I fell off the bandwagon. I actually had a couple posts near-ready that never made it out. I was supposed to post this last week, and that never happened… so here it is.

Nicole’s married! I’m super excited. A couple Saturdays ago was her Open House-style reception at our church. Now, our… events room is called the Fellowship hall. It has a kitchen and classroom at one end, a large main room, and then a hallway with bathrooms and a class off to one side that leads to the entrance. It’s confusing, but here’s a quick drawing. So, being a church, it naturally has the not-so-fascreen-shot-2016-12-01-at-8-36-37-pmbulous carpeting of navy and burgundy. It’s not as bad as some, I mean, it’s not the bright red or gold nastiness that many have. The walls are mostly painted brick, again decent, but one wall is the angled old wooden boards. The room is nice, it suits our needs, and we can have church services or gatherings in it.

But it’s by no means pretty.

However, Nicole’s mom and Andrea made it, dare I say, elegant. It was simple, and there was no tacky confetti. No balloons, no streamers, no bright garish colors. Each table had a brown tablecloth, a vase with flowers, two pictures of the couple, and candles. The centerpieces wer laid out on a square of pink, a doily, and then (except the candles) a thin tree stump round (like a plate). The whole effect was very understated and autumnal. Everything was simple, and a bit rustic, while still being elegant and not clashing terribly with the room. Mom had me take a picture of it for future events.

Which brings me to the point of this. As we go to many, many, many events and functions at church or for people from church, I’ve taken to simply learning from all of them. I look for things from every event and make a mental not of things to do with my own future wedding/shower/party, and things not to do. This also includes things for children when working at a daycare or nursery. So, here are some of the things I’ve picked up from being in and planning and attending functions of various forms. Most of them are related to weddings, simply because we have so many weddings and showers.

Things to do

Do save flowers from your boyfriend while dating. I babysat at a friend’s sister’s wedding. She saved petals from each bouquet her boyfriend got her while dating, then, at the wedding, the flower girl spread them on the aisle instead of the normal petals. It was sweet, romantic, and special. The only problem when doing this is that I imagine throwing out a few boxes of dried petals until you meet the right person…

Do have a full meal at your wedding reception. Scheduling a wedding/reception during a meal time and only serving desserts or horderves is just inconsiderate.

Do have dancing at your reception. We’ve been to a couple full-length receptions with no dancing. There is literally no point to them. It’s boring. It’s stupid. And the whole Baptist no dancing rule is stupid and has no Biblical basis. So there. Besides, our family wedding receptions get good once my great aunt kicks off the dancing. She and her husband used to go dancing every Friday with my grandparents (her older sister and brother-in-law), and her daughters dance too. It’s just fun. They actually know how to dance, so it’s great.

Do ban phones and other cameras from the reception at least. It ruins the professional shots and distracts everyone from what’s actually going on.

Do decorate the Fellowship Hall for your party (any party) yourself. Just… because.

Do wear makeup at any and all functions. I shouldn’t have to say this, but a girl recently got married and didn’t wear any makeup. Which is fine for some, especially since she has very dark hair and eyebrows and lashes. But makeup in pictures is absolutely essential to make sure you aren’t washed out.

Do approve all music for the reception. All of it. If you have a DJ, they will (usually) try to slip something in that you didn’t disapprove, but may not exactly like. I’ve seen it. It’s not fun.

Do have someone else in charge of making sure things go smoothly at least the day of. Andrea usually does this for our girls, but you need someone to take care of things while you focus on your day. Things go wrong, it shouldn’t be another thing on the bride’s list.

Do make sure guests have some sort of shade during outdoor weddings. We went to one where there was no shade anywhere. It was 90*F. UV Index was higher. It was gross. Beautiful wedding, but man was it sweltering.

Do bring some sort of emergency kit to any event. Someone’s dress rips, and no, everyone else did not bring it. Shoes break, makeup runs, clothing tears, and inevitably it’s a crisis. Also, bandaids can be used to fix shoes too… I permanently have fabric bandaids on a pair of shoes. Don’t judge.

