Monday, February 22, 2010

A Wedding is an Excuse for Other Kick-*ss Parties

One of the strangely difficult parts of wedding planning is emotionally letting go of all the types of weddings I won't get to have.  I won't get to have an all-night Saturday night dance party.  I won't get to have an intimate backyard wedding.  I won't get to have a barefoot beach wedding.  I won't get to have a campsite/weekend retreat wedding.  I won't get to have a destination wedding in Italy.  I won't get to have a lot of things, and that's increasingly okay, particularly as I'm re-learning how to love the wedding we will have.

It's also okay because, as many in the blogosphere rightly point out, this isn't the last party we're ever going to have. It won't be the same as my wedding, but I could plan a birthday party out clubbing night with a group of friends. Or we could have a beach day leading into a nighttime bonfire sometime during the summer.  Or we can coordinate with a large group of friends to rent a cabin or group of campsites for the weekend.  Obviously, these aren't the same as a wedding, but I'm hardly saying goodbye to any and all future beach-oriented (or whatever) type celebrations.

Although I've been telling myself again and again that this isn't the last party I'll ever have, it's been even more fun to realize that the wedding has inspired all sorts of more immediate party ideas and opportunities too.  Our apartment has a nice set up for dinner parties (10 max) so we've been slowly inviting different groups of friends over for themed evenings.  We had a game night, a curry night and, most recently, a cheap wine tasting and tapas party night. Yes, a cheap wine tasting.  Everyone brought a bottle, a tapas dish, and we conducted blind taste tests of the imbibable offerings.  It was both a perfect excuse to have an inexpensive dinner party and chance to suss out the best inexpensive wine options for our wedding. Unfortunately, we had a three-way tie between two wines I was too tipsy to properly recall and Two-Buck-Chuck.  All I know is one wine was rated 88 and had no sulfates and it still couldn't beat out Chuck.  So I'm going to assume this means we can serve whatever the heck we want at our wedding and no one will know the difference.  All in all, a productive and kick-*ss awesome dinner party night.

And frankly, this is what we all should be doing.  We should find ways to test the fun wedding ideas on willing participant friends. We should take all the if-only wedding ideas we've put aside and turn them into dinner parties now, when we all definitely need a break from the intensity of wedding planning.  We should take inspiration from all the tablescape event-designed centerpiece porn and have a contest for who can bring the silliest centerpiece made out of thrifted/recyclable/around the house items and given them a prize. We should plan make-your-own-taco-buffet-night parties.  We should plan afternoon lawn game parties with alcoholic punch served in infusion jars (I bought this one for our recent holiday party, and think it might be perfect for the wedding too...). We should ALL have cheap wine parties or signature cocktail voting parties or which cupcake do you like best parties.  We should have a wine-and-craft-night party for our bunting, centerpieces, table runners, paper flowers, or other DIY needs. We should let our friends help plan the wedding with us by plying them with alcohol and evenings worth of fun. We should find ways to remember that the wedding is a celebration and that the process can unfold slowly and even enjoyably, if we let it.  

With this in mind, we have multiple dinner parties on our upcoming to-do list: vegetarian/vegan/gluten free dinner party night (we have some friends whose menus need special care, and it's a good excuse to stretch our possible DIY appetizer repertoire too), a cupcake decoration party, a homemade pizza and beer movie-night party (the beer won't be homemade, but we can definitely do a tasting of local microbrew options),  a whiskey cocktail party, and a few game nights thrown in for good measure. If we had enough gilfriends who'd been in traditional weddings, we might have a wear-your-worst-bridesmaid dress party and we'd make the guys craft boutonnieres out of indie-wedding-chic feathers, buttons and flowers. Obviously, we'd have to take a photo at the end with everyone in mustaches.

I like planning parties.  I like being ridiculous.  For these reasons, I even like wedding planning (on occasion.)  But I'm especially liking how wedding planning has inspired me to be a better and more creative host in our everyday lives. This wedding stuff should be fun so, whenever the stress starts to get to me, I'm going to try to turn the ridiculousness into a dinner party/entertainment option.  Who else is in?  And who's got a few more themed dinner party ideas to share?


  1. you are so awesome. now that we have a little more room, finally, i'm so stealing all of these ideas! you're so right, by the way! who says weddings are the end-all? you can have a million, kick-ass parties at your apartment that rival the wedding any day.
    but yes, i agree that we should take our very willing friends up on their offers to help. i might get everybody drillsnonk and have them help me make programs and table numbers!

  2. I think there's definitely something to be said for loving YOUR wedding, not just weddings, but YOURS. Because I think a lot of people love weddings so much that they feel the need to make their weddings perfect for fear of being disappointed. But honestly, no one is ever going to have a perfect wedding. So I think it's a lot more important to have the kind of wedding you want to have and to try to reach a goal that is reasonably attainable given your resources and budget.

    And while I'm not into themed parties (throwing them, that is) I honestly don't care if I never get to plan another gigantic party again, haha, honestly, this has been enough for a lifetime. But for those ladies who worry about the post-wedding blues, I think planning a great theme party is a great idea!

  3. there are so many good party ideas in here! this is something i blogged about last year...that i'm into wedding planning because really i just love planning parties. so instead of putting so much focus on "the wedding is the ultimate party event in your life and must be perfect," we should put some of that energy into having more fun parties throughout our lives.

    and ps. i know exactly what you mean about all the weddings you won't have. i think about those too!

  4. this is SO great. i am all for having parties to test wedding-related (and non) food and spirits. i had a blast at the wine/tapas dinner party - my favorite part was when we both looked at each other and said, "No one's gonna know if we serve 2 buck chuck at our weddings!" i think this is a fantastic - and above all FUN - way to get friends involved. (eff it if it's not fun!!!! woohoo!)

