Current Wedding Dilemmas Weighing on my Mind

by Melissa on March 28, 2011

Wedding planning has been going phenomenally well so far.  No stressors, no rushing, and a whole lotta fun!  (Even though we still have that one teensy detail that our wedding date still hasn’t been confirmed).  Even though things are going smoothly, I wanted to go over some things that I’m being indecisive about, and a lot of them have to do with the fact that we are self-catering our wedding.  I would love to hear from others who have experienced similar situations, or folks that just have ideas in general.  Help!

Dilemma #1:  Glass vs. Plastic. Since we’re self-catering our wedding, I’m struggling with the decision of whether to purchase inexpensive glass dishes and cups or to just use plastic dishes that look like glass, like these Chinet Cut Crystal plates.  Real glass and real silverware would look nicer, but is it worth the cost and hassle?  Ikea sells clear glass plates for $0.99, and we’d probably need about 150 plates and probably even more glasses/cups.  Is it worth the cost?  I mean, we’ll still be saving money compared to what we’d have to pay if our wedding had traditional catering.  Plus, we could probably resell the items after the wedding to another bride-to-be.  However, I wonder if glass dishes will be more hassle than what it’s worth, because we’ll have to worry about who will collect those dishes and who will wash them at the end of the night.  If we go with plastic, our guests can just throw away their plates when they’re done.  What do you think?

Dilemma #2: Staff and other helpers or let guests fend for themselves? Along the same lines as the glass vs. plastic dilemma, should we really put the responsibility on our guests to throw away their own stuff when they’re done?  Perhaps we could hire a few folks for the day to help clear off the tables as the night progresses.  I was already considering the idea of hiring one or two people to help refill the chafing dishes with food from the kitchen as the they get empty, and to staff up a bar area / drink station.  We will have a number of underage guests at our wedding, but of course all of them will be in the presence of their parents.  But I’m wondering if it would be better to have a dedicated station for people to walk up to and have their drinks served to them as opposed to having pour it themselves.  Plus, I’m not sure how our guests would appreciate having to put their hand in a cold bucket of ice water for their beer.

Dilemma #3: Ugly trash cans and who will empty them? What should we do about garbage cans?  We’ve been to our venue twice now, and for the life of me, I can’t remember if they have any large garbage cans in the pavilion where we’ll have our reception.  I looked through our pictures, and don’t see any.  Hmmm, I guess we’d have to buy some large garbage cans to bring with us?  If they get full as the night progresses, who will empty them?

Dilemma #4: Plan for indoors, hope for outdoors? We’re planning an outdoor wedding in November.  Crazy?  Not as much as you might think.  November weather is typically very pleasant here in the DC area, but folks seem to forget that.   Right now, we’re planning on having our ceremony in an outdoor, non-covered area, and then our reception in a covered pavilion (both areas have fire pits/fire places).   If the weather is too cold or too rainy, we can move it to the indoor backup location at the same venue (if the weather is great, we plan on having games and desserts set up in the indoor location). Although the daytime weather is typically pleasant,  it will get colder as it gets dark, so the idea is to move to the indoor location later as it gets darker and chillier for the games and desserts.  A few things bug me about starting outdoors and then moving indoors.  1) The DJ will already be set up outdoors, and 2) The food will already be set up outdoors.  We can’t just expect the DJ to pack up and move his equipment to our indoor location, and moving the food, or expecting our guests to walk back outdoors for food, sounds like a logistical nightmare.  Another option would be to look into how much it would cost to install temporary plastic sides on the pavilion to keep in the heat from the fireplace and keep out any wind and cold.  But that sounds like it could get expensive.  So, should we just plan on having it indoors and then hope we can do it outdoors?

Dilemma #5: Getting ready in a hotel vs. Getting ready at home. Our venue is about 20 miles south of our house.  Initially, I wanted to stay at a hotel closer to the venue, because even on weekends, traffic can be awful around here.  I would hate to sit in 1.5 hours of traffic on my wedding day.  So, I decided that it would be best to get a hotel closer to the venue and not have to worry about the traffic.  Well, I might not have to worry about the traffic, but there are tons of other things I’d have to worry about, including 1) Not getting a good night sleep on an uncomfortable hotel bed, 2) Worrying that I’m going to forget to bring something with me for the wedding day, 3) Not having as much space as what we would getting ready around the house.

So then I decided that staying at our house the night before the wedding would be better.  I wouldn’t have to pack up anything for the hotel and worry about forgetting anything, and I could be much more relaxed at home than in a hotel.  But, once again, I started to overthink it.  What about all those beautiful wedding photos taken of brides getting ready in hotel rooms.  Our house is nice, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t have amazing, plush bedding, and are curtains are kind of blah, etc.  And I don’t even have a full length mirror (except for one that is on the back of our bathroom door) to get one of those amazing reflection shots.    So, blogosphere, what should I do?  Stay in a hotel or stay at home the night before the wedding?  (although as I was looking for the links for this post, I came across plenty of lovely photos getting ready in a house, not a hotel.  We also have a big issue with natural light.  We live in a center unit of a townhouse, so we don’t have any windows on the sides of the house.  Just front and back.

Dilemma #6: Hiding the kitchen in our indoor-backup location. Our indoor backup location / location where we’ll have desserts and games (see Dilemma #4) is nice, and large and has a gorgeous fireplace, but there is just one thing that bothers me.  The large industrial kitchen that I am thankful to have because it will allow us to self-cater our wedding, is completely open to the rest of the dining area though a pass-through window type of thing.


Not exactly aesthetically pleasing.  Only problem is, I have no idea how to cover it up.  A basic curtain?  But I have no idea how to install it without damaging the walls.  Some sort of room divider thing?  Help!

Wow.  OMG.  No seriously, just as I was writing this, I realized that that might be a perfect backdrop area for a fauxtobooth!  Holy crap, blogging is useful!  I could get away with just tacking up some basic fabric (or do one of these PVC deals, but that looks complicated) and I would have the perfect excuse for having some random sheet just hanging down!  Yay writing!!

Speaking of hiding quasi-eyesores, the stage area in the pavilion is also less than stellar.

Pavilion Stage


I would imagine that we’d have our DJ set up everything right here, so that would probably cover it somewhat, but what about the rest?  Just leave it as-is?  Or should we install some sort of backdrop?

Whew, okay, I think that’s all that’s been bugging me.  If you have any advice or tips, for any of these topics, I’d love to hear them!

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