Monday, January 30, 2006

MUSINGS ON THE MISCELLANEOUS (PART I)

I want to cover some issues/questions that don't fall into one particular category or another, but are nevertheless very important topics that must be addressed.

I received a very thoughtfully written email from a young woman who is tackling a question that many caring brides-to-be face....

"When does the desire to accomodate my guests become annoying and overbearing? I mean, I've been doing things like emailing my friends to make sure they're getting in touch with each other to share rooms so no one is left out or staying in a different hotel and to split the cost but isn't that pushy? Maybe they're not ready to make travel plans for June (for example, maybe they're still deciding if they're going to come). I'm purposely trying not to talk about the wedding every time I talk to someone, or see them, or email because I'm worried that it will seem like that's all I'm talking about. How do you strike the perfect balance?"

I think this is a great question, and I have several points I want to raise in response:

(1) You can RARELY be too pushy if you are a caring, thoughtful bride.

Ok--maybe if you email your friends every other day, reminding them about travel arrangements, as well as sending them endless bus routes, airfare, and roadmaps--THEN people may start blocking your address from their inboxes.

Except for that extreme, there really isn't much you can do to be an overbearing bride, as friends will REALLY appreciate your going out of your way for them when it comes to making it easier/cheaper for them to attend your wedding.

If you email/call your friends sporadically, just checking in to have a normal conversation and perhaps throwing in a casual "Let me know if you need any help with travel plans" or "I know that MutualFriendfromCollege is going to take a train to Baltimore to get to my wedding" or "I know how busy you are with work, etc. -- please don't stress about my bachelorette party -- we'll have fun no matter what we do!", you will be appreciated beyond your wildest expectations.

(2) Avoiding the constant chatter about your wedding is a perfect way to avoid being an overbearing bride -- and it helpes accentuate your helpfulness.

When you help out your friends/family out with things like travel arrangements, as well as limiting various costs for bachelorette parties and wedding showers, it's best to say as little about the actual wedding as possible--in order to accentuate the fact that you're HELPING, rather than using your emails as an excuse to ask them about floral arrangements or color schemes. While it's nice to be able to ask people for help, using communication to act selflessly--in terms of emails to your bridesmaids about where to find an inexpensive tailor for the dresses, or calls to friends regarding rooming situations for the destination wedding--is the best way to underscore your intentions.

As my reader indicated, she is trying to limit the references to the actual wedding itself--this makes perfect sense, as that way, the emails/phone calls you DO make in order to help people out are welcomed--and people won't be bracing each time you get in touch.

(3) Despite #1 and #2, there are no easy answers.

I admit -- it is difficult to strike a balance. However, the fact of the matter is that no matter how many times you correspond with friends/family members about your wedding, it's really HOW YOU DO IT, not THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU DO. There's no formula or easy answer -- but if you are THINKING about theses issues--and conveying your thoughtfulness to friends and family--then you are five steps ahead of the game!

Thanks for the question--keep 'em coming! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

WEDDING BANDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (PART III)

Sorry for the delay, guys... I had a crazy work week which didn't allow me much time to post.

Although it’s rare, there’s always a chance that members of the band are going to do something unscripted, or provide a little commentary or “help” during speeches or in between songs.

Take, for example, the situation where a young woman was giving a speech as the maid of honor. She nervously spoke in front of the large crowd, relaying a story about her friendship with the bride. The bridesmaid came to a part of the toast that involved the word “shower” (“shower” as in “to take a shower” rather than a “wedding shower”) -- Although I thought it seemed like a weird thing to talk about, the context was that they were college roomates, and she was listing things she remembered about their dorm room experience: making rahmen noodles, watching movies in the commons rooms, dealing with taking showers with shower shoes, etc....

As soon as she mentioned the word "shower," a silly noise sounded behind her, emanating from the stage where the band sat. “Boing!”

One of the bandmembers had some sort of instrument or noisemaker that made a sound reminiscent of one that hack morning DJ would make (as if to signal an erection). The poor maid of honor was so embarrassed that she flubbed the rest of her speech, and all the guests were either laughing hysterically or completely confused at what actually had transpired.

