"We want X, Y, and Z at our wedding. Is that bad?"

Updated Jan 12 2016
Guest post by Laura Guerrie
sword and cake
Photo by Wild About You Photography

Often times when couples first get engaged, the planning bug sneaks up quickly and takes them over like a surreptitious zombie attack. One minute you're thinking you're going to enjoy a leisurely engagement period and, the next thing you know, after taking "just a little peek" at some funky wedding fashions — chomp! — you've been bitten and are wondering how you managed to create forty-two separate Pinterest boards as you head off to work swirly-eyed on two hours of sleep.

With so much input from so many places, it's pretty easy these days to get your panties in a bunch over all kinds of planning issues — so much so that it can spoil what should be a fun process just moments after you begin. This is why I'm here with a bit of sane, grounding, planning advice. My goal is to inoculate you a little bit, get those undies in a more comfortable place, and keep you moving forward so you can enjoy the ride.

Let's begin with a general question I hear repeatedly:

"…Is that bad??"

This question customarily references a planning choice the couple is considering for either creative or financial reasons, and comes in a variety of forms:

  • "The venue is open to the public during our wedding. Is that bad?"
  • "Is it bad that we really want cupcakes?"
  • "Our wedding is pretty traditional, except for the fact that we'd really like to have a TARDIS at the reception. Is that bad?"

My initial response is almost always the same:

No, it's not bad. I pretty much say that regardless because I really don't care for branding anything "bad" or "good" when it comes to weddings. I much prefer you do what feels right for you.

That being said, something did prompt you to ask the question in the first place and it's important to figure out just what might be tickling your brain. Did you see this on some kind of "no-longer-hot" list, or are you concerned your guests will be uncomfortable? Is it a budget issue, or more that you feel you might really piss off Aunt Zelda? Once you locate the core concern, you can make a more focused, thoughtful decision on how to answer the question.

If you asked my opinion, I would happily tell you that weddings with public access make me a touch nervous, cupcakes have never made anyone sad, and spotting a random science fiction prop at a traditional wedding would make me want to high-five someone. You're welcome to factor those thoughts into the equation, but your answers might be different, and yours are the ones that count.

To find your personal truth, put yourself in the role of the guest and evaluate each item from that perspective. More often than not, you'll find the answer is still: No, it's not bad at all.

Remember, you truly cannot please all the people all the time so trying will only lead to disappointment and frustration. You and your intended are the ultimate decision makers. If you create an environment that makes you both smile, that joy will be infectious and both you and the vast majority of your guests will have a blast.

Trust me, I'm a wedding planner.

  1. This is an awesome post!!!! Everyone's wedding should include what is important to the couple. There's no obligation to incorporate certain things just b/c they're "traditional".

    I am getting married in 18 days (holy crap!), and we have decided to forgo the bouquet and garter toss. Instead, we are going to have a wedding trivia game, and give the extra bouquet and garter as prizes to the guy & girl who score the highest. 🙂

    • That's awesome!

      We recently worked out what traditions we wanted to keep/toss and decided to take certain ones we didn't want to do ourselves and turn them into games. we're going to have a "garter" ring toss game and bouquet corn hole game set up so that folks who think you can't have a wedding without the bouquet/garter toss can still get it and we don't have to actually do traditions we think are silly!

  2. Great post! Narrowing down the "why" is a powerful tool, and after my wedding realized that we were over thinking quite a bit. Weddings are fun, so it's safe to assume that despite your worries and uncertainties, your wedding will be fun.

  3. Another great post from Laura! We hired RBW to assist with our Disneyland wedding after reading about them on OBB. We asked Laura – "Is it bad we want Mickey and Minnie and Donald to show up at our reception?" Some people would have said "yes." But Laura said "NO – IT'S AWESOME!" Thanks again for everything, Laura and RBW!!!

    • You are so welcome and it was awesome! Donald stole the show and your guests were falling all over themselves to get in pics with them! 🙂

  4. I just love this post – it shows me that we're doing something right, lol!
    We decided from the start that we're not going to have a wedding that will make our family happy, but what makes us happy – in which case I'm very happy that I discovered Offbeatbride! 😀

  5. Wish we had a wedding planner like you in South Wales! All the wedding planners we've met with want to fit us into a cookie cutter type wedding that I have no interest in having at all. So my OH and I are just doing it ourselves. That way, Nothing is bad!!!

  6. I love this advice!! I am a brand new wedding planner and feel that it should be all about what the Bride/Groom wants since it's their day. I'm working with my first client and since she's trying very hard to please her family, I keep having to tell her that it's what she wants first. Since I've been working with her, I'm excited to see how she's starting to actually do things she wants and because of it, she keeps getting more and more excited. I think I'll print out this article and put it in my "Don't forget why you do this job" file for the future. Thank you so much for being an inspiration!!

  7. Oh, I just love this! Exactly what I needed. We want a fun, geeky wedding with all our favorite people… and some not-so-favorite people… lol And that TARDIS is showing up at my wedding. Mmmhmm!

  8. There's a *huge* problem with having a TARDIS at your wedding, which is you might end up with wedding crashers from other parts of the universe. Don't say I didn't warn you.

  9. This is how I have been feeling about having a "dry" reception..and I'm not digging the term dry, but most people seem to know what it means at least.

    My fiance and I don't drink and are frankly put off by it, so it seemed natural to not serve alcohol at our wedding. But since then I've realized that it seems to be really important to our family and family friends, so I'm worried that they will all ditch the reception and walk downstairs to the bar and stay there (we've also asked that they not be allowed to bring alcohol into the room). My aunt has already informed me that several of my family members are going to bring flasks with them, and acted like I was doing something wrong by not enabling my guests to indulge in what I consider to be a toxic activity (but she thinks I'm overreacting, because "they don't want to get drunk, they just want to relax a little and have a good time"). I have spent enough time partying with these people to know exactly what the possibilities are once the spirits start flowing..

    I have almost cried about it, have almost cancelled the whole thing, have almost eloped before the wedding and then just let it be a party, and then realized that if people can't respect what I want, they don't really care about me, and this will be a good opportunity for me to see who I will go out of my way for in the future.

    Needless to say, I am really anxious about whether it is bad to not serve alcohol at our reception, or at least allow people to drink.

    • We aren't serving alcohol at our reception either. FH and I aren't opposed to drinking, but we chose not to have alcohol for two main reasons. Money is one reason, but the biggest reason is that my dad is a recovering alcoholic. FH already said that certain members of his family are likely to sneak in alcohol (which is what happened at his brother's wedding). As for my family, some of them might sneak in alcohol, others just might not come.

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