Neither Nick nor I are particularly into religion or formalities, so—while the ceremony was touching and meaningful and all that—I think the part of the wedding that we were really looking forward to was the dinner, dancing, and spending time with our family and friends who had traveled from all over the country to party with us. So without further ado, Part IV:
The Party Is Where It's At
Our dinner, like much of the rest of our wedding, was informal: buffet-style, tables both indoors and outdoors, no seating chart, you just grab a plate and go sit with your friends. Or with the new in-laws. Or with the hot cousin that you were ogling across the aisle during the ceremony.
For the most part, this worked well; but if we had it to do over again, we might nix the outdoor seating. While a good idea in principle, I think the people outdoors felt like they were missing out on whatever might have been going on indoors (even though nothing was really going on). Other than that dinner was great; in particular, not having a seating chart made it easy for people to wander around, sit at two or three tables, and talk with a variety of people. It also meant we didn't have to deal with seating all our divorced couples at separate tables. (Remember, keep it simple...)
Personally, this was my favorite part of the evening. All my favorite dancing partners from all phases of my life—high school, college, and present—were there, and the best part of being the bride is that you can ask any man in the building to dance and they'll always say yes. You never have to sit out a dance if you don't want to.
Our DJ was really good at reading the crowd and tailoring his selections to what people liked to dance to. He'd given us the option to be very selective about our music, but (in the spirit of trusting our vendors) we just gave him broad categories of music that we wanted played, and let him do his thing. A lot of awesome swing, salsa, and merengue dancing ensued. And it was good.
For those (like Nick) who are less inclined to dance, a wedding is also a great opportunity to mingle. While I was busy dancing every dance, Nick was having fun being part of every conversation. (Really, he's the politer of the two of us; I would've liked to go around and acknowledge everyone who traveled to visit us, but there are only so many hours in the evening. I wonder if people ever have several-day-long weddings in order to have the time to talk with everyone?)
Actually, having been warned by numerous people about how "the evening will be over before you know it," I'd invited my best friends from high school and college to come out to Seattle several days early so that we could have time to really hang out in case I got monopolized by family at the wedding. I figured this would also give more of an incentive for them to make the long trip (many live on the East coast or in other countries), instead of just asking them to come for one evening of wedding. I'm really glad that many of them came out, because we had a great time. There's nothing like a pyjama party and board games the night before you get married!
So that's the wrap-up of our wedding. In essence, if you're planning a wedding, our best tip is to make it the event that you want. And—particularly if you're getting married anywhere near Bothell—feel free to contact us if you want more detailed advice!