How to plan the perfect wedding... by forgetting everything you ever learned about the big day.
Ever attend a wedding and feel like you’ve been to the exact same shindig maybe a dozen times before? That’s because today’s “I dos” are governed by a set of conventions so deeply ingrained that most brides and grooms don’t even bother to question them. Think of them as the “shoulds”—as in, we should hold our wedding at an exorbitantly expensive golf club, we should hire a string quartet, and we should expect all bridal party members to give up their lives in the service of our nuptials.
The result is a sort of unintentional matrimonial Groundhog Day, governed by the notions that 1) all brides and grooms want the same wedding, and 2) all brides and grooms are operating on unlimited budgets. Blame Hollywood, blame the billion-dollar wedding industry, blame your future mother-in-law who almost had a stroke when you mentioned the possibility of a pink dress, then take a look at the smiling couple in the photo above….
They’re smiling because they managed to achieve the impossible—scratch that, the improbable: a beautiful, original, stress-free wedding on a budget that won’t require them to sell off non-essential organs to get back in the black. They did it all by avoiding the dreaded s-word. Because the only important “should” for would-be brides and grooms is that you really should love the person on the other end of those vows. That and you really should read our guide to the ultimate off-the-grid wedding: cost-efficient, cool and 100 per cent conventional wisdom–free.
Conventional wisdom #1
You should have a big fat wedding in the first place. Reality check: Meet some happy newlyweds who just got married at City Hall.
Conventional wisdom #2
Serving buffet-style is tacky. Reality check: These local restaurants-cum-caterers will have you lining up for seconds.
Conventional wisdom #3
Only Champagne tastes like Champagne. Reality check: Here are four toast-worthy alternatives.
Conventional wisdom #4
You have to hire a DJ (who has to play “YMCA”). Reality check: Supply your own soundtrack using these foolproof playlists, curated by Diamond Rings and others.
Conventional wisdom #5
You should look like that tiny plastic couple on top of the cake. Reality check: Here are four wedding-day looks to suit any style.
Conventional wisdom #6
You should get married at a fancy-pants location. Reality check: Try one of these cool, cost-effective venues.
Conventional wisdom #7
You have to register for China, a gravy boat, and a bunch of other stuff you don’t want and will never use. Reality check: using our handy flowchart, you can find a wedding registry that’s right for you.
Conventional wisdom #8
No one eats the cake. Reality check: Stuff your guests with these decadent desserts from local bakeries.
Conventional wisdom #9
Speeches must be boring and/or long and/or full of inside jokes. Reality check: Use this wedding-speech template to ensure you come off looking like the Bestest Man Ever.
Conventional wisdom #10
The bride/bridesmaid relationship should be fraught with drama culminating in a blow-up over an expensive dress. Reality check: You can find appropriate attire for under $100 at the mall—here are three such options.
Conventional wisdom #11
A pre-nup means you’re planning for divorce. Reality check: Find out why signing on the dotted line can be downright romantic.