Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Q & A: Planning an Authentic Wedding

Reader Question: My boyfriend and I are looking to get engaged soon, which led to me looking online for anything and everything wedding. My boyfriend and I have started to think about all the details of the wedding: when, where, decorations, people, dresses, etc... you know how it goes.

His family has a lot to say, as does mine, so it has been really tough. He and I are both very eco-friendly and want to keep costs down as much as possible. We also really want the wedding to express who we are. We want people to remember what a marriage really is--the beautiful bonding of two lives into one--not just an after-party.

Things have been getting tough and we've both been very stressed. Do you have any advice? This is supposed to be an exciting and fun time, and I feel like stress and what not is bogging it down. Do you have any ideas for how to keep everything in perspective?

I know this probably sounds crazy. I guess in a sense I just see a lot of myself in you... but I end up not showing a lot of that.. and I'm not really sure how to just fully be me.

Thank you so much for e-mailing me your question!

It's been almost three years since Matt and I tied the knot, but here I am, still blogging about weddings. It's not because I'm enamored with the pretty, pretty details. It's not because I think weddings are "the best day" of our lives.

Honestly, it's because weddings are about so much more than--well--the wedding. For many of us, how we plan our weddings is how we live our lives. We can choose to plan our weddings with authenticity and courage, or we start to buckle from the pressure of "how it's supposed to be." We live out our values through our weddings--all of us in different ways. Grace, frugality, elegance, creativity, fun, eco-friendliness, spirituality--whatever we value has a place in our weddings.

The truth is, weddings are not the only time we get pressure from family, friends, and society to do things a certain way. When we buy houses, we are inundated with the idea that bigger is better. When we have children, we are pressured to raise them in certain ways. How we choose to deal with the pressure we feel during wedding planning can often set precedents for how we choose to deal with the pressure we feel in other aspects of our lives.

At the end of the day, we have to be our most authentic selves. If we don't seek out and attempt to follow our authentic paths, we risk losing our sparkle, our motivation, our happiness.

I think the best place to start is at the end. What kind of wedding do you want to have? What is your vision as a couple? Then you can plan the smaller steps that align with that end vision. You can work to invest your family in your vision.

When conflict and stress rear their ugly heads, you can ground yourself in your wedding vision and in the strength of your partnership.

I also find that developing "wedding planning mantras" helps a lot.

Wedding planning is often very difficult. So is living an authentic life. But at the end of the day, the effort we put in is worth it!

Wondering whether you have to send Save the Dates? Wondering how to build an equitable partnership? Wondering how to handle pressure from your parents? E-mail me your questions, and I'll take a stab at answering them!

REMINDER: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on June 5. Register today!

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Chloe said...

I love your philosophy about wedding and living an authentic life. My fiance and I have been trying to follow our own foundational principles for our wedding (which, coincidentally, are very similar to yours and other 2000 Budget Wedding readers) and sometimes, as you pointed out, it becomes more difficult in the face of those who challenge our ideals. The other day, my step mom questioned why I wanted certain things at my wedding - why I wasn't willing to spend more money. I laughed and said, "We don't have more money." But my fiance stepped in and noted that it's not about that. He pointed out that we don't believe we need to spend more money when we can be putting that money towards a house, or paying off college loans, or simply saving it for a rainy day. I liked that when I faltered in the face of pressure, he boosted us up by telling the truth about why we're not spending more money on our wedding. Now that's what makes a marriage.

Anonymous said...

Ever since, I found the 2000 Wedding Website, I've found myself having a different approach to wedding planning. Most websites online suggest only one way to plan a wedding. If you try to do things differently, you get a negative response. That is how I feel. I have actually gotten that response online. I don't like how the wedding industry has turned weddings into a business. Brides are turned into bridezillas. It's so sad that the main focus of getting married revolves around the wedding reception.

Weddings shouldn't be about money and yet they are. When my fiance and I got engaged I started feeling very stressed out with all the wedding planning advice that I was reading online. Then when I found this website everything changed. I saw a whole new perspective on weddings. I agree so much with this post. Getting married and having a nice wedding doesn't have to cost much. It's not about the pretty little wedding details. Preparingng for marriage is more important than just planning a wedding.

My love for my fiancé is more important than anything else in the world. I know our wedding will be beautiful. We may not be spending loads of money on our wedding and I'm happy with that. I'm using a lot of recycled items for the wedding and that makes so happy. The wedding industry may not agree with my choices but that's okay.

I know my fiancé and I will have a beautiful wedding. In my heart, I feel that way. I hope other couples will get inspired as well to understand what the true meaning of having a wedding is all about.

Anonymous said...

Another great piece of advice that was given to me... "A wedding is just one day, marriage is a lifetime".

Ever since, I got that advice I've taken it to heart. In my heart, I know what's most imporant... marriage. Not anything else but marriage. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post! For the past few days, I've been overly stressed about way to much. I have a few dear friends who truly understand the way we're trying to reflect ourselves in our wedding and they've been extremely supportive, but have been battling with those who want it to be a certain way. This is very disturbing to me, when people question the decisions we've made. When ever I read your blog, it grounds me and brings me back to the ideals that we want reflected in our marriage. Today, I've stopped being stressed, refocused, and am looking forward to the rest of our planning, and to marrying the man of my dreams!

Anonymous said...

Some kind of way I adopted your philosophy before reading your post. Authenticity drove most of the decisions we made concerning our wedding and I hope will drive the way we live our lives.

Sadly, I think most people have lost their place in their own lives - not just their weddings- and become subject to others thoughts, moods and ideas.

I love that there is no formula for authentic. And while you can't "try" and be "real", you do have to be intentional about presenting your authentic self.

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