Marisa & Adam & The ‘Blog-worthy’ Wedding

I’ve been wanting to talk about this dreaded term “blog-worthy” for a long time, so when Marisa send me an email with the title, “I accidentally had a blog-worthy wedding… and that’s ok” I was ALL OVER IT. So lets parse this a little bit: the term blog-worthy wedding gives me HIVES. It’s about focusing on what someone else might think about your wedding instead of how it feels, it’s about judging your wedding and yourself by some sort of external standard that you’ve decided that you have to live up to. Do a lot of us bloggers personally like a quirky/ edgy/ slightly femme asthetic? Yeah. We totally do. Is that the point? No, it totally is not.

The worst is when people say that they can’t send me their wedding because their wedding is ‘Too ___ for APW.’ Which is awful. And, by the way, is almost never true. As Liz wisely said last week, “Every time a bride says, ‘A think my wedding is TOO___ for APW…’ the WIC wins, people.”

So when Marisa wrote me about her wedding being pretty, but that not being the point, it rang true to me. I remember when I got our very first pictures back from Heather & Jon, I was scared to show them to you guys. Because you know what? Our wedding pictures are pretty. In fact, our real life wedding was stylish. But what I learned getting married was, that’s not the point. The point wasn’t how it looked (though I’m grateful that our wedding aesthetic ended up reflecting who we are) the point was how it FELT. And I was scared that by showing you the pretty pictures, you might miss the whole point. But you didn’t, because you are amazing. So with that, I bring you Marisa. Her wedding is beautiful, but somehow? I think you’ll get the point this time too.

Dear Meg,

We got engaged over 2 years before we got married, so there was plenty of time for me to surf the internet and read magazines and attend other weddings picking and choosing what I did and didn’t want and figuring out what the whole thing meant to me.

I was never one of those girls who started dreaming about her white gown at 4 years old. It wasn’t something I ever thought about. But I LOVE throwing parties, and this seemed like a way to really go all out and plan the ultimate killer party.

I wanted it to be beautiful, I wanted the food to be good, I wanted people to dance until they had cramps and keep dancing anyway.

Not to impress anyone, not because I need it to look like something out of MS Weddings (although I do really love their aesthetic) but because I love it when people are just having a blast because of something I organized. It’s true at our Halloween parties, it’s true on NYE, and it was true at my wedding too.

At the last minute we had some great fortune in the form of free upgrades thrown our way from the rental company and the florist – the cheaper flowers we ordered were unavailable and so the florist just went all out with much more expensive pieces I could never have afforded at no extra cost.

The weddings before and after ours threw down $3k+ on a clear top and lights for the tent and chiavari chairs and the rental guy offered them to us at no charge so they wouldn’t have to take them down and set them up again.

We found a photographer (Photo Pink) on Offbeat Bride who was unavailable but hooked us up with their associate who is new to full time wedding photography (read: more affordable) but phenomenally talented. We got REALLY lucky. We had giant balloons. We had a photobooth. We had little string lights.

But above and beyond, we had laughter and and tequila and NO stress and speeches that made everyone cry.

We had a party so good people had to be thrown out at the end of the night.

When the amps blew and we lost the music for 5 minutes, everyone kept clapping along and then chose another song to sing and the dance party didn’t stop for one second.

We had cheers and light and love and now we’re husband and wife. And the fact that it looked so darn good is awesome, but it’s SO not the point.

So here are some pictures of my accidentally blog worthy wedding.

They’re pretty, yeah. But the prettiest things are the huge grins on everyone’s faces in every picture, the sweat stains from people dancing their hearts out, our families, intermingled, dancing with their arms around each other. THAT’S blog worthy.

Pictures: Amanda Borozinski & Will Wrobel of Boro Creative Visions

Note on the photos: So, an interesting thing about what you see on blogs, and what you might consider ‘blog-worthy’ (ew) is how the photos are edited. Marisa & Adam have a million great detail shots (like their flowers… whoa, pretty) But you know what? I think the emotion shots are the real story. The shot I care less about is the bridesmaids shoes (Great shot, aesthetically interesting.) What I’m interested in showing you is the pile o’ bridesmaids in a hug. Also aesthetically a great shot (talented photographer alert) but that one makes me want to grin and cry at the same time. And even I almost never show you what are arguably the most important pictures from a wedding – the rings being exchanged, the couples with their families… because I didn’t want those pictures from our wedding on the internet, so I try to build other couples that shield of privacy. So think about that when you look at wedding photos. Editing controls how the story is told. (And THAT, my friends, is my BFA in composition in action. Sighhh….)

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  • C

    Okay this is something that makes me frustrated…why can’t things be both “pretty” and practical? A wedding doesn’t *need* to be “pretty” but if you like “pretty” and your wedding happens to be pretty (or you work hard to make your wedding pretty) then what the heck is the problem? Your wedding was gorgeous and I adore your dress! Congratulations!

    • Laura

      I couldn’t agree more!

    • meg

      Well that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Of course her wedding is both. MINE was both. And really the point is – I want you guys to stop labeling weddings “Practical” and “Not Practical.” I think it’s really un-cool.

      • Janna

        Your quest to get people to stop labeling weddings practical or not practical seems a wee bit odd given you write a blog called “A Practical Wedding…”

    • meg

      And loving that your wedding was pretty (loved that mine was) still doesn’t make that the point. Trust me.

  • Liana

    Marisa has the most beautiful smile in all of her pictures, that is what I like to see, pure happiness!! Congrats!

  • Joyful Girl

    With such few photos of the actual decor, I think what really makes this wedding, and every other wedding “pretty” is the enjoyment and love on the faces of the couple and guests. I’ve been to an amazingly beautiful wedding…but it wasn’t actually all that pretty because the bride didn’t seem to really want to be there. The decorations aren’t what sets each wedding apart, it’s the love.

    and the picture of this couple nose to nose…that’s what it’s all about!

    • 100% agree!

    • You know, I think looking back, THAT is what bugged me about my BIL’s wedding. There was no infectious emotion. The bride looked happier chatting with her old friends than dancing with her husband. She didnt laugh and she didnt cry. It felt pretty, but it also felt fake and like it was all for show. It made me sad.

