I have been a long-time wedding blog reader and my Pinterest wedding board is a curated collection of only the most airy, light, and beautiful ceremonies. I've watched countless wedding videos in the last few years, and cried over the majority of them. To say that I have been waiting for the day that I could plan my own wedding would be a gross understatement. I have been dreaming of the grand affair for a few years.
To love beautiful photographs, styled ever so carefully and photographed exquisitely, by Jose Villa, Erich McVey, KT Merry, Bryce Covey (to name a few), is an entirely different thing than actually planning your own wedding and finding vendors that you love. And for me, on a small normal person's budget (my family will be helping with some of the venue costs), it is simply not a reality. Being a style blogger myself, photography instantly struck me as one of the most important pieces of my wedding and I was quickly brought back to reality when looking at the cost of hiring a photographer the likes of which graces the pages of OnceWed. For someone looking toward an under $10,000 total wedding cost, a photographer whose packages start at $8,000 is far beyond my means.
And that rule applies to everything you see in gorgeous photos like the ones on the blog today. These gorgeous tents? They range in price from $3,000 to $20,000, just for a rental. And the chivari chairs, oh so gorgeous but at $5.50 a chair rental (not covering delivery fee). Those lovely plated meals, charcuterie trays and figs lusciously roasted? Maybe $80-$120 a head. Not counting alcohol.
And that doesn't even count the venues - renting a beautiful beachside home, or a spacious hall runs you about $5,000-$10,000 and up depending on the season, and that's just for seven hours of time. I could go on.
My point here is not to complain about costs or point out the atrocity of wedding planning, but to share this struggle with other future brides or disappointed planners that are trying to keep their heads above water. I know I have already shed too many tears about this and given my parents a planning complex themselves. I hope that perhaps a grain of this will make someone else out there feel better about their struggles.
My first piece of advice, coming from three weeks of planning and from a still-venue-less girl? Ditch the Pinterest board wedding.
To emulate the beauty seen throughout these pins I've shared, on a budget as tight as mine, would be folly. If I tried to copycat the photo above, I'd end up not being able to afford the long table linens and going with something off-white or not-quite-right. I'd have to forgo chivari chairs and find something a bit less glamorous (metal and folding). My flowers would be hand-arranged, by me, and hideous. My dishware? Probably plastic. The tent? Non-existent. The venue? Dark. The photographer, about $5,000 less than the one that shot the photos above, and probably struggling to capture my dark indoor wedding with plastic plates.
And even then, it'd merely look like an imitation of some beautiful wedding that was someone else's glorious execution. And so it would not be me. Or Ben. Or my family. Or his family. It wouldn't be our life together. It would be someone else's.
Trying to copycat the pastel scenes that grace Pinterest and stylish blogs all around has led me down a dangerous road of disappointment (mainly about cost and feasibility). But more importantly, it has led me to a place where I find it easy to forget exactly what Ben and I initially wanted. A day to celebrate ourselves with an intimate group (no more than forty guests). A day where we could sit down and eat, not be worried about trying to speak to 500 people, or worry about 100 floral arrangements wilting in the heat, or uncomfortable gold chairs sinking into a lawn. A day where we didn't feel like our hard-earned money was being spent on something that wasn't quite right. That wasn't quite us.
Dreaming up these orchestrated expensive weddings also led me away from those personal touches that make weddings so special and intimate. When you pull away those famous images you let yourself start from scratch. Instead of looking at photos of perfect flower arrangements, you remember that your grandmother has the most beautiful garden and can arrange flowers like a professional florist. You remember that your mother makes a perfect and infinitely more tasty lilikoi cheesecake that people cannot stop talking about. You remember that you don't like figs and Ben doesn't like charcuterie, but you both love a good barbecue. You uncover family friends willing to do a favor And you remember that having this insanely expensive venue isn't worth sacrificing having your favorite wine to share with your guests or a glass of your favorite champagne.
I'm not yet wise about wedding planning but I do know that it's capable of driving you completely insane. I believe that's due to getting caught in a trap of envy, of wishing I had the funds to make something dreamy like the above happen, wishing I had the grace or the skill to hand-make something perfect. And those thoughts make me forget that I do have the skill to make this the perfect day for Ben, our families, and me, and those closest to me do as well. And in the middle of the teary mess that is coming to these conclusions, something even more gorgeous is starting to form. And it's absolutely us. And absolutely perfect.
My advice for you all is this:
1. Don't look at photos until you've decided what is most important to you (venue, dress, ceremony, reception, food, photography, etc.).
2. Look to inspirational photos for inspiration on specific items (what color chair, what color linens, what kind of flower for the season). Don't throw yourself into the maze that is Pinterest or wedding blogging unless you want to emerge without a clear vision and a bit more depressed.
3. Don't let convention and "what you should do" dictate any decisions. If you want a destination wedding, go. If you want a massive wedding in an open field, do it. If you want to elope, run away to the mountains or the sea and forget the mess. It will be all the more memorable when you make it you.
I hope to make this a regular series - sharing my experiences planning this wedding. I don't intend for this to become a wedding blog, but I find myself wishing I had someone to talk to about the frustration of wedding planning and think perhaps there may be others out there with the same thoughts. From one insane Pinner/dreamer/wisher to another.