What kind of wedding do you and your fiancé want? What kind of wedding does everyone around you expect you to have? Do they line up or, as is often the case, are they conflicting visions? Conflicting visions are a huge source of wedding planning stress, so how can you deal with them? You can try and find a balance between the two, but it is very difficult to wing it. Thinking through some principles to guide your decisions ahead of time can help you keep that balance in mind.
Your Guiding Principles
What are the ultimate goals you have for your wedding? Think back to how you want your wedding to feel. As you do this, think about your guests as well. How do you want them to feel or what do you want them to experience on your wedding day? Those two questions will lead you to your guiding principles.
As a starting point, I suggest your guiding principles be:
- Make your wedding reflect you and your fiancé’s personalities.
- Be good hosts.
Show Some Personality
Think about what you and your fiancé are really like at your core. Your wedding is not the time to be something that you’re not deep down. Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior says, “One’s wedding should be a heightened version of one’s best social life, not an occasion for people to play grand and unfamiliar parts in a fantasy play.” So think about what your social life looks like. What do you like to do with your friends? How do you like to entertain? What type of events are you most comfortable attending? That is the perfect jumping off point for planning your wedding.
The Supper Club Wedding
We have friends who are extremely social and always have something going on with friends. They are the center of their social circle, hosting a regular game night and always up for entertaining guests from out of town. One of their favorite places was a supper club - a restaurant where the waiters perform musical numbers throughout the night - in their hometown, which sadly has now closed down. When it was open though, they regularly went there. They knew everyone who worked there and it was the place they took everyone who was visiting from out of town. We live in a different city and went there twice with them!
When we received the invitation to their wedding, it was not at all surprising that it would be held at the supper club. They had a very large wedding and rented out the entire restaurant. Their favorite waiter performed as the emcee all night and everyone else who worked there performed their favorite songs throughout the night. The wedding simply oozed their personality and was one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever attended. I consider us lucky that we attended their wedding before planning our own because they really set the bar for what was possible at a wedding.
The Star Trek BBQ
After attending the supper club wedding, my now-husband and I knew we could do practically anything we wanted for our wedding and had a goal to make it completely reflect our personalities. Unlike those friends, my husband and I are homebodies. We often prefer to host our own events and have people come to us than to go out somewhere else. We’ve hosted BBQs, brunches, and an annual Halloween party. Our friends and families were scattered all over the country, and even a couple in a different country, so we really wanted a venue that would stand out as an example of whatever city we were in. After narrowing it down to a couple, the one that made the most sense was to host the wedding in my parents’ beautiful backyard in Oregon. That fit with our homebody nature. Add in some BBQ from a fantastic restaurant in town and we were set. The only thing left to do was to add in more details that reflected us.
Early in our relationship, my husband and I bonded over our love of Star Trek. That became the perfect thing to weave into the day. We started from the beginning with the design and phrasing of our invitations and RSVP cards. Guests were invited to “beam me up!” or “I just can’t do it, Captain” to indicate whether they would attend or not. We had two of our best friends perform the ceremony as our officiants and one of them performed an epic recitation of the Klingon origin story during the ceremony. There were also our replicated (3D printed) Star Trek uniform cake toppers modeled from our pictures. He’s the captain, I’m a science officer because let’s face it, TOS tricorders are really cute. Plus, I look better in blue and nobody wants to be a redshirt on their wedding day.
How do you spend time with friends and family? What kind of parties do you throw? What are the things that make you and your fiancé who you are? Those are the best places to start when planning a wedding that truly reflects you. Try to work those things in throughout the wedding in both big and small ways. Making your wedding reflect your personality is the best way to avoid the cookie cutter wedding. As a guest, attending a unique wedding that from beginning to end is completely indicative of who the couple is can be one of the most wonderful weddings to attend. So why not make it all about you?
As mentioned above though, this is only the first guiding principle. Making your wedding totally a reflection of you and your fiancé is a great first step, but the balance comes in when you do so with the intention of also being a great host.