Emily & Weston

On last week’s survey, a lot of you commented that you wished that we had more male voices on this site, and y’all, ME TOO. I am, however, not a man, so there is only so much I can do on this front (someone even told me there should be more male commenters, which, you know, I’m powerless over! Though I concur! Men, please comment, thank you). So I’m beyond delighted that today’s wedding graduate post comes in two parts. The first part is Emily, the second part is her husband Weston. Emily covers the emotions of it all, and Weston covers calming it down. I love (love, love) the balance of that message. So without further ado, I bring you Emily’s side of the story:

I had the incredible good fortune to stumble across APW during my wedding planning, and the biggest message I took from it was: there is another way.  When Weston and I first got engaged, I heard so many (unintentional, I think) threats and warnings.  “Get ready to spend a fortune.”  “Do you really have time to plan a wedding right now?  It’s basically a full-time job.”  Then people started asking about the “details.”  What flowers/colors/bridesmaids dresses/quirky-and-original items (photo booth, place settings, candy table, you name it) would we pick?  How would I make it “my day”?  I got panicky just thinking about it, and browsing through wedding blogs filled with beautiful pictures of things we didn’t want to spend money on and would never have the skills or desire to replicate made me sick to my stomach.

We must have had a dozen conversations where I threatened to elope, but it turns out you can’t elope without the other person’s consent.  Weston had this whole spiel about the wedding being a commitment we make in front of our community, and how you need your community’s support in marriage, so really everyone at the wedding was a necessary participant… and of course he was right.

But then came the hardest part for me.  I simply did. Not. Care about most of the planning.  Or at least the planning that everyone asks you about – the flowers, the food, the invitation font, etc.  I cared a lot about planning the ceremony, and we spent a great deal of our time talking about what the wedding meant (answer: the first day of marriage, the public statement of a lifelong commitment, a celebration with our community) and how the ceremony and the rest of the day should reflect those meanings.

The best part of wedding planning, hands down, was the time we got to spend discussing these issues with each other, our parents and in-laws, and our pastor.  But everything else, all the details and the supposedly “fun stuff” that every little girl dreams about (so that was my problem – I didn’t start planning when I was five!)… I just had no interest in it.  I am not a creative person, I have no desire to DIY, flowers mean nothing to me… seriously, I spent the whole meeting with our florist asking why we had to have bouquets.  I still don’t understand the reason. (Note: I am not saying there’s anything wrong with people who do care about these things, or who want to DIY/DIT and/or spend money to make things beautiful.  It’s just that that wasn’t me, and I felt for a while that I was defective as a bride and as a woman because those things didn’t excite me.)

Enter a simple solution: Schedule your wedding so that you have another major(ish) life event, trip, whatever, in the week before your wedding.  For us, it was my law school graduation, 3000 miles away and two days before the wedding.  (Yeah, don’t even ask why we thought it was a good idea… we wanted to get married before I started studying for the Bar, and once we made sure our families and bridal party could make it, that was the only day that worked.)  Turned out to be the best idea ever.  Why?  We had a built-in excuse for why we couldn’t throw a more elaborate wedding.  Anything that required work in the week before the wedding was automatically vetoed, as was everything we couldn’t do from a distance (I lived in Boston; Weston lived in Sacramento; the wedding was in Fresno) or hand over to my parents.  It freed us up from guilt and regret about how simple our wedding was, or how little work we were doing on it.

Okay, so the simpler way would have been to just ditch the guilt and regret, and realize we didn’t need an excuse for having an easy wedding.  What did I really think was going to happen?  Our friends and family would judge us for not having matching bridesmaids dresses, a cake, or a bouquet toss?  They would be mad at us for making them travel to Fresno in the summertime (admittedly not the best destination wedding) for a plain, relatively casual, but joyous event?  Of course not.  They came ready to celebrate, and we had a blast.

It’s not like we showed up and the wedding just happened.  Honestly, we probably didn’t do that much less than anyone else; it was more a matter of feeling like we were allowed to say no.  I think there are two extremes for dealing with the WIC: trying to measure up to its “perfection,” or rebelling against the whole idea and refusing to do any of it.  You can find the happy medium by really examining what you want to do, doing only that, and not even thinking about how the final product would rate, because there is no metric when it comes to having a joyful, loving celebration.  An added bonus for me in having this attitude was that it was much easier to cede control and delegate tasks to my creative friends and family because they could just run with it, without waiting for uncreative me to worry about whether the invitations, programs, and centerpieces would conform to some unifying vision or theme.

Another hard thing about wedding planning (especially for “indie brides”) is avoiding the temptation to make your wedding unique, to put your stamp on every detail.  While it’s reasonable to not want to be a cookie cutter bride, guess what?  Getting married is not a new thing.  The odds are that your wedding will not revolutionize the practice.  That’s what’s so cool about weddings – you’re following in a tradition that billions of others have gone through.  Even if you write your own vows or dance down the aisle, you’re still participating in one of the world’s oldest celebrations of love.  You’re bringing two families together, and forming a new family.  You can dress it up all you want with personalized touches (and if you have the ability to do so, go for it), but what you and the people who love you will take away from the day will be the same no matter what: you and your husband started a new life together, and it was awesomely happy.

