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VERY Small Wedding

18 years ago

My daughter will be coming to our state to get married. We have only lived here about a year when the wedding will take place. There will be only be 11-15 or 20 people at the most. These include 9 siblings and their families who are mostly coming from out of state also.

The choices as I see it are:

Have the ceremony and a buffet at our house.

Have it at a private room at a restaurant.

What should be done after the ceremony and meal? There won't be a reception, so how do we make this time rememberable?

The weather should be in the 40's at the time of the wedding so although we live in the Rockies, it will probably be too cold to have the ceremony outside.

I really want my daughter to remember her wedding with at least some fondness. She is thinking now that it's just a day to get over. Originally, she was going to have it where she lives but decided to come here instead for the actual wedding and have a big party when she gets back for friends. The airline tickets have already been purchased so I'd say that her and her fiance will definitely be having the wedding here.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Comments (39)

  • 18 years ago

    Have you considered a location such as a bed and breakfast, a lodge, or somewhere a bit more unique than a restaurant? I would opt for your home rather than a restaurant, assuming that it is large enough to easily accommodate the ceremony and buffet without feeling crowded.

    The dinner will be the reception. You don't have to have music and dancing to call it a reception. What about having the ceremony in the late afternoon or early evening followed by the dinner, and be sure to have wedding cake. If the guests are primarily family who haven't seen each other for awhile, they will enjoy relaxing and visiting. If you can find a place with a fireplace, it could be a cozy evening.

  • 18 years ago

    Would she like an outside wedding? Yea, folks would wear jackets at the ceremony, but you are talking 40 above not 40 below, right?

    Other locations include museums. Art, historical, botanical, even a scientific museum would be cool. A house of worship might be appropriate for her.

    I think the biggest trick will be to get her to anticpate it with "some fondness." Maybe it is my lack of coffee this morning or I'm just putting more into your words than what you really have. It seems to me that either you or she or both of you may be looking at this as likely a dud, but that the successful bit will be the party where she lives. A wedding with 10-20 guests CAN be extrodinarily beautiful and meaningful. It is the preferred choice for many couples.

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  • 18 years ago

    I attended a home wedding with about 20 guests and it was lovely. They had hors d'oeuvres and drinks before the ceremony (the couple mingling with the guests), then the ceremony, then a buffet meal and socializing. No "special events," no dancing, etc., Just a lovely time with very close family and friends. It was rememorable just for that alone.

  • 18 years ago

    The last time the whole family was together was almost 3 years ago for my son's wedding. He had a large, fancy affair. The problem is that she was planning the wedding where she lives and for personal reasons (inlaw problems before the marriage that her fiancee at least is understanding and siding with my daughter), she decided it would be best to get married across the country and just have a party for her friends when she gets back.

    I am on my second marriage and had the big affair for my first and a small wedding with the ceremony and buffet at my parents' house for my second. While I remember the 2nd wedding, I don't think I would have had happy memories of it if this were my only wedding. That's why I'm trying to make sure she will remember this wedding with fondness.

  • 18 years ago

    Lots of lit candles everywhere. Ambient light. Find someone who is a professional or near professional musician to play--harp? violin? guitar? piano? And have them play not only for the ceremony but as music for the guests. Buy some disposable cameras, and give one to every guest and ask them to be your photographers. Collect the cameras at the end of the ceremony. Have someone make a beautiful photo album to give at a later date. Don't forget to take pictures of the preparations--getting the house, bride, groom and food ready. Do invest in a wedding cake and champagne for the special memories.

  • 18 years ago

    Doesn't a B&B or an old fashion inn that could accomadate the 20 quests sound nice? Imagine the entire family enjoying the ambiance of such a place for a weekend together to celebrate your DD's wedding.

  • 18 years ago

    I understand the 'fondness' factor. In this day and age, we're all on a budget but no matter where you choose to have it (often the biggest expense), I think you're headed in the right direction of adding personal touches.

    I think the memories will make it special, and part of that is making it personal. Some of the food can be their favorites. The favors should capture a common interest of theirs. You might consider asking each guest to prepare ahead of time some kind of advice or funny story about the two of them, etc., etc.,

    I would definitely have somewhere set aside that is an attractive backdrop for taking pictures. This is for the bride & groom, but also guests. Again, it'll yield photos and memories and things to talk about years from now.

