I'm a longtime reader of Offbeat Bride. For nearly a decade, I have looked at the real weddings and fantasized about the cool offbeat wedding I would someday have. As time as gone by, my priorities have changed (I loved the post on how it's totally fine to have a cookie cutter wedding) and I am having a fairly traditional wedding in about two months.
For this reason (and also budget limitations), I ignored the wise advice on this site to seek out vendors whose wedding style fits my vision. I figured that if the people who do my hair, dress, pictures, etc. are good at their jobs and give me what I ask for, that's enough.
But what I am finding as I get deeper into planning the wedding, is that I weirdly am worried about living up to my photographer's (and others') expectations, and I worry about not being a “hot” enough bride with a “pretty” enough wedding.
How do I keep the wedding day focused on what my fiance and I want, even though some of the people around us have different expectations?
First, I'm SO glad you were able to feel good about having a more traditional wedding! Planning a wedding is about knowing your priorities — and sometimes that priority is making things easier! Plus, a lot of what makes a wedding feel offbeat can be the smaller choices you make: personal vows, sentimental objects, little moments that highlight things you love. Offbeat weddings exist everywhere, including in traditional venues with traditional choices.
All that being said, I very much understand what is happening to you now. Every time I dip into the mainstream Wedding Industrial Complex (stuff like traditional wedding expos and websites), I'm reminded of some uncomfortable assumptions about weddings. These assumptions/myths/traditions usually revolve around weddings being very expensive, having set requirements for events, for timelines, for number of guests, for the color of your dress, etc. You HAVE to have flowers, you MUST wear a white dress, you've GOT to go on a diet. And I get why it happens: most American weddings are traditional and follow most of these rules. Look at any mainstream wedding media and you'll see it. This means that most traditional vendors spend most of their time working with these traditional couples within these traditional guidelines.
So when you come around with your traditional (but also offbeat and probably more laid-back requirements), you might worry that your vendors are judging your more offbeat choices. Your wedding insecurities start rearing their ugly heads. Choosing offbeat vendors can definitely give you more leverage in terms of feeling supported and celebrated for your nontraditional wedding choices… they won't look at you like you have two heads when you throw something different at them.
It's all about just focusing on your own needs and realizing that your vendors aren't judging you. And if they are, who cares?
The good news is that, despite the insecurity, it actually doesn't matter what your vendors think about your wedding. If they're professionals, they'll deliver the goods you're paying for!
But you may have to start the chant: the people who matter are you, your partner, and your guests. If you think that you and your guests will have a great time, YOU WILL. Your more traditional vendors get paid regardless of what they think of your choices, and likely aren't losing sleep over your wedding choices. As long as you ensure that your offbeat choices don't interfere with their ability to get their work done (like telling a photographer that they need to stick around until 4am for your post-reception late night bridesmaid quidditch match or whatever), then it's probably all fine… it's on all couples to be very clear with any vendor about their plans and expectations.
Now, if a vendor ISN'T doing what you want, or you can't make peace with what they're offering or saying (homophobic comments? hateful side-eyes?), take a look at your contracts and see if it's not too late to make a change. Hit up our Offbeat Vendor Guide (or ask some pals) and find vendors with whom you really click.
Otherwise, it's all about just focusing on your own needs and realizing that your vendors probably aren't judging you… And even if they are, who cares? You do you. Remember: your wedding is not a contest!