The Receiving Line

July 29th, 2013
Why is the receiving line so rare?  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Why is the receiving line so rare? Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

The institution of the receiving line seems to have gone out of fashion, if my recent experience is any guide.  I can only think of one wedding I have been to or worked on in the last decade or so that had one.  My guide in all things etiquette, Miss Manners, says that the receiving line is an inevitable and hospitable institution.  She says that the bride, the groom, and various important family members are all obligated to greet every single guest and that the receiving line is the way to ensure that it happens.  So why is it that no one does this any more?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  (Log in on Facebook for the discussion.)

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

July 22nd, 2013
What can you to green your giving and receiving?  Image by theblondephotographer.com.

What can you to green your giving and receiving? Image by theblondephotographer.com.

The gifts you receive and give on the occasion of your marriage might not be the largest contributors to environmental degradation, but they may give your guests an opportunity to contribute to your eco-conscious wedding.

Instead of a gift registry, you might ask your guests to make donations to your favorite causes (including environmental ones), instead of giving material gifts. There are even ways to set up a donation gift registry.   Sites such as the Green Bride Guide have green gift registries, as well. For those who give material gifts, ask them to use recycled wrapping paper–and then reuse it when you give a gift. If you have a stack of presents, be sure to recycle the wrapping paper, boxes, and packing material.

If you are giving gifts to your wedding party, members of your family, or each other, think about eco-conscious gifts.  There are thousands of websites devoted to green, eco-friendly, sustainable gift-giving.  There are also artists in your community (and on websites such as Etsy) who use upcycled materials.  Buying local also reduces the carbon footprint of your gift.

Green gift-giving is one of the easiest things you can do to green your wedding.

Miss Manners on Show Business

July 15th, 2013
Here is a theatrical scenic element--lovingly made by the groom and incorporating symbols important to the bride & groom.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Here is a theatrical scenic element--lovingly made by the groom and incorporating symbols important to the bride and groom. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

As you may recall, I’ve been reading Miss Manners on {Painfully Proper} Weddings by the inimitable Judith Martin.  I am a big fan of Miss Manners, but sometimes I disagree with her.  This is one of those times.

You see, Miss Manners has a categorical dislike for any element of show business poking its nose into a wedding.  As a show business professional (as I have been for decades), I think she is overlooking some important things.

For one thing, the art of theatre as we know it now came originally from the religious rituals of ancient Greece.  So, there don’t need to be separate categories for religion and for spectacle.  Some modern religions have more spectacle than others, but there is often a place in religion for a visually representative ritual.

But also, as every theatre artist knows, an element of spectacle is only any good if it reinforces the main theme.  If it is extraneous to the main concept of two people solemnly marrying each other, then it should go.  But if it reinforces that all-important idea, then I think it has a place in a wedding ceremony.

Vendors I Know: Crown Restrooms

July 8th, 2013
Crown Restrooms, as borrowed from their website.

Crown Restrooms, as borrowed from their website.

When you’re planning your wedding, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not, “We’ll need portable restrooms!”  But if you do need them, don’t let it be the last thing you think about.

If you are planning a backyard wedding or reception, or if your venue is in a park or forest preserve, you might need to rent restroom facilities.  And since you’re planning a special occasion, you probably don’t want to rent the kind of portapotties you’d find at a construction site.  This is where upscale portable restrooms come in.

There is a surprisingly large number of companies providing this service, but I have only worked with a couple of them.  Crown Restrooms provided a restroom trailer at a wedding I worked on a couple of years ago, and I was suitably impressed with them.

The wedding was in a private park, so it was absolutely necessary to have adequate facilities.  These fit on the driveway of the lodge.   They were clean, had running water, and were large enough for the purpose.  The company was reliable in its delivery, and everything functioned correctly.

It’s not a glamorous part of party planning, but the importance of good restrooms to the success of the affair cannot be underestimated.