    Either a home wedding sounds good, or a small hotel/inn. The inn/hotel setting might have an intimate lounge or bar area that people can relax, listen to music (maybe dance) have a nightcap.

    I do agree that small can be very, very special. I would suggest, though, getting a photographer. That's the *one* thing I've seen recently is while the disposable camera thing sounds great, in reality, there are very few pictures that are worth saving. I don't mean to sound harsh, but not everyone is a photographer. I say get yourself some good photos,--- both formal and informal--- and that'll help make it special.

  • 18 years ago

    Thank you for your responses. My dd favorite season is fall and she loves Halloween. With that in mind, do you have any suggestions?

  • 18 years ago

    Maybe they could have a VERY mini "destination wedding." Do you live near a resort area with lots of beautiful scenery and a large home or lodge you could rent for a few days? The Rockies should be a wonderful place to get married! Our son and his wife rented a big house off-season (on a beach in their case) from a Tues to the next Tues. They both grew up out of state, so they invited just close friends and family to join them for what turned out to be a week-long party! Everyone pitched in with decorating the house and preparing the food. They got married on a Friday, so it was fairly easy to find an officiant. For what some people spend just for a fancy rehearsal dinner, they rented a huge house which provided the setting for the wedding (on the beach) and the honeymoon site. It was also a vacation site for the small circle of friends who traveled across the country and stayed in one of the five bedrooms. It was a magical week for everyone.

    If you do a search for something like "low cost weddings" or "inexpensive wedding ideas" you might get other ideas. Weddings have become high pressure, expensive events that seem to be more about impressing lots of people you barely know, than about preparing for a life together. Glad your daughter has decided not to get drawn into something that could leave her in debt for years to come. She sounds like a sensible young woman!

  • 18 years ago

    Hi Marie, I guess the fall and Halloween theme can be taken as far as you want it to go. My obvious thoughts are guests could wear costumes, orange & black are the colors; the punch is some interesting witches brew,--- you get the picture.

    I can also see a fall harvest theme; the colors would be just lovely. I think it would be so simple to decorate with leaves and other items naturally found that time of year--- given the fall foliage schedule cooperates!

  • 18 years ago

    There are lots of ways to make a small gathering really special. You could all get dressed up ultra-formal and have the house filled with live music and candles. Or you could all go trick or treating. Or you could square dance. Whatever your family likes. But you already knew how to do that.

    I don't think that finding ideas to make a nice party is the problem. The issue I see is in your comment that "She is thinking now that it's just a day to get over." It sounds like she has told you that she doesn't want it to be anything fancy, but you are worried that someday she will regret not having done something special. I don't think that there is anything more you can do than to tell her that, gently, and then if she still says something like, "Mom, really, I just want it to be our family hanging around and having a casual evening," let it go (and maybe indulge in some nice flowers or special food). If she ever does wish for a big party with all the trimmings -- and it should only be the biggest regret she ever has! -- she can have a big anniversary bash. Sounds like she has a big reception planned anyway.

    Most important, don't let your own vision of the day create an issue between you and her (and her fiance). It sounds like they have enough stress with his family. Just let it go if she doesn't respond to your suggestion of something special.

    Congratulations to you all!

  • 18 years ago

    wouldn't that be fun to go trick or treating? She can go as a bride, and he can go as a groom!

    You might talk w/ your DD about how "corny" she wants to get--just a touch of fall decor might be great; too much might be goopy; Halloween decorations could be viewed as great campy fun, of cheesy--it's all in the bride's point of view.

  • 18 years ago

    The wedding will be 3 weeks after Halloween. She had originally been thinking of a costume party for her wedding which I thought was nuts. She did give up on that idea. Her siblings, I'm sure, wouldn't go along with a costume party.

    Our house has a perfect view of the Rocky Mountains and any B&B would not have a better view. We just don't have any trees on the property so having it outside our house would not be suitable. The landlords haven't lived up to their verbal promise of putting in a lawn so the outside is just mainly dirt and weeds. We should have known better and had it in writing but that's a question for the apartment forum.

    Our family has lived apart for years now and it's rare when we all get together. I just wanted something after the meal (whether it's a buffet here or we go out) that will be memorable for everyone. And I can't think of a thing. Cake and drinks and conversation just doesn't sound exciting.

    Is there a surprise of some sort that I can do after supper?

  • 18 years ago

    I can understand your thoughts on the costume thing, as it can get a bit campy. Okay, it does sound like you're in a quandry, so we need to get down to the meat of the matter.