In giving up on perfection and uniqueness, we ended up including some of the traditional or challenging things I swore I would never do.  When I wasn’t measuring my wedding against “blog-worthy” weddings, it didn’t seem so important to shun placecards altogether (and thus avoid falling short of perfection).  I could just do whatever I wanted for placecards, even something cutesy (I’m totally proud of this: folded-over paint color chips with the names written on them), but without caring whether it was good enough.  Our wedding ended up being truly beautiful, but that was beside the point.  We said “I do,” in front of our friends and family, and everything beyond that was just icing on the chocolate-covered strawberries.  (Because really, who needs a fancy cake?)

Photos By: Evan Chung

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  • Am I the first person to comment? Amazing!
    Basically, this is such a wise post! So much of it is so true and a really good attitude to have towards a wedding, you worded it so well….especially loved “I simply did. Not. Care.” Ha.
    The more I read these things the more I realise that perfection doesn’t come from making sure that you have picked out THE most perfect details, following ALL the indie wedding trends or putting your stamp on everything; it comes from the emotion invested in the day, the people there – like the massive smiles in your photographs! So the details don’t have to be perfect, they can be ‘good enough’ and picked out cause we can’t be bothered at looking around for another option, and we are allowed to not care about them so much. We don’t have to try so hard to hit perfection – it’ll happen on the day without us really trying.
    Also I love the non-matching bridesmaids!!

  • “It’s just that that wasn’t me, and I felt for a while that I was defective as a bride and as a woman because those things didn’t excite me.”

    That quote – right there – is why I am so happy I’ve found APW so early in my planning process. Because I totally feel that way too … and it’s SO nice to know that there are people like Emily around who feel the same way. Thanks for sharing, Emily!!

    Can’t wait to read Weston’s post!

    • Agreed! People keep asking “how’s the planning going?” and I don’t know what to say. I LOVE planning things, but I guess I feel like I should be planning for a marriage, not a wedding. Because like you, Erin, flowers will be flowers and cake–if there is one–will be cake. Why do I need to plan them?

      On another note, I hope my ass and waist look as hot as yours walking down the aisle. Dang, girl!

  • Yes, yes, yes to this whole post. From the ominous warnings to the threats of eloping, to the just not caring so much. Thank you.

    It’s just that that wasn’t me, and I felt for a while that I was defective as a bride and as a woman because those things didn’t excite me.

    And this was the quote for me. I knew there would be gender issues with the wedding, but I wasn’t expecting so many to come from within. Thank you for being yourself in the face of that fear.

    • And the scary thing is, the gender issues coming from within don’t stop with just the wedding. Hence Meg having a whole tag (and forthcoming site) devoted to reclaiming “wife”. I’m very often surprised at how I’m not actually as progressive as I thought I was (except, of course, that in realizing that, it kind of means that I am, just that I may need to work through it a bit).

    • I threatened elopement many, many, MANY times. My poor Adam just kept a smiling face & reassured me we would have fun regardless. He was dismayed to hear it didn’t sink in until I found this website & saw I wasn’t alone :)

  • Hypothetical Sarah

    Our wedding ended up being truly beautiful, but that was beside the point.

    Good line. And very wise words though out! Personally, I really dislike when people talk about “cookie cutter brides” and ask how I’m going to make my wedding unique. Because, you know what? I’m going to be there, wearing a white dress, standing next to MY lovely boy, surrounded by MY friends and family. Even without fussing over details and decoration, that sounds pretty darn unique to me.

    As an aside (and not a comment about APW), I wish more wedding blogs found ways to showcase the ceremonies. It’s hard to show through pretty pictures, but I’d love to hear more about the thought process and discussions that went into creating them, what readings were chosen and why, why someone chose to use a traditional ceremony and what hearing the same words that married generations before them meant to them, why they cast aside tradition and found their own voice, how they melded religions and cultures, and so on.

    • There are actually lots of posts of ceremonies already! Do a search in the archives, you’ll find posts and comments full of suggestions for readings, posts about having a traditional ceremony (and why, with suggestions for readings), and posts about having a non-traditional ceremony (and why, with suggestions for readings). It’ll take a while to get through them all (especially with the comments), but they’re so worth it (especially the comments!).

      • Hypothetical Sarah

        Trust me, they’ve been read (including the comments!) and bookmarked and discussed with the boy :) I just wish it was more prevalent on the wider weddingweb. A girl can dream!

