Does It Matter If My Wedding Isn’t Unique?

I've got the ballroom blues

bride holding bouquet of flowers

Q: It’s always been my secret dream to get married at the beautiful San Fernando Cathedral here in San Antonio. We picked a date, plopped down some cash, and booked the church. It’s all going swimmingly. And as luck would have it, the cathedral hall is available for our reception. It will hold all of our guests, is close to the church, and within our budget. All I need to do is fax this contract back to the nice lady at the church and it’s ours. This is where the swimming stops.

You see, I’ve been an avid reader of APW for the last year or so (ever since I figured out that this is the man I am going to marry). I love to peruse all the wedding graduates and wordless weddings. Each wedding seems so meaningful and personal to each individual couple. They are refreshingly unique and you can see the joy in every picture, which is the whole point. The first thing I did after we decided to get married was to go buy Meg’s book. And I’m a believer in the APW philosophy that all that matters is what the wedding feels like. It doesn’t have to look a certain way. And that “should” is a dirty, dirty word.

Here’s the problem: My wedding is starting to look a “certain way.” And it seems to be like every other wedding (and quinceañera) I’ve ever been to. Church ceremony, large ballroom, two-tone decorations, dinner, dancing, etc. The very thought makes me cringe and feel a strange mixture of anxiety, shame, and sadness. But due to budget constraints and the sheer size of our families, this seems to be the most practical choice for us.

I know that the key to the APW philosophy is choice. And if we are party people, who love to dance, and who have large, close-knit families (which we are and do), then choosing a big, traditional wedding is perfectly acceptable. So why do I feel like I’m selling out? I guess my question is can we still have one of those meaningful, personal weddings in a big, impersonal ballroom?

Big Ballroom Blues

A: Dear BBB,

Lady, you don’t even need me. This, right here: “It doesn’t have to look a certain way. And that ‘should’ is a dirty, dirty word.” That’s it! You’ve nailed it.

Here’s a secret: when you get right down to it, a wedding is a wedding is a wedding. If you find a funky vintage cocktail dress, or if you wear David’s Bridal white… still a wedding. The only piece that sets it apart and makes a wedding unique and special is the two of you. That’s it. Not the favorswhether they’re elaborate truffles or mason jars of homemade preserves or nothing at all. Not the venuewhether a ballroom or a friend’s backyard. Not the mealwhether filet mignon or taco truck. Just little old you.

Because, here’s the other secret: that visible stuff that makes a wedding look personal and unique today, will be blasé and old hat tomorrow. I thought it was pretty dang unique and special that I had a color-coordinated candy bar in fancy apothecary jars. And then suddenly every wedding had them. And do you remember when photo booths were crazy inventive? Now everyone’s got those, too. I don’t mean to discourage you candy bar and photo booth havers. The point is that it’s all fine, because that stuff only marginally matters. When you look back on your mom’s wedding photos from the ’80s, do you think, “Ugh, more poufy sleeves? Boring.” Nope. You think, “Oh man, look at my mom!” It’s the people that matter at the end of the day (or the decade), not the style. Even if this wedding is exactly like every other wedding you’ve ever been to in style, it still won’t be in substance.

You’re not selling out. But I do understand that little desire for something pretty and special. So, here I am to remind you that yep, even a church or ballroom wedding can be pretty and special. Flip through all of that vintage wedding goodness over here (so few of our parents were worried about unique weddings, god bless ’em) or the tags for “social hall weddings” and “church weddings.” Some of my favorites are Meg’s parents (In a cathedral! With a reception in ballroom!) and cough, my own wedding (In a church! With the reception in the church hall!). See how pretty and joyful and unique they each are? Why? Because it’s the people getting married that matters, and the love, and all the people there to celebrate them. It’s the new family created that counts. The photos only matter for memories, and future grubby hands pointing and asking questions.

Team Practical, how did you fill your wedding with unique personality? What do you do when you feel pressure to fit a certain mold?

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  • andee

    The joy you see in all the posts doesn’t come from a particular setting or location or anything else. It will come from inside and all around you. You and the people your love create that joy that you recognize in all the pictures. My wedding was featured on APW and we got married in my parents yard. Bliss and joy were not on my list of expected emotions and it happened anyway. You’ll have it too.

  • Violet

    So spot on, Liz. The expression “There is nothing new under the sun,” (from the Bible, I think?) is true. No *thing* is new. Now people, those are new and different and unique. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a “unique” wedding, if we’re talking about elements like venue, favors, food, decorations, etc. Statistically speaking, everything has been done before or will be done simultaneously by at least one other couple.

    I suppose if someone were to extrapolate this out to the extreme as a mental exercise to prove there could be truly “unique” wedding elements (eg. ceremony in outer space, soylent green for the reception meal, and their own composed music for dancing), then I suppose it exists as a concept. But in reality, anyone who went that far would also have lost the point of what a wedding is about. That is, joining two people, not devising outre party favors for the sake of being “unique.”

    OP, you got this girl. You’ve nailed it. Keep on keepin’ on.

    • Laura C

      Ha! Soylent green.

    • Amanda Otto

      Yeah, but you have to think of the vegetarian option. Soy soylent green? *snicker*

    • Courtney

      Ecclesiastes 1:9 for “There is nothing new under the sun.” (I just finished teaching a whole semester course on the Bible as literature, which is why I knew that!)

      • Violet

        Haha, ba-BAM! Schooled. Thanks!

  • Every week I think I just post “Liz nails it!”. As a wedding photographer who has been to a lot of different kinds of weddings, her advice is totally true. You, your fiance, your family, your choices – those things make your wedding what it is, not the place or the things. The trap lies in doing things because you “should” or “have to”, not in actively choosing traditional things because they fit you and your vision for the day! You do you, friend! It’s going to be amazing.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I intentionally planned the most traditional wedding possible. And by “traditional,” I mean I talked to lots of guests about what was “traditional” for them, talked to our officiants, and even went to a graduate school library to research details. I didn’t want any surprises for my guests.

    You know what? People loved our wedding! Especially the little old ladies and our officiants. I just made up the fourth photo album for my church – They can’t get enough of the albums (and they’ve all been free – Shutterfly coupons). After I worked very hard to do/have/make nothing special, I still had myself and my community, and we’re special enough.

