4/20 What Does Planning A Traditional Wedding Feel Like?

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…Because I’ve been planning our wedding for the last 10 months, yet I will never know the answer to that question.  I will never know what it feels like to hire a florist. Or a band. Or what it feels like to choose cake flavors, and have menu tastings. There will be no worrying over what cake topper to choose. Or what china pattern to eat off of. Or how many forks each guest will need. Or what getaway car we will rent.  I will never wear a Vera Wang gown. Or have a wedding planner asking for our color choices for the Chiavari Ballroom chairs. We will never audition bands. Or ceremony musicians. And I will never experience matching tux and gown shopping for the wedding party. We won’t have a plated, sit-down rehearsal dinner.  Or get to hire a professional videographer. Or register at Williams Sonoma. Or send a 4-piece invitation with reply cards. Or travel to a far away island for our honeymoon.  We are getting married in less than 4 months, but we will never know the feeling of experiencing any of these things.  And to many, including my former self, that is the saddest fact known to man bride and groom.

Yet somehow… we’re still going to have a real, live wedding with 150 guests… and a ceremony with a processional, and a reception with toasts and champagne… and a first dance… and (of course) a dance party… and a perhaps a bouquet toss.  It will all be there. But it will be different from what I originally thought our  unique wedding would be. And you know what? We are so okay with that. (I wasn’t okay with it at first, but I’ll get to that in a sec).  Because after thinking long and hard about what those traditions actually meant to US as a couple, we discovered they ultimately did not flow with our groove. And if I had succeeded in convincing myself that we *did* in fact need all that, I’d be looking myself in the mirror, asking, “WHO ARE YOU?”  Because each and every one of those white wedding traditions listed above… ultimately has little to no meaning to us and our marriage as a whole.  Even if I had an unlimited budget with all the the best resources in the world at my fingertips, these things would still mean nothing to me. And we would *still* plan and execute the same wedding we are throwing now. Well… let’s not go too nuts. If I had the dough to hire Bowie to play the reception, I’d do it in a hot minute. But that’s neither here nor there.

David Bowie

You're gorgeous. No, *you're* gorgeous!

But, as mentioned earlier, our current DIY/make-our-own-rules wedding mindset did NOT match up with our initial “We need to throw a White Wedding” mindset…  I started to plan a white wedding 4.5 years ago when Mike and I first got engaged, buuuut thankfully shiz hit the fan and we called it off.  Then we got ourselves all engaged again, and were faced with the task of desperately trying to plan a traditional wedding in Los Angeles for under $10,000 again. And when we discovered that wasn’t going to be possible, we got real sad. And boo-hoo’ed our way through the endless venue search. And found nothing.

Then something magical happened: I discovered the amazing world of wedding blogs, and got a major, MAJOR wake-up call.  I was an ignorant fool about weddings this whole time we’ve been engaged. Wait, no, I take that back. I have been ignorant about weddings my entire life. I hadn’t even considered DIY alternatives–or any kind of wedding alternative for that matter. Which is shocking to me because I tend to think outside the box with practically everything else in my life, so what was so different about a wedding?  I would have laughed in your face if you told me our wedding was going to be catered by a taco truck. Laughed in yo face! Scoffed even. Hands down, would not have believed it. I initially didn’t even want a buffet-style dinner, let alone a street taco dinner served off a truck. I think I was scared of what our guests would think of us… or that I would regret not having a sit-down formal dinner.  But the blog world changed my thinking completely. All of a sudden I was immersed in this amazing DIY-centric, rules-don’t-matter, be who you are and no one else, online wedding world… and the weight of feeling I needed to throw a traditional white wedding was lifted.  Completely.  And I’m telling you, I haven’t looked back since.  And our preconceived notions about what a wedding “needs to be” or “should be” have ceased to apply to our thinking.

Kogi Taco Truck

Wedding Catering? Why the hell not?

Then something else pushed us over the edge. We realized that weddings in general are NOT environmentally friendly. That didn’t even cross my ignorant bride mind. Traditional white weddings generate so much waste, it’s shocking.  And after I realized this fact, I finally started to understand the weight of what planning this kind of wedding really meant, and that we now had a responsibility to make our wedding as green as we could make it.  I am by no means an authority on Green Weddings. Nor would I ever judge anyone who doesn’t have a green wedding.  I’m just your average, everyday person who is thankfully now AWARE that a wedding that produces excess waste can be AVOIDED.  That’s all there is to it. I ain’t preachin’. I’m just saying I’m thankful for the wake-up call. And as a result, things like fresh flowers… and full-service catering… and limos… and the Vera Wang dress… and the honeymoon to Tahiti… don’t really interest us anymore. Sure, those things would have been lovely, but we made a decision to put on a wedding that was kind to the environment and kind to our finances as a married couple. And that’s what has kept us grounded through this whole process.

So in the end, we never got to experience planning a luxury wedding with all the traditional trimmings. But I have no feeling of sadness, or regret, or bitterness. Absolutely not.  I consider myself LUCKY to be able to throw the wedding we are having.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more special. Because it is ours. And was planned on our terms. By our own accord. And no one can ever take that feeling away from us… even if it doesn’t look like a luxurious wedding straight from the pages of Brides Magazine.

What have you learned since beginning the process of planning a wedding?  Is the wedding you are planning now, the same wedding you thought you’d be planning when you first got engaged? If not, what’s changed?

(Wondering who Britt is? Get caught up here and here!)

Britt