Monday, October 12, 2015

Thoughts on (My) Weddings

We attended a wedding this past weekend. It's our third wedding this year, the second that the girls attended with us, and all three weddings we've gone to in 2015 have been outdoors--but I hadn't ever been to an outdoor wedding before this year. The weather was very, very hot for the weddings we went to in July and September, so we were glad that October gave us a reprieve and the weather was gorgeous on Saturday.

Generally speaking, I love weddings--all the weird antiquated traditions and problematic gender roles aside, it's just such an awesome, brave, optimistic thing to celebrate. And, honestly, I kind of like the weird, antiquated traditions. But I also love when people put their own spin on things.

I got married before Pinterest (Gasp! Can you even believe that a wedding could be done without Pinterest? I mean seriously.) and I was two weeks shy of turning 24 years old (which is ridiculously young) but I loved everything about my wedding at the time. As I look back now, though, with the benefit of hindsight, maturity, and Pinterest, I can think of a few things I'd change. (For starters, the groom! Haha, kidding, obvs.)

What I would do differently...

I'd have both my parents walk me down the aisle.

I'd let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses (with my consultation because that's the fun part!) and be way more chill about the "colors" -- my favorite color is blue, so I'd go with various shades of blue and keep them short.

I'd use less traditional songs.

I'd have us write our own vows.

I'd bring a change of clothes for leaving the reception (my poufy dress barely fit in David's little sports car and it knocked things off the wall at our B&B as we climbed the narrow stairs to our suite).

I'd get someone on Etsy to make my invitations so I didn't end up crying at Kinko's when they messed up my beautiful paper.

Of course, I got married eleven years ago (before Etsy!). My tastes have changed since then (in some things, not in husbands, fortunately)! The things I'd want now were things I really thought I didn't want then, and vice versa.

Like, I loved my tiara that I wore (borrowed it from Crafty Cousin Amanda--and when else do you get to wear a tiara as an adult?) but I'm not sure I'd wear one if I were getting married now. (Maybe that's the difference between getting married in your twenties and your thirties--whether you feel comfortable in a tiara?).

feeling very comfortable in a tiara
At the time, I wanted a very traditional wedding, and now I'd want it to be more eclectic and personalized. But there are some things that I wouldn't want to give up, or, maybe like the tiara, some things that I might do differently now, but that I'm really glad happened the way they did then.

Things I loved about my wedding...

It was in my hometown, in the church I grew up in.

I love that our reception was a huge ridiculous party. It only happened that way because we were in our mid-twenties and between David's friend and my friends we had the perfect storm of party-people, to the extent that most of them were painfully hung over the next day (we just don't drink like that anymore). The reception hall was not especially nice (very bare bones), but we dimmed the lights, drank the booze, and had a great time.

I love that our DJ (a friend of my parents) was so into the party he kept playing way past the time-frame we'd arranged, and brought out a box of costume props and a microphone for an impromptu karaoke singalong.

I love that we had heavy appetizers on various tables around the reception hall, instead of a formal dinner so there wasn't the wait of a buffet line or sitting to be served and lots more moving around.

I love that I had an all-white bouquet so it was gorgeous but it didn't take the focus off my dress.

I love that I wore a pearl necklace that had been my Grandma Vance's. She passed away when I was in college, and I wish she could have been at my wedding. It was a sweet way to feel like she was there with me.

I love that we left the church in one of David's grandpa's vintage Mustangs and cruised through town like we were in a parade, waving while people honked and cheered (small towns are the best!)

I love that our first dance was Ann Murray's "Can I Have This Dance?" It's so incredibly cheesy, but also the sweetest and the best.

I love how much I loved my dress. Again, I don't know that I'd pick the exact same dress now (I probably wouldn't... I'd go with something that had more lace and less bling, I think) but I adored that dress at the time, and it still makes me very happy. I'm glad it wasn't strapless (because it seemed like every wedding dress was strapless that decade) and I felt beautiful in it.