    • I also kind of cringe when I hear “cookie cutter brides/weddings”. Like you said, there I am in the long, white, A-line dress, grinning while standing next to a man in a black suit and 2 girls in dresses that match (at least in color). But so what? It was fabulous and it was personal and we all cried happy tears. That’s all I needed!

      • Yes, I too am very much over the idea that our weddings have to be this giant expression of anything other than the fact that we are getting married. Do what makes you happy and you won’t have many regrets.

        • Mallory

          I exactly-ed this comment but it didn’t seem like enough. This is so smart. I need to remember this more.

        • Other people here on APW have mentioned it at different times, but when someone asked us what our “theme” was for the wedding, we said, “um, getting married?”
          (Not that all themes are bad, obviously–Verhext/Tamera had a kick-ass themed wedding!)

  • “There is no metric when it comes to having a joyful, loving celebration.” <– I love this. That is such a truthful statement. Just like how you can't run out of love, I don't think you can run out of joy. Just because someone else's wedding was joyful, or your ceremony was joyful, it doesn't mean you can't have an awesomely joyful reception, or wedding, or anything else. There's no limit!

    Emily, I love the pictures, and I love that we get to hear from your husband as well. So excited for the follow-up!

  • JT

    I loved this post! I am two months out from my wedding and I also 1) do not care about planning the party part of the wedding and 2) planned my wedding for the weekend after another major life event (the same week I submit my primary application for medical school). I’ve also run into the problem that you can’t elope without the other person’s consent, so I chose a place and some colors I liked and then handed off nearly everything not related to the actual ceremony. When people ask me about the details… my honest answer is that I don’t know! Sometimes I worry that our wedding won’t be as representative of “us” as if we were personally choosing all of the details, but mostly I’m kind of excited that a lot of the wedding will be a surprise for me too.

  • Carreg

    “It’s just that that wasn’t me, and I felt for a while that I was defective as a bride and as a woman because those things didn’t excite me.”

    Exactly! Thank you Emily!

    I don’t know what bouquets are for either…. I guess if you got attacked by a hayfever sufferer you could use it in self-defence? Maybe that happened a lot in the old days and the traditional stuck.

    • Jillian

      Ok, I THINK that bouquets used to be for the brides’ benefit. For the life of me I cannot remember where I read this information- but the tradition of a bride carrying a bouquet was so she could ward off the smell of the public/peasants/unbathed crowd that gathered for the wedding.

      Someone tell me I’m not crazy and did not completely make that up.

      • Morgan

        I don’t know if it’s true, but I have also heard that.

  • KW

    Excellent post! Excellent attitude!

    Which reminds me: I forgot to say on the survey that it would be nice to see some long-distance relationship posts — engagement period and marriage (post-wedding). I’m the former and a friend of mine is he latter, thanks to this lovely economy.

    • Oooh, yes, long-distance dating and engagement/wedding planning was hard. Thank goodness for the internet. And post-marriage, we were back and forth between two cities (3 hrs apart) for about 9 months. Sometimes separated, sometimes together. Yuck, those years of long distance were hard….but it now makes me so super thankful to live in in the same place. I have learned not to take that for granted, ever.

      • Hypothetical Sarah

        Long-distance was a big part of the reason why we decided on a two and a half year engagement, having spent the last two years living and working 7-9 time zones apart. Long-distance dating was hard enough — we didn’t want to be long-distance newlyweds if we could help it. About a year into our engagement, though, the boy ran into trouble getting a visa to live here and we had a immigration shotgun elopement. Now we’re publicly-engaged private-newlyweds who are quasi-long-distance (he’s here half the time) and still planning a wedding. Whoops.

        • Ooh…immigration….that’s a whole ‘nother aspect to marriage and planning, huh? :) We are currently in the middle of waiting on a decision for permanent residence. Congrats on your (private) new marriage. :)

    • Weston

      Long-distance was no fun. Going from long-distance engaged to living together married has made married life that much more wonderful. You get both “WOW! I’m married to this amazing woman?!” AND “WHAT?! I get to see you tomorrow as well?! AND next week?!”
      To make the long-distance work for us we had to be willing to lose some sleep calling each other (Emily would sometimes call when she woke up at 4am my time, and I would sometimes call when I got home at night 1am her time), and remind each other that you’re working to end up in the same place.
      The hardest part was when we’d get in arguments and we couldn’t just hug and forgive each other, we had to learn how to do it through words.

  • Moz

    I really love the grad posts that emphasise that even though your wedding is really novel and new and exciting it ultimately isn’t about creating a new wheel. That’s the sort of tradition Meg talks about on here that really resonates with me.

    Congrats on your wedding!

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom and practicality with us, Emily. I love your approach to planning, and appreciate that you’ve put yourself out there as an example to people planning weddings in the future.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what Weston has to say! I like this idea of having two-part grad posts; maybe I can convince my partner to do one…

  • Emily! What a wonderful perspective and reminder that “there is another way.” I love this:

    “You can find the happy medium by really examining what you want to do, doing only that, and not even thinking about how the final product would rate, because there is no metric when it comes to having a joyful, loving celebration.”

