A while back now we posted Katie’s gorgeous wedding report. In the comments we got talking about evening dos and those of you who are not yet married wanted to know why some of us old-marrieds said that they were so stressful. So *obviously* we put a shout out for someone to write a post about it, and were *obviously* chuffed to bits when it was the lovely Penny who answered that call with the post below.
She perfectly sums up exactly why I found it all so stressful, and I think, why most of us did, and she does it in her perfect Penny style that we’ve all come to love.
If you’re married already, you’ll recognise what she’s talking about, and if you aren’t yet, take the fabulous advice she gives and run with it…
I love a party, me. Fancy dress, cocktail dress, hen, birthday, Christmas or Not Going To Glastonbury (an annual shindig as my best friend is a teacher and terminally denied the pleasure), whatever the excuse I will be there, brandishing a bottle of tequila and dancing on the table. And Sam? Well, I could tell you some stories. Before we got together we were both known for being great lovers of the party, flitting from house gig to club to bar like boozy butterflies, occasionally crossing paths but never really exchanging anything more than a Bacchinalian salute in acknowledgement of our mutual excess.
So, when it came to our wedding it stood to reason that we were both VERY excited about our evening reception. I must admit, the pictures in my head were of drunken carnage, a packed dancefloor all night, guests nursing their hangovers for weeks to come…. ooh the pictures in my head I had, I could talk about them all day. You had them too didn’t you? The pictures of what The Day was going to be like. Not like that though, is it?
And for most of our day, the reality was different from what I had imagined. But still great and brilliant. Sometimes even better than I had dared to hope.
But the evening reception? The bit where ALL our awesome friends were there to get drunk with and dance and celebrate? The bit I was looking forward to most of all? It wasn’t the letting-my-hair down part at all. In fact, it was where the real work started. You get all those people you know in one room, including relatives and people from vastly different areas of your life, people you haven’t seen for a while…. you are going to need to talk to pretty much all of them. And that will take you all night, just on its own. And you will only be able to talk to each of them for two minutes max. It’s basically like speed dating, only worse, because you ARE going to see these people again, all of them, and you want to be nice without being too abrupt, or without seeming stressed (haha!) and (although you are smiling because you’re so happy) by now your cheeks are starting to ache, you’re dazzled on gin and it’s all starting to turn into a bit of a blur.
Course, all of this only become a real chore if you’re silly like me, don’t hire a day of co-ordinator (the one thing I truly regret), and don’t delegate the responsibility of ensuring the evening events actually happen to anybody else. So it will be you who has to remember that you need to cut the cake, that there have to be speeches, that bands have to go on stage, that you need to have a first dance, and you who has to shout at everybody to remind them that this is happening AND ALL WITHOUT A WATCH. Did I just imagine a fairy godmother would come down and do this for me? Not to mention spending half an hour playing in my own band, which took out more precious minutes of Hello-How-Are-You-Thanks-So-Much-For-Coming (although, in hindsight, gave me valuable respite from the conveyor belt, and was truly fun to do).
Once I got over the disappointment of not getting to hang out and party with my regular friends as much as I would have liked, I realised it all went pretty well. Everybody had a nice time and, let’s be honest, it was never going to be another Hen but with boys and oldies (yes, I did think it might be, and yes, I know).
So, my advice would be to go easy on yourself – you are not going to spend quality time with everyone there, and nobody is going to blame you for it. Everybody knows the bride and groom are in demand. Wait for people to come to you if you can – don’t rush round after people like I did, it will stress you out (it doesn’t have to be speed dating if you don’t let it – I did). Don’t put pressure on yourself to have a balls to the wall riot of an evening do – it will be what it is. Ours was lovely, heartwarming and desperately soppy – not what I imagined, but unexpected and amazing. And either hire a day of co-ordinator (they’re not always as expensive as you think) or get a trustworthy, organised friend or family member to be on top of the timings.
And for goodness sake, make sure they wear a watch.