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Betwixt and Between Brides (and grooms)


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Betwixt and Between Brides (and grooms) | A Practical WeddingWhen 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

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08874676560947245170 Rebecca Gomes

    This is my first time commenting, but I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, and almost every post has hit home for me, today’s in particular. I definitely feel torn between trying to accommodate my fiance’s large family and my itty bitty one, and not forgoing things like a special night out to get thai food, just to save for the wedding, or going into even more debt to trying to compete something amazing I’ve seen on TV or read about in a blog. Even within my own bridal party, being given a hard time about our choice of black cocktail dresses to try to be a little bit more practical, is seen by one bridesmaid as so dour and funeral-like. But then I read your blog, and all that guilt just seems to melt away, because I’m not the only one out there that can’t please everyone when it comes to our wedding, and is ok with that idea. Remember you’re not alone, there are lots of us out there, even if it took some of us a couple months to speak up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00882142088145706596 Lee

    Thank you! I’ve felt this way often while planning our wedding. I’ve worried about our budget, and about how much we are doing ourselves versus hiring people to help. Ideally, we could do everything ourselves, but practically, we need to stay sane and have some help so we can enjoy the day. I know this, but still, I have felt guilty about it. As I get closer to the wedding date I’m worrying less about it, and I’m feeling good about the choices we made.

  • http://lovestained.wordpress.com Jeni from Kansas

    I’ve actually been having struggles with people believing that I am capable of pulling this off with an $8000 budget. Living in the most expensive part of Kansas where the average wedding is $50K, it is difficult but doable. Also, being 25 years old, friends of the family who are event coordinators want to “look over” everything before I make any firm decisions to make sure it’s “right.” Who’s “right” are we talking about here?? I want lavender and lemongrass herbs in a re-used vase from the thrift store as my center piece, with maybe an addition of bamboo if money affords it…everyone says to me “oh that’s unique.” I know what “unique” means in this conversation…weird…everyone thinks we’re weird!! Grr it’s exhausting feeling like after I’ve had a conversation where I’m super-excited about our plans someone looks down upon it. And I still have 20 months before my wedding is actually here…coping is going to be a struggle for me I can feel it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12815223685274258891 Jessica @ budgetsavvybride

    There is so much pressure involved when you try to make everyone happy. Realizing you can’t make everyone happy is a relief- but at the same time the judgement of others just doesn’t help at all. I know I’m guilty of it, judging others for spending so much money on things that ultimately don’t matter- but it’s really hurtful. I know how hurtful it is to me to feel judged for not having an opulent affair so I think I, personally, need to be more careful in judging those on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s just hard… maybe it’s because sometimes I wish I could afford to do something spectacular. But in the end, I know our day will be wonderful because it’s ours, and there will never be another exactly like it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04085438438743671736 Sarah

    Thank you for posting this. I am a bride in DC, a very expensive city to get married in (and where weddings are lavish). I also have a lot of people “feel pity” for me when I chose the cheaper knock-off dress, or tell them I’m not having an open bar. But at the same time, I’m spending a lot more than I think is right and certainly more than if I’d gotten married in my Ohio hometown. It’s very difficult! I appreciate knowing others are going through the same thing

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13828739368190632319 K_Streams_Her_C

    Amen… We’re going to have a very nice wedding come October 4 but we did many things practically. I am proud of what the wedding will be like and unashamed of some of the less-than-traditional choices we made (digitally printed invitations, a platter instead of a guest book, having my aunt handle the flowers gratis, etc.). Write on!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14535294734806203455 Nicole