    Do you have a budget? If so, share it w/ your DD and FSIL and anyone else involved in the planning process. If not, put one together soon.

    "Our family has lived apart for years now and it's rare when we all get together."

    Are you struggling a little between pleasing your daughter and feeling like you have to 'entertain' family that rarely gets together? It sounds a little like that.

    Because the time together is valuable, think about spending the time you do have w/ your guests and the couple. Not in the kitchen. Not setting plates. Not directing buffet traffic. Depending on your budget, decide if a catered dinner---sit down or buffet--- is something that can be done. It doesn't have to be extravagent. It will allow you to enjoy time with everyone, not just during the day and evening but beforehand, as well.

    You want it to be memorable. This is a broad statement. I don't know what your family is like, specifically the guests/family that is invited. You need to research what other people have done at weddings in similar situations. Believe me, there's a lot of information out there.

    Does your family/guests. . .
    - like to interact w/ each other. . .like play games or watch family slide shows . . .or dance?
    - prefer to be low-key? Do some not really get along and it might be awkward to force the situation? (many families are somewhat like this in varying degrees)
    - mind non-traditional activities . . .like would they be open to doing something like a wedding treasure-hunt?

    I think it boils down to two things:
    - budget
    - clientele: what would the young couple like and how can that work with the family/guests?

    Even though the family coming in rarely gets tgoether, perhaps you can have an informal gathering the night before for a cozy meal. The day of the wedding should focus on the couple, not as much as the opportunity --- although valuable and valid--- for a reunion of sorts. The two can co-exist but the emphasis is on the wedding and the couple.

  • 18 years ago

    Lola, thank you for your post. You were able to pinpoint a few things for me. I hadn't even thought of the night before. You're right in that this is the family time and the wedding day is the couple's time. The budget is not large but we could rent out a room at a restaurant or resort for a nice meal after the ceremony.

    A couple of the siblings will be arriving the day before the wedding. On that night, I could have my kids' favorite meals already cooked to be eaten at our house for supper. They've always said that it was food that makes them think of home.

    I hadn't thought of the night before that much but this will be the time for everyone to just veg out and catch up on things. We could, I suppose, also show old videos then.

    My kids revert back to their teen years when they get together. I have 5 kids who are 8 years apart (one son and 4 daughters). I am hoping they'll act like the adults they are.

    What is a wedding treasure hunt? That sounds interesting.

  • 18 years ago

    I recently visited a group of family and friends that I hadn't seen in years (nieces grad, not wedding). Anyway, we sat and talked politely for a bit then my niece suggested we play spoons; well, the game was on and we all loosened up and had a great time. Happened to visit a month later (yeah, after several years I couldn't stay away!) and several people who had missed the get together were talking about how much fun it sounded like and how they missed being there.

    My point? Have a plan or activity in reserve (cards, monopoly or something they used to enjoy) to break the ice if needed. Photo albums might be a good idea, or try to think of a flattering story about each of your children (as you said they can revert-- sometimes that comes with a lot of teasing, which can hurt feelings).

    Good luck with everything and remember to enjoy your time with the family too!


  • 18 years ago

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I was thinking of bringing out the Balderdash game for Friday night because this was the "family" game.

    One of my other daughters said that the bride and groom love Karaoke and maybe we could rent a machine for after the meal and wedding cake time. I also would like to play music for them so they could at least have their wedding dance.

    The bride still wants the wedding at the house with the ceremony somewhere else.

  • 18 years ago

    It sounds like things are developing, Marie. Excellent! I'm not entirely sure, to be honest, what I'd do w/ the wedding treasure hunt, I sort of brainstormed that on the fly! Maybe it could be just like a regular treasure hunt (either external, going to other places, homes or internal, staying on your own property) but having a list of 'traditional' wedding items. Something borrowed. . .something blue. . . or maybe it's non-traditional. Have a list of things to find like "find something aside from a cake-cutter that you see at a cake table" answer: napkins, plates, etc. They have to come up with an answer--- and find the item. Have little prizes for everyone, but a slightly nicer one for the winner(s).

    It sounds like your DD and FSIL like music because you mention karaoke. Again, maybe you can play a game or two and one of them can be music-related. You can prepare a game that is popular love or wedding-theme songs that are fill-in-the-blank.

    Have prizes. I think you'll have fun with it.