It may sound farfetched that anyone would think to make an inappropriate sound (signaling an erection) while thinking about a girl taking a shower -- but that was absolutely the joke that the sound guy in the band was making, as both TallGuy and I were there and heard it. It's a great example of something that is stupid and really doesn't make any sense, but is done anyway because someone mistakenly thinks it's funny....

Although you can't always prevent a member of the band doing something unscripted, make sure when you are interviewing for a band/DJ, you TALK TO THEM about what you want/absolutely DO NOT WANT. If I were the bride in this situation, I would have been FURIOUS had someone made a sexual innuendo in the middle of my bridesmaid's speech, which not only embarasses her, but makes everyone else feel uncomfortable in the room. Therefore, one thing to make clear to the band before they begin playing is that they shouldn't do any cheesy sounds during speeches or do anything unscripted that could be construed as questionable, OR do any ad libbing at all--the band plays music, and isn't there to furnish comedy, at least in my opinion.

While there are bands that are both good and bad, the situation you obviously want to avoid the most is "the ugly" -- when it comes down to guests/bridesmaids feeling uncomfortable, I believe a line has been crossed. This is definitely the type of situation where you should maintain a firm grasp over what occurs at the reception.

Although you may think it won't happen to you, anything can--and will go--if you aren't careful.

Monday, January 23, 2006

WEDDING BANDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (PART II)

Not all bands are created equally.

Have you ever been to a restaurant (or seen a movie with a restaurant scene) where a strumming guitar player goes over to serenade an embarrassed and/or annoyed couple?

This concept was self-evident at a wedding I attended where the band was armed with a “strolling keyboardist."

People seemed either put out or highly amused by the aimless wandering--AND singing.

In addition, there was a saxophone player who strolled about the reception hall, "playing to" people at various tables.

Although in theory it was a cute idea to have table-side music, the saxophonist was quite loud. Therefore, it was (a) difficult to talk to members of our table while he came around and (b) rather grating in terms of the sound-level when he came close to our individual table. It's not that I disliked this particular type of jazzy music--and I'm sure that guests didn't either--I simply found this to be an in-your-face manuever that didn't necessarily work well in practice.

Therefore, it’s important that the band act as unobtrusively as possible during dinner, particularly if the dinner and dessert is served in one sitting (as opposed to having the dancing interspersed between courses).

While the band must be entertaining and keep everyone moving, unobtrusiveness is a key element in hiring a successful band that doesn’t annoy your guests by interrupting or intruding upon their personal space.

Although I’ve advocated that brides-to-be temper any bridezilla-like tendencies and say “que sera sera” in many of the situations I’ve discussed, it’s important to realize that you should be in control of your band--particularly because it affects the enjoyment of the people you have invited.

For example: Song choice, song choice, song choice. It’s amazing to think that your guests’ enjoyment may ride on whether you choose Cisco’s “Thong Song” or not, but trust me--this very well may be the case. If you give a band free reign over what songs can be played, they will play what they know. And what they know may not necessarily be what is appropriate, or even more commonly, enjoyable.

At a recent wedding, the band gave a very heartfelt rendition of “Hotel California.” Was it performed well? Sure. Did it have guests asking why the heck they were performing it AT A WEDDING? Absolutely.

Don't allow your band to choose the songs independently and make ABSOLUTELY sure they have a playlist before the wedding that has been approved by you and your fiance, as well as perhaps one or two close friends/family members who are not as much in the thick of things (and can see a little more objectively than you that Salt 'N Pepa's "Push It" may NOT be the best choice).

Bad or completely random music will throw your guests off guard, and there’s less chance people will leave their tables for the dance floor.

The bottom line: Communicate with your band, and be damn sure you know what they're planning on doing (both song-wise and other) long before the first song is played.

Tomorrow, I'll be back with some band horror stories that definitely should--and can--be avoided.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

WEDDING BANDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (PART I)

“We’ve all been to weddings where people are dancing the whole time, and others where people are just wall flowers. Why? Does a good band make people want to dance, or [do you just] have boring people regardless of how good the band is, [who will] just watch from the side?”

My friend Jon raises a good question, but I think the answer is that the band makes a HUGE difference in the vibe/mood guests get at the weddings they attend.

