First off the GOOD NEWS
You can start over if you like… having an average size Wedding Reception is something that CAN BE PLANNED in a 4 month time frame
Otherwise, you can certainly still go back to the drawing board, and realign the things that are bothering you…
The Colour Orange. IF YOU LOVE the colour, then that is all that matters. As another Bee said people will not notice if you use different shades of the colour. In their mind all they’ll see is orange.
Venue… stick with it… change it… make it work. Still these are all options. Honestly I’ve been to many receptions / parties / events that started out as a big bland box with no windows and no features (convention halls / trade show rooms). Sometimes having a blank slate is a good thing… cause then you can make it however you like. BUT in the end it is the people, and party that matter the most anyhow… not the decorations.
Bridal Party… personally if they all live nearby, I’d call an Emergency Meeting… and tell everyone they HAVE TO BE THERE. I’d thank them all for coming and their friendship. But I’d tell them there are RESPONSIBILITIES that go along with the role… it isn’t just that you guys are just great friends. Then I’d go over the “traditional” list of responsibilities for folks in this role (as printed in an Etiquette Book… not what you understand them to be, or “heard” thru the grapevine). And the anticipated expenses. Then I’d tell then they need to tell you right there and then IF they can meet those Responsibilities or not (and that includes paying for their outfits, hosting pre-Wedding events etc). IF YES, then keep them on… IF NO… they need to go. After that you can restructure your Bridal Party based on who is on-board. And there is nothing wrong with having a Bridal Party that is small in size (maybe just a Best Man and MOH), or even NONE at all.
Save The Dates… don’t worry about this. From an Etiquette Point of View, Save-The-Date Cards are a new thing… and no one is officially invited… and things not set into stone until one actually receives a Printed Invite to an Event (IMHO, these Save-The-Date Cards cause in many situations more trouble than their worth)
Details… no need to share everything with everyone… and most certainly not info on your Budget… and what it is you can and cannot afford. When it comes to money, things should be strictly on a NEED TO KNOW basis… and what THAT PERSON needs to know about one particular element.
Flowers fall under décor… real, fake, none… it doesn’t matter. Period. Just like any other decor item, what you decide to do, want to do, can afford to do… is UP TO YOU.
Cash Bar vs Open Bar… not a big deal as I see you are a Canadian… Cash Bars (or Subsidized Bars) are truly the norm here (although it is true that in big cities like wealthy Toronto, that lots of folks have Open Bars). But there is NO SHAME in not having an Open Bar… at the price of Booze in Canada, it is truly the norm, and your Guests WILL UNDERSTAND (for anyone from the US reading this… our Liquor Laws are super different, as well as pricing and taxes… the ave price for a Domestic Beer can be $ 10 per drink per person all in… and a per head per hour flat rate, is virtually unheard of here due to our Liquor Laws / so Consumption Bars only). So YES, when it comes to Open Bars people understand that not everyone is on the same social standing as fellow Torontonians the Thomsons & the Westons. In the end you do what you can afford when it comes to booze, and then get on with the party.
Relatives… again no need to share everything with everyone. Be gracious when you are offered something, but be aware that you have the right to accept or not accept what they are proposing. IF there is time to back out of your venue and go with the one your Mother-In-Law is offering… put it back on the table for consideration. Mother… sorry, but you have to let your Mom know that her outfit etc. is HER responsibility (if need be show her the printed list of WHO does what / responsibilities from an Etiquette Book). Explain you guys are not made of money… also tell her it doesn’t matter a whole lot WHAT she wears, but rather that she is there to support her. If need be you can help her find more budget conscious solutions (4 months… plenty of time to look at options)… Items on Sale, a Shopping Trip across the Border to the USA (more selection & better pricing there)… Consignment Stores, or On-Line Gently Worn Items (with these last 2, lots of MOB / MOG sell their gowns after the Wedding because they don’t see themselves wearing them again… infact I myself have done this… saving to the other person over 50%. And we both came away happy)
As an Encore Bride who has now had two Weddings in my lifetime… as much as I loved the Big White Pouffy Family Wedding the first time round when I was in my 20s… there was a TON OF STRESS with that event.
This time round…
Mr TTR and I eloped. Went to a place we loved, and got married. Quietly. Just the 2 of us, on the beach overlooking the ocean. And then had a nice honeymoon. Came back home and threw a party for our closest friends and family. A low key event… a Back Home Reception / Party… in the evening with under 100 people, finger foods, a Welcome Cocktail, Cake & Champagne (Sparkling actually) and a DJ with Dancing… Cash Bar after the complimentaries. It cost us “some” money for sure… but not nearly what it would have cost if we had thrown a traditional Wedding & Reception.
In the end, NO ONE CARES. They are all happy we are married. The Drama didn’t happen (ok a bit of complaining up front when we told everyone we were eloping). BUT once it was over and done with everyone has been very happy for us.
The nice thing about a Back Home Reception after the fact, is there are NO RULES… you can make it however you like… Formal / Casual… Meal / Nibbles… Day / Night… Like a Wedding (Dress, Cake, Vows even) or Not. No one really cares !!
Sit down with your guy, and decide what it is you really want… and go from there. The world isn’t coming to an end… your life together is only beginning… and you two will decide how you want that to be… and how to get thru this.
Things will work out ok… Big, Small, Casual, Formal… in Toronto area or not… you’ll end up married in the end, and that is ALL that matters.
(( HUGS ))
PS… You can PM me if you like for more info on my experiences… or look thru WBee (SEARCH Option) to find posts for other Bees who have had smaller casual Weddings / Eloped etc. There are options that work for everyone.