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Katherine & Spencer


*Katherine, Teacher & Spencer, Teacher*

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

I’m super excited about today’s wedding graduate post, and not just because it was shot by APW sponsor Allison Andres, or because Katherine and Spencer got their cake from the same bakery that we got our cake from. Nope! It’s because Katherine talks about planning a wedding with her inner flower girl in tow. I’ve talked pretty frankly about how much I’ve been obsessed with weddings since I was super teeny, so I completely feel Katherine on this. But in the end, I love this post the most because of  her message of letting go and realizing when you’re marrying something you love… everything really does work out. Somehow. Inner flower girl and all.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Months ago my father wrote his own piece for APW about his wedding some thirty-five years ago. He waxed eloquently on the idea of the wedding being a beginning, on how life will have its twists and turns. Today I will tell you a story about what a hissyfit over beer and wine taught me about myself. My dad is a professional writer, and I am simply a first grade teacher who tries to keep it real. Here is my story:

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

My first brush with the wonder that is a wedding came when I was six years old and was tapped to be a flower girl. I remember going to a seamstress with my mother and grandmother to have my dress made. Oh my gosh you can actually have a dress made just for you? I was sold. Later on, after the wedding, I would routinely put on my flower girl dress, crank up Whitney Houston, and dance on my bed. Doing this made me feel invincible.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Fast-forward roughly twenty years to the invention of reality television. This genre has brought us many guilty pleasures such as American Idol, Survivor, and Dancing With The Stars. And, of course, The Learning Channel, aka TLC. Only God knows what exactly we are supposed to be learning from this channel, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t produce some fascinating television.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

I loved watching to see the types of dresses brides were buying, the different centerpieces that were featured, and if a birdcage veil was considered appropriate. Were most brides choosing to go with a buffet or a plated dinner for their big day? Inquiring minds want to know!

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Over time my love of weddings turned into judgment of weddings. Since my brush with greatness as a six-year-old flower girl, I had been crafting my big day in my mind. As I watched more television (and eventually read more wedding-porn blogs) my crafting turned into criticism. I would find myself attending the weddings of friends and loved ones and thinking, “Ugh, I would never have only one choice of cake. Guests need variety,” or, “Why on earth would you pick this song for your first dance?” I moved from being a woman with my own ideas, to being downright critical. And it was not good.

But then something magical happened. I got the smack in the face I needed and deserved. I had my classic f*ck it moment.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

A week before the wedding I got an email from the hotel where the reception was being held. They were just confirming the arrangements and payment details. While going over this email I realized that the bar at our reception would only be open for one hour, and I had been under the assumption it would be open all night.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Now, to most people this would be frustrating. Annoying. Not ideal. To me this became the epic wedding meltdown to end all epic wedding meltdowns. I cried and cried. I cried to my fiancé. I cried to my parents. I cried to my sister. I had always wanted my wedding to be a giant celebration, a party to be remembered forever! And in my planning I decided that having an open bar all night was a way to make that happen. So when that didn’t work out, I cried because the dream I had for my wedding was gone.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Then I finally stopped crying and I looked in the mirror. First of all, I looked like a crazy person. And secondly, once I took a deep breath I realized why I was really so upset. Yes, I had thought we were paying for something and then when it turned out I was wrong, it was a shock and a disappointment. But the tears were about more than disappointment. I was worried about what my guests would think. I could hear the snickers and the under-their-breath comments about being cheap, about not being a good host, about wishing they were somewhere else.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

But you know what? Who gives a crap? The bottom line was this: I was going to marry my favorite person in the whole world. No lack of alcohol or limos or individually wrapped pie pops or whatever else could change that. And if my guests couldn’t enjoy themselves in the presence of our happiness, then they aren’t worth worrying about.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

And of course, our wedding was amazing. I have never been happier in all my life. Two minutes into our ceremony I started giggling uncontrollably. Some people may have scoffed at laughing through such a serious occasion, but I couldn’t contain my joy.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

As far as I know, the short hours of the bar were a non-issue. Our DJ said that he had never seen a reception with so much dancing and partying. We actually broke the dance floor halfway through the party; the tiles were popping up all over the place. Some people don’t like to dance, but my husband and I do, so it was wonderful.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

Television and many blogs have made weddings out to be a spectator sport. But in reality, there is no such thing as a “best” reception or a “winning” wedding. Your wedding wins because it is your wedding. You are surrounded by your most favorite people in the world, and you are wearing a dress (or suit, or sack, or whatever) that you picked out, because you liked it.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

I’m not going to lie to you and say that the excited little flower girl inside of me is gone. Of course I still love weddings, but my perspective is a little different now. When I look at a wedding I no longer have secret evil thoughts in my head about everything that was wrong. I just see pretty details and happiness. I see the quiet moment when the bride sneaks a kiss from her groom next to the buffet table. I see the way the groom’s mother looks at her son. I see cousins reuniting on a dance floor.