  • Thanks for sharing this, Marisa. It’s beautiful and lovely and honest and happy. :)
    I love your shoes… if we can find out where Marisa got her shoes, I’d be a happy gal!

    We started planning a blog-worthy wedding (I hate that label b/c it can sometimes make people feel less than…. ahem, like me) b/c we felt like we had to and we hated it. Then we trashed our plans. We started from scratch. And we began planning a wedding that felt more like us. It was one of the best decisions we had ever made.

    But within the last few months I decided I wanted bunting, a chalkboard, mason jars, and a kitschy cake topper. I felt guilty again. I felt like I was reverting back to my old wedding planning ways. I talked with my fiance and made sure we were still being ourselves, and we agreed that we sure as hell were.

    As long as you’re planning a wedding that is everything you love and want, not what you think you should have, it’s all good. The only label your wedding should have is “us.”

    • meg

      Right, that’s the point. I actually cut that line in my intro because I felt like I was blathering on, but as far as I’m concerned NOT doing something you want to do because you think it’s trendy or bloggy is as bad as doing something you don’t want to do because it’s trendy or bloggy. I think people spend way way too much time judging themselves. I wore an enormous flower on my head because I loved it. No regrets. Didn’t even feel trendy. Just felt like me.

      • Amen! In an email I wrote you (I believe sometime in Winter 09) about my dad not walking me down the aisle (which he is now doing with my mom due to ceremony changes) you told me to “be brave.” That’s all anyone can do, BE BRAVE, take a deep breath and stand up for your choices (as long as they don’t hurt you or someone else).

        I think we also need to prepare ourselves for the fact that our wedding plans are going to change and evolve the further we get into planning. The wedding I had planned back in November/December is NOTHING like the awesome one I have now. I’ve grown so much through this process.

      • Maddie

        Meg, btw, you just reminded me about a comment you posted on ESB a million years ago that pulled me out of this same funk. I wanted to wear a big flower in my hair sooooo badly but for some reason I had convinced myself that it was too trendy and would look *gasp* dated (mind you, wtf gives me the right to worry about dated when my bridesmaids wear RAINBOW dresses?). Anyway, you were like “I wore a flower in my hair. LOVED it.” And I went, “Oh yeah, I forgot that before wedding planning I used to wear stuff just because it looked awesome.” Duh.

        • Tina

          I know it’s been discussed before as well, but the idea of dated just seems so funny to me. There are certain things you probably want to avoid looking dated. Like buying a trendy flower couch that’s dated in two years. (Not judging at all if you have one). However, with your wedding I think it’s impossible for it to not look dated. I would not want to pick up a wedding photo from 30 years ago and think that time had not passed because everything could be used now as it was then. Plus, one generation later, all will look dated and then after two the granddaughter will be begging to use your dress.

          • liz

            my FAVORITE wedding photos look so crazy dated.

            my mom wore a hat covered in daisies. my dad had the HUGEST 70’s glasses.


          • Yes!

            I’m SO glad our wedding photos look like US, right NOW, in the present. I want to look back and see us just as we were right then, not us in a watered-down generalized dateless way. We got married NOW, these are the people we are NOW, and I want to remember it that way!

          • meg

            As someone told me when I was debating a short dress (um, two years ago), it will be cool to look back and say, “Yeah, we’ve been married THAT LONG. Since that was hip.”

          • That is HILARIOUS, and so true! My Mom got married in 1983 and her dress and veil were handmade by her Mother and Aunt, but it is very evocative of the era and not my style. However, I would love to wear my Grandmother’s dress if I could fit into it. She got married in the 1950s and wore this amazing, tea length tulle confection. It’s so funny how style cycles through generations. My sister and I joke that our (eventual) daughters will probably fall head over heels for our mother’s dress, which is why I’m not going to touch it although my Mom offered to let me “remake” it if I wanted.

    • Marisa

      The shoes are Sigerson Morrison (from Neiman Marcus). My mother-in-law got them for me. She’s an amazing lady. And not just because of the shoes. :-)

  • This really is a lovely wedding. Love the bride and groom. They really are a lovely pair! Totally love everything about the wedding. They look like they really did have a great time.

  • Sarah Beth

    This wedding is simply amazing. It reminded me that the point of a practical, honest, joyful wedding is not to avoid a certain aesthetic. Having a conventionally “pretty” wedding isn’t a crime. :)

  • Jennifer

    I hate the “blog-worthy” label, too, but I am reaching a stage of feeling very insecure about our wedding and beginning to understand where there could be a benefit to focusing on the pretty — the pretty is a little more under your control, the pretty can be planned. Fun and emotions? You can set up a conducive atmosphere, you can make sure to invite people who really care about you rather than people you feel obligated to invite, but more so than with the aesthetic aspects, you really have to wait and see. What if all your party people friends who have to be dragged off the dance floor are the ones who can’t afford to fly across the country for the wedding and the only ones who make it are the ones who avoid dancing even when provided with copious amounts of booze? What if your relatives get in a tiff the night before and are all in a sour mood and leave as soon as the meal is done? I would love lots of hugs and speeches that make everyone cry, but you can’t dictate emotion. The table linens may not be nearly as important as the people, but they are more predictable, which can be…reassuring. Like, “I don’t know how to make sure our wedding is fun, but I can at least make sure it’s pretty.”

    I’ve never been particularly talented at throwing big parties, I’m more of the semi-competent-at-hosting-small-dinner-parties type, my fiance is even less practiced in entertaining, and I really am getting worried about how to manage the hosting duties for this large and very motley group. If Marisa or Meg or other Team Practical types who had super-fun parties when they got married have tips on how to help those big grins be on everyone’s faces, I will eagerly absorb them all.

