I never wanted to plan a wedding. I wanted to HAVE a wedding, but when it came to planning one, I was very happy to avoid the whole thing and run away to Vegas immediately after getting engaged. I worked in event planning for a few years after college and I knew that I could never go back to that scary land of “oh my god, the nametags are slightly off-center!” and, “so-and-so is really drunk and needs to be quietly babysat until they sober up and stop telling racist jokes to the bartender!” and, “we forgot X in the contract and now we’ll be 50% over budget!”
Even in the non-WIC world, it’s still all about model-esque pictures and fancy DIY projects and being the craziest, quirkiest, most unique thing possible.
But you know what? You don’t have to do any of those things. You don’t have to be WIC and you don’t have to be a DIY queen and you don’t have to look like a model to be happy with your wedding. Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I’m a very practical person with a tendency to be selfish and unemotional, so if I didn’t realize it, maybe I’m not the only one.
I realized that I could have OUR wedding, which didn’t have to be like anything else I had ever seen, when I noticed how I explained our engagement story. The first time we got engaged, we were drunk at a beer festival (my future husband is a brewer) and I said “I want to have this much fun and be this awesome with you indefinitely. We should get married.” And he looked at me and said “We ARE awesome. We SHOULD get married.” So we ran around the hotel taking silly pictures and making plans and being engaged. But neither of us felt like that was the “right” way to do it, so we got a ring and went to dinner at our favorite restaurant and he asked and I accepted and we finally considered ourselves engaged. But when people ask me now, 5 months later? I tell them we got drunk at a beer festival. Because that is us. That is us, being us at our most us-ness. And it never feels disappointing or less-than, it feels like one of the happiest moments of my life.
So that’s how I came to love planning our wedding. I bought the first dress I tried on that I loved to twirl around in. We booked the first venue we visited because it felt happy and pretty and right. When we won a photoshoot with the amazing Elissa R Photography, we decided to dress up as Margot and Richie Tenenbaum for it, because it was just what we wanted to do. When I stopped worrying about the “right” thing, or the “best” thing, or the things I might regret, I opened my heart up to doing what I wanted, what we wanted, and it all fell into place pretty effortlessly.
Anything that we don’t care about is delegated to someone else. Cake? We trust the bakery. DJ? He’ll be having an intense meeting with Stephen because my almost-husband cares very much about the music. Centerpieces? I’m going to throw together some silk flowers and be done with it. Guestbook? Painstakingly shot photos from 2 photographers that I will probably spend a few weeks putting together in an album, because that sounds like fun to me.
Those Royal Tenenbaums pictures? I thought they might be too pretentious or silly. I remembered seeing themed engagement shoots and thinking, why would you waste all that time and money just to pretend to be a model? But you know, f*ck that. We had so much fun taking those pictures, and they are so representative of who we are. We’re silly, we’re weird, we love to dress up and play pretend and we love Wes Anderson and beautiful photography. I’m a former actress and he’s a rockstar and we love being the center of attention. That’s what our photos say to me and I don’t give a sh*t now if someone finds them weird or pretentious. My favorite comment from Elissa’s blog of our pictures says something like “Who does a Royal Tenenbaums shoot? Awesome people, that’s who.” And that’s how we felt, so that’s why we did it.
The wedding world seems to be filled with stress and negotiations and “OMG isn’t it OVER YET?” And those things have their place because event planning can be extremely difficult, I know. But for me, I wanted a wedding that was a joy to plan because otherwise it would never happen. I needed a fun-to-plan wedding, and I got it because I’m lucky to have family members who support our decisions and a very understanding future husband, and because I have said hell no to anything that I didn’t want to do, or that didn’t feel like us, and I said hell yes and fought for things that I knew would make our hearts sing.
I have worries about my wedding day, but I don’t worry that I will regret our choices because our choices came from our hearts and from our knowledge of who we are and what we want. I spent the first couple weeks of our engagement crying (rare for me) and freaking out because I was so terrified of planning this event and I just flat out didn’t want to do it. But by being myself, the same self I am now and will be on my wedding day and will be after I’m a Mrs., I’ve been able to find peace and happiness in this process. I didn’t want to settle for 300 days of awful for 1 day of pure joy. I wanted 301 days of joy and I think I’m getting that by being true to who we are.
It feels amazing, and magical, and effortless.