Your wedding is tacky

Updated Jun 17 2021
"Your wedding is tacky"
"You're tacky" mug available on Etsy

I am officially decreeing myself done with the word "tacky." It's a word thrown around a lot in the wedding world — even the non-traditional wedding world!

People are worried their centerpieces will look tacky. People decree honeymoon registries tacky. There's muttering over etiquette: "I want to do things this way … but is that tacky?" brides whisper in terror. Tacky: the dark evil that sneaks into your bedroom and eats your face at night.

I'm here to tell you that, YES: everything you want to do for your wedding is tacky. All of it. The red dress is tacky. The handmade paper flowers are tacky. Your custom-designed invitations? TACKY.

Because you see, "tacky" is in the eye of the beholder and there is always, always going to be someone who sees things differently than you.

Your handwritten wedding vows? Tacky!

Using old mugs as favors? Tacky!

Your ribbon veil? Tacky!

Your father reading a poem he wrote instead of Corinthians? Tacky!

There is no end to the tackiness. It is ALL tacky, according to someone. Someone will tell you it's tacky to get married in your backyard. Someone will tell you it's tacky not to decorate your chairs with large bows and organza. Someone will tell you it's tacky to have portapotties at your wedding. Someone somewhere thinks sequined wedding shoes and button bouquets and Wai-Ching dresses are all tacky.

…This website? TACKY!

I'm exhausted by the tacky debate. I'm sick of people asking if some component of their wedding is tacky. (Sure it is! …to someone. Do you care? Is that why you're doing it?) I'm sick of commenters decreeing certain wedding thangs as tacky. (Sure it is! …to you. Do I care? Are you invited to my wedding?) Tacky: the dark monster that creeps in at night … tacky is the manifestation of your fears that people won't approve of your wedding.

Moving forward, I'm decreeing a moratorium on the word. When it's ALL tacky, none of it's tacky and we can finally stop talking about it.

  1. THANK YOU! Ariel, i know i've said this before, but you are my frakking hero!!! My mom LOVES throwing that word around if she doesn't like a decision i'm making about my wedding. It's ridiculous and judgemental, and really, who the frak cares if i use labels instead of calligraphy on the invitations? A year from now, nobody will remember.

    • haha all good. i hand wrote the addresses (and i do NOT have good handwriting). lots of ppl are saying things in my wedding are tacky but i decided at the beginning of all this to ignore. all girls in the wedding party, myself included, are wearing flip flops 😀 i dont wear heels most other days, why start when nobody can even see my feet?


    I hate how people use this word – which has such a silly ring to it – in a mean-spirited way to demoralize others and pass judgment.

    However, I love the use of it all over your wedding photo. It cracked me up!

  3. This is EXACTLY the kind of post I needed to read. *sigh* I don't know what else I (or anyone) can do to really engrain that into my mind.
    You're the best, Ariel!

  4. Seriously. Ariel, you are a hero 🙂

    I'm not even 10% done planning my wedding and I hear that word… bleck.

  5. I completely agree with Helen. By the end of this entry I was thinking to myself taq-eee? TAKy?

    Tack like? So it's sharp and helps keep things flat? What does that word even mean?

  6. I find it funny that when you do something out of the ordinary for your wedding that it gets called tacky, but you do everything traditional, your not. I find it extremely wrong to tell someone that their ideas aren't what they should be.

  7. yes this is the whole point of this blog. it isnt for people who do not like offbeat things. i often wonder, why people choose to spend their time somewhere if all they do is want to be negative.

  8. Funny, and true. Look what I brought on myself today when discussing plastic rings. It's true though, in general. Enough with the Tacky debate. It's like the DIY guilt issue… it's not tacky for god's sake, just make sure it's what you love.

  9. I *JUST* had a conversation about the subjective nature of tacky last night with my future MIL.

    Last month I went to a 100%-by-the-book traditional wedding and (probably because I'm so spoiled with all of the amazing weddings I get to see on OBB everyday) I thought that THAT wedding (the wedding everyone else was "oohing" and "ahhing" over) was THE tackiest thing I'd ever seen.

    Which is ironic, considering most of the people present at that wedding think that MY wedding is going to be the tackiest thing that they'll ever see.

    To each her own, right? Tacky. I embrace the "tacky," whatever that means.

  10. Here Here Here Here!!!!!
    I could NOT have SAID it any better if I where TRYING!!!
    I guess this is why YOU are the BOSS! 😉

  11. I had to battle the T word with a classmate who thought that having my wedding at my in-law's home was just the "T*ckiest" thing ever. He actually asked, "Is their house at least nice?" I couldn't help rolling my eyes at the uninvited backseat wedding coordinator.

    I love your diagram! Maybe we should recalim the word and change the definition because all I see is AWESOME!

  12. Etymology: from "tackey", in the 1800's, a word for a small horse usually of poor quality. I'm guessing the connection has to do with being owned by poor farmers, and those farmers had so little money that anything they did was low-quality or "tacky".

    As for me, I had someone at my wedding say that they "didn't normally go to hillbilly weddings". …does that count as "tacky"? Should I be worried?

