All weddings are awesome — not just mine

May 16 | Guest post by Sabrina
Thanks to Tom Couture for submitting this photo.
Thanks to Tom Couture for submitting this photo.

I am confused.

I am confused by the attitude that surrounds weddings and costs and ideas and things. Maybe that's what makes me offbeat — I have this habit of loving everyone and being insanely optimisic even when it's probably not warranted. I give second chances. I love and trust until given reason not to. Every new person I meet, and can carry at least a five minute conversation, I say is my new best friend. I write a daily blog about something happy that happened to me that day.

My problem lies in all the intense bitchiness that lives in the wedding world. "My wedding is better than yours because of such-and-such" and all of the things that go into such a feeling.

I was reading a blog where a woman commented that she had a courtroom wedding and blames opulent weddings for the high divorce rate.

Then there are the haters on both sides of the world. My wedding (and marriage) are better than yours because I chose to have a BBQ instead of a five course sit down meal. [At Offbeat Bride, we call this "one-lowsmanship" -Eds] My wedding (and marriage) are better than yours because I paid for three party rooms and the ghost of Louis Armstrong to sing our first song.

Can we all just chill the fuck out and be nice to each other for like… five and a half seconds?

If I was rich, I can't say that I wouldn't spend $50,000 on a wedding. I'd like to say I wouldn't, but ideas change when disposable income does. My beautiful made of honor will be in our less-than-$10,000 celebration and was recently the maid of honor at a $50,000 celebration. They did the whole spiel: Catholic mass ceremony in a church with friends, family, family friends, parent's business friends, people they've never known, country club, five course sit-down meal, uplighting, etc., etc. And you know what?

That wedding? … Absolutely beautiful.

The couple has been together for nearly ten years, and they earned every second of that celebration. Just because they did things differently than me doesn't make them any better or worse. It's just different.

We're all awesome, beautiful, wonderful brides planning celebrations. We're not all that different — we're just throwing different parties.

The wedding industrial complex that tells us we need to lose weight, invite people we hate, and buybuybuybuybuy is slightly evil, yes. But it's not all evil, and the women who don't read Offbeat Bride are brides too. We all are. We're all awesome, beautiful, wonderful brides planning celebrations. There are bad apples in every bunch but mostly, we're not all that different — we're just throwing different parties.

So I guess my issue is that everyone on every spectrum needs to realize that we can all get along. I promise. We really can. I love your wedding. Whoever you are. I love it. Whether it had all the bells and whistles or was private vows at the top of a mountain. Whether it had a DJ or an iPod. Whether it cost $200 or $200,000. It's one of most beautiful days in the history of ever. We don't need to be subtracting from other people's celebrations to help make ourselves feel better. We can appreciate everything even if it's nothing we would ever do in a million years.

The girl with the big poofy dress, the fancy dinner, the expensive wine, the 14 bridesmaids? That's not me. But you know what? Her wedding is going to kick just as much ass as mine will because that's her celebration. If you can stand in that ceremony and say that the person across from you is the person that you're supposed to be across from on your wedding day — then nothing else matters.

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  1. Word! I have this exact thought alla the time. All weddings are beautiful in the way that all babies are beautiful, because they are born of love. What's not beautiful about that?

    11 agree
  2. Love it! My fiance's cousin is getting married 2 weeks before us and wanted to know if it was OK because she didn't want to steal my "thunder" and wasn't having a big wedding anyway. My response: More weddings = more fun and more happiness! We'll each do what works for us and there will be joy, love, and YAY!

    7 agree
    • My fiance and I are calling this year the Year of Weddings, because ours is in June, there's another one in September that we're both in, another one two weeks before that that he's in, and a fourth one sometime late-August that we'll be invited to. And two other couples we're close with are recently engaged and planning weddings for 2014.

      Some people think this sounds stressful, and I guess it is, but also? What the hell could be more awesome than a fucking Year of Weddings? Bring it on, love! We're ready!

      3 agree
  3. My only thoughts to counter this is what I've learned from Offbeat Bride–that if YOU are in love with your wedding–if it represents you as a person and you and your beloved as a couple–if you made decisions based on what reflects you and not what a magazine told you you HAD to have in order to be a bride or for your day to be a wedding, then your wedding is awesome. To me, anyway. If you love it and stand behind it, then screw everyone else's feelings about how much you spent (too much! too little!), whether or not it was too WIC or not WIC enough, etc.

