You want your wedding to be the event of the century, right? Your guests should regroup at the following Friday’s Shabbat oneg in the temple’s banquet hall and gush about what an affair the ___stein and ___berg wedding was, yes? Your mother’s mahjong group will hardly get to the game at hand because they’re so busy yenta-ing about the celebration of her daughter’s big day, isn’t that so? Well, all this can come true with a few things to think about when it comes to making the wedding of your dreams for you and avoiding all nightmares for your guests.
No doubt, if it’s a Jewish wedding, there will be food. And there won’t be a shortage of it either. But your wedding meal is not the time to be showing off your exotic palate with coconut-crusted, chili-lime sweetbreads or pan seared rabbit sausage in a balsamic reduction. Sure, you may impress people with your adventurous taste buds all 364 other days of the year, but for one meal, give your guests something they expect: a tasty dish that’s in the realm of chicken, fish, pasta, or beef. People have been attending weddings for eons and there’s a level of expectation of what the food will be like. Make sure your caterer is excellent, of course, but it’s also not a time to be experimenting with animal parts or foreign sauces. If you want to spice up your menu with some fancy-shmancy delicacies, include them as hors d’ oeuvres in the cocktail hour so that guests have the option to wait for more predictable food come dinner time.
Be clear and specific about your single guests. Don’t leave it up to your friend to stir up the awkward conversation about bringing her boy du jour to your wedding. There should be no surprises when she gets her invitation in the mail. Either the envelope includes her beau or she comes solo. The vagueness only stresses out your single guests, makes them resent you behind your back, or cooks up a negative feeling toward your wedding day. Be upfront and honest from the get-go. It might be equally difficult for you to address prior to sending out the invitation, but at least it will save both of you some hurt feelings later on.
Music of the Night:
There’s no doubt you want your wedding reception to be the party of the year, but that doesn’t mean your music man has to blast the bass super loud the whole time. Make sure that when you’re interviewing your DJ or band you ask about music volumes and the appropriate times to play different genres of music. Typically, softer music should be played during cocktail hour, as the guests gather in the reception hall before your entrance, and salad and dinner time. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Irv already have a hard enough time hearing as it is — oy vey! — and you don’t want them to have to fight the music in order to have a conversation. Guests become frustrated when they can’t hear over the loud music, and the last thing you want is a room of kvetching Jews. The whole night should not be up on full volume, especially during the natural points of catching up and how-do-you-dos. When it comes to specific dance breaks, however, turn it up and rock out!
Don’t Get Lost:
If you’re getting married in a location or venue that’s hard to find, make sure you provide maps and signage. If the parking is far from the final destination, leave arrows and guides along the way. If your venue is off the beaten path in a rustic area, great, I’m sure it’s gorgeous, but most likely GPS won’t be able to get your guests there (and that’s assuming that Aunt Ruth and Uncle Irv even know how to work the GPS machine thing-a-ma-bobber). So get crafty or outsource but, either way, you do not want your guests to get lost on the way to your wedding. Again, “kvetch” should not be the verb of the day.
Happy couple equals happy guests. Your wedding day is not your time to flip out, have a bridezilla moment (that was for the planning), whine, or throw a tantrum. You’ve seen those TV shows. You mock those ridiculous girls. Don’t be one of them. If you’re having fun and truly enjoying every part of your day from getting ready to getting going, then so, too, will your guests. Imagine how awkward it would be for them to see the bride and groom angry or annoyed on what should be the happiest day of their lives. So stay positive, embrace every kind of situation, and plaster your smile on your face and your guests will continue to rave about your wedding day for years and mahjong tournaments to come.