The Worst Wedding Ideas…Ever!

“Nothing surpasses the beauty and elegance of a bad idea.” – Craig Bruce

Planning a wedding is always a challenge, but it’s up to you to keep it together during the process. If you find yourself seriously considering any of these ideas…stand down, take a deep breath and have a latté. Don’t let your wedding turn into a cautionary tale.

1. Pyrotechnics: Pyrotechnics at a wedding are the opposite of good taste. You’re planning a wedding, not an Aerosmith concert. Lining the buffet table with road flares might improve your wedding photos…but they’re way too close to those Sterno cans keeping food warm. It’s all fun and games until someone’s hair catches fire at the roast beef carving station. A saner alternative: sparklers…outside!

2. Using an iPod playlist to DJ: Technology has come a long way since the days when DJ’s hauled crates of vinyl records to gigs, but that doesn’t mean you can, or should, DJ your own wedding from an iPod…or let a well-meaning friend do it, either. Whether you choose a band, a string quartet or a DJ, leave the music to a pros. The new world of high-tech music production is an art form best left to someone with years of experience under their belt.

3. Cash bar: It doesn’t matter how small your budget is. It doesn’t matter if the groom’s whole family is in AA. When people go to a wedding, they expect an open bar. This doesn’t mean you have to hand out personal tequila shots on the dance floor, but you should offer a reasonable array of hard liquor, as well as wine and beer. There’s a 90% chance your guests will not bring cash to a wedding, which means drink coupons and a cash bar are not an option. Even if you have to walk down the aisle in a white trash bag while the local glee club sings “Here Comes The Bride,” free liquor is non-negotiable.

4. Serenading your groom: You’ve probably seen the video of the bride who sang to her groom as she walked down the aisle. The thing is, that bride was a singer with significant talent. Unfortunately, she was also the rare exception to the rule. Unless you’re a professional singer used to performing in front of large audiences, singing to your spouse-to-be should be off limits. No matter how much you practice, the odds are it won’t come off the way you would like it to. All eyes should be on you because you look wonderful and the event is beautiful, and not because you mangle high C. Save the singing for when you and your spouse are sharing the shower.

5. Getting married on a beach during high tide: At least have the common sense to read the tide tables and know just how much beach you’re going to lose during the ceremony!

6. Taking photos on the dock: History (and YouTube) has demonstrated this is never a good idea. If anyone ends up in the water, your wedding could end up going down with them.

7. Not wearing underwear: Where do we start? Well, consider just one possible scenario: you trip while walking down the aisle and land legs-up with your wedding dress around your head. Is this really a view you want your guests to remember? And that goes for kilts, too, gentlemen…even if Christopher Lambert did look cool in “The Highlander.”

8. Letting your spouse carry you (or carrying your spouse): This is especially true in bad weather (and in case you haven’t noticed, it does tend to rain occasionally in Washington). They will drop you, no matter how much, or how often they work out. It’s a law of nature.

9. Having a hugely pregnant woman in your bridal party: We’ve all seen the photos: a beautiful bride flanked by her nearest and dearest wedding party. Among them, usually on the end, is the woman who is eight-and-a-half months pregnant and may end up giving birth while you and your spouse are cutting the cake. Talk about a thunder-stealer! Truth be told, most pregnant women don’t want to be in anyone’s wedding, not even your very best friend from grade school. They’ll nod and smile and tell you it’s an honor, but deep down they’re cursing the day they met you.

No matter when she’s due, your pregnant friend just wants to sit in the shade, hydrate and wait for the appetizers. She does not want to spend $200 on a dress that couldn’t possibly look good on her. She does not want to wear heels. She does not want to watch you and the rest of your bridal party knock back shots at the bar while she sips club soda. Give her a break. Pick someone else. Or, if you’re determined to have her participate in the wedding and she’s okay with that, just give her a short reading, after which she can sit back down.

