Katie and I got married on June 29, 2013. She put huge amounts of time, effort, and energy into planning the day (I did some too, but I’d be lying to say it even approached the monumental stuff she did!). And let me tell you, it paid off — big time.

We’ve been to a couple weddings before and since ours, and while they’ve been fun, I think June 29, 2013 tops the fun-scale. Still now, nine months later, we’re hearing from friends and family just how great a time they had at our big day! Admittedly, my perspective is biased, since it was my wedding, but this is also my blog, so I’ll take my biased opinion as authoritative 😉

So what does it take to have an incredible and fun wedding? Here are a few things I’d recommend.

1. Be Realistic

The biggest factor in your wedding’s success is the crowd you invite. You can throw all the money in the world at a party, but that doesn’t guarantee success. So focus more on inviting the right people, and less on how far you can stretch your budget.

You also need to understand that life never goes as planned. Rather than falling apart when your wedding starts looking different than you wanted, enjoy the surprises and ad-libbing that results. If you were there when the day of our outdoor wedding started you would have thought we’d have a disaster on our hands. As flood conditions in Rockford, Illinois were exacerbated by hours of torrential rains in advance of our ceremony, you could feel the tension rising!

The rain forced us to completely re-imagine our outdoor ceremony at Klehm Arboretum with only about a half hour of time to set up. We wound up in a spot where the arboretum had never had a ceremony before (under the overhang at their front entryway), and where there were only enough seats to accommodate elderly guests who needed them.

Kristi and Kerry Garman walk Katie down the aisle

When it rained during our wedding, everyone packed in to avoid the rain and the ceremony was very intimate!

What resulted was one of the most strikingly intimate parts of the day. We got married with friends and family all huddled together to stay out of the rain, standing just a few feet from us. The more I think about it in retrospect, I’m actually glad it rained, or we wouldn’t have had such a unique and memorable ceremony!

And after all the morning rain, the weather subsided just in time for us to still grab a few shots around the gardens:

Katie and Jason Kammerdiener walking in Klehm Arboretum on their wedding day Wedding party jumping in the garden

2. Invite the Right People

Every wedding has its obligatory invitees, and that’s fine. But don’t let obligations ruin your day. Invite the people who will make you happy, because as I said, the people at the party are the biggest part of making it a success. Sticks in the mud who will do nothing but complain about the food and sit at their table need not be in attendance!

3. Dance… And Make Others Dance Too

The absolute best advice I got before the wedding came from a coworker who said, “I don’t care if you don’t like to dance. Stay on the dancefloor, or nobody else is going to dance.” And it is absolutely true.

A full wedding dancefloor

To fill the dancefloor at your wedding, be proactive about it!

We’ve all been to weddings where the dancefloor just never seems to take off, and the DJ is forced to pull out all the schlocky group dance songs just to keep it from emptying. The defining factor of those receptions is that the bride and groom themselves aren’t on the dancefloor themselves.

On your wedding day, people jump through hoops of fire to make you happy. If you’re dancing, your bridesmaids and groomsmen will dance with you. And if a bunch of people are dancing, the less confident dancers will come out of the woodwork and dance too; the truth is that they want to dance, but they want to blend into the crowd so nobody sees!

I even recommend going one step further. The bride and groom shouldn’t just dance; they should look around the room, spot the people just sitting at their tables, and go grab them. People will have a really hard time telling you no on your wedding day.

Seriously, just check out this conga line. We got nearly 100% participation of our wedding guests by simply winding through the tables and telling everyone sitting down that they were joining in, and they did! The line wound up stretching into two rooms because the large ballroom wasn’t big enough to handle it… (as filmed by our DJ):

 

If you still don’t think I know what I’m talking about, here are a few more images and gifs from our amazingly fun wedding ceremony.

 

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