November 14, 2009

This Is YOUR Wedding: Do Things Your Way

The entire wedding process that I've been going through for awhile now has really given me some perspective on values, traditions, and expectations.  While a lot of brides just go about planning their wedding with traditional events and milestones (the bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner etc), I'm not really one of those brides. Deviating from the norm in any way, though, really seems to surprise people, or make them think that something might be wrong with you.

Case in point: A lot of my friends were shocked when I told them I wasn't having a bridal shower.  The reason I decided not to have one is because my fiance and I already live together, and we have too much stuff crammed into our two bedroom condo as it is. Adding tons of kitchenware did not seem practical, especially when we had to already give away goods to consolidate our collection after I moved in with him. We do need a few more expensive items, such as a good mixer, that we were not going to get at a shower due to their price, so having one didn't make much sense. Why not have an alternative bridal shower, like a lingerie shower you ask? Answer: most of our relatives in the area are older, stuffy conservatives (no offense) and it would not be very fun way for me to spend the day.  To make up for the lack of a bridal shower, my fiance's mother is generously taking us shopping this weekend with the money she saved from not throwing a shower, to buy a few new items that we do need, like the mixer.

Instead of a shower, I'm also having two bachelorette parties, which I think is WAY more fun. I didn't initially intend to have two parties, but given that I grew up in New England, went to college in NYC, and now live in Chicago, my friends tend to live all over the country, and many could not make it to my Midwest party. So I had a fun, low key bachelorette weekend with my Chicago friends, as we took a road trip to coastal Michigan, and rented a cute beach cottage.  It was early October when we went, and we had a great time enjoying the fall colors while pumpkin and apple picking, getting lost in a corn maze (seriously), and getting mighty tipsy at all of the lovely wineries and vineyards in the area. 

Round Barn Winery in Michigan

I'll be having another bachelorette party in Boston the weekend prior to my wedding.  This will probably be a more traditional, crazy party given that my East Coast friends are a bit wilder.  To further go against the grain, I'll also be including a few male friends in this party, because why exclude close friends from your celebration just because they are the opposite sex? In the end, while it would have also been fun to have one large party will all of my friends present, I really like the idea of having two very different parties, and getting the best of both worlds!

Boston Skyline

Another way in which I'm having a non-traditonal aspect to my wedding is my rehearsal dinner.  In the interest of saving money, my mom, sister and I initially discussed having the rehearsal dinner at home, with my mom cooking all of her scrumptious New England delicacies (calamari, lobster balls . . . mmmm).  But after we created a head count for the event, my mom felt cooking for that many people would be too overwhelming with everything else she had going on the day before the wedding.

But I didn't want to hold the rehearsal at a restaurant, since this would be the first time certain members of our families had met, and I wanted people to be able to mingle, chat and relax, instead of being isolated at separate tables.  So, we decided to still hold the party at home, but get the majority of the food catered, while my mom would still cook the appetizers that we all love. I'll be making a hot mulled wine as the signature drink (more about that to come) for the event, and we're going to put a single long table in our living room, so everyone can sit together in front of a roaring fire and chat over good seasonal eats. 

These are just a few of the issues I've had with the expectations and traditions that come with being a bride-to-be.  I plan to blog more about other ones in the near future. What do you think? Has anyone else been struggling with tradition as much as I have? What traditions are important to you to hold on to, and which ones, if any, have you eschewed in favor of doing things your way?



  1. I totally agree about the questions that arise when you go against "tradition". I did have a more traditional wedding while my sister had a destination wedding; people still ask (2 years later) why they didn't get married locally. I think the important point is it is your wedding. You need to do what makes you and your groom happy.

  2. It's tough to please everybody! My mother-in-law can't understand our money-saving ideas (invitation kits, silk flowers, no junior bridesmaid, only one shower, etc), so it's been interesting, to say the least.

    I'm glad you were able to come up with some alternatives that work for everyone -- I think it's all about being firm and picking your battles.

  3. It really is impossible to make everyone happy! We've had people look at us like we're crazy for things like not having a shower, honeymoon registry, and even something as simple as having a food stations reception rather than a plated dinner! Even if we forget what we want, our close family members all have different opinions. I think that's been my least favorite part of the planning thus far.

  4. It really can put a damper on things. We want to change some things up and its interesting to see the resistance and discussions we get because of this. For example, a traditional favor is the Mexican wedding cookie. Neither of us like it, and more importantly, nor do our parents! But they keep insisting that we "can't" not have these as its what people will expect. Its definitely true that you can't please everyone, and we are trying to pick our battles and let things go, but I can totally relate to what you are going through.

  5. Eff traditions. The only ones I'm holding onto are those that have meaning to us and add to the core purpose of our wedding: family, commitment, joy, and marriage. Therefore, we're holding onto the ceremony+reception structure, having a religious ceremony, and the rest is up in the air. So many "traditions" started off with those purposes in mind and got ossified into BS "rules" along the way. I'm adapting left and right, trying to hold onto the core reasons, and trying to ignore the shock and negativity along the way (my hair - really, you have problems with my hairstyling choices?! Then you're going to hate my bouquet...and everything else.) Everyone will love your when they experience it, regardless of "tradition."

  6. That's a sexy mixer.

    And as your crazy East Coast friend, call me soon so we can discuss said wild party.



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