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

My wedding was amazing.

Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.

Everything else? Who cares?

Katherine & Spencer | A Practical Wedding

The Info—Photography: Allison Andres / Venue: Our Savior’s Lutheran Church & The Hotel Shattuck Plaza / Dress: Clarisa Bridal / Cake: Sweet Adeline

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  • Liz

    Your wedding is amazing because you’re marrying someone awesome.

    This is the best. Congratulations!

  • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

    “Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.

    Everything else? Who cares?”

    I would like this on a shirt, please.

    It is so, so, so true. The rest is peanuts compared to the marriage. A-to-the-freaking-men, sister.

  • April

    Oh, wow is this ever AWESOME!!!!!!! And hot damn, you are GORGEOUS! Love your dress – so pretty.

    So much of what you wrote and shared deeply resonated with me. I went through very similar things with my own wedding a couple years ago and I also was that hyper-critical guest and over-thinking bride while I planned and planned and fretted about this and that. Having that eff-it-all moment and finally letting go was the best thing for me, too. As was letting go of the idea I needed guests to be greeted with a flute of Veuve Cliquot and fancy tray-passed hors d’oeuvres prior to ceremony (the $2,000 price tag was the final “NO” but I oh, how I lobbied hard for for the pre-ceremony cocktail hour). We all have our crazy moments! And it’s only when finally letting go of all the “supposed to’s” that we end up having more fun than we could’ve imagined.

    And this bit:
    “Your wedding wins because it is your wedding. You are surrounded by your most favorite people in the world, and you are wearing a dress (or suit, or sack, or whatever) that you picked out, because you liked it.” ~ Katherine

    Hell to the YES! EXACTLY.

    • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

      I was going to quote this exact thing… which definitely could have helped SO much when I had a dress-related freakout six months out. I bought my dress super early, and knew without a doubt that it was “the one,” even after being decked out in the princess-gown I always thought I would wear. (That one? Made me feel like a Christmas tree. Covered in ornaments when I really just wanted to be a tree.)

      I worried needlessly, because when the day came, and the dress went on, I was invincible. There was no better dress, no better party, no better man and no better day. Even though I came off the dance floor with a broken foot, it ended up AMAZING. Because it was our wedding.

      You looked absolutely radiant, and the joy in your photos kept me smiling through the whole post. Even though your Dad is the writer, you did more than ok. :)

  • http://bettencourtchase.com Helen

    This: “But in reality, there is no such thing as a “best” reception or a “winning” wedding. Your wedding wins because it is your wedding.”

    Yes, yes, YES. Thanks for this post. This is exactly what so many people need to hear.

    • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

      That was my favorite line too. SUCH an important message for every Bride-to-be!

  • carrie

    “Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.
    Everything else? Who cares?”

    TRUTH, sister! Baby brides, if there is anything you take away to your wedding zen place it is THIS! Congrats to the happy happy couple!

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    This reminds me of something I read on Eastsidebride a couple days ago, and was just what I needed to hear. The reader asked how much the venue mattered, she had selected a beautiful hotel and was worried it wasn’t unique enough. The answer was the venue matters a TON if you are doing this to get your wedding published on all sorts of blogs and matters NOT AT ALL if you are doing this to throw an awesome party where your friends will have an awesome time to celebrate marrying an awesome person. I needed the reality check in that moment, and reading this I realize I need to apply the same reality check to everything wedding. Years from now I still want people to be talking about my wedding, and if the thing they are talking about is the place cards, or the hotel rooms, or the flowers, I think I might be disappointed. I would much rather they talk about the love, the fun, the dancing, and maybe that ridiculously funny thing some uncle or another did after one too many beers.

  • http://onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    Such a great post – and above all, an honest post. I think everyone has those moments during wedding planning where you have a meltdown over something that is really so small in the grand scheme of things, and it can be hard at times not to be influenced by all of the wedding shows and magazines and blogs floating around that make you think you need a, b and c for a perfect wedding.

    This right here says it all:

    “My wedding was amazing.

    Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.

    Everything else? Who cares?”