    • mollymouse

      You make an excellent point Jennifer! You can’t control people’s emotions/fun level. I think the only thing you can do is think about the people who are at your wedding, consider what they enjoy, provide that, and then revel in how much you love your new spouse. Never stop smiling on your wedding day and I think the good times will follow (a great I’m-so-happy-and-love-everyone-and-everything smile is contagious and will usually lead to great times!). At least, it worked for me :)

    • liz

      if you have fun friends who have a good time wherever, you’re set.

      i could pretty much toss a bunch of my friends in an empty room with no food or music, and we’d have a blast.

      but we also had a few i-choose-to-be-miserable-wherever-i-am types. and you know what? it’s not my job to try to tease a smile out of them, or babysit them til they choose to enjoy themselves.

    • K

      I think an important point to keep in mind is that the goal is that you and your new hubby are happy and enjoying the night! If you both have big smiles on your faces, those around you will as well. I know it’s easier said than done though. Worry tends to find me as well.

      Like Meg said about the aesthetics of a wedding, I think the same thing can be true for photos of the people enjoying the wedding. We’re only seeing 10-20 carefully selected shots (and possibly posed – which is totally fine!). Try and remember that you’re creating a story out of those, too. There might have been lulls and the odd unhappy person, but the bride and groom likely unconsciously (or consciously) censored them out of their memories (and photos ;) ).

    • FM

      I totally agree with K. I think the single most important predictor of how OTHERS feel at your wedding is how YOU seem to feel at your wedding. If you are able to relax a bit and feel and exude joy at your wedding, everyone else kind of soaks it up and feels like the wedding is fun and lovely, no matter whether the dance floor is packed all night or whatever else happens. The weddings that I’ve been to that are less fun are ones where everyone feels a little iffy about how the bride and groom feel about the whole thing. Not to put more stress on you to be a relaxed bride. I definitely felt that pressure and I don’t think I was all that relaxed at my wedding until my afterparty! – but I tried (reasonably successfully) to set things up so I would be as relaxed as I could be in that context and I think that leant a lot to the joy other people had at my wedding because they weren’t worried about me having fun. My advice is that whatever things you are doing to make it pretty, you let all of that GO on your wedding day (or better yet, a few days before your wedding day) and if it doesn’t happen exactly right on the day of NOT let it get to you then (you are, however, allowed to feel a little sad about the things that didn’t go as planned after your wedding since you spent so much time planning it, just not on the day of).

      Another thing to do for the “fun” feeling if you want lots of dancing and you’re not sure whether it will happen? Ask a few friends and relatives in advance to help lead the dance floor charge and keep it hopping – people who you know like that sort of thing. That way they know not to be shy and it is the best job you can give someone in your wedding.

    • Amandover

      I agree with all these replies.
      If you want something you can *do*, so you can check “making it fun” off your list, you could also have a close friend be the “host” for the reception. If hosting parties isn’t something you enjoy, ask someone who does to do it for you! I have a friend as my day-of coordinator; you could designate someone as your MC, and they can take responsibility for reading the crowd to see if people need a change of atmosphere. Most likely, your love and happiness will be all the atmosphere anyone needs.

    • sara

      I’m about to get married and am reaching the same stress/insecurity level, so I apologize that I don’t have any wise words for you. But hey, at least I can say that I’m feeling the same way so you’re not alone!

      I remember some advice (from Meg, I think, obv) that said that you can control the mood of the day with your mood. So, assuming that’s true, I’m going to try my best to be full present in the momen, have fun, relax, and enjoy. Even though it goes against my nature, I’m going to try not to host and assume that everyone there can have fun and take care of themselves. Plus, as my fiancee says, if our guests can’t have fun in a room with food, drinks, music, and people they know – they’ve got their own issues to deal with.

    • You may not be able to control people’s emotions or ability to have phone, but you CAN and WILL set the tone for the wedding. Your guests will follow your cue.

      • Wow, I just realized I said ‘phone’ where I meant ‘fun’. That’s what I get for reading at work!

    • Marisa

      You know, there’s not much you can do to make people have fun at a party. I did my best to make sure the atmosphere was comfortable and Adam and I sat down together and decided what we think makes a good party. For us it was 1)Great food 2) Plenty of booze 3) an awesome DJ. So we spent our time and energy and money on those things and made sure they were exactly what we wanted – balanced with what we could afford of course. On the day of, we just let it all go. We had done all we could and whatever happened happened. I was having so much fun, it really didn’t matter anyway! And I’m lucky because our family and friends are the type of people who mingle and mix and love a good dance party, so it was perfect even if it wasn’t exactly perfect.

    • meg

      As I said in my wedding graduate post, “It turns out that the thing that will shape your wedding day the most is free: your attitude. If you are joyful, present, and relaxed your guests will follow your lead.”

      Yeah, things will get f*cked up, people won’t dance, family members will fight, you’ll get pissed or sad or disapointed at some point in the weekend. But if you remember your job is to stay present and feel what you’re feeling, it will end up joyful and complicated and amazing. As I said when it was happening – getting married is like the toughest mediation/ yoga class you’ll ever do. But worth it.

  • liz


    as an artistically-focused person, i wanted to have a pretty wedding. because i like pretty things- and that’s kind of how i live. i make my house pretty. i try to wear pretty clothes. i color-coordinated christmas parties, for crying out loud. not having a pretty wedding would not have been true to me.

    yay pretty weddings that don’t miss the point!

  • A-L

    Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I never thought there was a delineation between pretty and practical. I guess I just thought practical was making the most efficient use of your time/money/interest to pull off the wedding you wanted (including however you defined “pretty”)..

    And in reading the commentary on blog-worthy, I guess I also never understood the term. Because I thought that it needed to be pretty. It could also be edgy, or funky, or something else, but no matter what it was nearly always pretty.

    But regardless, this wedding has one of the biggest components that I want. That I imagine everyone wants. The huge smiles of people having a ball, enjoying themselves, and feeling the intense emotion of the occasion. I loved it, and thanks for sharing.

    • meg

      Um. There is no delineation between pretty and practical, that’s the whole point.

