As a feminist and a tomboy, planning a wedding was not high on my priority list. I had always claimed that I would never get married. But when I met my future husband, my refrain changed to, “If we do get married, let's elope.”
After we became engaged, it started to feel like we might regret not having a wedding. I didn't want our loved ones to miss out on creating this important memory with us. So with the help of my parents and fiancé, I began planning. I am pretty stubborn when it comes to upholding my ideals. As a result, wedding planning felt mostly like an uphill battle against everything the wedding industrial complex holds dear.
If you're like me, then you may be feeling anxious and insecure about making weird or risky wedding decisions. To help you gain perspective, here are the top six wedding risks that I worried about. Spoiler alert: ALL of these decisions turned out to be rewarding, and contributed to the success of our celebration.
1. What would people think of my non-traditional venue?
I got married in a Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia. Leading up to the wedding, I winced every time I told someone where I was getting married. But this decision made sense for us — we got to have our wedding near our families, but in a space and with food, drinks, and decor that reflected our lives in the Southwest. This decision turned out fantastic. Plus, who doesn't love margaritas and churros for dessert?
2. Was my dress too plain?
I chose an off-the-rack, short wedding dress. I knew a simple dress would make me feel at ease and like the best version of myself. I also didn't want to purchase a garment for hundreds or even thousands of dollars to only wear once. I figured all I had to do was wear something remotely “bridal” and I would look the part, because everyone would be so ready to see me as “bride.” The dress was an above-the-knee, cream, organza fit-and-flare at a very reasonable price point. Looking back at pictures, I definitely look like “the bride,” and I was comfortable all night.
3. What would guests think about cocktails before the ceremony?
Our wedding ran from 7pm to midnight. To avoid starving guests and a line at the bar, we decided to start the evening with an hour of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. I worried so much about guests thinking it was crass or too non-traditional to do cocktails before the ceremony, but this was the best decision ever! My husband and I got to make an entrance and greet all the guests while the party was in full swing. Bonus: A friend of ours, who was also our officiant, got to enjoy one precious cocktail to calm his nerves before the ceremony.
4. Would I look like a bride without a veil or something in my hair?
The only thing I regularly wear on my head is a bike helmet, and the idea of sporting a veil clashed with my particular feminist values. I flirted with the idea of a sparkly headband, but then I realized that my desire to “put something on my head” was motivated by insecurity. “Was my dress too plain?” “Would I look like a bride without a veil or something in my hair?” Once I realized that I didn't actually want to have a veil or a hair accessory but just thought I was supposed to have one, I stuck with a final decision to forego the headpiece and never looked back.
5. Is it okay to DIY your wedding music?
We decided to DIY our wedding music because we are both music lovers. After reading helpful posts about being your own wedding DJ and using Spotify to build a playlist, we made a plan. One of our friends is tech-savvy and also has great musical taste. We asked and he was more than willing to be our DJ for the evening. In the months leading up to the wedding, we built and curated shared Spotify playlists for cocktails, dinner, and dancing. We used a computer and rented two speakers, a microphone, a sub-woofer, and a mixer from a local sound equipment company found on Yelp. They set up and broke down the equipment and sent a technician to ensure the audio worked. This all cost much less than a DJ. Choosing the music together was one of the most fun wedding planning activities for us as a couple. I would highly recommend this option!
6. Renting your accessories
While shopping for earrings, a bracelet, and a cover-up (since the wedding was in December), I realized the cost to purchase accessories was quickly starting to outweigh the cost of my dress and shoes put together. That's when I discovered Rent The Runway. For $100, I rented earrings, a bracelet, and the most ridiculous pink fuzzy marabou cape in the world. The accessories arrived a day before the wedding and everything looked great. Why spend hundreds of dollars to purchase accessories when you only need them for one night?
Looking back, these decisions seem so right for us and not worth an ounce of stress or worry. When planning your wedding, remember who you are. Stick with what makes you happy and comfortable, and don't worry about negative things other people might think.