Up until recently, I was one of the those people. You know the ones I mean.
Those people who sit back and guffaw at the costs and all-round stresses of weddings. 'Why bother?!' 'Why waste all that time and energy on something that's gone in the space of a few too many glasses of expensive bubbly?'
Don't get me wrong, I had been to some beautiful weddings. Some of my favourite days/weekends had been at weddings - fun, funny, poignant, personal and always with the opportunity to be a lunatic on the dance floor (seriously, what's not to love?). Regardless, I was always one of the people who said: I'd rather spend that money on a really great holiday.
However, something I've learned, in my albeit brief experience as an engaged person, is that a wedding is not just one day. Literally, yes, it is actually a day, I'm not questioning the chronology of the thing (unless, of course, we're talking epic Indian weddings but that's just a whole new category) - I mean, the experience of a wedding is so much more than the day itself. It's love. It's dreamy conversations in bed about fantastical bar set-ups and delicious pie flavours; days out with your best gals simultaneously ogling gowns while demolishing complimentary flutes of Bucks Fizz (and being forced to wear a scarf over your made-up face in a tiny change-room to protect the hideously-ill-fitting-off-the-rack-gown-you-thought-you-could-get-away-with-given-it's-a-10th-of-the-price-of-everything-else... but that's perhaps a uniquely personal experience??!); it's teaching yourself graphic design and floristry and the insanely unsubtle art of table-planning.
It's Facebook conversations with family you wish you spoke to more often; meetings with awesome suppliers building their dream businesses and excited FaceTime catch-ups with your mother after she's snaffled yet another vintage butter-dish for your table settings. It's waking up at 4am to embark on a transnational booze run (and convincing your father-in-law to clear the garage space required post-transnational booze run); it's forcing yourself to keep some things secret and it's almost certainly the most intensely creative/delightful/frustrating/overwhelming hobby you will ever have.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't now painfully aware of the hyper-inflated pricing and generally irritating bullshit surrounding the wedding industry. Yes, at times, it seems like everyone is out to get you (and yes, sometimes, they probably are). Yes, at times, it seems you are expected to pay three times the price for a service that's about as flexible as a wooden leg. The good news? You don't have to buy into any of this junk, not for a second.
Yes, weddings are expensive. Feeding, housing and entertaining 100+ people over the course of 10 hours is going to be expensive (just ask my sister-in-law the price of feeding, housing and entertaining 4 children over this time period) but, for us, the trick has been remaining authentic to ourselves as a couple and keeping our priorities in focus.
We worked out our negotiables and non-negotiables and, despite some moments of weakness, we've stuck to them. At every step we've asked: 'Do we really need/want this?' followed by: 'Is there another/cheaper way we could do this?'.
Sure, the results so far have been:
a) A dodgy website in lieu of printed wedding invitations;
b) A pie, chips and gravy cake from ASDA; and
c) Some battery operated Christmas lights...
but, stick with us, it will all come together in the end... (we hope).
Now, I have had some cracking holidays in my time, but a wedding? That is an adventure.
A big dollop of love from my finger tips to your screen (I promise that's not as creepy as it sounds). xx