  • mollymouse

    I never thought about the term “blog-worthy” until after my wedding was over and someone asked me to share my wedding on her blog. I worried a little about if it *looked* good enough, but then I worried more about if I had something interesting to say (just like when I submitted to Wedding Graduates – “Okay my wedding is ‘stylish’, but do I have anything good to say?”)
    I didn’t look at wedding-style blogs, photographers websites, or study other real-life weddings while we planned. The result was a wedding that was people-focused and not thing-focused. Oh yes, we had lots of things, but I didn’t care if we got pictures of them. I think some trouble starts when couples add *things* to their wedding because of how it will look rather than how they will feel.
    And Meg’s post-script about editing is crazy true! When asked about how he felt about photography before the wedding, the Mr.’s only (passionate) request was to “get lots of people shots”. I think that says it all. The photo of balloons is beautiful, but the bridesmaid laughing like crazy gives me a much better understanding/connection to the wedding.

  • Abby

    While we’re on the topic of the important things — Marisa, where did you get the giant balloons? ;) We’re gonna have a bunch of kidses at the wedding, and i can think of few better things (cheese, pina coladas) than tiny people with giant balloons . . .

    • McPants

      Not sure where Marisa got hers, but if you google “3 ft balloons” there are several online suppliers. Those things are awesome, and if you don’t pop them they hang around forever. We had one in my college dorm for like 2 weeks.

    • liz
      • Abby

        Thanks McPants and Liz!

        • Marisa

          They came from Balloon Saloon in NYC.

  • Tristen

    What a great story!! Amanda and Will are also going to be our wedding photographers in just 48 days, and I can contest to the fact that Amanda is WILDLY talented and that her pictures of all the little details and emotions she catches on people’s faces were what made her absolutely NUMBER ONE on my list. Then, when my fiance and I met her, we were blown away by her amazing personality, her professionalism and her sense of humor (which is really important to us because we’re ridiculously silly people). So, seeing Marisa’s beautiful wedding and seeing what an amazing time people had, and knowing who was there to tell the story, only solidifies for me that having someone there who can document the TIME you had, not just the pretty aesthetics, is incredibly important, and how grateful I am that we get to share that with Amanda and Will! We had a blast with her the day we shot our engagement photos, and are so excited for the wedding, and to see all those little things that will happen around us that we won’t see otherwise!

    Oh – and I have the same question as Abby – where did those gorgeous, fun balloons come from? I’ve been looking all over for off-white ones for the party (a.k.a. reception).

    Great job, Amanda and Will – and congratulations Marisa and Adam!!

    • Marisa

      You made the right choice, Tristen – Amanda was a joy to work with. She made the few posed pictures we did easy and fun and my friends adored her and couldn’t stop saying how cool she is! We loved her and you will too. Congratulations on your wedding!

      • Tristen

        It’s so true! It’s great to have a really talented AND really fun person taking your photos! Thank you, and congrats on your marriage!


  • I’m delurking for this post. This is EXACTLY how I feel. I’m in college (getting ready to start my master’s program) and my FH is getting ready to start dental school. We got engaged back in March but we aren’t getting married til 2012. I feel the exact same way about making this wedding reflect who we are (which is a fun, quirky couple) and doing that on a budget.
    I think that it’s excellent that APW shows the array of wedding of people who buy into the WIC in varying degrees. It’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily about the ways in which we shun the WIC but rather, how the message of Love (capital L) is conveyed.
    We’re working on a “feminist, non-traditional/semi-traditional wedding” – whatever that means. I must say, APW has been a saving grace for some of the ideas that I am going to co-opt and make my own. Thanks for this post and the multitude of others. APW LOVE! <3 .

  • peanut

    Aren’t all weddings “aesthetically pleasing” at some level? I can’t imagine an “ugly” wedding!

    It is interesting how we sometimes feel the need to apologize or explain our wedding choices, like I’m supposed to feel embarrassed that I’m wearing a fabulous and expensive couture wedding dress (to the indie crowd), or be ashamed by the lack of hand-written calligraphy on our invitation envelopes (to the WIC crowd). My wedding will be awesome, your wedding will be awesome, and the above wedding was awesome.

    • Audrey

      I don’t know about an ugly wedding, but I was recently at a wedding that felt very staged. The photographers/videographers (there were 4 in total) were standing in front of the cake table to capture the moment of the cake cutting/strawberry eating. They blocked everyone’s view, and when the mother of the bride asked them to move so she could see, they ignored her. They didn’t like the first cutting, so they had them do it over again. I left not long after that because it really didn’t seem that fun anymore. It didn’t help that I didn’t really know anyone at the wedding.

    • liz

      i’ve seen ugly weddings.

      it’s probably not acceptable to say. and i may get flamed.

      but yes. they exist, if we’re honest enough to acknowledge it.

      • KD

        I’ve definitely been to a wedding that *I* considered ugly. I think a major part of it was the pure lack of joy (the groom wanted to call the wedding off and didn’t – whether everyone knew that or not, the mood was clearly obvious. None of the friends/family thought it was a good idea, but they still went through with it). Then started looking around and focusing on things that *I* consider tacky to avoid the awkwardness when the bride shoves the mic into the hands of the father of the groom and forces him to say a few words and it comes out as… “well…I hope it works out for you two….”.

        I feel like when there is joy and fun no one really pays attention to all those details – pretty or tacky.

    • peanut

      really? it was UGLY? Not just, oh it wasn’t your style or whatever? I get that they may seem un-authentic, or gaudy, or cheesy, or generic, but not straight-up UGLY.

      • meg

        If you haven’t seen an ugly wedding (and I mean that on every level) consider yourself blessed. Because they exist BIG TIME and you don’t want to go there.

  • p.s. your dress is one of the most lovely i’ve seen.

  • K

    Isn’t it interesting that none of these issues come up when planning any other ol’ party? I want good music, good food, good drink and plenty of relatively comfortable seating for my guests when I have parties at my house. Yet throw in a ceremony at the beginning and the word “wedding” and you have all these other worries and comparisons tacked on. We’re trying to hold onto our dinner/house party mentality with our wedding.

    Unless maybe I’m missing the dinner party “blog-worthy” discussions elsewhere. Which, if so, please do not direct me to them because the last thing I need is to compare my mismatched wine glasses and chipped everyday-bowl-turned-serving-platter to them.

  • This is such a pretty wedding (yes, I do really like those giant balloons), but my favorite part is the emotion of the people in the photos. The photographer did a wonderful job getting in very close to really capture the people. That is what will matter, more than anything else.

