On Not Taking Wedding Trends Too Seriously (Even Indie Ones)

… Or why you should ask your fiance’s opinion on wedding decisions.

I just remembered a slightly intoxicated conversation I had with David and our friend Rachel about indie wedding trends. I feel like I should say up front… I was tipsy, David was not. David said this is the most exact transcription of a conversation I’ve ever posted. It really was this ridiculous.

Me: You know… indie wedding trends. They get as trendy as regular wedding trends.
Rachel: Indie wedding trends?
Me: Yeah. Like Mason Jars and Bunting.
David: Bunting?
Me: Ok. Um. How do I describe this? You know those little plastic triangle flags on a string they hang at used car lots?
Rachel: That’s bunting?
Me: Um. I don’t think the used car dealer would call it bunting, but…
David: I thought bunting was the fabric swags that you hung at the fourth of July?
Me: It is, but, no that’s not this. Um, ok so the plastic triangle flags. So if you take those flags, but you make them out of gingham…
David: Gingham?
Me: Yeah, you know, like calico.
David: What?
Me: Like what you make prairie dresses from.
David: What are you even talking about?
Me: Like cotton with lots of tiny flowers and stuff.
David: Ew.
Me: Whatever. Anyway, so if you take those plastic flags and you make them out of gingham, that’s bunting. For, like, hanging from the trees at your wedding.
David: Really???
Me: Yeah, it’s like, rustic festive?

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  • I am laughing so hard right now… My sister and I were working with my fiance and her boyfriend to design wedding invites a few days ago… We wanted the birds to have a calico print on them and had almost exactly the same discussion– down to the use of prairie dresses to describe calico! Alas, we were never understood and the birds ended up being plaid. And I love them (the birds and the boys).

    Great timing on a fantastic post– keep it up! :)

  • i definitely had the exact same conversation with my dear one…he looked at me like i was crazy, and i was flabbergasted he had no idea what i was talking about…

  • Oh how true. As an "offbeat" bride who did the mason jars and the bunting (and had a blast doing it) I love all things indie wedding. However, I am acutely aware, that I should take it for what it is, a trend likely to be replaced in the nearish future by another trend. Do I regret my trendy wedding? No, it was perfectly us! Do I know it will look dated soon? Yup, just like my parent's wedding does. The upshot of this? I love new eye candy.

    Thanks for being real about it all :)

  • The nice thing about marrying a guy from Long Island is that their wedding trends are more of the ice-sculpture-giant seafood display- and super fancy getaway car variety, so we look pretty original even though we're really just sheep of another color. ;-)

    • Renae

      As long as you’re happy with it. :)

  • hehehhehe. love it.

  • I was just trying to find a picture of the cheerful bunting (with bright aquas and springy greens and pinks) we used at my wedding (on the front of the food tables and around the cupcake table) but in looking through my pictures, I don't think the photographer got a shot of them! Funny. It's ok, though, because they are now hanging around the edge of my craft room where I can look at them whenever I want.

    Oh, and I didn't realize they were a trend? Oh well, I loved them at my wedding and I love them now.

  • I love that "rustic festive" was a question there at the end!
    Also, we have nothing gingham/calico, and I'm happy that way. :)

  • Meg

    It did, early on make me swoon. But we had no trees, and um, it seemed like a lot of work. And I'm llllaaaaaaazzzzyyyyy

    @Hindsight bride
    Funny, as I was writing this I was wondering, I wonder what the next trend will be


  • Oh, lovely – I really laughed (out loud, not just in my head) reading this! And would like to add moustaches on a stick to the ubiquitous trend which doesn't make any sense to me (and at least bunting looks good…).

  • Anonymous

    Meg, I love everything you write, but I think this is my favorite post so far.

    Yesterday I mentioned buying paper and ribbons for the pinwheels and ribbon wands. My fiance didn't even bat an eye, although I'm fairly sure he had no idea what I was talking about or why. haha… love it!

  • Willow

    Bunting, Mustaches on sticks, Milk-Glass Vases, Mason Jars, Visible Tattoos, White Dresses with Colorful Shoes, Huppahs with branches, Fascinators, Pies, I-Pods, Photos in alleys or amusement parks, Gocco, Pom Poms, DIY Flowers, Colorful Sheets as photo backdrops

    Did I miss anything? LOL!