    Funny, my family is also comprised of 4 girls and 1 boy. I'm the youngest and there's 11 years separating me and the eldest, the person to whom I'm closest!

  • 18 years ago

    First, stop using the term ONLY 20 people. She will have 20 of her closest loved ones surrounding her.. how can that be diminished with a number? Fond memories are built on quality, not quantity.

    Oh!! Halloween weddings are wonderful!! I am an events planner and cake decorator and it can be so fun.... including with 20 people....

    She can go all out and have a fall themed or Halloween themed (I've seen some very classy designs) wedding cake (I can provide pictures to give you ideas if you like). Since it's Halloween season have a masquerade party of romantic couples. This will require a tiny bit of commitment from the guests, but think of how fun it will be. After the ceremony have a buffet and cocktails with quiet mood music playing in the background.

    I'm envisioning a wonderfully fond memory being created here.

    Don't want to do romantic couples costumes? No problem!!

    Have the guests each write a little something about the couple and read it aloud after the meal, maybe during dessert. Nothing should be more than 1 minute long with 20 people attending. If the groom's family will not be there, have each person attending write something funny (keep it cute- not hurtful) about the bride that the groom is unaware of. Like that she insisted on neon pink hair all through the 7th grade.. you know what I mean.

    There is absolutely no reason why this can't be fond memories (if there is a reason, it's lost on me!). The fact that she's marrying the love of her life is fond memory number 1. Take it from there and run with it.

  • 18 years ago

    I read your post before I went out to do some gardening and ended up thinking the whole time about this young woman who is thinking of her wedding as "just a day to get over". It's heartbreaking. I have no children and am willing to admit I don't know what I'm talking about, but...
    Maybe what's missing here is a celebrating the solemnity of the promise they are making to each other. You've got a small group, but that may work for you if they're all people who care for the bride and groom. Maybe they can all be involved. For example, if there's an aisle the bride will walk up, have everyone holding a candle. Have a person up by the "altar" light the next person's candle, and that person light the next, etc. lighting the bride's way up the aisle (or start at the opposite end). Everyone could form a semicircle behind the couple for the vows. If you're the type of family that is comfortable joining hands, do that. Too sixties for you? Pick something that fits your style.
    If the ceremony is meaningful, then the rest of the evening will be, too.

  • 18 years ago

    mljan, the lighting of the candles is a beautiful idea especially since my daughter loves candles. I think you are onto something, make the ceremony very special and the rest will follow.

    She had been planning a smallish not too expensive wedding and things just progressed into a small her side of the family wedding. She just moved into a new home and will have the party in Texas after the wedding here. I am hoping that since she finally moved, her thoughts will now move onto the wedding plans.

  • 18 years ago

    ooh. i know you already ruled out the costume thing, but i went to a halloween wedding once that was done like a masquerade ball... it was so beautiful. everyone wore reanaissance costumes and it was really classy. the bride looked like cinderella...they even rode away in a horse drawn carriage. that's probably a bit more than you were planning for your DD's wedding, but i just thought i'd share my experience.
    also, candle light is really nice in the fall and you could have really orangy flowers... do you have a fireplace? i love the smell of a fireplace in october! (fall is my favorite season too). are you a member of a church anywhere? you could have her ceremony there? or didn't you say you live in the rockies? isn't there a lodge somewhere with some gorgeous scenery... a mountain top ceremony... just sounds lovely! with just twenty guests the possibilities are endless!
    and i think that the trick to helping her have a great wedding day is to help her feel beautiful... perhaps she should splurge on her wedding dress spend the morning at a spa. carry a bouquet of flowers that she especially loves. if she feels fantastic, then she will have a fantastic day! and i think that you guys are on the right track!

  • 18 years ago

    I visited my daughter last week and she wants the wedding at my house. She would like it decorated with flowers and white fabric which would cover up the big screen TV and electronics in the living room because they can't be moved as well as the other 2 walls. Now there are wine curtains on rods covering the large windows on 2 of the walls including behind the TV. In other words, the room should look like there is a wedding taking place.

    Any ideas on how to set up the room? Are there any sites on the internet that show rooms already set up?

    She also wants a buffet (we have an island that is behind the living room which would work for this). There will also be dancing in the living room.

    We are still looking into a location in the mountains for the ceremony but she wouldn't mind also doing this at home.

    Any help with this new plan would be greatly appreciated.

  • 18 years ago

    The mountains might be cold that time of year - the home wedding idea is probably the best.