    I discovered this blog about a month ago while researching wedding dresses, and so much of what has been written here really hits home for me. I too have had my bridesmaids look down their noses at my choice of a black cocktail dress, and my preference not to have a bridal shower (I don’t need two gifts from each of my girlfriends!) But I’ve also had my super-practical mother ask me why I need to register because (in her words) “what on earth do I still need?” (I’m in my early thirties) and my even more practical grandmother ask me if I was going to wear a bridal gown? I have to keep reminding my self that at the end of the day it’s really about what my fiance and I value and what we want. No one else can decide that for us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    Great post. This is exactly why I love your blog and why I linked to the practical bride contest when I defined myself on my own blog as a practical bride. We’re doing everything we can to pull this in under ÂŁ4000 (currently about $7000 although just a couple of weeks ago that was more like $8000) which is a very small amount locally, but of course we’re still buying dinner for 50 people and having a party with a further 80 out of that… so we sit somewhere in between the indies and the crazies (no offence anyone, it just sounded right!) and I feel right at home here :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05955067991628905693 Bookbag

    I love your blog! I feel this way all the time. It’s been particularly intense lately because my wedding only three weeks away. (!) I’ve had to cut myself off entirely from the Knot boards (the website itself I gave up on long ago) because there were too many judgmental comments. I mean, who really using the word “trashy” to describe someone else’s wedding plans? And that was to a query posed about buffets vs. seated dinners. But your blog has helped so, so much because I’ve finally found a group of brides also trying to follow the “middle way.”

  • Becky

    I’ve been reading wedding blogs since March of this year and I have to say this has been the most meaningful and honest piece. Reading blogs has proved very helpful at times and to be honest has made me quite envious at other times. FI and I agreed not to ask our parents for any money. I consider myself a fairly creative person and have to be as part of my job but the amount of ideas out there and costly items is overwhelming-every dime of the budget is spoken for so we can’t afford a coordinator and probably not even a DOC and there are times that I just want to scream and pull my hair out. The budget may be stressful and a challenge but I remind myself that squeezing out any more out of our wallets for this would be better served for us to make the last needed repairs in our condo so we can get into a house which is on our minds more these days than the wedding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06158451573791996499 Shanee

    This was a good post. We kept our wedding very small and didn’t even use real flowers and people were just up in arms about our choices. But thing is we paid with our money.

    And now that we are expecting a baby. Well let’s just the comments didn’t stop with the wedding.

    I just tell people, be strong and make sure you think about everything. In the end how happy will you be?

  • B

    OMG – you nailed it right on the head! There’s the unspoken “standard” within the family circle after watching so many people get married. When I explain that we’re foregoing tradition and doing it our own way (practically, not necessarily cheaply), I get the equivalent of a pat on the head and a “Oh, that’s nice, dear.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03450581887718082271 k_darling

    This post had the perfect sentiment. My fiance and I are doing a city hall ceremony and then following with a cocktail party for our families and a few close friends (which still brings the headcount to about 45 people). I am wearing a simple cocktail dress, him, a suit. There is no registry, no showers, no wedding cake, no formal rehersal dinner and no wedding party. The one thing that we are spending quite a bit of money on is butlered hors d’oeuvres because we feel that if we ask people to fly to NYC for a four-hour cocktail party, the least we could do would be to feed them really good food.

    The responses we’ve gotten to what we’re choosing have covered the spectrum from horror to happiness. Thank you for letting me see that there are plenty of others in the same boat.

  • Heather

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a practical-minded girl who is planning a wedding and I have to say, there is so much to balance, it really does take A LOT of effort to come to terms with what is right for you vs. what everyone else thinks should be right for you. It has become such a valuable experience for me to seek out like-minded brides online to verify my own belief that there has to be another way to do this. That is where you have come in! It is a relief to know that common sense doesn’t have to be thrown out the window when it comes to these things. I need there to be meaning and beauty in this day for my groom and I, and I guess I will only hope that everyone else can share in our view of it all. If they know us well enough, they should be able to ‘get it’. If they are there to judge, then that is what they will do no matter what. Sigh. Regardless of it all, I feel no fear of these folks who come to judge. I’m so happy to be marrying this man that they cannot touch me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00337346522730672146 Hilary

