I’m doing my part as mother of 8 girls to challenge the culture’s thinking about weddings. Sure, it’s an important day and I want my daughters to feel beautiful and to enjoy the ceremony and the reception, but I think it’s getting out of hand. Regular working Americans are spending too much on fancy weddings that are over in an evening and being paid for for a year. We gave our oldest daughter a laughably low budget and she made it work for a lovely wedding. A groomsman was stunned when he heard what the wedding had cost, he thought it was four times as much!

The most important reception planning idea is to remember that “it’s just a party”. Maybe the divorce rate would be a lot lower if people cared about the marriage more than the wedding. Maybe if we’d lower the impossibly high bar on what makes a great wedding, we wouldn’t overspend on them. Maybe if we didn’t let girls think that they were the princess of the world for their wedding day, there’d be fewer bridezillas. The only real essentials for the day are a groom, a bride, an officiant and a witness. Everything else is extra….everything. If a bride absolutely has to have more than her groom in order to be happy, I’d question her commitment to him. Sure, it’s fun to throw a great party. It’s even important to building up the couple as part of the community of married people to have a public ceremony. But at the core of the whole wedding process there needs to be a steady, calm relationship. The groom isn’t the prop necessary for a great show. The bride isn’t the center of the universe. A new household is forming, better it be a realistic and sane one.

Besides a new way of thinking of weddings, maybe there are some better ways to do things at weddings. Every time we go to a wedding we think about what we’d do similarly or differently since we’ll be hosting seven more of them. One thing we keep seeing is that the photo session after the ceremony leaves the guests waiting and bored. There’s got to be a better way to handle that. Maybe it means skipping the “nobody sees the bride” tradition and taking the portraits before the ceremony. The good thing about that¬† would be that the wedding party would all be assembled early! I’m open to suggestions on this one.

One family friendly wedding we went to had kid activities to keep them happy at the table. There were little buckets of crayons, paper, stickers and candies sprinkled down the table.¬† Another great idea we saw recently was the wedding favor at an outdoor wedding in full sun…parasols! It was fun and clever besides being thoughtful. Keep in mind your guests and their comfort, not just a beautiful or impressive reception. I’m collecting ideas and speaking to brides to try to bring down the expectations, all in hopes of improving the way weddings are done.

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