Since being engaged I have gone through a flurry of planning and schematizing. It's crunch time. Our wedding date is November 1, 2014 and we have finalized our location and not where initially thought. We are going to have the wedding of our dreams in a family friend's backyard. (Which is also the same backyard we hosted the Craftravaganza in.)
What I want out of my wedding is what anyone wants from their wedding, a beautiful day spent with friends and family, delicious food, drinks and marrying their best friend for a memorable day. I'm planning a casual wedding and doing everything myself with the help of a team of bridesmaids, future sisters- in-law and a lot of family & friend support. If you are a diy and crafty bride that's planning a wedding yourself or plan to when it's time, russell+hazel has a great template of a timeline/checklist that's FREE! Their organizing systems are amazing and make planning easy.
In this reviving diy age, everyone is using their creativity (Pinterest) to have an outside of the box wedding and I love it. Weddings don't have to all be the same, most of the time people do what they're expected to because of perception. The ring, for example should cost so much or be so big. (More on this soon) There are dozens of wedding traditions, originating from many countries, religions, and time periods that are antiquated and useless as can be read here, here and here. For instance, the garter toss:
This practice, as it turned out, was devised as a way to actually physically protect the bride from the wedding guests.
It derives from a tradition in medieval England and France called "fingering the stocking." Guests would actually go into the wedding chamber and check the bride's stockings for signs that the marriage had been consummated. Further, in France, the bride would shudder with terror at the end of the wedding ceremony because guests would actually rush her at the altar to snag a piece of her dress, which was considered a piece of good luck.
A wedding would end with a battered bride sobbing at the altar in a snarl of tattered rags.
Apparently, these practices were so intrusive and invasive that someone, somewhere, decided to pacify the mob by tossing out the garter.
Crazy right? Doesn't sound like something I want to do.
A bride and groom should be free to do what it is makes them happy to celebrate their day. Like this couple that for their wedding registry wanted to "register" to different restaurants because they love going out to eat. The couple, who married later in life, didn't need home goods, because they're grown adults that live on their own. But the blog post from A Cup of Joe, poses it as a "do or don't" in the title- because it's a nonconformist idea. While the over 100 comments in the comment section were elated by the idea, one commenter accepted she was an outlier by admitting she was "lukewarm" to the idea and that it seems "self indulgent and wasteful".
We are all entitled to our own opinions but my point is how attached many women are to wedding traditions. Wedding registries don't have to be solely for stuff anymore. Couples have registries that help guests contribute to honeymoons, charities and experiences. Find ideas here and here.
Going dress shopping for the first time was a weird thing. (But that was probably because I went to David's Bridal which I would never recommend to anyone!!!) Ladies started asking me if I wanted white-white or ivory or eggshell or whatever other shades of white exist in the wedding dress industry because apparently every woman knows, "my dress has to be ::insert shade of white::". I honestly didn't care and white in general is becoming less of the norm as brides are wearing any color (and length) and there are lists of dresses for that very non-traditional bride. Dresses are also incredibly expensive and there are many alternatives to the standard a-line, strapless wedding dress have come to fruition like H&M marketing to the budget-conscious bride with their $99 wedding dress.
Why Are Wedding Dresses So Expensive? The disappointing truth is:
The reason stores get away with this [a mark up of 200% the actual cost of a wedding dress], Kenney found, springs from two economic concepts: asymmetric information (the buyer knows virtually nothing about wedding dresses) and signaling (the “message” that an expensive dress sends, both about the bride’s social status and her seriousness about the marriage). - Caitlin Dewey The Washington Post
For this reason and how budget friendly I aim to be, I am considering a dress rental or buying pre-owned. Speaking of dresses, I didn't want my bridesmaids to spend a lot of money on a dress. So I gave them the freedom to find what ever dress they pleased that was black. Here's an article where a woman had to basically defend why she was comfortable having her bridesmaids buying a Zara dress because it was "received like revolutionary news" when people found out she got her dresses at Zara. Hmmm. A dress fit for a wedding can be found anywhere, it doesn't have to be from a bridal shop made out of boring satin with bows on it.
The average cost of an American wedding is $28,000, that's not nearly as much as I am comfortable spending on one day. A story I found just endearing was a thank you letter from the mother of the bride to her daughter in how thankful she was for her untraditional (and low budget) wedding.
My favorite article and one that exactly relates how I feel is, "Confronting Tradition: Weddings and Feminism". She explains it perfectly, "we decide to reclaim and remake the institution of marriage, and shape it into something that works for us."
"That is what I hope for all of you: the ability to embrace who you are and what you want with zero guilt (and a really pretty dress, if you want it)."
Follow my inspiration and ideas on the wedding's Pinterest account, RayaWedd. And find ideas here and on Off Beat Bride.
Photographs by Ashley Lynn Richards