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?