What's the BEST wedding you've ever been to?

I’m posting this thread in response to this thread here. I figured we might as well redress the balance. As for me…

I’ve never actually been to a bad wedding (so I figure it’s just a matter of time) but the absolute best one I’ve ever been to would have to be the last one I attended. It was my cousins’, and was held in Detroit, MI. First off, the bride was gorgeous. I was literally JEALOUS of my cuz. The ceremony was nice, but not too long. The reception…now THAT was something I’ll never forget. The bride’s father was some kind of millionaire, and the reception was held in some country club where membership cost $10,000 a year. The place was incredible. Suits of real medieval armor studded the walls, the bars were made from wood out of the masts of genuine Scottish sailing ships from the 1700’s, and they were open all night. Every table had its own bottle of Dom Perignon and a dozen red roses. There were multiple ice sculptures and a live band that played for hours, plus a DJ for when the band got tired.
I’ll never forget when I struck up a conversation with a friend of the bride’s father. We were talking about golf and he said he wished he could have the time to go to his favorite course more than a few times a year. Turned out his favorite course was St Andrews, in Scotland. Sheesh. I later bummed a cigar from him and it turned out to be a genuine Cuban he’d picked up in Mexico. And I don’t think this guy was the richest one there by far.

The funniest thing was, the bride’s family was clearly split by bad blood between her father and estranged mother. Everyone from the bridal party had cleared out by 10 p.m. Everyone from my own family (which is unmistakably middle-class) closed the place down at 2 a.m. We couldn’t get enough of that Dom Perignon.

The best wedding I ever attended was mine. My wife and I had been together for years, and had a daughter together, but we still decided to throw one heck of a party. It wasn’t the fanciest, but the families and friends managed to put their problems aside for a night (no small feat) and a good time was had by all. There is little I would do different about it.

Well, there are two - one is mine (and epeepunk’s), the other was a couple of friends of ours.

Ours: Quaker wedding, Scottish attire, brunch in an old mansion, and a ball with live music in the evening. Killer day (5:30 AM to after midnight, with almost no sleep), great party. :slight_smile: Quaker weddings are really intense (that being epeepunk’s side) - no minister (your relationship to God is personal, not mediated), so you have to memorize your vows. Walk in, sit in silence facing the guests, stand and exchange your vows when you are moved to do so, then sign the wedding certificate. BIL (professional actor and voice teacher) read the wedding certificate (which is a social contract, rather than the legal certificate). Then everyone sits in silence until they are moved to stand and speak. And BOY do they get moved. Bring hankies, and just expect to cry. We had friends speak about who we were and who we were together, family members offering blessings and advice, people speaking of their own marriages, people speaking of lessons they had learned and wanted to pass on, parents speaking of who they saw us becoming and what they had learned from us. The kind of things people would say at your memorial service get said to your face. After about 45 minutes of that, close of Meeting (with a blessing from my mom the UU minister), then run off to the reception - really good food, beautiful building (in a park, complete with a gorgeous victorian water tower), outstanding photographer (you could hardly tell he was there, but great photos), background music was 6 hours of tapes that epeepunk had put together, a wide-ranging mix of our very favorite music (we still listen to those tapes a lot). Then off to the hotel to get a quick nap before the ball, and dance the rest of the night - the program was all dances we love, the music was great (and at times, funny, as MIL’s band had done some interesting arrangements)… break to throw the bouquet, and have a glorious chorus of ‘the Sussex Mummer’s Carol’ sung to us (“God bless the master of this house…”) in full harmony with descant… goodness, that is barely half of it! Loads of laughter, great time, and years of people telling us they have never been to a better party, let alone wedding.