    I wish we had been in closer proximity during wedding planning to help keep each other sane, but thankfully we both found APW!

  • Posting because you told me to :) (i’m a boy reader)

    This kind of post is why I love APW, the sheer *reasonableness* that people seem to approach everything with.

    Thanks for your post, Emily, y’all seem a lot like us. I look forward to reading Weston’s post.

    • Reasonableness is an excellent description!

    • Ris

      I think APW needs some sort of box you can click when you post that says “BTW, I’m a guy.” I felt a surge of sympathy for you just now Harri, you should get to have a slightly more manly image when you comment :)

      • Oh, I’m really not the ‘manly’ type! But thank you, and I’ve always found the little bride icons a little at odds with my image of APW, if I’m honest.

  • L

    You’re so right on the life-event proximity thing! We scheduled our wedding 10 days after I defended my dissertation. It definitely helped keep things in perspective–completing my doctorate was very important, getting my marriage off the the right foot was very important, but the wording of the invitation? Not important to me. My wonderful mother took on all of the work of creating, addressing, and mailing the invitations, and I was so glad that I wasn’t doing it. She suggested an invitation that wording that was rather more traditional than I liked, well, it didn’t make my heart flutter, but there wasn’t anything so wrong with it either. And I was able to look at it and say, this will get the job done, and reworking it just isn’t worth my time now. (And no, I never told my mother about my qualms. Also not worth anyone’s time, and she was gracious enough to do all of this around her more-than-full-time job.)

    • Emily


      I love your take on this. The hard thing about letting other people take over is that you have to accept the final product as-is, which can be a challenge even when you think you don’t care. Turns out to be an important lesson for marriage, too – it makes me think of Meg’s post on splitting up cleaning duties… :)

  • I also still do not understand the bouquets and if I were to do it again, I would skip them.

    • Sometimes it’s nice to have something to hold on to, so you’re not walking up the aisle with visibly shaking hands. Allows you something to frantically clutch at, especially if you’re walking up the aisle alone.

      What, there’s any other reason for bouquets?? :)

      • I walked with both of my parents so shaky hands were not an issue, thank goodness. And then held hands with Eric most of the time…

    • Anon

      I didn’t have one. it was nice having my hands free.

    • Darcy

      I didn’t carry one as my mother, great aunt and grandmother didn’t carry bouquets either. I figured my hands would be busy hugging people or holding a glass of pinot blanc and I was right!

  • clampers

    “Schedule your wedding so that you have another major(ish) life event…”

    Yeah! That’s what I’m doing! I’m finishing up a post-grad certificate right now, and we’re buying our first house. It’s working out well (so far) because I am terribly anxious when it comes to Big Life Changes. It’s been nice to have the excuse of being too busy with graduate school and working fulltime to worry about the details.

  • “While it’s reasonable to not want to be a cookie cutter bride, guess what? Getting married is not a new thing. The odds are that your wedding will not revolutionize the practice.”

    I just love this. I feel like there’s so much pressure to do things a unique way and have a wedding that entirely reflects who you are as a person and as a couple. But honestly, what I’ve loved about the weddings I’ve gone to are the moments that have zero to do with the color scheme or the dresses or the homemade pies. (Okay, pies are pretty great.) Mostly it’s about the people, as Emily says so well. And from the look of her pictures, her wedding was a blast as well.

    • Kathryn in VT

      This was the bit of Emily’s post that resonated the most with me, too. Because you know what? The fact that getting married isn’t a “new thing” is exactly why I’m so excited about participating in a wedding — in joining my parents and my grandparents and my relatives and countless other couples who have come before us in making this commitment. Even though I still have occasional flashes of an inner 13-year-old (“NO ONE has ever felt the way I feel! NO ONE!”) I love knowing I’m taking part in such a meaningful — and yet also commonplace — tradition.

      • So true! I love the tradition part of it as well. That’s one reason I want to use traditional vows–there’s something so nice about saying these simple words that millions of people have said before you.

        Also, I like the inner 13-year-old voice. ;)

        • Megan

          I think that part of what makes me feel not worried about the secular, self-written ceremony we’re having is that we’ve lifted enough pieces from a religious, culturally recognizable ceremony to show that we’re not only joining together as a couple, but taking part in the human phenomenon of marriage. I think we can draw strength from the bajillion couples who have done it before us, and made it work. Its comforting to be a part of those who’ve gone before us.

  • LPC

    The word “details” deserves a very long entry in the APW Dictionary Of Specious Wedding Planning Terms.