    Very nice post. I think we often focus too much on the budget and not the end result. I would say I have a “medium” budget, but in my city it has gone very far. I sometimes feel guilty that I haven’t DIY’ed every aspect of my wedding. But for me, using my time in that way does not make sense, when I could do more work with that time.
    As an economist, I often feel that supporting a local, family owned business or local farmer is more important than DIYing things. I think the most “practical” part of my wedding is that I have managed to support a wide range of small businesses, farmers, and artists.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10567306554165246459 Rebecca Green

    Hallelujah! I hear you. Our budget for our Boston wedding is hovering in the $16k range, which definitely puts us in the “pity from both angles” range. I just think it’s the same issue that comes up with engagement rings — people are comparing their relationship to other relationships and trying to somehow assert that theirs is better, more unique, or likely to last forever. But those types of things aren’t quantifiable so people revert to the next thing that they can use to compare themselves — their budget savvy or extravagence.
    I love your blog because it doesn’t try to preach “less is more,” but asserts the principle that we’re all different and have different ideas of what is practical. There’s no yardstick on your blog about what’s better or worse. We wouldn’t dream of catering our own wedding or potlucking it. But that doesn’t make us impractical; It just means that we can weigh our options and make informed choices!

  • http://budgetbeautiful.wordpress.com/ budgetbeautiful

    I’ve been having a similar problem lately. My original plan had been to get married in a local park and cater most everything ourselves. When that vendor proved to be a flake, I looked elsewhere, and the leading contender is more than what we were looking to spend (but still doable) and we would have to use their list of approved caterers, which bums me out a bit.

    I would love to get married for very little, but I’m also realistic. I live in DC, but I’m from Baltimore and we will likely get married there as prices are a tiny bit more reasonable. Luckily our parents are willing to help us, and neither set is pushy.

    We still probably will end up spending a bit more than we’d planned, but still a lot less than most weddings these days. It’s frustrating when you have an idea of the wedding you want, and then when you realize how much that’s going to cost you. I hope that we will be able to find a meeting point where budget can meet expectations.

  • caribqueen

    THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! Today and yesterday I have been feeling completely beat down about the whole wedding process, and I have just started (I got engaged in August).I don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money, and I don’t want others to spend a ridiculous amount of money to see me get married. FI is ridiculously busy at work right now and while I don’t expect him to make every decision with me (he has said he trusts my judgment), we still need to make a decision on a venue. We live in NYC (where I grew up), and will most likely have the wedding there. New York like SF is not cheap, so I won’t reiterate that. I look at all of what people have done here on other sites. I’m not crafty. I don’t do craft projects. I’m not interested in craft projects. I don’t feel creative and I don’t think I have the time. I have a demanding job with demanding hours, and I actually want to do something on the weekends that may not be wedding related. While I don’t want to have everything that the bridal magazines tell me I should like, I do want what little we will do to be nice. I’m not flashy or gaudy, but I do like chic things with a sense of style. I feel very caught between the “I only spent $500 on my wedding and made my own dress” and the “If you don’t have every detail ever created your wedding will not be unique.” That’s why I enjoy your blog.

    I think the reason we care so much is that a wedding is such a public and communal/community thing. I try to remind myself that regardless of what people will think about the money I spend or do not spend that they will respect me and FI’s decision to be life partners and committed to each other. Let’s hope I keep this up!
    Thanks again for your blog. You are doing many of us a service.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06841723487254421932 Sharpiegirl

    Your blog has been such an inspiration to me!!! I am going to be an older bride (I’m 41) but I WANT A WEDDING!!! The first marraige 20 years ago ended with the (then) husband being abusive. So it’s taken me a while to find a “worthy” partner.
    NOW that I’ve found him I want a wedding to celebrate starting a wonderful new life with a VERY GOOD man and even though I’m not OFFICIALLY engaged yet (The boyfriend and I have decided on getting married next spring/summer but I told him he still has to propose.)I am trying to get the basic framework of the plans figured out.
    I feel like I’m taking a college course with all of the research it requires to figure out ways to pull off a wedding that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg and isn’t toooo weddingy.
    I’ve narrowed down our basic color theme (navy, cream and touches of gold)I’ve been buying up thank you card and other stationary that I find dirt cheap, I found napkins with each of our initals, picked up some AMAZING mercury glass bowls for table decoration for $4 each (I can just see a single bloom floating in the bowl with votives surrounding it with rose petals scattered around it all…~sigh~ OK, yeah I’ve lost my mind and gone over to the DARK SIDE! H’YUK!~)and now I’m looking for old lace tablecloths at garage sales.
    Every time I find a good idea I email a copy of it my best friend and myself so when we get closer she can help me wade through what I’ve like to make it come together in a logical way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18134825296733633815 October12