Do stand up for yourself. I’ve met so many people who do things at their wedding because someone else wanted it or they were bullied into it. Don’t. Stand up for yourself, be it a shower, party, wedding, baby, anything (I struggle with this hardcore).

Do ask someone’s opinion on colors. You may think that green and that purple are fabulous, but the rest of us are thinking the Wicked Witch of the West decided to come play. Mom does the cakes for showers at our church, and you would not believe some of the colors people pick. Seriously, the NBA turned down some of these combinations. Just… get an outside opinion. Don’t necessarily take it for gospel because people have their own ideas, but they might see something you don’t. Also, try imagining a cake with them. If it looks like a 10-year-old boy’s sports-themed cake, pick something else (unless that’s your goal, in which case go for it).

Do break in your shoes. All shoes. Learn from me. Learn from my pain. I couldn’t wear those shoes for another year. Also consider a second pair that won’t kill you during/after the reception.

Things not to do

Do not get married in our church. Just don’t. It’s not a good life choice. Some people are hard-headed about this. “We met here, we’ll get married here, and we’ll die here!” Yeah, yeah. It’s not a pretty venue. It’s a nice church, but there’s nowhere for the parties to get ready so the bride and girls end up in the nurseries, and the men… I think they get ready upstairs in a classroom. I’m really not sure. It’s not a good venue for anything. The hall only holds a couple dozen people comfortably. Pick another venue. Anywhere. Local gardens, other churches, a museum, someone’s backyard. I’ve seen a lot of pretty venues, and a lot of trashy ones. But it’s nearly impossible to make our church look elegant (unless you turn off the lights, which some have done. But again, it didn’t look nice, it just hid it).

Do not have an open-invitation wedding. That would involve people you don’t know or don’t like showing up just because there’s food. And our church has over 500 people. Do the math.

Do not show or tell anyone about engagement photos. They get mean and judgemental. My friend’s wedding taught me this. She had nasty old bitties commenting on too much touching between her and her fiance and every other mean thing that was none of their business.

Do not tell people if you do a “first look” before the walk down the aisle. Everyone has strong opinions, and no one feels any need to keep them to themselves. My grandmother will not be told if I decide to do this. Just no.

Do not trust bridesmaids with choosing whether or not they need alterations or with deciding what to alter without approval. Unless it’s something simple like raising a hemline so they don’t step on it, or basic fittings, otherwise, make sure you know exactly what alterations are taking place, and that ones that do need to happen, happen. When my friend got married, the girls all needed to have their dresses altered, and I was the only one who did. Two others had theirs shortened the night before, and one ended up too short. So most of the dresses were ill-fitting.

Do not expect the bridesmaids to be able to “wear it again.” They won’t. Just pick something pretty for your wedding, and leave it at that.

Do not bring everyone with you to shop for wedding dresses. Ever watch Say Yes to the Dress? Yep. Just don’t do it. Also, we had a not-so-nice girl get married, and her witch of a sister gave nasty comments the whole time and ruined it, evidently. Only bring people you actually want with you, not those you feel obligated to invite. Yes, I know this can get messy.

Do not let a friend/relative make your dress or any of the bridesmaids dresses. Unless this woman is a professional seamstress, it usually looks super tacky. I’ve been to a few of these. We had one where the bride did look amazing, but she was disappointed with the end product. Not that it wasn’t beautiful, but she was sort of afraid to say it wasn’t exactly what she wanted. Just skip this problem altogether.

Do not do a garter toss. Ew. It’s so trashy and vulgar. Just stop. This one needs to die.

Do not use crepe paper. ‘Nuff said.

And… that’s pretty much everything I can remember. I need to actually keep a notebook of this stuff or something because I had some really good ones that I forgot the moment I started writing this. Obviously, these aren’t hard and fast rules, but they’re things I’ve noticed that cause issues or make things run more smoothly. And, as always, this is more for my need to write than for any audience.