  • Oh geez. We barely decorated our reception hall at all. We put up a photo from right after the ceremony earlier that day (thank you 1 hour photo) and photos of our parents at their weddings. And we had floating candles with squished marbles (super original, let me tell you) and ribbon flowers on the tables. The decorations we brought to the venue fit in a shoe box.

    What made it original was who we were and the people who were there with us.

    • Meg Keene

      And the snow. Seriously, your wedding was beautiful.

      So there is the point, right there.

      • Well, that’s true. It’s not everyone who can schedule a blizzard like that.

        • TeaforTwo

          I had a blizzard wedding too! And it was the best!

          Well, it meant that a few people turned back because they couldn’t make the drive through the snow, and that it took everyone else ages and ages to get there and home. But it ALSO meant that I woke up on my wedding day to a hotel room bathed in the kind of bright winter light that ONLY comes on a snow day. It was the first big snow of the winter, and it was gorgeous.

  • Laura C

    One of the things I’ve noticed watching “Four Weddings” (I know, I know) is that there’s about a half inch space between “cookie-cutter” and “not really like a wedding,” and somewhere in that space is “unique,” which is what we’re supposed to be aiming for. Except when the space is that narrow, nothing is really unique. Now, obviously APW is not “Four Weddings.” But even so I think that general point applies to all weddings that fit the basic wedding format prevalent today. In the same way as Meg’s great Your Wedding is Not Timeless post. We’re dealing both with the wedding format and the styles of this moment, and as much as any of us striving for not-wedding-like weddings can point to the stuff that isn’t standard, a huge amount of stuff we do will be pretty standard anyway.

    I mean, we’re having our wedding officiated by a friend, one of the readings will be from a marriage equality court case, I’m not wearing white, the bridesmaids are choosing their own dresses, we’re doing an Indian station and a taco station for food, it’s an outdoor space owned by a science museum, our photographers are friendors. These aren’t Traditional things. BUT. Half our friends have had friends officiate their weddings and had readings from marriage equality decisions. (We’re being unique by choosing a different decision to read from?) It’s a wedding venue, so we’re pretty much on their timeline of ceremony cocktail hour dinner dancing. For everything we can point to that’s “different,” there’s something that’s “typical.” And even half the “different” stuff is stuff that’s popular in our circle of friends. Shoot, maybe, maaaybe half the weddings I’ve been to in recent years have been in churches, and it’s always interesting to see what any given church wedding is like (Catholic is different from Greek Orthodox, you know?).

    tl;dr Basically nobody’s wedding is made unique by where it is or what people are wearing or what the food is.

    • Kelly

      Yes. One person’s “unique” is another person’s “typical.” Our wedding is going to pretty much fall in line with what’s been the “standard” style for people our age, in our part of the country. It’ll probably all feel very familiar to local friends, but for family coming from across the country it might seem completely different and non-traditional. But what’s important? Those worlds colliding. People sharing in happiness.

      Also, Four Weddings is my secret delight.

    • KP

      As an aside, what is the reading? My fiancé and I met at law school and we are toying with a legal reading but goodridge seems overdone. Curious to know what you are choosing….and sorry for potentially harshing your unique choice!

      • Laura C

        There’s a passage in Perry that goes through various sayings replacing “marriage” with civil union or some such phrase. I really like parts of the Virginia decision but my fiancé sold me on that Perry bit as funny but also really meaningful.

        • KP

          Thanks for the tip! I’ll try to find it!

  • Jacky Speck

    Agree wholeheartedly with Liz’s advice but wanted to add that you probably chose all those “traditional” elements because they mean something to you. The fact that they’re meaningful and special to lots of other people doesn’t mean that they can’t also be meaningful and special to you. In fact, a lot of components of my wedding feel MORE special because they’ve been a part of many family or friends’ weddings. For me, knowing “this has been done so many times before” creates a kind of “rite of passage” feeling.

    • Jules

      AH! I was struggling with how to word this, but I read Liz’s article (linked in her response):

      “Damn the man. NOT choosing something because everyone else does, is just as bad as choosing something because everyone else does. It’s the same thing.”

      Which is precisely what I’ve been ranting at my hipster friends about, since liking some band I’ve never heard of UP UNTIL the moment they get “too popular” is NO MORE ADMIRABLE than liking the goddamn Backstreet Boys. I mean, you either like the music or you don’t. It’s meaningful to you, or it isn’t. And just because it is doesn’t make it worse.

      • Casey Fitzsimmons

        This is how I feel about minivans. (NOT choosing something just because everyone / moms else does). :-)

  • Christina McPants

    I have been to and worked a lot of weddings. The venue and the details are not what makes a wedding special. It’s the people – you, your spouse, your friends and loved ones. Don’t worry if your wedding looks like a lot of other weddings. It will *feel* uniquely yours.

  • YOQ

    Totally agree with this. I think it’s also important to know that it’s not uncommon to have this feeling. One of my major stressors early on was “how do we plan a wedding that ‘feels like us’ when what we’re doing is just like everyone else?” But don’t worry–you’ll make it your own. You won’t be able to help it.

    • Violet

      Yeah, it’s really common! Maybe because you can imagine the table settings, but you can’t imagine as well how it will feel to have those people there for you, on the day you get married. So in planning, we focus on the things, because they’re less abstract? I dunno, rambling here, but I agree with you!

      • AG

        I couldn’t agree with this more. I had pictured the room and decor in my mind pretty accurately, but what I couldn’t possibly imagine was how it felt to be IN the space with my friends and family. So very special.

  • Emily

    This is great. I’m so happy to know our wedding is special just because it’s ours.

  • I think I felt the most relaxed and at ease with this whole process when I finally stopped worrying about how my wedding wasn’t original and unique and DIY. It’s really not all that unique from an objective standpoint — we’re doing typical wedding things and cutting out unnecessary stuff — but it’s going to be OUR wedding, and that’s what will make it unique to us.

    • Unoriginal but unique?

      Our wedding was what we thougt of as a “traditional wedding” – no cute DIY, not original (cathedral, ballroom), we didn’t ad anything “unique” to the mix. Planning it, I sometimes worried about it, as you have been doing. Our weddingday was wonderful, we loved every second of it and most certainly did not miss anything! And of course it was unique – ’cause WE were getting married :-)

      The funny thing is, afterwards people have congratulated us on having such a unique and personal wedding. Turns out, many of our friends had never been to a church wedding with classical music and the reception in a historical building (town hall or secular outdoors ceremionies with contemporary music seem to be the norm in our social circles). To them, our wedding was “typically us” and unique. A friend even said she would have thought I had been going totally wedding crazy if I had attempted DIY’ing for the wedding, as I am (in her words), the least competent DIY-person in the country. To them, our wedding was anything but “cookie cutter”.

