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Wedding Liberation Philosophy


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Dear Internets-
What is it about weddings that collectively ties our knickers in such a knot? Ideas? Because for-serious, the process of getting married subjects one to more bossing around then the rest of life combined (with the notable exception of having a baby). Make it bigger! Make in smaller! Real Brides do it this way! Etcetera.
So, I have decided that the world is ready for the launch of a new idea. I call it Wedding Liberation Philosophy, and it goes like this: leave us well enough alone, stop making us feel guilty for this or that, and let us throw a nice sensible wedding that makes us feel happy inside. Full stop.
Somehow, in our mad rush away from the bossing of the wedding industry, I fear that we stumbled into the trap of bossing ourselves around. We’ve gotten stuck between a rock and a hard place. The wedding industry tells us, “If you don’t serve tri-tip, don’t bother having a wedding,” and we tell ourselves, “If you don’t self cater you’ve sold out.” The wedding industry yammers, “Vera Wang! Amsale! Monique Lhuillier!” and we tell ourselves, “Practical brides make their dresses. What’s wrong with me?” The wedding industry screams “Kate Spade! Christian Louboutin! Milano Blahnik!” and we ask ourselves “If I don’t get married in Payless shoes, what will that say about me?”

Sound familiar?

I am of course not suggesting that we all drop our practical plans and run out and arrange to serve tri-tip, wear Vera Wang, and buy Christian Louboutin’s. Ick. But I am suggesting that we all remind ourselves that the point of getting married in the first place it to make ourselves and our loved ones very happy, and then resolve to be kinder to ourselves. Wedding Liberation Philosophy is this: every wedding is different, every couple is different, ever family is different. Within sensible boundaries, do what makes you happy, not what people tell you should make you happy.
I’ve written about two low-budget weddings (this lovely forest fete and tomorrows wedding) where the brides saved money on the side and bought lower cost Vera Wang’s. Is that what a budget wedding checklist would tell you to do? No. Did it make them happy? Yes! Do I think it’s awesome that they knew themselves well enough to figure out what the heck would make their wedding sing, and they did it? Yes!
I for one am tired of sitting up at night wondering if hiring someone to style my impossible hair on my wedding day would make me a sellout. I’m tired of wondering what people would *think* if I wore expensive shoes that I bought on sale. All of this worrying and nonsense makes me just as tired as wondering if people will think we are cheap because we arranged the flowers ourselves, or my sister made the wedding dress.

So this is my message to each of you: you are kind, sensible, thoughtful people. You know yourselves. You know your family. Trust yourselves. When you figure out what will make you happy, reach for it. Lets liberate ourselves.

With Deep Admiration,
Meg

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 the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • ThickChick

    Wahooo! Excellent manifesto!
    I’m a budget bride, but not ashamed to admit that the gown I’m having made (by a talented but bargain seamstress) is a Vera replica. And girl, if I find some killah shoes on ebay that happen to have a 5th Avenue name but make my heart sing? I’m wearing ‘em. Flowers: DYI. Decor: DYI. Invites: DYI. ETC ETC ETC. Nothing wrong with some high/low action.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08856166208723376386 Chic.Personal.Fun

    Word!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10061342513632102748 Jennifer

    amen ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03208244458086146065 Blablover5

    It is a hard balance to find just what makes you happy and not what you have to do to make everyone else happy.

    Even though our wedding was two months ago I’m coming to find out that our In-Laws actually didn’t like how it wasn’t just like everyone elses (even though they had a great time) and are doing everything to put it out of their mind as they focus on their daughters wedding that will be as wedding industry as possible.

    It’s funny, having some snooty bridal salon lady pissed at me for getting a bridesmaids dress instead of a wedding gown doesn’t bother me but having the relatives that could have said something retrocatively act as though it was awful really hurts.

  • Anonymous

    Great timing for me on this post! Just got back from a trip up north for holidays/wedding planning and the ideas I thought I was set on are now morphing since I can tell that my future MIL would prefer a bit more structure. It is much more important to me to have everyone feel as if they contributed and come out happy. Don’t get me wrong – it is still our wedding and I will definitely get in our personality, but it’s not worth trying too hard to be unique and end up disappointing someone major (ie my parents or his parents). It also doesn’t hurt that I have been thinking about the wedding full-time for a good 10 months and I’m tired of it…so anyhow, thanks for this post. You always seem to know exactly what to say and when I need to hear it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03726039357643570874 Erin

    I trusted myself to know that I didn’t want a huge wedding, and enjoyed my tiny Vegas wedding shindig. Really, the only thing I let myself be talked into (and regretted later) was a train on my wedding dress. If that is the only thing, then count me lucky.