After having attended several weddings and hearing about others, I believe there is a direct relationship between the band and the overall success of the event. .

My first wedding was BigSis'.... When BigSis and MyAwesomeBrotherinLaw got engaged, the first thing they did after setting the date was to hire the band that they loved. Having attended several New Years Eve parties in Manhattan at one particular event that hired the same band each December 31st, they knew exactly what band they wanted even before they got engaged. This particular band was so good, they said, that everyone was on their feet well into the morning.

Before the wedding, my brother (LilBro) and I joked about how we’d be sitting down the whole time, unless we were forced to dance to ensure that at least a few people were on the dance floor.

I thought LilBro in particular would be the ubiquitous wallflower, as he was not fond of dancing in the least AND thought he was really bad at it.

However, BigSis and MyAwesomeBrotherinLaw's band wasn't only good, but it was amazing—simply because they were not at all wedding-band-like (with the schmaltzy music you would expect).

The fact that it was a NON-WEDDING-LIKE-BAND was the key to its success... You can see from my embarassing "bust-a-move" movement in this picture that an effective band can get even the most reluctant guests off of their feet. I was having so much fun that I simply threw my inhibitions out the window.


Not only did a majority of the guests dance every single song, but the band members were SO good that their songs sounded exactly like the originals (If I weren’t looking directly at the band members, I could have sworn Chuck Berry was singing Johnny B. Goode).

The band played a vast array of music that BigSis had requested, and they were fun, young, and able to reach not only the twenty and thirty-somethings in the crowd, but my parents’ generation as well. I have NEVER seen my MomandDad dance, but wow--they just went for it. By the end of the night, most of the guests were still dancing—and disappointed when they called for the last song.

My point: In order to ensure that your guests are in for a kick-ass time, do your research, and try and find a band that breaks with convention -- oftentimes, the boring, cheesy wedding bands are those that everyone chooses--simply because they are labeled a wedding band and are deemed "safe" choices.

The band BigSis chose was a band of all occasions -- which reflected its versatility and provided guests with a respite from the band that you often see in the movies (When Harry Met Sally and My Best Friend's Wedding are just two movies of many that feature the traditional wedding band).

Remember that many elements of your planning are not simply about aesthetics (i.e. the flower arrangements, color themes for the room), but ensuring that your guests are having a good time. Therefore, choosing a good (and not necessarily SAFE) wedding band/DJ is of utmost importance.

This week, I'll focus on SCENARIOS YOU'LL WANT TO AVOID AND WHEN THE MUSIC SHOULD STOP (OR NOT EVEN START!)

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

TRANSPORTATION: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (PART II: THE CARPOOL CAPER)

Just a quick follow-up to last night's post:

One suggestion for any boyfriends/boy friends/fiances/husbands or any others in the position of potential SoccerMom's-to-be: I would suggest that brides/grooms organize, or at least suggest a small get-together event for all the dates to get to know each other--since these guys are going to be with the dates/wives/fiances/significant others who are partaking in bridal activities.

Having a few beers at a bar--and bringing the small group of people together--is a unique way of keeping these guys entertained and making everyone more comfortable. Perhaps this group of guys would rather STAY in their hotel rooms--but what do they really have to lose? It could be fun, and provide something to do in between carpool dropoffs!

Although it's a tiny suggestion, it's a big way of showing your friends that you DO care about their dates/significant others--particularly when they're carpooling their dates around for your event(s).

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

TRANSPORTATION: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (PART II: THE CARPOOL CAPER)

It's funny how, when it comes to transportation at weddings, your boyfriend can begin to feel like your mom.

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding for one of my best friends from law school, and the event was held in her hometown of Wichita.

Needless to say, Wichita was far, far away from the city I call home. It was great that TallGuy was able to attend the wedding and very considerate of my friend (and her then-fiance) to invite him. However, I didn't anticipate that TallGuy would morph into CarPoolGuy for the long weekend.

As I had so many events to attend (the bridal shower, rehearsal at the church, bachelorette party, and more), TallGuy chauffered me around in our Chevrolet Montecarlo rental car, and dropped me off at the various events. At that point, TallGuy would retire to the comfort of our hotel room while I participated in the bridesmaid activities.

