I haven't been to many weddings in my life. Not sure why, but it means that I'm not influenced too much by family traditions or reciprocal relationships with friends.
These days then when I'm looking for inspirations for our wedding, I find myself looking at photos of 'real' weddings on various websites and in bridal magazines. And what strikes me as the most important aspect of any wedding isn't tradition, or theme, or colour. It's feeling.
Specifically, how personal and meaningful do the various elements seem for who the bride and groom are, separately and as a couple? I've seen a lot of photos of beautiful weddings, but what comes off in some of those photos for some of those weddings (not all, of course!) is this hollow feeling, as if it was more important how the wedding looked than how it felt.
We don't want to be one of those.
Though the wedding is getting closer and closer (less 13 months away now!) there are a lot of things that have yet to be decided or finalized. We have that luxury, I think, because we're not going for anything huge or even particularly showy. When I take time out of my week nowadays to think about our wedding, that is the question preoccupying me. How can I make our wedding personal and meaningful?
But more important, I think, is that we're both coming to understand that we don't want our wedding to come off as a performance or a show. Yes, it's a social event, but it's also deeply meaningful day for both of us.
Thus, the way we have the evening flow should feel right for us. This means we'll be jettisoning anything "traditional" or "usual" to weddings that doesn't feel right for us. A big part of this is the fact that we want our guests, all close friends and immediate family, to feel completely part of our first day together as a married couple. Not sure yet how we'll accomplish this, but that's where Susan's expertise will come in.
We probably know more about what we don't want right now than what we do want. No kitcsh, no favours, no peronalized napkins or fussy chair bows, no dancing, no one present that at least one of us doesn't know quite well by first name.
What do we want? The answer to that question is still emerging and evoloving, but it seems to lay in a variety of elements. Some of them are obvious things. Colour is one, of course, Purple is my favourite colour, followed closely by green and (oddly?) brown. So our palette will play in and around those (I think I want to wear amethyst and peridot gemstone jewellery, rather than the traditional colourless pearl or crystal). We'll probably try to have wines that reflect our favourites from our first trip through the wineries of Niagara, as MM was learning that he loves wine, so long as it is "the right kind of wine" (his words). We're both inveterate meat-eaters, as are most (all?) of our guests, so red meat of some kind will be our star in the entree. We'll be custom writing our vows, mixing in traditional elements with snippets of things we say to each other daily, so that it really carries an emotional punch for us both. (Heck if MM doesn't cry after saying his, I'll be surprised!). And, if the budget can be stretched to accommodate it, we'll have live music that includes at least one bass or cello, since MM loves that instrument.
As we pick the options and elements in the next few months to come, with each choice will come the need for us to answer the question: how does the choice make us feel about this big day? I think that as long as choice can be answered byone of four words ("happy/comfortable/silly/fun) then we'll have a day that we feel reflects us and our commitment to one another, and that will be remembered happily and fondly by us and our guests for months to come.