letting go of the perfect wedding alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photo by ecdahl. Used by permission.

I am nine days from our wedding — our VERY tight budget wedding — and two days ago we had an unexpected $500 expense come up that couldn't be postponed. At the time, I freaked out a bit about how we would pay for everything that's left to take care of.

I am no longer freaked out. In fact, I am really bemused by the calm I feel. The peace and acceptance I feel for this IMPERFECTION astounds me. I am a Virgo. I am Type-A all the way. I am a perfectionist, a go-getter, the make-it-happen girl. I always have been. I have never settled for anything in my life.

In the last month or so I have cried and screamed and thrown many a pity party. I have raged against my parents and family, against his friends and family. I have wailed about why, just this once, it can't just WORK OUT for me. And then, I started to have moments of wondering when I became so entitled. And when we handed over our credit card on Wednesday, the light bulb came on…

And I am settling now. And even though the word “settling” has a negative connotation, it is most emphatically NOT a negative feeling. Maybe it'd be better to say that I have re-prioritized? But semantics are just that, and I am settling — happily settling — for less than everything I want.

Nine days to go, and I am just now getting it. I am just now letting go of “perfect.”

It doesn't matter if this is The Perfect Wedding. It doesn't matter if we have more soda than beer. It doesn't matter if we ask our DJs to record their mixes for us so we can play them over the speakers on the boat and save the money on renting all the DJ equipment. It doesn't matter if I am the perfect Southern Hostess with impeccable etiquette. It doesn't matter if I get new earrings, or more props for the box, or a guestbook that I like better, or finish making the dinosaurs or not. It doesn't matter if the cake tips over on the way to the boat, because I'm not going to be there to hold it upright the whole way and stress about it.

What matters is that in nine days I will stand before everyone on this earth who matters most to me and promise to love this man forever and ever. (More than UNC Basketball.) And what matters is that I know he is going to promise to do the same. What a beautiful gift that is! To KNOW he is going to promise to love me forever and mean it. No doubts. No fears. For the first time in my life to be completely certain of another person.

What matters is that my soul sisters are flying in from all over the country. That they banded together to get those who couldn't afford their own ticket here anyway. This will be the first time in over two years we have all been together, and THAT, in and of itself, is more perfect than I could ask for.

What matters is that the friends who can't be there in person will be in spirit — through homemade, FedEx'd baklava, through a necklace gifted to me just before his death, through a song and through drunk dials at the bachelorette next Friday night.

And all of that will happen with or without booze. With or without fancy DJ equipment and speakers for our Break Beats and House. With or without his sister. With or without my pretty little stud earrings.

It may not be The Perfect Wedding I wanted. But it will still be my wedding. And it will be beautiful and fun and special anyway. And that's what matters.

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Letting go of perfect

  1. thank yuo for this — i am 95 days away and this was great to read !! I am tired of trying to fight all the “wedding must haves” !! i dont want my guys to wear flowers…or the flowergirl to carry anything but elmo…and i dont want to invite these people just because…and im tired of worrying about everyone else’s good time…and now, after reading this article…i will think about….no wait — i WILL give myself permission to just enjoy myself and my guy. After all, it is our day…
    thanks again for sharing this !

  2. THANK YOU, THANK YOU… we’re 2 months away now, and I needed this reality check!!! It doesn’t matter if my DIY centerpieces are less than perfect! It doesn’t matter if I get this tablecloth versus that one! (Will anyone besides me remember them anyways?) What DOES matter is that our friends and families will all be there with us, and on that day we’re all becoming one big family. THANK YOU for writing this!

  3. And you know what?

    When it’s all said and done, when you take a moment to take a big, deep breath, you’ll say without hesitation–“That day was PERFECT.”

  4. yes! THIS!! I’m 18 days away from mine and have gone through all of that myself and had the same realization that in the end it’ll be perfect because it’s ours no matter what happens!

  5. Moments of realization like this were the only things that kept me sane in the months and days leading up to my wedding (over a year now!). The “Oh my God, what will everyone think?!” thoughts came very close to taking over, until I realized that things WOULD go wrong. And they did. My dress was still partially bustled during the ceremony. I didn’t walk down the aisle to the right song. It rained cats and dogs. But you know what? NO ONE NOTICED (well, my bridesmaids noticed the bustle, but they’d been with me all morning). Or cared, in the case of the rain. All that mattered was I was marrying the love of my life and celebrating like crazy with our loved ones. And that’s what people still remember! Once I stopped worrying, it became easier. I was still nervous as all heck, but not because of the details or worrying whether everything would go according to plan.

    And like dootsiebug said…at the end of it all, I definitely thought the day was perfect.

  6. this brought tears to my eyes! I thought I was a “bad bride” by NOT being stressed out, because in the end just being there is perfect enough. Thank you for reassuring me that I’m not rowing this boat alone.

  7. I love the way articles on this site can sometimes sound like any other wedding site on earth, then in the middle you get a sentance like “It doesn’t matter if I get new earrings, or more props for the box, or a guestbook that I like better, or finish making the dinosaurs or not.”

    Why dinosaurs? This has intrigued me now, details please. 😀

    Also your wedding may not be perfect but it does sound Awesome! A boat party, Fedex’d baklava, friends and family from all over, home made dinosaurs…I’m sorry I’m missing it. 😀

    And on top of all that you’re absolutely right. It doesn’t matter if all the details are perfect, what matters is getting married.