Until our friends got married…

Very different style, better taste (or more refined, anyway), but outstanding party. Long Beach Island (family money), very small guest list. We stayed at various houses in walking distance from the family home. Walked along grassy paths over low hills between tangled shrubs to get to the wedding hill. Standing on the hill overlooking more rolling hills on an overcast day (of the pearly variety), then hear bagpipes… piper leads the attendants (navy and burgundy dresses) and the bride and groom up a path to the hill - she being utterly gorgeous in a 50’s era antique wedding dress, heavy ivory satin with tiny copper pearls beaded in loose swirls (she’s a redhead), stunning, stunning. Simple service (some parts of which they stole directly from our service, but we didn’t mind)… done so that the guests were not ‘watching’ but participating in the service. Then we noticed that someone had had a stone outcropping behind us carved with their names and the date (but nobody pointed it out - quiet and tasteful). Walk down the hill to the house, where the caterer had laid out home-smoked bluefish and freshly grilled veggies. All food was grilled and utterly perfect, small party (with people I really like) under the tent - taped music, but good stuff, and people just stepping into every minor gap (like one of the guests going up and picking out music to get the older guests up and dancing). Superior style and class, and a great party. The family messes stayed fairly buried until well after the wedding, which was also really nice.

Sigh. Good memories.

Besides my wedding, the best I’ve been to was the wedding of a college friend (I was a bridesmaid). It was the first Jewish wedding I’ve been to, so the ceremony was really interesting to me. Since I was in the wedding party, I got to witness the contract being signed, too, which was cool. After that, we moved onto the reception. It started out with cocktails, appetizers, and toasts from anyone who wanted to make one. A whole slew of my college friends were there, so we had fun telling stories about the couple and drinking loads of champagne. The dinner was fantastic. Then the music started. I’ve never danced so much in my life. The sheer joy of the couple just made the wedding. Although there was some underlying sadness because the bride’s father had died in the previous months, everybody really celebrated well. Not only was it a really fun wedding, it was an extremely meaningful wedding.

Our wedding was cool, too. I think most people would look back on it and think it was a disaster…it sounds like one from start to finish…but we’ve been told by other people that it was the best wedding they’ve been to. We had an outdoor wedding in my parents’ backyard. They live right on the water on the coast of North Carolina. The setting’s just beautiful. A hurricane was forecast, but it looked like it wouldn’t be until later in the evening, so we weren’t too worried (I wasn’t, at least…nobody would let me watch the weather forecast). It was dreary and rainy all day.
As the time drew nearer, I started getting ready. About five minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, the celebrant hadn’t turned up. Nobody told me because they didn’t want me to stress, but they were all panicked. I drank a few sips of champagne. The celebrant finally did arrive (he had gotten halfway there, then realized he’d forgotten the ceremony back at his hotel).

The ceremony went off without a hitch. We had pictures taken. Then Hurricane Irene hit. Luckily, we just got the edge of it, so it was really just extremely heavy rain and heavy winds, not the 75 mph winds that really constitute a hurricane. One of the groomsmen gave me a raincoat so my dress wouldn’t get ruined. My father and most of the guys were completely soaked because they were pulling the sides of the tent down. Then the generator that kept the tent’s lights on went out. My dad was out there in the pouring rain fixing it. The guests launched into a rousing rendition of the theme song from Titanic. We drank and ate and danced and got wet down to the bone.

As we were getting ready to leave, we found out that the little nearby island we had rented a hotel room on (for our first night together as husband and wife) had been evacuated. We ended up spending the first two nights of our honeymoon camped out on my parents’ living room floor. To make it even better, all the airports had closed, so none of the groomsmen could fly out of there. They spent a few nights on the floor with us. We spent the next few days drinking margaritas and pulling up planks on the dock so it wouldn’t get torn up in the storm. The airport finally arranged for the guys to take taxis to Raleigh so they could catch a flight from there. My husband and I were finally able to get started on our honeymoon…with his parents. Since they had flown in from Australia and had never been to the U.S., they came with us to D.C. for a few days to take a look around.

After all that, it was definitely the best wedding I’ve been to. Like my friends’ wedding, it was so full of joy and so much of a celebration of life by everyone there that it was fantastic.

Now there’s a spunky bunch of guests!