And possibly, the very worst of the worst:

10. For a nominal fee (about $1000), you and your fiancé can re-enact a scene from a movie musical to be shown (or filmed) at your wedding. The current favorite is a montage, set to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” (presumably not meant to evoke the song’s role in “Trainspotting”). Be honest. Who would want to watch something like this? And, more important, how many fiancés will say, “Yes, dear,” to such a horrible idea? Sadly, the answer seems to be quite a few. Local wedding videographers are doing a brisk business. One couple (and this may be apocryphal) even cut the ceremony short to allow enough time for filming on their big day! I wonder who ends up with the DVD if the marriage tanks.

With so many tried-and-true wedding ideas that really work, have worked for generations, and really enhance the event for everyone, it pays to avoid gimmicks like those above. The odds are they’ll go wrong, and while that may make for a successful YouTube video…is this really the memory you want your guests to take away?

Why Uncle Charlie Should Not Officiate Your Wedding!

Reprinted with kind permission of Judith Johnson: Author, Speaker, Life Coach and Interfaith Minister

“If you think a professional is expensive, wait ’til you try an amateur.” ― Paul “Red” Adair

There is a popular trend these days to have a friend or family member go online to receive an ordination certificate in a matter of minutes so they can “legally” officiate at your wedding. While on the surface this might sound like a fun idea, a look below the surface reveals some really good reasons why this is NOT a good idea. As an interfaith minister who has been officiating at weddings for over twenty years now and as author of the bestselling book on wedding ceremony design, here are Judith’s three really good reasons why you should hire a seasoned professional to officiate at your ceremony.

Some states do not recognize some online ordination credentials. The last thing you want to find out after your wedding is that you are not legally married. So, tread with caution. It is the state where your ceremony takes place, not the state where you live that has jurisdiction. Just as state laws about who can get married are changing, so are the laws regarding who can officiate at weddings. Not all online ordinations are equally acceptable, so be very specific in researching what sites are and are not acceptable in your state. Keep yourself informed about any changes that occur in these laws during the course of your wedding preparations.

There are a thousand little details that add up to a great ceremony. Which ones are you willing to have overlooked? Why put someone you love in the position of being responsible for something they know nothing about? Why not let your friend or family member enjoy being a guest at your wedding instead of bearing the burden of doing something so important that they know nothing about? Unless your friend or family member happens to already be a member of the clergy, why put this responsibility on them? Most couples and the friends and/or family member they choose to officiate are clueless about what goes into designing a ceremony, running a wedding rehearsal, or officiating at the ceremony. Think about it – would you hire a band for your reception that had never played together before? Would you want your wedding to be their first gig?

There are better, safer options. A seasoned officiant knows the in’s and out’s of advising you on the logistics of your rehearsal and ceremony as well as the design of the text and the ritual itself. They can be a wealth of information and ideas to help you create the ceremony that is perfect for you. They know what works, and what doesn’t.

If you are worried about not belonging to a religious community, not wanting a stranger to officiate at your ceremony, or wanting to have control over what is said at your ceremony – no problem. There are three fabulous resources for finding the right officiant.

The first is to ask your wedding vendors. Typically, your first wedding decision is going to be your wedding date and location. Ask the wedding coordinator at your venue to share their impressions of the officiants on their preferred vendor list and to recommend the ones they think are a good match for you. Call these recommended officiants and/or make appointments to meet. Trust your instincts about who you are comfortable with, how resourceful and flexible they seem to be, and how they react to your story and wishes for your ceremony.

The second resource is to ask around among your friends. Ask your married friends who they had officiate at their ceremony? Were they pleased or not? Why? Ask friends and family if they attended any weddings where the officiant did a really good job.

Third, use regional wedding websites and major wedding websites that have regional vendor listings. Read the listings and reviews on officiants there. One of the most popular sites is http://www.weddingwire.com.

Your wedding ceremony is what your wedding day is all about. Give it the respect and attention it deserves as an expression of what crossing this threshold together really means to you. The person who officiates at your ceremony will have a lot of influence on what will hopefully become a beautiful memory for you. So, be thoughtful and careful in selecting the officiant who is right for you. Be as honest as possible about who you are and who you aren’t. If someone rejects you because they don’t share your beliefs, be glad you didn’t hire them! Just keep looking for the right match. Find someone who is happy for you, is on your wavelength, and gives you confidence that they will help you create a wedding ceremony that exceeds your biggest dreams. You deserve that!