Image: One Love Photo


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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#80: Style Doesn't Matter. (For the most part.)

I want to start off with a few pictures. Look how fun I, a barnyard BBQ bride, can have at a friend's traditional wedding reception:

So that was me ruling the dance floor, performing an acoustic version of Edwin McCain's I'll Be at the bride's request, and tipping myself with a dollar bill after being impressed with own dance moves.

Lesson learned: weddings that are SO not your style can truly knock your socks off.

Why? Because style doesn't make or break anyone's experience at a party. Attitude does.

However, let's be clear: I'm not completely minimizing the importance of decor, and I'm certainly not encouraging anyone to make inauthentic style choices. Decor can move you to feel like your most beautifully honest self. Decor can make the bride and groom feel like they died and went to the part of heaven where all the best dead interior designers float around. But decor does not create joy or fun.

Style is not what you'll remember most about your wedding.

And yet you've probably noticed that I love featuring casual, non-traditional and/ or budget weddings here on Brave Bride. I'll be honest - I do have a bit of "style agenda" as the mastermind behind this blog. I do this because there is a lack of budget weddings featured in the media and I want to increase their exposure. I want show engaged couples all of the choices that wedding magazines never told them they had.

But style is NOT the focus of this blog. So in keeping with my desire to affirm the authentic choices of every bride and groom, I plan to feature some traditional and larger budget couples who have made equally as mindful and meaningful choices as the "indie wedding" gang has.

Above all, I promote making bravely authentic choices - whether that means Taco truck catering or a caviar station over by the swan ice sculptures.

So all this week I will be writing about authentic traditional wedding choices (as opposed to pressured-by-Mom-and-Dad-who-are-paying-for-this-thing traditional wedding "choices"). I'll also be showing you what it looks like when non-traditionalists form a peaceful relationship with tradition. Stay tuned!


  1. Normally I read your blog and think "yes, a million percent yes!" but today I want to raise a couple points of contention.

    On budget: sometimes going over budget is more than being vain. Sharing experiences and building family and community connections is worth an investment (financial or otherwise). Case in point, going over budget on my wedding dress may be worth the experience I was able to have with my mother and sister. Our relationships subtly changed and grew through this time together. Worth $300? Yes.

    On pushy family expectations: I think there is a difference between compromising to avoid conflict, compromising because mom or dad said
    so and you don't really have a choice, and compromising to make the most people happy. Perhaps I'm just feeling defensive about the
    statement referring to mom and pop paying for the wedding, because my mom and dad *are* paying for much of the party. However, when my mom says she pictured something a certain way, I try to consider if there is a reason (logistics, sentimentality, budget) or if its a personal taste thing. In the end, if I'm not losing my voice and a choice will make someone else (whom I love dearly, i.e. mom, dad, sister, fiance, best friend) happier, then that choice ultimately makes *me* happier.

    To sum up: I'm realizing that, to me, the brave choices are the considerate ones, and that takes a lot of effort. I think telling off my mother and insisting on X is selfish and unproductive, even if I feel like X is an authentic representation of me. In this respect, wedding planning is no different than caring for all of the relationships in my life: if getting what I want hurts my relationship with someone else, I haven't really gotten what I want.

  2. Hey Carolyn. I agree. I actually didn't intend for this post to make a statement against the great ideas you shared above, although I could see how it would be interpreted that way. (The bit about pressure from parents who pay - if you appease them and it makes your relationship *healthier*, more balanced, and more whole, then it was a wise and authentic compromise. But the parental pressure I was referring to above breeds strong resentment or feelings of being trapped. NOT so healthy.)

    I think people mistake my plea for balls with an irreverent middle finger pointed at family, friends, or religious institutions that have an opposing point of view. But courage is different for different people. For those who compromise too much (ie., if you cry after bending over backwards for people and you tend to neglect personal needs), then balls are needed to set boundaries. But for those who are fiercely independent and burn bridges in doing so, balls might be needed to learn that compromise is not weakness or about being brainwashed - it is, in part, a form of loving and caring for yourself. For those who vacillate between the two extremes (most of us), balls are different depending on the issue.

    Anyway, more on the examination of balls (oh, definitely in the figurative sense!) is coming soon. You kind of beat me to the punch. ;)

    PS. My parents paid for half of our wedding, too, so no need to feel defensive. I made lots of compromises, all of which I'm satisfied with because I'm a middle child in a huge family within a very communal Filipino culture. So believe me, I *get* your 3rd paragraph!

  3. I love the photos and that you sang at the wedding, and I completely agree with the big picture of what you were saying. WHO the hell cares about style.

  4. Er in hindsight, I feel like I should apologize for my tone. I was definitely coming back down off of a parent-heavy, wedding-heavy weekend!

    SO many emotions to corral!

  5. No prob, Carolyn. You made excellent points, and I could tell that all of your wisdom was coming from some recent real-life wedding drama.

    Parent-heavy/ wedding-heavy weekends...oy. ;)


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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