      • Oh, me too. I’ve never been good at crafts, so I’m leaving anything crafty out. Our reception will have some Indian elements to it (ok, some Bollywood music, the food, and our outfits, ha) but the ceremony is going to be a pretty traditional Episcopalian ceremony. I’m also having henna done so I guess in those respects it’s unique, i had just never thought of it that way. :) I guess our current wedding “culture” (perpetuated by Pinterest) is just so good at making me think my wedding isn’t unique if I didn’t make all of this stuff by hand, it’s not unique.

        • Allison

          I loved that right there when you said ” so I guess in those respects it’s unique, i had just never thought of it that way. :).” Because yeah, we do unique things all the time and don’t even realize they are unique. Because we are ourselves every day and we are used to being us so we don’t always realize when we are doing things that are super cool. The same goes for our weddings. We are inserting our personalities whether it is conscious or not, and even things that we didn’t go out of our way to make special will be because you are a cool person and you liked it.

  • Sharon M.

    Oh, but it’s so much EASIER to have the “traditional” wedding package at a wedding venue that does the whole thing for you. Or at least less stress, from my experience.

    We threw in a few little touches that were our own – LEGO unity ceremony, Star Wars recessional, and Carcassone meeple favors. The rest of it was pretty much totally textbook “wedding”

    • ElisabethJoanne

      This. It’s another important perspective. There’s nothing wrong with working on details as much as you want, but there’s plenty of stress in wedding planning (and life generally) that no one should feel obliged to add in details that don’t have meaning to them or aren’t fun for them.

      For a couple weeks during my engagement, I was bored. Planning was going well. Life was going well. One weekend, I got it into my head to do favors. We only ever talked about it. By the next weekend, one of us had a cold, or I unexpectedly had to work, or my dress was delayed, or something. In other words, life was interesting again. I totally don’t regret dropping the favors idea.

  • Sarah E

    I think this works in the reverse, too. Sometimes you get the aesthetic details you want (I think of this a lot when looking at interior design), but then. . .womp, womp, it’s still filled with your same old stuff. So the vision you aspire to isn’t even real because as soon as you personalize it, it becomes more tangible, more mundane, as it loses the “untouchable”-ness of the perfectly styled photo.

  • Teresa

    Yup–we got married at a country club ballroom wedding venue because it was SO MUCH EASIER! I really didn’t like the inside of the ballroom where we got married–it was a little too “I-talian” for me, and I am Italian. But, they did pretty much everything for us, the food is fabulous, we could have the ceremony on site and it overlooked the water. I thought it looked probably like every other wedding they have there, but, as we were getting ready to leave, my bridal attendant grabbed us and thanked us and told us that she really enjoyed how non-traditional and relaxed everything was. There are so many other choices you can make, aside from the venue, that really can impact how the day feels. Maybe the readings you choose really reflect your values (we too chose a reading from the Marriage Equality decision and had a friend marry us!), or you don’t walk down the aisle to Canon in D–whatever your preferences are will make your very traditional wedding feel like you as a couple.

    • Lib

      I got married at a super original venue (in a greenhouse) and people loved it. But in the months leading up to the day I wished over and over that I had just chosen one of those “generic ballrooms” I had originally poo-pooed becasue having to rent every.single.thing. and truck in all the food turned out to be a real headache and expensive!

  • Kelly

    I always have to remember that, for the most part, the people coming to our wedding are not currently immersed in WEDDING STYLE and really have no idea what all the current trends are (some recently married and engaged friends, do, but they’re mostly sympathetic about the whole situation). When we started planning, before I ever looked at a pinterest board, I had a few ideas of what might be nice. I was a little dismayed to go online and see that EVERYONE is doing that one thing that I thought was my totally original idea. I quickly realized that there really isn’t any originality to be found, but I think that’s comforting. That’s the nature of ritual and tradition. Our weddings are going to look “a certain way” because really, there are only so many ways a wedding can look.

    • Jules

      I wholeheartedly agree with this. There are only so many variations. (There are a lot, but bear with me.) Ultimately, it’s two people committing to the rest of their lives together, and there’s nothing cookie cutter about the CORE of the wedding.

      It’s easier to ‘judge’ online weddings from a “how personal/unique is it?” perspective because that’s the only metric we have. But the people who show up to your wedding? They won’t be fretting over or judging all these things because they know you. It can be really hard to remember that weddings aren’t competitions for Best Colors, Cutest Guestbook, Smallest, Cheapest, Most Expensive, Best Dressed, or even Most Likely to Succeed. Really hard. I sympathize.

    • Lib

      At the last minute I ordered those striped paper straws that are literally on EVERY Pinterested wedding I have seen. Then I panicked and almost didn’t bring them to the reception because I thought that they are so over done now. Would you believe that people loved them? People kept coming up to me and commenting on how fun the straws were. One guest even took a bunch home at the end of the night!

      Here I was afraid of being lame and “so 2013,” and people loved it. You never know.

      • Kelly

        Question about the paper straws (which I think seem charming and am contemplating but have never used): how does it actually work to drink out of them? do they not just get all soggy and make your drink taste like paper?

        • Sarah

          I had those straws too! They’re super cute and work fine, but they do get soggy after one drink so I just made sure to have enough that people didn’t feel the need to reuse them. There is just a hint of paper taste, but I thought they were cute enough to make up for it, plus I felt better about not throwing away 500 plastic straws at the end of the night. Everybody used them and nobody complained about the taste.

        • Meg Keene

          THEY ARE GROSS. Says the blogger who’s had to deal with them at every event ever. I refuse to use them, and drink with my mouth, which I totally can do.

          With Love, I love your paper straw weddings,

          • ART

            a restaurant i like started using them, and…yeah. it was gross. i was always like peeling it back out of my mouth, sort of? kind of killed the whole “mmm craft soda!” thing. especially because i actually do suck at drinking with my mouth if there’s ice in the glass :)

        • Liz

          I’m very much into The Look of things, so I hate using them, but still put them out at parties because SO CUTE!

        • Casey Fitzsimmons

          As long as you drink quickly, there are no issues… :-)

    • Eh

      “the people coming to our wedding are not currently immersed in WEDDING STYLE and really have no idea what all the current trends are” – EXACTLY!

