Wedding Undergraduate: The Shotgun Wedding Part II

After having Marian’s Wedding Graduate post on waiting to get married after being an un-wed mother, it seemed the perfect time to post a follow up on Rachel’s post on the shotgun wedding* (well, actually, we now know Rachel as Shotgun Shirley in the comments. Long story.) Because here at APW, we love presenting both sides of every discussion, and for everyone for whom waiting to get married was right, there is another lady ready to embrace the ever-traditional shotgun wedding. I would argue that what Rachel has learned about planning a wedding quickly are fantastic lessons for planning any wedding. So listen up. And then let’s toast Rachel, who is getting married THIS WEEKEND!!

Happy new year Team Practical! I thought I’d send a quick update, since my wedding is now, um two (yikes!) days out.
There are a couple BIG silver linings I’ve found in planning a shotgun wedding.
  1. Less time to plan means less time to stress. I am so glad this will all be over with soon! I’m very excited for the party, but dang I’m glad that it will all be over soon and we can start being an old married couple. He’s glad it will all be over soon and he can focus on bar prep without my bugging him to get all his RSVPs figured out. (They are all pretty much figured out now, but last week I was pestering him a ton.)
  2. We’re already focusing on “the big stuff.” We found out right before Christmas that it’s a girl, and just before NYE I started being able to feel her kicking. I held his hand over my belly and he felt it too. Very exciting. We are discussing baby plans (what strict parents we’ll be) way more often than wedding plans, and I’ve been procrastinating on figuring out my hair and jewelry by reading What to Expect and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. As has been said time and time again on APW – at the end of the wedding day, we’ll be married, and that’s what matters.
Another take away that I think is more applicable to the general population is that priorities do change. We set up our must haves – family/friends, booze, funk, food – and those did not change. However, when we first started, I had invites pretty low on the list and flowers pretty darn high. Well, it turns out I love paper – so I ended up spending over twice as much as I was originally going to, but my invites were over ten times nicer than I would have had. I got an awesome deal from an amazing friend who’s starting her own business. I absolutely LOVE them. The design process was really fun, and we’ve received tons of compliments on them; people from all different age groups of our guest list have called them the best they’ve received.
As for the flowers, I realized that what I really wanted was the fun experience of hanging out with my girls, playing florist. I’m DIY’ing the flowers, and I’m really psyched. I’ve already had one test run at the LA Flower Market, have another one planned for this weekend (I volunteered to take care of flowers for my shower), and have a good sized crew helping with arrangements/bouquets/bouts the day before. It’s gonna be sweeeet. And WOW am I saving money. After the test run, I cut my already low budget estimate in half; everything was even cheaper than I expected. So I guess it wasn’t that the priority of the flowers changed, but the method/budget definitely did.

The biggest challenge in the wedding planning process has been learning to deal with family money and communication. Part of our family is paying for a good chunk of the wedding, and well, they are as annoying as they are lovable. It is good that I’m basically being forced to learn how to communicate with them, crash course style, but it still sucks. If I had to do this all over again, I would have said thanks but no thanks, stuck with my original budget and spending plan, and told our family to put the money away for the kid’s college fund. Which reminds me, I gotta start a 529 already!

See you on the other side,

Shotgun Shirley (aka Rachel)

Picture: This is not Rachel (she’s not married yet). It’s Megan, and it was taken by our own Emily Takes Photos

*Editors note: Rachel and I decided to use the term shotgun wedding because we think it’s hilarious. We know some of you don’t share our sense of humor on the subject, and that’s ok. In the meantime, we’ll be over here giggling.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Kayakgirl73

    Congrats. Have a blast at your wedding. It’s kind of neat how some priorities stay the same all the way through planning and others change or in some cases change many times. When my sister got married, I thought she was nuts for a wanting a video. After I saw hers, I thought OK s to have if you have the extra money, but three years later when planning my own wedding a video became a must, because I wanted to be able to listen to my ceremony again and to have something to show the elderly grandparents who were unable to travel to my hometown where the wedding was held. So we found an awesome videographer who fit into our budget.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      A note for anyone else who wants to preserve their ceremony but hates the way their own voice sounds when recorded (it sounds like my sister’s. like waaaaay too much like hers. it totally freaks me out.) Our officiant had our entire ceremony (including some antedotes he told about us and some jokes) typed up to read from and after the ceremony he made some notes on it and gave it to us with the marriage paperwork. I wasn’t expecting it but it’s really nice and I assume most officiants would do this upon request.

  • Good luck on the big day! Can’t wait for your graduate post! And I really want to see a picture of those invitations you’re gushing about.

  • Yay! I’m so excited for you. A wedding is a means to a marriage, no matter how we get to it.

    Happy wedding! Happy marriage! Happy baby!

  • Sylvia

    Yipee! I’m so pleased to hear more about your planning Rachel/SGS, your posts are incredibly sane and inspiring. Good luck and have a FANTASTIC day :-)
    Two days to go, whoop!
    I cannot wait for your graduate post.

    Oh, and that photo?! It’s incredible! I sort of wish I’d had a bump for our wedding photos now..

  • Aww. I have such a soft spot in my heart for shotgun weddings. I am a love child and though my parents did not get married (which in my case was a good thing), I have totally romantic tendencies towards families that are born out of love and babymaking and all that good stuff. I mean, hello! You have wedding AND baby glow. It just makes me swoon.