    When we had our crafting get together a while back, we had our friends bring bottles, old vases, etc -- we provided the crafting supples, the booze and the food, and all they had to do was craft. and it was so much fun. i'm going to have another one soon, so prepare yourself for some serious craft testin' n boozin'!

  5. re cheap wine: BevMo just started their 5cent wine sale - buy one bottle, get another for 5 cents (basically half off). We got all our wine that way last year... just in case you want to mix it up with the Charles Shaw labels.

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  7. Thank god for your post today. I am in a major wedding funk right now. This totally helped. Seeing as how because of powers beyond my control (my mother and money issues), I'm realizing my wedding won't be exactly what I've been picturing, even though I thought it was going to be exceptionally low key and cheap. Oh well. This reminded me I can have lots of fun parties in lots of styles that don't involve stress because of my mother.

    In fact, I think I'm going to have a "thank god grad school is over" party in May. Cheap wine and maybe some bunting could be awesome for it. I mean, I will most likely be unemployed and have lots of time on my hands for DIYing.

  8. love this! planning my wedding encourged me to take party ideas that didn't fit the wedding budget & timeline, and reserve them for other occassions :)

  9. I like baking. The problem with baking is that you end up with a giant cake, or pie, or three dozen cookies, in a house that contains two people -- no bueno. Meanwhile, my dude likes infusing liquors and coming up with new cocktails. So our most recent themed party idea was to hold periodic "Drink and Dessert" parties where we'd invite friends over and ply them with booze and sugar -- trying out new recipies each time. Always a welcome idea... However, rugby season has come barging in and squelched our aspirations (and weekend time) a bit.

    But I like the way you think. This kind of stuff is right up our alley -- we love playing host. I don't do it often enough, but this post has inspired me. I'm going to have to steal that wine and tapas idea, for real.

  10. I feel this way about everything--- oooooh i picked a college major, now I cant major in art, music or history. ooooh I picked a job, now I can't be a lawyer, teacher or dancer. Ooooh I picked a boyfriend, now I cant sleep with that other dude. Thank God I don't feel this way about my almost husband. Well, okay, thank god I dont feel this way about my almost husband very often ;)

    As I've matured, I realized that I could go back to school and do a new major and change my career and basically never be trapped. So, yeah, I like the idea of throwing as many parties as you could dream up. You aren't wedded to your wedding. Very fun idea. If only someone else would fund all the parties for me ;)

  11. I felt this same way too. About all the weddings we could have had and didn't get too. But my 30th is coming up this year and we are going to plan a kick ass party for that. And we're also planning a killer Vegas group holiday sometime in the next year I hope!

    Great post. I feel like you are inside my brain - yet much more eloquent.

  12. Yes. Yes. And yes. I too love ALL the things that wedding planning has inspired me to do in my real everyday life- To do more art, more crafts, and more hosting of fun parties! Way to affirm celebrating on a daily basis and not just ONE day! :)

  13. @miss fancy pants - I'm not worried about the post-wedding blues (relief! sweet relief!) I just like planning social gatherings (particularly when they're simpler and less expectation-laden than weddings!)

    @Giovanna and Bowie Bride: I cannot WAIT for a crafting party of my own. Especially because I don't care if our decor/paper goods look "perfect" in the least.

    @Ms Bunny - right? our smaller parties are easy fun because they aren't stressed by the weight of expectation. Bah. Bunting and cheap wine for a grad school celebration sounds fabulous.

    @cupcake - it's all about the potluck-style party. You bring a cheap bottle of wine and a cheap tapas dish, and so does everyone else. Cheaper than a dinner out or night of drinks at our local. Yay.

    @ms awesome - YES! I can list a dozen ways that this wedding has inspired me. I meant to write about that during Wedding Joy Week, but got sidetracked by my wedding funk and fury instead. Joy is back!

  14. Ok. I have been (politely) stalking you. I figured it was time to come out of the cupboard.
    I loved my 1940s wedding. But wished I had a 1950s wedding. Oh and a crazy flapper wedding (okay, mild obsession with vintage). Then again, I think a tented garden wedding would be fabulous. Oh, oh, and a bonfire on the beach wedding with wildflowers would be awesome.

    You see where I am going with this.

    Seriously though, I think that is why I loved wedding planning. I love planning parties. I have never even thought of having a crazy elaborate party. Now I should. And I should guilt trip everyone into attending and dressing up. How do you think I got people to my wedding? ;)

  15. I'm all about the small themed parties. We've had a wine tasting party and a "let's figure out how to do my hair and drink some more wine" party, which was a fantastic bonding experience because we were a collection of straight, butch, femmy, and bi women.

  16. Yay for small themed parties! I'm totally down with the pizza party (I am a NYer after all). Hmm, how about taco night or sushi night? Those have always been hits with my friends. Another friend had an oyster shucker and homemade sushi and enchiladas (incongruent but so good!)

    Never stop seeing friends and having awesome parties and don't worry it doesn't stop with marriage!

  17. I hate to say it, but out of this entire blog post, the one thing I am thinking about now is all the weddings I am *NOT* going to get to have! :( No beach, no Italy (like my dream!), no rustic farm wedding...oh well, I will just have to learn to live with my current wedding style :) As much as I look forward to planning future parties, I have to admit, I will never be spending as much on those events as I am for this huge thing!

  18. Absolutely. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of great wedding ideas out there and lose focus on bring ONE great idea to fruition. As you said all of these great ideas don't have to be wedding ideas...


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