Oh--I would definitely change my shoes. I didn't really even like them, but they were white and inexpensive and the heels weren't too high or wobbly, and I figured nobody would see them anyway. But I knew they were there. And I didn't love them. I think now it would have been worth it to me to have shoes I loved underneath that dress.

How about you? What did you love about your wedding? What would you go back and do differently? I would love to know.


  1. Hey, I got married 11 years before I even owned a computer, & nobody had ever heard of the Internet, let alone Pinterest. ;) I could write my own post on this (& maybe I will...). The first thing that springs to mind that I would change is I would spend more on photography. I got a few really good photos but the majority of them are just OK. Our photographer was someone I knew from university -- he was cheap, & he knew the great locations on campus (which is where we had our wedding), but there's just not the attention to detail that someone more experienced in wedding photography would have paid attention to.

  2. I'm legitimately pissed I got married before pinterest.

    My things are about the same as you - I LOVED my dress then and loved my tiara, but would do a more form fitting lace dress now with much more flowy/soft hairstyle. I also would have different bridesmaids dresses (and different bridesmaids/groomsmen! - though we had SEVEN of each!), but at it's just what the style was then. I also was 23 and that is SO CRAZY YOUNG!

    We were married in Wisconsin and I loved our mass, but wish we could have done an outdoor reception - as Wisconsin in the summer is so lovely. Instead we were basic and had our reception at a Marriott.

  3. We went to the courthouse on a Wednesday. Got married with our two best friends to sign. Went for Thai food and then bowling. Got on a plane barely. Got to our lodge in a blizzard and sat by the fire. We come from two very different backgrounds. It was the right choice and I wouldn't do a thing different. It was weird though. The first and only time our families met was at C's funeral. I was clearly not aware of anything at that point so I don't really know how it went. I suppose I could have a birthday party or something and make it a big deal. But I prefer the intimacy of just a few people. Guess I'm not in too big of a hurry to find out. ~M

  4. Pshaw, 24, that's ancient! I got married a month after my 22nd birthday. :) I was never one to dream about weddings, but mine was basically everything I wanted -- no fuss, no frills. I got to wear my grandmother's dress, 50 years after she did, and my mother-in-law's veil, almost 30 years after she did (pics!!, as well as an amethyst pendant that belonged to my favorite great-aunt who'd passed away a few months earlier.

    If I did it again now, would I do anything different? That's such a hard question to answer. I may have simplified my bridesmaid's dresses a little bit, so that they'd be more versatile in the future -- but neither of my bridesmaids are the type to get glammed up in that sort of dress anyway, so I'm not sure they would've re-used simpler ones.

    Nope, thinking back on it 11+ years later, I'm not really sure I'd change anything.

    [Regarding your shoes, mine were VERY similar! I wanted something cheap, comfortable, and durable, because I remember the fun I had as a kid trying on my mom's wedding shoes, and wanted to have a pair I could do the same with for my kids. Huh. I should find them and get them out of storage because I think Gwen's old enough to enjoy that now!]

  5. I have no idea where that tiara is, but if I can find it, I think Zu needs it for dress up!

  6. I love that your bouquet was white like the dress. Mine was primarily pink (as was my dress -- pale pink).

    I loved my dress and still do. My MIL made it and I cherish it. If I'd had more time/money, I would have gotten other, better shoes, but the ones I had were cute enough. I loved that we had a horse and carriage. I loved that we had a string quartet. We were married outside on a beautiful day and I still love the location. It makes me smile that your reception was a party. I would have changed everything about my reception -- location, catering, dj (we gave a list of songs specifically NOT to play and that idiot played Kenny G. My mother suggested he was illiterate). I would have chosen a better limo service because the driver was 40 minutes late getting us and I'd been so determined to start on time. I wouldn't use goldfish as a centerpiece (it was a cute idea of my husband's, but some of them died, so, not that good of an idea after all LOL. One lucky person at each table got the pretty IKEA vases, though). I'd have taken a change of clothes too, like you mentioned and written our own vows. Our oldest daughter was 19 months old and sick. I'd change that. And probably I'd change that my husband wasn't feeling well either and is smiling in exactly ONE photo (and I'm not in it). But! We've been married 13 years so I guess it didn't piss me off that much.

