I try not to give unsolicited advice to people.
It’s difficult, as a Gryffindor who believes she’s always right, with a bit of Hufflepuff-ish desire to help people. I try to remember that NOT giving advice IS helping people. Being there is helping.
With wedding advice, I can’t help myself. Let’s put it like this. I wish someone had told me these things before planning my own wedding.
With a few friends recently engaged, I found myself breaking my no-unsolicited-advice rule. Usually when I have that itch, I write about it here. Because reading this article is optional. Reader, please only continue if you want to ;)
What I wish someone told me about planning a wedding
Do what YOU want.
I have never, ever wanted or dreamed about having a wedding. It’s kind of a nightmare scenario for a people-pleasing introvert.
I wasn’t excited about the party aspect of our wedding, but Steve and I decided it would be nice to have a celebration, especially because his parents couldn’t come to our City Hall ceremony in Boston. Besides, weddings – like birthdays, I’m learning – are a great way to pressure your favourite people to hang out with you. Why not cash in on that?
So, with my lukewarm interest in Having A Wedding, I thought, if I’m not fussed about the details, I should do things that make the guests happy. First of all, this is difficult to do without asking them.
You can’t please everyone, especially by guessing their preferences, so you might as well do what you want.
^ There. That’s my number one piece of advice.
You don’t have to follow ANY conventions, and if you want to respect your family by considering their expectations, discuss this with them instead of guessing. “I thought YOU wanted this?” “No I thought YOU wanted this!”
Advice based on awesome things we did right:
My exposure to wedding planning was mainly through alternative wedding blogger friends, so their influence helped me make some rad planning decisions that I’m very happy with. Such as…
Make your own wedding rings
^ we made those!!
We couldn’t be bothered to face the stuffy overwhelm of browsing fancy ring shops, so I was psyched to read about how to make our own rings on Rock n Roll Bride. It was THE BEST advice.
Turns out there’s a studio in Edinburgh that does wedding ring workshops. We picked out styles, then spent a day welding and shaping our rings. It was super fun, more meaningful, less expensive, AND a great way to support a local art studio. Speaking of which…
(Pretty much all pictures of wedding rings make me think of Lord of the Rings…just me?)
Support your favourite places and businesses.
We had our wedding party at Exeter College, the very best college in Oxford (I might be biased), and drinks at one of my favourite local restaurants, Turl Street Kitchen.
After years as a student buying £1 bags of cut offs from the Covered Market’s Cake Shop (this is a thing! If you’re in Oxford check it out!), I finally had the excuse to request one of their dreamy custom ones. It was subtly mountaineering-themed. The flowers were also from the Covered Market, and I indulged in a custom flower from from Crown & Glory.
Have fun on the Engagement Shoot!
Most wedding photographers will include an engagement shoot. We had already had a professional photographer at our City Hall wedding, and that felt kinda like what an engagement shoot usually is, so we asked if we could go climbing with our photographers and their dog. It was way more fun than we thought an engagement shoot could be!
You’re going to be stressed. Make it about something you care about/that is adorable.
We gave Tsum Tsums as wedding favours. As Steve reasoned, who can’t look at these things and not smile? I believe every guest was won over by Disney’s adorable little squish-faced toys.
There were always going to be wedding emergencies and stressful situations. The good thing is, ours were about Tsum Tsums. My mom visited several Disney Stores for variety, and I would get urgent text messages like “They only have winking Daisies. Is it okay if they’re winking?” “I found Eeyore, but it’s sleepy Eeyore!”
You won’t get to spend enough time with everyone but that’s okay. They just want to be there. I look back on the day with sadness that so many people had traveled a long way, and I didn’t get to spend quality time with each person.
When I think about the weddings I’ve attended, though, I have a different perspective. Of course I’m not expecting a long catch up with the couple, no matter how far away we live. As a guest I want to be there. That’s it. I want to show up on the day, and share the memory forever after.
And we come full circle: being there is helping.
P.S. My wedding was featured on Rock n Roll Bride, if you’re curious to see all the photos and details!
P.P.S. What’s the wedding advice you can’t help but share? Let me know on Twitter!
P.P.P.S. My advice for weddings is my advice for life: do things your own way. Find out how to feel wonderful about the decisions you make, and how you spend your time. ❤️