    • Now I’ve got Diana Ross in my head.

  • Lots of people say that less planning time means less stress. I’m glad that’s working out for you, Rachel, & agree that it’s good that it allows you to focus more on other aspects of your baby family.
    Enjoy your party, and please send pictures! :)

    Also, I think “Shotgun Shirley” is awesome, too. Thanks for the giggles.

  • I love this story. Even though we aren’t having a baby yet, my soon to be BIL and his wife just had their first and we find that we’re talking about babies and houses a lot more than the wedding, since the actually BEING MARRIED part is the best part anyway (at least that’s what I hear). Good luck and I hope the 3 of you have an amazing wedding day!

  • “The biggest challenge in the wedding planning process has been learning to deal with family money and communication.”

    Yes. Yes, yes. People who put their money in seem to follow it with their opinions. And sometimes that’s a really difficult thing to deal with! And definitely makes you have to grow up and deal with your family… Which is probably a good thing, as it’s training for the rest of your life– especially those first few years as a baby family.

    Happy Wedding Weekend, Shotgun Shirley!! :)

    • Murdock

      Oh I could not agree more. Especially since we are getting money from both my parents and his parents. It also brings up our/your own feelings surrounding money and how one feels about using someone else’s money. We haven’t had any annoying opinions yet, but I’m anticipating them. But I’m also grateful that our families are able to help us have the wedding that we want.

  • Congratulations. All seems to be in good order. Best wishes!

  • ka

    Happy wedding!!!! You sound totally unstressed, which is awe-inspiring. Can’t wait to hear from the other side! Have an amazing day!

  • Have an amazing wedding and soak it all in. Can’t wait for your wedding grad.


  • I DIYed my own flowers. I got a few big bunches for pretty reasonable on Costco and then a group of girlfriends came to help fairly spontaneously the morning of the wedding over coffee (we camped out at the venue all weekend, so lots of pals were there). They looked fantastic! I can’t recommend it enough. Pick up a few tools — clippers and the thorn removers if you have roses — and you’ll be rocking!

  • Brandy

    Best wishes for this weekend…I can’t wait to read your graduate post!

    Keep reading Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery was so inspiring to me before my homebirth! :)

  • I think you’re right on that less time to plan = less time to stress. We had planned to get married in July and had to postpone for family related reasons and while everyone said it was a good thing to get four more months to plan, I knew that for me that would equal four more months to stress.

    Side note on shotgun weddings: My best friend and I both think shotgun weddings (and the term) are awesome, and she always swore that if she had one, she would embrace it, and have a “shotgun” themed wedding, complete with shotgun-shaped invitations and water shotguns for guests to spray each other.

  • Murdock

    I will say that I think shotgun weddings are great because of what you said – so much less time to stress. Because it has to be finished! Have a blast at your wedding and best of luck on the birth of your baby girl.

    And BTW – who did your invites? I’d love to use someone just starting out…I’m in San Fran.

  • I’m out here sharing the sense of humour!

    And though we’re not expecting a baby, we got engaged after 6 months of being boyfriend and girlfriend and would have got married next month had there not been building work in our church… So with the quick wedding, sometimes you go with what you feel.

  • TheArchaeologist

    Congrats on your wedding this weekend!

    I’d like to think that I had a semi-shotgun wedding, even though we were engaged for over 2 years, I don’t think I started planning until 6 months out! I know I wasn’t the only one who did this!

  • Stephanie

    Please send in a wedding graduate post!

  • Yay! Yay! Yay! I’m stealing these words from somewhere on here (I’m sure Meg stated them somewhere):

    May your wedding be vibrant and joyful.

    And may your little girl feel it in the pit of your tummy–and live her own life, un-Daisy Buchanan-like; rather, practically, like her wise mama!

    A great big long distance hug. Don’t forget to stop to breathe and enjoy the whole damn thing! We’re all behind you over here! xoxo

  • It is SO TRUE that wedding planning is a crash course in learning to communicate with your family.

    Best of luck, Shotgun Shirley!

  • Congratulations!

  • Shotgun Shirley

    I don’t want to make it sound like I didn’t stress out! Thank goodness I had the team of ladies that I had to keep me sane… and even with them I still had my share of freak outs (especially when the venue called the day before to tell me we were getting 13 tables, 3 with 13 people, instead of 14 tables, some with fewer than 12 people – whaaaaa??).

    There aren’t pics up of my invites yet, but here are some samples of similar work… I’ll definitely make a graduate post, and it WILL include invite pictures. They invites really set the tone for a classy/fancy shindig with a sense of humor.!/album.php?id=700285773&aid=232199

  • Shotgun Shirley

    Um, I don’t know what’s up with that link. Try this one:

  • Elle

    Thank you God for posting this. My wedding was scheduled for October 1 and I just found I am pregnant. With a September 20 due date I am definitely moving my wedding up. I am contemplating a small courthouse wedding and family dinner in May/June. Followed by a November reception/baby welcoming party. We can’t forfeit all of our deposits.

  • Alexandra

    Hooray, Congrats! Stoked for your grad post. :D

  • jasmin michelle

    Here they are!

    just look for Rachel & Anton!