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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