6 Reasons To Get Married In The Morning
Now, I am no wedding expert. And I'm certainly not going to pretend like I know what's best for every couple...but if you're looking for something unique, memorable, and off-the-beaten-path, a morning wedding is a fantastic choice.
Tom and I had said from the start that a great, big, traditional wedding wasn't going to be very "us", so we decided that a small one with fewer than 100 of our closest friends and family (the final count was about 75 people) would be ideal. We wanted the focus to be our marriage, and the relationship between us and God. I guess you could say we wanted an "intimate" wedding (but my family is huge and really rambunctious, so it seemed like a bigger wedding to me).
Anyways, we realized, shortly into planning this small wedding, that our choice of venues was pretty open. The larger ones could usually be made to look less expansive, and the smaller options were able to fit our guest list without a hitch. We jumped at the opportunity to pick an amazing venue to fit us just right. That's when Tom and I found The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. We fell in love with its old character and the overlooking view of Lake Michigan. When my mom (who basically planned everything; I just told her what colors I liked. She even picked our cake! She was amazingggg) asked us about small details, like what kind of food we wanted, how we wanted it to feel, etc...I realized that maybe an evening reception wouldn't "feel right".
I think we had been talking about dessert preferences and I mentioned that I didn't care all that much about them, but that I really wanted good coffee. And suddenly, the idea came up: Why not have a brunch reception? A huge part of Tom and I's relationship centered around going out for coffee and brunch after church on Sundays, so how fitting would it be to do exactly that - a morning wedding with a brunch reception! Tom even proposed to me during one of our usual after-church brunch times.
To make sure The Villa was the right choice, my mom drove out to Milwaukee to see it and other venues for herself, but fell in love with it immediately. She mentioned the brunch idea to several venue coordinators who looked at her with a sort of "lightbulb moment" that said, "Wow! Why didn't I ever think of that?!"
So from that day forward, we planned a morning wedding followed by a brunch reception. It was one of the best decisions we made and there are so many reasons I'm glad we did this over a traditional wedding. Let me break it down into a few points.
1. You don't have to spend all morning and into the afternoon getting nervous.
Or maybe it's not even about the nerves. For me, it was just nice to get married soon after I woke up so that the day didn't just drag on. I've been in plenty of traditional weddings, all of which were lovely....but there is soooo much waiting around! Our ceremony was at 9:30AM on a Saturday, so I woke up around 6:30 or 7, and had a good friend come to our hotel to do my hair. Just like any other wedding-day-prep, I was surrounded by my mom, dad, sisters, cousin, and best friend...it just didn't take all day! We all did hair and makeup ourselves, and my photographer showed up to capture the moments. It was relaxed and so calm and happy! We got the the church at about 9:15 and I was married by 10:15AM! The rest of the day was a cinch and any little nerves were GONE!
2. You get to have brunch.
I think there is a stigma about "wedding food". How it all tastes the same and there is little variety (chicken, fish, steak...). Our reception was from 11AM-2PM and we had mimosas and a coffee bar! Everyone raved about how delicious our wedding food was...long after the day. Tom and I get a little sad because we don't remember how good it was (#weddingblur) and my dress was so fitted that I could hardly fit anything into my smooshed stomach! Nonetheless, having a brunch reception was so different, that that in itself stood out to our guests. No soggy cooked vegetables were found here, unless they were in a delicious omelette or quiche! Plus it brought out a sentiment that was a long-time part of our relationship: coffee and brunch. Very fitting for us - and check out the spread:
3. The party doesn't end in the middle of the night.
Some people revel in partying at a wedding ALL night. Sure, it's traditional, and there's nothing wrong with it...but for us, we'd rather have our wedding not end at midnight in a sweaty suit and dress. We did elect to have a DJ there for music during brunch, the first dance, mother-son, father-daughter, and dancing afterwards (We basically picked some cheap, rando DJ off the street though, and he kind of made things awkward by playing S&M...oh well, he made it memorable). We are big on dancing, but it's true, people weren't as prone to getting down and jiggy at 1PM. However, I have like 12 nieces and nephews who owned the floor. And when a song with sentimental value between groups of friends or family was played, you can bet people got into it (Example: Sisters, Call Me Maybe...).
Moral of the story, it was great to not feel completely exhausted from an entire day of waiting and primping and dancing and drinking. Plus, think about your parents and family who maybe have to help afterwards (taking your gifts, picking up center pieces, etc...). I know of a few weddings where I had to be a helper for this. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to do it, but man-oh-man it's exhausting at that point of the night! Oh, and kids? They weren't dragging their parents out by 9PM because it was past their bedtime - they got to play all afternoon, and so did their parents!
4. People don't get drinky.
This could be seen as a pro or a con, I suppose. Again, having been to our fair share of weddings, who DOESN'T like an open bar?? You and all your friends get dressed up and drink till you find yourself dancing a solo to "Don't Stop Believin'" or polka with that one uncle of the groom who also likes to party hard. I am not hating on a good open bar by any means. However, it was actually really great to be "all there" and just enjoy genuine time with my friends and family. It felt like a celebration more than it felt like a party, if that makes sense. Plus, we didn't have to worry about people driving with too much alcohol in their systems, anyone getting sick all over the bathrooms, or fronting a huge booze cost when all was said and done.
5. Everyone has the rest of the day.
After 2PM, when it was time to head out of the venue, we had a group of our friends (or whoever else wanted to) meet us at a bar downtown for some extra celebrating. We didn't have to pay for more time at the venue, pay the silly amounts at a cash bar, and we all got to hang out in our wedding attire and party some more! Plus, our photographer was amazing and followed us out on the town too. Families got to get their kids back to hotels to nap, others from out of state got to explore Milwaukee, and still others could travel home at this point. It was great! The Villa overlooked Lake Michigan, so apparently a good amount of people went to check that out too. Again, no one left the wedding feeling exhausted, and that was a huge plus.
After we met our friends, Tom and I jumped into our car (wedding clothes and all - I thought it was romantic), and drove to Chicago where we stayed overnight and flew out to Cancun in the morning. We got to the hotel in the late afternoon, changed, and had dinner at the hotel restaurant (Bar Louie). We both ate dinner in disbelief that we had gotten married just hours before...and it was the most relaxing nacho platter dinner I've ever had. We always think back to that dinner and I am so glad we have such a serene memory from our day. We went to bed at a normal hour, got up for yet another calm morning, and leisurely got on our flight to Mexico. It was perfect.
6. The time makes everything cost effective.
A few things made our wedding far less expensive than the average priced wedding of today.
- It was off season - April.
- Booking the church was simple because it was at 9:30AM. Another wedding could book in the afternoon if necessary... or if there was a Saturday church service, it wasn't interrupted.
- Same for the venue - another wedding could technically happen once we left by 2PM, thereby giving them an opportunity for more money.
- SAME with the food! They simply catered a (lovely) brunch and could still use their staff for an evening wedding! From our planning there was a significant cost increase for a dinner vs. a brunch.
- We only had wine and champagne, and we were only charged for however many bottles got opened... which was not a lot, because who really guzzles champagne at 11AM?
Looking back, Tom and I still cherish the day. Obviously, every single day after our wedding has been full of even more love and happiness. Probably the best thing I took away from that beautiful brunch was not a wedding... but a marriage... a husband... MY husband.