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Practical Wedding Plans for Pragmatic Times:

The economy may be gasping right now but that doesn’t mean that weddings have to lose any of their charm or enchantment. After all, the line still reads “for better or worse.” Keeping an eye on keeping things practical at your pending celebration would embrace the current economic situation, allow those providing resources to breathe a little easier and hopefully result in a grand time for all at your wedding. Let’s start with the number one cost factor in planning a wedding: Exactly how many people are you going to invite?

Number of Guests: Two Approaches

There are two ways to arrive at a practical number of guests for your wedding. The first is an approach we might call “Custom Tailoring.” This is where you make your list of every person you might reasonably invite to the wedding. But then, instead of sending out an expensive printed invitation with an embossed RSVP and postage attached… you simply call them on the phone and have a chat about how much they really want to be at your wedding. Many friends will express a sincere desire to attend except that your big day lands right in the middle of the competitive volleyball season or good surfing conditions. Or it’s the same weekend as Coachella. Say thanks and make a promise to get together after the honeymoon, then cross them off your list.

Approach Number Two: Invite everybody you can think of, telling those people to bring friends… and ask for five bucks a person at the door. Make sure you’ve booked either an open field or a warehouse for the reception, and look to an area college wrestling team for affordable security. Once the crowd has reached Wango Tango proportions, split the “door” with your new in-laws and get out of town before the music starts.

Food That Makes Sense

Wedding dinners often go down the road of elegance with the selection of food. But if the bride and groom do not actually descend from royalty, then what’s up with the pan-seared duck breast? For those of us who put our wedding pants on one leg at a time, let me make some food suggestions that may seem unorthodox but resonate with practicality.

We don’t often think of meat loaf as the main course at weddings… but what if each slice contained a lovely silhouette of the bride and groom done in chopped black olives? Many of the aunts and grandmas present won’t be able to eat their slice, since they’ll want to take it home and frame it. Meat loaf not only racks-up points on the Tasty Scoreboard, there’s a math to it that’s irresistible… something like 27 servings per pound of ground beef. And the perfect side dish: Wedding lace-thin cross cut home fries.

Or… why not let family and friends know right off the bat that yours will be a “green” marriage by insisting on an all vegetarian dinner. Regardless of the predictable grumbling from the heavy-set relatives in from Dubuque, an all vegetarian dinner is low cost, nutritious, and healthy. And there’s no faster way to drive up revenues at a cash bar, assuming you’re in on some of that action, than to serve beets and rice for dinner.

Bridesmaids in Space

You can put an end once and for all to the countless bridesmaid dress jokes simply by selecting a theme for your wedding and having the bridesmaids dress in costume. For example, the film Alien creates a witty commentary on the whole enterprise of marriage and allows the bridesmaids to come as their favorite crew member from the spaceship Nostromo. Heads up: They’ll all want to be Ripley. But remind your bridesmaids that it was Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto who biggest laughs in the movie. Be considerate of your older guests and resist the temptation to have a cake that looks like something alive is coming out it.

On the groom’s side of things, there will be some pressure to select Star Wars as a theme, since chances are good many of his friends already own a costume related to one of the 32 Star Wars movies that have been produced if you count all of the hilarious Internet video parodies directed by the groom’s best man. But you must stop any effort at a Star Wars theme for one simple reason: Chewbacca at a wedding is one thing; drunk Chewbacca is another.

Gifts That Actually Give

Here’s the problem with wedding gifts: By the time most couples in the greater Los Angeles area reach marrying age, they already collectively own one each of every product sold at Bed Bath & Beyond. And since it might save even one person an hour’s shopping time, I’ll add that every single adult human already possesses at least one device for opening wine bottles.

However, there is a hopeful new trend in wedding gifts in the giving of charitable donations to worthy causes. It makes enormous sense, because if there’s one thing a young couple actually needs in starting a new life together its good karma and plenty of it. And when you tell best friends that you care enough about their life together to do something in their name for people struggling on the other side of the planet… well, now you really do have kind of a galactic theme going. This way, you can most assuredly sign the card “Live long and prosper.”

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