    But if you planned a wedding that wasn't you (by your own fault or by pressure from someone else), well then–that's a pity, especially if you get done with it and are left feeling like, "this wedding just wasn't ME (or US)."

    6 agree
    • Agreed. If you can afford to spend a lot on your wedding, and want to, then why not? It just bothers me to think of all the couples that feel pressured to do things they may not want to or cannot truly afford.

      6 agree
  4. What a wonderfully positive post! Thanks for the ray of sunshine today, Sabrina.

    2 agree
  5. Sing it Sister! Great post

    I get all leaky over every blog post, they ARE all so beautiful & unique-snowflake in their own way. Of all the things I hope I can "copy" for my own wedding, it's the looks of joy & complete peacefulness on each couple's face. They are in the exact right time & place, & it comes right thru the screen.

    1 agrees
  6. So glad you posted this! I was feeling so down on myself today because a potential (well they don't have potential anymore) caterer balked at my reception food budget. For a few minutes I was thinking, "I suck because I'm poor." This article reminded me that my wedding isn't about bacon wrapped shrimp and crab stuffed mushrooms. It's about love, dammit. And if my guests are going to be munching on cake and baby carrots for the reception, it will be fine. (Also, there will be beer.) Great post.

    5 agree
  7. "…[not]any better or worse. It's just different."

    If more people applied this to so many things in life, we'd all be so much happier people. Well done πŸ™‚

  8. Love it. My wedding (my fanfuckingtastic, snort) is in 17 days. I am so over planning, over vendors, over this, over that, over mine is better, do this it's better. Who cares right?

  9. Awesome! All of our relationships are unique and reflect the reality of our lives. None are better or worse than any other. Our wedding should be seen as the same, a reflection of our love and a celebration of our commitment and whatever that means to us.

  10. This post, and OBB in general, has made me a better person I think. I was snarky in the past because I felt like that's what everyone was like so therefore I should be also. Now that I know that all weddings are not created equal and that we can all just try to be happy for one another, I am so much more supportive of everyone else's life (and wedding) choices, whatever they may be.
    Thank you Sabrina!!!

    2 agree
  11. As someone who is having both a catholic ceremony and uplighting thank you. I think sometimes in trying to embrace the offbeat we sometimes just end up insulting the traditional instead. I can't even name the number of times I've read a post from a tribe member who went to a more mainstream wedding and described it as being bland or unimaginative. Thank you for addressing this.

    1 agrees
    • This is a perennial issue I've seen with new Offbeat Bride readers for many, many years. Folks get engaged, get freaked out and reactionary ("TRADITIONAL SUCKS!"), find Offbeat Bride, and then slowly realize oh wait, we're all just doing our best to be authentic here, and eventually calm the fuck down. It's a process of acculturation that new Offbeat Bride readers are constantly going through.

      4 agree
  12. It's the whole mentality of everything needing to be a competition and lots of people feeling entitled to certain things. It's awful that it falls into the weddings world too — I read wedding blogs not because I am anywhere near close to getting married but because I love love LOVE seeing how creative and wonderful people are about their special day!

  13. YES. One-lowmanship. I just dealt with a co-worker who overheard me talking about wedding drama with one of my bridesmaids, and proceeded to say that my wedding would be the least important day of my life. (I think she was trying to compare it to childbirth or something). She is all about the one-lowmanship, since she had a random JP wedding in workout clothes for her second marriage. Hey, I get it, that's great for you, but if I want to spend my hard-earned money on my own kick-ass party, BACK THE FUCK OFF AND STOP JUDGING ME.

    1 agrees
  14. What a great message. I pinned this post and got 77 repins. (which I hope is OK with OBB) I am so pleased that the message will be spread.. or they just like the cover picture πŸ™‚ which is pretty cool.

  15. I think I love weddings the most…when they TRULY reflect the couple. No matter what. πŸ™‚ I've seen way too many folks just doing something to *please* someone else…kudos to all those that celebrate. Big and small. I love it all.

  16. Lovely! I read a post on another blog recently, where the poster conflated 'traditional' with 'meaningless' and it was really kind of sad.