  • Laura

    I LOVE this post! I’ve been enjoying APW since getting engaged last July, and this practical, grounded post is the one I’ve identified most with. I also don’t care about the details and am not very creative. But what I love even more about this post is Emily’s happy medium response to the wedding industry: no need for perfection or rebellion, just do what you want to do, because that will create a joyful celebration. I’ve been worried that my country club wedding is not unique enough, but now I realize it fits our large guest list and lack of desire to make tons of little decisions perfectly. The notion that weddings are a long-standing tradition and therefore any wedding won’t change history is humbling advice for a bride in the midst of planning. Thanks, Emily!

    • Laura

      Whoa – are you my twin?! My name is also Laura, I also got engaged in July, AND I am not creative and do NOT care about details. I think the truth is that there are more of us that aren’t creative than we think – because when people talk about these type of things, I stare at my fingernails and hope that they don’t “find me out.”

      Maybe if all the “uncreative” brides started speaking out a little more, we would realize how normal we are. So, here goes:

      Hi, my name is Laura, and I am not creative.


      • Laura

        I feel so much better! I’ve been hovering behind the radar reading APW for a while, hoping no one will find out I’m not that creative either! Yes, uncreative brides should speak up! And, I think we might be twins too…

        • Jess

          Shhh, but I’m not creative, either. I want things to look lovely, but I’m not willing to put in the time/effort. I’m happy to pass all the decorative stuff off to friends with a good eye for that and my mom (who isn’t any more creative than me but has more enthusiasm).

      • And that’s why every creative detail for our wedding was done by my husband. Thank goodness for that – I fail at crafts!

  • Marley

    “I spent the whole meeting with our florist asking why we had to have bouquets. I still don’t understand the reason.”

    YES! Thank you! I’m still a bit confused on that one myself
    People keep asking what the “theme” of our wedding will be. My response of “ummmm… us… getting married?” gets me the oddest looks.

    • Rebecca

      Marley (and Emily!) – Yes!

    • Laura

      Yes, I have been asked several times what the “entertainment” is going to be…um…our marriage vows?

    • Emily

      Marley, that’s hilarious!

    • Sophia

      I didn’t have a bouquet and I loved having my hands free so that’s an option…

    • It’s to keep your hands occupied to you don’t accidentally clap and squeal like a 6 year old.


      • Amanda

        Yes. Totally. This is what it is for!

  • Claire

    This post was a fantastic start to my day. I shared many of the same feelings that Emily articulated beautifully here. As a fellow “non-creative” person, it was oddly validating to hear from another bride who did not care about the details and was way more interested in building the foundation of her marriage than creating the perfect bouquet. I really loved the part about letting go of guilt and regret and accepting that you are not defective as a woman just because you don’t get excited by the wedding planning part. That was an important lesson for me as I frequently received puzzled looks and comments about my inadequate attention to detail. (Upon hearing that I wasn’t planning on doing any flowers for the wedding, a relative exclaimed, “But you have to have flowers! It’s just not a real wedding without flowers!” Turns out you don’t actually Have to have flowers. My husband and I are no less married, despite the absence of a single bloom at our wedding.)

  • N

    Such a great post! I also do not care about many details and having to make some decision about them anyway while feeling pressure (from where I don’t even know) to make them beautiful or special or unique is such unnecessary stress! Thank you for my dose of sanity this morning. Also, I am graduating from grad school two weeks before my wedding, which can seem overwhelming, but two DAYS before? Makes two weeks seem like eternity!

  • Aly

    LOVE this wedding grad, especially the part about scheduling around a major life event. We’re getting married a few days after future husband takes the STEP 1 medical boards, which means most of the planning has fallen to me- but its also only five weeks after I finish graduate school. Part of me has been feeling bad about not doing crazy planning so we’d have a perfect/beautiful/unique wedding, and I feel like I need to apologize when people ask about the details and I say that I haven’t really thought about a lot of them yet because I just don’t have the time. This post is reminding me to OWN my wedding and life- I need to start telling people it won’t be a perfect/beautiful/unique wedding because we were focused on our lives, and preparing for our future, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome! Friends and family, cake and booze- how could if not be amazing?

    • Are we life twins? My husband and I got married the weekend after his Step 1 Boards, and a month after I graduated from law school.

      • Aly

        Oh I am so happy to hear someone else is crazy enough to try to get married right around boards! It seems like every medical couple we know got married after first year or waited till after 3rd or 4th year. Everybody thinks we’re crazy, but we just don’t want to put it off! I will be making enough sacrifices in my life for medicine, thankyouverymuch.

        • elyse

          you’re not crazy. . . we waited till after he finished med school (see comment below for our crazy week!) but it doesn’t matter when you plan it, he’ll always be studying for something! good luck!

  • I have no idea why we need flowers, either. This hit home all the more when I was MOH for my best friend three weeks ago. All that time spent in picking out bouquets, only for her to hold it for 5 minutes before passing them back to me – where I awkwardly stood trying to balance two bouquets & the grooms ring – because nowhere does it ever inform you how to NOT stand awkwardly with two bouquets while trying to wrestle the grooms ring off of your thumb… but, ya know. Details. Anyway. I feel you. Big time.

