By Darin (The Huzz)

Do you see an intimate wedding in your future? Maybe in 2011 or 2012?

Here’s my list of wedding planning essentials for the upcoming nuptials.

1. Bride and groom committed to spending the rest of their lives together. Simple enough right? About 50% get it wrong. Here’s hoping you’re in the “get it right” population.

2. Bride and groom who have sorted out whether or not they want children. Tied to #1, but trust me, part of that 50% failure rate on marriage includes not having this sorted out beforehand.

3. Marriage license.

4. Officiant who can perform marriage.

5. Witness(es).

6. Wedding venue. (From court house to backyard to swanky loft. With a small, intimate affair your options are endless.)

7. Loved ones and close friends whom the bride and groom would like to be a part of their marriage ceremony and post-ceremony celebration, if applicable.

8. A bag of real money. No plastic. No line of credit. No “mom and dad’s home equity that’s losing equity by the day” line of credit. Real M-O-N-E-Y. How much goes in the bag depends on the list you create in step 9. Do NOT base it on the “Average Cost of a Wedding” number that you see in mainstream media.

9. A list. Or two. Or three. On this list should be the “stuff” that YOU want to include as part of YOUR wedding. This item can be extremely simple or really complicated. To create this list you might include you and your future spouse only, but not necessarily. If your parents or future in laws are helping to foot the bill you’ll probably end up including them in the decision making process as well.

10. Stones. Big ones. Not only for the groom, but the bride as well. You’ll need the stones to keep your wedding true to what your vision is. The internet has given you so many options and “experts” to guide you through this manufactured wedding maze. It’s easy to end up on a much different path than where you started. That isn’t always a bad thing. Just remember to take a good, hard look at where you are going. Does it feel right? If not, re-group.

We got married in 2001.  I’m here to tell you from the other side of the fence, with 10 years of happy marriage and a family that’s grown from the two of us, to now four, that the best thing you can do is stay true to yourselves and make your crazy list of wedding essentials your OWN list and not the list that the industry wants you to fret over as you pump bags of money into its hungry industrial complex belly.

Which brings me to the last thing on the list:

11. Stay inspired. These real weddings will help you do just that.

Photo: Julie and Jon’s Art Nouveau Wedding by Tinywater Photography