I was talking to a sweet high school friend of mine today. She’s planning for her wedding along with being lead singer of LittleLam. She wanted advice on how to plan a wedding without losing her shit.
And I figured there might be more of you who are freaking out over your own wedding. Or anything else. This advice works for you too. Not freaking the eff out is a way of life.
So here’s my advice on how to not freak the eff out about weddings:
- I see way too many peeps (especially women) stress out about their wedding. It really really REALLY doesn’t have to be like that. I don’t think I had one moment of stress about mine… sincerely and truly.
- Don’t try and make your wedding the most creative, magnificent, perfect extravaganza ever. That’s a sure fire way to go batshit crazy. Repeat this over and over as mantra: The important thing is you get the marry the love of your life. That’s all a wedding is for.
- Don’t become a Pinterest freak about wedding decor. That shit will drive you crazy.
- Don’t compare yourself or your wedding or your relationship. Keep your eyes on your own yoga mat.
- Spend less on the wedding and more on relationship counselling. Seriously, that shit will set you up for a lasting relationship & more happiness than any wedding will.
- Involve the crap out of your husband. Get him to do stuff with you. If he thinks it’s stupid or a waste of time or too much money, it probably is and you shouldn’t do it. Guys are really good at keeping things simple.
- Use your creativity to create something else other than a dream wedding. Seriously. Make something else. It will make you way more sane (and won’t cost you a fraction of the amount). I had so many other creative projects happening that I barely even registered our wedding as a project.
- Here was my plan: hire a cheap venue with pretty outdoor space (it was a caravan park near the ocean). Got cafe caterers to do a buffet lunch for pretty cheap (I think it was about $40 a person and it was really hearty – lots of asian food om nom nom). Invited only about 40-50 people, probably could have done with even less than that. We also said no pressure to people who lived away – we didn’t want them to make the trip if it was not the right thing for them. We also didn’t freak out about who couldn’t be there – we had dear friends who weren’t able to come. That’s okay. We have wonderful times with them at other times. Didn’t do fancy invitations – just sent out an email with a picture and a letter. Sent out printed versions to peeps who were non-emaily. Told guests not to worry about presents.
WOAH. LOOK AT MA FANCY INVITES. SERIOUSLY: DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY + DELIGHTS YOU!
- Had a family member make the cake and create a lolly buffet. Had music on an ipod. Had NO speeches or timetable. Had no flowers (except a fresh flower halo) and no bridal party. Had a friend as photographer (she also happened to be our doula). She gave us the digital pictures afterwards, I made a big album and got one large canvas printed. Honestly I wish I’d gone for a smaller, cheaper album so I didn’t feel so precious about looking through it. I’d rather one that’s well thumbed than perfectly preserved. We asked another friend (who was also at Ostara’s birth) to be our celebrant. She wasn’t registered as a celebrant so we had a courthouse wedding a few days beforehand for it to be legal.
- Here’s the dress I got. Cost me about $100 from memory. Still have it and wear it. Will probably tie dye it blue at some point. The shawl is now my meditation shawl. It’s been used so much it got a hole in it which I ended up sewing a felted patch over. It didn’t look exactly how I thought it would on me. It was fine, but not perfect. My care factor was approximately zip. I also forgot my favourite bra to wear under it. Again: nobody cares.
OH LOOK! SURVEYOR’S TAPE USED AS STREAMERS! PRETTY! PAPER STREAMER THINGS ME + BABY STARRY DID IN AN AFTERNOON IN THE BACKYARD! FLOWERS NABBED FROM TREES! SO GLAM RIGHT NOW.
- Everyone decorated the venue a couple of hours before the wedding – we just chucked streamers around and cut some flowers off nearby trees and lay them on the table. I had made a few decorations from paper with Starry as a crafty activity, so we used them. My mother-in-law brought more decorations than I did – she was excited so that’s cool! We ended up finding some surveyor’s tape in someone’s car & used that for streamers too. I didn’t get hair or makeup done. Was decorating and realised I was getting married in 30 minutes, so had a shower, popped on my dress, smudged on some eye makeup, didn’t brush my hair (YAY CURLY HAIR). We didn’t hire cars – everyone walked. So we all walked down the beach (a block away) together laughing.