    We know exeactly where you are coming from. Sometimes, we do feel a bit betwixt and between. This my (the bride’s) second marriage and darling boy’s first. He’s eight years older than I am and an only child. I put a lot of pressure on myself to ensure that our day lives up to his former nun of a mother’s (I’m not joking) expectations. All we really want is a dressed-up version of the parties we throw every year, with those we love there to witness some very important words being spoken.
    Thanks for being here, Meg, it helps keep us all sane.

  • Anonymous

    your blog is so re-freshing and so TRUE!!! i love reading it everyday. Thank you for typing what i’m thinking!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11428554394228794484 Jennifer

    I was just saying to Fi last night that I want to put a blanket statement on our programs that reads: Our decisions are a reflection of us. They are not an assault on your sensibilities or taste. This is our celebration of commitment. This day is not to be held against days before this or after, this day is unique to us.

  • http://momentsofyes.wordpress.com/ momentsofyes

    This really resonates with me – we’re looking at a budget between $10k and $15k – and I was really feeling the not-indie-enough, not-fancy-enough crunch.

    My dad has asked that there be “no conspicuous excess” and I think that that is a really great way to approach it. We’ll splurge on a few things, but not to the point of excess. We all just have to decide where that limit is for us and our individual circumstances.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07377831013971667963 Shannon

    I love your blog. I wish it was around when I got married. I found the most difficult part of my wedding was having the wedding of my dreams which my parent’s wanted to throw for me (and could afford to) without putting out my husband’s family who frankly would feel out of place in anything other than shorts and tee shirts. I went middle of the road: I avoided anything that would make the day too ornate, let my parents serve steak, lobster, and crab and provide a full open bar, but kept the details simple, my attitude relaxed, and prepared myself to not balk when his family really did show up in shorts and tee shirts.

    This wasn’t the perfect solution, but I made certain to not let personalities or economic classes impact my attitude or enjoyment of our special day.

  • p.

    I too have found myself struggling to find a happy medium when planning our wedding. My goal for our wedding was that it should be low stress and also shouldn’t cost a bundle, but there are many times when it seems impossible to have both. For example, we are about to commit to a location that is low stress for us (they will take care of many of the little details we don’t want to bother with) and happily, it is also a place that really feels right to us — and yet it costs than I expected to pay for a location. Although we could cut down the site fee by going to a local park, the trade off is that it would require much more work on our part. Sigh.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09086142807086386230 Mrs. Andi

    I, along with the above, really appreciate this post. I made a similar post on my blog & I'm not even engaged yet! I read it over & thought, "OMG, I'm already feeling guilty & there is nothing to plan for!!"

    I know my wedding will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. I want what I've dreamed about since I was 7. My tastes have changed since then, but the core still remains. I know parts of it will be a bit extravagant (flowers perhaps) & parts will be more practical (my brother in law as our DJ with an ipod). Because I'm not 100% one way or the other, I feel torn with wanting to go with the things that I like & will appreciate.

