When Amanda wrote me about her gorgeous picnic wedding, she said that she had felt that with her budget she felt a little betwixt and between. She felt judged by the lavish over the top brides for spending “so little,” and judged by the super-budget wedding crowd because they spent “so much.” This really hit home with me. We have a wedding with a very similar budget, and live in a urban area where everything is staggeringly expensive, and weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events. I can’t even talk about my wedding in many social situations in the city, because when people find out that we are trying to keep things small and simple they either flat out don’t believe me, laugh at me for being “naive,” or look at me with a mixture of scorn and pity and change the subject. But as someone who writes about and promotes small and simple weddings, sometimes I feel like I’m not meeting other peoples standards for a practical wedding.
To be clear, I’m not very dogmatic about weddings. If having a $5 million fireworks display after your first dance works for you, and you can afford it (and think it is in good taste) I raise my eyebrows at you but you may carry on. There are many, many, resources for you, so I’m not too worried. But for the rest of us… I thought we all needed a place to chat, and a place to feel good about our weddings. My site, though, is not “A Super-Budget Wedding” (much as I love-love them), it’s a practical wedding, and practical is in the eye of the beholder. For us, over here, we work all-the-d*mn-time. There are decisions that we make about weddings by picking what is going to take the least time, and give us the most bang for our buck. It’s not always the cheapest option, but it’s the option that keeps us sane. And TRUST me when I tell you that keeping sane is a #1 priority for me. As much as I love the idea of self-catering, it’s just not practical for us, and we’re hiring a caterer. I love weddings where the groom gets his suit at a thrift store, but David wears suits to work, so he’s wearing a (new, his preference) brand name suit. Why not? He’ll wear it for years.
Which brings me to my point: Why is every level of wedding planning fraught with so much judgment (perceived or real) and so much guilt? As a bride, there are days that I simultaneously feel guilty for not inviting more people to the wedding and not inviting less people to the wedding, for not spending more on my dress and for not spending less on my dress. The wedding world often leaves us between a rock and a hard place, feeling alone, and searching for options.
I started writing this blog to help myself feel less alone in the wedding planning process, and as it has grown, the best thing that has come out of it is watching a small community emerge of practical brides and grooms holding hands a bit for balance as they try to find their own way. So lets all keep holding hands, and remember, the grass is not actually greener at someone else’s wedding.
Do you feel betwixt and between planning your wedding? Maybe for you it’s not your budget, but something totally different.
I love this photo of a bride taking a deep breath, by the fantastic Anna Kuperberg