Two wedding graduates back to back! What did you all do to deserve such joy?? Well, the truth is, Dana’s wedding graduate post arrived in my inbox last night, and since I’d been waiting for it for A YEAR, I couldn’t help but share it with you now. For those of you that don’t know Dana, she of The Broke-Ass Bride, she and I started blogging at exactly the same time, and both of our blogs have grown and here we are.
When I got Dana’s post, I was overwhelmed by how much her experience reflected my experience. Her post is such a great example of what I’ve been trying to say about details for ever and ever. Dana and I are both women that care about style (as do our husbands), let’s just put that out there. We both worked to make sure that our weddings were aesthetically honest – that they reflected who we were and not some mass media idea of wedding aesthetics. But both of us will tell you over and over that it’s not about the details. What’s up with that? Well. I think when we say, “It’s not about the details” what people often hear is “details don’t matter.” And of course they do. We’re humans, we experience life through the particular. And thank god for the polaroids from our wedding, or our invitations, or our Ketubah, because they help us keep an important moment in our lives close to our heart. But a wedding – as Dana’s post so eloquently shows – is not ABOUT the details. The details may be fun, or the details may be stressful, but on the day of, what is happening is so damn huge, that details are not what you’re feeling. They are not what you remember, they just sometimes help you remember what really mattered. And with all of that, I give you Dana, who will remind you of why we do this.
When we were first engaged, we were hellza overwhelmed. There were so many options, checklist items, possibilities… we didn’t know where to start. So we sat down to hammer out what mattered most, and what we could let go. We quickly realized that, to us, the wedding wasn’t just ‘an event’ or ‘one day’ but a new beginning… and we wanted to kick it all off with that in mind.
Oh, and we wanted it to be a balls-out party. Can’t leave that out . And as we talked it over, our priorities revealed themselves: an authentic and personal outdoor ceremony, diverse cultural influences, making it interactive for the guests, hype music, free-flowing drinks, full and happy bellies, great photography, eco-mindfulness, and FUN fun times. We made these things our main focus, and tried to integrate them as creatively as possible. It made the process feel much more manageable, and much more “us”.
But still as we got closer to the date, our to-do list loomed long and heavy, and I got nervous. Nervous something might go wrong. Something might be forgotten. We had to slash what felt like a zillion projects from the list, and I worried we’d regret it. But then the morning of I woke up and realized that there was nothing to be nervous about. It was what it was, no changing it now… and I just. let. go.
And what it was, was exactly what we needed it to be. I wouldn’t change a thing.
As it turns out, I don’t even remember most of the things we ended up omitting. Instead, I remember the ceremony that we crafted to reflect our own journey and priorities as a couple. The song our officiant wrote especially for us. Our hands on each other’s hearts during the vows.
Our friends and family all gathered in our honor. The ring warming ceremony. The comments from our guests about how original and personal it all was. Dancing with my dad. Getting dipped by my husband. Laughter. Hugs. Tears. Mojitos. Dancing. Saying I do. Kissing a lot.
And of course it wasn’t all perfection. I forgot my bouquet when I walked the aisle. (Didn’t faze me.) I ripped a huge hole in my dress while stomping the glass, and had to cut 2″ off my skirt at the reception. (Makes a great story.) I sprained my ankle getting “too low”on the dancefloor, got up and kept dancing, and spent our honeymoon on crutches (one of the risks of having the greatest DJ ever). But I love these memories. They made our wedding even more authentic and organic. We’re messy and imperfect and real… and I love that our wedding reflected that, too.
So don’t worry that people will think you’re “cheap” if you DIY your own flowers, omit the favors, ipod your dancefloor, or whatever the corners you cut may be. Don’t fret about what they’ll think whether you want to be married by a pastor or a pagan queen. Its your day. Do it your way. Your guests are there to celebrate you and your love. Not to criticize your chair selection. And if they do, f*ck ’em.
And don’t worry about everything being perfect. What does that even mean, anyway? What’s really perfect, is getting married at your own wedding. So just focus on that, and you’ll be juuuuuuuust fine.The rest, as they say, is cake!
My best advice? Just have FUN.
Don’t get pressured by expectation or tradition if that’s not your thing. Don’t feel you have to be uber-original, if tradition suits your fancy as a couple. Don’t be pressured to have a million perfectly coordinated details. Don’t confuse “expensive” with “better”. And don’t let self-consciousness impede your enjoyment.
DO honor your partner’s wishes and include them in decision making. DO just be your wonderful selves, and let the day be a reflection of that. DO surrender to the joy, breathe in the bliss, and let go. DO say please and thank you a lot. (Its simple, but so true). And again, have fun.
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It probably comes as no surprise that Bay Area photographer Hayley Anne Photography found APW the way a lot of you do: through a friend who is also an APW reader. So it comes as no surprise that, as far as wedding photographers go, Hayley is among those who will intuitively get you.
APW clients and I just click. They have weddings where everything is so real, authentic, and relaxed. I’m interested in keeping the focus on the people and relationships that surround you on that day, the real things.