Here’s the secret: A fun wedding doesn’t need a photo booth. It doesn’t need mustaches on sticks. It doesn’t need games, or garter throwing, or bouquet tossing. It doesn’t need to have a circus theme. It doesn’t need to be in a place inherently “fun” like a Zoo. You don’t even need party favors to make it fun.
In fact, what you need for a “fun” wedding doesn’t cost you a dime. In the order of least to most important, you need:
1. A great soundtrack/playlist to set the mood.
2. A seating chart based on guest compatibility, and not anything else.
3. A bride with a great attitude.
Soundtrack: I’ve said it before, but the soundtrack Rogue Groom and I created for our wedding, comprised of our favorite high-energy songs, was one of our favorite parts of the wedding. Every part of the wedding had its own feel thanks to the music.
- Pre-ceremony seating music was romantic-Indy (lots of acoustic instrumentals and guys who really can’t sing, but do anyway, and it’s sweet).
- Cocktail hour was our favorite mid-century Rat-Pack style oldies with songs like “Tea for Two,” and “Personality.” Cute, funny, old-fashioned, us.
- Dinner was every song we loved that we couldn’t figure out how to dance to, and frankly, it sounded like the soundtrack to NBC’s Chuck. We even had Toto’s Africa – a really bad song with lyrics that don’t make sense but we love it passionately anyway. If we could have had Jeffster play at our wedding, we would have.
- The Dancing playlist was painstakingly constructed along the lines of Barney Stinson’s “Rise RISE” mix from HIMYM. We tested each song for danceability, including a hefty mix of swing dance songs along with more modern fare. Most of our friends aren’t swing dancers, some of them even like clubbing (yech!), so we tried to cater to all tastes. But, any song that made it onto the list had to make me want to shake it.
Seating Chart: Seating charts tend to be dictated by friends and family politics. Forget that. Seat the people you can’t stand by the bathroom (or as far away from you as possible), and for everyone else, plot out your 8 to 10 seat tables like this:
- Think of people you’ve always wanted to introduce, but you’ve never been able to get them all in the same room before. Put them at a table together. Even if they’re a mix of family members and friends.
- Put people with similar interests together – like a bunch of writers/creatives, or world travelers.
- Group your family members to be within their comfort zones – with sensitivity to special requests. I had a cousin who’s always felt left-out of family affairs, so to the consternation of some, I sat her and her out-cast-complexed family with my Grandfather, the patriarch, and made sure they were in family photos. You can right a lot of wrongs with a wedding (or create new ones if you’re not careful).
- I sat my nasty Aunt D and her family by the bathroom, with a buffer of bridesmaids between our tables.
- Most importantly, shoot people an email telling them “Hey, I sat you next to Kitty and Carlisle because I always thought you should know each other – here’s what you have in common!” People are shy at weddings. Giving them a pre-wedding heads-up will break the ice and help ensure a good time.
Brides ‘Tude: As much as I like equal opportunity here on Rogue Bride, when it comes to ensuring a fun wedding, it’s all about the bride and her attitude. A great bride will make a great wedding, even if the cake gets knocked over by the 6 year old twins, even if the music shuts off every 5 minutes due to user error, even if - even if – even if.
When you have a bomb-proof bride, who smiles and engages with her guests no matter what shit is going down, you will have an amazing wedding. But if that bride pouts when details aren’t quite right or gets upset (or throws a tantrum Bridezilla-style), the wedding is ruined for everyone. All eyes are on the bride to set the tone of the night. If she’s happy, everyone’s happy. If she’s anything but happy, it’s a disaster.
No pressure, right?
Now, there are things you can do to help the bride with this difficult task of remaining blissed-out for 6-8 hours straight.
How to keep the Bride Happy (if she’s inclined to be happy – some people are just pouty princesses)
- Wedding Coordinator. I don’t care if you hire someone for a few hundred or have the best friendor in the world (who should then be treated like a queen because this is the hardest job at the wedding), but for the love of all that is Holy, get a wedding coordinator. You need one single point-person to handle anything and everything that comes up, from calling drunken groomsmen cabs to finding the cake-cutting knife. I’ll be indebted to Christie of MountainSide Bride for the rest of my life for doing this for me. Seriously. If she needs help moving, I will be driving 6 hours into the mountains to help her do it. Any freakin’ time.
- Don’t point out ANY flaw in the wedding, ever. Unless it’s on her face and can be fixed.
- Keep a glass of champagne in her hand at all times (unless she’s in AA), and make sure she eats enough not to pass out.
- Don’t pout yourself. Didn’t get seated where you wanted? Stuff it. No vegan option for the cake? Stuff it. Don’t like the dance music? Stuff it.
- RSVP on time dammit.