A wedding– the way you want it.

Two of my best lady friends are getting married in the coming year, and I’m completely thrilled to get to celebrate their weddings with them!

The search for a wedding that felt, um, comfortable was at times really challenging for Ben & I.  The wedding world is a strange one, with a lot of pressure, a lot of magazines, and a lot of blogs picturing cosmetically perfect events that looked very foreign to me.  Sure- you love cake?  Have a great cake.  You and your partner like birds?  Well, have a bird-themed wedding!  We wanted to make a really great party- the kind we like…with karaoke.  And writing a ceremony that felt like us was really, really important.

Luckily, I discovered a community of people that reaffirmed my belief that you can have any kind of wedding you want.  You can, in fact, take and leave traditions as you choose without the wedding police coming out to get you.  You can also re-create traditions and make them your own.  This whole process (regardless of the general chaos) can be a really lovely time to decide what’s important to you and your partner- to share a creative collaboration and learn compromise (since Ben and I both like to be in charge).  So, I put together a list of books and websites for Shelley and Mary- things I wish we’d found right away when Ben and I decided to have a wedding.  I think it would have made a lot of things simpler…

Websites:

A Practical Wedding: Written by NYU theatre graduate Meg Keene (I’m partial to the artists),  A Practical Wedding believes in minimizing wedding bullsh*t.  They advocate for every kind of wedding, and spend more time emphasizing what comes afterwards.  You know, the marriage.  Some of my favorite posts:

:: On reclaiming the word ‘wife’.

:: Good advice from East Side Bride.

:: On the self-full wife.

:: Sanity on wedding details.

:: Meg’s advice, based on her own wedding.

Offbeat Bride: Exactly what is suggests, Offbeat Bride will support your Starwars-themed wedding.  There are also lots of good resources listed for everything from ceremony readings to venue possibilities based on your location.  I especially liked this post about planning a budget wedding.

You’ll soon discover that everyone and their mother made a blog about planning their wedding.  It’s nice to have community, but looking at too many possibilities can be totally overwhelming and unhelpful.

Books:

Ariel, who started the Offbeat Bride website wrote a book, and it’s great.  Check it out: Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides.

Meg, of A Practical Wedding has also written a book, which is coming out in January.  A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration.  

Um…the idea of ‘marriage’ felt really loaded to me.  Maybe it’s because I have divorced parents?  Maybe it’s the whole institution?  I don’t know– but I read a lot of feminist literature.  Maybe this is your thing, and maybe it’s not.  I read about transitions…

Some books on this stuff:

The Conscious Bride, by Sheryl Paul.

The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-First Century, by Anne Kingston.

The Bitch In the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage, by Cathi Hanuer.

Ok- so those are my suggestions.  Here’s wishing you a smooth launch into marriage!  {Photos by Emma Freeman}

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