In planning our wedding, Neil and I have had an ideal scenario in mind the entire time: personal and intimate.
We purposely picked a small, destination venue that could only accommodate our closest family and friends, and have established some personal criteria for how to deal with making the guest list work.
We also made another decision that seems to be exactly the opposite of what a lot of the rest of the world is doing right now: no wedding website. This entire thing will be conducted offline.
Not to say I won’t share details here about the clusterfuck that is planning a wedding these days (I really should have an “I Survived Wedding Fair” T-shirt) – but this is a personal blog, so I figure I’ll just keep my personal experiences archived in one place (a place which has been sorely lacking in content anyway) instead of starting up another site.
But the more I think about what’s involved in not dumping details online, the more I like the idea.
While I like to think I was raised to be polite, with good manners, and to conduct myself in a way that Miss Manners herself would approve of, I’ve really been getting off on all the pomp and circumstance and social mores that have evolved over the years when it comes to conducting a wedding.
Since it would be impossible to cram every single detail of the where, when and how into save-the-date and invitation mailings, I’m going to have to pick up the phone, or write some casual letters to friends and family clarifying the ins and outs of everything.
(It’s just occurred to me that this would be a LOVELY time to procure some engraved, monogrammed stationery, and I got some lovely new pens in my Christmas Stocking, and maybe I could get some personalized stamps, and who doesn’t love actual postal mail that isn’t bills?!… ok, I’ll admit it, I’m an office-supplies geek, though not as bad as my boss who just bought an Easy Button…)
I’m also hoping this will be a really special time in our lives to further solidify the relationships we have with our friends and family. If they need further information, they’ll need to actively contact us, instead of passively looking it up on a website. If we have something that needs sharing, we’ll have to make an effort to communicate with each guest personally.
Guests will have to make an effort to save and remember the wedding date, time and venue information they’re sent. No disregarding it and checking for details online later – the invitation is required reading. Anyone who loses theirs
will be voted off the island will have to suck it up and either contact another guest, or someone in the wedding party to figure out the details. (Not that I would actually be completely offended if someone lost their invitation – it happens.)
Someone, at some point, will have to march their wee tush down to the mailbox and send back their response card. I know RSVPing online at 3:00am in one’s underwear is preferable to some people, but I’ll remind them that mailboxes don’t close for the night either. Though, depending on how dark it is, I’d recommend considering pants before going out.
For me it’s all a part of representing how seriously we’re taking our relationship (not that I’m implying that other people don’t take their relationships seriously, this is just what works for me, don’t hate.) and how engaged we want our guests to be with their participation in our wedding.
As fun as it would be, there isn’t going to be any sort of “skill-testing-question” for potential guests to garner an invitation or a scavenger hunt for a map to the venue.
But it does force Neil and I to ask ourselves some questions regarding anyone we’d consider inviting:
-> Do we have their postal address and/or the ability to get it easily?
-> Do we talk with them regularly, and feel comfortable calling them (requiring obviously, having their phone number) to chat? Would they call us for the same?
-> Do they know our families or attendants well enough to contact them to ask about things don’t belong in invitations like if and where we’ve registered, or exactly how formal a ceremony and reception we’re planning? (or things that were in the invitation they lost…)
If we don’t know people well enough to even answer those simple questions, then it begs the question, do we really have a strong enough relationship with that person to participate in the kind of wedding we want to have, and offer the support in our marriage that we’ll ask of them?