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5 wedding things I won’t give up as a minimalist bride

Let’s be real: one of the most stressful thing in a woman’s life is planning your wedding. I read through articles like this one overwhelmed with dread: why anybody would go through this for just one day is beyond me. I have contemplated eloping, only to remember that well, I’m Catholic, and that’s not really going to work outside of a theatre putting on Romeo and Juliet. I guess it is theoretically possible to have just the witnesses and the priest, but we can’t quite justify it to our families as a spur of the moment thing when going through months of marriage prep, so I have settled on a small, intimate affair without all the pomp. Still, there are a couple of things from the traditional wedding that I couldn’t do without.

The Dress

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to play dress up and I love a good floor length dress that makes me feel like a princess, so I was never going to pass on the dress. I thought about modifying my mother’s dress, but it’s beautiful even if a bit too 1980s for me and I felt so guilty touching it that I have decided we should make one or if I can’t work out a trip long enough for that I will buy one. I have looked at many, and I understand why people say there is an almost mystical one: they are all beautiful and you want them all, but then you take a double look and it doesn’t look like you.

There is a lot of pressure around the wedding dress. Even if you wear it only once, you would be wearing it in all the photos and videos (if you get them), and it’s worth taking time to look for the perfect one and start the process as early as possible. Thankfully for me, 3 royal weddings in recent years have meant a swing towards modest wedding dresses, so even if I have to buy one and not make one to my individual requirements I have a few options to work with. I’m going all out for the veil anyway.

Flowers

As a life-long wannabe florist, the second most important thing for me is the flowers. I spend hours looking at complex arrangements, but I’m not sure what I will end up with, especially within the restrictions of the church. The general advice given is to pick a colour scheme and then let the flowers follow from there, but I have thought about colour schemes a lot and I’m really not a fan, so I’m going with the flowers I like the most.

I think the biggest piece of advice when it comes to flowers is to ask your florist for advice, they know their stuff and can help make things that work with the place even if you don’t pay a designer to do the actual arrangement because you do them yourself. They may even point you in the direction of something you love that you had never seen before (after all, everyone seems to go with roses…). This is also one of a number of ways to cut costs and have beautiful flowers, as not all stems are priced equally. Buying local flowers in season and use greenery is also another one, as well as using bigger flowers that take up space and require fewer stems.

Invitations

Budget is one of my biggest considerations, so I have looked at all options of how to do things. There is plenty of diy wedding invites on the Internet, especially in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. They add a personal touch to the wedding and guests would appreciate the effort. That is not to say that if you don’t make them yourself you don’t care, I’m not going for do-it-yourself either! I will handwrite the addresses but that’s it. I have chosen the invitations before I had even had a chance to sit down with the priest, they are made with patterns from the V&A and they are so stereotypically me it’s insane.

Guest List

Then there is the matter of the guest list to think about, and this should come before the wedding invitations (my bad!). You and your partner need to sit down and reach an agreement on who you want at your wedding. It can be a hard conversation so worth having as early as possible: people will have expectations of being invited, or who you should invite, and you need to face them as a united front, or the conflict will threaten to tear you apart. For us, the guest list initially influenced the location and the kind of wedding we were going to offer: I felt an obligation to have something more formal because I was going to ask guests to travel. After a long discussion and change of some circumstances, we agreed to have the wedding in London, making it easier for me to let go of the sense of obligation and choose a reception that suits not only my desire for an intimate day spent with those I care about but, also, my intention to keep the budget very small.

Bridesmaids Dresses

The final thing that people spend a lot of time on is the bridesmaid dresses. There is an entire industry built around the whole colour scheme idea, and some dresses cost as much as the wedding dress! At present, I am swinging towards the idea of letting them decide what they like and dress accordingly, since I don’t have a sit-down meal and colour scheme to match. Still, no matter if one or many, they need to look lovely and so I will follow the advice from the many wedding blogs and incorporate what I feel helps.

At the end of the day, the wedding is only the beginning of a journey and while the Italian blood demands food and drinks to celebrate, it’s more important to me to focus on what the service actually means, and then on the people who will be there to see me off on my new life. Months of stressing over the shade of the table linen, no thanks (although the cake tasting, now we’re talking…).

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