Archive for May, 2010

If You’re Not Going To Dance – Don’t Have A Band!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Often, only a few hours after pledging to stay together “for better or worse,” comes the first “worse” of the new marriage: the dance of the bride and groom. All alone on a huge dance floor, with every eye and camera lens focused on them, the wedding couple put on their fixed smiles and try to simply survive the next 2 minutes of pure hell. For many, it’s the hardest part of the whole nuptial experience and the one they are most glad to have behind them.

Sadly, it’s also one they were totally free to skip.

That’s right – if dancing in front of a gaggle of well-wishing gawkers is like having your heart cut out, then this is a self-induced cardiectomy. Simply put, you don’t have to do it, any more than the groom is required to go down on one knee when proposing, or the bride has to submit to being carried over the threshold. These customs and many more are part of a huge tapestry of regional, religious, and ethnic traditions that are observed by some couples – and totally ignored by others.

Just as you are free to write your own wedding vows, or to choose which clauses of an existing set to include, you get to pick which aspects of the reception best reflect who you are, and what makes you (un)comfortable.

So if you don’t wanna dance, at your wedding, you don’t gotta dance.

But understand, that – at your wedding – if you don’t dance, neither will anyone else. Dancing at weddings always follows the lead of the bride and groom. If you aren’t prepared to trip the light fantastic early and often to “prime the pump” on the old dance floor, then just don’t have a dance floor. Don’t have a band or deejay either. Both will only call attention to the fact that – like you – no one else is dancing. Instead, hire a pianist. Or better yet – a harp (the classiest solo instrument on earth, but not one that immediately causes guests to pack a dance floor.)

Having a solo musician makes for a quieter reception, facilitates conversation at normal – rather than shouted – levels, and usually costs a whole lot less than a band you’re not really going to benefit from, anyway. You can still proceed with all the other major events of the typical wedding gala: the champagne toast, cutting of the cake, big departure, etc. Without a band to remind folks that you didn’t dance, most of your guests won’t even notice.

But having a band (“for the guests”) won’t work. It will add needless noise, expense, and a gnawing sense that – because no one is dancing – that folks aren’t having fun. So, contrary to the swooshy shoe slogan, “Just DON’T Do It!” If your guests are such disco maniacs that they still have a need to boogie after your departure, they can always go club hopping later.

Face it – some “worses” in married life are unavoidable. But if dancing in public is sheer misery for you, this is one “worse” you can make “better” – instantly.

Speaking With One Voice To Your Vendors – Preferably A Professional One

Monday, May 24th, 2010

When planning a major social event, committees are great! The work load is divided among multiple individuals, meaning that – in theory – more folks are spending more time paying more attention to all the myriad details that ensure a great party.

But two problems arise with alarming frequency when semi-autonomous worker bees are engaged in largely independent planning.

First, one group may adversely impact another without either being aware of it (until it’s too late.) For instance, a venue has only so many power outlets and total amperes of power. Often, by the time the band or deejay arrives to set up the music for the evening, every single outlet and all the available power have been used by the caterer and the decorators. Even if we all agree that dramatic lighting is wonderful – you can’t dance to it. So it is much easier on all concerned when – before any other steps are taken – a survey is made of how much power, space, and set-up time are needed for the various vendors. Priorities and schedules can then be laid out. (For instance, those decorating the stage can know that they need to leave 4 power outlets for the band and be finished dressing the stage 2 hours before the event so that the band can then come in to set up.)

Secondly, diverse department heads commonly issue conflicting instructions to their vendors. For example, to keep the flowers from wilting, one chairman may have the venue lower the thermostat to a meat locker chill. Then, when another chair arrives, she will immediately chastise the banquets captain for having the room so cold. With no single person in overall command, the venue has no choice but to follow each and every order, no matter how contradictory they may be.

What’s the solution for these problems? Well, one answer is to rely on an experienced party chairperson who will not only coordinate between the different committee heads, but will be the one – and only – person designated to be the “voice” of the committee to vendors. If and when such a person is not to be found (or when committee heads refuse to recognize their superi