    I'm sorry, as much as I love budget, environmental, self-sustaining weddings, mine probably won't be one of those. I love reading about them, picking up ideas here & there, but I plan to have what I want & not feel guilty if I choose throw-away plates as opposed to organic ones.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09710674849677746660 a simple realist.

    i know!
    i totally feel ya :)

    i love reading budget blogs
    but sometimes i feel like they are boasting about the lack of money they spent.

    one blog stated that to have a budget wedding, she fought hard with her parents to skim and cut the guest lists. which i understand completely. but then she stated that it was “bride and groom’s special day. we have to put the foot down.” and went on to say budget weddings are only acceptable with small guest lists.

    i plan to have a bigger wedding because i have to. my asian tradition and background makes me. plus i have a lot of family members. and friends.

    i’m gonna have a budget wedding to the best of my ability, but with all the ppl i want to invite too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04170195731907154796 jen

    thank you for your post. in my world, it is hip to be budget conscious and green, to brag about how much money you didn’t spend than how much you did. In addition, this is my second marriage after a very brief marriage in my early twenties. My fiance has never been married and really values some of the traditional aspects of a wedding (bridal party, wearing traditinal gown, inviting a large group), and I really struggle with guilt and embarassment over planning a 2nd wedding. We are paying for it ourselves and it will come in at about $8,000 but my choice of renting a photo booth (at $500) certainly raised some eyebrows. And there are some people who want to throw me a shower, and others who think that’s terribly inappropriate since I’ve already done this once- you can never please everyone!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16281742388103765239 starrykick

    Hi Meg. I read your blog every day, and this is my first time commenting. I so enjoy your posts for all the reasons the previous commenters have noted. I also feel caught between guilt for not doing every little detail myself (which many people label as “more meaningful” though I’m really not sure why, since “meaningful” is or should be a relative term) and guilt for not being fancier, or more traditional, or more chic. And, like at least one other commenter, I am not a crafty person. I often wish I were, but then I remember all the other things I care about and spend significant amounts of time doing, and I think: I can’t be good at everything. This is an important statement to me because I think this whole conversation is actually about the much larger issue of women and our responsibilities and priorities, and how we see each other. Most of us have to work, and we want to have a comfortable, interesting, loving life at home as well. There’s this myth out there, running rampant, that if you really try hard you can “do it all”–be great at your job, a wonderful girlfriend/fiancee/wife, stay in touch culturally and intellectually, and still throw a great dinner party (maybe even for cheap!). I’m all for having something to aspire to, but the pressure to be all these things at once seems, to me, to weigh much more heavily on women than it does on men in America today, and of course it only increases when kids enter the mix. The wedding as cultural event seems to represent all these things–unless you’re wealthy enough to work with a wedding planner, you must literally do it all, and many people seem to think that the way you do it says something about the kind of person you are. The judgments attached to weddings are mostly happening between and among women, and while many are supportive of each other, I think it’s clear from these comments alone that many are not. No one is harder on women than other women, for reasons that I have never quite understood, and sometimes I am certainly guilty of judging other women unfairly, based on my own ideas of right and wrong. Personally, as my own wedding planning unfolds I’m trying to cut myself some slack—I feel the pressure to do it all, but that will only make me sad, and tired, and feel inadequate. The balance is different for everyone, but I can’t help but feel that if women would give each other a break a little more often, we might not have to worry about coming up short quite so often. So that’s what I have to say about the gendered aspect of this conversation. Sorry for being so long-winded!

    I’ll say one more thing: I teach writing at a large public university. A lot of teaching writing is about teaching argument—everything’s an argument, from what we should spend money on to what color tablecloth to choose. In making each decision we weigh evidence that we feel (logically or illogically) justifies our actions. In teaching argument to my students, the biggest hurdle is helping them feel like they can disagree with each other—sometimes very strongly. The word “argument” sounds mean for some reason, when in fact it doesn’t have to be. This kind of debate is essential to a free-thinking society—we have to argue with each other to figure out how we feel about things, and doing so presents aspects of the argument that we may not have considered. So I really hope that this conversation happening in the wedding blogosphere doesn’t shy away from arguing, and also that the arguing doesn’t bruise any feelings. It’s healthy, and its necessary, and you’ve provided a really great forum for it here. Cheers!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13995628203783895353 Rose

    Thank you for this post and this blog in general. We are having a practical wedding, but lately I feel like my wedding won’t be indie enough for all of my friends or traditional enough for all of my family. I never realized this would be so stressful. I love finding your words of reason here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10648725099262152263 AmyJean {Relentless Bride}