  • i'm totally cracking up! we're doing mason jars (because they're cheap and less breakable than champagne glasses) AND homemade bunting. which i'm about to work on today. or so i say every day…

    and i'll go ahead and say what i'm sure every "indie" bride with bunting says: "i fell in love with it until it blew up and showed up at every wedding on the blogs, i swear!!" heehee.

  • I've attempted many a conversation in this nature with Mr. Beagle. He looks at me like I have eight eyes.

  • make that, "before it blew up".

    sorry, it's 9am and i'm on spring break!

  • This is the funniest thing I've read in a while! I had *the same conversation* (minus the prairie dresses) with my fiance. And I realized how random and arbitrary wedding trends (or any trend, really) can seem to those who aren't obsessively following the blogs and magazines.

    It was even harder to explain why I didn't just want to go out and buy the same plastic flags used at car lots. Now I'm thinking that might not have been such a bad idea, LOL.

    I'm kind of fascinated by how trends germinate – always makes me want to do something bizarre, just to see if it'll catch on and spread.

    • Aiyana

      My honey said no to the bunting because it made him think of used car lots (which I could NOT understand at the time)…but I somehow got away with putting up homemade “prayer flags”. Bunting, but squares. And no calico/gingham. It looked great!

  • Anonymous

    I think some of the "indie" trends have come out of people being fed up with the Wedding Industrial Complex and how outrageously expensive some of the other mainstream trends are. And I think that's awesome. Ha!

  • eliza

    this is GREAT conversation. rustic festive, I love it. (and I had bunting at my wedding!)

  • This sounds like almost every conversation I have outside of blogland. I spend so much time during the day (procrastinating at work) reading wedding blogs and searching for inspiration that I forget completely what a ridiculous world it is. I mentioned to someone how silly I thought candy buffets are this weekend and they swore they had never seen that at a wedding (well, neither had I, but they are EVERYWHERE in WIC (and indie) land that it seemed like something everyone knew about).

    I won't even begin to start in on bunting….and my fiance had put a big veto to anything with a mason jar.

  • So true. I felt inadequate the other day because we are not doing a "funky" photo booth with props, and then I told myself to get over it. Seriously.

  • Willow, I think you missed cupcakes (although, maybe pies are the new cupcakes?). Sometimes I feel so counter- counter- culture because I'm having an actual cake at my wedding!

  • @Willow That's a pretty comprehensive list.

    I didn't know what bunting was either. It's interesting how quickly something can go from unique and indie to "wedding trend" seen on every WIC blog.

    Luckily for me, my family does not read wedding blogs, so everything I borrow from someone else will be completely new and original to our guests.

  • This conversation is hilarious. I've had way too many similar ones with my husband. Sometimes I forget that terms like bunting are only commonplace on wedding blogs.

  • This reminds me a little of the time I thought we should run off to the desert and get married – I created this entire vision of it in my head, with cactus centerpieces and mustachioed groomsmen and a whiskey toast. Let's just say, when I verbalized my brilliant idea, Honey thought I was outside my mind. He was right.

  • @ Willow: good list, though things like iPods, DIY flowers, & Gocco are more like money saving necessities in some cases, rather than trends!

    I definitely am down for alternatives to crappy DJs or $$ bands, ridic flower arrangements, and expensive printing!

  • Oh no, I just bought fabric for bunting yesterday! Is bunting to the indie wedding world what foo dogs are to home decor? Now I feel ashamed. (Not really. Well, a little. But it's ok, because weddings are suposed to be about shame and guilt, right?!?)

    What about the tissue pom poms from MS, or Converse All-stars? You forgot those!

  • Anonymous

    This is just too funny – especially how I just realized that Willow's list fairly closely matches my wedding plans. :o) No bunting, but iPod (cheaper), DIY flowers (cheaper), and mason jars (again, cheaper). I guess all my indie trends = MORE MONEY for CATERING (yay!), which is really best part of all of this. How great is it that we all have access to ideas that save money rather than looking to the WIC for budget-busters (MS-peonies-in-September, monogrammed fireworks displays, calligraphed invites – I am looking at you!).

