Post # 1
I’m kind of having trouble visualizing this event.
See, we were married in Iowa. We live in Texas. A large chunk of our friends (almost all) could not make the trip so one friend in particular, with an ENORMOUS house, has offered to host a “party” or at-home reception, afterparty, whatever, at her place.
She’s suggesting casual, even quasi-potluck, or at minimum we’d provide the main dishes (meat) and friends would bring sides.
We would have about 40 to 50 people at this event.
My thing is, well, there were a lot of things that didn’t happen at our actual wedding and at the reception we had there that I’d like to do at this event. We had a dinner reception there at a restaurant. It was very stressful for various reasons, I felt like we were rushed and it felt stuffy, and not relaxed. We ended up not having any music, no first dance, and not a lot of down time/mingling time. Just eat, cut cake, leave.
I want to make this more fun and memorable. I would love to do a first dance and have lots of great music. I am going to make a wedding cake myself. I want to wear something pretty and bridal, but not floor length or formal. Is this okay? Where do I start? Do y’all think I should decorate my friends house or no?
We want buffet style food, and a relaxed atmosphere, but we still want some “ritual” and tradition to have it feel like the reception we wanted in the first place.
Would love your thoughts on this. I don’t think my friend understands that I want this to be a little more than just any ole party.
Post # 3
im doing the same thing. we are having a reception the day after we get married at the courthouse. we rented a house and decided to just do a down home fun atmosphere. we are doing some bbq style foods and i got a white dress ( like a real pretty knee length summer/formal dress) with some pretty heels and we invited about 25-30 people but in the invites i put it was a marraige “celebration” bc we are just celebrating that we finally got married ( been togather 5 years ) and i put a cute poem about gifts . we didnt register just asked if anyone WANTED to give anything they could put some cash into a honeymoon fund .. . as far a music im not sure about that myself. need help on that too cause there is no “dancefloor” just a regular empty house…
Post # 4
I would talk to her and tell her that you missed some things on your wedding day that are very important to you and it would mean a lot to you if the party is a bit more traditional than what she has in mind and if you could to those things you missed.
Does it have to be her house or could you host the party at your home if she doesn’t understand and is not willing to let you decorate and do what you want to do?
Post # 5
I agree with Usuki–let your friend know what you are thinking. Also emphasize that you are not expecting her to do the extra decorating, etc. If she is generous enough to offer her house, I’m sure she won’t have a problem with it.
If you want people to be dressier, you might want to put that on the invitations.
Mrs Smith cordially invites you to join her in celebrating the marriage of Miss X and Miss Z. Saturday, the x of Whenever.BLAHBLAHBLAH. Semi-formal attire requested.
If your friends are a little more savvy:
Mrs Smith cordially invites you to a wedding reception celebrating the marriage of MIss X and Miss Z…
Miss X and Miss Z cordially invite you to a wedding reception at the home of Mrs Smith
Music–perhaps you can find a DJ on Craigslist? It might not be the most sophisticated set up, but if you interview them and think they can manage the emcee stuff it might be a worthy investment. An iPod reception is fine, but by the time you download, arrange, get the equipment, etc, you might be better off hiring someone.
Cake–have you ever decorated a cake before? If not, let’s talk
OK–can you tell I am sitting on my deck in 90 degrees drinking beer? Sorry if this rambles.
Post # 6
@Usuki: Yeah, my house is way too tiny and I have dogs that aren’t too well behaved and no space at all to entertain. My friend’s house is freakin’ huge. Funny story: She found out after she bought the place that the former owners were big time drug dealers or something similarly criminal, pretty shady history but the bottom line is, it has a full bar, a living area with marble floors that TWO rooms in my house would fit into, and an amazing kitchen. 😉 It was once a tiny 2 bedroom modest thing that they added on to and added on to until it was monstrous!
In contrast my house is a ‘cottage’. LOL.
