Todd Shapera Photography
Until my wedding, I didn't think it possible to make a 170-person fete feel low-key and personal. But I have to say, Erica and I did a damn good job of it and pulled together an amazing night that was just our speed. No matter your style, there are things everyone can do to create an overall experience for themselves and their guests. Here are a few things we did:
1) Personalize the programs — Aside from the venue itself, programs are often the first thing your guests see upon arrival, so make them a reflection of the two of you. In our case, we asked some students from Erica's second-grade class to design them. They were cute, informal, and slightly uneven—kind of like us.
2) Set the tone for the party — We kept our first dance a secret, and then proceeded to bust out with a choreographed hip-hop routine to MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This." The crowd went crazy, and the dance floor was full until dinner.
3) Get a table for two — It is a place of calm in the center of a torrent of well-wishers. Take a few minutes to eat by yourselves, look out over the room, and soak in the moment.
4) Keep it rockin' — The fewer interruptions, the better. Erica and I nixed the mother-son dance, opted out of the cake-cutting, and kept the speeches to a minimum. The result? A relaxed flow to the evening and a lengthy dance party to close out the night.
5) Stop schmoozing! — Yes, everyone is there to see you, but if you schmooze all night, you'll miss out on the fun. It's okay to be a little bit selfish at your wedding, so set yourself a time limit for chatting up your guests (make sure you say hi to each of them!), and then go have fun with your friends. Don't worry, you deserve it.
—Josh Brentan, The Groom With A View