I began to feel like TallGuy was like Soccer Mom, and we should have rented a MiniVan (just for effect). Although there really was no way to avoid the scenario (as I left TallGuy with the car in case he wanted to explore Wichita instead of holing himself up in the hotel), I found his newfound role slightly amusing.

When brides-to-be have weddings where many of the guests are from out of town (and one-half of the couple is also taking part in the wedding), this becomes an inevitable scenario. The best way to ALLEVIATE the effect is to ensure that you're thinking about all wedding issues in CONJUNCTION with one another.

If you know that many of your guests will be coming from out of town, then it's important to think about how best to accommodate those who are traveling to make it to your special day. Sure, you may not be able to control the CarPool Effect that I describe above. But, you DO have control over seating arrangements, for example. If TallGuy and I were able to sit together at the ceremony and reception, I may have felt as if I had been able to spend more time with him for that long weekend (considering he was dropping me off at events more often than he was with me attending them).

Other subjects to think about? Cost of bridesmaid's dresses. Bridesmaid's Obedience (as well as that of others participating in the event). The Wedding Warp Zone.

Make sure to think of all of these factors in connection with one another. While the CarpoolCaper may not be avoided, it's good to think about where your guests are coming FROM (both literally and figuratively!) Then, you can plan accordingly, thinking about all of the other factors (i.e. the subject matter on my previous posts).

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

TRANSPORTATION: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (PART I: THE BUDDY SYSTEM)


When I think of transportation issues as relates to weddings, I think of Dr. Seuss.

Remember the book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" ? It's one of my favorites (particularly the opening verses).

"Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go...."

What I love most about the book is the feeling of freedom and sense of controlling one's own destiny that it inspires.

When it comes to traveling for weddings, guests often feel as if they have NO control, and that they are not necessarily going to what Dr. Seuss would call Great Places. The expenses and inconveniences that arise as a result of transportation issues become a thorn in the side of many guests.

RULE (A): THE BUDDY SYSTEM: DON'T FORCE GUESTS TO FLY (OR RIDE) SOLO

I was invited to a wedding that was held at a reception hall in New Jersey. I was not invited with TallGuy and didn't know anyone who would be attending (except one of the bridesmaids). While it may not seem that traveling from NYC to New Jersey would be a long trip, it was an obscure and expensive location to get to, without access to a car. The only potential scenario that I could envision would be to take a cab or hire a car, which would have cost at least $50-75 each way.

I decided to email my friend Jenny, the bride-to-be, in order to see if she could help me figure out how best to get to her wedding.

Her short response was: "Hey--you could take a subway to the PATH train, and then take a cab once you get to New Jersey. Or you could take a cab from the city or take the ferry. Jessica is also coming, but she's one of my bridesmaids so she'll have to be there early for pictures."

When I thought about what she was telling me to do, I was rather taken aback -- the PATH train!? Perhaps I'm just too high-maintenance, but the thought of getting onto a subway and then onto a train--in my evening dress--seemed ridiculous. Not only that -- the idea of taking a train and a subway BACK--by myself--on a late Sunday evening--was just plain dangerous. Although I'm not a paranoid New Yorker, the idea of going home by myself on a secluded train--in evening attire--drew a major red flag.

I emailed Jenny back, thanked her, and never heard from her/saw her again until her wedding. She didn't email me to ask me if I had figured out travel arrangements. She offered no further suggestions and showed no inclination to check in. As I was not invited with a date (see my previous posts regarding this general issue), I was surprised Jenny expressed such little concern. Given that many of her friends/guests live in NYC and don't have cars--unlike many areas of the country--Jenny should have been more attuned to that situation and should have considered that fact.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM should have come into play here. Since I was not the only guest who would be attending solo, Jenny could have suggested other single or married friends who were driving/cabbing it, which would have helped me both cost-wise and comfort-wise. I didn't want to take a cab myself, because of the cost. I didn't want to take a train by myself, because of the comfort-factor. If Jenny had hooked me up with others in my situation (even if I didn't know them), it would provided myself, and others in the same boat, with more options.

