Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I need your advice!!

Okay peeps, I have a question for you!! (All of you - even the lurkers - I wanna know what you think too!!)

Mark and I are about to embark on weddingness. Since we got engaged people have been asking us what we are doing and when we are doing it. We have no idea when or what or how. We are going to sit down and start talking about it soon but everything I look at about weddings is SCARY!! It all seems to involve lists and things that we must do. There doesn't seem to be anything anywhere about how to make up a beautiful, meaningful, simple, elegant, memorable day.

So what I would love is if you would give me some advice. What did you do that worked? What have you seen done at weddings that you thought was lovely? What wouldn't you have done? What would be your dream wedding? What advice/ inspiration/ tips/ wisdom can you give me? Our facts are: two countries, small budget, and enormous family in Canada.

So can you help?

P.S. Karen - the Pimms & Nibbles are for you!!


Lianne said...

First, decide what a celebration looks like to you and Mark. Is it dancing? Is it playing Twister? Is it standing in a formal greeting line?

Then, decide what you two want.. without consideration for anyone else. No shoes? No white dress? No cake? Hey, it's your wedding.

Then, with joy and very little stress, invite your loved ones to your celebration.

It's really that simple. And I know you'll do it perfectly... for you.

Anonymous said...

There will be lots of advice given, lots of suggestions made on how it should be done but Lianne is right it should be about the two of you and not what someone else wants. This is the start of your new life together and it should be started the way you want to start it. It happens so quickly (trust us) that you need to stop and enjoy every minute of the planning as well as the celebration.
Love, Mike and Sue

Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

I have to echo the other two comments. Plan a ceremony and celebration that the two of you will love. Forget about the rulebooks and wedding magazines (very popular in the States). Or, you could look at those for ideas. And then do your own thing. Basically, plan a ceremony that is meaningful to you. And then plan a party where you'll have fun. If planning a party is not your forte, why not ask one of your more entertainment-minded friends to help you with ideas and details?

My husband and I had a relatively small wedding on a small budget. The one thing I cut out due to expense that I wish I'd kept was having professional storytellers at the wedding. I'm of Irish descent and my husband is of African descent, so I wanted to have one Irish and one African storyteller to entertain guests between the ceremony and dinner (both were held in the same place). I've never seen it done, but I wish I’d done it. If you're looking for offbeat ideas, check out http://offbeatbride.com/. I haven't read a lot of the site, but saw the author speak at BlogHer this year. She also has a book called Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides.

Since you have family in two countries, you might want to consider having an official wedding and reception in one country and then a smaller get-together in the other. (Don't let family members try to guilt you into doing what they want for your wedding. Or invite everyone to one event. If some people can't travel overseas, at least your guest list will stay small!

Basically, don't freak out. (I know, easier said than done.) Apart from actual laws, there are no rules. Don't let the wedding industry hype or anyone else dictate what you do. And the other biggee? Don't go into debt for your wedding if at all possible!

I could go on and on about this topic, but will stop here. Feel free to email me (jennifer[at]thewordcellar[dot]com)if you want to 'chat' more about it. I like wedding ideas, especially since it's been almost six years since I had to plan mine! :)

Tori said...

Jim and I got engaged and set the date for the following year and then immediately started the bombardment of questions...guess what? Neither of us cared what our napkins looked like or who we borrowed the cake server from...we just wanted to be married...and so we changed the date. Three weeks after we got engaged we were married. A friend made me a simple dress. A neighbor made a cake. We got married in the backyard. It was perfect.

My only advice. Take some quiet time with your boy, as much time as you need and really think about what matters to YOU for that day and then start basing your plans on those answers.

Enjoy this time-especially.

Jessie said...

what made our wedding most special was that it was held in an outdoor chapel surrounded by towering cedar and popal and pine. you had to cross of a creek and down a trail into the woods to get there.

i spent lots and lots and lots of time planning the perfect wedding...but you know what made it the most special had nothing to do with anything i found in any magazine or book. it was the stuff we made up on our own that held the most meaning for us.

i wish you the best in your wedding plans. and my only advise to you is to let it come from your hearts! :)

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the best thing you can do is talk about what the two of you really want, and stick to it. Family/friends can start offering too many opinions and family especially, at least mine and my husband's can cause so much stress with their vision, their guest lists, etc. You just want to stay mellow and enjoy the beauty of it all, and it can be done. Plus, it does not have to cost so much. Many blessings!! Hold firm to your true dreams/vision.

