Not every wedding choice has to “mean something”

Guest post by ohrachael

CelesteSteve92311sm-62Almost as soon as I got engaged, my mother showed me a small collection of assorted milk glass vases she had at her house. “Do you want to use these for decoration at your wedding? Because I can start collecting more if you do. They're usually like two dollars each.” I took a picture and, when I got home, showed it to my fiancé. “Sure, why not,” he said. I texted my mom. “Milk glass sounds good let's do it.”

Milk glass doesn't have any personal significance to us. I have no idea if it's something a lot of people like or not. It was available and inexpensive and I thought it would look cute with some giant brightly colored paper flowers.

I see this attitude a lot, about weddings, where everything is “supposed to mean something.” Though, really, I'm sure we Offbeat Brides do this too, without necessarily meaning to. Example: “I see everyone else doing [wedding trend], but I'm doing it for [REASONS OF PERSONAL SIGNIFICANCE], so my use of [trendy item] is like SOOO much more valid than that wedding on [traditional wedding blog].”

Like I said, probably reading too much between lines. And… okay, yeah, exaggerating a bit. But here on Offbeat Bride, where everyone is doing their own thing, doing what they love, and not giving a flying fuck about trends, it can feel like, “But what if I just… like something?” And, yes, that something can be trendy. And that's okay.

The other day I was at a restaurant where water was placed in frosted clear wine bottles all over the table. I liked it. I thought, “I should start saving clear wine bottles! This is cute!” Not meaningful. Just cute.

Before we got engaged, I had this grand notion that every little choice that we made about our wedding was going to be somehow representative of us. Now I can't imagine doing that without going crazy from the stress.

“Wait, but Mike, these lavender vases are about two shades off from the exact color that represents my love for you! Are they two shades off in the other direction from your love for me? Because then they'll be PERFECT.”

I understand now that what's going to best represent us as a couple will be to not actually care all that much about our centerpieces, the silverware, or chair covers. What will better represent us will be to say, “Hey, does this work for you?” “Sure, why not?” “Okay great done.” And we can save our energy for the things that we do care about, like how many dinosaurs I can fit into our décor and having amazing food and a venue where we feel comfortable.

If some of the easy “Sure, why not?” decisions along the way happen to take us in a trendy direction, I'm okay with that.

Comments on Not every wedding choice has to “mean something”

  1. I am a wedding planner and I tell brides this all the time. I learned the hard way – I spent 12 hours looking for a cake cutter to match my cake stand which was my grandma’s. When I finally found my “life altering cake cutter” I showed my mom and her response was a simple “That’s nice dear”. Then I pointed out how the leaves on the handle matched the leaves on the plate the response was “Oh thats good”. I think I was expecting fireworks and confetti. Thats 12 hours of my life I will never get back!

    • hahaha I can relate! We had a Game of Thrones cake, so I spent an embarassing amount of time trying to find a cake cutter that looked like a sword. I only found one website that offered them and it’s based in the UK and I live in Canada, so with shipping costs and such it would have been, like, well over $60 to get it. I found a couple others that were kind of sword-ish but they were more samurai in style than medieval/fantasy, so I didn’t think it would fit the theme.

      And finally I was like, holy fuck, who cares, and then we just used the damn cake cutter the venue provides for free. Didn’t “match” the cake but it so, so did not matter. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a reality check.

  2. THANK YOU. We have clear glass bud vases, because they go 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby every other week, and we needed 30. The only thing it means is that I’m cheap, and proud of it!

    • We had copper-tone (like tin with a copper coloring) planters full of supermarket flowers as centerpieces because they were $2 each at Michael’s, and Mom’s garden didn’t bloom so we had to go to Stop & Shop for cheesy bouquets to take apart.

      Aaaaand I was fine with it. Whatevs!

  3. It’s funny. I think this belief that all things have to Mean Something—and the related fear that OMG, my wedding is not offbeat enough!!—is an unintended and unfortunate side effect of resisting the Wedding Industrial Complex. Like we get this idea in our heads that because we don’t like the WIC, we have to do a 180 and be totally different. And then some brides have the same issues they’d have if they were having a WIC-y wedding, trying to attain this “perfect” thing that doesn’t actually exist.

    I definitely went through this. I actually found myself wondering if maybe we shouldn’t get married because we couldn’t build this production where everything had sentimental value. Maybe that meant we didn’t know each other well enough to get married. And I realized that’s crazy.

    So my new wedding motto is “Do You.” Have the wedding that you want. Whether it’s totally by the book, totally different, super meaningful, just random, something you threw together in two weeks (what my parents did!) or whatever. Just Do You.

  4. “But what if I just… like something?” And, yes, that something can be trendy. And that’s okay.

