We did it.
Yup, we did. September 27th was the day. The weather was perfect. The food was great. The fun (for all!) was off the charts.
So how does a couple pull off the perfect wedding (and it was...)?
Some suggestions, if I may....
* Etsy is your friend. If you are not familiar with it, now would be a good time to poke around on their website. Wedding invitations, the cake topper, Natalie's dress, and a whole host of wedding-dom had been secured from this market place. Don't overlook it.
*Don't waste your time with details that no one will notice or care about. The aforementioned invitations are a great example. One could literally flip page after page in massive tomes until they find the "right one". There is no "right one". There are "right ones". Find it and move along. 16-point font bold versus 18-point italics is not important to the guest. They won't care.
*Embrace your Inner Martha. Okay, she was guilty of insider trading, peed with the door open while here daughter had friends over, and had said daughter wrap her own christmas gifts, but there is something to be said for the arts-n-crafts approach. Wedding vendors will sell you stuff for gillions of dollars just because they know they can. A trip to Michael's and a few minutes with hot glue and paint will provide you with some of the nicest wedding features you can imagine.
* Sacrifice a goat to ensure pleasant weather....
* Hire qualified people - Part 1. Zingerman's from Ann Arbor was the big score. The food was superb, logistics were sound, and the staff was top-notch. They had a great reputation coming into this and they leave with one.
*Hire qualified people - Part 2. As you can imagine, wedding photos are mighty important. Don't hire just anybody. Hire people you know who can do it. If they are your friends, well, that is all the better! Take Josh Haas, for example. Yes, he is this Josh but he is also this Josh. The photos above were a quick preview. He'll likely do some tweaking (maybe he'll give me hair!) but what you see is what you get. Natalie and I could not be more happy! If you're getting married soon, hire him. You won't regret it. (Note that I am saying that because it is true, not because he's is a buddy!)
*The word on the street was that many guests felt it was the best wedding they had ever attended. The secret? Fun is inversely proportional to size. The bigger the wedding, the less fun it becomes because you fall into the standard traps of what to do with 250 people while the costs become almost prohibitive. Smaller weddings mean a better twist on food (pork loin and squash instead of a pasta variant and green beans). Smaller weddings mean bonfires, s'mores, and great music on playlists (NEWS FLASH - The Cupid Shuffle is not great music!). Smaller wedding can easily translate to better times.
* Granted, the smaller wedding means you can't invite everyone you know. The other secret? The pizza party! Fact - this is becoming more common as couples realize that spending a decade paying off the debt for the wedding doesn't make sense. (Case in point - I know of a story where a woman is still paying off the wedding even though her marriage is over...) Our party will be in a few weeks.
* Stay grounded throughout the process. If you find yourself getting hopelessly stressed, you are probably doing it wrong. Surround yourself with people who can help you manage the details (while not succumbing to the previously mentioned stupid details). While Natalie and I could thank a ton of people, we certainly need to thank her parents, my parents, my sister (the wine officianado!), and our wedding party. Teamwork, people, teamwork!
* Make the day yours and apply tradition as you see fit. If you feel the garter belt/bouquet thing is barbaric and stupid (like we do!), don't do it. The toast can come before dessert just as easily as it can come before dinner. To hell with tuxedos - go dress casual (your groomsmen will thank you because they won't waste their hard earned money on a rental). Get local craft beer. I could go on, but you get the point. As soon as you get a tux, go big, and buy Bud, your wedding will be just like everybody else's. Now, that is not a bad thing, but we wanted so much to avoid the wedding-clone concept....
Allow me to put this all in perspective. As you may know, George Clooney was married on the same day. As fate would have it, he called me as we were packing up in the wee hours. Apparently, the word of our perfect wedding had traveled the planet and he learned of it. He called to congratulate us and stated that his big fancy wedding in the Italian villa with his A-list friends just wasn't as cool as our wedding. He stated that he wished he had followed our lead.
I know, George. I know.
We did it right.