Kerstin said...

I echo the other comments about thinking about what will feel right to both of YOU. Perhaps the most important decision is the location, because everything else usually follows from that. Will it be Canada because of your family, or England because of Mark's?

If you decide to get married in the UK I can highly recommend doing so in Bath, which is one of the most romantic and charming places on this planet. Mind you, I am probably a little biased because that's where I got married :) But it is a gorgeous place and one that visitors from abroad would no doubt swoon over, too.

We kept it simple and intimate (i.e. small) and I am very grateful for that because this way we didn't get caught up in elaborate planning and could truly enjoy every moment of the day with each other and each of our invited guests.

You both are creative souls so you can make the process of planning this event as special and fun as the day itself.

Good luck! :)

And feel free to ask any questions about Bath.

Frida said...

I love weddings where I can really feel that the couple are happy, at ease and doing their thing.

For my entrepenurial, social butterfly, gourmet sister that was a three-day festival on an island off NZ at a vineyard - lots of work, lots of planning and lots of people BUT absolutely right for her and her man. Between them they have family from all over the world (his family is from Holland) so they made it worth travelling around the globe but planning a three day festival of love, food, friends and family.

For my nature-loving friend C it was an impromptu (i.e. decided that morning) ceremony in the bush with those friends and family who were within 3 hours driving distance, with a bush track that she had cut in her first year with the Dept of Conservation as the aisle.

For my cousin and her husband (she from NZ and he from Israel) it was two simple beach ceremonies followed by BBQs - one in each country (only the one in NZ counted for legal purposes but one certificate is enough!).

For another another trans-continental couple I know they decided that the family and friends in each country were too much stress to consider and they chose a private (just the two of them) ceremony and luxury break in Bali.

I love all these solutions equally because they were right for the couple.

You and Mark can chose any approach, what ever feel right to you. x

sognatrice said...

Funny you should be thinking about this now as I, too, am starting to try to figure out some semblance of a plan. Like everyone else said, figure out what you and your future hubby want and go with it--but yeah, I know that figuring out what you want is actually the hard part! Best of luck :)

Ah, and thanks for stopping by and entering my contest!

Colorsonmymind said...

Plan a beautiful place-like a bed and breakfast that you can stay for the 2 days before with some if not all of your wedding party and maybe even have your rehersal dinner catered there. We did this and it was better than the actual reception. It also made the memory bigger than just the few hours of the wedding celebration itself.

Don't get too distracted by details. Make a list of the most important things for you to have fun and then focus on those. There can be so many details that don't matter in the end.

Love you girlie and am so excited.


Colleen said...

Hey you... I think others have given you great advice.. something you'll get a lot of. Everyone wants to help plan your wedding since it's so much fun to do. Just make sure you keep it on the path you want it to be on.
I remember being stressed when the napkins and bridesmaid dresses didn't match!! Try not to sweat the silly details. Nobody really cares about that stuff. I'm sure you're the same and want family and friends to celebrate with you. Perhaps a small wedding and dinner in England and then a big reception later on in Canada. Have your close family fly out so they are there for the big day and the rest of us can see you here. (on the budget side, perhaps your family will help plan... and pay for the big reception... he he or have a jack and jill to raise money)
Enjoy the planning, listen to each other and then do what you want cause you're the girl who's been dreaming of this forever.... he he..just kidding... sort of. ha ha

Star said...

Great advice here already. I would stress to make it what you want and not allow others to pressure you into something else. Stick to your budget; the only ones who will suffer if you don't are the two of you (assuming you're the ones paying for everything).

Although we kept ours small, I was still stressed toward the end. All I really wanted was to be married to my man and if I could have eloped right then, I would have.

Amber said...

Oh, such great advice here! Jennifer gave some great ideas and links. I would check those out.

I have to agree that after all these years, I would have done things differently, in that I would have done less of the "have to's" I found in the books. I would have kept it more simple.I would not have felt "guilted" into inviting people, and doing anything.

