Offbeat Bride caused me to lower my expectations, and I’m okay with that

Guest post by Sabrina
Photo by La Mariposa
Photo by La Mariposa

Have you ever tried to plan a wedding before? This shit's expensive! I had no idea the costs of things until I started finding out empty buildings with nothing included are $3500 for four hours and a sit-down meal is $75 per person. Suddenly, being a couple of social butterflies seems like a huge financial burden.

We started planning the wedding and our less than $5K affair was suddenly a $10K bash and rising — with no idea how we'd pay for it. So we scaled back down. We revisited what we were doing. We switched our venue to a more affordable one that allowed us to provide our own food and drink. We cut our costs back down to a reasonable, and affordable, number.

If you had talked to me a couple of years ago and said things like “backyard wedding” or “potluck dinner,” I would have smiled and said that was “lovely… for someone else.” Now though? Things are different. I'm a different person in a different relationship with different circumstances.

And I'm a part of a different community. I have read so many incredible wedding stories on Offbeat Bride and I have been moved by Every. Single. One. I have seen hundreds of beautiful pictures from weddings along every possible end of the budget, quirkiness, and DIY spectrums. The pictures are gorgeous but it's the words that really get me. I read about the weddings and feel like I'm connecting with strangers because I am moved by the emotions they are able to portray in such a short summary of a momentous day.

So when I told my partner that we could do a pot luck dinner and that it wouldn't “ruin” the day, I meant it. Or when my mom offered to find a way to throw it at her house if need be, it didn't sound like a horrible idea. Not that we had some incredibly lavish affair planned anyway but cutting back after already cutting back is obviously going to change the festivities.

But you know what wouldn't change? The guy standing across from me. Our vows wouldn't change. Our feelings wouldn't change. The way that he looks at me as I walk toward him ready to become his wife wouldn't change. The most important part of this wedding to me is that he is there.

It's a sentiment that is constantly echoed around Offbeat Bride, that the most important part of whatever fantastically eccentric and unique extravaganza you plan is the love shared between the two people the day is centered around. It's an idea that I thought I identified with before but didn't fully commit to until just recently. Until it really mattered.

As we get closer and closer to our October nuptials, I find that the vision of the wedding continues to evolve but the players have never changed. It's not about the food or the bouquets. It's not about the centerpieces or the venue. Those are special additions to a day that is about us. To be cliché about it, it's the first day of the rest of our lives together — as husband and wife.

Practicing what you preach can be difficult at times, but now, pressed with that exact task, I have found myself with lowered expectations about what the wedding looks like and not in bad way. Do I have ideas about things like the atmosphere and the lovely people we would like to join us? Absolutely, but they aren't the top priority.

What matters most is that on that day, he shows up to greet me at the end of the aisle and he means every word that he says. Ultimately, what matters most to me is that he is there. It's that simple. And I really, truly, mean that. And I am grateful that I do.

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Comments on Offbeat Bride caused me to lower my expectations, and I’m okay with that

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s wonderful to to hear about couples really holding onto the elements of a wedding that really matter and not the stuff that will be gone even before the day is over.

  2. There is such a lot of pressure to do the traditional thing and all the trimmings… It’s so not important. There is no rule book to say you have to have the big venue, the big dress, etc… It certainly does not guarantee a long and happy life. Keep love simple. The essence of who you are together is what is important and that can’t be bought!

  3. I had tears in my eyes while reading this. You are exactly right! The venue, the food, the ideas for your wedding might change but what won’t are the people involved. My partner and I are making many changes to our original vision to suit our budget, and this was the perfect reminder that no matter what changes, we are still us getting married in the end. Thank you for this!

  4. Loved this! I have the same feelings, although, for different reasons. I am at a place in life where I COULD do the bigger wedding, but I dont want to any more. There are more important things I would like to do with that cash. Most of it would really be just hosting a giant party for my friends and family. NOT that there is anything wrong with that, but fiance and I already live together, have our own home, and really want to spend the money on traveling…I like feeling that its OKAY to NOT have a big fancy affair…

  5. Not sure it’s lowering expectations, just realising that your wedding isn’t going to be the white pouffy big huge thing and that whatever you want is good too.

    • I chose to use the phrase “lowering expectations” because it has such a negative connotation but I wanted to use it as a positive statement. I never had a lavish plan for the wedding but started to get caught up for a bit in the grandiose vision of it all. I wanted everything and I wanted everything perfect. To me, lowering my expectations means coming down to having a wedding in the real world and not expecting some sort of fanciful, perfect to the tee sort of day. Rather, expecting only what it most important – that my fiance will be there and be happy to do so – and hoping the rest goes as best it can.

      • That’s called being realistic. You don’t have to “lower” your expectations…just change them to fit reality.

  6. **heart**

    To this day I wish we had a reasonable way to have a potluck or hold it in someone’s house (although I did love our venue and food, it was expensive).

    We couldn’t do a potluck because most guests were coming from a distance, despite it being a “hometown” wedding. Only my parents and grandparents live near where we held it – everyone else had to fly or take the train in and find hotels. You can’t do potluck when people have to travel and have no access to kitchens.

    We couldn’t do an at-home wedding because neither I nor my husband’s parents had homes that could accommodate so many guests (and we had no way to cut the list – and guests we didn’t want to cut were more important to us than doing it at home anyway). Both have either small (his) or rugged and unsuitable (mine) backyards and just one bathroom, and his parents’ home was too far away for my grandmother to attend. Neither has enough space inside for more than 25 guests, max. That wouldn’t even cover my “close” relatives!

    So, with sadness, I said “goodbye” to the at-home potluck and ponied up the cash.

    • Me. Too.


      We’re getting a lot for our money and some of the money is getting spent because other people want specific things and it’s not like what we’re spending would make any kind of dent in a down payment where we live. And no one has a workable backyard. But still.

      • Same here. We hired a hall with catering facilities, perfect for potluck, but nobody was willing to help us with it – including my stepfather who is a caterer – so we gave up and forked out the cash. And because the cheaper catering options don’t appeal to us at all – I freaking hate spit roasts – the food is going to cost $5000 by itself. Sigh.

  7. this is the article I’ve been trying to write–we are the same person having the same wedding. thank you so much for articulating what I’ve been trying to!

  8. It’s funny, OBB raised my expectations somewhat. Not in terms of expense but in terms of possibilities. On the other hand, I’ve been watching the wedding show My Fair Wedding but it hasn’t raised my expectations at all. I enjoy seeing what David does but to me it’s like going to a play, I enjoy the sets but have no desire to put them in my own home.

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