  • I laughed when someone just mentioned candy buffets, because that was the first thing I thought. I had never seen or heard of them in RL until I started seeing them on blogs.Then they were everywhere and I thought, wow, not unusual anymore. But who cares? They're pretty AND my 10 y.o. daughter has now decided that we have to have one in our colors, so that can be her little stamp on the whole affair. Which is the point of any of this anyway right? It means something to someone you love!

  • Guilty! Of both bunting and mason jars. We totally used the exact phrase "rustic festive," as well. But, that's okay, since part of that plan was to diy on the cheap and those fit the bill. Plus, we're not quite in the trend density center…

    Whatever, I'm totally trying to justify to everyone why it was okay! When, in reality, we really liked the look, it was cheap/free to do and we didn't care if anyone thought we were unoriginal.

    Crisis of confidence over. Which is another good thing, since the wedding went off without a hitch!

  • Ellie

    Rustic festive! Awesome. And I have never understood the bunting thing. I mean, I know what it is. But it does nothing for me. It in fact, does not make me ::swoon::.

  • Trends are usually trends because they're a good/fun idea. I have to remind myself that just because the word "trend" is slapped on it doesn't mean it's wrong. That's the struggle I had with wanting a photo booth. "I mean… they're EVERYWHERE. I'll be such a copier" – Only most of my family and friends haven't been to a wedding with a photo booth in reality. They don't live in the blogosphere.

    Also, I LOVE how we come up with these funny terms like "rustic chic". I'm describing our wedding as "Cozy-Urban-Vintage". yeah. absurd.

    I do worry about some people not getting my eclectic vintage vibe…we're getting married at an old loft space that's an achitectural artifacts store with mismatched antique tables/chairs which I think is totally a hot idea, but I'm seriously guessing some distant aunt will say something like "…they couldn't even afford matching chairs!" or "The poor kids couldn't even get a ballroom, they had to settle for this old warehouse…" haha.

    OH – add to the trend list shooting wedding film in super 8!

  • I deleted my earlier comment because it seemed mean, not my intention … what I meant to say was, isn't an "indie trend" kind of an oxymoron? Like, isn't the definition of being "independent" doing something your own way and not following trends? It seems that the "indie wedding" theme is a mainstream wedding trend these days; there seem to be outdoor english garden weddings with "just a touch of whimsy!" with homemade cookies as favors and those message chalkboards and rustic wildflowers everywhere, from blogs to wedding magazines …

  • I came to understand this when I started planning our wedding and realized no one else in my life reads wedding blogs, and therefore did not understand the mason jars + homemade wine + hand-crafted decoration ideas I had. My poor fiance had to tell me WE ARE NOT GETTING MARRIED IN A BARN!!

  • ok. So, I'm not American, and I have no idea what a mason jar even is…

    God I am glad to not be having these sorts of conversations with my fiance. I've yet to suggest anything to him that he doesnt understand or get fairly quickly – we are just doing what is US, rather than what is "on trend". I've even given up buying wedding magazines because there is just so little in there that has relevance to our plans!

    That said, we are also not going out of our way to purposely avoid trends, we are simply picking up what we like and running with it. Stressfree wedding? Check! :)

  • 1. @Laura: "Sheep of another color". YES, LOVE IT. An excellent turn of phrase.

    2. Meg– "It did, early on make me swoon. But we had no trees, and um, it seemed like a lot of work. And I'm llllaaaaaaazzzzyyyyy"

    DITTO THIS. We are of the same mind, lady.

    And here’s the rub: it’s all been done before. We try to make our weddings “unique” and “special” and “original” and all those things, and it’s not the decorations that do that. It’s US. Bunting has been done before, as has any of the other the BIC trends (see: mustaches on sticks, mason jars, etc), or all the WIC trends (see: damask, brown and insert-pastel-color-here combination… and other things I can’t think of because I avoid the WIC like the plague). So many people have it right: if it's a "trend", it's because people like it. That doesn't mean it's bad. I love the idea that "indie trend" is an oxymoron…. SO true! How did we come to this, ladies?? At least we can laugh at ourselves, no?

