August 17: Can Weddings Be Simple?

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Truthfully I don’t think wedding planning can ever be that simple. It’s more like varying degrees of complications.  Once you get into the planning process, there are so much logistics to deal with PLUS the emotional baggage associated with that big event.

Everyone’s advice for keeping it simple is to elope, but very few people actually just elope.  The other popular advice is to focus on things that are most  important to you. This can be the flowers, music, photography, whatever.  That advice never seems to work because once you get into the planning, Every Little Thing becomes important either to yourself, your partner or your parents and friends.

Despite not really having any good tips (besides elope, elope, elope), here are some tips based on years of witnessing other brides go through the planning process:

1 ) Get a good photographer. Even if you think it’s expensive and not that important, years from now you’ll wish you had good photos.

2 ) Make sure both pitch in.  It may be the bride’s day but letting all the planning fall on one person’s lap is a bad way to start a marriage.

3 ) Don’t drag out the decision making process.  Narrow everything down to top 3 options and choose. Move on.  Five years from now, no one will remember if you had red or pink flowers etc.. 

Truthfully I think a lot of the problem comes from the fact that most people don’t do a lot of event planning and are simply bad at decision-making.

On a side note: Many frugal blogs recommend asking others to pitch in and that usually involves cooking, designing invites or photography.  The thing is: that graphic designer you know has probably been asked 50 times for that same favor but is too polite or nice to decline.  So tread carefully here and respect other’s people’s time and priorities!

Do you have any good ideas for simplifying the wedding planning process, or is it impossible to not get swallowed up by the machine?

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5 responses to “August 17: Can Weddings Be Simple?

  1. One of my friends got married 2-1/2 months after getting engaged. She had all the elements of a “traditional” wedding, including the white dress and veil, and it was a really lovely event. She said that one of the benefits of having a short engagement was that she literally did not have time to agonize over details–she made a decision and moved on.

    Mr. Sandwich and I were engaged for about eight months, and my father was the wedding planner. I told him what mattered to me (good photos, good food) and then was flexible about everything else. For example, I had a color scheme in mind, but when I went dress shopping with my two bridesmaids, the dress we found was a completely different look–so I based the color palette around their dresses (it mattered more to me that they looked great than that I stuck to a preconceived idea).

    The key, I think, is to remember that a wedding is about people–the bride and the groom, their families, and their friends. Have a ceremony that indicates what marriage means to you. Have a reception that celebrates your relationships and lets everyone enjoy themselves. And don’t worry too much about the details, because no one will notice them. Even if something goes wrong, what people will notice and remember is how you handle it. They will not notice that the curtains and the tablecloths are slightly different shades of whatever.

  2. Tragic – Really good tips. Most people think a shorter engagement increases the stress but you’re right in that it can actually simplify things by forcing you to make decision!

    • I always kept in mind that my real goal was to marry Mr. Sandwich, and that everything else was unnecessary. I remember telling one of my co-workers, “What if the cake falls on the floor? Oh, well, we’re still married!” That meant that I spent very little time stressing about what might happen, and was able to enjoy myself when the day arrived. The “why” is so much more important than the “what”!

  3. It’s been 11 years now and I don’t regret not having a professional photographer.

  4. We were married in the backyard by two of our best friends. We cooked some food in advance and asked everyone else to bring potluck in lieu of other gifts. My flowers came out of a friend’s garden (impromptu–she just showed up with them!) and other decorations were snagged from an event I’d worked several days before that were going to be tossed. Whole thing came together in a few months and cost less than $1,000. And everyone, including the bride and groom, had a great time.

    It definitely helped that our friends are foodies so the potluck was incredible, and that my mom didn’t want to be involved in any way other than showing up.

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