The fact that Jenny didn't provide me with any feasible or cost-friendly options and didn't concern herself with these issues made me realize that I was not a priority (to say the least). Her lack of follow-up (i.e. making sure I had a viable means of getting there) added insult to injury.

Therefore, if you have your wedding somewhere that is inconvenient to any of your guests, think of the BUDDY SYSTEM. If you can suggest travel arrangements with guests who are in similar positions (all going to the wedding by themselves and coming from the city, for example), the expenses to each individual will decrease significantly (i.e. 4 in a cab as opposed to 1 person), and the comfort level will increase greatly as well. (i.e. 4 people traveling on the PATH train together at night as opposed to 1 person).

I'm sure some of you are curious how I ended up getting to the wedding. Much like a 7th grade REC dance, my parents were kind enough to have picked me up and dropped me off.

In order to ensure that your guests won't have to scrounge for travel arrangements, it's important to remember the familiar phrase of SAFETY IN NUMBERS.

Stay tuned for more Rules of the Travel Game, and how to avoid offending your guests in the process....

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wedding Speeches (CONT.): TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

As I've already mentioned in previous posts on TheWeddingSpeech, planned speeches are certainly better than the impromptu, "I'll repeat over and over again that Bride Sally is Really Nice because I can't think of anything better to say" type.

I started to think, however, about even the most perfectly executed, well spoken speech: how much is too much?

Think about it: at a "typical" wedding, we normally will hear kind words from the best man, a heartfelt speech from the maid of honor, as well as emotional sentiments conveyed from the bride's father (and many times, the groom's father). Sometimes, other guests/family members are included.

I was at a wedding recently, but if one took away the twinkling glow of the candlelight and the rose petals strewn on the white linen tableclothes, I would have mistaken it for a law school lecture.

At this particular wedding, there were so many (LONG) speeches interspersed through the dinner, all of the words began to blend into one long diatribe. Somehow, it actually detracted from the romantic aspect of the evening, as I found it more fun to watch the bride and groom dance (and join them on the dance floor), then it was to hear the same words over and over again.

Although it is a very sweet-and necessary-gesture to have individuals close to the bride and groom speak at the reception, I think it's important to remember one thing: LIMIT, LIMIT, LIMIT.

Don't be afraid. Although your MaidofHonor typically gives a speech, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. My rule is that you don't have to play by the rules.

If you'd rather have your MaidofHonor speak at the rehearsal dinner (in order to save more time for dinner and dancing at the actual reception)? Great. Think dear old dad will do great on the dance floor for the traditional Dad and Daughter dance (but not so great on speaking without rambling?) Your call.

My point here is that while guests appreciate the sentiment of wedding speeches, sometimes they can be too much of a good thing. If you have many people speaking--even if the speeches are good ones--it can become boring for the guests. Harsh? Perhaps. True? Definitely.

In conclusion, don't be afraid to break with tradition, and think of alternative methods to include the "conventional" speakers but in a non-conventional way. If you'd like to include everyone that traditionally speaks, that's great. Just be aware that the speeches should be short and sweet, and all of the previous rules apply!

Stay tuned....

Saturday, January 07, 2006

SIT! STAY! BUY ME PRESENTS!: BRIDESMAIDS’ OBEDIENCE 101 (PART II)

The second installment of this topic not only has to do with bridesmaids, but the female guests who are part of the bachelorette party and wedding shower.

When asked to help/assist a bride-to-be, it's certainly difficult--if not impossible--to say no. However, when women are made to feel uncomfortable--or even humiliated--along the way, I think there's an obligatory line that MUST be drawn.

Take, for example, the story of my friend Leigh. Much to her relief, Leigh had not been asked to be a bridesmaid in her sorority sister's wedding (Kim). As she had been a part of many other weddings, she was happy to be able to sit on the sidelines for this particular event. However, she was invited to the bridal shower and excited to take part in the festivities.

When Leigh arrived at Kim's shower, she saw some familiar faces (including sorority sisters and old college roomates) and a few unfamiliar ones. As Leigh mingled, chatted, and discussed "this" (how beautiful the tea house was, Alice's Teacup on the UWS), "that" (what was on tap for plans that evening), and "the other" (politics and the latest dirt in People magazine) with the women at the shower, she realized that the known and unknown all had one thing in common: they were all bridesmaids and she was not.

