I figured gathering ideas from my Facebook friends' favorite weddings couldn't hurt. :] (If you're wondering why the broken-glass reference, my car proved irresistible to some thieves last summer. Twice in five days.)

One friend said the best wedding she's ever been to was the best because the bride and groom made the day about things they enjoy: Christmas ale (my family, the Husband-To-Be and I actually tasted Christmas ale-infused cupcakes today!). Sushi appetizer (never tried it!). And their own music playlist. (Steven and I have taken to writing down song titles anytime we hear something we like. VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's is to blame, guests of ours, for the abundance of 1990's songs we have on our list, a la... New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" and Barenaked Ladies' "One Week." Get ready to party like it's 1999.)

This Facebook friend also noted that the bride and groom made it a point to spend time with all of their guests.

Amy, one of my bridesmaids, commented that the most memorable weddings she's attended were the ones that stepped outside the box. One took place at a yacht club and culminated with fireworks. Another was scheduled on New Year's Eve. And a third took place on the stage of a theater downtown. "Individuality is the best way to go!" she wrote. (The Husband-To-Be and I stayed true to our musical, or not so musical, endeavors in arranging for wedding karaoke.)


This two-word answer attracted quite a few *likes*, lol: Open bar. (Wedding alcohol is always cheaper to serve if you find a place that will allow you to buy and bring in your own drinks, I'm told. And if you go that route and need a bartender, check out Bill.)

"Mine is pretty simple," another of my bridesmaids, Michelle, wrote in response to the question. "The ones that stick out the most had the best DJs, the ones that really kept the party going and made everyone want to dance."

Other "best weddings" were described like this:

  • NOTHING TOO FORMAL: Guests wore flip flops and summer dresses. People brought food to share, and his sister, mom and I decorated. If you wanted to speak with the bride or groom, you didn't feel like you had to ask or wait in line. We had no assigned seats at the picnic tables. You felt free to move around and talk. Outdoors, simple and special.
  • TRUE TO TWO: Perfectly them, matched their personalities and preferences and made them so happy!

Finally, a recent bride wrote: "Mine! I've been to many weddings, but nothing beats your day."
 
 
Lots of advice for this one, so to keep it a quick read, I present to you bullet points!

  • One of my married Facebook friends said her husband and she invested more in lighting so the venue wouldn't look like your typical hotel reception hall. They had a white backdrop with crystal lights behind the head table and peppered the room with can lighting to add ambiance. Subtle differences, she said, made a big impact.
  • This same friend also suggested that when interviewing a prospective DJ, one should ask: How will you get people dancing?
  • Another recent bride noted that the type of venue you choose and the lighting inherent in that venue will play a large part in the ambiance you create. She noted, for example, that having uplighting in a venue tends to make for a more formal feel, while having natural light stream through the windows can lend itself to a more vintage, summertime feel.
  • One college peer of mine noted she purposely sought out a venue that wouldn't require lights, fabric, etc., so she chose a place with huge windows and great views. Her biggest lesson learned, however, was to consider how long any natural light will last, and how the change in lighting will impact the room. "I'd never seen our space at night, and it got VERY dark and the room wasn't quite as beautiful without the view," she wrote.

    This is particularly relevant for the Husband-To-Be and me: Our venue is built of old, dark wood, and while the room seems bright enough during the day, I am bartering for uplighting through Something New Entertainment (the company who will be our DJ, too). I want the room to have that additional touch, and I trust that a company led by theatrically trained people can pull it off. Also, we will have Mason jars on each table outfitted with battery-operated votives.

    Why battery-operated? A bride once advised me that she learned the hard way that wax candles can burn out before you would prefer for your darkening room. Our reception will last for five hours, and these battery-operated candles, at their advertised lifespan of dozens of hours, should more than cover our desire for a lasting, romantic flicker on the tables. (Yes, fake candles fake-flicker!)

    Here's a picture of one of ours fake-flickering away atop a tree trunk slab from inside one of the twine-wrapped jars I purchased from a local bride:
Here's another, lights-off look:
  • Last but not least, one person urged: The Do-Not-Play list that one can provide to her DJ is just as important as the Must-Plays. I don't know to what extent I agree with this, as I really feel a dance party is most fun when everyone gets to hear a favorite song of theirs, even if I'm not a fan. Pretty non-zilla of me, right?