    What I’ve started aiming for with our wedding is authenticity. I like chic black and white invitations and paper goods, so that’s what we’re doing (the daughter of a graphic designer, I can’t help it). We're getting married on a farm in autumn in New England, so that’s a whole ‘nother dimension to it. I wanted the girls to find whatever mis-matched black dress they love, so that’s what they’re wearing. My guy likes boys in Serious Tuxes, so that’s what they’re wearing. My feet are most comfortable in Converse, so I’m getting a pair for the reception. It’s not a cohesive theme, besides Us. And the more I plan, and the more I see of blogs and websites and photos, the more I like that as a theme.

  • I agree with what basketcase said. Trends are fine, if you like them then use them. If not then skip them. Its all about inspiration.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Haha, I can totally see David's befuddled look in my head. Lol.

  • Natalya

    Cute! I love gingham and vintage fabrics! I would bet that so called indie wedding trends are even more defined than mainstream wedding trends because let's face it ladies – if we are planning this sort of wedding we obviously care (to some degree) about being cool. Sure, we just like what we like and it happens to be trendy but still. It's a good point!

    Speaking of mason jars, I'm using them because I live in the South and everybody still cans. Between my mom and grandmother we have enough to use as cups for the reception. And my grandfather already collects blue mason jars so I'm borrowing his to put flowers in. My whole aesthetic is in many ways inspired by photographs my great grandmother took of family reunions and picnics in the late 1940s and 50s: beautiful mountains in the background, printed fruit tablecloths, fried chicken and sweet tea in mason jars.

  • Meg

    I was going to say the same thing. I thing money savers are sort of different than trends. I'm not sure anyone thinks "I'll DJ a wedding with an ipod because it's trendy." I think we say, "I'll DJ my wedding with an ipod, because otherwise there will be no music." Ditto with visible tattoos. Not a trend. Unless you get them just for the wedding. Which would be… something.

    My best advice is just do what you want, and cut yourself off from the pictures at some point. And yes, keep at least one eyebrow raised in the direction of "the hot thing to do right now." When I look at our wedding, it just looks like our style to me, which is exactly right. And I think *that* is what made people say over and over "This wedding is so UNIQUE." Which was hilarious, since unique was explicitly NOT the goal (because that will make you nuts).

    So, in sum, remember to laugh at it all.

  • Corinne

    I totally agree with Sarah K. I was totally stressing out (to the point of being ridiculous) about being "unique and original" until my fiancee pointed out that we are getting married and that has been done before. Plus I keep reminding myself that most other people at the wedding are not reading wedding blogs and in fact they are actually there to see us get married, not how good my table decorations look.

  • Anonymous

    Let's add vintage typewriters to the list! (Even though I love them and really thought about it for our reception, until I remembered how much I hate guest books; how many times have I lamely written "Thank you for letting me be part of your special day" in someone's guest book?)

    It's definitely easy to get sucked into the world of wedding blogs and forget that everyone else isn't. Everyone I know thought the bright orange flats I bought were a terrible choice, and I kept wanting to say, "No, no, seriously! All the hipster brides wear colorful shoes! Haven't you seen the pictures?" (For the record, the shoes were a big hit on the day.)

  • Anonymous


    I didn't add Cupcakes because they're also WIC.

    I don't even have a problem with the fact that there are indie trends. The ability to laugh at ourselves add happiness to our lives.

    I would totally be guilty of doing it up in "Rustic Chic" because I live in the mountains and it seems natural. But I say as long as you love the elements you're throwing together, that's all that matters.

    And yes, I did forget to add Vintage Typewriters to the indie list! ;)

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and I don't know a soul who has any idea that these things are trends. So all of it would be new and different to them.

  • Willow

    Oops! I signed in as "Anonymous" and forgot to write "Willow".

    Same person.

  • Rebecca

    gingham & calico…. you know….

    this post is priceless.

    Litterally just got off the phone with my mother who is tracking down burlap for table runners. I had to convince her that whatever shade of brown burlap she found would be. just. fine.

