Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Helping Guests Feel Involved

The Knot, one of the front-runners in the Wedding Industrial Complex's race to steal all your money and make you feel guilty that you're not doing more to ensure "The Perfect Day," cracks me up.

Sometimes their advice is so sage. Here's a quip from today's e-mail reminder that I need to constantly focus on my wedding: "The more guests feel involved with your wedding, the more likely they will have a great time."

My sentiments exactly!

It's something I've learned as a teacher (the more kids are involved in planning or executing something, the more they enjoy it). It's something I've learned as a birthday-party and dinner-party thrower (the more friends are involved in the planning or executing of something, the more they enjoy it).

Our strategy for helping "guests feel involved with" the wedding is to give them jobs. The other equally important reason to give them jobs is that it helps us stay within a reasonable budget.

We have to be careful, though, that our guests don't feel like they are being used or like they are doing chores. The goal is to give lots of people one small piece.

If they have a very small piece, it should be very easy to explain to them what needs to be done (before the wedding weekend). Then they should be able to execute it independently with little stress.

Once the wedding weekend comes, all the smaller pieces should just fit together automatically and seamlessly and I shouldn't have to worry about much at all.

I guess that's the goal of a $3,000+ wedding planner. But the drawback to those people is that they often run around the wedding completely stressed out, which ends up stressing me out as a guest (I suffer from hyper-empathy).

So here is a list of all the jobs we are parceling out (the bigger jobs have 2-3 people attached to them so they aren't overwhelming):
  1. Photographers
  2. Officiant and Ring Keeper
  3. Set up sound and iPod at ceremony and reception
  4. Marinate meat, chop vegetables, and cook fajitas
  5. Salsa chef
  6. Bean & Corn salad chef
  7. 7-Layer Dip Chef
  8. Sous-Chefs
  9. Hair
  10. Paymaster
  11. Decorator, Florist, Sign Manager (including wedding favors)
  12. Pick Up Cakes
  13. Traffic Director at Ceremony
  14. Traffic Director at Reception
  15. Ushers
  16. Pick up and set-up kegs
  17. Pick up Friday Food
  18. Pick up Margarita Machine
  19. Wash Cloth Napkins
  20. Smores Director
  21. Lemonade and Iced-Tea on Friday
  22. Group Photo Director
  23. Program Manager
  24. Drink Manager
  25. Campfire
  26. Videotaper
We are also hiring the bed and breakfast owners to help out a lot during the reception. They are heating up the food we prepare, setting it out, refilling it, and cleaning it up. That way, everyone can pretty much enjoy the event.

So, what is The Knot's strategy for helping "guests feel involved with" the wedding?

Wedding programs. Yep, wedding programs.

"Wedding programs are a wonderful way for them to follow the ceremony, understand tradtions, and take home as a keepsake."

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