      My BIL and his wife had a candy bar at their wedding in apothecary jars and my FIL thought it was the most original idea ever. We had a photo booth and my in-laws had never been to a wedding with a photo booth and they loved it (it was our guest book – my MIL was upset that some people didn’t have their pictures taken and that not everyone wrote us a note).

      • Kelly

        I had honestly never heard of a sand unity ceremony until I went to a wedding last year and saw one. I thought it was so original and represented our friends so nicely. Later that day I heard someone mention that they enjoyed this “version” of the sand ceremony, and I was like, “wait, this is a thing lots of people do?”

    • Rachel

      September bride here who has already ordered paper straws and am planning a candy buffet. One of my bridesmaids actually made a comment (not knowing my plans) about how lame candy buffets are and how they are played out. I doubted myself for about a day but then decided, eff it. I like candy a lot and I think candy buffets are rad. So whatever…even if I’m the only one filling up my bag of candy that night, I’ll still be psyched about it.

      • Kate

        I have a very very dear girlfriend who just doesn’t ever consider keeping her mouth shut. She spent 10 minutes a few months back bitching about how she doesn’t like or trust buffet weddings and I was just like well, I’m having one, so deal with it. She’s seriously done this about every possible aspect of a wedding you can dream of. So I’m so careful now when giving my opinion about things, but I also don’t hesitate to say “well, I love that, so I’m doing it.” So keep on keepin’ on.

  • Glen

    Our wedding seemed very cookie-cutter, in part because it was easier and less expensive, in part to meet my mother’s expectations of what a wedding should look like. But we put our own stamp on it: we wrote our ceremony in conjunction with our minister, vases of my favorite flowers were on the tables, the location was so us (outdoor ceremony in a cactus garden, indoor reception in a hall that had a waterfall), and we still get raves about the food. Plus since I grew up in the mid-west, some of our mid-western “traditions” like escort cards seemed novel to our southwestern wedding coordinator. Now I look at the pictures and just see joy, love, and lots of dancing.

  • jashshea

    I felt this way a bit, too. Like our wedding had to be super-duper unique and special. Looking back 2 years later, it’s like this: I LOVE weddings. All shapes and sizes. I like dressing up and dancing and chit-chatting. Why on earth did I want a wedding that wasn’t like a wedding?

    Our wedding was super-duper unique and special to me because it was ours. It looked largely like a regular wedding but we fit some fun, personal details in where we could. Your wedding sounds awesome and that venue is absolutely stunning!

  • Lindsey d.

    Yes! I looked so hard to non-traditional reception venues, but turned them all down variously for bathroom issues (not enough), accessibility (non-existent), price (too expensive), and on and on. In the end, we ended up with a country club reception space that was not super personal but very easy on our guests. What made our wedding ‘ours’ and ‘unique’ was the people (him and me and our guests), not the place or the decor (although it was gold and shiny, so that made me happy too).

  • Jane

    Oh my gosh, I SO had the same experience with my wedding. We found a great venue that was quirky and fun and original and cheap and awesome, but when we started working out logistics it was just wayyyyy too much work and planning for our 5 month engagement and enormous guest list. I LOVED that venue. It was next to the bay. We were going to arrive in a canoe. We were going to have s’mores next to the beach after dinner, and a tent, and cafe lights, and paper lanterns, and a food truck, and…oh my gosh the rentals and the vendors and WHAT IF IT RAINS??

    I cried when we booked an all-inclusive country club instead. Country club. Wow, that’s original. But I planned almost nothing. We wrote them a check and they took care of everything for a fee that was in our budget. It was a lovely wedding. Guests appreciated the climate-controlled aspect (we live in Hawaii, land of EXTREMELY HOT beach weddings that are beautiful but very uncomfortable). Everybody had plenty of room to move around in.

    I LOVE wedding blogs (I mean, look! I’m still reading this one seven months after my wedding!) but most people never put their wedding photos on a blog.

    ALSO. Your wedding is not the last party you will ever throw. You can totally throw a much smaller party later, for a birthday or memorial day or whatever you want, with fun, quirky details that are much more manageable because it is a smaller party and not a wedding.

  • Outside Bride

    Our wedding is in a place that has had “maybe one wedding a couple of years ago?” (manager). We are going for simple, trying to keep expectations low, and not bring in too much stuff or too many people. Still, can I admit one of my biggest anxieties is that, despite repeated assurances from the venue that they are OK with what we are planning, on day-of they are going to freak out and call the cops on us?

    I’m sure it will all be fine. Breathe, breathe. And we picked the place because it is very beautiful and very close to our hearts. Also because we knew there would be a lot of out of town guests and there is lodging on-site, so practical. That being said, at a month out, I think some of the background anxiety would be removed had we gone with a simpler plan in a place that just does a lot of weddings. Not saying I wish we had done it differently, exactly (yet!), just suggesting that probably any venue choice could cause some degree of stress. Also, for me, it is just always hard to not get into a “could have, should have” mentality whenever I realize we are passing the point of no return. I am trying to remind myself that I almost always relax and start having fun once I’ve committed and passed that point where there’s no way out but up, whether it’s a long slog out of a steep canyon or, hopefully, a wedding!

    • Lawyerette510

      And you can always send an email to the venue manager confirming things you’ve talked about, so that day of if anyone starts to worry, you can be like “see look here where Bob emailed me back that all of this was ok”

  • Megan

    I definitely feel where the original poster is coming from, and I think part of it is just from wedding overload in general, once you’re in planning mode. I spend/waste hours of time doing wedding “research”, and no matter whether I’m spending hours on a site like APW, or reading Brides magazine, I still walk away feeling like mine won’t be “good enough” to be on a blog or magazine or something. You spend so much time staring at pretty, it starts to freak you out a little. Until you actually get to go through the day and feel how amazing it feels (I won’t feel this until October 18, but I got a little taste of it at my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago).

    I’m almost feeling like I have a problem with the DIY/DIT movement–because now there’s pressure to make things more personal or you, and do hand make things yourself–and then if you don’t, you’re too traditional or it’s not special enough! I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about today’s NY Times article that Meg posted on Facebook earlier (congrats on the mention!). While I like what DIY/DIT is about–working together as a team, spending time together, making something personal–this article brings it back to making me feel crazy that I’m not hand-carving table numbers out of walnut that my dad found in the woods of his summer home (OMG).

