(Closed) Is the wedding for the bride and groom, or for the guests?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
Member
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I think your wedding sounds great!!  I believe the ceremony is for the couple, the reception is for everyone else.  Per the alcohol isue:  If your wedding is early afternoon, you should have no trouble with people not getting to drink.   I think you DO care about your guests, you just don’t want to be bullied into having a glitzy wedding when you want a more informal vibe. 

Here is what people want: A short ceremony, good food, places to sit and to be thanked by the couple for coming, both in person and via a thank you note sent though the mail.

We just got married:  11am wedding, 12:30 buffet lunch, we were done by 2:45.  Drinking was not an issue as it was early.

Do NOT be pushed into having a wedding your family wants.  My first wedding was a big dance with drinking and all that, I wanted it small.  It made my wedding day just……not what I wanted.  You will end up resentful.

Post # 17
Member
4780 posts
Honey bee

I am going to be blunt. Your guests could care less that your wedding and reception are casual. They care that there will be no alcohol. Given that this is not a religious consideration and solely driven by your venue choice, you have a conundrum on your hands. 

I will say that we made decisions based on having the best wedding reception for our guests. The result was that our wedding was incredibly fun for everybody. We are the type that if we are surrounded by people having a blast (dancing, talking, drinking) then we are having a blast. The surroundings do not matter. 

That being said, most people have a hard time letting loose and having fun without alcohol.

Are there any outdoor alcohol-friendly venues that fit your budget?

Post # 19
Member
3587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Your wedding sounds lovely. The way I see it, the bride and groom should choose the location/style/type of wedding they want, and then they should be considerate of the guests within those parameters. So if you want a casual BBQ wedding then you absolutely do not have to have a ritzy evening affair just because some guests prefer it. All you have to do is makes sure that at the casual BBQ wedding the guests have enough to eat and drink (not necessarily alcohol!), somewhere to sit, toilet access, aren’t exposed to any extreme weather, etc. So it sounds like you are in fact being considerate of your guests as you have thought about all that stuff. If you provide/do all those things but someone just doesn’t like the underlying concept or style of your wedding, then yeah that isn’t really your problem. Different strokes for different folks and all that. 

As for the alcohol thing, I think a dry wedding is completely ok and you have been thoughtful about it and come up with a plan for those who really want to drink at some point. If people really think it is a hardship to not drink in the afternoon even though they can go to an afterparty with alcohol later on then they should probably examine their dependence on alcohol!

Post # 21
Member
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
mingogo4 :  There a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people here on these boards and elsewhere who feel if there is no alcohol well….we all must be having a crappy time.  Not true.  If that is something you guys want, great.  If you are bound by your county and venue rules, then go with that.  If you have a an early afternoon wedding, a bbq reception alcohol may not even be expected.  Now if you were having a big evening dance, then it would be expected.  People really care about having a comfy seat, great food and not meltingin the sun or freezing in the cold or being in the rain.  I am not a drinker but hubby does engage and he could care less about alcohol being served.   Plus you said you were all going to a pub later so there is your drinking!!  LOL!  Best wishes!!!

PS- Your wedding anda reception should be a reflection of you and groom – not everyone else’s expectations.

Post # 22
Member
973 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Fh’s family does over the top black tie weddings and they seemed to enjoy our afternoon elks club wedding. However, we did have free beer/wine/champagne/hard cider and a full buffet that met all food needs. The ceremony is for you but the reception is for your guests. You should still host a party you will enjoy but your guests wants/needs should come before yours. 

 

ETA: I don’t mean that if your guests want steak but you can only afford chicken then you should go into debt to afford steak or have your reception at a fancy venue that’s not you. But don’t have your reception where there’s no option to go inside if it’s buggy, cooler or rainy. Don’t serve all meat with no vegetarian option. Things like that. You should always be asking yourselves when planning, would my guests like this. If you’re not prepared to do that then just elope. 

Post # 23
Member
6309 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I just want to preface this by saying that no one says having no alochol means a crappy time. However, it’s all about managing your expectations. WAY too often brides come on here and talk about wanting a “typical” party atmosphere reception but aren’t having alcohol. Do people need alcohol to have a good time? Of course not. But you’re not going to have the same party atmosphere at a dry wedding. I’m a wedding photographer, I see it all.the.time. Pretty much 99% of the time the dry receptions I’ve attended/photographed have been duds. It doesn’t matter how many cutesy things the couples plan to keep people busy (cornhole, coffee, bar, smores station, etc) guests eat and leave.