    I love your “practical is in the eye of the beholder!” That is so true. And what is considered practical is relative, but i love your non judgmental attitude and your willingness to relate to all the brides out there… a rock and a hard place. I definitely understand that one! Bravo for hitting that point right on the head!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18209533406055486161 Rachel

    Hi Meg,
    I think many of the problems of “judgements” come in because a wedding is such a PERSONAL and important time. Everyone has something to add or comment on, and everyone thinks that THEIR WAY is the best way…
    While many judgements can be cruel or unkind, I think many are actually made/said because the person saying them actually CARES. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t judge.

    It’s hard, because like you I’ve felt stress because maybe I should have bought a less expensive dress, but in the end all that will matter is that we’re married. And it will be nice. And it will be pretty. Maybe not perfect, or exactly like somebody else would have imagined, but that’s okay.

    I have loved your blog since it started, and I love this feeling of community.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03021533905165085758 Nicole

    Yes, yes and yes. As always, you are so practically similar to so many of us out there. Thank you for this blog!

  • Anonymous

    Oh my God, yes. I am continually feeling torn between my traditional, slightly extravagant family and my fiance’s thrifty, kind of clueless one; between my love of all things quirky and indie and my desire to do something chic and stylish; between my practical side that wonders why we’re not just going to the courthouse and my romantic side that wants to elope to Venice in a fabulous gown.

    We’re not traditional enough for the princess crowd, and we’re too traditional for the offbeat crowd, so a lot of times it feels like no one wins and it would be a lot easier to just pick one or the other and run with it. I have changed my mind a million times on every single wedding related decision, and I’ve finally reached the point where the wedding is so close that I don’t have time to do anything but sit back and be happy with the choices we’ve made. Surprisingly, this is the most calm I’ve felt in the entire engagement period…

  • Ellen

    Everyday when I read your blog, I feel so much better. When I got engaged I thought that the Knot was the only way to go about things. But, as I got farther into my planning I realized that none of it is about the relationship and marriage, it’s all so superficial and meaningless. You have shown me that there are people out there that care more about making the commitment to each other than having custom made tablecloths. Thank you so much, I don’t know if you realize how much this blog means to people, but reading through the comments, it is clear that it means as much to others as it does to me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13172171307975281911 Kate

    This post hit home for me as well, as do so many of your posts. I’m between the folks who think my budget is an atrocious amount to spend on ‘just one day’, and the folks who think why not splurge, it’s ‘your special day’. My guest list is enormous to some people and probably too many for me to really spend time with each person, but I wish I could have invited more of my second cousins and cousins once removed. For every former-bridesmaid that hears I’m asking my attendants to just wear a little black dress and celebrates that choice, there’s a mother who thinks a mismatched wedding party is going to look too helter skelter. Some people love the little details I’m doing to make my guests more comfortable (OOT bags, dancing shoe basket, restroom baskets), others think it’s ridiculous that I’m so obsessed over minutia.

    It’s a great comfort to know that almost every bride goes through the same conflict. We’re all betwixt and between. We all care too much about the wedding, and yet not enough.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04037149776295538363 Modern Nomad

    I’ll keep it short and sweet, but I really feel the need to thank you for this and so many other posts. Really, it’s a bit scary sometimes because I feel that you are somehow channeling my thoughts. Your blog is amazing and I hope you continue this public service to all past, present and future practical brides!

  • Anonymous

    Love the post. Love the blog. Sure, me and the boy have felt betwixt and between. One day we want a low-impact wedding, the next I’m wigging out over whether or not we should do a seating chart with placecards, or have people seat themselves like they would on a Southwest flight.

    As for the words “Practical Wedding”, to me, they mean JUST that: a wedding that is by its very nature and to the core: PRACTICAL. i.e, sensible, down-to-earth, realistic, un-assuming…
    To me, having a practical wedding is not what the bride and groom perceive to be practical, but what the actual event ends up portraying in reality.

