fredag 15 september 2017

The Alice Themed Wedding

So a month ago me and my better half got hitched. She said yes already back in 2009 but we kinda pushed the event in front of us for some years for various reasons. But now in January this year, when I was hospitalized for pulmonary embolism, we decided to get it done.


The save the date cards my wife drew by hand. The actual invitations we ended buying and adding some extra touches by hand. This took a lot of time but was a fun part of the preparations.

Wedding website

We ended up using for our wedding website. The actual invitations only included the link to the site and the password. All relevant information was put on the wedding website.


Whenever we've talked about the wedding during the years, we have always ended up wanting to have a theme and the theme has pretty much been Alice in Wonderland from day one.
Next question was. Which Alice? After a lot of pondering we decided on the old Disney version.
We made clear in the invitation that it was not a masquerade, but theme based details and accessories would be great!
We ended up buying 60 cat and bunny ears that people could wear, and everyone did!


For the ceremony, we decided on a local landmark bridge. Talked with the owner and got a yes of course!
For the party, we asked the brides sister if we could use their barn. And the answer was yes as well. They already had a bar and party area on the upper floor but we needed more room for the dinner and toilets etc. So we ended up building those during the spring and summer. Took more time then we anticipated and got a little stressful at the end, but damn, the best decision....


We went to the jewelry shop (the same that we got our engagement rings from) and decided on a pair of rose/white gold rings. No diamonds as she didn't want any.


52 guests decided to attend and that perfectly matched a deck of cards. So the place cards were just 2 decks of cards. One in the envelope and one at the place. I think we invited 64 from the start but as expected some were not able to attend.
We specified that there was a lot of time for families to find baby-sitters. Only the closest families kids were invited as well as some toddlers. So in the end 11 of the 52 were minors.

Party program

We did this ourselves as well. We ended up buying a laser printer and printing in black and white and adding extra color touches by hand. We colorized average of 7 programs per night, took 2 hours per night. So make sure you plan for the time if you decide on doing things by hand. It is a lot of work but gives in the end a personal touch to the party.


Me and a friend brewed been in the spring, 26 bottles of IPA and 24 bottles of bitter. Together with home made mead and apple cider there was a variety to chose from for the dinner.
2 weeks before the party we went to Systembolaget (the Swedish alcohol monopoly) and ordered all other alcoholic beverages for the dinner and party.

  • 4x4x24 33cl bottles of beer. Different brands, mostly lager..
  • 2x4x24 33cl bottles of cider. Different brands and flavors
  • 10 bottles of champagne for the toast when we arrive at the party
  • 1 bottle of champagne (little more expensive) for us during the photo-shoot after the ceremony
  • 4 red bag-in-box wine
  • 2 white bag-in-box wine
  • 10 bottles of bubbly rose wine
  • 6 bottles of vodka for drinks
  • 1 bottle of Makes me smaller, vodka and a lot of pulverized super sour hard candy (a lot)
  • 1 bottle of Grows me taller, vodka and a lot of pulverized super salty hard candy (a lot)
+ a lot of non alcoholic beverages and water

We ended up returning 1/4 of the alcoholic drinks afterwards, but better that then running out during the evening.


The bride decided to go to our local grocery store and order 200 roses. More than enough for the party and bridal bouquet (that she made herself)


We decided to not cater anything. Instead we bought and prepared everything during the days before and handed out work assignments in teams during the whole night.


We ended up hiring an upcoming photographer who didn't cost that much, but had an excellent portfolio to present us. A little bit more risky, but one tenth of a professional photographer.
She photographed the wedding ceremony as well as the wedding photos afterwards.
For the rest of the evening, we had asked guests that we knew liked to photograph to bring their cameras. Some excellent photos from these friends
We also bought 3 digital cameras (the cheapest ones we found, total around €60.) and placed on the tables, labeled 'Use me!'. Got an extra 400 photos of the evening from those.
Also, we had already 3 months before started to use a hashtag on Instagram (following patter #brideandgroomYEAR) and pushed our guests to post with that hashtag during the evening.

Photo booth

Cheshire cat, hatters hat, bunny's ears, a clock and playing card colors

Hand made photo booth frame fitting the Alice theme and a Canon EOS 400 on a tripod to photograph all the guests during the evening! White veil as backdrop as well as flashlight and a large reflector in the ceiling.
Turned out good, pretty much every guest made an appearance.

Best man, Brides maid, Toast master

We decided to not have any. Instead the bride explained the idea of the evening, people were allowed to hold their speeches whenever there was time etc.
It turned out work good with our guests, plus we did not stress out our closest friends by giving them the most stressful jobs at a wedding.

Work assignments

In the party program leaflet that every guest received when they found their seat there was a list of jobs for the evening.

  • Prepare starters
  • Clean the tables of dishes
  • Put leftovers in refrigerators.
  • Prepare main course
  • Barbecue duty
  • Clean the tables of dishes
  • Put leftovers in refrigerators
  • Prepare desserts
  • Clean the tables of dishes
During the evening we had also some more general assignments
  • Bar assignment. Keep track of the drinks table during the dinner and server drinks after the party started.
  • Music. 1 person selected who had access to the music
OK, this was a little controversial idea that turned out to be a good one.
During the years we have attended a number of weddings and it is always the same thing, you end up sitting at your table during the whole dinner (that is 4-8 hours) and only talk with the people seated around you. We did not want that.
So instead, by giving the guests work assignments in teams consisting of people from other tables they were forced to mix with people that they did not know from before and talk with them. As a grownup you grow to know other people mostly by working together and if you mix that into a party where people do not know each other from the start, they will end up making new connections.
The dinner ended up going on for 6-7 hours. BUT, after each course there was a natural pause where everyone not on assignment had a chance to walk around, mingle and chat with people. When the next course was ready, the bride rang a bell and everyone was seated again.

Lessons learned from the assignments was that some of the work teams could have had a couple more members to speed things up. But otherwise, turned out to be a fantastic idea to get people to talk with each other!


In the end, we ended up doing a lot of things ourselves and the project lasted 6 months. This probably saved us a lot of money, I have no idea what this would have costed if everything was catered, rented etc. But that doesn't really matter. In the end it was more true to ourselves to do it this way then letting someone else do it. It got a personal touch on all planes and having the dinner and party on top of a barn, the cozy and joyful atmosphere infected our guests as well. 

Planning a wedding in this way you have to know your audience a little bit, know that there are people who enjoy cooking, talking, bar-tendering, photographing etc. and wouldn't mind to be bossed around for an evening as a surprise : )

I guess I forgot to write about more then half of the stuff, if you have any questions then feel free to ask in the comments and I'll try to answer to my best ability.

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