’ve ever had at a wedding. It probably worked out to a few bucks a plate. I think her whole wedding was in the four figures. She’s definitely the smart one in the family.

I think the best (and most memorable) things about weddings are cheap or free! Well except for open bars.

Anything cheap or free to add to this list?


Mr. Bee

New York City, New York
Wedding Date:
March 5, 2005

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  1. Guest
    loveletter, Guest @ 12:48 pm

    Something neat and cheap that I have seen a couple of times now is honoring your family members who are “marriage role-models” so to speak, or who have had happy, long-lasting marriages.

    At my brother-in-law’s wedding two weeks ago, they had the wedding photos of their family members printed on the back side, with how long they had been married. It was neat to see the bride and groom’s parents’ wedding photos and the 25+ plus years each couple had been married.

    At my cousin’s wedding next month, they are decorating the fireplace mantel at their reception site with framed wedding photos of their guests. She requested that everyone send her a copy of their photo and I am excited to see all the neat pictures. (I’m a sucker for old wedding photos).

  2. Guest
    M, Guest @ 12:55 pm

    Thanks for the tips.
    I’d love to do a slideshow for our reception, but am worried about how to put it together.
    I think it would be really cool if you could do a post about how to make a great slideshow: what should definately be included, unique ideas that can really make a slideshow great, and/or some examples of great slideshows you’ve seen in the past.

  3. Guest
    Keny, Guest @ 1:08 pm

    I think the First Dance always makes a wedding special. It’s a way as a newly married couple you can express yourselves. From traditional slow dances to choreographed break dances, it reflects the two of you to the people who attend your wedding.

  4. Guest
    eileen, Guest @ 1:39 pm

    I second the request for more details of a slideshow! My mom really wants me to do one but I wasn’t going to initially b/c I have no clue how to put one together! I haven’t seen a slideshow at any other weddings I’ve been to. If anyone has examples they would be much appreciated!

  5. Guest
    bunnybride0108, Guest @ 2:01 pm

    Right on Mr. Bee. :)

    I have also loved reading Sulla’s tips including her mantra:
    If you want to make your wedding better, make it richer in feeling, not stuff. -Sulla

    All I can add is good food (even a BBQ) and good music (even an iPod DJ) coupled with a loving bride and groom equals a good time.

  6. Guest
    Iris, Guest @ 2:32 pm

    At a family wedding a couple years ago (in the LA area), the DJ at the reception had already prepared a slide show of their WEDDING PHOTOS, just taken a few hours earlier! This was immensely fun for the audience to see themselves and especially the couple to get their first glimpse of the wedding photos, and see who was doing what while they’d been preoccupied getting ready.

    Also — the music played with the slideshow is VERY important in setting the tone — tear jerker, funny, sentimental, sexy, etc.

  7. Guest
    Red, Guest @ 3:48 pm

    I definitely agree about good directions and signage. Nothing worse than getting to the wedding late and missing the ceremony. I also really appreciate a wedding with good flow — ie. one that doesn’t make guests wait 3+ hours between the ceremony and the reception and one that doesn’t end too late in the evening for those who need to get home at a decent hour.

  8. Guest
    Jenbug, Guest @ 4:34 pm

    I’m with BunnyBride about the loving bride and groom. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to were fun just because it was obvious that the bride and groom were SO happy and having a great time. It’s contagious!

  9. Guest
    Iris, Guest @ 4:38 pm

    Agree w/ good directions and signs! A recent wedding nightmare involved an invitation describing the church as the Korean First Evangelical Presbyterian Church (or something close to that); turns out the Korean Evangelical Presbyterian group meets in the building of the Smallville Memorial Episcopal Church (or something close to that), but you know we were just driving around looking for a church with the other name, or at least the same denomination. Missed 3/4 of the wedding. Guess who’s filling all the pews in the back? Everyone who’s not a Korean Evangelical Presbyterian churchgoer!

  10. Guest
    lynn, Guest @ 4:39 pm

    I recently went to an outdoor wedding where tehy had a basket of shawls for those bare shoulders. that was a sweet touch and not expensive.

  11. Guest
    Miss Apple, Guest @ 11:34 pm

    High Five Mr. Bee! I agree with you completely. It’s making the guests feel part of the celebration. Great tips! High Five High Five!

  12. Guest
    Johnett Nelson, Guest @ 7:07 pm

    Don’t want the kids to start a marriage in debt. Parents can’t pay for wedding. so help, how can we make a wedding with low cost and still have a memorble one.

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