I think she’ll be okay with what I want to do. I just feel funny because it’s not my house. I tried several other possibilities for other venues but the only ones I could afford were either outdoors (hot!!) or inappropriate in some way (i.e. not wheelchair accessible, I have one dear friend who would need that)..
@Georgia Bee: I am fine with people wearing whatever they want to… I just want to wear something a little more than just a white cotton sundress, you know? More like a “reception dress”. Shorter, knee or tea length, but more “party dress” than “picnic in the park”.
Music; a LOT of people I know are musicians, my friend suggested just having people bring instruments for a casual kind of jam session thing? I’m not sure. The group does include a lot of talented folk. The only really specific music we’d want would be for our first dance song.
As for the cake: nope! I have made cakes for many many family occasions but I pride myself on their taste, not their looks! Everyone raves about how good they are but no one has ever been impressed by how they look so I thought I’d just keep it REALLY simple, frost it and maybe add some edible flowers? I have the tiered pans, my mom gave them to me when I was planning the wedding and said they’ve been in the family for generations (never saw them before that moment!) so I was hoping I could wing it. 😉
Sadly, my EX best friend of over 20 years is also a cake decorator and has done several wedding cakes and used to do my kids’ birthday specialty cakes but that’s water under the bridge.. because as you’ll notice I said “EX”.. Weddings show you who your friends are!
Post # 7
@MsInterpret: I think you should word your invitations as a “wedding reception”. Most people should get the hint as far as dress is concerned. Although I was at a wedding today where several people turned up in jeans and/or sneakers. it wasn’t a very formal wedding, but still…Seriously do not know what they were thinking.
Love that you have so many musician friends. I think it’s a great idea to have a jam session. That would probably turn out way better than you could ever imagine. Since your first dance is important, either put certain people in charge of playing that song or have a recorded version. I would definitely have other recorded music as well, but certainly invite them to play.
Cake–My advice–buy it. My mother is a pro, my sister and I are amateurs. We still didn’t do my cake. It is just too stressful and time consuming. There is a quite a bit of engineering involved, not to mention transportation. Does HEB do a good cake? Publix here does and they are pretty delicious and reasonably priced as well. At the very least, buy the tiers frosted white and decorate them yourself.
Post # 8
@Georgia Bee: Thanks for the suggestions. 🙂
HEB cake is pretty nasty.I am so super picky with regard to cake. They used to be better, it seems their quality has dropped in the past few years. For our wedding in Iowa we went with a baker here that had rave reviews online… reviews were generally of their bakery overall as opposed to cakes specifically, but still, rave reviews, and I thought it was only mediocre, taste wise. Nowhere near what I expected.
Walmart does an even worse job. We have one more place here though that is more of a “luxury” grocery store and they have good stuff. Owned by HEB but located in a more exclusive ($$) neighborhood, they sell all kinds of imported foods and stuff you can’t find anywhere else. Oh and hey! I just remembered that my friend’s husband is a department manager there (cheese!).. hmmm… maybe he can get a discount at the bakery? It’s a pricey place but I know their quality.
I wanted 3 tiers, 3 different kinds of cake each tier, with cream cheese frosting overall. I am still miffed that I couldn’t get cream cheese frosting for our cake in Iowa! Who “doesn’t do” cream cheese!?
There are a ton of little privately owned bakeries around my neighborhood though. I should see what they have to offer.
Post # 9
@MsInterpret: I don’t want to be negative. It’s just quite complicated. Hopefully something works out for you.
Post # 10
What’s your budget? That will make a difference. You can transform any space with enough money. If it’s limited, you might need to be more creative.
You should talk to your friend and make sure your idea for the reception is ok. Otherwise, it might be easier to pick another location, even if you need to pay for it. To get the right feel, maybe you could have a small ceremony somewhere else, and the reception afterwards. Maybe a park?
For decor, you can do lots of flowers everywhere. They can be paper flowers. For lighting, maybe some paper lanterns. I’m not sure if candles would work because it could be a fire hazard with a lot of people in the house. You can spread a few pictures, some favors, and maybe a few small signs or banners if you can find the right theme. You can drape tulle or other inexpensive fabric in areas.
