John C. Richards, Jr.
Waiting to Exhale: Wedding Planning Update
Updated: Apr 30, 2022
This fall, I just had a Waiting to Exhale quarter. Those are the kind of quarters where you spend the entire quarter just waiting to let out that final sigh. So, here goes SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGHH.
After a week of detox (which included me doing absolutely nothing school-related), I feel refreshed. I'm still working crazy hours, but at least I don't have class at night when I get off, so this is kind of like a "vacation" for me. Besides, with our wedding on the horizon, I have decided to decrease my scholastic workload next quarter to keep my sanity.
I wanted to update everybody on our wedding plans, since we are about eighty-one days from our big day. And honestly, March 14th can't come soon enough. I'm not sure if folks understand everything that goes into wedding planning, but it certainly is a daunting task. It can be overwhelming if you let it. I can tell you one thing, I'm very happy that Sheri is not a "Bride-zilla." We've made all of the wedding decisions together. Well almost all of them. I don't know anything about the "top secret" dress. I just know it's coming out of our wedding budget, so it actually does exist. So the next few weeks, I want to talk about a few things that have been highlights/lowlights in the planning process.
In my opinion, this is by far the hardest aspect of wedding planning. BY FAR!!! What do you do with Cousin Junebug you haven't talked to in 15 years? What about the kids? What if we aren't even sure Aunt "such and such" will come? Sheri and I have large families, so making that list was like someone dragging their fingernails across a chalkboard over and over again.
Our dilemma is very unique as well. The church we are getting married at easily accommodates over 400 people. However, our reception venue is only able to accommodate about 175 people. Before we found that out, we had 287 people on our guest list. It was time to start making cuts like we were in the last week of NFL training camp. Some were easy (couldn't make it, scheduling conflicts), some were not too hard (folks you haven't talked to in like 25 years), but some were downright difficult (many of the friends we have made in the past two years). This made us mad. Especially since we were not even sure our out-of-town family members would be able to make it. We just felt obligated to reserve them a spot, just in case. We wanted to avoid the relative that said, "How come I didn't get an invite to the wedding?" Knowing doggone well they wouldn't have come anyway. So we began to brainstorm and look for another solution. Here's what we've come up with.
Our solution: Ceremony (open to all); Reception (adult/family only)
Ceremony- We plan to extend an invitation to the wedding ceremony to everyone on our guest list. We know plenty of people that would not mind sharing our special day with us. We would think it would be a waste (and a crying shame) if we did not invite everyone we knew to our wedding just because we could not accommodate everyone at the reception. This is especially true of many of our local friends in the Fuller Seminary community. Sheri and I have gotten to know a lot of great people over the past few years. And honestly, we probably would much rather have them at the reception than some of our relatives. :) Just keeping it real. Ultimately though, we believe that many of our friends would not mind just attending the wedding. It would certainly mean a lot to us to see everyone that we knew there. We are even entertaining the idea of a light reception in the church foyer to make sure we let people know how grateful we are that they have shared in our experience.
Adult/Family Reception-We have decided to go with an adult/family-only reception. The reason for doing so is two-fold. Sheri and I have very large families. My immediate family alone is about 8 deep (siblings and mother). Our families make up about 95% of our guest lists. The other 5% consists of the wedding party, mentors, and guest musicians. The reception is at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. I don't even want to mention how much it's going to cost per person because I might go crazy off up in here. Especially when this is a "John and Sheri" sponsored occasion (i.e. we are footing the bill). We decided to go adult-only (13 years old and up) for the reception (w/ the exception of wedding party participants, of course) because or reception is late at night (approximately 7-11 p.m.), and we have a whole lot of kids in our families. We are looking into (mind you, I said looking into) getting a room to accommodate our out-of-town guests with kids (with movies, food, etc...), but we are certain that our reception will be adult only.
Our invitations go out next month. We hope to have two sets delivered. One set will include the adult/family reception invites. The other will be invitations to the wedding. After much prayer and thought, this is the solution we've come up with. We are praying that God truly blesses this day. We are also asking that everyone understand our wedding/reception dilemma and that, if we could, we would have everyone at the reception. Hopefully, Cousin Junebug and dem back out and we can invite more people to the reception. Who knows, maybe the right amount of people won't be able to make it (for whatever reason) and we'll be able to accommodate the balance of our 287 guests at the reception. Either way, right now, this is how we have dealt with the guest list issue.
Oh yeah, can somebody please tell our insensitive family members that weddings aren't cheap!?!?!? Like grandmamma used to say, "Money don't grow on trees." I just wish more people were more understanding of the wedding planning process, that's all. Overall, God has blessed us through this process, and I wouldn't trade it in for the world. It could be worse. I could be that groom on TLC's "Bridezilla." But I'm not. I have the greatest future bride in the world. She's cool and calm (I think I'm rubbing off on her). And for that, I'm grateful.
I have a few more issues to write about, so stay tuned as I give you my take on the whole wedding planning process.