Alternative wedding stress? Do it your way

alternative wedding stress

Alternative wedding stress? Put your day first, not the theme…

Getting married is a hassle. Whatever your relationship status, anyone can see the that faff of legalities, parties and different shades of royal blue all combine into the most stressful event of your life. Who knew there was a more specific way to say ‘royal blue’? Don’t even get me started on ‘what shade of white is your wedding dress?’

Most people (event planners aside) might never have organised a gathering more complicated than a birthday party at a bowling alley. And now, in these uncertain times, comes the inevitable pigeonholing. Traditional white wedding, with candlesticks and confetti? Activists’ ball, with a rocking fifties vintage frock and seed bombs? The ‘unique’ wedding we’re all told to strive for?

My fiancé and I are pretty… average. In an alternative sense, ‘average’ means I dye my hair purple and forget to put my earrings in. In a geek sense, ‘average’ means he doesn’t love Star Wars enough to want to be married by a Storm Trooper. So all these ideas online (Pinterest, you’re behind this) don’t really gel with our idea of ‘our wedding’.

That’s fine. Really, it’s fine.

For a while (I’ve been wedding-planning since April 2014) I was striving to make this wedding unique, very us, very WOW. Choose your own adventure invitations? Handmade crayons in the shape of minifigs? Birdcages filled with books and flowers as decorations?

Then, somewhere in a large wedding fair (between a problematically-named tipi company and a large tractor, specifically) I had the epiphany I would like to think all engaged folk have. I don’t care if it’s been done before. I don’t care if my wedding is, essentially, boring to the Pinterest hoards who are expecting sparklers and wonderment. I want a boring white wedding cake that is square and all even layered and not the Mad-Hatter-esque vision of colour and levels.

I’ve been struggling under the pressure to create some wacky wonderland of weirdness for all our friends and family. There’s the expectation, as a slightly outspoken feminist, that I am going to do something shocking to show the patriarchy what I am about. I have been asked (in concerned tones) if my dress will be white at all, or if I will appear in gothic finery, with ruby-covered converse and a steampunk gun instead of a bouquet.

‘It’s your big day’ is a phrase I’ve heard a lot. When it comes from the mouths of retailers, they’re usually trying to convince me I need a tiara that will never be worn again for every one of my ‘bridal sidekicks’ or that I really need a cake that feeds 5,000 people even though that’s 4,998 more than the number of people getting married. When it comes from friends, they’re trying to encourage me to do something I ordinarily couldn’t, to justify buying designer shoes that will probably never see the light of day again. And from family, it’s the reminders to dust off great-great aunt Hyacinth and invite all the members of the book club because it’s my big day and it can only be bigger if I show it off to the world, right?

I don’t want a unique wedding. I don’t want people to come away from it changed by the experience. I don’t want to pull something unexpected out of the bag.

I want to remember that I love my fiancé, that he loves me, that our friends and family love us and, yes, a little bit, I want to remember that we love Star Wars and Feminism and chocolate cake.