Weddings: An open letter to no one

Dear World,

So like most dutifully brainwashed middle-class brides-to-be, after he put a ring on it I bought a wedding magazine, put a million oh-so-casual pictures of mason jars and burlap on my Pinterest, and started dreaming about tablescapes.

And then?

And then I woke up.

Somewhere in the middle of hearing I would probably spend $30,000 and that I needed at least 10 months to get my dress right, my brain had a power surge, snapped a fuse, and reset its wiring.

The sheer number of must haves and insane timelines pushed on the affianced by the wedding industry is mind-boggling.

Honestly, my Wedding To Do List app continues to insist I am six months behind, and in angry, bright letters tries to peerpressure me into booking local DJs and setting colour schemes before Disaster Strikes.

If I listened to the professionals I’d be in a total fucking tizz.

Which, to be fair, if I wanted to commission a calligrapher to create my monogram, I really should get on that. That shit takes time.

But I don’t. And no where on this sanctioned Party Planning Express is there an opt-in/opt-out clause.

Which is sort of insane when you think about it.

If every single married couple has the same ranunculus bouquets and handwritten fencepost signs, and everyone has to march to this very specific 14 month calendar of Getting Ready to Be Wed, it’d sort of take the fun out of it, don’t you think?

I go to weddings to see people I love be happy and celebrate. If it’s not them, and their taste and their interests, what’s the point?

So to that end, we are planning our wedding around our priorities. Our way.

Here are the known quantities:

I. We are doing this together.

Our union (and the social event which kicks it off) is for both of us. The decisions and planning will be shared; the day itself a reflection of Bean and me, now, and not some weird half dream I had when I was six, starring my Barbie.

II. It is not a contest.

We don’t have to be the best at anything, we just have to be us. (And since we are totally awesome, that works out for everyone.)

III. We don’t like fancy, uncomfortable or wasteful, just beautiful.

No one-time-use clothes. No ridiculous cirque do soleil underwear. I’m too clumsy for super fragile and perfectly coiffed. And I don’t want to spend my day worrying about everything being just-so and forgetting to enjoy it and be myself.

If I can’t eat spare ribs, lay on the couch or bear hug my brother (all of which can one can rock in an evening gown, by the way, I am living proof) it’s just getting in the way.

Likewise, I have no interest in renting or buying crap that serves no purpose beyond this one afternoon. I don’t care how cute your quirky haybale stacks are, or how much you think I need a unity candle, (though I admit am suseptible to row and rows of matching stripy straws).

If it’s not kindly lent by people I love, or going to be incorporated into our married lives together after, or going to be totally delicious stuffed in my face, I am  pretty sure we can live without it for this one day just like we have all the others.

IV. Stick to what matters.

Family. Good food. Beautiful scenery. Laughter and love.

Garter belts and string quartets can suck it, as can overcooked hotel chicken and uncomfortable shoes (see III).

V. The Ceremony comes first.

I could plan the party of a lifetime. I could imagine every perfectly coordinated vintage placesetting, and the most exhilerating retro-chic swing band, playing beneath the twinkliest fairy lights, hanging from the ideal 500 year old elm… but it’s all moot when you think of the promise we are making.

Nothing else matters.

So we are spending our time and money on planning the twenty minutes that are never covered in the fancy wedding blogs, and doesn’t come with accessories and fashion pieces. It’s just two people, standing up together, fully and truly themselves.

And if it means we don’t have a reception with our friends and family and neighbours until we can save up for it on our twentieth anniversary, so be it. Because I’d rather make it to year twenty by laying the groundwork of real commitment, than be distracted by shiny napkin rings and forget why we’re even doing this.

VI (Bonus Round). Etiquette is only so helpful.

People have a lot of opinions about how weddings Should Be (I’m looking at you Emily Post. And you Martha Stewart.).

I know some people in the world would be upset if I didn’t wear a giant white dress. If I don’t invite every person whose twig brushes my family tree. Who feel that I shouldn’t talk to you about the wedding if I’m not going extend an invitation.

But I am not a Victorian housewife, and thus I will not be organising my social life around which forks we use or who sits next to whom. Likewise, I am not a debutante who will spend this day on a pedestal of virginal worship for people to ogle.

Nor will I be flaunting my perfect figure, thanks to Spanx and an eighteen-month detox-exfoliation-juicing regime accompanied by ten bajillion squat trusts.

I am a lady who likes swishy dresses and picnic tables. I will spend more on my ring, which I will wear the rest of my life, than on a dress I’ll outgrow in a year or two. And I will always opt for brownies over benchpresses, flabby arms be damned.

Though, in all honestly, the Talking-About-Weddings = Invitation rule I sort of get. You shouldn’t have to suffer through the Bridezilla agony if you don’t at least get cake.

But the thing is, I don’t want you to suffer through Bridezilla agony. Ever.

If you don’t want to hear me talk weddings, man up and say it, whether you end up coming or not. I’d rather we stayed friends and talked about cats wearing hats and the social politics of Les Mis anyway.

And in return I’ll let you in on a secret: I want to share this momentous life decision with all people I care about (even if we have decided to have a teeny tiny wedding ceremony to which pretty much no one is invited).

This isn’t about who matters or who we like. It isn’t a popularity contest and there is no in-crowd who will make the cut. I don’t want to stand in front of a crowd of people to say my vows

… but I want to hug and party with everyone in the universe when I shout from the rooftops about it before and after.

If that doesn’t work for you, I’m completely cool with that, daddy-o.

And may I suggest, then, that you don’t do it our way at your wedding. When it’s your thing, I’ll root for you: cupcake dress, personal trainer, and all. And if you don’t want to invite me to yours because you weren’t invited to mine, I promise, I won’t be even a little offended. In fact, I’ll even take you out for a quinoa spinach detox smoothie to celebrate (I might have a side of curly fries though).

So here’s to new futures, whether you wear a fascinator or fedora.

Whether you drink martinis or milkshakes.

Whether you listen to hip hop or NPR (or both).

Whether you like puppies or not.

Peace out,


(though seriously, who doesn’t like puppies?)


4 Responses to “Weddings: An open letter to no one”
  1. throckmorzog says:

    Not like puppies? What kind of angloeuro mallarky are they exposing you to on that island? Not like puppies. Seriously. As iif such a person exists outside Cardasia. (xoxo)


  2. Well done Sara, it needed to be said 😉

    Your posts always bring a smile to my face, long may that be the case for you both.


  3. Definitely! I planned my wedding in two months (well, officially two months; I was mentally putting things into place for several weeks before that) and it was exactly what both of us wanted. And bonus: no wedding-related debt! I think my one splurge was personalised stickers.

    Our reception had no fancy tiered cake, no meal, no DJ, no table settings – heck, no tables! – and no dancing. We had homemade cakes and poetry books. People still tell us how lovely our wedding reception was. That is exactly what I am grateful to hear.


    • smgrady says:

      Can you believe they make wedding loans (and some 25-30% of couples go into debt for this?) Madness I tell you.

      Glad yours was blissful, may ours be equally perfect to us!


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