  • Nat

    I'm decorating my 'barn' with sarees and silk vietnamese lanterns and *gasp* brand new coloured glass vases. My style in everything comfortably straddles the space between OTT and tacky.

    Also f*&k; whimsy! 'Whimsy' like 'DIY' as a wedding look seems to have become about middle-class people trying to look rustic and crafty, while paying motza cash for the priveldge which is a shame I guess for the practical brides who actually get it…

  • For all the talk of Indie trends, I'd have to say that one is having outdoor, daytime weddings. Nearly all the photographs are of these beautiful, outdoor locations in full daylight. Which is perhaps why most of the indie trends (gosh, I love that oxymoron) aren't going to work for my wedding. As it's inside. At night. I guess that's one way to be rebellious!

  • Meg

    Ha! Except for most of us the daytime wedding was a STRUGGLE. Since, in the non-blog world I've never known anyone who had a morning wedding. Hell, *in* the blog world I can't think of anyone who had a morning wedding.

    I think so much of Indie trends is a way to get your head around the stuff that's not trendy in the regular wedding world, and then that stuff becomes codified trends.

  • Nina

    I love this – we really do need reality checks sometimes! Once you enter the wedding blog world, even just a little bit, you don't even notice how much you start to take these "trendy" ideas for granted in your head. But when I go to explain these ideas to my fresh-and-innocent (of wedding blogs that is) fiance, the reactions are not always what I would hope but they are quite refreshing. And SUCH a reality check, whether good or bad.

    Conversation from a couple days ago:
    Me (kinda blase sounding): So apparently one of the trends with these photo booths is to have a little blackboard "conversation-bubble" that people can write things on
    Him: WOW that is such a cool idea! My dad would be happy to make the board and it'll be hilarious!
    Me – now suddenly also excited.

    Of course other times the reaction is "umm…what are you talking about?"

  • handmade romance

    omg this is hilarious! thanks so much just what i needed xxx

  • Anonymous

    I don't plan weddings, I am planning A wedding (in the middle of a recession I might add). I think Indie Trends are popular because that's what fits into people's budget, and because they are loose and forgiving. I don't think anyone is going to go around to polish the mason jars before the toast. I think the informal nature of the indie trends are beautiful but don't distract from love, family and friends.

    Thank God for trends that are actually affordable!

  • Ha!

    I went to an arts high school and I used to call the trendy indie stuff "conforming to the fringe."

    I'm using succulents at my wedding. Those are even mainstream trendy. That gave me pause, but then I thought HELLO, a) I love them, and b) I'm getting married in the desert, it totally works.

    Sometimes trendy things are pretty great.

  • Natasha

    do you know whats sad, is that i LOVE reading wedding blogs and i dont even have a wedding to plan… here im worrying about if the bunting will still be rustic festive at my wedding, probably a decade from now, haha

  • Hahaha, I love this post AND all of the comments! I'm cracking up because I apparently had a totally "trendy" wedding–a mid-morning ceremony in a barn, surrounded by mason jars, MS poms, iPod-supplied tunes, fruit pies, and a photo station, with props in front of a sheet! So help me, my bridesmaids even wore Anthropologie dresses, and my own dress was carefully chosen to show off my huge backpiece. And talk about your weirdo WIC-y descriptive language–I explained our wedding vibe online as "neo-Victorian elegance meets boho/hippie chic".

    But it's all good. Even though my wedding might not have been cutting edge enough to enthrall the blogosphere, nobody in attendance had ever seen anything like it, as far as I know. I still maintained my long-held position as The Weird Artist One in my extended family. And my husband and I loved every minute of it.

    I figure even "indie" trends are trends for a reason, right? 'Cause they are cool and fun and tap into some cultural collective consciousness. I personally LOVE looking at 'dated' wedding photos from the '60s and '70s, and I don't particularly mind if mine ends up seeming a bit date-stamped in hindsight as well.

  • Meg

    I'm making bunting, because I think it's pretty, and I plan on reusing it after the wedding.

