10 days ago I published a post about how I choose a wedding guest outfit as I had bought a dress to wear to a wedding I attended on Saturday. Below I have reviewed each element of the wedding and given the lessons I have learnt.
Newbury Manor Hotel
The ceremony was at 3:30PM. The Bride who was wearing a cream mid length straight cut lace dress looked a picture of pure happiness walking down the isle with her father. The vows were short and sweet with two heartfelt readings given, one by a daughter of the bride and the other by the grooms daughter. Decorating a narrow shelf that went the whole way round the room at about chest height was a synthetic vine and candles with the only other decoration being chair covers finished with gold bows. The pictures after the ceremony were taken outside by one of the Brides daughters. Between the ceremony ending and the wedding breakfast beginning was about 1 hour.
The Wedding Breakfast
The couple decided not to do a receiving line, instead opting to enter the room together once all guests were seated. The stationary theme was birds and bird cages with simply elegant laser cut style bird cage place cards and favour boxes housing three foiled wrapped chocolates. Generally the food served at weddings isn’t the best, however all three courses were incredibly enjoyable.
I am also glad to report that the happy couple arranged the seating plan so that guests were sat with people they already knew. Lets just say I am not an advocate for seating guests from the brides side on the same table as guests from the grooms side if they do not know each other. Although when two people get married it is two families becoming one, in the modern world the reality of the two families ever spending any time together after the wedding is slim; so why sit them together under the pretense of it being important for them to get to know each other.
The decorations for the wedding breakfast seemed to be usual package wedding decorations with a classic floral display atop a mirror plate and scattered table sparkles.
disappointment arrived in the form of the speeches. The father of the bride (TFOTB) gave a succinct speech hitting all the key points; memory of the bride, sentiment about the groom and welcoming the grooms parents to the family ending in a toast. Despite the good start to the speeches made by TFOTB the Grooms speech bored everyone to tears by bring ridiculously long. He hardly mentioned his wife, opting to talk mostly about his sister, which was sweet but odd. After the longest speech in the history of wedding speeches it was the turn of the best man. Unfortunately the Best man did not give a good speech either. In total contract to the groom who loved the sound of his own voice the best man shook like a baby in snow, spoke as quietly as a door mouse and did not include even one joke or story about the groom. NOT EVEN ONE!
The reception was held in the same room as the wedding breakfast, so after a quick turn around where everyone mingled outside or by the bar we re-entered the room for the reception. The newly weds cut the cake and had their first dance. I left with the people I arrived with at about 23:00.
A buffet was served during the reception and even though the buffet was smaller than average more than half was left untouched.
What I’ve learnt from attending this wedding
If you are planning on a budget you will come across times when you have to make a decisions on what is more important to include such as whether or not to include favours or whether or not to get that entertainer. Therefore I have included below things that people really wont notice if you decide to cut them from your day.
- Decorations in the ceremony room – choose one or two decorations only, such as flowers on the register table and bows on the back on the chairs. The ceremony room doesn’t need loads of decorations as people will be concentrating on you and the commitment you are making to each other.
- If yours and your partners families don’t get together much you can forego any entertainment as your guests will be more than occupied catching up with each other. The wedding mentioned above was a family wedding where there was no entertainment provided and to be honest it wasn’t needed because we were all enjoying chatting to each other because we rarely all get together.
- You may decide not to do thank you gifts for a range of reasons; possibly because you have planned the day without any financial support from anyone else, or because you have decided not to have bridesmaids and groomsmen or because you simply can’t find the room in your budget. Thank you gifts have become customary for the couple to give to parents and the bridal party plus other people who have been especially helpful. Usually the thank you gifts are flowers, a bottle of alcohol or a personalised gift. If you still want to thank people but don’t have the budget for gifts then you can thank them in the grooms speech and out cards and a heart felt personal thank you written inside, or just thank them verbally without handing out gifts. It is a relatively new customer so people wont mind if the gifts are absent.
- Forgoing the expensive evening buffet is a very good idea for the couple on a budget. So much of an evening buffet goes to waste, but people do still like to have a nibble to help absorb some of the merry drinking. Consider serving just your cake and some bacon rolls/small cones of fish and chips as this will give your guests the much needed nibble in the evening while reducing the cost of the evening catering by about half!
Things To Try and Include
One of the most important things I have learnt from the wedding on Saturday is when looking at venues consider how the reception room will impact on your day. If the reception room does not have a bar within the room this will mean that about half of your guests will be where the bar is, which will mean the reception could feel empty. The reception room at Newbury Manor Hotel did not have a bar which did mean half the guests were in the room the bar was in. If you feel this would negatively impact on the feel of your reception try to find a venue where there is a bar within the reception room.
You don’t choose a best man based on their ability to give a speech, you choose them because they are important to you. But if your best man is incredibly shy or extremely under confident with public speaking bear in mind the possibility of having two best men, each given separate duties; one could be in charge of the rings while the other is given the responsibility of giving the best man speech.