A little Disney wedding reflection today…
I regret five big things from our wedding:
1 /// That we didn’t add on the dessert party at EPCOT because it would have been perfect.
2 /// That we hired our officiant and didn’t use someone we knew.
3 /// That I handmade our invitations.
4 /// That we paid for the half-marathon we didn’t run two days after we got married.
5 /// That we had a wedding party.
I don’t know which thing on this list would surprise you the most, but I bet it’s the fact that I wish we hadn’t had a wedding party. That’s right, I wish we had skipped the whole line of people, that we hand’t had anyone stand up with us, and that even the flower girl had been fired.
Here’s the thing…
Choosing our bridal party was one of the first things we did after we got engaged. We had each sort of been thinking about it for a while, so a few of the phone calls to people were along the lines of, “I’m engaged and I want you to be in the wedding” which is a BAD idea, btw, because lots of stuff can change as you plan your day. Even if your relationship remains rock solid, there are tons of other factors (budget, venue limitations, the seductive pull of elopement) that might mean you want fewer people up there with you.
In the end, our wedding party was HUGE and that’s even after both of my sisters and one of Kyle’s friends dropped out of our wedding. Our Disney wedding had a total of 57 guests and 16 of them were in our wedding party. Then there was the two of us, my two grandparents, my three parents (my dad wasn’t yet remarried), and Kyle’s two parents. So almost half of the people on our wedding day had to do something special during the ceremony, wear something that we had told them to wear, and show up hours early for pictures. Most of them left significant others who had to wander around for a while by themselves not really knowing anyone. That’s kind of weird.
It’s the inconvenience of the whole thing that I wish I could take back. Here we were, trying to honor these people who we loved so much and who were big pieces of our lives, and we didn’t let them just relax and enjoy the day. It’s not like we wouldn’t have shared everything with them, but they would have had a better time if they could have worn what they wanted to wear, sat where they wanted to be, and enjoyed a relaxed breakfast before our noon ceremony. But because we love them so much, we made them follow us around in suits?
I’m not saying that wedding parties are a bad thing, but for our particular event they didn’t fit the mood. I really wanted everyone to have an easy, relaxed time so in retrospect it made no sense to add that many people to the roster. I also wonder if everyone would have traveled if they hadn’t felt “locked in”, which is a bummer if they didn’t want to make the trip. I know one of my bridesmaids would have probably skipped it for sure, because she was (1) newly pregnant, (2) taking her first trip with her one-year-old daughter, and (3) had to come without her husband at the last minute. Ultimately, she had a terrible time, never saw the parks, and actually slept through our reception so I feel bad that she felt obligated to come because she was in the program. The same goes for everyone else who couldn’t quite afford it, didn’t really have the vacation time, etc.
The funny thing is, I’m seeing it from both sides this summer. At the end of this month (so soon!!!) one of my bridesmaids is getting married and I’ll be standing up with her in her California wedding. I’m so excited and I love my dress and her wedding is going to be epic BUT part of that is because I’m traveling without Kyle and the kids to this one because the schedules didn’t work out, so I have all of the freedom to really be into her wedding. I arrive the day she gets married and take off early the morning after, so it’s not really a vacation and since I’m not bringing anyone, there’s no reason to worry about some date being left behind while I do portraits or help Kate get ready. I can be in total bridesmaid mode, which is perfect.
In contrast, Jed (my man of honor at our wedding) is getting married in September and he’s decided not to have a wedding party. SO RELIEVED. The whole family is going to this one, which means if I was standing up with Jed that would leave Kyle to wrangle two kids, especially since leaving Eva with a sitter is tough because of her allergy/asthma issues. Of course, we could find something else to do with the kids, but they are Calvin’s godfathers and Eva is excited about seeing her uncles get married so I’m glad that they’re choosing to include them without making Kyle take that on alone. I can spend the day really enjoying their wedding and it won’t at all lessen how happy I am that Jed’s marrying a wonderful guy that I don’t get to stand next to him in a dress he picked out trying to not ugly cry and ruin their photos.
Last thought: over the last six years of writing this wedding blog, I have seen a ton of sad stories about people who were bridesmaids or groomsmen that didn’t step up to their obligations or awkward moments that happened because someone wasn’t included and they thought they should be. So much unnecessary stress and post-wedding emotional damage! We didn’t have much drama with the wedding party, but I have to admit that neither of us are as close to all of those people as we were when we got married, so it’s a little odd now looking back that we had them fly to Florida to stand with us. Of the 16 people who stood up to share our day, we never speak to one, rarely speak to two others, and literally lost another when he left Facebook and moved we-don’t-know-where. In just 5 years, that’s a little odd!
What do you think? Are you considering a small or non-existent wedding party? Do you wish you had done things differently in your wedding? Or am I way off and terrible for wishing I could retroactively fire everyone and just have it be us up there?