It’s been nearly five months since the Sven and I tied the proverbial knot, and it feels right to look back at and discuss the planning process. If you, dear reader, are getting married, let me know in comments how your planning is going and if you have any questions!
Sven and I got engaged on September 28th, 2014. The planning phase lasted just under a year, as we got married August 30th, 2015. And it was awesome.
No really–so often I hear people being like “OMG wedding planning is so stressful and family and tablecloths and money and AHHH” Knowing that, I scrupulously kept my waterfowl in a linear conformation, and waited for all hell to break loose. And I mean scrupulously. There were spreadsheets involved.
And so I was waiting….and waiting…but nothing exploded.
Sure, there were things I agonized about. Do I make a seating chart for the rehearsal dinner? How do we organize the ceremony processional? What kind of dress do I want? But by and large the Sven and I decided what we cared about and what we didn’t, and moved on from there. Things that mattered? HUGE dance floor. Lots of good music. Writing our own ceremony. Things that didn’t? Tablecloths. Food. Equal gender distribution in the bridal party. We did us, and that was the best feeling in the world. There were many moments during the reception where I sat back, watched the party around me, and was like “Damn, this is fun.”
The take-away lesson from all this is you, wedding-people, can do WHATEVER the hell you want. Make it your own. If you want a super-duper sparkly hotel ballroom wedding with a 5-course dinner and a horse-drawn carriage? DO IT. You want to have five people on the top of a mountain at sunrise? AWESOME. You want to fly to Cancun and have a party at an all-inclusive resort? SWEET. You want to just pop down to the city clerk’s office with a bouquet and maybe have dinner after with friends? NICE. No two couples are the same, and I really wish people would do what feels right to them, not what the ‘stereotype’ or ‘society’ or ‘family’ says. For WAY more digital ink on this topic, check out Offbeat Bride for every type of conversation about the sociology of weddings. It was super helpful for me.
The second lesson is this: You can’t control what people will remember about your wedding. When I talk to guests, they invariably mention three things: 1) How much fun they had. 2) How awesome our First Dance was. 3) The Friday evening picnic was the best thing ever.
This makes me chuckle, because the Friday evening picnic was a throw-away idea that I put the minimum amount of planning energy into. “We’ll just show up at Green Lakes and hang out!” I claimed. “I’ll get a bunch of hamburgers, it’ll be great.” My parents were skeptical.
The reasoning behind the pre-wedding, pre-rehearsal event was this–we had a large amount of family coming from out of town, a significant portion of which was from WAY out of town. I’d never met them, they’d never been to Upstate NY, and it seemed to me that we could use a family-bonding event before the official festivities. I can’t take credit for inventing the idea–that goes to Offbeat Bride and their articles about ‘wedding weekends’.
As it happened, the evening was perfect. The weather was great, the food was good, and everyone got over the awkward break-the-ice conversation, leading the way for more comradery during the rehearsal dinner and wedding the following days. I’m pleased as punch the families got to enjoy each other’s company and share cultures–and not at all annoyed that they remember this over my meticulously handcrafted place settings, bouquet, and centerpieces.
(No, really. 😛 )
I firmly believe that people should do what feels right to them for their wedding–so long as they’ve thought through why they want it that way. Deconstructing expectations, sexism, marketing, and more was instrumental in me feeling good about the things we did. I wish everyone else the best of luck in processing and making those decisions.
I’ll stop there, for now. If people are interested, perhaps I’ll drop more nuggets of wisdom as a wedding veteran in the future. Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Photo Credit: Adam Brockway Photography