Why did I worry about these 6 “risky” wedding decisions?

Guest post by Britt B.

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.

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Comments on Why did I worry about these 6 “risky” wedding decisions?

  1. Your wedding sounds fabulous! It blew my mind the first time I saw booze from the get go!! So civilized!!! In weddings -people think they’re being offbeat sometimes, when they still have the same flow of formal weddings. I think it’s time to REALLY tear weddings upside down! Sometimes I even see the brides out before the ceremony, that is unheard of, but it is so awesome, it’s also less overwhelming, because most people have already said hello!!!

    Another bride I knew, got married in a warehouse kind of church and had a coffee station and frozen yogurt from two cool, local businesses and got married at 10a!!! I was like…… mind blown!!!!

    • Thanks Tonya! It was so nice to walk in to the party and greet guests before the ceremony. It made it easier to say hi to everyone there and made everything feel more relaxed and natural – a lot less uptight (which totally isn’t my style). That warehouse wedding sounds pretty rad. FROYO!

  2. So did you submit your wedding? Because I really want to see your pink fuzzy cape!

  3. Yayyyy! Your wedding sounds awesome! Our plans though not the same as yours, are more personal preference than classic wedding and have had us worrying (no alcohol, no wedding cars and diying the music for example) but hearing how well yours went is a big boost and validated our belief that our wedding is about us and our marriage, not about fulfilling the expectations of others!! Thank you!!

  4. I’m right there with you on worries Nos. 2, 4, and 5, and possibly 3, as well, if one of our desired ceremony locales pans out. It’s incredibly helpful and heartening to hear how well things worked out for you!

  5. I remember my Mom on my wedding day, “Where’s your veil??” “Ma, it’s 30 mile-per-hour winds out there. We never planned on one!”

    I’m glad I didn’t have to fight with one of those things. Ugh. The dress is bad enough.

    I sort of regret our DJ. He made some very off comments… But oh well, live and learn.

  6. The “nontraditional” decisions my husband and I made about our (offbeat-lite) wedding ended up being some of the best parts of the day. And our guests loved those unexpected elements best. They told us how much they appreciated that the wedding really reflected us and our personalities. The best weddings, in my mind, are the ones that genuinely reflect the couple. I don’t care how traditional or nontraditional a wedding is; I care about the couple really sharing and celebrating their own style.

    • Us too! We got very similar comments, about how wonderfully different it was and how perfect for us and so very personal (without being uncomfortably personal for my private hubby). My mum worried about our food choice (delivered pizza and appetizers along with salad) but it was delicious and everyone enjoyed it (to the point that very little dessert was eaten).

  7. I’m with you on the whole feminist tomboy doesn’t spend life’s existence dreaming about a wedding thing! That being said, I have become obsessed with all the finer details once it happened to me too. Jeez it sucks you in!

    Anyway, it’s great to hear how validating it is going with what fits you and not what everyone dictates is “the norm”. I’ve been worried recently that some of our decisions will have everyone going WTF?! But at the same time I’m equally relieved that we’ve put money down on those things so I can’t chicken out, haha. I must learn to have confidence in displaying my interests instead of hiding them :-/ just hopes no one thinks I’m being a phony because they don’t usually see those sides of me :-/

    • Yeah! Rent The Runway has a whole “wedding” category with veils and blingy belts. The cut crystal jewelry is perfect b/c it adds a ton of “regal” sparkle and it’s soooo cost effective to rent it.

    • Rent the Runway totally changed my life. I have a Pro membership and now sometimes even rent just the bling for an event, for $5 and $10 a pop. I am an evangelist for that company and will be renting items for my wedding as well. Long live RTR!

  8. We’re not having a separate “ceremony” and “reception.” The current plan is to have people arrive in our space (we’re still deciding on which space we’ll use, from our list of candidate spaces), start enjoying their food, and then maybe 15-20 minutes in have the two of us stand up, go over to where the rings are on display and do a little mini ceremony of some kind, quick as that, and continue the party. We really want the focus to be on fun and everyone enjoying themselves. No procession, no officiant, no big hullabaloo. Just quick, easy, and then back to the food and drink and conversation. We might make a gorgeous “commitment contract,” and sign that, or something. I saw a nice non-legal ceremony where the guests were asked to all come up and sign as witnesses to the commitment contract, rather than the traditional two-witness signature lines on the marriage license/certificate thing that we do here in the US. I kind of like that idea, maybe we’ll ask our guests to come up throughout the party and sign the commitment contract (separate from the guestbook, we already have an idea for that) to show their support of our commitment. We’re not having a legal marriage, so it would be a nice way to involve everyone in the event and give it a sense of “this is official” without actually being official, which we definitely don’t want.

    • I am super in love with your ceremony/reception idea! I’ve been shooting weddings for almost six years and have never seen that done.

    • Have you seen Quaker wedding certificates? They’re usually signed by everyone who attends the ceremony, AFAIK.

    • This is pretty much exactly what I’m planning to do with my sweetheart! We’re renting a historic house/garden, we have a friend who does amazing vegetarian catering, and we’re getting a keg or two. We’ll wait till people are settled in a bit, then do a short and sweet ceremony (by ourselves, non-legal) and invite people to speak their minds or play songs for us or just hang out. We want it to be as laid-back as possible. We’d also like to have everyone there be our witnesses and invite them to sign the contract with us. Then we can frame it and hang it up!

  9. Your plan sounds awesome. I love the commitment contract idea. We did a quick 5 minute ceremony with guests circled around standing. We included one “group vow” where our officiant asked the guests to say “we do” to support a statement about us getting married. That was really fun to look out and see our whole party smiling and shouting “We do!”

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