Three Ways to Make Your Wedding Your Own
By Emily Tehrase Brouwer (18/05/18)
Oh, you’re engaged? I/my friend/family member/workmate or close acquaintance was engaged once. Can I/we/my mother offer you some unsolicited advice?
Look. Listen. Once you’re engaged, the internal question monster rises up, and the advice rolls in. Like an unwelcome storm cloud over your fresh laundry; like midges over your red wine. It kind of ruins the party, huh? Planning a wedding involves enough stress without every second person trying to tell you how to do it, and relaying the various Wedding Nightmares they have each individually witnessed. Are they TRYING to stress you out? Probably not. Are they stressing you out? Definitely, yes, please make it stop.
Your wedding day is a day that you traditionally share with friends and family. It’s a beautiful thing to be present and bear witness to the union between two people who have decided to share their lives together. You’d like to think all who are present are there for the privilege of seeing you make a most beautiful and binding commitment, and not for the open bar.
I mean some of them might be there for the open bar.
But they won’t tell you that. What I’m trying to say is that your guests are there for you, probably, and it’s about them too, but it’s about you as a couple more. So here’s tip one, blazing up like a forest fire over the forest of Popular Opinion:
Put Yourself First In Your Wedding Planning
I’m not advocating a “bridezilla” (or “groomzilla”) scenario – an unfair turn of phrase for any of us who have been there, in my opinion – but merely that you lay out what you want out of the day early on. Yes, your wedding is about your guests too. But these are people who know you and love you (like, hopefully), and seeing you reflected in the day is going to make their day better too. So really, by doing exactly what you want, you’re doing them a favour. Yeah.
Take the fact that it’s a wedding out of the equation, and think about what the perfect day with the people you love would look like. Is it small and intimate, or grand and full of people? Is it in a faraway place? Is it at night time? What does it look like? Flowers? Lanterns? Lightening bugs? Is it just at the pub? Are you getting silly or is it highly formal? Decide on your perfect scenario – chances are you’ve already thought about it. There you go. Make it like that. And stick to your guns about it.
If a traditional wedding is what you’re after, that’s absolutely your choice. But we’re no longer bound by tradition or necessarily even expectations. I refer to a couple I know who set the time and place of the ceremony, booked their celebrant and took care of the paperwork, and then sorted it all out on the day. This involved a quick outfit pick, a trip to the florists, and as they recounted, a kind of mad run to the location (which was in a public space) to make their vows, and then a party afterwards.
That’s maybe an extreme example, but they were people who weren’t interested in the stress or cost of planning, and completely willing to let whatever happened on the day be the wedding day itself.
Make the Guest List Reflect the Wedding
Okay, so here’s where it gets tricky, I know. “But if I invite x, I have to invite y too”. And the plus ones! Nobody will want to show up alone to a wedding. That’s just – sad? Breaking the mould? Being a badass?
Let’s assume nobody wants to show up alone. First, think about who you really want to be there – not out of obligation, but who you really want to be there. Then, how many plus ones you might have to figure in for that list only. Then think about the size of the wedding you want. Think about the feeling of the wedding you want. Do you need to add to that list? Or is it perfect the way it is?
This is a tricky thing to negotiate. For a lot of families, weddings are the only opportunity they have to get together. So you’ll be easily tempted to invite your distant aunts, uncles, or cousins; people who might not feature predominantly in your lives but who you’d like to bring together nonetheless.
I think if a big wedding is on the cards for you, then this is fine. But if you’re planning something smaller, then you might need to get a bit ruthless with your guest list. You might also need to figure out a way to break it to those family members who otherwise might be expecting invitations. You could do it non-confrontationally – by having a parent or other relative let them know. You could send them a little token in the post if necessary.
Moral of the story: your wedding is about you, so surround yourself with those you truly want around to witness it on the day.
Don’t be Afraid to be Original
Breaking expectations can be difficult. In high-stakes events like weddings, people are often tempted to do things a particular way because they think that is what people will expect. But letting others’ expectations dictate how you plan your wedding can often dull your own enjoyment of the day.
Are you vegetarian? Have a vegetarian menu. Do you want to say your vows on top of a horse? Giddy up. Do you want to feature a bungee jump in the ceremony? Jump. Can’t be arsed planning a wedding? Elope now, apologise later.
People overall enjoy things more when their expectations are broken and they’re presented with something they might not have anticipated. Sure, we all like to be comfortable, but your wedding day is an exceptional event, so make it feel that way for you. The more your personalities come out in the ceremony, the more enjoyable it will be for yourselves and the people who love you.
So there you have it! A quick mind-frame check, and you’re well on your way to planning your perfect day.
Break a leg!