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In Praise Of The Slow Wedding (And A Slow Life)


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

In Praise Of The Slow Wedding (And A Slow Life) | A Practical WeddingKathryn of Snippet & Ink is back to posting inspiration boards again after a long break, and she is creating little works of art (yay!) But, what’s been more moving to me is that as her own wedding inches closer, she’s been focusing more simpler smaller weddings, and on the fact that simplicity does not have to sacrifice style. This week, she posted a link to Gia Canali’s post ‘Notes Towards A Slow Wedding,’ where she said “Let’s take it easy. Do a few things well. Make your wedding one where you can enjoy good food and the company of good friends and family. After all, that’s why you’re having a wedding with people attending.”

Ahhhh…. a slow wedding. Now that is something important. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Slow Food Movement was born as a reaction to, well, the FAST food movement. It brought focus to the means in which we produce food, it’s quality, textures, and tastes. It focuses on food as pleasure, food as a central part of our lives, food as quality not as quantity.

David and I literally had a slow food wedding. Our caterer is part of the slow food movement, in our food was local, organic, and cooked with care. I don’t know if food was central to the experience of our wedding (though everyone still talks about how good it was), but food is central to our lives together, so it seemed only natural that we would focus the bulk of our wedding resources on food. That’s just us. But this post isn’t in praise of the slow food wedding. This post is in praise of the slow wedding.

I have a really hard time summing up what I write about here. Sometimes people try to pigeonhole me into writing about budget weddings, but that’s not really it. I don’t even like the *term* budget wedding, for goodness sakes. What I care about is that each of us to feel empowered to have weddings filled with simplicity, grace, and joy. I want us to feel empowered to have weddings that are focused on love, on why we are all gathered to celebrate. And it’s incredibly important to me that we ALL feel that this is within our reach, whether we have $500 to spend, or our parents are insisting that we spend $50,000. No matter what, that grace and that singularity of purpose should be available to each of us.In Praise Of The Slow Wedding (And A Slow Life) | A Practical WeddingSo it may be that what I’m really writing about is Slow Weddings. Take a look at this definition of Slow Food from the movement’s website:

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

I believe the same things about weddings. I think we each have a fundamental right to joy at our weddings. I think that joy is about the simple things, and about paying attention to what you have. I believe that it is more important that we work with producers (in this case vendors, or wedding elves) that we respect, and that we treat them fairly and compensate them with a living wage that reflects the fact that this is their life’s work. It’s more important to me to pay people that I fairly than to make sure I get the best deal. And for us, with the resources we had, that meant picking a few things and doing them well.

We had amazing food.

We had a carefully crafted ceremony.

We have exquisite photography.

And we had joy.

And with all of that, it was impossible to notice the flaws in my homemade bouquet, the way my dress wrinkled under the bust line because I hadn’t sent it off to a professional seamstress,the fact that we had our yichud in a parks & rec bathroom, our ipod play list, our simple cake, or our lack of favors.

So figure out what your doing with your wedding, what simple elements it boils down to, and then do those things well. Take a deep breath, slow down, pay attention. Put care into the things you value, and no one will ever notice the things that you don’t have. Or to put it simply: you have what you need.

Pictures: Important slow small moments from our wedding, as captured by Heather & Jon of One Love Photo, fittingly on their slowest of slow manual focus Hasselbald medium format camera.

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.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03935793403239182466 A.Mountain.Bride

    Meg – you hit the nail on the head with this one. Excellent post to start my day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00757803613971281872 Kathryn

    Thank you for taking my little thoughts and make them so much bigger. Wonderful post Meg. :)

  • http://claimid.com/danielle_latman Danielle

    I think you can apply this post to most things in life… slowing down and trying to appreciate what you have now can just make everything better.

  • Mindy

    I could not agree with you more! This is EXACTLY what I've been trying to explain to people with how I want our wedding to be- easy, backyard all day family reunion, a day I'll actually remember with food that i love, friends and family that I love an can enjoy, and plenty of time to enjoy them instead of worrying about the production of it all, and devoid of the meaningless fluff that most weddings are built on. (no wedding dress- a nice dress i'll actually wear again on our anniversaries instead etc…. when i tell people about this they like it, but I think they're thrown off- how sad is it that peple think this is unique for weddings- what supposed to be the uplitmate experience of bringing families together…
    I think this was perfectly stated and thats what I'm going to shoot for- a slow wedding!
    Thank you!!!!

  • One Love Photo

    Good Morning! Oh my, this is wonderful. I am so in for having as many slow weddings as possible this year. I've started adding extra time on all our wedding days arriving earlier and staying a little later just trying to slow down a bit. I love this! Thank you! Oh, and I think those are my top two favorites of your day (especially the last one, such a subtle yet tender toast moment).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15082554090481175349 A Los Angeles Love

    This has already been sent to both our mothers and bookmarked for future reference. Because this is EXACTLY what we are trying to achieve: a day we can savor, surrounded by quality people and assisted by a few key quality vendors who a) we respect and b) help us keep sane and focused. The rest is noise.

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

    @April
    And ours really didn't. No blur, it was like time slowed down. I didn't slow down mind you, I was totally a blur that day, but I think the day slowed for us.