    Sure, what’s practical for one is not for another. But such a vague label makes it easy for EVERYONE to call their wedding practical.

    I guess I think the term just needs to be more black and white. Becasue 275 people, letterpress invites, towering florals, an intricately designed cake, 10 bridesmaids, chocolate fountain, candy buffet and Red Cheese photobooth does NOT a practical wedding make. At least not in my book.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you.
    We are also going for sanity, not going into debt for a party, and having a pleasant time. I am applying for residency and finishing medical school and my fiance is working full-time and attending law school at night. Our lives are significantly crazy as it is, and when you add the stress of my mom’s and his mom’s “dream wedding”, I’m about to pull my hair out. I get no end of flack from the two of them and every female in both family/friends group. Thankfully, I have a very supportive, excited matron of honor who may not like everything I pick out but always says “it’s your wedding, you should do what you want and what you think is best”.
    I can’t express how guilty I feel for getting a caterer after reading about “a $2000 wedding” and how guilty I feel when my mom asks why we aren’t inviting another 50 ppl she’s friends with. Then there’s the sneers and disgust when I mention that I’m doing the flowers myself or that I found my dress on craigslist. I thought one of my fiance’s friends was going to hit me when I mentioned we were thinking about using an ipod/computer playlist b/c bands are expensive and DJs can be hit or miss. She was outraged that we were skimping on music to invest in better photography – absolutely no respect for our choices being different from her’s (she and her fiance really like to party, photography is a hobby fiance and I share). Thank you for providing a place for ppl who aren’t doing EVERYTHING themselves with only a pair of scissors and a glue gun but who also think a party (even for an important commitment) shouldn’t keep you from buying a house or paying off school loans.

  • Anonymous

    Holy cow. Thank you. I needed this post. I can't express how frustrating it's been to feel between those two poles of going budget or bonanza on our wedding. And with everything, it's a blessing and a curse to be perusing all these blogs or magazines when it comes to the wedding universe. I keep reminding myself that I have two goals in mind: get hitched & celebrate with my friends and family. Those are the goals…I should have them stitched to my wrist so it'll remind me & the world what is important about a wedding day.

  • Anonymous

    *big sigh of relief*
    thank you.
    this site/this blog has been my saving grace since I started planning my wedding 2 months ago.

    keep on keeping on.

  • Anonymous

    Thank-you ;-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11448257097008782861 hwong14

    I’m totally there. I wanted the bridesmaids to get as much choice as possible in their dresses, so I said, “Here’s an [inexpensive] designer with this particular color. Pick any of the dresses!” In return, I get, “But long dresses don’t look good next to short. … The satin and chiffon in the same color look slightly different. … Are you sure you don’t want to just tell us what to wear?” I keep responding with, “I don’t care,” [meaning, I’m easy-going and accommodating and don’t NEED everything to be matchy-matchy] and people don’t like it.

    I find a salon that’s open on a Sunday, so we don’t have to pay a salon to open up especially for us, and one of my bridesmaids’ attitudes goes from, “Oh, will there be a place we can get our hair done?” to, “Well, I mean, if you don’t mind if we have our hair down, maybe I’ll just wear my hair down instead of getting an updo” once she realizes that the salon I’ve named is of the discount chain variety. No, I don’t care if her hair is up or down, but I do hate being judged for trying to find a practical alternative to making people pay $100 to get their hair done on a Sunday! ARGH!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08814173541770616670 Polka Dot Bride

    Ah i love this post! It’s glorious in that you put into words it all so clearly!

    I wish there wasn’t so much judgment, so much competitiveness amongst brides. I like the wedding blog community though and I hope it brings to life that there is no need for it.