    One of the problems that I have with this vision of weddings as “blog worthy” or “not blog worthy” is that the photos we see on blogs present an artfully edited vision of the wedding. Any wedding is blog worthy; it’s all in the photos, editing of photos, and presentation.

    What I find most interesting about this whole concept is how my interest in wedding photos has changed as our vision for our own wedding has solidified. In the beginning, when I was searching for inspiration and ideas on every little thing — invitations, favors, table decor, entertainment, food, etc. — I was drawn to the wedding blogs that featured a lot of the detail shots — close ups of invitations and flowers and whatnots. But as our own wedding has begun to take shape, I find myself drawn more to the pictures of the people in weddings. I want to see the story of the couple and their family, and the details — the “pretty” — have taken a backseat. The way I see it, the internet is a vast place, and there is room for everyone. If you want to share your pictures, do it. There are so many blogging brides now, someone somewhere will love your wedding and want to share it, too.

  • Love this! It’s always great to hear about weddings that are both aesthetically and emotionally beautiful. Those photos are absolutely priceless.

  • Alyssa

    I *love* the bridesmaids dresses! The bridesmaids all look stunning and comfortable. I wanted to let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses (with color parameters) as well, but I heard from some that it would actually stress them out because they would be worried that somehow they wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the dresses or something…

    My goal is to have them be comfortable throughout the whole process (including, hopefully, the day-of while they’re wearing the dresses). Advice anyone?

    • K

      Why don’t you ask them what they would feel most comfortable with? Maybe they’ll want you to pick out the color and style or maybe they’ll all feel comfortable choosing their own dresses based on a color palette.

    • Marina

      My peeps totally stressed because I wouldn’t tell them what I wanted them to wear. But… I dunno, it felt to me like one of those things where I can’t take on other people’s issues. Whether they stress or not is their choice–plus I probably would have got just as much grief if I had tried to pick something that would look good on all of them. But I think what helped the most was spending some time with each of them, on their schedule, looking at dresses or talking about dresses or whatever, basically showing them through my actions as well as my words that I really honestly did just want them to feel comfortable and beautiful. Plus, spending that time with each of them individually was wonderful bonding time during the pre-wedding ridiculousness.

      • peanut

        I told my bridesmaids to wear a black cocktail dress of their choosing, and as far as guidelines went I said I wanted their personalities to shine through. Basically, I wanted them to put together an outfit that they would normally wear, and that I didn’t want them to be clones of each other (plus, they can wear something they already have if they want to!). I think that relaxed everyone a bit.

        • Melodious

          I’m doing the same. My best friend has a self-described “odd” figure and has a really hard time finding stylish clothing which fits properly. I remembered her going on about a black dress she found on Etsy that made her both look and feel fantastic. Guess what she’ll be wearing in the wedding?

    • liz

      ask them what they want to do.

      i told my bridesmaids to wear whatever the eff they wanted- different dresses. the same dress. whatever. just please, no brown (so trendy, blech).

      they all picked out the same dress- it suited all of their different sizes and shapes and i know at least 4 of them have worn it again since! and yes. it ended up being brown. and i didn’t care. because they all loved it and looked awesome.

      ask them, “same dress? different dresses?” and see what they think. you may be surprised.

      • Luckily I only have 2 bridesmaids, so this was fairly easy: I took them shopping together to see if we could find something they both liked. It was well in advance of the wedding, so there was no stress if we didnt, and I had an option to go to a dressmaker with ideas of what suited the girls if we needed to.
        Thankfully, they found a really lovely dress I had spotted in a catalogue and it suited them both, and they both loved it! They both said they would rather wear the same, or at least part the same (ie same colour OR same style), simply because thats what THEY wanted.

        So TALK to your bridesmaids about what you want, and what they want. If they are the good friends they should be, it shouldnt be too hard to come to some sort of compromise!

    • Marisa

      I think the key is to give the girls guidelines that are as strict as you need them to be to get what you want (for me it was “Pewter Grey” and “Knee-length or above”) and to assure the girls that you trust their judgment. Also, make sure you are there for them if they have any questions or want your help shopping. It was lovely spending time with some of my girls shopping for dresses, and they really did a great job. It also took lots of stress of me not having to worry about it!

    • Lily

      I had two non-bridesmaids and they each wore exactly what they damn pleased! Each ended up in a silk cocktail-type frock, and most importantly they were happy, I was happy, we were all stress free and everyone looked lovely. And delightfully non-matching.

  • Allison

    Yes, we just spend 2 days making floral garland and 2 months working on inivtations, but when we’re celebrating our 10th-20th-50th anniversaries I’m pretty sure I’m not going to give 2 shits if our wedding was “blog-worthy” enough.

    • Allison

      OOh, sorry if that sounded snarky?? What I meant to say was LOVE endures through trends and fashions and prettiness. It’s not the chiavari chairs or the shoes or the balloons that draw me it’s the fact that you two are BEAMING and beautiful and love each other. :)

  • What a lovely, lovely post. And as always, the discussion is a good one too. I very much appreciate the honesty and courage of Meg and her readers.

    Like Sarah, I found an obsession with photography growing as our wedding planning progressed. While I early had photography on my top-5 list, the #1 priority was throwing a fun party with all of my friends and family. My obsession with photography culminated when the student photog I hired turned out to be as talented any other guest there. I was heartbroken. Not because I needed an extension to a vanity pageant of a wedding. But rather because I felt like we had a sweet, modern, community-centered, handmade wedding that I wanted to share with the world. I had stories, and hindsight advice I wanted to offer. We did 2 ceremonies–one on each coast–for under $5K total! I wanted compelling photos to help me illustrate my planning journey.

    My obsession with photography prompted a few vehement blog posts. I also planned a 1-year anniversary shoot with hubby and a professional photography studio. We hauled out all of our DIY wedding stuff, dressed in our wedding clothes, and spend several hours at a local arboretum having gorgeous pictures made. And you know what? Now that I have “blog-worthy photos,” I love them.

