Okay, so now I’m married.
I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.
WHAT. Crazy. Who would have thought it???! Certainly not five-years-ago-Jules.
Pretty much everything went perfectly. Seriously, PERFECT.
I would like to take this opportunity to write out a(n incomplete, probably) list of everything that was a brilliant decision. Here goes.
- Inviting plus-ones (or in some special cases, plus-twos*). It wasn’t a huge effort, it wasn’t a huge expense, and people seemed to appreciate it. I had a few guests bring people I didn’t know to the wedding and that was absolutely fine, no big deal. I also made it clear to the reception venue that I did not want to overset any tables. I once went to a wedding on my own (and RSVP-ed for just me) and was seated at a table that was literally: couple, couple, couple, me, empty chair. Now, I don’t know if that empty chair/place setting was meant to be for my imaginary date OR if they had purposely overset that table to accommodate potential shower-uppers, but EITHER WAY I still remember it.
- Niall packed ham sandwiches for us to eat in the car on our way to take photos between the ceremony and reception. I’m convinced that sandwich saved my life, because OHMYGOD that sandwich.
- Back when we were planning to wedding, Niall had mentioned that most of his Irish relatives would give us cards rather than gifts but he didn’t like the idea of having a card box on the gift table, like we were expecting cards. My solution to this was to supply a post box and some post cards and markers so that people could write little notes to us if they wanted, along with a little sign inviting people to write said notes (It said "Please leave advice and wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs." I was worried that it sounded too demanding and I agonized about it for a good long while before I came to the conclusion that NOBODY CARES). Anyhow. What ended up happening was that the table ended up crowded with children drawing on the post cards, which turned out to be a nice little activity for them. And it was awfully cute to open the box later and find, for instance, a card with blue scribbles and a shaky, toddler-written name.
- Speaking of children, inviting them to the wedding was great. I wanted my nieces and nephews to be really involved in the wedding, so I kind of left it up to guests if they wanted to bring their kids or leave them home. We had a mix—there were people who got a nice night out and left their kids with a babysitter, and there were people who brought their kids. I liked hearing babies babbling and screeching during the ceremony and the older kids seemed to have a lot of fun at the reception. You know who spent the most time out of everyone on the dance floor? My 3 year old niece, that’s who.
- Getting the hotel room for an extra night. We stayed in the same hotel as where the reception was, which worked out nicely for collapsing in bed in the wee hours of the morn after the wedding, reception, and after-party at the pub down the road. The next day, we had brunch with some of our family members and then I had to go back to bed for... oh, four or five hours. I had no idea the level of exhaustion I would feel.
- Having a designated pub destination for after-partying. The reception ended at 11PM and Niall had told me that most of the Irish people would feel like the party was just getting started at that time. So we had scouted the area a few weeks ahead of time and picked out a casual, fun pub down the road from the hotel. It was pretty great to have a few drinks in a casual environment, wearing my fabulous wedding dress and tiara. (Which maybe helps explain the aforementioned level of exhaustion.)
* Niall's good friend who has a boyfriend and a girlfriend. She got the plus-two. I guess that's only one special case.