Harriet the Spy: Wedding Edition

Wedding crashers…we is ‘em.

Wedding029

Photo via I Can Has Cheezburger

OK, I don’t mean that we wreak havoc and start dancing on the tables. But we did feel a little sneaky attending friends’ weddings when our own wedding day was looming closer and closer. Mr. Wallaby pointed out that by November, we had attended four other weddings this year.

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A promo for the TLC show Four Weddings. I may have gone through a brief phase where I was obsessed with that show shortly after we got engaged. / Photo via Order Satellite Now

Like Mrs. Snow Cone pointed out, the best thing you can do while engaged is go to another person’s wedding. She, Mrs. Wizard, Mrs. Jellyfish, Mrs. Warbler, and Mrs. Sewing have all taken away useful tips and lessons from “wedding scouting.” So Mr. W and I tried to attend the other weddings this year with a critical eye. After learning so much from The Knot and Weddingbee about fondant cakes, Chiavari chairs, garter tosses, and bathroom baskets, I thought I would have an eye for all of the minute details of each wedding. Except…I didn’t notice any of those things. I remember a few details—a great DJ, a photo booth at the last wedding, the pure, raw tears running down a bride’s face as she walked down the aisle—but I can’t remember the centerpieces at any of the weddings, what the groomsmen wore, or what the chairs looked like.

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Mr. W and me at Bridesmaid K’s wedding in late August / Personal photo

So here are the main takeaways from Mrs. Wallaby’s matrimonial espionage:

  1. Relax and have fun. Every bride and groom has regaled us with stories of “what went wrong,” but none of them let that get them down. Something will go wrong, but breathe deeply and take it in stride. Remember, if you and your significant other end up with two left-hand rings at the end of the day, the wedding was a success.
  2. “First looks”—where the bride and groom see each other before the wedding, share some fleeting moments alone, and take some portraits together—are becoming more popular these days for good reason. Bridesmaid K, who got married in late August, said she missed a lot of her reception because her photographers kept pulling her outside to take pictures with her husband and family. Mr. W and I decided to skirt tradition and do a first look so that we could get all the portraits out of the way and hang out with all of our guests during our reception. If you’re unsure, check out our photographers’ awesome primer on “First Looks and Why They Rock!”
  3. When she got back her wedding photos, my coworker A hated every single picture of herself. She didn’t like her updo, claiming it made her look bald. She seriously regretted declining a hair and makeup trial, because that would’ve led her to choose a different hairstyle. At A’s advice, I booked a hair and makeup trial with my stylist.
  4. Chocolate cake = mmm mmm goooood. At least that’s what Mr. W murmured after eating the groom’s cake at Bridesmaid K’s wedding. Her fancy white bridal cake was OK, but the groom’s cake was in a league of its own, flavor-wise. Often the simplest looking cakes taste the best, and the cakes with elaborate fondant taste a little bland. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box when it comes to cake flavors (or even skip the cake altogether!). You know that I’m partial to ice cream. :)
  5. A good DJ will get everyone groovin’ on the dance floor in no time. And a varied playlist with “something for everyone” will make older generations more inclined to dance. Mr. W and I attended a wedding last summer where the entire playlist consisted of top 20 hits. We looove to get down, and I love me some Rihanna and Flo Rida, but I was a little hesitant to shimmy to dirty, uncensored rap music with a small scattering of other 20-somethings while all of the Baby Boomers and elderly relatives watched from the periphery of the dance floor. But at coworker A’s wedding, the DJ warmed up the whole crowd by playing music ranging from ABBA to George Strait to AC/DC. Even my grumpy old boss got his butt out on the dance floor and lasted a few songs.
  6. The most important thing we learned by far from K and C’s wedding was that weddings are short! It is pretty hard to fathom how months and months of preparation can go into an event that’ll last eight hours max. From the wedding-planning side, I’ve heard countless times that your own wedding day will fly by. But as a guest, I realized that the wedding day flies by just the same! It’s hard to pick up every single detail that the bride labored over (even when you’re a bride-to-be!), and the events of the day will be over before you know it. Keep this in mind when you agonize over whether to stretch your budget to incorporate a particular detail, or if you find yourself exhausted from a DIY project gone wrong.

By far the most common advice seems to be to relax, enjoy the day, and don’t sweat the small stuff. The wedding day may not be the best day of your life, but hopefully it is something special and out of the ordinary. And you will end up married to your best friend. That’s the goal, right? Everything else is just details.

Oh, and one more thing: dogs are cute!