    Excellent post with some sensible advice.

  • http://wemetinabar.com Heather from the bar

    Amen to that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01426323794509270763 Nicole and Jesse

    Phewf! Great advice.

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

    Thank you, Meg! This post could not have come at a more perfect time. I spent a sleepless night last night stressing over how we couldn’t get labels for invites (labels, the horror!) to print on our home printer. Why did I think I needed to stress over this? Well, Miss Meg, I do not. Thank you for liberating me from my stresses!

  • http://aprettyaday.tumblr.com Lucy

    oh Meg, thanks so much for this. I was thinking about this exact thing last night. I get so frustrated feeling like I shouldn’t do this or that because it’s not budget or DIY enough, not original enough, not classy enough, not blah blah blah. It’s funny how the more you try not to conform to wedding expectations, the more you struggle to meet the expectations of being non-traditional. This post is going to be my mantra for the next 6 months as I plan my wedding, my reality check of sorts, my bedtime story when all these wedding hub-bub keeps me awake. you rock.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05566605911394876054 miss button

    This is what I need. Figuring out what I want because it’s “me”, and what I want because it’s “original, budget, practical, interesting”
    Fortunately, I have a while to figure it out!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09673896395330316583 Catherine

    THANK YOU!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03410537408217066331 Words and Steel

    love this post. can’t wait to start sharing pro pics of my own ‘liberated’ budget wedding. hehe.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04328969975737074773 T. E. C.

    YYYYYYEEEEAAAAA!!!! I’m on this train!!! You should be a spokesperson!!! Sp passionate!!! YYYEEAAAA!!!

  • Sas

    i’m a total lurker but this post required me to say SING IT SISTER! although i love all of the helpful outside-the-WIC blogs (and i mean that. i LOVE that people are willing to share their ideas and give us glimpses into their weddings) I also sometimes feel like we’re just setting up another “establishment” or ideal that we can’t live up to. But thanks to great wisdom like this i’m reminded it’s all about being true to ourselves. Thanks for another great post, Meg!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06939935590766216936 Bridechka

    Amen and word. Keep on spouting wisdom honey!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15479891414543180138 Liz @ McFargan: A Midwestern Matrimony

    I loved reading this and all the comments. I have nothing original to say, but I’m sending lots of good wedding prayers your way! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15479891414543180138 Liz @ McFargan: A Midwestern Matrimony

    I loved reading this and all the comments. I have nothing original to say, but I’m sending lots of good wedding prayers your way! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08863690068737801068 Love + Marriage

    I am a new wedding planner and I find it so much more fun to plan with a bride who has different ideas for how she wants her wedding. I love your advice!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01373847736850227155 style-for-style

    yay for payless wedding shoes!!!
    mine are comfortable, pretty, and cost 2.50$
    but I also love me some louboutins

    what can I say, I’m a high low kind of person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08842191847941847564 Bride in Exile

    This should be required reading for every bride and groom, and for every family member of the happy couple! There are way too many people out there who think that if others don’t do things the way they would or did, it’s somehow a personal insult to their choice. And no matter what someone’s going to grump about your decisions. Wear a veil and you’re a tool of the patriarchy. Refuse to have the pastor ask “who gives this woman?” and you’re being stubborn and weird. Set your heart on letterpress and you’re wasting money; print your own menus and you’re making the reception look cheap. Etc. etc. Wedding liberation for all!

  • Amy

    Yes, I agree. I felt bad about maybe serving authentic Italian pizza. I mean, it’s the best Italian pizza I have ever had. My fmaily is Italian. I decided it would be okay.

  • Abi

    Beautiful. Amen.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13036236734592511220 ChendaBride

    Your blog always taps into this well of emotion that is getting married. It’s a great reminder that the things that make weddings real are the people, and we are full of contradictions. Thank you for your observations and for the community you’ve fostered. It helps a lot.

  • http://www.assorted-stiles.com amber

    oh i feel the pain…
    i’m planning a wedding while PREGNANT! oh the advice to be had :P

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08921831777682472625 You can call me Yell

    While I agree 100%, I can’t help but feel as if you’ve contradicted yourself. You say to leave brides well enough alone, but go “ick” at the thought of someone wanting to wear Vera Wang? Doesn’t make much sense.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05817444445109796740 Bridgette

    This is so true. We really need to do what makes us (the bride and groom) happy. People are always going to judge – even if we’ve thought about everything and everyone. And, in a million years it would be impossible to please everyone. So, who cares what they think. What makes us happy should suffice. Those people won’t look back on the big day and wish THEY had choosen something or done something differently. (Ok, maybe if they get drunk they will!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Ah, This Girl Asia-
    I’m just a mountain of contradictions. We all are. That’s the point. But noooooo I’m saying “YAY!” about practical brides wearing Vera. I’m saying ick about *us* all throwing weddings where we wear full priced Vera, serve tri-tip in hotels, and wear designer full priced shoes. That is someone’s game, but it’s definitely not mine.