The best wedding I’ve been to, hands down, is my sister’s. It was my sister’s second marriage. Her first marriage was the traditional elaborate church-type thing, and it lasted less than five months. So, in the humor that is typical of my family, she decided to be as anti-traditional as possible. Living in Ohio, she of course, decided the most natural thing would be to have a Hawaiian-themed wedding.

The bride wore a simple white dress, with no shoes. The groom wore a polo shirt, khaki shorts, and sandals. Being the maid of honor, I was attired in a similar fashion. The wedding cake had tropical flowers on it, and the cake toppers were those little hula guys and gals that you usually see gyrating on cab drivers’ dashboards.

The ceremony was held in the evening, poolside, and the pool was filled with hundreds of floating candles. The bride and groom stood under a canopy of tropical flowers that had been flown in that morning. Since the groom’s family has quite a bit of money and lots of land, they spared no expense in turning their home into a tropical paradise. The reception was a luau, complete with a roast pig, grass skirts, leis, and coconut shell tropical drinks.

While it was a completely off-the-wall event, it nonetheless goes down as one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended. Until I get married that is…

A year or so ago my wife and I attended the wedding of her research assistant. The bride’s family was of Scots extraction and she has bright red hair. At the close of the ceremony, a lone piper in full regalia led the recessional, then left as people milled around the church only to appear at the posh country club where the reception was held, piping us in from a balcony above the main entrance. Decorations included huge sashes of the ancestral tartan and the refreshments included a large slug of single malt whiskey * in addition to * the champagne. Lovely banquet as well. Did us po’ folks good to have a brief glimpse into the other half’s lives.

My old college buddy’s wedding last fall. His family is Greek Orthodox, and man, that is an interesting ceremony. The priests (three of 'em) sing the entire ceremony. In Greek, of course, so I have no idea what they were singing. Bride and groom exchange no vows at all, so it was like they were just there to have their decision blessed by the church. I guess the closest thing to vows was when the head honcho priest placed a white crown on the groom’s (?) head, which then got switched over to the bride. The whole thing was like watching some pagan ritual, but without all the bad tattoos and piercings.

Mine. It was in a colonial tavern-turned-B&B in New York. Yesterday was our first anniversary.

I wanted snow and I got it a couple of days before, so it was on the ground and beautiful, but caused no problems on the day of the wedding. The fireplaces were lit and we were married in front of the fireplace in the main dining room. We had only 50 guests and everyone was very close to us physically during the ceremony, which was sort of New Age-Jewish/not-quite-Christian, with the prayers in Hebrew, and the breaking of the glass (or rather, lightbulb). We designed a colonial-themed menu. We had only two attendents (the best man was a woman and my matron of honor was my sister). They wore whatever they wanted. My husband’s nieces begged to be flower girls so they were. People we care a great deal about did a couple of readings. It was wonderful.

Since the wedding was small, we got to go around and speak to all our guests, yet still managed to eat all of our food, not be too stressed and had a great time. I wasn’t even nervous beforehand.

Everyone still says it was the best wedding they’d ever been too. Last night’s anniversary celebration was pretty good too. :slight_smile:

My favorite wedding was that of my mom’s best friend’s daughter, who is ten years older than I. They had it in Denton, MD, which is on the East Coast. The wedding took place outside, on the land that stretched behind the bride’s aunt’s house. The spot was incredible - there were two lakes next to each other, each maybe two hundred feet wide, and in the middle was this strip of land about thirty feet wide and a sixty feet long. They had the whole ceremony right there, surrounded by the water, with all the guests sitting on folding chairs leading back, and as the strip of land widened, the chairs started tracing the perimeter of the lakes. We were surrounded by trees and flowers, and the whole thing was very simple and laid back.

After the ceremony, we had a big party in the backyard. It was heaven, hands down the best celebration ever. The ceremony took place at 3pm, and when the sun set at 8pm, we were still partying. If I ever get married, I hope the wedding is that wonderful.