    Love your blog as always.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08511117741320344532 Julia

    hi! I LOVE your blog I find myself nodding in agreement with every post!
    I am definitely an in-between budget bride, and am finding some of the blogs out there to be really frustrating as a result. I'm not a cool enough anti-bride for the indies, but the budget isn't big enough for some of the more hard-core brides!! you hit it on the head- each wedding should suit the budget, expectations, and desires or the B&G;, and no-one else has right to comment – and, most importantly, budget does NOT = sincerity (or lack thereof) as insinuated by more than one blog. My sisters wedding was the happiest day of my life – every guest had an amazing day and boogied the night away after an awesome meal, and you know what? I don't feel the need to say how much it cost (not least because its not for me to share!!) but because it DOESN'T MATTER – the fact they hired a florist doesn't make the day a farce!!
    People just need to chill out and do what's right for them, without passing judgement on others – and your blog is a shining example of a great blogging attitude! keep up the good work!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09091707667363139178 erinmaureen

    thank you for putting everything i’ve been feeling lately into an awesome blog post. either everything isn’t fancy or perfect enough for my parent’s only child, and only daughter’s wedding, or its not thrifty and DIY enough for my own thrift store tastes. I am trying to find a common ground between the lavish wedding my parents want (and I thank them for the ‘practical’ budget they are giving us) and the laid back ‘no one cares about favors or chiavari chairs’ wedding my fiance and i want. its a tough to incorporate all the ideas you want, your family wants, and society wants, while remaining true to your own self. But blogs like yours are helping us ‘betwixt and between’ gals find a common ground, and that is the day we are planning to be joined with the one we love forever. I wish i could run to city hall tomorrow!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05750659066802561501 Erika

    Thank you, Meg! I am getting married on Saturday, and your blog has kept me sane the last two months. In fact, I had to delete my other wedding blog feeds because they were driving me nuts–either too perfect or too preachy! Yours is the last blog standing. We’re having a “betwixt and between” wedding with a catered buffet and professional photography, and DIY flowers and friends bartending.
    The big change in my outlook came when I stopped feeling like I wasn’t having a “real” wedding. Now at the end of this process, I realize that I am indeed having a real wedding, I am having the wedding that feels the most “real” to me and my fiance. We went to two fancier and more traditional weddings this summer–both of close friends of mine–and these two people are thrilled to do a volunteer bartending shift at our wedding. After reading some of the comments here, I feel very lucky that our friends and family have generally accepted our wedding for what it is, even if it doesn’t fit all of their expectations.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03946798903591192470 Becky (rksquared)

    So, I’m a little late reading this (catching up on posts after my wedding), and I’m certainly not the only one to relate to this post.

    My biggest “betwixt and between” feeling was not around buget, per se (although I relate to that, too), but around the number of guests we invited to our wedding. I feel (because of posts I’ve read) that many couples who decide to have small(er) weddings are convinced that all big weddings are due to pressure from one or both sets of parents.

    My husband and I are lucky to have parents who have not only supported us in our relationship, but supported us throughout our wedding planning, as well. We had 280+ guests on our list with about 210 guests in attendance at our wedding. Many of these guests were extended family and friends of our parents (and grandparents) that we were more than happy to invite. Some of these people, we didn’t know well, and in a few cases, not at all.

    Could we have saved money by not inviting these guests? Sure. To us our wedding was not just about us, the couple, but also about the families involved. I was thrilled that our parents wanted to celebrate this occasion with their friends…why shouldn’t they? I could only hope that our wedding day was just as much a joyful day for them as it was for us. Again, I say that we were happy to invite these people…and post wedding, my opinion hasn’t changed.

  • Tree

    This is definitely how we felt. Even though i've been an avid reader for awhile now, I wish I had seen this post before our wedding. I think it would have helped center me between the country-mouse versus city mouse expectations with our families. Very well said, Meg. :)

  • A+B

    I just bookmarked this post, and if necessary, I will re-read it every day over the next year. I feel so much right now like a pendulum, swinging between those who think a $10,000 budget is a ridiculous extravagance, and those who think it’s a joke that won’t even cover the cost of the venue.
    Our wedding is our wedding, and it will be a celebration of the life we have built/are building together. And because we are not quite any other couple, our wedding is not quite any other wedding. And this is ok.
    Thank you, Meg, for reiterating this truth.