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On Not Crafting for My Wedding

(Even Though the Internet Really, Really Wants Me To)

I made a pact with myself—as many readers of this site probably do—to avoid consulting the internet for advice about my wedding (APW aside, obviously!). I am not crafty, not even a little bit, and I knew that if I went down the road of Pinterest, wedding blogs, DIY wedding idea sites, etc., I would feel somehow inadequate, as someone who considers herself a, shall we say, non-non-traditional bride.

What’s with the double negative action? What it feels like, out there in the interwebs, is that there are basically two kinds of weddings:

  1. The weddings that go all-out Wedding Industrial Complex, with big spending and lots of adherence to tradition (no judgment); and
  2. Super-crafty, artsy, DIY-type weddings, where, out of concerns about cost and consumption—or, often, out of a desire to have the most unique wedding ever—the betrothed spend hours upon hours thinking, theme-creating, making, crafting, tweaking, etc. (Again, no judgment. Just mild jealousy, maybe.)

My fiancée and I don’t really fall into either camp. As previously mentioned, I have no skills in the arts and crafts arena. We are not having the kind of rustic, farmhouse-y wedding that lends itself well to cute homemade decor; our wedding is in a Swedish modern venue. And, overall, I am not really a DIY kind of person. From the get-go, we knew that we cared about only four things: people, food, alcohol, and photography. We booked a museum space where everything, decoration-wise, is pretty much ready to go because we did not want to have to throw a big party and figure out how to decorate it.

Knowing all of this, with less than three weeks to go before the big day, I slipped up. Things on the planning front were running smoothly and on-target, and I began to have the creeping sense that I was slacking, that there would be nothing we had made at this wedding, and oh my god all of our friends had cool homemade things at their weddings; what have I been doing all this time?

So I stepped, gingerly at first, into the crafty wedding ideas pond. Maybe some paper pom-poms or something, I thought. They looked so funky-cool in the wedding-photo slideshows I kept stumbling upon. Those seem easy; I could rally some friends to help, I assured myself.

Three hours and 60-some Firefox bookmarks later, I was in too deep. Sure, I flagged photos of some sensible, doable projects—table numbers made from small notebooks, a few pretty paper garlands—but I also latched onto many photos of outdoorsy barn weddings where the to-be-weds have to haul in everything, and so they take the time to make it adorable.

Months earlier, we had thoughtfully planned to avoid this fate for ourselves. Yet here I was, 19 days before the wedding, bookmarking photos of elaborate hand-painted umbrellas; handcrafted table runners, doilies, and napkins; colorful homemade pinwheels. Pinwheels!

Panic escalating, I hopped over to paper-supply websites to price out some of these projects (I mean, pinwheels, people). I added Paper Source to the day’s list of errands. I got in the car.

I think that, in some part, I wanted the sense of pride that comes from making things. But I also thought, well, since we’re not having the kind of wedding where we buy everything, we must be having the kind of wedding where we make things!

Like… pinwheels? What, exactly, were my guests going to do with these pinwheels? What?

Luckily, I stopped to meet with a dear friend before I hit the paper store. Upon hearing my frenzied plans and seeing the alarming number of my bookmarked “ideas,” she talked some sense into me. “Danielle,” she gently yet firmly reminded me, “you do not need pinwheels. You do not need any of this. This is not who you are.”

All those months of reading A Practical Wedding came rushing back—no joke. I remembered that we can have whatever kind of wedding we want, and that just because I’m not panicking in these final pre-wedding weeks doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. It probably means I’m doing something right.

And knowing that I won’t glance around the room at the end of our wedding night and see sloppy homemade pinwheels abandoned on tables and tossed into trash cans? That feels pretty right too.

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