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Cutting Out the Non-essentials for a Simple Wedding

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Above all, we want a simple wedding. We also want our wedding planning process to be simple. What does this mean for us in the planning process so far?

Part of planning is doing things. Things we have done so far:

1. Ordered our custom-designed wedding bands (and my “engagement” ring)
2. Chosen our venue (okay, there was really no choosing, there was only one place we wanted)
3. Chosen our date (fell naturally out of venue availability and my grad school schedule)
4. Ordered save-the-date cards

Another part of planning is the things we’re not planning. How is this a part of planning? For us, part of keeping things simple is not taking on tasks that we don’t love, that we’re not any good at, or that will cause us to be too stressed. Too often for couples on a budget, the options are either do it yourself and be stressed out, and perhaps unhappy with the product, or throw a lot of money at a vendor to do it for you. Those are both valid options, but there are others. One is to eliminate it entirely. We did this with a lot of things right off the bat, both for money-saving purposes, and for simplicity’s sake. Things we have already X’d off the list:

1. Hiring any sort of coordinator
2. Having a DJ
3. Videography

I’m sure we’ll X some more things off as the wedding approaches. Some things, on the other hand, we’ve decided are important enough that we should include them, but we don’t really know where to start. So, things that we have decided to leave in the very capable hands of others:

1. We’ve enlisted Nate’s brother (an artist who likes this sort of thing) to design and print our invitations. For some people, the invitation is a chance to show off their style, or to set the tone for their wedding. For me, a wedding invitation is a mode of transporting information. I was all for going to Target or Michael’s and picking up a few boxes of prepackaged invites. My fiancé, on the other hand, is an artist. He wanted to put a little more effort into the invitations. This compromise allows me to avoid things that would stress me out (printing out, cutting, folding, or in any way physically creating my invitations), but allowed us to come out with a product that will be personal, meaningful, and artistic, plus low-maintenance for us.

2. We’ve placed the choosing of musicians in the capable hands of my future mother in law. I was, again, up for going the simple route and playing a recording of songs we like for the ceremony. Nate’s mother insisted that live music was important for the ceremony, so I told her if she wanted to do the legwork to decide what kind of musician to hire, and then to find one, then I would be happy to let her do so. She’s delighted to use her musical connections, and I’m delighted to have one less thing to worry about.

3. We’ve delegated all dessert planning to my two very capable roommates. I love cake. I want to eat cake on my wedding day. That said, I don’t care about cake at all! I think having a six tiered cake is nice, but I also like two tiered cakes. I like square cakes and round cakes, I like sheet cakes, and cupcakes… I don’t have any strong feelings in any one direction about what I want. Nate didn’t even want a cake. Letting my baking-savvy roommates take care of the dessert planning was a perfect decision for us.

I remember tons of times reading on wedding blogs “we have a friends who’s a photographer who did our wedding as a gift, and my sister is an amazing chef who catered the whole thing and made three hundred individually piped cupcakes, and my uncle owns a fleet of vintage cars that he shuttled everyone around in, and my husband’s great aunt owns a vineyard which was the perfect location for us” and all those sorts of things. I always felt like those brides were super lucky to randomly know florists or be related to graphic designers or whatever their super-talented family connections were, but I didn’t think I had any. Well good news to fellow brides who don’t think they have people to delegate to: you do! Just because you don’t know someone in every area of the wedding business doesn’t mean you can’t enlist people to help out! People love to be involved, even if they don’t have an expertise, so if you’re not incredibly picky about results, letting an amateur friend assist you is a great option. Even asking a friend or family member to simply do the research for you is an option. Nate’s mom isn’t going to play all the music in our wedding, but she is familiar with many local musicians, and can help us find a deal. His brother mostly does interactive art displays and shows rather than wedding invitations, but he still has an artistic eye. My roommates have made cakes in their lives, but they’re far from professional.

I know that I might end up with a lopsided cake, wacky invites and a ridiculous musician, but the bonus is that these things aren’t crucially important to me. If any of these things go wrong, it will not ruin my day. And things might turn out wonderfully! Who knows? That risk is worth it for me in the time and money and piece of mind I’m saving by letting these tasks go.

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is a bride blogger who got married in 2011. You can read her wedding planning posts here.