    OMG, thank you. I am using Ball jars for my centerpieces…A) because I’ve always liked them and B) I already own a abajillion of them that I dug out my grandparent’s barn years ago. So duh… instant centerpiece vases… crossed off the list. Boom, done. Why would I do anything else?
    BUT, I did momentarily wonder if this choice would be interpreted as “trendy” and I’d have to justify my use of them by being all “I’ve liked them since BEFORE they were cool… they were my late grandfather’s… its like having him AT the wedding…SO MEANINGFUL!!…see!?? SEE!?!?!”
    Yeah, no. Truth is, I like them and they’re easy and free. That’s all… and that’s ok.

  5. This!!! I am reminded of a conversation Writer Boy and I had with the DJ before our wedding.

    DJ; “okay, you need to pick an entrance song for the reception.”
    me; “I don’t care, you can just pick whatever sounds good.”
    DJ; “Oh, I can’t do that! This is a highly personal choice for you and Writer Boy!”
    me; looks at Writer Boy, wanting to cry because we just spent an hour deciding on ceremony music and I just don’t care what we walk into the hall too.
    Writer Boy to the rescue; “DJ, what are the 5 you play the most?”
    DJ; starts listing songs….gets to Darth Vaders Imperial March…
    Writer Boy; “okay, Imperial March it is.” (he loves Star War anyhow)

    I just DIDN’T CARE! Writer Boy had already made decisions on what mattered to us, and here this guy was telling me I had to make a very personal decision on something I honestly did not care about. If I had made everything “mean something” my mind would have been 110% occupied with the wedding, and I would have had nothing left to give to Writer Boy, my family or friends (some of whom were going through some crazy shit, let me tell you!). I don’t think that would have been healthy.

    Great article!

    • Agreed. We didn’t plan for a last dance, so when the DJ was ready to wrap up he came out to us and asked us what we wanted. We couldn’t think of anything, so my husband said something like “Whatever, like a nice oldie.” Still have no idea what song it was. It was fine.

  6. I was just telling someone last week that I’d make myself crazy if I tried to give significance to all the minutae of this event. I like what I like. That’s it.

  7. THIS! Oh God, this so hard. I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the past week or so. I think that because we eloped and we’re having “only” a reception/it is my husband’s second marriage, I’m sort of extra-sensitive and want everything to be full of MEAAAANING. My eye-opener happened over the weekend when my mom sent me a picture of some vases she found at this design outlet she always stops at on road trips. They were perfectly good vases and since she couldn’t get in touch with me while at the store, she went ahead and bought them. I had this moment o’panic where I thought, “But..but I didn’t spend hours lovingly scouring thrift stores/the internet/ Grandma’s house for these and now they aren’t special!” Wtf? They are vases. Most people won’t even notice they’re there and most certainly nobody is going to ask, “What emotional significance do those vases have?” I feel sort of terrible when I think about all the time and worry and…emotional currency I have put into this one day when it’s probably not going to mean a thing to anyone but me. I told myself in the beginning that the only things I cared about were having my dress, my guy and our daughter there and I think I sometimes need to be reminded that those are still the important parts.

    • Yep…I had that moment yesterday…I needed to go the post office & figure out what $.66 stamps I wanted for the invitations. I didn’t like the 2 wedding ones & really did like the butterfly ones – and started to question what someone might think if they weren’t wedding ones – they don’t match the medieval theme for goodness sake…and the thought occurred to me – NO ONE will even notice the stamp. Why spend my hard earned money for specialty stamps that I can’t afford – THEY’RE JUST STAMPS. And then I bought the butterfly ones – the end. 🙂 And actually, I have to sometimes remind my FH that not all the music needs to be minstrel or celtic or medieval – we can just “like” it. He was really having issues with my walking down the aisle to Red Hot Chili Peppers. HA!

      • My mom did that! She wanted us to get the custom postage stamps with our faces on them. Sure, they’d be cute, but I think they’re an unnecessary expense as most people just tear the envelope open and don’t pay attention. It has been really strange the things that she has freaked out over being a certain way…never the same things I do.

  8. People took the vases home from my wedding centerpieces (without asking me, and I wasn’t necessarily OK with it). But I am SUPER glad that they weren’t family heirlooms or super meaningful to me.

    I just wanted the option of reselling them…. to recover some of the funds.

    • THIS! My Dad has been a collector of Mason Jars & Bell Jars and many other vintage glass pieces for YEARS… I’m glad, now, that he DOESN’T want me to borrow them for the wedding, he might not get them back if people take off with them!

  9. I’ve run into this allllll over the place! My dress has gold embroidery instead of silver – why, you ask? I LIKE IT! I’m wearing purple shoes. Why? It’s my favorite color! We’re DiY’in the apple topiary centerpieces…because that’s what we want.
    What’s meaningful to me is simply that I get to marry my best friend and our wedding reflects what we like. I don’t care if I’m following a “trend”!

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