Well, it’s certainly been a while since the last time I blogged about anything wedding related. I guess there’s been a bit of a lull in wedding related activity for us since my last post on wedding flowers. I’ve been plodding along with the wedding favours, knitting an accessory I’m spending most of my waking hours on when I’m not at work and making the invitations (more on that next time).
But last weekend we went up to East Yorkshire for two days for my friend Kirsty’s evening ‘do’ (see my post A Cultural Day in Hull for more info on the weekend and one slightly wedding preparation activity). I say evening ‘do’ because it was in the evening and it was a ‘do’ of sorts, but not in the traditional sense. Kirsty and her new husband, Steve, had arranged a small wedding, with a pub crawl around Beverley in the evening for friends and colleagues. They didn’t want the traditional wedding reception in a function room with a mediocre buffet and evening disco for more guests later. They wanted to keep the day small, informal and friendly.
I liked this. Another couple doing their wedding the way they want to, rather than how the wedding industry sets it up. As you probably know, Jeffrey and I aren’t having a traditional wedding – church>reception>buffet>disco. Instead we’re having a small civil ceremony at Hull City Hall with approximately 55 guests. But what I don’t think I’ve gone into so much is the ‘reception’.
I hated searching for suitable wedding venues in London. And when I say suitable, I mean something we liked – not just something set up for weddings. You can read all about my venue woes here and here. After coming across lots of non-starters – too much money, too frumpy, no outdoor space, too high minimum numbers, too high a corkage fee, and so on and so forth – we decided maybe we should think of getting wed in Hull.
But not in a venue – all get booked up quickly, and again they’re all just naff and expensive. After working a few things out, we plucked for the wedding reception to be held in the garden of my parent’s house. I think this leads people to believe the garden is huge. Let me assure you, it isn’t. It’s certainly going to be a squeeze. The “marquee” will take up virtually the whole garden, apart from a small patio at the back and a walkway through the hedge into the neighbours’ garden. We are still working out how we intend to fit people in the marquee (and are actually trying to finalise the marquee itself), but it’s looking like we’ll have long tables and a buffet. After all, who needs a sit down meal in the garden in high summer?
But then we have to work out what we’re doing with music. We would like music throughout the whole thing – while we get there, while we eat, while we mingle and to allow us all to have a good dance. “Well, get a DJ then” I hear you cry. Nope, we have no room, nor desire, for a wedding DJ. I’m sure you will agree, everyone has experienced some atrocious wedding DJs.
As far as I can work out, there seem to be three types of wedding DJ:
1. The DJ who plays what he thinks are classic love songs, despite everyone hating them. Prime example: the wedding DJ in Love Actually (left) who, after the two main subjects in the scene say will be made or broken by the next track choice, chooses to put on Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love. Epic FAIL.
2. The DJ that plays what he wants to hear, or thinks people want to hear, despite the empty dancefloor. One such example was given to me by my parents who went to my cousin’s evening do two weeks ago. Said cousin is in her 50s. She has four kids who I would guess are 21, 19, 17 and 8. This was her second wedding, to which many older relatives – Aunts and Uncles in their 70s and 80s, cousins in their 50s, and I’d hazard a guess other friends and family that are younger – were invited. The DJ insisted on playing house and trance music that was “too loud” and not anything that anyone over mid 20s seemed to want to dance to.
3. The DJ that takes requests, gets a sense of the crowd, and tries to keep the momentum going and people on the dancefloor. I’ve learnt about the vital need for DJs to be able to read the crowd by Jeffrey who has DJed several times over the years. But I think these DJs are probably in short supply for weddings.
So we’re not having any of these. Instead we’re making iPod playlists to accompany eating and mingling, and Jeffrey will be making CD mixes of many of the songs we’d love to dance to. And we’ve been taking requests so will be weaving in some oldies courtesy of my parents, to keep the older guests happy. Just one problem – the most recent request, by my Mother to satisfy my older Danish relatives – is the Olsen Brothers’ Eurovision 2000 Winner Fly on the Wings of Love. But not in English – in Danish (and consequently called Smuk som et Stjerneskud (As Beautiful as a Shooting Star). I think I’ll leave it up to Jeffrey to work out how to weave this one in…
83 days to go.