- Got married in a brick beach shelter because it started raining (it’s like rain on your wedding day… but nobody freaked out coz rain is rad too). Everyone went back to the hall while we took photos on the beach and started eating lunch from the buffet. We got back, ate. Put music on. Had a first dance together that everyone joined in on. Everyone spent the afternoon dancing, talking, drinking, eating from the lolly bar, having naps. And we got to go to bed at 7:30pm. WOO HOO! Perfect. Most people stayed at the caravan park in cabins, so we all swam and napped and jumped on the jumping pillow for the rest of the weekend. Super super laid back.
- Honestly, all I really, really remember from our wedding day was looking in Chris’ eyes when we said our vows to each other. They were so full of love, and I knew I was making the right decision in marrying him. That’s all it was about. And Starry was really freaking cute during the ceremony, she hung onto me like a koala and talked baby gabble the whole time. And of course it was lovely seeing everyone, and we had lots of time just to talk shit and hang out during it.
- Also: don’t put expectations on it it being the perfect embodiment of your love. Me and Chris totally had an argument thirty minutes before we made our vows. Our worth as a couple is not made up by how perfect a person we were at our wedding… it’s made up of all the other days of your lives together where you communicate and forgive and change and heal your shit and sometimes get it wrong and sometimes need to apologise and mostly just learn how to be on the same team as each other.
- Don’t put expectations on anyone else to be normal during your wedding. It might be “your Big Day” but unfortunately people are still living their own lives and are caught up in their own stuff. The people that can be there for you will be there for you. Not everyone is going to be happy/have their shit together. My parents separated a few months before we got married. There were definitely some awkward moments when I had to look away. There was lots of crazy family shit happening… but I honestly just had to stay so centered on my little family and what WE were creating together… me, Chris & Ostara.
- All up, I think it cost us about $2000. I am so not a proponent of getting into debt for your wedding… it’s just one day, and more money spent doesn’t necessarily equate to it being a more wonderful day or a better marriage. Do NOT damage your financial freedom for your wedding.
- If you get pressure from outside of you and your love about how your wedding should look, ignore it if you don’t resonate with it. I remember being teased by various family members and strangers about how little I gave a shit about our wedding, but I’d always reply back with “and how stressed do I look about it?” People would be AGHAST that I wasn’t getting my hair done, that our venue was a caravan park, that I didn’t buy a buttload of decorations. My focus was always that it was about a marriage, not a wedding. I also knew that there were family who thought our hippy handfasting sacred ceremony was weird. I wasn’t given away by anyone, I didn’t walk down the aisle. Me and Chris turned up together, he saw me while I was getting dressed, there was no big reveal moment. It was, and always has been, about me and Chris and our commitment to each other. That’s the stuff that will last a lifetime.
- When all else fails, invoke the sacred mantra: FUCKEM!
- I feel happy thinking about our wedding. It was nothing but 100% us.
- I also didn’t ever expect my wedding will be the “happiest day of my life.” That’s too much stress, too much perfection required. The happiest day of my life will be the ones where I am hanging out at home with my lil family, making art + being content. Normal, gentle days are the stuff life is made out of.
- Do what lights you up and is good and true for YOU.
- Confront your shit. Weddings might bring up your desires to be saved by your partner, for them to be a knight in shining armour on a very pretty white horse, for it all to be princess soulmate forever perfection. We need to talk more about the true secrets about love + what real love looks like.
- Some blogs that I found useful for a good sense of “don’t freak out about this, you can do it anyway you like!”:
- Know what’s important to you. Have a vibe in your head of what you want. Three things I wanted: a beach wedding, wedding food that felt like going to a picnic, a hippy dress. Everything else fell by the wayside. Choose the things that are really important to you.
- I’m not saying you should do it like me. Fuck no. Just do it how YOU want to do it. What feels right to you and your love. Because that’s the only two that matter.
- You can play this game however you like. You don’t need to do it any one way at all. You can make it shine just like you. Just be happy. Love the shit out of you and your love. The rest is just gravy.
- Keep Calm + Feel Da Love.
And that goes with everything else in life too.
I’m wishing you love, gentle expectations, special moments, and just the right thing for you,