    I just had to chime in here because last year, I got married in a *very* small wedding, by our choice (my in-laws back yard, with just our immediate families present - 9 people, including us). Some people just aren't all that interested in having the huge wedding, or planning for months in advance - I didn't start planning until 3 months before, and then I was done with a month to spare. We wanted something very simple, because for us, it wasn't about the wedding, it was more about just being married. We were going to elope (on Halloween, no less), and were talked out of it when our parents expressed thier disappointment (we moved the wedding up since it was clear we'd have to stay in town as traveling wasn't an option for my parents). So kudos to you for trying to respect your daughter's wishes, and help her have the wedding that *she* wants, rather than trying to do it the way you think it should be done! :-)

    For the white fabric to cover things up, I'd just watch the craft store prices and buy a nice bolt of either polished cotton (shiny) with tulle to go over it, or if you can get it inexpensively, a bolt or two of satin fabric. Measure the areas you need to cover, and then use old sheets to make templates (so you won't make mistakes cutting the actual fabric). If she's having two colors (the wine, perhaps?) see if you can find a wine tulle to go over the white cotton or satin...or ask your daughter if she thinks that would look nice (send her swatches if you can, or better yet, have her send you swatches of what she'd like). Then you can place the flowers and candles all over, and I bet it will be just gorgeous. :-)

    Truely, don't worry about her lack of enthusiasm. I really did (and still do) consider it just a day to get through, because it wasn't really for "us", it was for the families instead. I would bet that she's *very* excited to get her marriage started, and really just doesn't care much how that happens, as long as it's tasteful and simple. That's how I felt anyways, and I have no regrets whatsoever.

    My reception was lunch, at a buffet, after which my hubby and I left the family, and breathed a sigh of relief that it was over. I think just a simple dinner with music is probably what your daughter will enjoy most - don't worry about making it "memorable" for her unless she specifically requests something, she will remember it no matter what happens, truely - better just to plan what she asks for, to avoid "over-doing" it. :-)

  • 18 years ago

    Jamie, did you have the wedding in Montana? I am asking because I am new to Montana and the wedding will be taking place here.

  • 18 years ago

    Yep - I'm in Billings...lived here all my life. :-) We did a Sept. wedding in the back yard...October (esp. after halloween, when we normally get our first snow down here) will be far too cold to be outside, or anywhere not well heated. If you're up in the mountains more (Bozeman, Missoula, Great Falls) it will start getting cold sooner than that...that's why I think it will just be too cold in the mountains, no matter where you head off to. :-)

    Feel free to email me if you need any help finding things...jamie AT fuller DOT net.

  • 18 years ago

    I have an update. We are down to 2 choices. We can rent out a small Italian restaurant for the evening but it's not really set up for dancing. They will move the tables, etc. for the ceremony and dancing but we'd have to use a boom box. Also, all the food will of course have to be supplied by them other than the wedding cake.

    The other choice (which my daughter is leaning towards) is a house that has a chef's professional kitchen, a beautiful wooden staircase that she can walk down and a room that has one side that we can use for the meal and the other for dancing. There is even a stereo system set up. It's not too big for the number of people that will be there. Also, it's only $15.00 an hour which is unbelievable. The only criteria is that if we use a caterer, that person must be licensed. We would have the ceremony there as well.

    My daughter doesn't want a caterer and would prefer that her sister (who is here with me and had worked in the banquet kitchen at a Ritz Carlton) and I make the food or buy it at Costco. In other words, she wants to do it cheaply. But that means I will be quite busy when the family comes into town.

    I thought of finding out if we can buy the main courses from a local restaurant (there are several good ones to choose from) and do the appetizers and desserts ourselves. The wedding cake will be purchased. I will still check out the caterers but I understand that if I use one, they will expect to supply ALL the food. Is this true?

    So, probably we will be using the room at this "house" and decorating it as we see fit.

    You have all been so helpful. I have one more request. Any advice on the meal planning?

  • 18 years ago

    Pop over to the cooking forum, lots of great ideas and supportive people! They will make suggestions, from elegant and easy to mind boggling and impressive -- all with instructions if you ask for them!

  • 18 years ago

    I will still check out the caterers but I understand that if I use one, they

    you never know--it's worth asking.

    I will say that a caterer will expect to earn enough money to make it worth their while. They won't want to pass up a move involved (and therefore higher paying) wedding in order to do yours.

