A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Pinterest and came across an article titled 6 Pairs of Shoes Every Bride Needs or something to that effect. I clicked on the article because I am apparently a glutton for punishment and immediately felt my blood pressure start to rise.
Bridal shower shoes … ceremony shoes … reception shoes … and on and on it went.
I stopped reading, closed my browser, and shook my head because this kind of thinking is EXACTLY what is wrong with the wedding industry.
As someone who works in the wedding industry (while also being a decidedly ‘non-wedding’ type of person) I’m going to let you in on a little secret: there is only ONE thing you really need to get married and that is someone who is super stoked to marry you. All those other things? They can be fun and worthwhile and maybe make your day a little better depending on what they are. But they are definitely NOT something that you NEED.
I went back and tried to find that article. I didn’t find it but I did come across lots of others lists of things that “every bride needs”. So I decided to come up with a little list of my own.
Six Things You DON’T Need for Your Wedding
1. Other People’s Expectations
For as long as people have been getting married other people have been telling other people to get married. Weddings can be a big day not just for the couple but also for everyone else involved – including parents, grandparents, friends, and your Uncle Joe who you haven’t talked to in years. It’s time to throw those expectations off a cliff.
People ALWAYS have opinions on what you should do and how you should live your life (and if you plan on having kids trust me when I say this ONLY gets worse …). I firmly believe in listening to other people’s opinions, considering them with an open mind …. and then deciding what works best for YOU. While there are SO many emotions involved in a wedding day I firmly believe that, at the end of the day, your people just want you to be happy.
Elope if you want to elope. Throw that huge party if that’s what you want to do. Skip any wedding traditions that make you cringe. Have a giant cheese board instead of a cake (to be clear, I FULLY support this one). Have your dog as your witness.
You get to make the rules for how this day goes. This is a perfect time to start setting some healthy boundaries in your life.
2. To Spend Your Life Savings on This Day
Weddings can be freaking EXPENSIVE y’all. And as someone who has been to a whole lot of them I see how quickly those costs can add up. Venues, food, booze, dresses, flowers, and on and on it goes …none of it is cheap.
If you’ve always dreamed of a big, bougie wedding you can ABSOLUTELY have one … just understand that your wallet is going to feel it (and it’s not going to feel good). One of the best things about elopements and intimate weddings is that they will wave you a boatload of money … or let you splurge on the things that you REALLY care about.
3. A White Dress
In the infamous words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a chaaaaanging! You can wear whatever you damn well want to your wedding. How cool is that?! While many brides still go with a big white ballgown, the truth is that you can wear WHATEVER you want. Just in the last two months I’ve had brides wear black, pink, and various shades of beige. If white doesn’t feel like you, don’t wear it!
That goes for your feet too. Want an excuse to buy some new cowboy boots or rock those Chacos that are glued to your feet for most of the summer? Do it.
4. An Officiant … of Any Kind (*depending on where you get married)
Colorado is one of the few states in the country where you can self-solemnize your marriage. This means you don’t need a priest, minister, friend who got ordained online, or anyone else to perform your ceremony. You don’t even need witnesses (although if you choose to have your dog be your witness I will NOT blame you!).
Of course, if you WANT an officiant we can definitely make that happen but for a lot of couples, especially ones who are eloping, the more private the better.
You knew this one was coming right? Listen, I am the LAST person who will try to convince someone who always wanted a wedding to elope. If you want to celebrate with 20 or 200 of your friends and family, PLEASE DO THAT.
But if you’re the kind of person who hates being the center of attention or who doesn’t have a supportive family or who really just wants this day to be about the two of you, eloping is a super solid option.
While the dictionary still defines “eloping” as “running off secretly to get married”, modern elopements are usually NOT like that at all. Most of the elopements I help plan and photograph are more like intimate destination weddings … with no guests.
6. 6 Pairs of Shoes
If having 6 different pairs of shoes for your wedding makes you happy then by all means, get the shoes. But please understand that you DO NOT NEED THEM. You need one pair of shoes to get married unless you’re getting married on a beach in which case feel free to go barefoot.
Want some more real talk about wedding and elopement planning or some inspiration from real couples who did the thing their way? Check out the blog.
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