    I really want to renew our vows for our 15th anniversary and have it at the same place.

  7. I loved my wedding. And maybe I've been married the longest (in the comments here so far), at just over 15 years. It was certainly before you could easily search online for inspiration or sources, but I've had a few people tell me that our wedding was the first "different" wedding they attended. And in a lot of ways it was. I grew up in the south, many of my friends married younger than we did (although we were still young, we were through college and three masters), and most of them got married in their own church with a simple punch and cookies (plus mints + nuts) reception in the fellowship hall of the same church. I also never attended a wedding reception as a child where alcohol was served.

    But there was one significant tidal change in wedding planning at that time - the dawn of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. That changed the game, long before pinterest. I had a couple of those magazines, and loved them. We got married in my childhood church (although we lived 350 miles away), had the reception in a grand old historic home in Lexington, had a large swing band playing with dancing (unheard of in my circles!), and my dad sugared hundreds of pieces of fruit on newspapers on the garage floor that were arranged in every sterling silver bowl we could borrow from every lady we knew for centerpieces.

    I love how much time we put into all the details - including my parents and friends and their friends. My grandmother made all six of my bridesmaids dresses, and they all lived in different states! I loved our photographer, and I remember that he was so excited to not shoot the standard posed church photos because we wanted more casual photos and photos of all the details. I also loved the fact that we had a big wedding and that so many people came from so far away. I always assumed that my circles from growing up would be well represented, but it blew us away who was there. Probably because we grew up in different states / regions, and attended three different universities with friends from all over the country. It's truly amazing and humbling when you realize that people bought plane tickets to celebrate our big day with us.

    What would I change? I'm not sure. I still love my dress and I loved my flowers. Everything was really simple and elegant, which was nice, because I don't generally like to be dressed up or the center of attention. I felt comfortable throughout the whole thing, which was probably the best part of it all. I love weddings though, so I could totally enjoy planning another one and executing it. My grandfather married us, which I loved, but I do wish we had written a portion of our own vows, and the ceremony seemed to go by fast!

    I laughed at your comment about strapless dresses. My sister got married in 2002 and wore a strapless gown (and looked AMAZING in it), and I think it was the first one I saw. Then every dress afterwards for the next ten years was strapless! You look beautiful in yours.

  8. Loved this so much, I wrote a whole post about it!!

  9. I was barely 22 and my shoes came from the Delia's catalogue, which I ordered over the phone because they didn't have a website :)

  10. I'd change everything but the man. ;) Sixteen and a half years ago, my fiance, (who I now realize I barely knew) basically flipped out and couldn't handle the (very small sweet) wedding I was planning at a lovely teahouse / restaurant (it was in an old Victorian house, they were catering it too, as you'd imagine a teahouse would) and insisted we get married in Las Vegas while we were there visiting/ meeting his mother. I was 25, and I believed I belonged with him. They might have been the only thing I was right about! We made the most of it, but I think the music I walked down the (tiny Vegas chapel) aisle to and my man are the only two things I would keep. I have random dreams of renewing our vows for our twentieth anniversary. We'll see.

    As much as it sounds like he was being unfair - and he was, lol - part of his problem was that my mom was taking over, and I was letting her. If I'd reined her in better (no, Mom, you really don't need to make all the dresses, thanks) and taken more of his requests into consideration, I may have had the wedding I intended. I've seen now how Mom goes full wedding-planned-zilla on other weddings, and how freaking passive aggressive she gets about that, and realize my husband was probably right about how out of control things were getting. Also, as he and I had only known each other five months, I think she was purposefully trying to take as long as she could with everything so we would have more time or something, idk. She cried for three days, so I felt bad about that, of course. I feel like if she'd handled things less ridiculously, again, maybe the wedding would've happened as planned, too, though.

    But next time, if we do it right, it'll be with a planner, and Mom's only job will be to show up! I think I want to do it in Las Vegas still!