While you should certainly plan something you want….the ceremony is for you and the reception is a thank you to your guests for coming to celebrate with you. For me hosting a reception I knew my guests would enjoy was of the most importance. DH showed interest in a venue and when I told him they allow only beer/wine he immediately passed….and we don’t even drink. But all of our friends and family do and we knew that hosting a party everyone would enjoy was more important than the venue. The venue is just a space.

Post # 24
Member
3045 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

I understand how you feel. It can be hard trying to balance what you want with what you know guests will enjoy sometimes. But I don’t get the sense that you could care less about how your guests feel, you simply seem frustrated that their expectations don’t line up with what you want. Yes a reception is a thank you for the guests but frankly if you’ve hosted them properly then I don’t think you need to give in to every little demand or change your venue. If your VIPs are fine with what you have planned, which sounds awesome btw, then stick with it and if its an issue for others they can decline. We regret switching to a cookie cutter golf course venue instead of the casual park brunch wedding we had in mind. I was adamant about not having wedding chicken. Had a delicious Cuban restaurant ready to cater at the park. Guess what we ended up with at the golf course? Wedding chicken! 😝 Good luck

Post # 25
Member
419 posts
Helper bee

It sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into your plans and that you are considering your guests preference for alcohol by hosting the after party. I’ve only been to one dry wedding and it was lovely; although the reception was a short luncheon the couple and their families were so happy and welcoming and the lunch they probived was delicious. I can see why guests may be skeptical (to be honest I was expecting that wedding to be overly religious and somewhat boring) and may not understand why you’re having an alohol-free dinner when you are okay with drinking in general. Providing hiking and fishing options is definitely non-traditional, and you will always get some disgruntled comments when going against expected traditions!

Post # 26
Member
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

It’s about You and Your fiance and don’t let anyone else tell you different. Yeah a wedding symbolizes two families blending, but it’s still mainly a celebration you the union of the two of you and your love for each other. 

I agree with you 100% guests can come or not come to YOUR party and they can like it or not like it, but YOU two enjoy every minute of it.

I agree with others your wedding sounds perfect and way more fun than super formal weddings. We are having something similar, but it’s a little more common to have more laid back weddings where we live. I’ve had comments about it being in july and being too hot to be outdoors. I stop myself explaining that it won’t be too hot due to certain circumstances and decide they don’t need an explanation. They can come or not come. I’ll still have a wonderful day.

Post # 27
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee

I personally wouldn’t have a dry wedding, but I also was never into the idea of the typical wedding “format” of a ball. We are doing a very casual BBQ wedding in a beautiful public park, with lawn games likes horseshoes and croquet, and live folk musicians. I think it’ll be really fun, and I don’t really care if our guests would prefer that we had a “fancier” wedding. This is very us. However, we are providing them with plenty of beer and wine, as well as delicious food.

If there is any way you could find a way to move your event to the next county or something similar, I’d try to figure that out. Or even provide low-alcohol wine/beer? That would have been a deal-breaker for us, and would impact our enjoyment of a wedding as guests, as well. It’s not just about getting free alcohol or alcohol being needed to have a good time; an open bar at the pub later is nice, but many guests just want a glass of wine or two to enjoy while they chat and mingle, and they don’t want to stick around just to get a free drink later on when they probably just want to go home. I know you’re trying to keep it short and do it on the early side, but do you really want to be wrapping up your reception early just so to make sure people can go to the pub?

Post # 28
Member
25 posts
Newbee

View original reply
catmom17 :  completely agree with the first paragraph here. Very well stated. 

The problem with designing a reception for the guests is that everyone wants something different and you can’t please everyone. My event went darned well so I don’t mean to complain, but my husband says he heard feedback about too many slow songs and not enough slow songs. If you try to cater everything toward guests, you may grow resentful as someone will find something to criticize anyway. From there comes the classic advice of “do what makes you happy.” People need to be fed and watered and comfortable. Be reasonable. Don’t up your budget drastically for someone else’s rigid concept of what a wedding should be. If I were invited to a bbq style wedding for a friend I know loves outdoorsy things, I would be thrilled 🙂

Post # 29
Member
4780 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
mingogo4 :  if you can accept the fact that a lot of people will leave right after they eat, then you’re fine. If this will bother you or your fiance, then I would find a compromise – for example, an outdoor park wedding and a BBQ restaurant with a deck.

Post # 30
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - The Lodge at Little Seneca Creek

I think most people will expect your wedding to be true to you. We had a similar wedding to what you described. No one complained before, during, or after. In fact, everyone raved about our delicious BBQ! We made sure our guests had food, drinks (alcoholic and not), cake, and music to dance to (although the music was OUR taste, and not most of our guests’). Good luck with planning, but remember you’ll never be able to make everyone happy…so just focus on those who matter most: you and your groom (and maybe your parents if they’re helping pay for the wedding).

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