Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How the Stag and Doe Prepared us for the Wedding

Part I
Part II

I'm not quite ready to jump off the Stag and Doe topic yet. Having a party with 100+ people where we had the role of "bride and groom to be" taught us a few lessons that were very useful in preparing for our big day.

Since I'm sort of fresh out of photos from our Stag and Doe (bad blogger), I decided to just pull out some other favourites from our engagement session. All photos courtesy of Isos Photography

Spreading yourselves over 100+ people is not easy, but incredibly heartwarming.
I mentioned that Mr. Narwhal and I didn't take any working shifts, because we wanted to be able to circulate and visit with as many people as possible. It still moves me to tears when I think about how many people came to celebrate. It was so much fun visiting with friends and family, and meeting people that just came out to support us. We heard nothing but good things. Lots of people thanked us for such a great event, and many told us it was the best Stag and Doe they've ever attended! This means much more than the financial aspect of throwing the party.

Both Mr. Narwhal and I were a little surprised at how quickly the night went by and by how difficult it was to visit with everyone. I think there were approximately 100 people in attendance at a time (with some leaving early, some arriving later), and it was really hard to visit with everyone. Maybe I'm naive (okay I'm naive), but I thought that not having a formal dinner at our wedding would make it really easy to spend time with everyone. Well, we were wrong. I knew we wouldn't get to spend a lot of time with everyone, but now I know we need to come up with a strategy, given that our invite list is at 160 people.

We know our people.
Having a cocktail reception is what we're meant to do. With a similar timeframe as our wedding, and less food, we still had a ton of food leftover after our Stag and Doe. People will be coming about 1-2 hours earlier for our wedding, so we definitely need more food than we had at the Stag and Doe, but having finger foods out throughout the night kept everyone more than happy. We definitely learned that the revolving station of food worked really well for our crowd.

While we were setting up the afternoon of the Stag and Doe, we set up five tables of eight (about 40 seats) and were ready to call it a day. When my parents walked in, my dad's eyes nearly popped out of his head and he said we had to set up more seating. After a bit of negotiating, we settled on seating for about 70 people. Throughout the night, there were definitely people sitting, but I would venture a guess that there was only about 30-40 people that sat throughout the night. I've given seating for the wedding a ton of thought since my last post, and while we still aren't going to have seating for everyone, we have landed on seating for 100. Much like the Stag and Doe, I believe that the seating won't be fully used. I think seating for 100 will be the safe and err on the side of caution option, that will make everyone happy.

The lesson at the end of the day is that we know our guests, and I feel even more comfortable with the style of reception we're having.

Hard work on the details pays off.
I have described myself as a mix of a Phoebe and a Monica before. The Monica in me is a bit of a control-freak, and when it comes to the details of planning something, I obsess over making sure everything is planned. I put a lot of time and energy into planning the Stag and Doe to ensure that things went smoothly. I personally think that this effort is the reason why the night ran seamlessly. We didn't have any hiccups other than a run for more ice and juice. All of the work upfront meant for less disorganization and chaos when we were trying to host a party with 100+ people.

I just have a lot of relief in knowing that I'm doing the right thing, and even though less than four months doesn't seem like much left to plan for such a big event, it is enough, it will get done, and it will all work out.

We have the best family and friends. 
I just cannot say enough about the effort from our family and friends. The work they put into planning the Stag and Doe just showed us how truly blessed we are. There is nothing better than feeling like your best friends are family, and your family are best friends.

To our wedding party who gave so much time and energy before, during and after the event, to our family that did the same, and to everyone that came out to support us. We had some family drive many hours to be there, and it just meant the world to us. We have never felt so loved in our lives. It's a pretty amazing feeling. When I think about how it will feel on our wedding night, I get chills. I've had this long standing debate with myself whether or not I will cry on our wedding day, but I think it's safe to say I'll just be a crying machine. All the happy tears.

There are certainly other things we learned (like, Coke isn't actually that popular of a mix for drinks), but the bottom line is that while wedding planning is a lot of work, you definitely gain back what you put in. That isn't saying that the more you pay or the more you do, the more you gain ...quite the contrary. The more love you put into your commitment and bond, and marriage, the more love and positivity you will get back. Every time. Our Stag and Doe was just a small example of this. We had so much fun planning it, put so much love into the night, and it exceeded our expectations a million times over.

What kinds of things surprised you most about wedding planning?

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