    As you said – if you're there with a person you want to marry, then the wedding will be beautiful.

  17. Thank you. Sometimes we all just need a reality check! I feel so inspired now. I too am having a small wedding and was very nervous and kept finding myself comparing myself to other brides. I am super excited to plan MY special day!

  18. Love this post and the pictures! I am curious to read other posts on here and to see what you did for your wedding but couldn't find your page, kept getting link errors! Where do I look?
    Thanks, Arianne

  19. Thanks for all the support everyone! I wrote this at the beginning of planning and as we get closer to our wedding (five months, squee!) I'm watching it become more laid back and much more simple than I imagined. It's no longer this SUPER eccentric affair, partially because of money but mostly because as we figure out what is important to us, a lot of the extra pieces have sort of fallen away.

  20. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS POST!! So true!!

    It also helps keeps things in perspective for me because I have found myself hiding my wedding at work because I work with a bunch of women who are very WIC (wedding industrial complex) minded people and my wedding is so very far from WIC. Makes me regret our next company meeting where they always show the photos of the new babies and wedding photos in their slide shows. I have contemplated telling them I don't want to share photos for fear of being judged harshly. I may still not allow them to show wedding photos of mine but at least I know my wedding will be truly us πŸ™‚

  21. I really loved this piece! I can't help but pitch in and say that for the last couple months of my wedding planning, I couldn't help but think I was planning against myself. "I like those flowers….but are they the right flowers?… After I order them will I want something else????? Will it be too late to change?" I was thinking it was indecision..but when I really sit and think about it, its my own internal, insecure voice tapping me on the shoulder and saying…are you sure what you are picking is good enough for everyone else? I HADN'T THOUGHT OF IT THAT WAY UNTIL JUST NOW!!! (Now to just learn to let go! – SIGH!)

    • Oh man, I've had the same thing… where I weirdly convince myself that maybe I actually WANT [insert random thing I don't really want but that other people might] really badly. Then I have to talk myself down and remember that I actually DON'T want to do that. Ha.

      Oddly enough, I've had freakouts that my choices are "too traditional" AND "too offbeat" at different times, depending on the part of the wedding I'm working on. Go figure. πŸ˜‰

  22. Thank you for this! I recently commented to someone about how I wanted to serve pizza at my wedding and I was given the most horrified/disgusted/pitied look in return. Everyone's wants are different, everyone's idea of a "perfect wedding" is different, and I fucking LOVE pizza so why wouldn't I have it at my wedding?!

    2 agree
    • I would MUCH rather have pizza than some of the overly-salted frozen-and-then-microwaved food I have had at some weddings (which was fine, because that's what the couple could afford)! Your wedding sounds awesome!

      1 agrees
    • I told my mother we wanted (awesome gourmet) pizza (from down the street) and (my favorite, amazing, local) beer at our reception. She didn't think it was funny AT ALL. After all, what would people think?!? . . . Well, I hope they think we're people who like pizza and beer and supporting local businesses, because they seem to think we're okay on the days that aren't our wedding, too!

  23. THIS!!!!

    I often catch myself thinking snarky thoughts about people who are going super traditional (because it's just not my style), and I'm consciously trying to put a damper on it. I'm convinced weddings inject some sort of crazy toxin into people's brains that instantly makes everyone waaaaaaaay more judgey than they would normally be. I would never think snarky, judgey thoughts if a friend bought "traditional" furniture or loved his/her "traditional" job… what is it about weddings that triggers that reaction??? It's a strange thing.

    The only thing that legitimately bums me out is if a couple plans a wedding that isn't THEM, just to make other people happy. As long as the wedding (whether simple, opulent, traditional, or offbeat) is a meaningful reflection of them and their love, then it's a total win.

    2 agree
  24. I love this post's central theme to death, but it always irks me when people refer to the wedding as the bride's celebration. Some guys like to plan weddings, too, and even if they don't, it's a celebration of their lives and commitments just as much as those of the bride. Might be a nit pick, but just had to say something.

    5 agree
  25. Love it! Also, now I really want a hologram of Louis Armstrong to sing at my wedding.