In fact, I think I would have done something very small and intimate, and used our money for the honeymoon! TOTALLY. And most people I know say the same thing after the fact. I mean unless you are a real "party person", and that is an ideal idea to you. Because you know what? It isn't for anyone but the two of you, really. Other people, and family tend to think about what they want and push that on you, but after it is over they forget it, really. And I think most parents only really want to be there, and know that you are happy.

The only practical thing I offer, is to not skimp out on a photographer or video. Because after, all you want to do is see it and remember it, and have it to show. I have a friend who went simple, and did not hire a photographer for some lame reason, and it is so stupid. She thought people would take lots of pics and give them to her, but it never works out like that. No matter if it is big or small, you want pictures.

Just follow your gut. Only do what you really want to do. The "rules" are just other people's ideas. The most important thing is that it feels good to the two of you. Keep un mind that it about your love, in the end, not anything else.


Kirsten Michelle said...

it would seem most of the bases have already been covered on this one...so i don't have a whole lot to add.
i really like thea's idea of making it last a little longer then the typical afternoon/ evening...i felt like i spent most of my afternoon saying hello to people and most of my evening say goodbye ;-)
whatever you do...carve out some quiet time, even if it's only a few minutes to touch base with your "husband"...i was amazed at how little i saw colin that day AND hire a really great photographer, which shouldn't be a problem, i know you know a few ;-)
have fun creating a day that will mean something to you and mark ;-)

Laura said...

Hi! New Lerker here in PDX. I found this site the other day that might help. It has beautiful ideas that can be recreated on a low budget. I hope it helps...and this is a WONDERFUL blog! Funny how things fall into your path when you need them! Congrats and Cheers!

jenica said...

i love weddings, i coordinate weddings in my spare time, so i just HAD to comment. my advice would be to make it YOUR day. don't stress out about what will make other people happy or even about following strict etiquette. be nice, but remember what the day is about.

here's a great website for some *interesting* ideas: http://offbeatbride.com/
and just so you know "wedding porn" contains no actual pornography. it's just her way of saying that you'll get way too excited by looking at other people's cool wedding ideas. ;-D

Brooke&Kyle said...


I'm a floral designer, so I thought I'd put in my 2 cents. Hire a good photographer and floral designer, and pick a beautiful, inexpensive venue.
My husband and I had about $1500 total for *everything* at our wedding- dress, food, rings, flowers... and it turned out great! We wrote our own Taoist vows, had a 2nd grade teacher perform the ceremony, and our 30 guests got homemade waffles in the lovely garden of our favorite cafe. Flowers, food and photos are the only things that require pros, but there are plenty of talented people out there that can do a great job on a limited budget.
Good luck, and save some money for the honeymoon, like the others have said!

Karen said...

I want to be there to have them in person!! ache ache. I would love to chat wedding---but this will definitely require a phone call, cause you know that I have lots to say about it--most of all, the day should please two people primarily!! It's for you two (which is so cliche but TRUE) and that's where to begin. Money isn't a factor--that certainly doesn't make a good wedding.
xoxoxo k

Sentient Marrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MAHIMA said...

what love do you two have in common (first, of course, is each other. keep that in mind too): find a place and way to do that together in a way that you're not likely to do on your average day.
For example, my guy and I are both artists- of very very different kinds! :s- so we went to Paris (no, i;m not married, but this was a special trip :)). Not to see art. that's not our interest. but to make art together. mix our styles. complete each other's work.
hours were spent drawing in each others journals in cafes and over dessert.
long walks to no where. just to be.
lots of talking time because at that time we realy needed to talk over a lot of things.
paris was only a train ride away but was exotic and inspiring enough for us at the time.
..so these are just examples.
to say work out YOUR choices and dreams and possibilities and try weave them into what suits you both best.
there are no 'must dos' unless you say so!

Alexandra S said...

Well even though the marriage ultimately failed our wedding day was so beautiful and meaningful. It was small, in my aunt;s living room beside a roaring fireplace and lots of white candles all over the room, and our loved ones sitting on sofas and chairs all around, and we wrote our own vows and had everyone each read one piece of poetry or a quote we had selected. Very simple and easy and cheap (!) but very beautiful and mellow.

Marilyn said...

I join those who say that if I were to undergo wedding planning, I'd start with http://offbeatbride.com.