    …joking. Not worried. Seriously, the only thing tacky at my wedding was the fact that this person actually said this. THAT was tacky.

  13. Ooohh…I want someone to label all the t—- things in my wedding photos! Whatever in the world is wrong with words like 'unique', 'crafty', 'personal'… and 'fan-fucking-tastic'?!?!

    BTW….I love you Ariel!

  14. In response to Rachel:

    I was just thinking that my pasties that keep my nipples from poking through my wedding dress are tacky!

  15. "Tacky: the dark evil that sneaks into your bedroom and eats your face at night…."

    ROTFL. Have I told you lately that I love you Ariel?

  16. I am all about not making value judgments about other people or their ideas.

    However, as a girl (and a bride) who sometimes frets over whether or not things will be tacky or uncouth or rude or any of those synonyms I would like to say that it's not always about fear.

    Sometimes I consider whether something is tacky out of consideration for others. I think that lots of us Offbeat Brides tend to toss around the "Who cares what so-and-so thinks".

    Well, I do. And the reason I care about when my mother in law things is because I care about her. I'd like her to be happy and comfortable at my wedding (and in general) not out of fear but out of love.

    Sometimes the least "tacky" thing you can do is consider someone else's feelings enough to change a little detail or put a little extra time/effort into making them feel like welcome guests at your event, instead of alienated participants.

  17. You're right. I keep forgetting to plan this thing for what *I* want! Who really cares what anyone else wants.

  18. tackytackytackytacky….yep, the word has lost all meaning. Except for meaning something that might stick to your hand if you touched it. Saying it over and over like that, makes the word feel more sticky.

  19. I never once thought about the word "tacky" in my planning. Truly, that word never crossed my mind until now. But I am sure someone will find my polka dot napkins and DIY paper flowers tacky. I guess I just never thought to wonder about tackiness because all the things I have planned make me feel happy and good.

  20. Samantha, I hear what you're saying, but I don't know that I'd think of "rude" as a synonym for "tacky." One is about being inconsiderate and making people feel disrespected. The other is about subjective tastes. Making guests stand up for the duration of a 45 minute ceremony is rude. Giving them handmade glittery mini-pinatas as favors is tacky. I'm not for rudeness, but I'm all for supposed-tackyness.

  21. To Samantha:

    You actually make a really great point (as Ariel already observed), which actually serves as a really good segue for what I wanted to say. Because a lot of times people say "will this be tacky?" instead of asking the relevant questions. Tackiness implies people disapproving because it's odd or lowbrow. So most people will just respond "Who cares!" By removing the colloquialism from your vocabulary as Ariel suggests, you have to figure out what question you're really answering – and a lot of times that will give you the answer as well.

    The question you want to ask is "Will it be tacky if I ____?" If you can't phrase it that way you start reexamining it. If the question you replace it is "Will people think I'm rustic if I ____?" then you can go ahead and go "You know what, screw them if they do! I'm proud to be a country girl." Or whatever your thing is. If the replacement question you come up with is "Will this make people uncomfortable?" or "Will this cause me to lose the respect of people I care about?" then you know you have a legitimate concern that should be addressed.

  22. I'm sure some of the guests at my wedding (TONIGHT! ACK!) will find some of our choices tacky, but I don't much care. We've approached this with a good dose of humor, and if folks aren't amused, it's their problem, not mine.

    (Don't mean to sound harsh; I'm just at the point where the plans have been made and it's time for their execution. Uh. Well, you know what I mean.)

  23. THANK YOU for this entry! It's what I keep trying to remind myself through this whole process, and it's nice to hear it coming from someone else!

  24. IMO:

    I come here often- well actually I google read from afar most of the time but every once in a while I make it to the site…

    I enjoy seeing how brides are taking it upon themselves to step outside of the box. I commend their efforts. I will, however, say that there are other times when I do feel like brides take it a bit too far. The entire reason for wanting an off-beat wedding was because the "traditional wedding" is not indicative of a couple's relationship or the way in which their friends and family will celebrate the day. But at what point does one draw the line and say that "in our efforts to be different, are we now making decisions for the sole purpose of being different and causing a shock factor"?

    While I completely agree that everyting is subject to various aesthetics… I do think that when a bride is ready to have an offbeat wedding to whatever degree that this may be… that they must still hold themselves to a level of standards and taste… so as to not have their wedding be a mockery. Sometimes trying so hard to be different can lead to a wedding which no longer focuses on the marriage itself. Throwing away a traditional element of a wedding because it is not relevant is fine… redefining every element in order to shock guests… well that is when I think that "tacky" is an appropriate word.

  25. Dragonsyr, that was a point I was going to make.
    'Tacky' is a vague term without concrete boundaries. When yu worry or say something is 'tacky', what do you really mean. I've been guilty of using it when I should have said "that may make gruest uncomfortable"

    Perhaps by forcing ourselves to use different words we can clarify for ourselves and others what we really mean.

    It can also make us examine 'why' we are making the judgements that we are.

  26. It never even crossed my mind that my glittery (stripper-ish) shoes, backyard-porta-pottied, action figure cake topper, red-dressed wedding might have been tacky!
    I like Sidewalk Monkey's idea of reclaiming the word. xo

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