    1 agrees
  26. A-freakin-men! I have to deal with this from a few people, so I think I'll have to share this on my wall πŸ™‚

  27. I am so glad someone has decided to write about this!!! I always think that as long as the couples personality shines through, it doesnt matter whether they have an offbeat or 'ott' wedding. I have been to some kick ass ordinary weddings cause it was totally the couples 'thing', and some really boring 'ofbeat' weddings where it was obvious that people had fallen trap to the 'my wedding must be weirder than theirs' bug.

  28. Thank you so much for this. I was just flipping through a bridal magazine and started feeling sorry for myself over the money I don't have for this and that and that. Good to rethink things again and get my focus back to committing my life to the person I love rather than expensive floral centerpieces and venues with chandeliers.

  29. Thank you so much for posting this, I've just been catching up on items in my Reader and it was exactly what I needed to see. I fucking love your wedding too πŸ˜‰

  30. A great post!

    I hate the "everything's gotta be a competition" mentality, too, but it's worth noting that many brides & grooms fall into this because they hear guests comparing weddings. My partner and I wouldn't change a thing about the wedding we had and were honored to hear our guests had a great time, too. Then a year later, one of them mentioned someone's upcoming wedding and said, "We'll see if it's as cool as yours was or if they even make it a bit better with all their geekiness." All I could think was, "Man, WHY pit our weddings against each other? That's kind of an invitation for me to feel competitive and I don't want to!"

    1 agrees
  31. Sooo true. I have talked to other brides and gotten a lot of flak about having a theme (I want to be a medieval princess, dammit!) and a honeymoon registry. When did everybody forget that this day is about me and my fiance, and what we want?

    1 agrees
  32. here, here. All of our weddings are awesome because it's what we wanted or were able to do at the time.

  33. I'm all for being happy for other brides but I think this post is untruth. It is a-okay to have opinions about other people's weddings, other people's lives, choices, art, etc. My husband works in the wedding industry so I've had a behind-the-scenes look for over 15 years and I can assure you there is much misery and drama associated with "the big day" for many brides out there. The problems occur mainly when the otherwise happy couple try to accomodate too many other people when planning their day. The rule to follow is 'to thine ownself be true' (it's likely to be the first real test of a marriage to see if the couple can agree on the details!) and to hell with the nay sayers. But remember there will always be nay sayers, because people have opinions. Nay.

    1 agrees
  34. FYI; I love your name! lol
    Great post…. I wish more women would just do what makes them happy. Don't stress about not having what everyone else has. ENjoy being YOU

  35. I've been reading this site for a while (before I got engaged because it is shiny, after to get ideas) and I've never been motivated to comment before now. I have the exact same attitude/take on life as you do, and I would proudly extend my hand to you as "my new best friend". You made my month.

  36. I purposely avoid Pinterest because I get so overwhelmed with the ideas you can use for a wedding(that and if I find something cool, there's no link to get it and I go detective-mode for five hours) We are completely bombarded with ideas left and right and with the blogger-generation, it's like your wedding HAS to appeal to the internet for you to feel wedding-approved. Use whatever adjective you want, but it adds up to the same; "My wedding isn't*blank* enough." We are so hard on ourselves. Isn't it sad? Sometimes I find people lash out simply out of insecurity. They're worried about their own wedding, so they attack someone else's wedding to feel validated that their wedding is going to be SUPER AMAZING.

    6 agree
    • Clicking "THIS" was not enough for my level of agreement with everything you've said here. Wanna write an article expounding on the ideas? Because a LOT of people need to hear this.

  37. Thanks for writing this- I've been feeling guilty because our wedding is very, very expensive because we're doing it Russian-Jewish immigrant style. Looking at all the awesome DIY weddings and seeing so many articles everywhere on how to cut corners makes me feel like I'm doing it wrong. This was really nice to read; it was like validation of my wedding.

  38. This totally made my evening…thank goodness that my friend at work who is getting married 6 days after me is so totally cool that we just share thoughts, sites and ideas, not judgement. Our weddings are very different as they should be. This is the first post that has made me comment since I agree with every syllable. I have found myself having to walk away from the computer to take my stress level down (Pinterest, google search and google images…overwhelming isn't even the word for it!) Thank you for addressing how the WIC can all make us crazy and how easy it is to fall in the bridal bitchyness trap.

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