    I guess my point is that, whether you’re reading a much better website like APW, or something more WIC-oriented like Brides magazine, I feel like there comes a time when too much wedding stuff, no matter how well-intended it is, starts to make you really crazy.

    • Meg Keene

      NYtimes trend pieces are nonsense like that. They can make you feel badly about feeding your baby squeeze food (real story).

      • KC

        Those pieces tend to make me feel inadequate for not going as all-out in whatever ways I’m “not measuring up”… and simultaneously like I’m a sort of horrible person for doing any of the sorts of things they list, because it sounds so ludicrous and pretentious when you put it all together.

        Is this an artifact of the way they’re written? The culture they’re in? What *is* it?

        • Meg Keene

          Oh, it’s intentional. It’s the editorial spin of the section. I actually don’t like the way the section is edited in the slightest.

        • Alyssa M

          Man, I totally hear you. I read that and simultaneously got mad that my partner won’t let me etch all of the guest’s names onto irish coffee mugs for ‘place cards’ (he’s definitely looking out for my sanity) and I’m annoyed with myself because I’m decorating with flowers in wine bottles and homemaking fleece blankets for the guests to use sitting around the fire because, “Oh jeez. I’m one of THOSE people aren’t I.”

          You know what? F that noise, NYTimes. I do what I want. -_-

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Random observations: While wedding planning, I came across one of Martha Stewart’s first wedding books, from the ’80s. I didn’t realize she was a professional caterer. So now people are expected to DIY what used to be the realm of professionals.

      I also wonder how much of DIY and other wedding trends as self-reflections are really an imposed sense of self. Are this many people truly crafty, or do they decide they’re crafty ’cause that’s the personality profile of a bride fed them by a WIC that’s really about selling things? Are 2/3 of American couples outdoorsy (I’ve read 2/3 of American weddings take place outdoors.), or do they feel they need to match their interests/personality to a choice that’s made from convenience or other not-personal reason?

      • KC

        There are a lot of different categories that end up in the same decision bucket, for instance, for having a taco truck catering:
        1. really loves Mexican food
        2. really loves this particular caterer
        3. really loves food trucks in general
        4. this was the cheapest option to feed hot food to people in this circumstance
        5. wants to be the sort of person who would have a taco truck at their wedding
        6. had something meaningful related to tacos/food trucks/etc. (aka, engagement ring hidden in guacamole)(eew)
        7. hey, it’s run by my cousins, okay? we may as well send some of the wedding bucks their way.
        8. most of their guests would be happiest with this food option
        9. buying local!

        Any of those reasons are personal (or practical in your personal circumstances, which can come out to the same thing). #5 is more… aspirational? But if you *wish* you were a particular sort of person, then “acting that out” isn’t necessarily bad (but you wanna keep an eye on it, since wishing you liked bourbon neat isn’t going to make you like bourbon neat, and if not liking it is going to disappoint you, then… problems? And also, being yourself is good.).

        • ElisabethJoanne

          But what is “the sort of person who would have a taco truck at their wedding” (or like bourbon neat)? I like cream cheese icing, Chardonnay, and the color pink. I don’t think those say anything else about who I am. Insofar as Madison Avenue has added “meaning” to consumer choices, and people are forming their self-image around that “meaning,” we’ve got a problem.

          • KC

            I think there are some meanings inherently attached to some reasons for some choices… and then, yeah, there’s a lot of “meanings” stapled on by advertising or other media. (I mean, “the kind of person who has chickens in their backyard” should really be “the kind of person who wants to have chickens in their backyard and who enjoys it and also finds it practical”, not because it fits into an “image” of a particular kind of blogger or whatever)

            I am the sort of person who wants to Feed All The People.

            I want to be the sort of person who makes everyone feel comfy in their skin (where it’s good) and helps them get out of bits of themselves that aren’t good. I’m currently trying to figure out how who I want to be maps onto behavior choices and how that maps onto hospitality and how hospitality choices map practically onto furniture choices and auuuugh.

            I’m not sure, but I’m guessing “the sort of person who would have a taco truck at their wedding” as an ideology might include some aspects of informality, mingling, giving people choice (vs. plated meals)? And then would also carry a “unique!” and potentially “hipster/cool!” label? I’m not totally sure.

          • Liz

            Thinking about this more, I think we’re also talking a bit about subcultures and aligning ourselves with them. Like picking what you wore in high school. I wore thick black eyeliner and baggy army green pants and combat boots because sure I liked the way it looked, but also because it aligned with a certain aesthetic, and a certain subculture.

            Right now, liking straight bourbon (erm, exactly how hipstery would it be of me to say I liked bourbon before it was cool?), or taco trucks, or bunting flags are popular in a mainstream way because they originally identified a person with a subculture that’s been adopted en masse.

          • KC

            In this case, a lot of it seems likely to both be aligning ourselves with specific aesthetics and subcultures in some cases, and reacting against cultures/concepts in other cases (because we Will Not Be Stodgy/Typical/Cliche/Norm). To fit in, in some ways – and to desperately *not* in others.

            So, are weddings a lot like high school? Amplified emotions? Fights about things that are actually about something else? Family junk dredged up? Popularity/comparison games? And a hunt to both match “our people” and yet be unique? :-)

          • Liz

            Agree, but also think there’s an equal and opposite side there. If you plan a party involving cake with cream cheese icing and Chardonnay and pink balloons, that party is going to be really personally reflective of you! Even if you’re not sitting up at nights thinking, “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS MORE PERSONAL?”

            Make decisions and plan stuff, and usually whatever comes naturally from that, reflects you without trying.

      • KC

        (note: absolutely YES on there being “higher standards” now, esp. for no-prior-experience DIY-ers. It’s nuts. I mean, yes, internet tutorials mean you *can* learn how to do more random craft/food/etc. things, but watching a bunch of youtube videos doesn’t mean you have the experience to make it out of a major project without lumps…)

    • Jacky Speck

      This is reminding me of how when we first started planning our wedding, I was doing TONS of “research,” looking at tons of magazines and blogs and pinning ideas to my Pinterest boards, all that stuff. I kept trying to show various ideas to my fiance, and getting mad when he didn’t care.

      Him: “Why would I want to look at other people’s weddings? I don’t know any of these people.”
      Me: “Because it will give us ideas for *our* wedding!”
      Him: “But… None of those are *our* wedding. They’re all someone else’s wedding.”

