It’s Not All In The Details

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say something that is really against current wedding, um, doctrine. So bear with me. Please don’t send Martha Stewart to fire bomb my house. I mean, I love Martha Stewart’s style, but she’s sccccarryyy. Ok. Here goes. DEEP BREATH.

Your wedding is NOT all about the details. It is NOT the details that make a wedding. I mean, I like wedding details as much as the next girl! Look at my blog! Crafty cake toppers, floral arrangements, cool invitation ideas, I like them all. But I think, together, we need to get some perspective. You know what cool details make for? An awesome wedding album. You know what makes a great wedding? Joy. And serving the food on time (have I stressed this enough? For serious. They traveled for you. Feed them on time!)

If you have the time and energy, by all means, think about the details. If you can make your wedding more of a personal reflection of you and your partner, that’s awesome. But lets be honest. I have been to countless weddings, big expensive weddings, small DIY weddings, and everything in between. And I can’t remember a single centerpiece. Not one.

If you want to focus on something, focus on making the day a accurate reflection of you and your partner. Do things because you want to do them, not because the wedding industry is telling you they are the done thing. Your guests do not care about the fancy calligraphy on your escort cards. And they are not going to remember your wedding because it was the third one they went to this year with parasols and pashminas for all the guests. They are going to remember the wedding that was vibrant and joyful, not the wedding that felt like a (very detailed) photoshoot.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit #NASTY

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  • Thank you again for your practical advice! I was just at a wedding this weekend, and the couple had only two details that were really important to them: serve Memphis barbecue, and have a Beale Street blues band play. They didn’t fuss about anything else, and it was a beautifully sweet ceremony, and a rocking good party. What more could you want?!

  • funny you should mention centerpieces. of all the weddings i’ve been to, i only remember one centerpiece because i have it sitting on my desk!

  • A-MEN! I’m so glad there are other women out there that don’t feel the need to be that bride with matchy details that no one pays attention to. You are so right – I cannot remember one single centerpiece at any of the countless weddings I’ve been to

  • thank you :)

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    You have such a knack for making me smile with relief at hearing some sanity in regards to weddings, which is so novel, but also making me squirm and blush slightly because I’m a real sucker for the details and I feel a bit silly about it!

    You’re definitely helping me to put it into perspective though and relax a bit about the whole wedding thing.

  • Hear, hear!
    I just realized I cannot remember a single centerpiece from any one of the dozens of weddings I have attended either. Holy cow. I need to print this out and post it near my computer to help keep me in line. . . .

  • Aimee

    amen, sister! (and a clink of the wine glass) :)

  • Meg

    Ms. Peonies!
    I love details too, don’t fret! But I’m really beginning to resent being told that a great wedding is all about the details. Sigh. Here I was thinking it was all about getting married, and then having a party. But nope, it’s about the font on my programs.


    Thats how I feel.


  • hooRAH! No one remembers anything about other people’s weddings – only the couple do. Just let it go and don’t beat yourself up if it’s not all matchy matchy

  • With your permission, I’d very much like to print this out and paste it onto the inside front cover of my wedding planning folder. I’m three months into planning and this is quite possibly THE most sensible thing I’ve read so far.

    – A Bride Who Knows She Is Not Martha Stewart

    • meg

      Awwwww…. it’s so funny to click through to answer you and read my younger self saying this. I wrote this TWO YEARS AGO. But it seems like light years.

      Paste away (of course).

  • Laura

    This advice is pure perfection. I have found myself at times getting angry…..with myself!!!….when worrying if this matches that, and if that compliments the other, etc etc etc. Being a laid back, easy going person, I was shocked how easily the wedding demon sucks you in and plants doubts in your mind over what you deep down really want. I think all brides-to-be should be given this to read before they are allowed to start planning a wedding!!! x

  • GeePuff

    So, I was surfing through the archives on one particularly slow day at work and I came upon this entry and bookmarked the page. In the month or so since, every time I feel like the planning is getting to be too much, or the FH just isn’t even pretending to be interested, or my mom gets a tad too deep south, or I can’t find seasonal flowers I like or whatever the conundrum of the day is, I flip over to this and take some deep breaths. Helps me remember that the only thing FH and I “have to” do on our wedding day is actually get married. That’s it. All of the other “have to’s” people come up with are merely set dressing. Some of which I’ll chose to use, some of which I won’t, and that’s fine.

    Thanks for the reality check!

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  • Alli

    Funny story: the only centerpiece I remember from a wedding is the one that my table accidentally caught on fire (oops!). In our defense, the venue didn’t think to protect the tea lights at all, they were just around the table.
    Moral of the story, if you’re going to focus on details, start with fire safety ones.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Yikes. Mental note: safety details matter. (In all things.)