    So I would ask them--the worst that can happen is that they tell you they won't touch it.

    The best that can happen is that the season will be slow, and a caterer will decide he or she can earn more money on your pared-down plan than he/she would earn if he/she sat home.

    Or, you may come up w/ a menu that is small enough and little enough work that they can dispatch a member of their crew to handle it.

    And if the PLACE is cheap enough, that may make it easier to splurge on the caterer. Bcs frankly, if I were in yours shoes, I'd be pitching in some $ if that was what it would take to get me out of kitchen duty!

    I asked me MIL to have my bridal shower at her home, bcs the restaurant ones w/ tons of people embarrassed me. So she pared the list down as far as she could (70 people), enlisted help, and had it at home. It was the MEANEST thing I have ever done to her--and it was totally inadvertent. It just didn't occur to me how much WORK it would be for her. She did not get to enjoy it at ALL. Feel free to mention my story to your daughter--YOU will not enjoy that wedding if you are having to do all sorts of cooking and serving on that day.

    Start asking around. (I wonder how hard it is to get a license, and whether very many people have one; if it's easy enough, there may be more small caterers in your town)

  • 18 years ago

    DD decided to go with the "room" at that house. I've contacted a couple of caterers in the area and they didn't seem to care if I wanted to supply the desserts myself. I'm not planning to do all the baking myself. Besides the wedding cake, we just wanted an assortment of different desserts that we could get around town. One caterer was extremely expensive. The other one that I met with yesterday said she'd get back to me in a day or two.

    Talley Sue, thank you for that story. Just this morning, I was thinking that it was too much money to pay someone for just a few dishes of food. But you are right in that it's the convenience that I will be paying for. We are helping with the costs of the wedding and I am trying my best to spend the money wisely. DD doesn't seem to think that a professional photographer is important but flowers are. So, we will also be paying for the photographer because I know in the future she will regret not having portraits from her wedding day.

    I have been to the cooking forum and will probably ask for their advice about the selection of desserts that we should have.

  • 18 years ago

    I think you're right to emphasize the photographer--because those pictures last much longer than even the memories of the flowers.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed that you'll be able to find a licensed caterer who won't need to earn more than you're willing to pay.

    But you are paying for the convenience--for not having to worry about whether you have enough dishes, for not having to WASH them, etc. No grocery shopping, no carrying, no spilling tomato sauce on your nice dress (well, I guess you could spill it off your plate, but...)

    Think of the caterer as part of the ambience--you can have nice china plates, pretty serving platters, nice food, a buffet table that gets replenished and rearranged instead of looking more and more picked over....

    That can have just as big an effect on the wedding's atmosphere as the flowers!

    (also ask the folks who rent out the house if they can recommend anybody who's done an event there that wasn't phenomenally expensive. And if you decide to go w/ "dishes delivered from a restaurant," ask what their opinions are of SERVERS; could you hire non-licensed people to carry things around, etc., if they don't actually COOK there; and see if they have any suggestions for that, too)

    (My MIL had lots of help that day, both with people bringing food and carrying stuff around; it was still a lot of work and NO fun for her. Almost worst of all was that her ATTENTION wasn't on the event, and that the OTHER people were always talking to her about the food, the chairs, etc., instead of about other MOG type stuff. Do, do, hire a caterer if you can at all afford it.)

  • 18 years ago

    As usual, I agree with Talley Sue, especially her point that, with a caterer, you are paying for SO much more than just the food itself. Simply comparing the price of preparing and serving your own, or even to bringing in food from somewhere but no helpers, to the price of the caterer doing some or all yourselves is really apples to oranges. Think of all the time and strain on your nerves you will save. To me, that is worth a LOT, especially at such a busy and stressful (yes, even though it's good stress, it's still stress) time. Follow the same instinct you had about the photographer.

    Personally, as a guest, I would prefer very simple, inexpensive food on real dishes with metal silverware to a much yummier full-meal spread on paper plates with plastic flatware if it meant that the hosts could be relaxed and spend time with their guests, not worry about preparing, storing, and transporting food; set-up; service; and clean-up.

    So I agree: if you have $X dollars to spend, tell 2-3 caterers your budget -- tell them it's firm -- and see what they can do. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. Remember also that some things may be included that you'd have to pay for if you "cater" it yourselves (what is included depends upon the caterer: Servers? Utensils? Plates? Tablecloths? Centerpieces? Some of them provide a lot, others just food).