      Months later, I’m starting to understand where he was coming from.

    • Liz

      I think that’s the way with anything. Any reaction to a way things must be done- a, “We don’t HAVE to do it that way!” eventually pendulum swings so far that it becomes the new imperative (if you’re not careful).

  • JDrives

    Liz and the other commenters are on point. It’s all about you and your people. There is an art gallery venue in our neighborhood that is a gorgeous, modern space, totally us – but the price tag was just not feasible because our priority besides 1) fit all our people was 2) feed (and booze) all our people. So we went with a Masonic temple ballroom. Not nearly as glamorous or unique. I can’t even get down about it though because it means we will have room for a HUGE dance floor and it’s going to be filled with all of our favorite people who are going to be stuffed full of delicious pasta and wine. Just picturing it makes me giddy, and I find that I just can’t muster a damn about whether my venue or other choices we’re making are traditional or boring.

  • Kelly

    I also have friends who went to a wedding last summer and said it was “too Pinterest-y.” Everything was very pretty but inauthentic, and they felt like they were extras in a photoshoot as opposed to valued guests.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah. I’ve had that feeling at weddings. It’s rare, but happens. Like IT’S WORKING SO HARD TO BE PERSONAL with ALL THE PROJECTS FROM PINTEREST. It’s a weird thing, like it circles all the way back around to… like… if you are like MY WEDDING IS GOING TO BE THE MOST UNIQUE EVER, then you lose the fact that…. it’s two people who love each other getting married (under a pile of Pinterest projects).

      I mean, I guess I’m saying, you guys are SUPPOSED to be the point, not the Pinterest projects you did such a good job on. Though those are nice too.

      • Meg Keene

        I guess my point is, you want people to walk away saying “God, they love each other so much,” not “they certainly executed a lot of DIY projects well.” So just focus on the point, and do whatever DIY projects you care about. Or don’t do any. Who cares.

        • Kelly

          “The ceremony was alright, but those two really folded the hell out of this hand-embossed pinwheel program. That is a true testament of their love and I will cherish it forever,” said no wedding guest ever.

          • joanna b.n.

            Yup, so my only addition to the great comments here is that if you put things that represent/reflect you and your partner into the parts of the wedding that feel meaningful to you (i.e. the venue or NOT the venue, but probably some part of the Ceremony), that’s what people will remember. Even though our ceremony was only 1/15th of the time people spent at our wedding, that was what set the tone for the evening, and what seemed to touch people. So if you can get the CONTENT of what you’re doing to be authentically you, then the details of how it looks and where it is fade into the background. Because they are background – you and your people celebrating is the focus, not the empty ballroom (as seen in many a picture of someone else’s wedding).

            That said, if there are things you love about your venue, then embrace those. Don’t worry about if they seem too common: if it’s right for you, then it will work.

            And HAVE FUN! :)

    • anon for this

      “they felt like they were extras in a photoshoot as opposed to valued guests”

      oh man, that captures it so perfectly. i was at an event recently that made me feel that way to some extent, particularly afterward when viewing one set of photos (by a guest – of people enjoying themselves) vs. the host’s set (the pretty, pretty stuff)

  • Elizabeth

    I struggled with this when planning my wedding, too. I wanted to do something different! and unique! but when it comes down to it, while elements of our wedding *were* different (self-uniting ceremony FTW), we like traditions and “traditional” things, so we had a wedding that reflected that. Do what feels right!

    • Ali

      Yay self-uniting! There’s a strong chance we’ll do that as well (thanks, Pennsylvania’s rich Quaker heritage!).

      Part of me is ok with making so many aspects of our wedding traditional, because it may be hard enough for our families to accept the things that aren’t (not getting married in a church, self-uniting, even having ice cream cake instead of a fancy tiered cake). Having some elements that are familiar and traditional may not only be meaningful to us, but be comforting to them.

    • Violet

      Oooh, our priest had explained to us how technically, you marry yourselves in an Episcopalian ceremony (if you use the Book of Common Prayer) as well. I never realized that, but when you look at the language, it’s right there! He explained, “I pronounce it, and I bless it, but you do the marriage part.” So cool!

  • enfp

    I think you are in very good company, and most people feel this pressure no matter what they do for their wedding! If you’re making choices you’re happy with, that make sense for you, regardless of what those choices are, then your wedding will be meaningful and personal for sure! Two things are helping me with the pressure to have a super unique wedding, in addition to repeating Liz’s advice above, which is spot on. First, is that my wedding can’t be all the things. I can’t simultaneously have a rustic wedding at a summer camp, and a hip, urban wedding downtown at an art gallery (both of which could be viewed as “unique” but you could probably find a million weddings like these on blogs). At a certain point you just have to make some choices that you feel good about and move on, and not worry that your wedding could have been something else, whether it’s more unique, or more DIY, or more fancy etc etc. The other thing I try to remind myself is that guests will have an amazing time and remember your wedding as special if you just take care of their comfort and needs, which is something you can do no matter what kind of wedding you have.

  • Lawyerette510

    Absolutely what Liz said, and some concrete examples of ways to personalize even a large space- if that’s what feels right to you, although you don’t need to: photos, picking the two tones that you love the most, DIY up-lighting (I swear I read about that on here or over at OBB), the music choices, your clothes. Now none of these on their own may feel unique, but when you put all your choices together, it’s going to feel unique because it’s you and your FH and that’s awesome.

    Wedding is in 4 days and I’m freaking out that people are going to freak that there is no religion involved, including no blessing the food. We’ve never told our parents we’re agnostic, and I’m wondering if we should have specifically addressed it with them before hand, but too late now, so fingers crossed if people are offended about the lack of god in our wedding they keep it to themselves…

    • jashshea

      My in-laws are religious and hosted the rehearsal dinner. I hadn’t thought about it until that moment, but had a moment of anxiety when my mostly non-religious family & friends were told to bow their heads for the prayer.

      And I’m sure they had the same reaction the next day when there was no prayer…at all. People are resilient and (i hope) be on good behavior on your wedding day! Congratulations!