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Teeheehee! / Photo via I Can Has Cheezburger

Have you done any wedding snooping since you’ve been engaged? What insights have you learned from other weddings?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Wallaby

Location:
Houston
Wedding Date:
November 2012
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comments

  1. Member
    Merelymere 474 posts, Helper bee @ 11:43 am

    Yes to this! My fiance’ attended the one (and only!) wedding we’ll attend before our own in October. We had a blast! It was a destination wedding in New Orleans, I was with a bunch of my friends from college who will also be at OUR wedding, so he was able to meet them, and we enjoyed every minute of it. We even ran into Weddingbee’s own Mrs. Archer out on the town afterwards! When we got home, we both realized we were hard-pressed to remember the tables, what all of the options were food-wise, and other details I’ve been poring over. What did we remember? A short but sweet ceremony uniting two people very much in love, and a fantastic celebration afterwards with our nearest and dearest.

  2. Member
    misscupcake2012 180 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:46 am

    Yes! While we are not formally engaged yet, my SO and I have attended three weddings since we’ve decided to get engaged! It is always so fun to see other brides’ hard work and the beauty of another couple’s love. My SO is a huuuge romantic so he always makes adorable side comments like “Not too long, and that will be us.” So sweet!

  3. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 12:02 pm

    I have a second job with a catering company and we worked a wedding this past weekend and I can attest to the ‘it will fly by’ rule even from that side of things! I couldn’t believe it when I checked my phone and saw that there were only fifteen minutes left. I definitely had a wistful moment, feeling both sad for the bride that their great night had come to an end and a little apprehensive about how quickly my own will go.

  4. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 12:11 pm

    Great advice!! :)

  5. Member
    MrsN2Be 590 posts, Busy bee @ 12:34 pm

    Tradition isn’t everything!
    Seriously, MrN & I had an intimate wedding & are having a party 9mths later and it’s the best decision EVER!
    Since we broke tradition on that front we decided to forget most of it and spent the night before and morning of together, it was nice to have that time alone and absorb all that was about to happen.

  6. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:43 pm

    We only went to one wedding after getting engaged and we didn’t know the couple very well, but I got overwhelmed by the details, granted it was a BIG budget wedding and there was a lot of fancy things going on, but at the end it was a lovely evening.

  7. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:01 pm

    yup, I love seeing other weddings. It’s so different (to me) as a bride. I just wish more of my friends were getting married because weddings are soooo much fun

  8. Member
    Red Poppy 18 posts, Newbee @ 3:05 pm

    Totally agree with your tips. And rarely will a wedding go perfectly, but in the end that’s not what is important. We went to 2 weddings as an engaged couple, one a week before ours, and one about 2 months before. It definitely feels different and you take notice of all the details more, but mostly it was different because all our friends commented how we were up next!

  9. Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 7:43 pm

    #6 is the most true for me. i cant imagine how quick itll be!

  10. Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:01 pm

    Great advice! I agree that keeping it all in perspective (#6) is a good idea, even though I may have gone a little above and beyond on a few details to satisfy my own whims (thank goodness only spending my time, not money!).

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs. B., Guest @ 3:56 am

    My husband and I had a long engagement of almost two years and actually went to five weddings while we were engaged. We observed that most guests of a wedding will come away judging the wedding on three things, the food, the bar, and the music. If the bride looks beautiful they will notice that and comment, but a beautiful bride doesn’t really make up for any one of those three things being awful or even mediocre really. If those three things are good and your wedding has literally nothing else people will still walk away raving. If your wedding is chock full of handmade little details and those three things suck, the first thing out of people’s mouths when they talk about your wedding will be how much those three things sucked.

  12. Member
    MrsCov 50 posts, Worker bee @ 5:17 am

    We went to two weddings while engaged (one of my cousins and one of husband’s cousins) and picked up various tips such as don’t hold your reception for a small number of people in a massive venue (unfortunately it really had a bad effect on atmosphere), food has an important and often lasting impact on people so make sure you have a tasting and choose wisely (the appetiser at one of the weddings was pretty much inedible, which was suprising as the rest of the meal was great – we later found out they changed their mind at the last minute and hadn’t had a tasting) and the groom really shouldn’t improvise his speech (otherwise it risks turning in to a 45 minute non-sensical ramble!). Have to say my wedding lasted a lot longer than 8 hours – 1pm ceremony to 1pm bar closing so 12 hours in all.

    And I still don’t get first looks – if you plan your photography and don’t go overboard with it, you’ll still have plenty of time to mingle with guests and get the shots you want. We went from ceremony to champagne reception with canapes while we mingled with guests, then sloped off for our photographs for maximum of an hour. This was completely sufficient.

  13. Member
    MrsCov 50 posts, Worker bee @ 5:18 am

    Doh – 1pm to 1am!

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