  • 18 years ago

    I thought I'd give an update. We chose the "conference" room at the house. The one thing that's great about it is that there is a working fireplace which dd is very happy about. The cost for the place which includes a stereo system and a professional kitchen will be about $150.00, depending on the time it takes to put up the decorations and how long we stay there.

    I picked the flowers and there will be arrangements on either side of the fireplace. The arrangements will be in glass vases inside horn-looking wicker containers. I asked that extra ribbons, etc. be used to hide part of the front of the wicker. DD will have a red rose bouquet, the flower girl will have a wrist corsage and the other women at the wedding will each have one red rose. The men, of course, will have their flowers as well. The cost for the flowers is $300.00 which I think is reasonable.

    I ordered the wedding cake from our local IGA. We didn't want fondant and the bakery has a lady who specializes in wedding cakes and only uses buttercream. There will be a 10" cake on the bottom and a 6" cake sitting on top of the bottom layer. Each layer of white cake will have a layer of icing inside as well. The cake will be decorated with white roses, edible shimmer and a very pale blue icing will also be used within the flowers to better show off the white flowers. The cake should feed 35 people and it cost only $55.50. They figure their cost at $1.35 per person.

    I have spoken to several caterers and picked one that has been recommended to me but we have yet to decide on the menu. We are leaning towards herbed chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetable dish, pasta dish (I think), a Caesar salad and bread. I will hire a person to do the serving of the meal and desserts through the caterer for a cost of $135.00.

    Besides the wedding cake, we will be serving other desserts. I am debating about making some of the family favorites because the kids haven't had them in years (at least made at home).

    The caterer will supply the dishes and cutlery. Glasses and wine glasses are already at the wedding place for my use. I will need to rent the linens from the caterer.

    The only problem I see at the moment is that there are 8 wooden chairs and the rest will be bridge chairs. Besides renting chair covers, does anyone have any thoughts on how to hide the chair backs?

  • 18 years ago

    It all sounds lovely, and I cannot BELIEVE how inexpensively you were able to do it all -- only $55 for a 2-layer wedding cake, even a small one, is just great, when you consider all that time and skill in decorating. You did a great job.
    I wouldn't worry about hiding the chairs. I don't think it will be noticeable when you have everything else looking so lovely. If it really bothers you, put a white bow on each or something like that -- but I really don't think you need to bother.

    Congratulations on being such a great planner! It's going to be just great. Please post pictures if you can afterward -- we all want to see!

  • 18 years ago

    There are enough bridge chairs for everyone so they could all be the same. Should we use the bridge chairs for everyone except the bride and groom? They could sit on the wooden chairs (which have a higher back than the bridge chairs) thus making their place more special.

    It would cost about $9.50 to rent each chair cover which is not worth it.

  • 18 years ago

    With all the fuss, and all the other pretty things going on in the room that evening, I promise you, NO ONE will notice about the chairs -- except YOU. So do what will please YOUR eye. (I have to remind myself about this bit of wisdom from my mom whenever I do something like set a table especially carefully or put flowers in the bathroom or other little things like that. A few people notice, but most don't, so you just have to do it for your own pleasure -- which is a good enough reason! -- and try not to think about how much it is like Martha Stewart tying ribbons on the linens in the closet....)

  • 18 years ago

    I agree, I don't think people pay any attention to chairs. They're just too low down--below hip level, and people don't bother looking there. They're too busy looking at other people's faces.

    chairs show up in photos, sometimes; and that's the only time you notice them.

    As long as the chairs you have are pleasant enough looking--not chipped or dinged, not wobbly, etc.--and most of them look alike, nobody will know.

    The bride might find it more comfortable to sit on a sturdier chair, if she's got a long dress on. Otherwise, use 'em any way you want.

    It sounds like it'll be a lovely night--and not that expensive at all! How great for you. I'm so glad you've recruited someone else to handle stuff AT the event.

    the other women at the wedding will each have one red rose
    As a corsage, I hope? So they don't have to carry them around? If you are going to go w/ loose flowers, be sure to provide vases on the tables they can be set inside.

  • 18 years ago

    I had planned on having a vase to put the roses in. Originally, it was only supposed to be a rose for the 2 sisters who are the bridesmaids. But since there are only a few other girls, it didn't seem right not to give them each a flower as well.

    I've decided not to worry about the chairs. It only bothered me because I liked the sturdier chairs more and there are only 8 of those.

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