    • Eh

      We did not have any religion involved in our ceremony. None of the guests seemed to notice since many of the religious guests mentioned the lovely and personal ceremony that our “minister” wrote. (Our officiant writes amazing ceremonies – that’s why we hired her.) We did have my husband’s grandfather say grace before supper as it is a tradition in his family. Since we were going out of my in-laws comfort zone on many aspects of our wedding (e.g., not getting married in a church or by a minister, and having an open bar, and not having a wedding party) we decided to give them some things that we were indifferent about (e.g., I would not be married in a church or by a minister but I can handle having my food blessed).

  • Jules

    I LOVE this letter. Because “personal” doesn’t HAVE to mean “smaller” or “super customized” or other things generally associated with wedding counter-culture, although it’s used in that context a lot. Personal is “belonging or relating to a particular person”. This wedding belongs (because it’s yours) and relates (because this is your dream venue and you are inviting your beloved guests) to YOU. It IS personal.

    There is no shame in having a “traditional” wedding. You might feel like you’re selling out because you’re immersed in wedding counter-culture, in the land of courthouse weddings, backyard weddings, 50 guests, eco-friendly invites, nontraditional engagement rings – but none of those is intrinsically better than anything else, and just because you do it, doesn’t make it the right choice, either. (If you tried to cram everyone in the backyard when you have 300 guests, that would pretty much be missing the point.) The gist of it is that you do things that you want or that simply work out for you, not because someone told you that you MUST.

    One more thing: you say this is the most “practical” for you guys. Which is ultimately a consideration we all have to make! Even the weddings featured here had choices made of practicality, things they couldn’t afford, and imperfections.

  • SarahG

    I am all about the “unoriginal” wedding. I’m 38 and getting married in September, and I’ve been to loads of friends’ and families’ weddings over the years. Every time I see something I think is awesome, and make a note to self. And now we’re getting married and doing a bunch of those things (copying bits of different ceremonies; favors; flowers; same baker as one friend; same DJ as another friend) and I could not be happier, because it all reminds me of lovely people that I know that got married. All weddings are is a conglomeration of personal, familial and cultural traditions and styles and practices all jammed into a crazy Cuisinart and pulped into something unique (I’m picturing a food processor filled with glitter now). Your particular mix will be awesome because it will be YOURS! Own that cathedral, girl :)

    • JDrives

      Aw, this just tickled me: “I could not be happier, because it all reminds me of lovely people that I know that got married.” A lovely, refreshing retake on what seems to be a popular fear that people will “steal” your wedding ideas.

  • I think you could just add a couple small details that are meaningful to you/reflect your relationship that would make it feel unique. For example, how you design the place cards or what you use for the guestbook can be a small thing that you can use to really bring out your own style. At my wedding, we displayed a lot of personal photos from all the phases of our lives (before and after we met). It isn’t a particularly original idea, but it is inherently unique because the photos were of us and they brought up memories when our guests looked at them. It is one of the only things that people really remember from our wedding as far as I can tell. Anyways, my point is just one or two little things that really reflect you, even if the idea itself is not particularly original, can add a lot of personal touch simply because you made them / designed them / picked them. And if everything else is more traditional, I think those couple little things will actually stand out more!

    • Eh

      Exactly! I think there is a lot of confusion between unoriginal, personal, and authentic. “Unique” weddings aren’t for everyone (there have been discussions about this on OBB – for example: and your wedding shouldn’t be discounted just because it’s “unoriginal”. What I got from APW (and OBB) when I was planning was that I wanted my wedding to be personal and authentic. The weddings that I hadn’t enjoyed were weddings where I couldn’t see the couple in the wedding. I was at a fairy tale princess wedding with every possible cliché you could find. It was not personal or authentic. The bride found all of these cool ideas and decided to include them in her wedding. The fact that the wedding was in a cliché location (ceremony in a gazebo and the reception was in a conference centre) had nothing to do with it. I have been to wedding at hotels or in conference centres that have been very personal and authentic. Our reception was at a golf course but we decorated to reflect us. We had pictures of us and centerpieces that were board games and table numbers made of LEGO. You only need to add a few personal touches to make your wedding yours. Carry an object with you (my husband wore Batman cufflinks, I had my “somethings” – old: mom’s wedding band, new: earrings, borrowed: horseshoe, blue: thistles from my mom’s garden) and ta-da you have a personal touch.

  • ART

    I was just thinking this morning before I saw this about my friends’ wedding a few years ago and how it was “just” in a hotel meeting room (ceremony) and ballroom (reception) and I don’t even remember one single thing about the food or decorations – but it was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to and the whole thing made me SOB and was a really magical day. The ceremony room – the kind you’d go to a conference panel in – was totally transformed by the ceremony happening there (it was Hindu) and the ballroom was full to bursting with happy, celebrating people dancing their asses off. I *hope* our lakeside, outdoor, DIY-till-you-drop wedding is that much fun. The closer we get to it, the more that’s all I care about.

  • Jill

    I got married in San Antonio last year. We wanted traditional with a mix of “special” so we paid $1500 for the UIW chapel and $4000 for the Pearl Stable. We spent hundreds if not thousands of hours hand-crafting all sorts of personal details. We went with a multi-colored theme bc I didn’t want it to look like “Everyone else’s.” We booked a photographer that we could afford and that I liked. And her pictures? Didn’t show any of our “special.” And our friends? Remember that the food was good and lots of people danced. Most people didn’t sign the quilt squares I hand-cut so I could sew a quilt with my grandma. Some of the photo booth props and the throw bouquet I stayed up late making got left in the wedding planner’s van. There is literally no photographic evidence that I ever hit the dance floor. My point? It sounds a little like you want your wedding to “look” special – I get it. So did I. But what I got instead – was a wedding that WAS special. And it will remain that way, even if only in my memories (thanks, photographer). If I could do it over again, I just might pick a church ballroom and barbecue on paper plates. That’s the way most people do it here – and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’d have saved thousands of dollars, and still had the pictures that matter – of my husband and me and our families and friends, on the most special day of our lives. In reality, I would probably never have been happy with the pictures – I think when it’s your wedding it’s probably never “enough.” But regardless of the details and the pictures, the pure elation of having all of our loved ones in the same place for a few precious hours is the detail that will stay with me. And the detail that will stay with YOU, regardless of where you hold your wedding! Best of luck.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      So glad to hear from someone else who felt her photos weren’t quite “enough” or something. Looking through my wedding album feels like getting back a school paper – even if I got an A, there’s still typos marked.

