When we started thinking about the reception my first thoughts were not about the food but the setting. I had always wanted a relaxed country-style garden party with a marquee and tea cups. It didn’t take us very long to settle on a marquee option and then I left M to think about the food whilst I gave greater thought to the decor.
I have written before about how we came to choose our venue but it didn’t take us too long. If somewhere feels right and it is within your budget, it probably will be sufficient. I doubt many brides will spend their reception wishing they had made a different choice. Indeed, as Cate from Project Subrosa wrote on her wedding graduate post on A Practical Wedding, you’re hosting a party there, not buying the place. A lot of places probably fitted the brief. Anyway, we visited one venue which wasn’t right and then we went to the venue we chose.
Our choice of marquee was made in much the same fashion: all marquees will probably do the job, albeit in differing styles. As a lot of our other choices were made for environmental reasons, we decided to go with a local firm who provided marquees which do not need linings and so on, so less material is used and the overall cost to us was also cheaper. We also liked their rather unique shape. The deciding factor no doubt though was that the proprietor is really friendly and has gone out of his way to help us.
I can’t really remember why or how we came to the conclusion to use mismatched vintage china. We initially found a local supplier who rented china and cutlery and thought we would use her company. Yet after an initial exchange of e-mails she declined to return our messages. Eventually after an e-mail from me indicating that we were unsure about placing an order she responded, followed once again by months of silence. We decided not to put ourselves through any unnecessary stress and so with much regret started looking for alternative solutions. Having decided we would use mismatched crockery we were reluctant to change the plans and so my Mum and I, followed by various other family members, decided to collect the crockery ourselves. At charity shops, church fairs and from e-bay we have built up a collection of crockery which will serve the meal, tea, coffee and cake to our 110 guests.
We also decided early on in the planning process that we did not want to hand out wedding favours at the reception to the guests. We are not expecting our guests to pay for anything for the wedding, save for their transport and accommodation costs and we considered it an unnecessary expense to buy small presents which in my (albeit limited) experience do not last beyond the day itself. Periodically I receive e-mails from wedding websites imploring me to consider the favours that they have on sale that week and it is with pleasure that I delete these and know that we have stayed true to us and are not doing things simply because it is ‘our wedding’.
We are considering two things though: we wish to make a charity donation in lieu of favours, perhaps paying for a loo for each guest in a 3rd world country, so we need to decide which charity (and brief my father so he can tell the guests in his speech, just in case anyone notices the absence of favours) and whether or not to order a small amount of monogrammed match boxes for lighting the candles and for the smokers. And for comedy value of course. When else can you order matches which proclaim “marriage: …the perfect match”?.