Wedding Graduate: A Desert Bride by Meg Keene I’m super duper excited to have The Desert Bride of the fantastic blog a desert fete sharing her wise words on wedding planning today. I fell for Jamie’s wedding *hard* when I first saw her inspiration board, which was nothing like any inspiration board I’ve ever seen. Her architect’s eye brought something profoundly artistic to her wedding planning process, and her wedding is one of the most stunning and personal I’ve ever seen. On with Jamie’s wise wedding thoughts: We approached our wedding as planning a very special, very personal party celebrating our choice to join each others family [with a whole bunch of friends and family]. We tried to keep it as simple [and special] as that. There was never any pressure to include the wedding must haves [groom’s cake? special cake cutting knife? ring pillows? garter toss?]. We basically started from scratch and only included the elements that had special meaning to us, that sounded like something we would like to have or like to do, and said no thank you to the rest. Choosing the location was integral for us as far as wedding planning went. It was important to us that the venue be very private- a place that we could “take over” for the weekend with our friends and family without a bunch of fussy staff members or rules [or other hotel guests!] to contend with. We also were careful to choose a venue that was, in our eyes, quite beautiful on it’s own, going with the tried and true advise of- prettier the place, the less decoration necessary. We let the location [a little hacienda style inn in Joshua Tree aka the middle of the desert] set the tone, mood and style for everything that followed. We asked a lot of questions every step of the way to help keep things real, affordable, and not wasteful: Can we do this ourselves ahead of time? Is it something we can delegate to our friends to do the day of the wedding? Is this something someone can do for us? Do we need this? Can we make it? Can someone who loves us enough to do so make it? Can we buy it used or rent it? Can we borrow it? What will happen to this after the wedding? How will this affect us if we do not have it? How will it affect our guests? This little exercise really helped. While we had a pretty tight budget we didn’t obsess over it toward the end. Having already put money aside for the big necessities, I [to be quite honest] stopped keeping track of the small stuff. If I wanted to spend my pocket money on wedding stuff from week to week then I wasn’t going to stress out over it, as long as we weren’t relying on credit cards. Something that really surprised me about our wedding, is that the ceremony went by waaaaay too fast. This is because it was short-short-short. Intentionally. Ben and I are not terribly sentimental people. We find that our love and commitment is expressed on a daily basis, and while it was important to us to make this commitment in the eyes of our community of friends and family, we did not want it to be a big production. Short and sweet and on to the party pu-lease. BUT, I found that because it went by so fast, it was hard to take it in. I did not have time to look out at the faces of my guests, of our families and take in these little joys. [I was too busy crying like a baby and trying to get through my vows!] I suppose some sort of audience [is that the right word?] interaction part of the ceremony might have helped that. This small observation can be applied to a more general element I had not quite planned as well as I could have. I hadnâ€™t really considering the evening through my own personal own experience. Kind of weird, but I never really thought the day through by examining what I hoped my own experience to be like. For example, while I knew I had at least 3 hours to “get ready” I never took the time to think about what I expected out of that time from a more experiential viewpoint. While we planned the entire reception based on how all of the guests [ourselves included] would experience it, I never thought about how I would personally like to experience the evening. I suppose I expected this to come naturally but, while I wasn’t stressed, it was still such a big day that I that I neglected to let loose as I would like to have. I think if I would have thought about this before hand, I would have done so. I think the most important thing you can do is locate your inner dao-ist or buddhist or whichever eastern thought talks about expectations [not too lump them, I just don’t remember over the years where I have read these things…] and find a way to take the really obvious advice and know that not everything will be perfect [and it shouldn’t be, isn’t the beauty in life in the imperfections?], and to be ok with that, to embrace it! And always remember what it is about, your getting freakin married! Awesome! Photos by Michelle Pullman Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.