While Leigh wasn't particularly uncomfortable with this observation, she began to feel her "odd girl out" status more acutely as all eight women left the table and began to flank the bride-to-be as she opened her presents (which included a cake plate, a blender, and the obligatory ice cream scooper). As the bridesmaids began to participate in the shower festivities, including cleaning up the wrapping paper and making the "bouquet" out of the ribbons and scraps left over from the fray, Leigh was left at the table by herself. Although Leigh was somewhat uneasy, she continued to smile and clap, hoping to feel a part of everything. Although she had initially been happy not to have been a bridesmaid, the dearth of other guests at the shower (actually, the lack of any others!) made her feel slightly out of her element.

However, just when the thought crossed Leigh's mind that she was feeling left out, Kim's mother called out: "Hey Leigh! Could you help us with the videocamera since you aren't doing anything?"

For the next hour, Leigh became the videographer -she sat at the empty table by herself, holding the video camera and feeling her arm, as well as her stamina for dealing with the entire situation, starting to tire. Although she was initially self-conscious, Leigh told me that the discomfort turned into anger: "I just didn't get how I was sort of left to my own devices--and then was asked to basically be the one who wasn't partaking, but was actually just watching everything going on..."

For the rest of the shower, Leigh became the lone observer/voyeur, rather than an active participant in her friend's event.

I believe the lesson to be learned from Leigh's experience is that it's extremely important to remember that everyone who is invited to the wedding, shower, bachelorette party, and anything else bridal-related, is first and foremost, a GUEST, and that brides-to-be must be sensitive to their needs as well.

First, it was an uncomfortable situation for Leigh to have been the only non-bridesmaid at the shower, given that she was left at the table by herself.

Second, when Leigh WAS asked to "participate," it was an unreasonable request - acting as the videographer at someone's shower inevitably alienated Leigh even further and made her feel even more isolated and removed. However, even if Leigh WERE a BRIDESMAID, it would have been a silly thing to ask a guest to do. Sure, it's great if your mom or a close family member helps with something like that, but guests who are there for YOU should be able to celebrate with you--not run around performing tasks the entire day or evening like a lapdog. How can anyone enjoy a wedding shower if they're simply filming it?

Bottom line: whether it's a bridesmaid or a random shower guest, it's important to make each and every person feel comfortable and at home. Everyone wants to make your day a special one, and do whatever they can -- but when requests become unreasonable or inappropriate, or guests are made to feel out of their element (i.e. left holding a videocamera at a table by themselves), it's time to reevaluate.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 02, 2006

HAPPY NEW YEARS! (AND OTHER HOLIDAY-WEDDING DILEMMAS: PART I)

As the sun sets and the realization that I have to go back to work dawns on me, I want to write to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that you all have a wonderful 2006.

It's amazing how quiet NYC is today. I walked around much of my NBH to discover that most people are burrowed inside, sleeping off this weekend's hangovers, downloading pictures from digital cameras, and wondering how they only ended up with $6 dollars left in their purses.

For many years, I did the "pay SomeObsceneAmount for an all-you-can-drink bar" (where you have to tip the bartender $20 so they actually look your way) and had grown tired of that scene.

Instead of succumbing to the pressure of having "fabulous" (i.e. glamorous) plans, TallGuy ditched our dinner reservations at the last minute, ordered mushroom and eggplant pizza, and started a 24 marathon (neither of us had ever seen the show, and we had the first season on DVD). We were blissfully content.

I started to wonder, though, about one of BigSis's friends, who was attending a wedding this past Saturday evening. Although I didn't talk to her, I wondered whether she was excited about having an "alternative" on New Year's Eve--or if she found this to be an imposition and rather selfish on part of the bride and groom. It therefore made me wonder about the sensitive nature of having wedding celebrations on holidays, and what goes through guests' minds when they receive an invitation for that date.

Since I was in LawSchool, I've seen friends/acquaintances/family members receive invitations for weddings on the following dates/weekends:

*Valentine's Day
*Memorial Day Weekend
*Labor Day Weekend
*July 4th Weekend
*The 'X' Factor??