    I love looking at the details of the wedding we put together. I love seeing us all dressed up in our finery holding the DIY pinwheels we made. I love seeing the imperfections of the butter cream I was never able to get perfectly smooth, but was able to make peace with such “imperfections” early on. I grew so much during the planning process, and it’s the little details that remind me the most of that growth.

    I felt so beautiful and so loved on my wedding day. In hindsight, I would have loved to have those emotions reflected back to be with “blog-worthy” images. Beyond being stylish or blog-worthy, I love the feelings and memories that arise when I see the details of our handmade wedding. I love how beautiful I feel when I look at myself hair done, makeup on, in a pretty gown, and standing next to my life partner. I love the gestures of love photographers captured without making us look goofy or awkward. Or rather, I’m glad that the goofy ones were edited out and I don’t have to be forever self-conscious that I had been memorialized, mouth agape and full of BBQ. (I’m sensitive about those things. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am.)

    What I think is the most important thing is that we make piece with who we are, “blog worthy” or not.

  • Jamie

    I swear I’m not trying to be overly schmoopy but…I think all weddings are pretty. I look at pictures of weddings on offbeat bride and while I would probably never do the stuff some of the couples did, when I see pictures of the couple getting married grinning like loons at each other, getting teary while saying their vows, and hugging friends and relatives I think “Awww!!! How sweet! How pretty!!” And I get all teary myself.

    The only time I didn’t is the over the top wedding I went to this weekend. It was visually very beautiful and they spared no expense to make it so. But I knew they couldn’t afford any of it. I knew that they were on the verge of breaking up because the wedding cost too much for them. I knew that she had actually moved out a few months before the wedding because they were fighting so much. I knew that they still hadn’t paid their photographer because they had no more money and they had maxed out their credit cards. And because I knew all that, the whole wedding reception felt kind of phony. Like they were trying too hard. It didn’t feel honest. And then I felt like an asshole for judging because it’s not about that, but I worry about them and their lives together because I know how much this wedding cost them emotionally.

  • Here’s the difference between those “pretty” “blog-worthy” wedding posts on other wedding blogs and wedding grad posts at APW: emotion. APW posts always have emotion, regardless of the wedding’s aesthetic. Those other blogs, which I still peruse from time to time just for ideas, almost always are void of emotion. I will take the emotion every day and twice on Sundays.

  • And P.S. I ADORE Marisa and Adam’s emotion. I look at those photos and think, ‘That’s a wedding I wish I attended.’

    • Marisa

      That brought a little tear to my eye. Thank you. :-)

  • Erin

    I love your note at the end Meg, because that really is the crux of the issue, and ultimately what I think troubles some brides to the extent that they develop a complex about all of this: It’s not what the WEDDING looks like that makes it “blog-worthy,” but what the PHOTOS look like – meaning, how they’re captured and edited.

    While each photographer has their own unique style, there is a very obvious and easily recognizable aesthetic that has come to be expected in the blogosphere (and beyond at this point).

    I’d love for you to some day feature a wedding from a couple who decided to forego “photography” altogether and relied only upon friends and family with point and shoots and absolutely no editing for their pictures.

    • meg

      I did last week! I do all the time!

      • Erin

        Durrrr….I guess I already knew that. :)

        Something I keep meaning to email you, but then keep forgetting: I remember a while back you wrote a post about how to handle photography sans professionals, with various ideas including using a Holga or other toy cameras.

        WELL, I thought of something else to add to that list: iPhone. iPhones take surprisingly good and rather interesting photographs all by themselves (some of my favorites from our wedding were shot on an iPhone and somehow uploaded to Facebook before the ceremony even finished, unbeknownst to me). BUT, the real magic of iPhone photos is in the apps. Hipstamatic, BlendCam and a few others (all free or very, very cheap) take the kind of photos some people lust after in their quest for a quote-unquote BLOG-WORTHY wedding. There might even be a Holga app, come to think of it.

        So if you know some of your friends will be taking photos that day anyway, ask them to opt for their iPhone rather than their point and shoot. Or both, I suppose.

    • Chelsea

      I agree about the photography thing… I worried for a while that our photographer wasn’t blog-like enough. But then I realized that I really LIKE her pictures and her, and I don’t want to look back and realize that I got caught up in some indie indie idea of what wedding pictures are supposed to look like.

  • Ugh, I needed this. I have found myself alternately beating myself up for attempting to plan a not trendy enough/too trendy wedding for months now. I finally decided to get over it. I like mason jars; I’m from the country. I love balloons; I cried in UP. I LOVE flowers and feathers. I love colored shoes. I love tiny little details that no one else will notice. And it doesn’t make me or any other bride less practical as long as we LOVE it. I think a wedding crosses into impractical when a bride considers adding something she doesn’t love or subtracting something she does.

    **That said, I am having a wrestling match with my brain about not being judgmental at all the weddings I attend. I keep having to repeat my new mantra, which is “Things are just fine even if they’re not what I would have done!”

    • KD

      I think what I’ve learned most from the wedding planning process is to not be a judgy mcjudgerson to other peoples’ weddings like when I was younger. I’ve learned that there are so many choices, and that a lot of what I’m choosing cerainly isn’t for everyone else just like what they chose maybe isn’t my style. It doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. I now understand what it means to not only respect peoples’ choices, but embrace and celebrate them.

      Yay, maturing! I guess it was bound to happen at some point! :)

  • p.p.s. I think any wedding is awesome when you laugh and you cry. When I think of weddings I didn’t enjoy, it’s because the overwhelming emotion seemed to be stress or pressure.

    • Or no emotion at all is the other one I’ve seen, and it was the only wedding I’ve been to that I’ve not enjoyed…

  • Weddings! Let’s talk about the fact that women are getting complexes about not living blog-worthy LIVES at this point. Pfftttt.

    • And just think how crazy our grandmothers would think we were if we told them that we were concerned about being “blogworthy”. What.

    • meg

      So true. And so odd how people sort of selectively view the lives of bloggers. I’ve had people say how much they admire the fact that David and I don’t fight, and I’m like, “Dear. Jesus. PLEASE GET A GRIP.”

      But other than that, yes. It’s mindblowing how much the blogosphere has changed in the last 10 years (and yes, I’ve been reading blogs long enough to say that).

