We recently talked about the pressure to have THE BEST WEDDING EVER. Now we're hearing from a bride who is embracing a streamlined wedding despite tons of pressure from the wedding industry. Here's how she and her partner are turning the pressure upside down.
Planning a budget-friendly, streamlined wedding that doesn't feature all the “bells and whistles” of traditional weddings is not without its judgments and that's where my recent stress has been coming in. Wedding planning forums can make you question if your wedding is going to be remembered as the “worst wedding ever,” your ideas suck, and it's all going to be tacky, especially if you are cutting some corners, budget-wise.
We're having a dry wedding during a non-meal time hour so we're not planning a menu that you would expect for a full service lunch and dinner. We've been calling it a cake and punch reception with some heavy appetizers. We don't want a party-into-the-night atmosphere. We're not having a photo booth, and as much as we would love to invite the hundreds upon hundreds of people we both know, we opted for a small-ish wedding guest list. Did I miss anything? I'm pretty sure we just committed every major faux pas according to Pinterest and every major wedding industry publication on newsstands.
I mean, if we don't have any of those things, we're not truly married, right? If you don't have a photo booth and a DJ or big band performing then your wedding is going to be the most boring event to have ever taken place. Don't even mention not serving alcohol. “Your future in-laws are recovering alcoholics so you don't want to tempt them with alcohol? They should learn to be around alcohol.” These are actual wedding forum responses to posts I've read recently! One can only read so much of that before you begin to think that maybe you have no business planning a wedding or otherwise you could be stuck with a permanent black mark on your record of life.
It's all about attitude
If you go in with the mindset that everyone is going to have a horrible time then it will be a horrible time.
A few days ago I had a moment with my partner, Steven, where I wondered out loud if our friends and family are going to think less of us because we aren't going to be providing a blow-out party atmosphere at the reception. Steven reminded me that our guests are going to have a good time because we're going to have a good time. He told me, “We'll have just gotten married, we'll feel like dancing and singing because we're happy and those good feelings will be infectious. If you go in with the mindset that everyone is going to have a horrible time then it will be a horrible time.”
He had a really good point, and I thought back to my original thinking about wedding planning when we first got engaged almost two years ago. While there's nothing wrong with the big, blow-out parties that follow a wedding ceremony, that isn't important to us. This was the whole idea of planning our kind of wedding to begin with. For us, a wedding doesn't have to include all the “bells and whistles,” and it's been important to us to properly host our guests by providing them enough seating, a comfortable environment, plenty to eat and drink, and making sure their needs are taken care of.
Wants vs. Needs
That's the thing about the Wedding Industrial Complex — it's a constant struggle of wants vs. needs. You know what you need to be married in the U.S.? A marriage license and an officiant to marry you. It doesn't matter if you're wearing a $10,000 designer gown or a $10 dress off the clearance rack. All that matters is you walk out of that location that day knowing that you're married and committed to your partner. If you want a photo booth or a band or a huge cake, then I say that you do what you want to do. But don't feel like you are absolutely required to have them.
Those pins on Pinterest may make you think differently, but believe me, when I think about the weddings I've been to, I don't think about whether there were satin chair covers or what wedding favor I left on the table. I remember the ceremony, like the wedding where my friend had to ask the pastor one more time what line she had to repeat and how she and her husband-to-be laughed with each other during it. I remember the awesome dance moves one groom showed on the dance floor when his favorite jam came on. I remember the wedding where the ring bearer decided to play under his mother's dress as she lit the unity candle. With absolute sincerity, I hope those who come to our wedding have favorite memories like that.
Will I still worry? Yes.
That doesn't mean I still don't have my moments of “Oh crap, what if this all falls apart?” as we continue to check off items on the wedding planning to-do list. I still lurk on wedding forums, but I tend to avoid topics that may lead to reading really nasty, judgmental responses to an idea that I support.
I know at the end of the day there will probably be wedding guests who may talk about how they didn't like such-and-such at our wedding. There may be some disappointed people who realize that they're not going to get free booze at the reception. As with every event that has ever been hosted, there will be those who think they would have done something better or a different way. I can't let those fears rob me of my genuine love and excitement that I have as we continue to count down to our streamlined wedding day.