    @LosAngelesLove
    Thank you. I had a dream last night that everyone hated the post, and it was low comment, so I thought my dream came true ;) (David thinks I have boring dreams. But he's not a blogger is he?)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06008386302876377978 Lyssachelle

    YES! I pretty much start all my comments with that…I'm really not usually this agreeable, but when you're right you're totally right!

    And I would like to add, because it's something I would do due to me being about 3/4's crazy, but adopt this as your mantra, but don't force it. (does that make sense?) I was SO determined to be stress-free that I stressed myself out when it wasn't going that way and defeated the whole damn purpose. So don't do that with the slow wedding idea and be crazy like me. Just sayin'….

    And um, side-note, but Snippet & Ink helped me define exactly what I wanted my wedding to look like. I had no idea what we were going for and then I saw her "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" inspiration board and went, YES! THAT ONE…. In the end we didn't use the same colors, but the entire feel of it just made me fall in love. Actually, pretty much all of her boards make me want to crawl inside and live there for a little while. It's one of the only wedding blogs (besides this one!) that I still read and look forward to…

  • Ellie

    Yes. Very true. Although I often argue that weddings are complicated because life is complicated, and families are complicated, that doesn't mean that we can't aim for simplicity. Right now we are in a pickle with his family about our menu and I think maybe it's time to just say, this wedding isn't about what the guests think of the food, and we have a right to have the wedding we want.

  • Amy

    Meg – thank you. Seriously. Thank you. I am in that last week push of the wedding and with my wonderful caterer calling every 10 minutes and the florist too…. it seems like a mad house.

    but what has been worrying me dearly is the wrinkle under the bust of my dress… and… now it doesn't. Really. Thanks. I am have been trying to stay sane the whole process and well I am thankful to have had your musings helped me considerably.

    To stay true to myself, my honey, and our relationship. I'm not sure I could have stayed sane planning this wedding without you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03367631935043016430 Mrs T

    Trying now to concentrate on the important bit and pieces and to hell with the rest. 22 days is too late to be stressing about things now! (I'm totally going to stress, who am I kidding?)

  • April

    Slow wedding movement. BRILLIANT. Because when you focus on slowing it down to what's authentic and true, it won't feel as if it went by in a blur.

  • http://claimid.com/danielle_latman Danielle

    This isn't really related to this post, but I wanted to share this great article from the Advocate:

    "13-Year-Old Testifies on NJ Marriage": http://advocate.com/Politics/Marriage_Equality/New_Jersey_Marriage_Testimony/

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    There is nothing worse than a rushed wedding, frantic is not something anyone wants to feel on their wedding day and not something I ever want to feel. Which is part of the reason we stay at weddings for 10 hours – No Rushing For Us Thank You.

    And the irony of you, Meg, the most busiest, bustliest, over-working person I know advocating a slow life is not lost on me.

  • agirl

    Your posts often resonate strangely with what is going on my life at the time. Just this week my husband and I are taking a few days off, partly to remind ourselves to s l o w d o w n.

    I can think of a few very good, very slow days in my life so far, and I'm happy that our wedding is definitely among them.

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

    @P&P;
    I knew it wouldn't be, lady. I was waiting for your comment, since I figured no one else would know to bring it up. Such a rush working to put the post out too ;)

    Though goodness knows the wedding wasn't rushed. And our food is slow because David makes it…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06985820953743653787 Ms. Bunny

    This is an excellent post to end my day. The comparison between slow foods and a slow wedding is incredibly appropriate and another stroke of genius.

    I like deliberate choices and action, especially when it comes to valuing others for their skills and talents. Rushing to check things off a prescribed to do list lacks reflection. I'd much rather take things slow, enjoy the experience, and grew together as a couple as we learn things. I definitely believe this wedding planning experience will teach us extraordinary things about each other as we discover what is most meaningful to us.

  • http://californiacheesemaid.blogspot.com mandy

    This was our wedding! We were actually engaged in Italy at Terra Madre, the international Slow Food 'gathering,' and were married this October.

    We had the teeniest, tiniest budget, but food and community were at the very top of our list of wedding priorities. We had 90 guests instead of 350 because we wanted to be able to afford good, local food at long tables where everyone could just. relax.

    Our day was a blur, too, but the happy kind, because we weren't rushing to hit every scheduled moment of the day. We married, then we ate and drank, then we danced or lounged. Then we went home, napped, and later packed our pub for the afterparty. Done & done.

    Word of caution: It DID take a lot of planning and details upfront to pull off such an easy breezy event! I was almost too slow in the planning, thinking it would all just come together, but am so glad I was brought to my senses. :)

  • Another Meg

    I needed this so badly this week. I’ve seriously been considering just dropping the whole huge family wedding and running to a courthouse. But then I wouldn’t have my family and friends around us, which is what my heart dreams of….for some reason, a slow wedding sounds like a novel idea to me. I DON’T have to craft every single thing from scratch/scour flea markets for months/hire an expensive photographer? YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with that- in fact, it’s what I figured I’d be doing until I realized I’d also be in grad school and maybe need to do homework from time to time.) So now I’m just going to focus on the deal-breakers and let the rest flutter away.