  • Kristen

    I feel a little strange asking because I don’t want to totally copycat you but I don’t think you’re in Washington (where I am) so… I beg, would you please tell me the brand of your dress? It’s gorgeous. It’s really really okay if you feel funny about it and don’t want to share. I won’t mind.

    Now, to comment on practical weddings. At first, I was one of those who felt like my wedding might not be practical enough to be in the team APW cool club. Confession: I love chiavari chairs. I think they are beautiful. But then again, I wonder if their beauty only makes an impact in the before pictures when there aren’t people filling them – like in the pictures where everything is all set up and waiting for the guests. That said, it’s likely that when push comes to shove I’ll do the math on what those would cost and what we could do with that money and choose against them.

    I’m getting over not feeling like the wedding I’m planning is totally APW, though. Because the point of APW is to have your own wedding. Without worrying about if it is any kind of blog-worthy, APW included. You can be detail-oriented with a specific aesthetic you want to achieve and still be practical. What matters is that each of us makes our own informed decisions on what we really want. Exaple: around here, chiavari chairs are about $6 more than regular chairs. $6 x 150 guests = $900. For $900, we could take a trip down to the Oregon coast where we got engaged and spend the weekend relaxing and eating delicious things. We could even hire a photographer to do an engagement session there. Let’s see. Pretty chairs vs. wonderful weekend with my fiance… It’s looking like we might have plain chairs.

    Meg may have other opinions but I think the message of APW is to not just get sucked into the bridal abyss by bossy people – in the industry, in your family, in your friend group, or those who have zero business bossing your wedding at all but will try anyways (like people you meet in line at the grocery store).

    To me, liberation from the WIC is a lot like women’s lib. Which means having the opportunity to choose. If you and your partner run the numbers and you can swing it, you can choose to be a stay at home mom. Or a male partner can be a stay at home dad. You can be a working mom. You can skip being a mom completely. You can skip partnering with anyone – male or female. If you run the numbers and you and your fiance to spend a weekend staycationing so you can afford chiavari chairs, that’s fine too. As long as you’re choosing what you want and not getting swept up on choices that have been imposed on you.

    Even if that means making choices that you don’t like because they’ll make someone else happy and you’ve decided that that particular sacrifice is worth it. Having a balloon arch is super important to your mother-in-law because she had one at her wedding but you think it’s outrageously tacky? It’s okay to go with it even though you know you’ll cringe every time you see it in a picture – because you know you’ll still be glad that you could make her happy. So long as you didn’t get hypnotized into it by a bobble-head sales person. (Seriously. When I worked there, IHOP was telling waitstaff to nod while suggesting a carafe of fresh orange juice. Fresh from concentrate from the freezer… Watch out for bobble-heads! )

    • Marisa

      I don’t feel weird about it at all. I would totally give the dress away but it got kind of destroyed on the bottom – I stepped on it right after Adam and I did our little reveal and ripped a hole in it near the hem. And before we even started taking pictures, the hook and eye pretty much exploded out of it (thanks a lot lousy seamstress lady). There are some great pictures of the girls doing surgery on it. Twice.

      And you know what? That didn’t matter at all. I had a spiked lemonade while my bridal ninjas worked their magic and now I have a funny story to tell.

      ANYWAY – The dress is by Maggie Sottero and it’s called Reese. You can see it on their site and they carry it at lots of bridal salons.

      • Kristen

        Thank you!!!

  • cai

    I litterally have never posted a comment on APW in the 5 months that I’ve been following it because I felt ashamed that I also look at Oncewed, 100LayerCake and GreenWeddingShoes everyday, among other blogs. I love APW. I love the emotion of each wedding and each person mentioned on this blog and its my staple to keep my head straight throughout this planning process. But, this entire time I’ve been ashamed of the fact that I was planning a ‘trendy’, ‘blog-worthy’ wedding.

    I know we all talk about the wedding industry and blogs as being the devil but if Martha Stewart’s bridal magazine and the blogs I mentioned didn’t exist I would still be planning a damask wedding that is as far from mine and my fiances personalities as possible! My closest bridesmaid is 3 hours away and my family is 9 hours away, so I look to these blogs for advice and inspiration. And now that this wedding has been posted I’m so much more comfortable with what we’re doing.. we have mason jars and owls galore, and I’ve hand drawn all 35 save the dates and invitations beeing sent out.. and both me and my fiance couldn’t be happier. I still see a lot of happiness and emotion in the wedding pictures I see on other blogs.. but as soon as I come across a cold, emotionless shell of a wedding you better belive I skip right over it. But then again.. who are we to say if they’re happy or not?

    • meg

      Um. I personally adore Kristina (1/3 of 100 Layer Cake) and have for ages. I think those ladies have serious style and it’s one of the few wedding-y blogs I read. Emily who writes Once Wed? Total, total doll, and sweet as the day is long. I think what APW is doing and what those ladies are doing are just kind of different, and that’s great. I mean, if we were all doing the same thing and head to head all the time it would be A) boring and B) not much of a community. I mean, I’d be pretty sad if there was no more 100LC tomorrow. So yeah, a lot of us bloggers sort of came up together. Kristina was around cheering me on when I got married, I was cheering her on when she got married. Just because I talk openly about the industry of wedding blogs, and what you should think about when you read them, and how you should not let them give you a complex? It doesn’t mean I don’t LIKE them. I mean, I am one ;) (sorta)

      • La

        @ CAI – I second what Meg said. APW was the first blog I found that helped me not develop a complex. I have been getting inspiration from lots of blogs, but coming to APW helps me get over the “pretty” things that I can’t justify paying for (ups to my practicality) or that really just aren’t me anyway. Newly Domesticated and KD mentioned judginess – I am so glad that APW exists and has helped me become less judgy of other people’s weddings. I also appreciate hearing about how people deal with all the emotional stuff which you don’t always hear about on other wedding blogs. So yay for Meg, Martha, 100LC, and all the rest.

  • Hi everyone!

    I’m sooo glad you are enjoying the photos – I am LOVING the discussion!