    Chenda- sweetest comment ever!!

  • Kat

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This post was perfect timing for me too as yesterday I had a freak-out halfway through printing our invites that I had not bought heavy enough paper. Cue a look of total confusion on fiance’s face when I questioned him repestedly about whether the paper was too light, too cheap looking etc etc… Your post has restored my sanity – thank you again and keep up the great work :o)

  • http://downtomysoul.wordpress.com/ downtomysoul

    Right on.
    It’s all about doing what you want and not giving a sh*t about what anyone else thinks. (Within reason, helpful feedback from friends and family is always welcome).

    Lord, if I had the money we sure as hell wouldn’t be making as much stuff as we are and doing everything ourselves. I’d love some new shoes and to be able to get someone to do my hair and makeup.
    But meh, it’s going to be fun without those thing and that’s all that matters. 19 days to go!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08921831777682472625 You can call me Yell

    Meg,

    Thanks for clearing that up! I thought you meant something else. I can’t imagine anyone being very happy if they were forced to have a wedding they didn’t want to!

    Keep up the good work~ :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10010855220044881380 Krista

    Hear, hear!
    I'm lucky that my mom & closest friends are laid back and don't care what I do. And I ignore the rest!
    The only thing I did to "please" someone was the choice of ceremony location. My mom told me that my grandma was secretly hoping I got married at her country church (actually, where my parents got married). We were uneecided on where to get married, so we decided to get married there to honour my grandma. Not a sacrifice in my book.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    Well said (as always!) I hate the judgement – of ourselves and of others, that seems to come automatically with throwing a wedding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09361658418978897159 Danielle

    Dear Meg,
    If Wedding Liberation is a new theology, I nominate you to be its first preacher.
    Yay,
    Danielle

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00991638626164427455 Jessica

    Amen! Thanks for another beautiful, perfectly-timed post!

    yay for meg. awrr. (affectionate tigerish sound.)

  • Anonymous

    thank you for putting a phrase to the feeling I’ve been struggling with, thank you!

  • Ellie

    Nobody should ever make you worry about wanting to look remotely presentable on your wedding day. Get your hair done.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15698362897902024745 Kate

    thank you, thank you, thank you. remembering this is one of my resolutions for the new year.

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

    I am totally in love with your brain! I think I know what I want, but if I end up making something, then buying something, I feel like I'm not in either "world" even if it makes us happy. Even with my own mom, I have to pull her back & explain that this is OUR day, our way

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

    Didn’t you break your own rule?

    “I am of course not suggesting that we all drop our practical plans and run out and arrange to serve tri-tip, wear Vera Wang, and buy Christian Louboutin’s. Ick.”

    Maybe for some that is “within sensible boundaries” and makes them happy.

    You are correct that brides should stop bullying each other…regardless if you perceive them to practical or not.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Jennifer-
    Please see my comment re: my own sass on today’s “Open Letter To America” post. This blog is not about being all things to all people, and it is never going to be. And no, I don’t think every single kind of wedding is fantastic. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know and love brides having big expensive weddings, I do. They are fantastic people. They also have about a million other wedding resources. But the bottom line is, it is not a cultural phenomenon, that I’m comfortable with, and that is part of what I write about here.

    Meg

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

    I have to admit, I copied this post to my blog (with link & mention, of course!), because I love what you wrote!!!

  • Anonymous

    I am sooooo sick of eveybody’s “advise” on how to plan my wedding. Though I cant wait to be Mrs. I dont want the wedding because I HATE all the expectations of the bride. I just want to run off to Vegas and say I do. Unfortunately fiance doesnt.Boo Hoo!!

  • http://www.tasterspoon.com Tasterspoon

    Thanks for this post!

    I’ve been paging through your site for the last couple of hours and nodding enthusiastically and defiantly and waxing tearily sentimental at so many of your posts.

    My fiance and I are walking the line between figuring out what would be non-traditional and outdoorsy enough to satisfy and reflect nonconformist me, and also churchy and white-dress and wedding band enough to satisfy and reflect conservative him. And to respect my abhorrence for wedding industry waste and my natural frugality at the same time as my parents’ wish to impress their many jet-setting friends. It’s a pickle, but I’m enjoying your journey and the stories from others who have found their way.