    I got wrapped up in the “OMG MY WEDDING IS NOT GOING TO BE MEEEE!” bug while trying to orchestrate details, because in the beginning I did. not. care. either. And then I panicked about not caring. And then my amazing family helped snap me straight and I just didn’t care anymore. Most of the questions I get now are “does this look ok?” Sure. It’s not ugly. “Do you want this one?” Sure. It’s not ugly. Whew. Sweet relief.

    I’m glad to see it worked out for someone else of a similar mindset. Gives me hope :)


    • Oh I have to speak up about this. Yes, I am another person who just doesn’t “get” bouquets.

      So I scrapped them. Instead all the special woman in my life are getting corsages (mostly wrist) they can wear all day long. To me, it’s a way to turn a prop into a piece of adornment that signifies that I want to honor these women. I do like flowers and I figured it’s better to be able to wear the flowers all day than just hold them for a few minutes.

      • Oh, I like that idea!

        We made my flowers – felt, buttons, my great grandmothers jewelry. This way they can last forever, my girls can have something super special to keep, people might ACTUALLY jump for my bouquet during the toss because of how awesome they look, and it’s quirky/fun. Our mothers made them all together, with help from the other maids & myself, so the love put into them is completely awesome.

        If I had not found the inspiration for these, I probably would have either opted out of flowers or let someone else pick them. I enjoy flowers, but they die & have funny smells AS they are dying && lots of people have allergies. Meh.

        • Amanda

          Ohh, Melissa – love this idea and would love to see pictures if you are interested in sharing them!

          • I can do that! :) They look amazing, so I can’t wait to share them!

  • ” Then people started asking about the “details.” ”

    I found this to be an incredibly exhausting part of wedding planning. The instant we got engaged, I felt like everyone assumed I had very strong opinions about things I didn’t even know were… things. (I remember being like, wtf are escort cards and why are people talking about it?) I didn’t know that people had “colors” or that there were parts of wedding receptions (other than cake–I have always been aware of cake) that people considered Really Important like being announced, etc. The assumption that A) I know what all of this stuff is and B) I cared was very irritating.

    It’s EXHAUSTING having to make decisions like that, and being asked your preferences makes you think you need to have preferences. (Or worse: thinking you need to educate yourself on all possible options–also needlessly exhausting.) And maybe with some things, you don’t.

    Also your point about caring about the ceremony really hits home with me. I’m with you on that one. To me, the ceremony is the essential thing about a wedding. Otherwise it’s just any other party. The ceremony really deserves a lot of thought and attention. I think your responsibilities for the ceremony are very different from your responsibilities for the reception. This is all IMO, but to me the CEREMONY is where it’s best to put your energies making sure it reflects you and your mutual values. Your responsibilities at a RECEPTION are similar to your responsibilities at any party you host (the biggest difference from a normal party is that you’re both host and honored guest so it’s a little unusual) but you and your reception’s co-hosts are responsible to be considerate and gracious towards your guests. It’s really NOT necessary to be unique or special in a reception, just good hosts.

    • amy

      This has been THE most stressful part of wedding planning for me: being asked to submit a sophisticated aesthetic opinion of every … little … thing. Feeling so not cool that I don’t care about pretty much any of it. Seeking inspiration in the vortex of the wedding web. Self-doubting. Laying awake at night wondering if everyone is going to hate my table cards. Waking up after 3 hours of sleep and reading APW. Drinking coffee. Relaxing. Delegating. Rinse, repeat.

      • Does it help to say that people will not remember/notice your table cards? And that you won’t, too?

        It is really, REALLY okay not to have an overwhelming aesthetic vision for your wedding.

        The things I hold in my heart from my wedding are: my vows, the homily, a gauzy golden delirious vision of my guests, dancing with my father to Blue Skies, hugging my grandparents …and cake. And there were so many things that I genuinely worried about, like tablecloths. I worried about my tablecloths! I thought “Should I have chosen more interesting tablecloths? Should I have shelled out for silk dupioni tablecloths? Should I have made my tablecloths from burlap sacks or something SUPER CREATIVE?” Well, I really just hope it helps to tell you that all of that angst about that kind of thing… it just… melted away.

        • I noticed the “no one will notice/care” angle at two different weddings I went to/was in last month. Wow. Really didn’t notice. Or care. Except the one wedding where the centerpieces were so tall we couldn’t talk to each other across the table.

          Once I saw that, I was like “I just don’t even care.” I hadn’t put ANY thought into my ceremony until that point. After that, it was a very “DUH” moment. Ceremony planning has been my very favorite :) (well. that & the rehearsal dinner tasting. HOLY WOW YUM)

        • amy

          It DOES help! And I of course know, in my heart, that no one is going to care, and that furthermore I will not care, just as I did not care before wedding planning started.

