Sunday, May 18, 2008

DO NOT spend tens of thousands of $$$$ on a's foolish.

I perform weddings on a regular basis. It is part of being a pastor I enjoy most. I enjoy helping a nervous couple through what is a simple process of becoming legally, "man and wife", helping them be at ease from the rehearsal through the formal part of the service. I enjoy most the weddings of folks I know.

Yesterday, I officiated the wedding of Hannah Gwaltney to Eric Piper. Eric is a computer geek from Grants Pass Oregon while Hannah calls Durham home. Hannah is the oldest daughter of dear family friends Will and Carrie Gwaltney. Will and Carrie have a great family and we are truly blessed to have them in our family life.

It always brings me great joy when a couple decides not to break the bank of family and friends to hold a wedding celebration. You do NOT have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to produce a beautiful wedding. After twenty years of officiating, let me tell you this one wedding truth; the larger and more expensive a wedding, the more stress that will be piled on bride, brides' mother, groom and family. My many wedding experiences have borne this out. With a large expensive wedding: there are a few folks that experience great joy on the wedding day, the florist, the photographer, the cake baker, the caterer, the dress makers, the formal wear rental agent, the party rental salesman, the limo company and the banker that gave daddy an equity loan. They leave the wedding with pockets full of $$$$$, whats not to be happy about;-)

Eric and Hannah were far too wise and much too frugal to go with Brides Magazine and the multi-billion dollar industry standard. They listened to the advice of Will and Carrie and carefully looked at the assets they had. Will and Carrie, Eric and Hannah looked for a facility that could handle about fifty to seventy-five guests that could also double as the banquet area. They found a local eatery in down town Raleigh that turned out to be a great choice.

Eric and Hannah had their wedding celebration at The Red Room. The Red Room is a tapas lounge on S. Gregson St along a trendy section of the capital city. Hanna had shown me pictures a few weeks ago, but when I got there Saturday morning, I saw they had made a great decision. The RR staff had set up what could be called a small "sanctuary" on one side of the eatery, while tables and preparations were going on on the other side. A center aisle with seating on both sides gave the effect of a small chapel in Europe with the dark, rich colors of the interior. A glass wall was on one side looking out on the activity of Raleigh, but as the wedding was at 11am, the streets were virtually empty until after the ceremony and photos had taken place.

We had a quick rehearsal and the ladies went off to change clothes. Eric and his groomsmen looked sharp in matching suits and ties, which by the way, they will be able to use at a later date for job interviews. Hannah's father and brothers were also dressed in business suits and were the vision of proper wedding attire. As we waited for guests to arrive and the ladies to change clothes, folks were able to visit. The RR staff was busy, cooking food and making preparation for a party. They had ample wait staff, bar staff and at least two managers directing the operation.

At 11am the guests had arrived and all was ready. The music for the processional began, being played over the lounges sound system and directed by the brides' brother. All the ladies were wearing spring colors and all the dresses, save the brides, will easily be used again in the future. The beauty of the simple bouquets was only eclipsed by the beauty of the brides' mother Carrie;) Hannah looked great in her white gown and all went off well. The guests were asked to step outside while photos were made and the eatery went from chapel to banquet hall.

The photos were handled by a family friend who is VERY good with a camera and will be a tiny fraction of the cost of a big-name-professional. Before 12 noon the photos were made and the party began. The Red Room did an awesome job with food and wait staff. The food was served on the bar in front of the open kitchen and the smells of Spain were in the air as all feasted on great food. Check out the menus on line, they served us everything on the tapas menu, plus all three of the paellas. In my humble opinion, The Red Room would be a great choice for anyone who wants folks to remember the party after a wedding instead of the color of the bridesmaids' dresses.

Will and Carrie, Eric and Hannah spent the money where it really matters, in throwing a great party AFTER what is in reality a 10 minute ceremony. Six months after a BIG EXPENSIVE wedding, 95% of the folks in attendance will NOT remember the color of the dresses, the flowers, the music, etc... They will remember great food, great music, great wine(if you like) and a great party. Spend your money on the party, all the rest really does not matter. The other 5% percent that will remember, they have been brain washed by a multi-billion dollar wedding industry that desires to separate you from your money. Don't fall into the trap and damn the social section of your local news paper.

May God bless Eric and Hannah Piper as they form a new family to bless this planet with more of God's life!

Monday update: Carrie weighs in with her view as the brides' mom.


  1. Thank you for the kind words and lovely "review" of the wedding. It was a hit. Thank you, and your lovely family, for being there in both the official capacity as officiator, and in the unofficial capacity of celebrators. We were blessed to have you.


  2. I think Jimmy is throwing me a hint:) No worries - I'm a pot-luck-wedding kind of guy myself. Don't bring gifts, bring food!