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

Friday, August 14, 2009

Words of Wisdom (from a Kindred Spirit)

You all are an amazing community. Matt and I got married over a year ago, and yet I'm still here because of you. The quest for meaning, authenticity, truth, and the good life manifests itself in wedding planning, and I'm thrilled to be part of the ongoing conversation and search.

I thought I would share this message from a fellow kindred spirit:
My fiancé and I got engaged on Valentine’s Day '09 and our wedding is in two weeks. The past six months have been a whirlwind of ups and downs. I’ve learned so much about how commercialized weddings are. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, my fiancé, and our families.

I found your blog in June when I was freaking out about how we were going to pay for a wedding and googled “wedding reception on a budget”. Since then I’ve read your entire blog and am a different person because of it. I realize I’m not crazy for not wanting to throw a bouquet. I’m not crazy for not wanting to sit at a head table and have everyone watch me eat. I’m not crazy for not wanting to cut cake and have people take pictures. I’m not crazy for not wanting to wear a frilly poofy scratchy dress that costs as much as my car. I’m not crazy for not wanting to be center of attention and have everyone treat me like I’m royalty. I’m not crazy for not wanting my fiancé's mom to invite 30 of her friends that she hasn’t seen in 20 years and we have never met. I’m not crazy for wanting to invest in a down payment on a house that we can live in forever than a wedding for one day.
And for those of you who do want to throw a bouquet or wear a frilly, poufy, scratchy dress--you're not crazy either.

The point is that we all have to sift through the messages we've received and internalized about what a wedding has to be and instead create a wedding that represents us. It's that simple (and that complex).

And it's the same thing we have to do in life: sift through all the messages we've received and internalized about what we have to do to be successful or happy and instead carve out a life that authentically represents our deepest selves. Again, it's that simple (and that complex).

I'm reminded of this line in a poem by Mary Oliver:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

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Sarah said...

"It's that simple (and that complex)."

We're in the throes of wedding planning and OH, how true!

Thanks for keeping this wedding blog going! It's actually the only wedding blog I read every morning (the rest I check on weekends in chunks because I end up skipping lots of entries on how, for example, they sent their wedding invitations in boxes to people. I'm sure it was nice and all, but I just can't spend $4 per invitation.)

But it's been a great source of inspiration. We're stealing some of your ideas and others (the internet is a great place!) and of course, adding our own:) We're tight on money (we have a ratified contract on a house!), so the uber-budget wedding is a great source of info for us.

Okay, enough! :)

Ms Bear Cub said...

wow, sara, I love that quote at the end of your post! so true!

Therese T. said...

My boyfriend and I have been discussing marriage, and he says girls usually think more about that than guys, but whatever: I usually only read your blog because it's succinct and direct, and speaks to me and my desire for sanity and simplicity in an otherwise spectacle of an event. So thank you for this; thank you for helping steer me in the right path.

Cove Girl said...

When the happy occasion arrives for me I plan to have a wedding and prepare myself as a wife, rather than the "bride". The bride is a role that will only last a day, but a wife if forever. That's where the commercialized wedding industry gets women, in the role of "bride", but they won't be there to clean up the fights. It's more prudent to focus on what the couple wants to be for each other rather than holding a role for a moment in time.

Kate said...

Cove Girl - you read my mind! And that is one of the reasons I love this blog. Sara, you regularly discuss aspects of marriage that move far beyond the wedding day and it's such a great reminder of what that day should really be about - setting the tone for the rest of your lives together.

maurahanlon said...

Thanks Sara. I found your site a smidge too late in our planning, but I do find you a kindred spirit, and keep coming back, even after almost a year after our own wedding. I'd love to hear more about what you and Matt learned in the the free pre-marital classes, Please share! Thanks!

Christy said...

I love the quote at the end of your post- it really drilled it down for me and made me realize that's what it's all about.

I've been reading your blog for about 2 months and I go back and forth between appreciating your authenticity and being sucked into the commercialism and the "shoulds" of a planning a wedding.

I'm going to print a copy of the Mary Oliver poem to re-read as I go through the planning for our wedding and use it to keep me grounded and sane. Thank you!

Kat said...

My fiance and I got engaged last month and are having a low cost DIY wedding. Finding your blog has been a tremendous help in remembering what the wedding is all about:community, commitment, connections. I am completely in awe of your beliefs and how you made them fit into your wedding and relationship. Thank you for providing us with insight into your lives and inspiration for ours as they unfold.

Lauren said...

I feel the same way! I've been reading your blog since I got engaged a few months ago, and I was so relieved to find there are lots of other people who don't want to be drawn into the wedding consumerism crap. It's not that I can't afford a 2-3k wedding dress, I'm choosing to buy a much less expensive dress and spend the money on something more important. Like an open bar for my guests...ha jk! Like a down payment on a home! I'm not throwing a bouquet, no garter, no limos, very limited guest list, etc.

My fiance and I sat down before starting to plan, and decided what was most important to us was to get the people we love the most together to eat/drink/dance/have a fun time. (No fancy decoration or princess crap needed for that!) We will spend far far farrrrr less than the average 27k to do this.

I hope that bargain shopping and sticking to a budget together will be a great lesson for us and how we live the rest of our lives together.

So THANK YOU Sara for having this blog and keeping me sane!

Heather said...

"Sift through all the messages we've received and internalized about what we have to do to be successful or happy and instead carve out a life that authentically represents our deepest selves."

Thank you for this. I also just found your blog in June, right after I got engaged, and I went back and read the whole thing. Your words above, though - they take the cake. In the middle of planning a wedding and preparing for a marriage while my fiance and I are in a long-distance relationship, I lost my engagement ring and found out that I was also going to lose my job. I'm being bombarded by everyone telling me what I should do and your words are a lovely reminder that I'm the only one who really knows what will work best for me. And technically, "everyone" isn't bombarding me - my fiance simply listens to my concerns, helps me parse through it all, and tells me that he'll support me no matter what I decide. He is amazing.

Jaime said...

Your blog makes me so happy - I love that there IS a community out there that can approach getting married in a sane way. When we got engaged my fiance and I knew we wanted our wedding to be more like a normal party and less like a wedding, but everyone I knew was baffled by that idea. When I discovered your blog I sent the link to my mom saying "this is the sort of wedding I want!" and she finally understood and has been so supportive of our (roughly $3K) wedding.

I also have a good friend who just got engaged and she called me in tears saying she can't have a wedding because some website said that you MUST spend at least $30K (bare minimum) to get married - so I dutifully sent her a link to your blog and now she is happily proceeding with a budget wedding!

Keep up the inspiration!

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