My boyfriend of six years popped the question at the Glastonbury Festival — caked in mud, me wearing purple wig from night before! (Although, as my friend pointed out, if he wanted me like that, it's probably a good sign.)
I went to an all-girls school and could never understand the girls who knew exactly what dress, flowers, rings, etc. that they wanted for their wedding and now only just needed to find a groom. I honestly had never really thought about what MY wedding would be like.
So, I thought I'd jot down a few pointers for those of you who, like me, don't have a scooby about this type of thing, but know that a meringue is not your cup of tea. Here are some things to think about first off:
1. Engagement rings
Ignore all the rubbish out there where, as soon as you say “engagement,” the price is tripled. I ended up getting my ring at an antique jewelry site for a fraction of the price range I had to play with. Which, in turn, was a fraction of the apparent average. I recommend vintage and antique stores to find good deals on pretty rings. Or you could skip a ring completely. Plenty of folks do.
2. Start agreeing about what it is you both want
I sat down with my fiancé and we agreed on some of the things we want our wedding to be — eight in total, some of which are below. And while this is a nice thing to do, the next bit is sticking to it and making sure you don't get sidelined by anything along the way.
- Simple, low key
- No meringues (meaning massive dresses — pavlovas are of course allowed)
- It's OUR day, not mine (i.e. no bridezillas here)
My fiance loves his mountain biking, so we're looking at having bikes as our “theme.” That way it's representative of us, and it's something he can get interested in. It gives us the license to truly re-think things — we're currently awaiting quotes for tandem hire as our wedding transport, and making decorated old junk bike wheels for a table planner. This made an easy theme for us, but I also love when people have no theme.
4. Don't fret, pet
There is shedloads of information out there, albeit ranging from pants to ridiculous, but plenty of it will fall in-between these categories and will be what you'll be looking for. Whether templates, time frames, things you never knew you had to do (applying for wedding papers three months beforehand — who would've thought?!), and lots of giveaways too from previous brides. Remember to refer back to item two when looking at this stuff — you can quite easily go cross eyed, but as with my motto for life “…on the grand scheme,” this also applies here.
Now I am having a bit of a ‘mare trying to find a dress that isn't a meringue, or would require me selling a kidney. I'm looking for a shorter dress, partly as I'll be riding a bike, but also because golden rule #2, and I want to have a dress that I'll wear again. Not sure if the service will work for you in the US, but a great UK site is Style Shake where you can design your own/personalise from other people's designs. Pretty nifty, eh? Also department stores have some beautiful white dresses.
Beware doing an internet search containing the word “wedding,” as you immediately seem to get meringues galore, and with ridiculous price tags for no apparent reason!
6. Family politics
Aaah, yes. Family drama. At some point, it is likely that politics will crop up, whether it's the fact you haven't asked your mum for help in picking the flowers, whether to seat the groom's mother with her ex-husband and new girlfriend, and why you're not inviting great-cousin Robert, four-times-removed. Or even disapproval of the marriage itself! But remember, this is an opportunity to test the waters on how you pull together when things are tough. I've said to my fiancé, if we can't get through some of the politics at the moment, we don't really stand a chance, as life is likely to throw up the occasional thing for us to deal with.
7. DUH: Use Offbeat Bride's tools!
Well yeah, duh. If you're reading this website, you probably already know about the amazing checklist, those useful spreadsheets, the list of wedding planning basis, and all the other Offbeat Bride wedding planning resources… but take it from me: they're actually really, really useful.
In summary, there is help out there, speak to your partner about things, and remember why you're doing this and what you both want. And do try to enjoy it!