Just What is so Wrong with “That” Type of Wedding?

by Melissa on April 11, 2011

Oh, well I don’t want “that” kind of wedding

Do you know the type of wedding I’m talking about?  When you tell people you’re on a budget and they tell you to check out firehalls or VFW posts or church halls to have your wedding reception.  Or when they tell you to try and cater it yourself.  Or they tell you to buy just a simple white off-the-rack dress instead of an elaborate wedding dress. And your immediate response, whether out loud or kept to yourself, is, “Well, I don’t want to have THAT type of wedding.”

What exactly is “THAT type of wedding?”  First though, let’s examine what “THAT” type of wedding is not.

Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, the Knot, and all sorts of other beautiful and inspiring magazines and blogs tell me the type of wedding I should have.  I don’t know how to characterize it, but I know that it definitely looks like this.

Magazine Wedding 1Source

Magazine Wedding 2 Source

aisle-rose-petals Source


Or, if I go with the trendy, DIY budget option, it should definitely look like this:

DIY wedding 2



DIY Wedding Flower Petals



DIY Wedding 3


As I look at photos of those DIY budget weddings, there is nothing “budget” about them.  At least not “budget” in the sense for anyone in the real world.  Just take a moment and look at all the STUFF that is in the photos.  How am I supposed to find aged oak barrels on a budget?  And purchase all those floral petals to make a DIY aisle? (yes, that is actually something listed as a DIY project on Martha Stewart)  How each item, even at just a few dollars a piece, can add to your budget so quickly.  In most of these photos, I don’t see a DIY wedding.  What I see is a carefully coordinated effort by a very talented wedding planner that puts all these elements together for a flawless, effortless look.  But, it does take effort.  And hassle.  And stress.  And MONEY.  But that is what my DIY budget wedding should look like, right?

Wait.  Who exactly is telling me what my wedding should look like?  And why am I paying attention to them?

Well, let’s face it.  We want those guests to think that “we’ve made it” and can afford a lavish wedding.  Or maybe we want them to think that we’re awesomely crafty and stylish.  We definitely want to have a more awesome wedding than the guests have ever attended before.  And we will stress ourselves out to no end to make it lavish and/or crafty and stylish.  Why though?  Who will judge us if it does not look like the above pictured weddings?

My fiancé and I are having our wedding ceremony and reception at a National Park campground site. Will guests judge me or my parents for not paying for a “proper” wedding that accommodates their guests to today’s wedding standards?

A public park campground site??  That sounds like it could be *gasp* the equivalent of having it at a firehall!

Can someone please, for the love of God, tell me what is so wrong with having a wedding at a church hall or firehall these days?  Does it convey that we’re poor, or worse, cheap?  Does it convey that we didn’t have the creativity to explore all sorts of amazing historical sites, art museums, or waterfront property rentals to host our wedding?  Will I be judged by my friends and family members if I don’t hand crimp our amazing textured linen stationery for our invitations?  Somehow, I doubt it.  But yet, it still nagged at me.

Recently, my fiancé digitized the 8mm film reel of my parents’ 1969 wedding.  The reception was held at the church hall.  There were no table linens.  Deli meat sandwiches and other basic foods were served on paper plates.  There was a small band.  Bottled Beer and soda in plastic cups.  And lots and lots of dancing.  And it looks like it was a blast.

When I first started wedding planning, I wanted a wedding that looked like the first set of pictures.  I figured I could bargain, find some perfect, unheard of location, buy uplighting, have amazing centerpieces, get all sorts of cool stuff from Etsy, and have one of those beautiful weddings for a fraction of the price that all those “suckers” pay.  Very quickly, my hopes were dashed.  Vendors operate like a cartel aren’t willing to negotiate.  $110 per person for food.  Maybe $80 if you can “bargain” with them.  The less expensive vendors don’t call you back.

As I became angry with wedding planning, people started suggesting things like having a wedding at a public park, or in a church hall, I scoffed, thinking to myself, “I don’t want THAT type of wedding.”

So, here we are.  What exactly is “THAT” type of wedding?  The type of wedding where a bride and groom say their vows and go to dinner and have a blast?  The type of wedding where family members who haven’t seen each other in a long time come together to celebrate a joyous occasion?

Well.  Yes, BUT, but maybe I won’t have a good time if there’s no uplighting or cutesy placecards or I’m not wearing a designer dress.  Or maybe my guests will never speak to me again if I don’t give them custom embroidered welcome bags.

Seriously, what did I become to actually think all that for even a second?

What has society and bridal magazines done to us?  We’ve become spoiled brats riddled with the affliction of conspicuous consumption, myself included.  The need to show off.  The need to one-up everyone.  So what if someone judges me because “so-and-so’s wedding last year was SO much more creative and beautiful.”  I’ve ditched toxic friends in the past.  I’d do it again if for a moment I thought someone judged me for having a “less-than-adequate” wedding.

So, I’m over it.  There is nothing wrong with having “That” type of wedding.  In fact, the only thing wrong is that I was so judgmental at first about having “That” type of wedding.  I’ve gone from wanting what was in that first set of photos, to wanting a wedding that’s ours, no matter what the above photos tell us ours should look like.

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