As I mentioned before, we did our best to create a wedding that was authentically "us". We removed things that we didn't like and we emphasized the things that were important to us.
It all sounds so easy, right? Well, it wasn't. Even though we had decided early in the process that we wedding was about us, we still encountered plenty of resistance to this concept.
With the dozens of different views and beliefs we were surrounded by, it was difficult to resist the ideas that didn't fit within our vision of the wedding. Both of our families maintain a fairly traditional view of marriage and weddings which meant that ours would be something that many of them had never experienced before. I can't remember the last wedding in either of our families that didn't include a church ceremony, a banquet hall reception, a cake cutting, a first dance, and a grand exit.
This was disconcerting for us. Although it was important to us that our wedding be an honest reflection of us as a couple, our friends and families were a huge part of our big day and we wanted everyone to have a good time. Being the people pleasers that we are, we certainly didn't want our wedding to be thought of as the weird one of the family. Okay, I'm a big liar. The people pleaser thing is all on me, I don't think Mr. FP could have cared either way.
But with a cottage venue, a groom in sneakers, a cupcake tower, a photo booth, and a lack of dancing, I kept thinking about how weird this would probably be for most of our guests. I mean, not only did we make a few alterations to the traditional wedding formula, but we chucked almost the whole thing out. I mean, literally, almost the whole thing. Other than the fact that we were getting married and that there would be food, our wedding had very little else in common with the other weddings in our families.
Of course, by wedding blog standards, our wedding was going to be perfectly normal. After spending so many months reading about weddings like ours, I almost feel as though the collective community of "offbeat couples" have re-written the formula for weddings.
If the traditional wedding formula dictates that a wedding include a church ceremony, grand entrance, banquet hall reception, sit down dinner, cake cutting, bouquet/garter toss, and a dance party... offbeat weddings usually include an authentic ceremony, a unique decorated reception, a photo booth, a pie table, and a dance party.
Although the very nature of the anti-wedding industrial complex movement is opposed to the concept of any kind of wedding formula because each wedding is unique to each couple, the latter seems to be considered more acceptable by the wedding blog community.
But our families aren't exactly as immersed in the offbeat wedding movement as we were, so how were they supposed to know that photo booths and cupcakes were normal. Wouldn't they just think this stuff was weird? Would they think our wedding was lacking because it didn't follow the flow of weddings they had attended in the past?
Honestly, in the weeks before our wedding, I thought that most of our family would probably think our wedding was weird. But because we were so determined to have an honest and authentic day, we didn't care. Weird or not, this was the wedding they'd be attending.
As it turns out, they didn't think it was weird at all.
I was shocked.
Everyone was so happy to be there that no one seemed to notice the lack of a grand entrance, first dance, and bouquet toss. And if they did notice, they didn't seem to care. Everyone was elated by the location, the food, the do-it-together flowers, the tissue paper poms, and the cupcakes amongst other things. Even though it was a different experience for most of them, some of the best compliments we received were given because of the unique elements we included. And even better than the compliments on the details was the amount of love we received from our families and friends who were thrilled to join us at our wedding.
Although I'd been told that the elation of family and friends usually overcomes any differences of opinion concerning the formula weddings should follow (especially from the Wedding Graduates over at A Practical Wedding) but I don't think I was ever able to truly believe it. I wanted to. Oh hell yes, I wanted to believe it more than anything. But I was convinced that our wedding would be too far outside the box for most of our family members.
Looking back, I should have given our families more credit. Although our wedding was unlike anything most of our guests had attended in the past, the love we received from them was just as powerful as it would have been if we'd hosted our wedding in a banquet hall. I should have realized that from the beginning, but I was too consumed by my need to live up to the expectations of our guests.
From where I stand now, I only wish I could have set aside these worries long ago and realized early in the process that our family would be able to appreciate our wedding for what it was... an expression of our love for one another.
So stop worrying yourselves. You know who you are. You're the ones who spend hours agonizing over the traditions you know you want to ditch but don't because you're afraid of what your families or friends might think. So I hope that you don't spend too much time worrying about the reactions of others.
Instead, I hope you remain true to what you and your partner need and want. Keep in mind, it's your wedding, not theirs. Yes, they are a part of it, but you and your partner are the center. People will accept and embrace the changes you make to the wedding formula so don't think otherwise.
I tell you this in spite of the fact that I know that you probably won't be able to truly listen or understand until your wedding is over, until you have experienced that joy.
Here's to hoping you figure it out sooner rather than later because you could save yourself some worrying and heartache.
If I could go back 3 months and clear my brain of the space that worrying about others occupied, I could have made room for a brooch bouquet and wedding bunting. Dang.