          We went through this with our invitation envelopes. I was so worried about them. Was it bad that we had our address printed on them in a generic italic font instead of having them stamped? Or making our own sweet stylish address labels? What about that foil lining? Was that a weird move?

          Heavens to betsy, I forgot about them as SOON as we put them in the mail. And every time someone told me how gorgeous our invitations were, I forgot a little more. Because NO ONE WAS LOOKING AT OUR RETURN ADDRESS FONT!!!

          But my gosh, worrying about tablecloths? Hilarious. I am so there.

          • Hahaha, do not be there. It is not a there you want to be. :)

  • elyse

    “We must have had a dozen conversations where I threatened to elope, but it turns out you can’t elope without the other person’s consent.”

    At the beginning of our planning, I definitely told my husband a few times that he could attend the wedding and I would elope! In the end, he was right (as much as I like admitting it!) that being surrounded by friends and family really was the right choice for us, even if I’d never envisioned it happening that way.

    We also planned our wedding around 2 major life events – we started the week with his med school graduation, then 2 days later closed on our condo in a city 1000 miles away (which we clearly weren’t present for) and then 2 days after that we had the wedding. Turned out to be an amazing week and left no time for last minute worrying about the wedding.

    My favorite two ‘eyebrows raised’ questions though during our planning were –
    “How will anyone know who the bridal party is if the bridesmaids aren’t wearing matching dresses?” (hint: they’ll be the ones walking down the aisle before me and standing up at the front) and “How will you get any gifts if you don’t have a shower? (Um. . . well, we’re having a wedding. I guess people can give us stuff then, if they want)

  • Stella

    Oh my god. Yes. To all of this. You just saved me from a meltdown, I swear.

  • Edelweiss

    I’m a huge fan of connecting the wedding with a major life event. So many of my awesome, talented friends have accomplished huge things with thier lives around the time of their weddings (as makes sense when you’re graduating to a new life phase). They would get hit by the imbalannce between the number of questions they get about color schemes as opposed to just what they hope to do with thier new degree and what job they hope to get. It all resulted in some kick-butt reverse psychology and gave them the backbone to check themselves and repriortize when they started to over-obsess over details they didn’t truly care about.

    So congrats on law school, and being wed, and your new life!
    and uhm…I love your dress.

  • Rachel

    Darn straight!

  • Erin R

    UM, I can’t even tell you how much this grad post speaks to me. I got engaged one week ago and have been WAY BEYOND stressing out about it almost every day. It’s so great to see how it turned out for someone who went through what I’m going through now (threatening to elope? check. wondering the point of flowers–and a dress, and why the food has to be shmancy, and why photographers cost so much money? check, check, check.). And it looks like it turned out great. So thank you, Emily, for helping to bring this girl back from the edge.


      I’m envious you found APW so early. I found it about two weeks ago & I have 2.5 weeks til the wedding. Prior to APW, I had 6 months of stress & headaches.

      • Erin R

        Thank you! I’ve actually been reading APW for a couple months now because it’s a great read and really thoughtful. I’m happy to have the resource though as I start planning this thing.

  • Jo

    Folded over paint chips?! I love this!

    Our planning process cracks me up because we chose a simple plan, and then we keep simplifying. And simplifying. And are about to go into another round of simplifying. :) I find that backing off of wedding blogs and not thinking of it as a wedding is really helpful for me. If I think of it as an event, and plan it like I would that, it comes out just fine.

  • Jillian

    I love your whole perspective towards wedding planning and the day itself. On my best days, I like to think that I have the same attitude- that’s it’s not about the WIC or the blog/indie worthiness, it’s about the two people and their families coming together.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • candice

    This post (both parts) is completely perfect. I have gone back and forth with my SO, debating elopement and spending long hours worrying about how we will ever measure up.

    Reading this post really shifted something inside of me; now I’m feeling like maybe I (we!) can do this.

    Especially love this, “While it’s reasonable to not want to be a cookie cutter bride, guess what? Getting married is not a new thing.”

    and this,”…it was more a matter of feeling like we were allowed to say no.”

    Thank you for the words of sanity.

  • I had one groom who was VERY involved and was upset that there was not one book about weddings for men. Remember everyone we would all just elope if the wedding was only about “us” it is about sharing with the whole family and friends – and that makes it it complicated

  • Folded over paint chips!





  • Jeannine

    “I think there are two extremes for dealing with the WIC: trying to measure up to its “perfection,” or rebelling against the whole idea and refusing to do any of it. You can find the happy medium by really examining what you want to do, doing only that, and not even thinking about how the final product would rate, because there is no metric when it comes to having a joyful, loving celebration.”
    This. I just copied this down on a pretty piece of paper and taped it to the front of my “wedding stuff” folder. Right now, I’m in the mode of saying no to everything, even things that might be nice and considerate or useful or fun, just because I’m so worried that the wic is like a stack of dominoes: give in to one thing and then you’ll find yourself completely undone. For example my mother suggested that we have tablecloths on the public picnic tables at the park where the wedding will be held and I dug in my heels–even though, clearly, it would be more sanitary and pleasant to have tablecloths. I really needed that reminder that I can make choices all along the way, “really examining what you want to do” as Emily writes. So thanks, Emily!