    Absolutely!

  • Julia

    Great post. Katherine really said a lot when she talked about the influence networks like TLC have on perceived expectations for a wedding. Weddings really have become like a spectator sport (and a competition if you’re having one). My fiancé and I attended FIVE weddings last year, and I definitely found myself evaluating. I am trying to minimize the way that these perceived expectations influence our planning (like that it won’t be “cool” or “unique” or “fancy” enough) but it’s tough.

    I want to put those words on my fridge – “Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.”

    • msditz

      We went to three the same summer of our wedding, which only added to the wedding overload. I would see something I liked and go on and on in my head, “Should I copy them? Or is that tacky?” Which probably added to my freak out since those weddings all had open bars. But seriously, no one else cares as much as you do, I promise!
      Good luck!
      –Katherine

  • KTH

    Fantastic advice.

    On a totally superficial note, I love love love your dress and want to recommend it to a friend who just got engaged. It’s perfect for the ladies with a lot on top who don’t want strapless but also don’t want too much cleavage — you look very demure but dead sexy. Can you tell us who the designer is?

    • http://www.allisonandres.com AllisonAndres

      Hi KTH!

      Check out this dress:
      http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Satin-Slim-Gown-with-Twist-Straps-and-Side-Drape-SAS1200_Bridal-Gowns-Shop-By-Style-Classic-Traditional

      Not sure if it’s the same one but the cut and straps are very similar, the bride added the ribbon and broach herself. :)

    • http://youngsandinlove.blogspot.com valery

      Hi KTH! I happen to know this because this was one of my top contender dresses :) It’s Watters 1039B, and it’s a few seasons old so she may have to check preowned dresses if she likes it!

      • msditz

        Wow, you are good! I had to pull my dress out from the crumpled mess in my closet to double check, and you are correct! Watters 1039B! I purchased mine from a local bridal salon last November. It comes with a pretty beaded belt, but I went with a black ribbon and my own brooch. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, brooch.com is awesome!
        –Katherine

  • http://sara-szatmary.blogspot.com sara

    This could not have possibly come at a better time.

    I had my heart set on a certain date and just found out that our church wasn’t available that day. In a tizzy I emailed my fiance. He assured me that no matter what day we got married it would be special, but I was still pouting. This post reminded me of what my man already knew: the day is about us and nothing else.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • katieprue

      We moved our date from one that we had our heart set on for the sole reason of hiring these amazing caterers that just couldn’t do our first choice of date. I was so bummed out about it all at first, but things are now taking shape nicely. Your fiance is so right! And who knows, maybe a different day will turn out being much better overall. Ours kind of did, so I’m glad!

    • msditz

      I’m glad it helped you :-) I would be willing to bet that five years from now you are going to look back and say, “Remember when I had a freak out about the date? That was funny.” Heck, I’m doing it and I’ve only been married 6 months :-)
      –Katherine

  • http://englishyerrors.blogspot.com Madeline

    Dude. My hubs and I high-fived too!! The rabbi actually uttered the words, “You may now high-five the bride.” It. Was. Awesome.

    • msditz

      OMG you got your rabbi to say it? That is awesome! Our high-five was totally organic. Our pastor said that we were now married, and my first reaction was to go for the high-five. Afterwards there was a slightly awkward pause before she said, “You can kiss now too!” Priorities :-)
      –Katherine

      • lizzie.rothwell

        Good stuff. We didn’t high-five, but our officiant and one of our attendants did behind our backs as we were kissing. I didn’t know it happened until I was watching a video of it later that my brother was secretly filming from a couple feet away and it made me ridiculously happy.

  • katieprue

    “Later on, after the wedding, I would routinely put on my flower girl dress, crank up Whitney Houston, and dance on my bed. Doing this made me feel invincible.”

    OHMYGAWD. SO adorable. Weddings should make us feel like this on the inside.

  • http://www.fotobellaphoto.com Jessica Norman

    Such a fabulous post and what a great reminder for all brides all like. Weddings should make everyone feel special and I’m glad you were able to have that. :)

  • Sarah

    My perspective on weddings has totally changed now that I’ve had one. Before I got married I would notice all the little details and sometimes think, “wow, we would never be able to afford that.” Now what I really see is how happy the bride and groom are, and I remember how happy my husband and I were on our wedding day. Details are great, but they’re not what matters.

