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Planning Advice for Authentic People: When the World Pushes Back

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Dear Star,

I got engaged a few months ago and couldn’t be more excited to be marrying the man who loves me like no one else can! However, when I started to tell people about our engagement I started getting unsolicited advice about single, tiny idea I had. Some of my ideas, I will admit, are not “traditional” but neither are we! Getting married in a wedding slumber party where everyone wears PJs or holding it during a music festival so we can enjoy our favorite artists, are just some of the ideas we love. 

Planning Advice for Authentic People: When the Real World Pushes Back

The reaction to our ideas have ranged to strange looks and then asking if we were serious to informing us that a particular person or group won’t be coming if we’re going to make a mockery of the ceremony. My aunt (who I’m not even that close to) sent me some wedding etiquette books and created a scrapbook of fluffy white dresses she thought I might like. I hated all of them, for the record.

I feel like we could go our own way with the ceremony, but then we would have no one in attendance but a few close friends and family members who are used to us. Or we could do something more traditional and have more people there to enjoy themselves, but we might not be completely happy about it.

What on earth are we supposed to do?

-Yi Q.

Dear Yi,

I feel the frustration of your letter down to my very soul and nethersoul and soul druthers. As a creative person it can be frustrating, if not make you want to scream until you pass out, when people who refuse to even look at your vision or consider it because it’s not what they’re used to. There’s nothing wrong with being an authentically out there person. Wave that freak flag high if that’s what you’ve got. You’re not wrong or bad to want to celebrate a huge milestone in your life in the manner you feel most comfortable.

Planning Advice for Authentic People: When the Real World Pushes Back

However, I also see the conflicting emotions about celebrating your own way but doing it alone. It takes a petty person to refuse to go to a marriage ceremony just because everyone is in PJs, but those people are out there and we call them family and friends. When navigating this minefield, take the following steps.

  • DO NOT ask every person who has or will object to your ideas what they think. They’re far more likely to push their dream wedding on you than try to help you create your own.
  • DO think about how important it is that these people are part of your big day. If you can live without them there, go forth. But if you want them to be present and feel comfortable, consider some compromises.
  • DO NOT throw out every idea you’ve had to please everyone else. Your wedding should reflect your tastes. You want wedding guests to recognize you and your fiance through the decor, food, attire, planning, etc.
  • DO boil all of your options down to what makes you the most happy and that you can execute and afford. If a musical component excites you both, maybe skip the death metal concert and try a DJ with an eclectic playlist.
  • DO NOT try to please everyone. You can’t. Just don’t even get it into your head that you might be able to.
  • DO ask yourself, “Will I regret this later?” before making any large decisions. Think about how you want to look back at your wedding and how you want to remember your special day. If your heart tells you need those wedding PJs after all, go for it with no regrets.

Planning Advice for Authentic People: When the Real World Pushes Back

Naturally, no matter what you do, you will still have those people who naysay and give you a hard time over what you’ve chosen for your wedding. Sometimes with snide remarks, sometimes with “jokes” and jibs, sometimes with backhanded compliments, or just plain rudeness. Respond as positively as you can and brush it off. After all, your wedding is your concern, their opinions are not.

Go forth and plan in a way that makes you happy, allows you to express yourself, and brings everyone who attends closer together. There are no easy answers in planning sometimes. But finding and maintaining balance can be the key to getting what you want and celebrating with the people who matter to you.

Sincerely,

Star

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