What I Would Have Missed if I took this Advice

Cookie favors and DIY cake

A very talented photographer, Jonas Peterson has recently written his own “wedding-manifesto”. In it he encourages brides and industry professionals to focus on the real meaning of a wedding. He admonishes;

” You! Over there! Step away from the hay bales … No, you don’t have to put lavender on the plates, you need to wake up! We’re getting lost in details. The whole wedding industry is drifting away from what weddings are about and we’re all part of the problem – bloggers, photographers, planners and vendors – all hypocrites feeding the detail beast…

At the center of every wedding we have a girl. Who fell in love with a boy. Or a girl who fell in love with a girl. Or a boy who fell in l… you get my point.

The rest is fluff.”

Well, it got me thinking about what I would have missed had I put down the bunting, stepped away from the cake butterflies, and avoided the burlap runners – if I had skipped the DIY flowers in mason jars and ignored the impulse to make twine-wrapped favors.

Hindsight Groom sews bunting

  • I would have missed bonding with my husband over bunting. I cut and ironed while he sewed on his grandmother's vintage singer.
  • I would have missed commiserating with my mother over Italian Cookies and recipe card favors (we each made dozens of cookies and compared notes)
  • I would have missed collaborating with my father-in-law during set-up. He arranged hundreds of Irises that he and my mother in law grew into, yup, you guessed it, mason jars and thrift store glasses
  • I would have missed the look of wonder on my guests faces as they looked at the paper flowers I crafted (they did not obsess over wedding blogs and though the flowers were delightful)
  • I would have missed honoring my grandmother, who died when I was young and who always made the most amazing and elaborate birthday cakes. I used her cake pans for my DIY wedding cake (my eyes are tearing up at this very moment thinking about it. It was such a special thing for me to do.)
  • I would have missed thinking about my guests, how to honor them, how to please them and even how to titillate them with the details– all of which I hand-picked for all of our enjoyment.
  • I would have missed feeling like a true team with my husband. I made the cake, he decorated it.
  • I would have missed my brother's gentle teasing to not stress about the twine-tied, paper-wrapped favors. “It's rustic,” he said of the grease spots that were seeping into the brown paper from the frosted cookies. It provided comic relief for the entire wedding party for days! What a memory!
  • I would have missed the camaraderie I enjoyed with my closest friends as we all worked together to set up the venue the morning of the ceremony.
  • Without a friend capturing video, I would have missed seeing my mom and mother-in-laws hands as each helped zip and button up my dress (I don't have eyes in the back of my head.)
  • I would have missed the opportunity to pass my burlap onto another mountain bride, who was on a super tight budget. I met her through blogging, offered to mail her my burlap and pine cones, and forged a friendship that we both enjoy to this day!

For my family and me, we saw the wedding as a community celebration, one which we all took part. We all contributed. For us, the details were important; they brought us together in a single goal. We were able to strengthen our bond through the details.

Now of course not every bride, couple or family will feel this way. Details aren't for everyone, and that's OK. There really is no one-size-fits-all wedding model, whether plain or full of details.

It's easy for industry professionals to roll their eyes at the details that fast become trends and then cliches. And I don't expect any of us to see all of the behind-the-scenes processes that may make those details truly meaningful.  But I do remember what it was like to be a bride selecting all of those details, and the hindsight that comes from blogging about weddings every day. And looking back, I don't regret focusing on many of those details. And I don't believe something has to be original to be meaningful. We did the now-cliched bunting and mason jars. But even now, as I look back, they were so us. Still are. We're both creative and thrifty. While it may seem like we were just following trends, the trends we selected were right for us. Who can judge that?

I am so grateful that we followed our hearts and made decisions that were perfect for us. And truth be told, looking back, I'm grateful to have had access to an amazingly creative industry that gave us endless ideas for our wedding, now-cliched or not.

I love my bunting