  • Anna

    I can definitely relate to the whole “law school’s over, the bar is happening, what you want to have a life phenomenon.” I appreciate how honest you’ve been about this and can definitely relate to not wanting to be all DIY and worrying about what means about you and your wedding.

  • Sarah

    It’s so wonderful to hear from another law student! My spouse and I said “I do” on March 13, half-way through my 3L year. I graduate in May, take the bar in July, and move across the county in August to start my clerkship. Here’s to smart woman, our supportive partners, and getting things done! I wish you all the best.

    • Emily

      Congratulations, Sarah!

  • Pingback: A Practical Wedding Perspective :: Part 1 from Emily()

  • msditz

    Getting married isn’t such a new thing.
    Thank you!
    This is something that I have struggled with, maybe because in my 27 short years of life I have been to DOZENS of weddings, so I find myself thinking at times during my planning process, “blech, that has so been done before!” And then I hear my mother’s wise words, “There are only so many ways to skin a cat.”
    Millions of people have gotten married before I will, and millions will after. And thats actually really cool.

  • april

    “While it’s reasonable to not want to be a cookie cutter bride, guess what? Getting married is not a new thing. The odds are that your wedding will not revolutionize the practice.” ~ Emily.

    YES! THIS. Exactly. Would you please send that brilliant bit of info directly to the editorial staff at Style Me Pretty??? ‘Cuz they missed that bit while they were faffing about with the details and over-personalizing their photo shoot. HA!

    But back to you: LOVE your post, love your wedding, love your insight. Congratulations to you and the mister on your wedding and marriage. XOXO

  • Zan

    “While it’s reasonable to not want to be a cookie cutter bride, guess what? Getting married is not a new thing. The odds are that your wedding will not revolutionize the practice. That’s what’s so cool about weddings – you’re following in a tradition that billions of others have gone through. Even if you write your own vows or dance down the aisle, you’re still participating in one of the world’s oldest celebrations of love.”

    As someone who also finds herself not caring much about the flower and the diy and the everything (but not wanting to be cookie-cutter either) I love this. Well written and bang on!

  • Brittany

    The funniest thing, Emily, and the most wonderful, is that in the end you had an incredibly thoughtful, creative, and detail-oriented wedding, once you freed yourself to spend time and energy on the details you actually cared about. As a guest, I never thought about your wedding as “plain” or “casual,” I thought of it as “carefree,” “very California (says the drab traditional Midwesterner),” and above all “individual.” I loved knowing that every element of the ceremony was there on purpose, not because you spent ten minutes looking over and approving a ceremony your officiant had planned while you obsessed over every stem in the bouquets. I loved the whimsy that entered into your decorating schemes, and didn’t care whether they were put together by you or by your friends and family. Greg and I felt like we got to know so much about you and W during your wedding weekend because your personalities came shining through without getting covered up in froth and white satin.

    PS: FYI for Em’s readers, I was a total froth and white satin girl myself, with lots of DIY and overspending, and with no regrets a few years later. But I loved, loved, LOVED watching Emily plan her wedding with such a refreshing different approach!

    • Emily

      Aww, thanks, B!

  • Jess

    “Okay, so the simpler way would have been to just ditch the guilt and regret, and realize we didn’t need an excuse for having an easy wedding.” EXACTLY. I came to this place with two decisions – food and photography. They were worrying me (the cost, specifically) and then I realized that having a full meal isn’t that important to us (hello, dessert reception) and that having top-quality photos isn’t worth $1500+ to either of us. Being able to save our money to buy a house IS important, and there simply isn’t enough $$ for both. Also, I don’t want to spend from now till October planning. I’ve always dreaded wedding planning, and realizing that it’s okay to make it easy is such a relief. Thanks for confirming that, Emily!

  • EmmyLou

    OMG this post needs to be my bible. There is a place in this world for us middle of the road brides to be. I’m greatful for the DIY movements but umm some WIC staples, I actually do like (i.e. letterpress and flowers). I’m not a crafty chick in anyway, so any projects that I take on are simply cost savings measures. I’ll glady( if I can afford it) pay a professonal to do the details I don’t care to do myself.

    I also hate this trend of the last few years of uber “personalization”. I mean dont get me wrong its cute when it comes from an authentic place, but I think the rebellion against “tradtion” is creating this whole other level of madness of “we have to be different”. Urggggh can’t we just freaking get married and not be judged, whether its a $50K+ totally traditoinal affair or $100 buck JOP marriage. Why all of the extra damn pressure (which I realize its both external and interal noise).