      • Jill

        I have been wanting to write in to APW to talk about my feelings on this. They are beautiful pictures. Really. Everyone who sees them (especially especially people who weren’t there) RAVES about them. And there are some lovely ones of the two of us. It just feels like they MISSED so much – so many of the details that we labored over and most especially the “feeling” of the wedding – it was so happy and joyous and our pictures just feel…still. And her other pictures WERE NOT LIKE THAT so I feel…cheated? Picky? Both? SO many feelings, enough to make me well up at my desk almost exactly one year later. Your comparison to an A with typos is very apt – and I’m glad someone feels like me too :)

        • Sarah

          I was/am really disappointed with my photos too. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          Our officiant – the person who keeps asking me for mini-albums – is a professional (architectural) photographer, and he raves about the quality of our photos. So I guess my feelings aren’t about the quality of the photos themselves. And I don’t know that there are any shots that I feel were left out, though I do struggle whenever I have to choose a formal shot of just the two of us. I don’t LOVE any of them. I never LOVE a photo of myself.

          I wonder if photography isn’t an art form that “speaks to us,” ART. Meg has written about journaling in between the wedding and getting her photos – as a way to crystalize her memories from her own perspective, not the photographer’s. I think that photos just aren’t how we “capture the emotion of the day.” For me, if I want to “go back to that day and those feelings” I might listen to our ceremony music or buy some of our flowers.

          • Emily

            Can anyone link to where Meg writes about journaling/taking her own photos? I would like to read it.

        • Alyssa M

          You’re comment that the people who weren’t there rave about your pictures, but to you they seem still, especially compared to her other pictures(of weddings you weren’t at), I think really highlights something. No photog, no matter how amazing, is ever going to bottle ALL of the super intense emotions of your wedding day into an album. I sincerely doubt it’s possible. So maybe everyone thinks their own photos are “still” because they’re comparing to the actual event, whereas when we look at other weddings we’re able to see the emotion that they could capture and it seems fantastic, but only because we can’t compare it to the actual day.

          I kind of rambled, so I’m not sure if that made sense, but there was an idea in there somewhere lol.

        • Eh

          Thanks for sharing this. I have a friend who is not happy with her pictures but is having a hard time expressing what she’s not happy about because the pictures look amasing (and everyone tells her that). I think the pictures don’t capture the day for her the way she expected. She was mad at me because I didn’t have any pictures of some specific people (during the cocktail hour or the reception). I am pretty sure those people are missing from the profession photog’s pictures too.

  • I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: part of what we love about 80s weddings (or whatever decade) is the fact that they DO have a lot of things in common. That they are of a particular time is why we love them. So I don’t think in the future anyone will think, “Ew, Mason jars and striped straws!” It’ll be “Aw, there are the Mason jars and striped straws!”

    Also, I think the best (and cheapest!) way to make a wedding feel more personalized is through things like readings, toasts, traditions, and music. Not that you NEED to do something totally out of the box in those areas (people really are not going to judge your wedding if you stick with the tried and true!)…but if you’re really worried about it not feeling unique enough, maybe see if there are any special (ish) things you could do in those areas that would make you feel a little better about it?

  • Lena and Aggy

    I worked at a verrry fancy wedding planning firm in Manhattan a billion years ago and I remember at the end of every event season it always felt like we had planned the same wedding 15 times (same flowers in different combinations). Like when we used mirrored table tops at 7 weddings or we got these plastic mirror balls (or paper lanterns) and hung them above the dance floor for (I think) every wedding that we did. Which is not to say that they weren’t very unique and very special and that each couple wasn’t SO excited about each of the details. But, at the end of the day, each wedding looked wildly different, felt wildly different and had wildly different people and sentiments. So while the cover may look like all the other books on the shelf (or at least a lot of them) inside is a completely new book to explore.

  • Lisa

    And, says one who is not reading all the comments, sorry, why not make everything the same color, if you want some kind of more forceful aesthetic statement? All orange? All green? All yellow? It can work:).

  • Kay1Bee

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. My wedding is going to be a church ceremony and a golf club reception. After being immersed in blogs filled with quirky and beautiful backyard/campground/science museum/etc etc weddings, I was feeling bummed that my wedding would be like just about every other wedding I’ve gone to. And while my partner and I are not into big or fancy events, we both have huge families and don’t want the stress of having to take care of every detail, so the traditional country club wedding is just PRACTICAL. Thanks for bringing me back to Earth and reminding me that it can still be personal and beautiful and fun.

    • Courtney

      I did the same! We were originally considering a fun rustic/elegant outdoor tented thing, but doing that while accommodating the kind of logistical considerations that would make all our important people comfortable (…including me. I don’t want to see a portable restroom on my wedding day. period.) would just not have been a good return on investment relative to our priorities (being legally married, and a badass honeymoon. in that order).

  • My basic concern which is related to BBB’s worries is that I’m not trying very hard to make my wedding “personal” and “unique”. Yes, it’s different from a lot of weddings (reception at a pizza restaurant/bowling alley) but I’m not making individual DIY favors for every guest, or creating other decorations or activities that no one else has ever thought to do. I mostly don’t care about those “special details”. I want my guests (and of course, my future husband and me) to have A LOT OF FUN and eat A LOT OF YUMMY FOOD. I don’t care that things aren’t insanely personalized like all the wedding blogs like to showcase. I do care about making sure things run smoothly for guests, and that they feel loved, but I don’t think that having table numbers made out of our faces or something will make my wedding any better.

  • Jade

    I am also feeling a lot of that pressure to have a unique/unplugged/minimalist wedding, like it’s my duty to reject the WIC or else shaaaaaame. No doubt it’s due to too much time spent on the internet reading wedding blogs and forums and Pinterest, because when I’m with my married friends trying to get support and advice, I feel really good about how my wedding is shaping up. Because hey, guess what, it’s totally cool to make a big deal out of your wedding and keep in “traditional” elements, especially because my wedding represents a blending of two cultures/religions.

    Interestingly, I actually AM a crafty person, just not when it comes to my freaking wedding. Whereas my future in-laws are very much “let’s DIY every aspect of this big event” people. I’d rather just throw money at it.

  • Kate

    I went to 12 weddings last year and only two were in more “traditional” church settings, but my fiance and I agreed that those two weddings were basically a breath of fresh air! Not that each and every other one wasn’t wonderful and lovely and special in their own way, but sitting in those old wooden pews and looking around the beautiful buildings was so peaceful and familiar. Don’t feel like you have to please anyone but yourself!