I was told I was supposed to write an About Me page in the third person. One that tells the world how great Intimate Weddings really is. If that’s the page you are looking for, go here. Meantime, if you want some of the down and dirty backstory behind IW, read on.
If someone would have told me as a young, twenty-something with an English lit degree that I would one day make a living writing about weddings, I would have fallen ill. The kind of ill that has you in a dark room, a cold cloth placed on your feverish forehead and Zamfir playing softly in the background to quiet the pounding in your ears. The kind of ill that has you on an IV drip of sour apple martinis.
There are girls who dream about planning their weddings from the time they can tie their own shoelaces, but I was not one of them. Not even close.
You see, dear readers, weddings were NOT my thing. Weddings were all frilly, white and proper; pretty much the opposite of me (except for the white part.)
As a child I did not stand in front of a mirror twirling in princess dresses and tiaras; I was too busy perfecting my lay-up in the driveway, dissecting earth worms after thunderstorms or watching my older brother set off an assortment of homemade stink bombs in the backyard. My Barbie dolls did not have elaborate weddings; instead they donned short punk, lipstick smeared DIY mohawks and partied naked in the back of the camper with bad boy Ken.
Maybe it was because I grew up with three older brothers. Maybe it was because I was tall and sporty. Whatever the reason, I was not a girly girl with ambitions to stand at the altar with Prince Charming; just give me the damn frog and we’ll call it a day.
Now, before we go on, I want you to know that I can see the confused look on your face. “You don’t like weddings, and yet, you are a wedding blogger? Huh? Am I understanding this right?” Well, that’s not the whole story.
See, things changed a bit when I reached my mid-twenties. That’s when I met this guy named Darin.
After the roster of bad boys that I had endured since high school, Darin flew into the scene like a super hero. Sadly, given my penchant for lost and tormented musicians, qualities such as thoughtfulness, kindness and honesty, which Darin had in spades, were reserved for mere friends; lovers were dark, unpredictable, messy.
It took a year, but my warped thinking dissolved, making room for something that caught me entirely by surprise; love. A camping trip, complete with poison oak and way too much Aquavit, was the turning point; in a couple of months we moved in together and within a year we were engaged.
Six months before our wedding date, I decided that it was time to face the tulle and twinkle lights and start planning. Kinda like cramming for an exam; necessary, but low, low, low on the fun-o-meter.
Or so I thought.
I’m not sure of the precise moment of my epiphany, but I’m pretty sure it’s when I bought my newly purchased copy of The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Weddings.
It was out of character for me to have even purchased this book– given my tendency to make fun of all things domestic, but I knew nothing about weddings and I was truly desperate for information. Remember, this was before blogs, Pinterest and Instagram – hell it was before the term DIY existed!
When I cracked open the book, a strange feeling came over me as I set my eyes on the elaborate tablesettings, the dreamy bouquets and tantalizing homemade favors. My dopamine receptors got all excited: it was almost like I was devouring a piece of deliriously good chocolate cake. I was intoxicated by all of the possibilities for my wedding day, and yet I wouldn’t admit it. Not even to myself. Kinda like when I catch myself singing along to my daughter’s latest Justin Bieber download – but worse, much worse.
What I came to realize was that a wedding is truly a blank canvas. It doesn’t have to be all predictable and princessy – it can be whatever you want. And just because I had an interest in planning my wedding, did not mean that I would have to suddenly fit in with the girls who cared deeply about Kate Spade purses and faux fingernails. I could wave my rebel flag and have fun planning my misfit wedding – all at the same time. Who knew?
The Badass Adventure
As I delved deeper into the wedding planning process, I discovered that there was next to zero information on small weddings. In fact, there wasn’t a single book that offered ideas, advice and guidance on planning a small wedding.
That’s when the idea for my book, Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style transpired. Ultimately, I set out to write the book that I wish I had.
It’s been 12 years since my book hit the shelves – and 14 since my wedding day. Looking back, I feel that it all unfolded rather perfectly. I loved our intimate at-home wedding. A lot. But now that I’m older (and a bit more experienced!), my perspective has changed.
If I was planning my wedding now, I’d elope. I’d go somewhere on our bucket list, like Iceland. Only close family would be invited. I’d spend $50 on shoes, instead of $150. I wouldn’t agonize over superficial details, like what colour the ribbons are to wrap the favors. In fact, I wouldn’t even have favors. I would kiss my husband longer at the altar. I wouldn’t agonize about wearing my hair down (at that time, everyone had an up-do!). I wouldn’t beat myself up about not wanting to give a speech. (I hate public speaking.) I wouldn’t fret about having only a maid of honor and no bridesmaids. I’d celebrate with a cozy, family meal at a fabulous restaurant, instead of a reception for 50-people – and I’d savour every last bite of my dinner, instead of worrying about whether or not everyone else is enjoying their meal.
No matter where you are in your wedding planning journey, my biggest hope for you is that you make your wedding an expression of who you are, right now. If you’re brave enough to break with convention and wave your rebel flag, you just might find that under all that tulle and satin, planning your wedding (or elopement!) is really just a fun little badass adventure –perfectly suited to girls who prefer muddy boots over Jimmy Choo.