Does she have a backyard? Maybe you could put up a small tent and have some of your activities outdoors.
You might want to hire some help, either as servers or for clean-up. Maybe students?
To put things up, you can use 3M removable hooks. They’re sticky but you can take them off and they don’t damage the wall. These are some random etsy things for ideas. Banner from WhenitRainsShop and poms from SweetandSavvyDesigns. You could make these.
Post # 11
@Georgia Bee: I am seriously tempted by this:
Sounds yummy and looks amazing. Wondering if maybe I could just to a large layer cake? Or a cake plus cupcakes that match? Would that be any easier? I am in LOVE with this one and haven’t even tasted it… 🙂 From what I have read, the rosettes used are not that hard to make but I suppose it depends on the person huh?
Post # 12
@hunni b: Thank you for your suggestions. Let me clarfy some; we were married in Iowa in March but many of our friends weren’t able to come so it was VERY small. Still, since we live in Texas and had to travel there with our 3 kids, it was expensive (for us I mean). We’re both full time students and we spent ALL our available extra money on the Iowa trip and the actual wedding and dinner reception there. So our budget is super tiny. If everyone comes that we plan to invite we’ll have about 50 people but a couple friends have already volunteered to help with food. We’ll still have to provide main dishes (meat) but it looks like we’ve got some decent offers for filling in with some sides from some of our more foodie friends.
We do have some decorations left over that we can re-use, and some we intended to use in Iowa but forgot to bring. Paper flowers, paper banners, etc.
The park or anything outdoors isn’t an option simply because we want to do this while we’re out of school (for summer) and we live in South Central Texas and it’s just miserably hot. We’ve already had a week or two of nonstop temps above 97, with heat indexes of 104 to 111! And it doesn’t cool down in the evening either. 🙁 Last week it was still 95 or so at 10pm most days! It’s awful and we were hot even inside the house with a/c! So unfortunately it needs to be indoors, and when we looked into indoor options here, even traditionally affordable places like a VFW hall are out of our budget. There was one that was actually pretty cheap but it’s upstairs only and we have guests that can’t get up the stairs. 🙁
So it will need to be pretty casual but I just still wanted elements of a traditional “reception” since none of these guests were able to come to Iowa for our wedding and due to the issues I mentioned with our actual wedding/reception.
Post # 13
We did something similar, although it was only three days after the ceremony. The reception after the ceremony was just a nice luncheon in the private dining room of a nearby restaurant. The at-home reception was where we had an evening event with music, dancing (including first dance), heavy hors d’oeuvres, open bar, wedding cake, and even a DIY “photobooth.”
There really are two elements to your issue. First, it would be absolutely permissible even for a straight wedding to have a small ceremony elsewhere, and have most of the “wedding” events at a larger at-home reception. So this event can be as formal or informal a reception as you want.
Also, in the case of a same-sex wedding, I think there is general recognition of the fact that some allowances need to be made. This was not a situation in which the two of you elected to run off and get married privately. Instead, you were forced to travel far from your home state in order to have a legal wedding, and that meant you couldn’t celebrate with all your loved ones at the time of the ceremony. Having a big reception with all your friends back home is one way of dealing with an issue that straight couples just don’t face.
Post # 14
@2dBride: Right. If we hadn’t spent all our extra money getting to and from the Iowa wedding, we’d be doing this somewhere fancier and treating it as any other “wedding reception”. The limitation here is money. And when we returned from our Iowa wedding it was right back to school, then finals, etc. Even if we’d had money then it’s not likely we’d have been able to do anything then due to our schedules.
Now I have the time to plan but very little $ to work with. 😉 So the trick is to make it as traditionally reception-like as possible but with a tiny budget. (and hopefully by selling my dress and some other wedding thigns from the actual wedding I can boost this a little)