‘As long as he’s waiting at the end of the aisle for you, that’s all that matters!’
Alright. This is true, I suppose. Because mate, if he’s not waiting at the end of the aisle that’s going to be pretty freakin’ embarrassing for me isn’t it.
Guuuuuuurl, you did not just play that card with me right now.
Beyond this, I want to dump this delicious glass of Pinot on you for saying this because aside from being redundant it’s quite frankly NOT. HELPFUL. when I’m gettin’ all stressy trying to figure out what our wet weather plan will be or if we’re having disagreements about needing a videographer or how many canapes to allow per guest. Of COURSE your husband will be waiting for you at the end of the aisle. And of COURSE love conquers all, and all that jazz. That all goes without saying, so either help me go through this canape menu or gtfo.
This is serious business.
There are still wedding-y decisions to be made, decisions that in the grand scheme of things won’t change the course of history or your marriage but at the time they matter a whole lot and may be difficult ones to figure out.
I’m going to throw down a massive gauntlet of truth and destiny here that is probably a bit more helpful and less annoying than the ‘as long as he’s at the end of the aisle’ bullshit and maybe a lot of wedding vendors won’t say and it’s this:
Big arse wedding celebrations are a luxury.
Yep. Your wedding would continue on whether I was there taking those pictures or not. How much money you want to spend on your wedding vendors is totally individual and up to you. I’m not saving the world by taking wedding photos although I’m an aaaartist and I feeeeel this work within the very depths of my souuuul. I think weddings are super important, and I love them – like, I love them a whole lot. A LOT. I am obsessed with wedding photography as an art and a storytelling platform. Yeah, just wedding photography specifically! I get this crazy visceral reaction to images I really, really like. I feel it in the pit of my stomach. I get goosebumps. I cry. My heart races. I suspect that’s not normal and I should seek medical attention… But I’m not here to talk to you as an artistic weirdo because that’s not the thing we have mutually in common, is it. I did get married though, so let’s talk about planning that thing.
Artists, man. Weirdos.
Anyway, getting married was the right decision for Shaun and I. Throwing a wedding par-tay was the most fun thing in the history of the universe for both of us AND all of our family and friends. I think wedding photos are the important-est bit of wedding days, speaking both as a person who had wedding pictures taken and a taker of wedding pictures – but the whole hoopla is a luxury, and you can get hitched without it if you really want. How far into the realms of luxury you go is totally up to you. If you want to / can afford to ride in to your ceremony on an elephant harnessed to a helicopter that is triumphantly lowered between fountains of sparkly fireworks then more power to ya, I say (also, please can I shoot that – here’s my contact deets).
I destroyed a very expensive outfit on my wedding day.
It’s hard to tell in a photo, but they’ve gone totally hard and stiff. That’s what she said.
For me, the epitome of useless splurge was my shoes. You know, the ones nobody will even see tucked under your dress? Yeah, those. I kept trying to find a cheap arse dupe for the glittery Jimmy Choos I ultimately ended up buying from Saks Fifth Avenue (…online, I’m not THAT baller) that meant I couldn’t afford to live for a month while I recovered from that spend as we were balls deep in all the other wedding expenses.
But still, I went YOGMOIH (You Only Get Married Once I Hope) and got the damn shoes.
Our wedding was outdoors, and in Byron Bay aka. a part of the world where it rains most days. I didn’t think this through. So of course, the shoes got absolutely obliterated during our portrait shoot. My dress got torn about seven million times during our first look – BEFORE anyone even saw it. But.. ya know. YOGMOIH. We had an outdoor dance floor, and it had been pouring, so my dress ended up being the worlds’ most expensive mop and soaking up the mud and the water. I justified the shoe spend by saying it was the only part of my wedding outfit I could wear again and they’d look saaaaaaah cute with jeans! But nope. They’re destroyed. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care. I was a bit sad, but if I’d tried to spare my threads I would have missed one hell of a party.
The stuff that you think will matter the most, inevitably it won’t matter so much.
I took about four photos the day of my wedding, all on my phone, including this one of the bottom of my dress when we got to our hotel that night. I hadn’t planned to have a brown ombre skirt. On the plus side, I can now happily recommend a FANTASTIC dry cleaner to our amazing brides who willingly grubby up their dresses going balls-to-the-wall adventurous for their photos. In fact, when faced with dirt, mud, etc I can say to our girls ‘it’s okay, I know how to fix this later’.
I have good news for ya: There is a luxury you can afford yourself on your wedding day that doesn’t cost a damn thing.
The most luxurious thing I could possibly do on my wedding day didn’t cost me any money, and it’s something you can do as well. It was to pack away my camera, and my phone, and relinquish control of every single thing that happened after that. Let other people make all the decisions. As we discussed last week, in the lead up, everyone will be harassing you to make ALL the decisions.
On the day of your wedding, you can turn the decision making part of your brain off for a bit and let other people guide you around. It’s like crowdsurfing on a sea of love and great care: ‘I’ll get you a drink. I’ll get you another drink. Get dressed now. Hold these flowers. Read these vows into this microphone. Here, I got you a drink. I got you two cocktails so you don’t have to go find them. Stand over here and let all the guests come to you. You can kiss your husband. I stole you a lamb chop from the cocktail hour.’ These were my favourites. Turn off the logic and let the feeling take over (I feel like another mojito and a couple more of those lamb things, please).
It was not easy, believe me. Initially I wanted to keep everything pristine and perfect and how I’d planned it to go. But any moment spent worrying about how it was pouring outside (that happened), or that my dress was ripped or my shoes full of mud (that happened) or even that somehow I’d forgotten to order my bridesmaids any bouquets (that ACTUALLY happened – just uhh… swing your arms walking up the aisle, ladies!) – or god forbid, refusing to put myself in situations where my very beautiful, expensive and fancy outfit was going to get royally fucked up – would be a complete waste of this one day. I realised this one day was it, do-overs were unlikely, and it was important to be fully present and all there for the meagre hours we all had together in one place.
Because that’s all it is, right? One day. But look around you on that one day at all these people who are here to celebrate with you. And spill red wine on your dress. And step on your veil. And dance with you in the rain. And smudge all of your makeup into the lapels of their suits when they hug you too tight. This is love and joy and excitement and it’s all here for you two, so get amongst it.
So, in closing, I say spend the money where it makes sense for you. There’s no right or wrong answer here (but seriously, look into the elephants and fireworks okay?). Then let go of all the material stuff and the planning. Embrace the feels and immerse yourself in the experience of getting married. You can’t put a price on it, or drop wads of cash to make things pan out a certain way, but those memories that you make become valuable beyond measure in the years and (presumably) decades that follow. It helps to have good photos of the wedding that show what really went on. Ahem.
Cheers, gang! We’re off to see the new Star Wars movie tonight, in one of those fancy ass cinemas where you can drink in the theatre like a sir. Super excited to nerd out AND get our drink on in public.
Me walking in to the movies. I decided not to dress up tonight or bring a speaker that was tooooo large and ostentatious (what, you don’t take your best bluetooth boombox to the movies?). I thought that might embarrass my husband.