    • That sentence stood out to me as well! I was like “dinosaurs? TELL ME MORE!” This wedding sounds awesome.

      • The dinosaurs were supposed to be covered with fabric and made into a banner, and were most definitely not finished – at least not the way I’d wanted them, but it all worked out. 🙂

  8. Remembering my own wedding day, my parents were the ones who had to have everything “just perfect.” I was more concerned about perfection in the “happily ever after” part. You caught the true spirit of marriage long before I did. For that, you Rock the Casbah.

  9. I have tears on my cheeks now because you have completely summed up exactly what a wedding is about, thank you for reminding me and everyone else here, although the little things may seem the most important thing EVER, on the day it’s just about the beautiful moments between you and him! Thank you.

  10. Thanks for making me cry. As a type-A person myself, I can relate to all the stressing out– but this was really lovely and so true. I’m not at the micromanaging stage of wedding planning yet, but here I am stressing out about other life-things, and this was exactly what I needed to read. Also, the tears feel like relief. Thank you, again.

  11. also all the planning in the world (even having a coordinator!) wont make it a for sure thing that everything will go smoothly. in mine our littlest flower fairy decided to bail and her big bro (both of them under 5yo) decided to help her. that caused a traffic jam and the music was over by the time i finally got up to ken. then the staff turned off a fan so everyone could hear better and unknowingly flipped off the breaker for the music! so there was no music on the way out! but our friends and family covered with a standing ovation and it alll turned out well in the end. the pictures came out great and it didnt look ad messed up as i thought it did lol. the more you plan the more can go wrong. take it easy and enjoy the hell out of your amazing day!

  12. Now that it’s all said and done, letting go this way was the best decision I made over our year (plus) engagement. I can’t say everything was perfect, but I was perfectly happy with it all.

  13. Bravo!! Brava!!!! I am a whole 10 days away, and I feel EXACTLY the way you do. Couldn’t have said it better.

  14. you don’t know me, but I’m sending you all my sister love. Have a wonderful wedding! 30 days for me!

  15. Thankyouthankyouthankyou…. I am early in the planning process and have been fighting the stress creeping in. I’ll remember these words when the stress tries to take over.
    I’m also so very excited for you as your big day approaches…. It is going to be fantastic!

  16. Honestly, I never understood “perfect.” Perfect is imaginary. Perfect is the mechanical blueprint that lives in your head. On the contrary, things that are good and glorious and alive and connecting are always a wonderful surprise as they unfold. Here’s wishing you a day of wonderful surprises!

  17. thank you so much for the story, because I truly believe that all you said is soo true. whether you figure it out 9 days before you wed with your love, or 45 days before.. you still got it. That’s what it is REALLY all about. YOU and HIM. I am also So Very excited and yet, nervous about our big day in apx 88 days. All the planning that it takes to make your day just as you invisioned it. when it’s all said and done, it’s you and your hubby that got through it with your love and devotion for each other. I can’t Wait! :))

  18. This is a difficult point to reach, but you will enjoy your wedding so much more for having reached it. I know our families were so worried that our wedding wouldn’t stand up to other fancier weddings thrown by their friend’s children. And I worried that I wasn’t able to afford the perfect paper lanterns that I coveted or the exact tablecloth that I’d envisioned. But once I let go and decided to enjoy what we did have and just have fun, I had the best time. And I think that attitude showed through to our guests on our wedding day. We were so happy and relaxed that they couldn’t help having fun, even if everything was a bit more low key and relaxed than what they were used to.

  19. Thank you for this! Since we initially began planning in January, this has been my outlook. We are now a month away and folks keep asking if I am starting to stress…well, no. I missed that whole part I think (ok, there were a few days but it was less wedding related and more interpersonal drama). August 8 I will marry the love of my life, my best friend, my climbing partner, my fellow road-tripper. It does not matter what the centerpieces look like, or how my hair is done, or if the men wear jackets or vests, or if the guests are all in formal wear. The only thing that matters is that we are happy, we are in love, we are promising to be together for the rest of our lives and then celebrating with those whose relationships we hold most dear. They won’t remember the food, the flowers, the shuttle, the music, the photographer, but they will remember our joy. And we will have eachother. What more could you ask for?

  20. I so cried when I read this! This was what I needed, because this is exactly what I’ve been saying all along. I know where I stand in this wedding: right across from the man I want to spend the rest of my life with! Thank you SOOO much!

  21. Two days away from my wedding and, more importantly, being married to the love of my life – and this is an awesome check in and reminder of what’s important. Thanks for helping to keep me grounded. xx

  22. 5 days away. Final dress fitting mom said the dress looked ugly. People keep adding people to the guest list and the caterer is probably about to rip her own hair out.
    I have silver spray painted dinosaurs showing up on my tables. They have googily eyes. Not for any other reason than it struck me 9 long months ago that I would want something purposefully not perfect already planning on being here- so all the other stuff that would come up could suck it.
    5 days. Oh my.

  23. I was lucky enough to cometo this conclusion early on, but we realized we were planning two totally separate weddings. One on pinterest with lush lavish orchids and beautiful crystal beads dangling from the center of our Pavillion like a chandelier. The other was a wedding we could actually afford on our tiny 4k budget. Realizing this pretty early on made it easier to steer myself in the right direction when iI started getting spendhappy. Just make sure you enjoy your day, whether you’re surrounded by chandeliers or picnic tables.

Comments are closed.