And this is why I continue to write about weddings, even though I got married over a year ago. They are such a microcosm for the rest of our lives. All the problems, joys, complexities, and possibilities wrapped up in weddings are the same things we face in life.
How do we make choices that align with our authentic selves and have the courage to follow those choices, despite judgment from other people?
I think the first question to tackle is why we care. Why does it make us "upset and self-conscious" when people respond negatively to decisions we've made, even when we know we've done "the right thing" for us?
I'm guessing it's because we're social beings. We thrive within communities. We want to be valued, loved, and appreciated by those around us. That's why it hurts so much when we receive criticism rather than support. It's natural. It's okay.
However, we ultimately have no good choice but to live the life that is most aligned with our deepest, most authentic selves. If we don't, we risk living someone else's ideal life, which is likely to leave us feeling empty and unsatisfied. Also, it's impossible to please everyone. There are so many diverse opinions out there. We'll end up running around like chickens with their [you know the rest].
I always get my deepest joy from following what feels most right for me, regardless with what others say. It doesn't stop me from feeling hurt or despondent when someone judges me, but it helps give me the courage I need to forge my own path.
It also helps to find a community of like-minded folks who do support your alternative decisions.
Spending less money on a dress you'll wear once in a way that is better for the environment (less production) and the world (money goes toward a good cause and then you re-donate it) is awesome. Hands-down. There are a whole lot of us out there who not only support your decision but celebrate it!
Best wishes to you for an authentic wedding and an authentic life!