    Marisa and Adam and their family were amazing to photograph and from my point of view – one of the main reasons – was because they had fun! I know this sounds cheesy, but simply put people having fun, people smiling, people laughing – that always looks beautiful.

    Part of my job – as a photographer, I think – is to encourage that kind of fun… to enjoy the day too… to gush and laugh and have a blast. Look for a photographer that loves what they do, has fun and most of all that YOU get along with … someone you would want at your party and then you will love your photos!

  • Leigh Ann

    Marisa, don’t get mad if I copy your whole wedding. Love the balloons, love the setting, love everything.

  • Kristin

    I’m fairly excited to plan a “pretty,” “blog-worthy” wedding… it is a chance to stretch my crafty skills and see if I can pull a single “vision” off. I read design and wedding blogs daily, and I guess it is a sort of secret “dream job” of mine to be someone actively involved in the art and design world. I started reading wedding blogs because I had been to, like, one wedding ever, and it was when I was a kid. I wasn’t sure how weddings were set up, what kinds of things you have to plan for, and I vastly underestimated how many wonderful design ideas people have relating to weddings. Turns out, I totally got addicted to all of the pretty weddings and ideas, and I bet I will probably still skulking around the same sites as a “wedding graduate.”

    Back to “prettiness”–I don’t have an especially pretty house or wardrobe, mostly because I won’t give up enough time to devote to it with all of the rest of my life going on (work, being sociable, etc.). But I see having a “pretty” wedding as a single event where I can pretend to be a stylist or professional crafter. I would sort of like to impress my friends and family with the wedding style because I rarely get to share that (important, but hidden) side of myself.

    That being said, I know there are a lot of things that I won’t be able to accomplish before the wedding–my list of crafty items is steadily shrinking. Some of the insane details that make it into the blogs will still hopefully be there (hand-stamped fabric table runners, anyone?), but this wedding really gives me free rein to experiment with texture, themes, and color to create something unique and special. I guess I’m going to be using some of the trends going around, like mustache favors for guests, but I think they are pretty cool in and of themselves, and are trendy because they’re just fun ideas. I’m also not ruling anything out because it is off-trend, but then, I haven’t been looking for wedding ideas from books twenty years old or really getting into the pre-made stuff that might not be de la mode.

    Is that weird to say that I’m sort of striving for a “blog-worthy” wedding, in the best way possible to express my craftiness? I’m not too concerned about what people will think of the final “vision,” (which, as I’m getting, is sort of anti-“blog-worthy”), since I’m sort of banking on that it’ll all magically sort of work itself out and fit together. I have faith in the people coming to have fun and be a part of the most important aspects of the wedding, so the prettiness is just icing on the cake, so to speak. People will come, I’ll get married, we’ll all drink too much homebrew and champagne, dance, and things will naturally just end up okay. No-stress, super fun, and most likely fairly pretty. I DO want good, stylish photos to share my pretty creation, and I’ll probably submit the photo portfolio here, or Offbeat Bride, or somewhere else, if they’ll take ’em :)

  • Meg P

    This couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. The church where we are getting married has stood as it is for at least my 25 years of life. Last month they decided to let someone paint a mural behind the altar and last weekend we finally got out and had a look at it. I sat in the church through Sunday mass close to tears at what they have done to my simple country church. It’s just a mess. And whilst I pondered ideas for other venues I thought to myself “No. I’ve made all my sacraments in this church, I’ve dreamed of this my whole life, we’ll just work with the photographer to make sure it’s not an issue. And at the end of the day we’ll still be married.” But it took a lot of discipline to let go of my vision and come to terms with what’s been done without even consulting me. I felt like I deserved some notice, didn’t I? If they radically changed the aesthetic at one of your venues wouldn’t you want a warning at least?

  • Any idea where the balloons are from?

  • One Girl. One Boy. In Love.

    That’s all you need. The rest, the icing on the cake as I like to call it, is up to each couple. I adored this wedding, especially those big, happy smiles!! Congratulations Marisa & Adam!

    • Emily

      I *really* hope you meant to say “Two People. In Love.”

      In fact, I’m going to assume that was just a typo, because I would probably cry if there were any APW readers who actually believed in that “one man, one woman” nonsense.

      Love is love is love, right?

      • meg

        That’s totally not what she meant. She flagged it. Chilllll….

        • Emily

          Sorry, I’m a word nerd! Didn’t mean that to come off all rant-y–I just highly value precision of language, especially when we’re talking about gender, which is already SO steeped in loaded language. I totally agree with and value the underlying sentiment, for what it’s worth.

          I really am very chill, promise! Just a little bit of a watchdog when it comes to heterosexism in the wedding world. No hard feelings, I hope. :o)

          • Just to clarify, Emily, I didn’t mean that love is only between one boy & one girl nor was it a typo. I was responding to this posting of Marisa & Adam: One Girl. One Boy. In Love.

            Love is Love is Love.

  • The wedding is beautiful, but more importantly, it looks like so much fun!

    Marisa and Adam look so blissfully happy and in love. That’s more beautiful than anything that a professional stylist can do.

  • Erin

    This is my first post on APW, and I’m so excited to become part of this community as a newly-engaged person. I chose to comment on this post because I live in HOLY TERROR of the blog-worthy wedding. Yet, this wedding made me so happy.

    It’s easy for me to ignore the wedding industry — hell, I’m 31 and an independent woman! I’m paying for this wedding (along with my fiance) and we both work as professional writers (yikes). Shit … my dress is going to be a fraction of my monthly rent, not a multiplication of it. Did I mention that I live in Chicago?

    I can ignore the wedding industry, no problem. What’s not easy for me to ignore is blog pressure. I’m creative and I love decorating. I have a strong aesthetic, but, I’m also a thrifty Midwestern woman. I feel that this somehow means I have to pull off this impossible, shabby-chic wedding when in reality, I want to punch the person who coined the term “shabby-chic” in the face. Seriously? I hate that broad. Well, I don’t HATE her, but I wish she wasn’t so damn popular.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I’m excited about this community, and about all our weddings — not just the blog-worthy ones. Not just the budget ones. Not just the conventional ones. ALL of them.