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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Encouraging Wedding Guest Involvement

Matt and I kind of asked a lot from our guests:
  1. We asked them to fly to Denver (since most of them lived elsewhere).
  2. We asked them to rent cars to trek 1.5 hours into the mountains for the wedding (although we did facilitate carpooling on our wedsite!).
  3. We asked them to pay for their own lodging (although we found a place that only cost $25 or $35/person/night).
  4. We asked them to upload a picture and write a short bio on our wedsite (to facilitate the creation of community among people from very different social and familial groups).
  5. We asked them to mail us a scrap of fabric before the wedding, so we could incorporate it into a wedding quilt.
  6. We asked them to donate any of their unused, old gold to greenKarat so it could be melted down and formed into new rings.
  7. We asked more than 30 of them to take on small jobs to help make the Welcome Picnic, ceremony, and reception possible.
  8. We asked them to upload all of their photos after the wedding to a centralized flickr account.
Phew. I get tried just listing all those things.

Not every guest did every item on the list, but many of them did a lot of them. In the end, it helped our wedding center on community, connection, commitment, and fun.

That's why I was so excited to hear about Zach and Meg who are encouraging their guests to read Infinite Jest before attending their Alaskan wedding. Here's what they say on their wedsite:
Diversion In the midst of wedding planning and enjoying the Alaskan summer, I’ve decided to take the infinitesummer challenge. Won’t you join me? After all, you have at least 3-9 hours on a plane to get to Alaska for the wedding. Plus, it could make great cocktail party conversation at the reception, if someone else happens to have read or is reading the book (I can think of 2 other people who are and they may be at the reception). Also it doesn’t require physical exertion and you shouldn’t get sweaty, well you could, but then you’d probably be doing more than just reading the book.
We used creative name tags to facilitate conversation at our Welcome Picnic, but I love the book club idea! Oh, how I wish I were friends with Meg and Zach. The ceremony is at a rose garden in downtown Anchorage, and the reception will be held at their home. [insert sigh of contentment]

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Cindy said...

The rose garden is an absolutely lovely place! I wish I'd had such a brilliant idea - bookclub wedding sounds pretty fantastic.

Sarah said...

Ooh, this is a great idea!!

Zach said...

Hosting at home is great... BUT! I'm still working to get the extra bathroom finished up by next Tuesday when people start to arrive. Hello Mr. Tile Saw!

With the need to rent a few things {shakes fist at any rain clouds thinking about being in the sky}, we're going to go a bit over the $2,000 budget level, but still, it's going to be a most enjoyable experience. If you end up in AK randomly next weekend, feel free to swing by. - Zach of Zach & Meg

FireFlyNad said...

I love the idea of incorporating your wedding party. Zach and Meg - love the book club idea, such a great way to get all of your out of town guests to know each other - good luck with the extra bathroom, I wish I was in AK - praying for no rain clouds - congrats

megan said...

Awesome idea! I'm sending good vibes!

The only thing I'm asking my guests to do is mail us in the fabric (we'll also be suggesting the flickr upload- thanks sara!)...but i do have a question Sara: how was the reaction to the fabric? was it hard to get people to participate? i have it on our save the date AND the website, but i'm afraid my guests won't play along. :(

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ megan: The reaction was definitely positive, but the response wasn't overwhelming. I think we only had about 20 of our 80 guests send something our way. However, the people who sent us fabric sent really meaningful and profound pieces, so it was worth it! One thing we did to continually remind guests about wedding-related stuff was send an e-mail once a month for a few months leading up to the wedding. Best wishes to you!

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