Guests oftentimes must set aside their schedules in order to attend wedding celebrations, so as not to offend the friends or family members who invited them. However, the question then becomes: does having a wedding on a holiday (or the weekend of a holiday) HELP guests--or become an imposition?

Again, with many of these topics, I believe that there is no clear-cut answer here, and that it all depends on circumstance. I'll speak to a few of these holidays to elaborate on my point, but this discussion highlights the question of how well brides-to-be know their guests (and how willing guests are to acccommodate their hosts).

1. Valentine's Day (VDay).

Although it may seem sweet and appropriate to have it on VDay (obviously fitting in with the "till death do us part" theme of love and togetherness), I know that one of my friends who attended a wedding that weekend was annoyed--because she very much wanted to be able to celebrate VDay with her boyfriend and do something "coupley" with him. It particularly irked her because she didn't know the bride and groom, as they were her boyfriend's camp friends. Although she went to the wedding and got over not being able to really celebrate VDay with her boyfriend, she did say at the time she thought it was a little selfish on the part of the couple, since they weren't the only ones who would have liked to celebrate the holiday--and that to her, VDay should have been about spending quality (i.e. alone) time with her boyfriend. Incidentally, this also was their first VDay together.

While that was my friend's reaction, who knows? I'm sure some guests appreciated the sentimental value, and liked the idea they were at a wedding on VDay--and had a good time dancing and spending time with one another.

The VDay holiday issue certainly cuts both ways, as does the issue of the "long weekend"....

2. Memorial Day/Labor Day/July 4th Weekend

It seems that people choose these long weekends to have weddings in order to accommodate their guests. As I once had to travel to Wichita for a wedding, I can attest that my friend's having it the weekend of Memorial Day was a perfect move, as there were many guests who had to travel (like myself and TallGuy), and it was a good way to avoid missing a lot of time at work. While I'm sure there are people who do observe these holidays, I know that others find the long weekends a good time to do their traveling. I was certainly pleased that my trip to Wichita could fall on a long weekend, and I booked my flight back to NYC so I could get back early enough on Monday morning and get myself prepared for work the following day.

However, there is certainly the flip side to this topic, as I can understand that guests may be apt to make other plans during these weekends, and may do so well in advance.

3. The 'X' Factor

Believe it or not, there are certain dates/times of year that may actually affect your plans--without your even realizing it until it's too late. I recently heard a story about a couple who graduated from UConn and had inadvertently planned their wedding the same weekend as the Final Four. As ridiculous as it sounds, the fact that they planned her wedding for that weekend actually created a real problem (i.e. UConn made it to the Final Four and the game was the same time as the wedding). I have NO idea whether the rabid, UConn fans they invited to the wedding were in their hotel rooms during the reception watching it on TV, or if they wheeled in a television. Although it may seem silly to an outside observer, I can attest that college basketball is no joke to someone who graduated from a good basketball school.

Sports can be an interesting wildcard. Take, for example, what happened to my mother at her wedding: the bridesmaid's husband was listening to Redskins-Giants game on a transitor radio with the earphone in his ear (and this was thirty+ years ago, so the contraption was a little more noticeable than an IPod!)

Therefore, the 'X' Factor (or something like the Final Four) is something to try and think about. Although it may be difficult to spot, it may actually be a date/weekend that could cause complications for the most base level reason.

I'd like to point out that much of this, I believe, has to do with the TYPE of wedding you're going to have. Is it big or small? Mostly family or not many relatives? Is it convenient or inconvenient for most invitees? (And, with the 'X' factor, is there a group of guests who has the same interests which may come into conflict with a particular date? Ie the date of a planned family reunion? Super Bowl weekend? Something else that would cause some interference--no matter how silly it may seem?)

While these questions may not be easily answered, it's best to think about the size and scope of the wedding in order to determine whether doing it on a specific day/weekend is a good idea.

In closing, my advice would be to think about all facets of a date (particularly if it's a holiday or any of those described above), and choose wisely. You know your guests--you must use your knowledge to think what will be the best situation for most everyone involved. Sure, it may inconvenience a few, but again, you cannot please everyone. As long as you try to consider the feelings of guests, then you've already protected yourself.

Stay tuned!