    I am not, however, using a pretty sheet for a photobooth backdrop. I went thrifting with my Mom and told her what I was looking for.

    Mom: "Why do you need a sheet?"
    Me: "(explains photobooth)"
    Mom: "Why do you need a backdrop? You're getting married outside! NATURE is your backdrop!"
    Me: "Oh! Right. Good point. Thanks, Mom."

    Thank goodness for level-headed Mothers.

  • @ Meg – we're having a morning wedding! it was the only way we could afford our venue and now I'm kind of stoked that all I have to do that day is
    1. wake up
    2. get married!!
    (although I kind of feel obligated to entertain everyone in the afternoon… but we only have the venue till 3… meh)

  • I'm really happy to see this post. I was actually thinking the same thing lately. I had thought of adding a scripture reading to our ceremony–yes, the one it seems everyone does–1 Corinthians 13 (Love is patient, Love it kind…) I've always loved that reading, but feared using it because it wasn't "unique" or "different" enough and thought I would be a blogger bride outcast for being too "boring." But it's funny, the bloggers that poke fun of the reading always insist that they have the most "unique" answer — "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard. This is a very cute book, but it's not that "unique" anymore. I've read about 6 different bloggers doing the same exact reading, as well as three other friends I know. I've heard this reading far more than I've heard 1 Corinthians 13! When I ask my friends why they chose "I Like You" they say they wanted to be different. I think the point is, don't do things just to be different and be some sort of wedding trailblazer. Because most likely, you're not. Someone probably has done it before. Do it because it totally fits you and your future hubby! Trends are trends, even "indie" trends…I'm starting to wonder if I'm supposed to have moustaches on a stick for my wedding shoot now!

  • hahahah I love reading this After the wedding. I think if I had seen this oh, last Friday, I would have had a moment of panic that my wedding was trendy. LOL. but then reading all the comments, I feel better. Yes, some aspects of our wedding probably followed "indie trends," but we didn't pick them because they were trends, we picked them because they were US, and/or they saved us a butt-load of money.

    but it's still good to have a laugh at how we still get sucked into the BIC very easily and need to be brought back to reality. as long as you're including things because they're You, and not because you hope the pictures will end up on a blog, who cares if other like-minded awesome couples also love things that you love?

    O. and Zach had no idea what bunting was either, we had a very similar conversation a few months ago.

  • hahahahahahaha! I've just had this conversation about seersucker. hahahahahah!

  • Meg

    IF YOU ENTERTAIN EVERYONE ALL AFTERNOON AFTER YOUR WEDDING I WILL PERSONALLY HUNT YOU DOWN AND KILL YOU. Lady! What are you thinking! They are grown-ass people. They have been entertaining themselves their whole lives. They can entertain themselves for an afternoon (and frankly they want to talk *about* you at that point, not *too* you…) And you ONLY HAVE ONE AFTERNOON IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE WHERE YOU JUST GOT MARRIED. You need to cozy up and bliss out with each other. SERIOUSLY.

    Since I never type in all caps all the time, I assume you get that I am NOT JOKING AROUND. Our wedding was awesome, our after wedding was one of those golden moments, of which you have so few in a lifetime. If I'd after partied and ended up calling cabs for people? F* That!

  • Meg

    @Budget Bride
    Watch it. We read that at our ceremony. Why? It reflects us. It was nice that people were not familiar with it, only because they listened with fresh ears. But we read multiple sections from Psalms as well, ancient Jewish prayers, and vows that have stood for thousands of years.

    But that's not the point. The point is no one is trashing First Corinthians. If it's good for you, it's good for you (it's a classic because it's excellent and deeply meaningful). So please don't trash readings that you think other people are doing for the wrong reasons. Hot tip: they are probably not. It's their wedding ceremony. They are doing what matters.

    Keeping a wry sense of humor about it all is good, attacking other people's choices? Not.

  • @Meg
    I must be a weirdo because I always pictured a daytime wedding myself. Early afternoon so I didn't have to wake up hellishly early, and finishing up early evening (like, around 5 or 6 o'clock) so that we could spend a whole evening together. It was a real shock to my system when I had to have a night wedding (due to church availability). Oh well!

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