You may not be an aspiring comedienne in 1950s Manhattan, but you could certainly stand to learn a thing or two about wedding planning from The Marvelous Mrs. Miasel's Miriam Maisel, the feminist fast-talking Upper West Side heroine of Amazon’s hit show. Although we only see Midge's impeccably styled wedding to her ex Joel in flashbacks throughout the series, she is a savvy, creative wedding planner who has a take-no-prisoners approach to achieving her vision—even if it means having to ruffle some feathers along the way.
Midge may be perfectly time-capsuled in the mid-20th century, but many of her no-holds-barred planning methods still work for a modern bride.
Here are seven wedding planning lessons to learn from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Even when it’s not her own wedding, Midge will stop at nothing to make sure (demand, really) that every bride gets her dream day. While helping her B. Altman coworker Mary with her wedding plans, Midge is horrified to find out that the reception will take place in the “punishment room” at a Catholic church. The room—dingy, dirty, and complete with a crying child in the corner—is a less-than-ideal spot to toast a new married couple.
Midge then sets to work on the priest, whom she convinces to bump a ladies’ bingo game and let Mary have the cleaner, brighter “window room” for an early evening reception without an additional fee.
The lesson here? Don’t be afraid to ask your venue’s coordinator for something that you want to negotiate. Without asking, you may never know what’s possible in your ceremony or reception space.
2. Lighting is absolutely everything.
In addition to the crying child in the corner (“The walls are stained with tears”), Midge disapproves of the punishment room because it has very little light, giving it a damp and lifeless appearance. Midge points this out to Mary and eventually steamrolls her way into a reception room that’s filled with natural light.
When you start touring ceremony and reception venues, one of the most important things to check for is a room with plenty of natural light. Great lighting will help your photographer get better shots, and it will make the space feel cheerier and festive.
3. Themed weddings can be fun and gorgeous.
When you hear the words “themed wedding,” you may think of plastic tablecloths and tchotchkes, but Midge proves that a themed wedding doesn’t have to be cheesy or involve any kind of sacrifices when it comes to décor.
“My wedding had a Russian winter wonderland theme. You know, like Doctor Zhivago,” Midge says to her friends. “Everything was white, and there were trees painted like they were covered with snow. It was really, really beautiful.”
Themed weddings can show off a couple’s unique personalities and interests, but they don’t have to involve decorations you might find at a child’s birthday party. To keep it elegant, make subtle gestures to your theme around your wedding in the form of signage, cake toppers, or props in the photo booth.
4. Keep your guests on their toes during the reception.
Sure, your wedding guests attend to witness your vows, but the main event is the reception, where they’re hoping to be entertained (and, let’s face it, well fed). Keep your guests on their toes by providing some surprise entertainment like a '90s cover band, a magician, a caricaturist, confetti cannons, or anything else you can think of to wow them unexpectedly.
You could also take a page out of Midge’s playbook and hire some professional dancers. After Midge and Joel were hoisted on their chairs during the hora, some guests broke out of the circle and started to show off their skilled dance moves. “I wanted to make sure there were great dancers at our wedding, so I hired some chorus boys from Pajama Game to come and dance,” Midge says to Joel. “Two of them did "Steam Heat." Notice the great hat work.”
5. There are no “rules” if it’s your second wedding.
In season two, when (spoiler alert!) Midge unexpectedly falls in love with Dr. Benjamin Ettenberg, all that’s needed is approval from her father Abe for their engagement to be official. As they await his decision, Midge discusses potential wedding plans with her mother, Rose, who turns her nose up at every white dress that Midge holds up for approval, citing that age-old ridiculous rule that second weddings mean no white and no fancy halls for the ceremony.
Just because it’s your second wedding doesn’t mean you have to plan more conservatively or celebrate less. Your previous marriage may not have worked out, but it shouldn’t prevent you from having an equally (or more) fabulous wedding.
6. Don’t be shy: Say a few words to your guests.
Midge certainly knows her way around a microphone, and even before she starts her career as a fledgling comedienne, she takes the opportunity to stand up at her wedding reception and talk to her guests, who hang on her every hilarious word. Though she takes the moment to talk about how she’s been on a liquids-only diet to fit into her dress (not a great idea) and discuss the expense of the affair (also not a great idea), in the act she provides us with this tidbit of advice: Don’t be afraid to say a few words to your guests during the reception.
Who says the only speaking roles during the reception belong to the best man and maid of honor? Grab the mic with gusto and thank your guests for coming on your own terms.