There seem to be two predominate ways of dealing with one’s family during the wedding planning process that you hear about on the web or in wedding magazines. One, I’ll call the traditional approach, which seems to be, very loosely stated: Dad pays, Mom helps you plan each little detail, and the wedding is very traditional and proper so that no ones friends or family are at all shocked. Two, I’ll call the indie approach, again loosely stated: the bride and the groom pay, the parents don’t have very much input, the wedding is non-traditional and a beautiful reflection of the bride and the groom.
Both of these approaches sound fine. In fact, many days I wish we were planning one of these ways because they sound sound so straightforward! But, neither idea comes anywhere close to what our wedding planning experience has been like. David and I are doing most of the planning for our wedding, we’re working hard to make it a clear reflection of who we are as a couple, and in many ways it is not terribly traditional. That said, we’re both close to our families, and we know that our wedding day is important to them too. Each time we make a decision, we run it by our parents. They are not pushy, so as a result, if they express concern over something, we listen to them, and see what adjustments we can make. This kind of wedding planning involves lots of compromise from everyone. In a sense, no one person is going to get their dream wedding, but we’re creating something real and messy and complicated, just like a marriage.
Sometimes I wish we could just make every decision on our own. Our wedding would be somewhat different if we did it that way, probably smaller and more informal. But that wouldn’t reflect our parents wishes or really include our extended families, and in the end that wouldn’t feel quite right to us. On the other hand, there are days that I wish someone else were paying for and planning the whole day, and I could just sit back and not worry too much. “I’d like the bridesmaids dresses to be dark blue,” I’d say in this fantasy, “not light blue. But everything else looks great. Carry on!”
I don’t understand why there is so little discussion of this middle ground of (indie) wedding planning. Is it just too complicated to talk about, or too boring? Is anyone else trying to have their cake and eat it too – planning a wedding that is a reflection of both who they are and who their families are, with everyone helping out and paying a bit?
A big happy indie wedding family, via coach_stacy on Flickr