Big Wedding, Small Budget

You’re should-ing all over yourself.

on February 27, 2012

One thing I’ve noticed about the WIC is all of the “should’s.” Having the wedding that you want to have is not quite enough; it’s more important to have the wedding you should have. If you don’t, people will be scandalized, you will offend your guests, you will have big regrets, and worst of all, your wedding will not be The. Best. Day. Ever. What could that lead to but an unhappy, unfulfilling life with your poor, unsuspecting husband?

I’d like to unpack this a little.

I came across an article on the Kn*t called “10 Wedding Questions You Didn’t Know To Ask.” First of all, if I didn’t know to ask it, then it’s probably not that important, right? Wrong. According to this article (and other advice I’ve found), it is extremely important to

  1. Take your veil off at the right time during the reception. Funny, I thought the right time would be whenever you want. Or maybe don’t wear a veil? Or maybe wear it all day. Who cares?
  2. Kiss in the “appropriate” manner at the end of the ceremony. Look—I don’t personally want to see anyone necking up at the chuppah. But I also don’t want to worry about what’s appropriate when I’ve just married the man I love. I’d like to just be present and in the moment. If the kiss is not exactly perfect, oh well. A note—apparently, doing the “dip” is NOT allowed.
  3. Have favors. If you don’t have favors, your guests will definitely think you’re cheap. Also, they will not feel that you’re showing them the appropriate gratitude for showing up to your wedding. Because my guests definitely will be coming to the wedding looking for little photo frames or etched shot glasses. I mean, favors can be fun, if they make you happy. But if not? Skip it. My guests will definitely feel welcome and loved no matter what.
  4. Have a wedding theme. I’ve learned that is it essential to have a theme for your wedding. Everything you do must fit into this theme, including your guest book, colors, stationery, and food. It’s not only the WIC that is guilty of this “should;” I’ve seen it plenty in indie blog-land as well.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes it seems like the whole job of the wedding planning industry is to scare brides into doing something wrong. And I guess it is, because fear is a really good way to convince people to buy stuff. After all, we don’t want to have any regrets, right?

I’m going to disagree with that one. Personally, I don’t think regret is the worst thing in the world. I know we’re all supposed to live without any regrets, but to me that just feels like pressure. The truth is, I have regrets from every stage of my life. There are always things that didn’t work out perfectly, things I would like to have done differently. But that’s life. I’m not perfect. I can accept this regret and move forward without letting it take over my life.

And I’m sure I will regret things about my wedding. Or at least, I would if I was trying to have the perfect day. But I’m not. I’m trying to have a day that reflects us and our life together, which is sometimes messy, complicated, and very rarely perfect. I refuse to be scared of doing things “wrong.” Our wedding will be unique because it will be the only time the two of us will be marrying each other. So why should we be trying to measure it by some external yardstick?

It would be a very bad thing for me to be plagued at the wedding with worries about things being “right” or “perfect.” It would be even worse to spend the next year of planning trying to live up to something I’m not. Instead of worrying about wedding mistakes or wedding do’s and don’ts, I think we should all be focused on being ourselves and planning our own wedding, no matter what that looks like.

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3 responses to “You’re should-ing all over yourself.

  1. omgbex says:

    Yesss! I got the same email from the Knot and thought the same thing about it! So dumb! Thanks for articulating it all. 🙂

  2. Hayes says:

    I am about to cry after reading this. I’m already shoulding all over the place. (LOVE the title, btw.) I keep trying to relax, but it’s hard. I’m waiting for the “fun” to begin…. But it hasn’t.

    • Barbra says:

      I can’t take credit for the title…it came from cognitive (I think?) psychology that I remember from school. The fun will start! In the meantime, can I suggest two websites that might help?? A Practical Wedding and Offbeat Bride (and Tribe). I’m having trouble including the links in my comment, but they’re on the sidebar. The Practical Wedding book is pretty amazing too.
      Also, I’m happy to get coffee and talk weddings anytime!

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