  • Susan

    I actually became the critical guest at the weddings after my own. I loved our wedding day and this is a great reminder that my feelings are what count about the memory. Not what other people did differently and not even how our guests see our wedding. We were the first in our group of friends to get married and went with a traditional wedding rather than the indie feel popular with our group. I need to let go of my anxiety because everyone, including my husband and I, talks about what a fun night it was!

  • Ericka

    Great post Katherine! As an attendee of this wedding (and a dancer pictured above), I can promise you that if the bride and groom are having the time of their lives – the guests will have the time of their lives as well. :) and, they will just sneak in their own drinks! I can only hope when I get married that I have a wedding half as fabulous as yours! So glad you joined our Fam!

    • msditz

      I would be a jerk if I didn’t mention that one of the main reasons our wedding was awesome was that, upon hearing of my open bar drama, my cousins-in-law stocked their hotel rooms with cases of Bud Light. It was more fun than having a regular bar! I love my new family!
      –Katherine

  • Tamara Van Horn

    So true, and I am only echoing the feelings of the other women here.

    T-shirts made- yes. We NEEDZ them.

    F- it moments? Hellz yeah! We all need them,. and many of us (who live to tell the tale) get them.

    The dress? Umm, yumm- especially the picture where the groom has you by the waist- is that a necktie? Anyway, it reminds me of “My Name Is Earl,” (a fave) when they “take it old school” to Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock.

    Loves- and congratulations!

    • msditz

      Thanks Tamara!
      My groom actually has me by the waist by my sash! It kept getting limp and coming untied, so we decided to make the best of it! Another “f-it!” moment, haha

  • http://Gradlearnlife.wordpress.com Jessica James

    Hey cousin! :) Fabulous write-up! I finally realized after the awesomeness of my own wedding that everyone’s wedding is perfect for exactly this reason. Nobody should have to spend their wedding worrying about what anyone else thinks.

    • msditz

      Hey cousin!
      Your wedding was such an inspiration to me, because you and Leo were so happy! You could tell that you were having the best day of your life, which made it fun for everyone else. Everyone has their own perfect wedding :-)

  • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

    GORGEOUS PICTURES, ALLISON.

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    “Your wedding wins because it is your wedding. You are surrounded by your most favorite people in the world, and you are wearing a dress (or suit, or sack, or whatever) that you picked out, because you liked it.
    ………..When I look at a wedding …….. I just see pretty details and happiness. I see the quiet moment when the bride sneaks a kiss from her groom next to the buffet table. I see the way the groom’s mother looks at her son. I see cousins reuniting on a dance floor.”

    This is it. wedding wisdom in 2 paragraphs. Hope you are always happy, that the joy of starting your family stays !

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  • Emily

    You are so right that the “what will people think” worries aren’t really the point…but they are hard to get past! Because it’s really hard to think “fuck ‘em” about people you know and love. I have family members who have been pretty critical of a friend’s wedding we went to last year, and I worried SO MUCH in the weeks leading up to our wedding that they would feel the same way about ours that I rewrote the seating chart at *least* eight times, shuffling people around to make sure the people who’d complained about not being at “fun” tables would enjoy their dining companions. Over…and over…and over…calling home to ask if this setup would be ok…until about the fifth time a family member said “stop it, I don’t CARE where I sit!” (It took 5 times because I never believed it, but the wedding was in 5 days so I had to write out the place cards already.) Also, the worry about whether people would think we were cheap for not having favors…nobody cared. At all. Everyone had a great time.

    It’s hard to turn off the judgy side for your own wedding when you’ve heard, or created, judgment of others. But really…nobody cares. And your dancing looks like it rocked!

    Also, my husband saw pictures of a friend’s wedding on facebook, and said, “they’re gay and military…their wedding beats ours AUTOMATICALLY.” Because no matter the details, we have so much respect for the struggle it took to have their love recognized that way, and are just so happy they are FINALLY able to do it.

  • Ake

    You look sooooooo happy! So happy! Congratulations!

  • Carmen

    Thank you Katherine for sharing! Since getting fitted for the engagement ring I’ve gone from crazy, happy in love to a hot, anxious mess. I couldn’t figure out why (as I’m over the moon for my favorite young man), but then I read your story. It’s my own hyper criticality.

    At one point I projected that every non-family member attending the wedding would be sitting around judging us and our choices instead of feeling the love. Seemed unfathomable that guests would be moved or happy at our wedding – even though I’ve been happy for many friends and family in the past.

    Anyhow- just wanted to say thank you. Your story has helped me relax into the idea that I might actually enjoy the wedding day. That and I delegated the wedding planning to the groom. :-)