on tackling wedding envy.

It's time to come clean: While in Paris, I thought eloping would be romantic. A day that would be just ours...no tears shed over budgetary stress, finding the perfect dress or trimming down the guest list. We wouldn't have to decide if the wedding would be in Wisconsin or California. We could be hitched before he returned to Iraq, and I wouldn't have to plan a wedding alone. If I was for real, Gabe was heavily pro-elopement. I was fence-sitting.

But I didn't have a dress. And you get one real wedding day. If you elope, that's kind of it. And we would still would have to say goodbye for six months...I'd just be bidding my husband adieu, rather than kissing my fiance goodbye. That sounded even worse. And let's face it: I might as well spend my newly-engaged time tinkling with wedding projects, rather than spend my first newlywed year sadly watching episodes of Modern Family and eating pints of Half Baked, waiting for the hubs to finish his time in Baghdad.

So we didn't. And most of the time I'm glad, because the silly girl inside does still want a dress, a wedding, a weekend with my nearest and dearest...killer photos to show the kiddos someday. This girl's throwin' a wedding. And I'm so excited about it. But dang, that ish is expensive and a lil' stressful.

And here's the stress: Wedding perfection. I've kept my distance from wedding blogs and magazines for the past three weeks, because rather than feeling inspired when I read pages and pages of pastel candy-coated nuptial perfection, I'm left feeling waaaahh-waaah. Because Gabe and I don't look like models. Or have a mint green vintage car to drive off in. Because my father isn't going to build us a wedding barn with his own two hands. Because I can't fit in my grandmother's wedding dress. Because we can't whittle our own cake toppers. Because I can't sew my bridesmaids' dresses out of vintage fabric. Because I'm not a graphic designer, and I can't screenprint our invitations onto vintage hankies.

As you can imagine, the "can't" list goes on and on. But I have to be done with "can't", otherwise I risk spending multiple bridezilla-esque months hyperventilating over a specific shade of Sea Breeze Green...rather than infusing our wedding with love and our personality. Even if our day doesn't rival the weddings of Martha Stewart magazine or 100 Layer Cake, we can make an entirely beautiful-to-us day. 

So here's my wedding can-do list:

We can stop worrying about what is "in", and start stocking up in what is "us".

We can ensure that our closest family and friends know how much they are loved and their presence appreciated.

I can wear something that makes me feel like a bajillion bucks. He can look pretty hot, too.

We can make sure our bridesmaids feel gorgeous (because they all are!) and flattered.

We can serve food that is fun + yummy, rather than food that is expected and traditional.

We can have a dessert buffet...no matter what it costs.

We can invest in a fabulous photographer, allowing us to remember all our little beautiful efforts.

But most of all, we can remember that our wedding is just a day...but we are forever.


Brides, brides-to-be or girls who simply like to dream in advance:

How do you avoid feeling inferior + getting overwhelmed by ultra creative wedding blogs, magazines and books?


  1. Whilst my wedding day is still a long way off I have still thought about it and one of the things that scares me is how much people invest in all the “stuff” on the day and kind of forget that it should be all about them and their love. I think your ‘can’ list is perfection, invest in the most important things and the little things will fall in to place. The most important thing on the day is celebrating your love for each other and having your friends and family there to help.

  2. simple is always better, that was my thoughts...i figured i would rather spend the money on an awesome honeymoon & furniture for our new place together then on little bitty details on my wedding day...it goes so fast!

    hope you are having so much fun planning!

  3. your can'ts are seriously cracking me up! i feel like all that stuff is just invented by magazines to one-up each other.

    i will tell you that the best weddings out there are the ones that fit the personality of the couple - one that shows their personality, no matter how big or small. that's important.

    i don't want to sound cocky, but my wedding was amazing and years later, people are still telling me how much FUN they had. i planned to the max for it, but i had fun doing it. our stuff was nice, but certainly not fancy or over-the-top. i was beaming on the day, not stressing about anything - and i think that was reflected in mood of the whole party! i specially requested to have mac and cheese on the buffet, so i hear you on the food! :)

    just remember - ENJOY it! that's all that matters!

  4. I know exactly what you are talking about! I am kind of doing a little of both. It hit home pretty quick how fast my budget was going to disappear and I will admit, I was bummed that I thought I wasn't going to get the wedding I have always dreamed up and seen in those pictures. But in all reality, after I finally broke down and read through the blogs and looked at all the wedding websites, it mostly gave me ideas of stuff I liked and then I put my own twist on all my planning... I really am getting the wedding of my dreams, because like you said, it really is about me and Tom. I just have to remind myself that all the cute little details, no one will remember. =) And, the first words out of my mouth when I heard about you and Gabe..."OH MY GOSH.... HER WEDDING IS GOING TO BE SOOOOO CUTE! I'M JEALOUS ALREADY!"

  5. Beth, you just gotta be true to yourself. Close your eyes and think about your wedding day. Are you in a church? Is it in a field? By a lake? This is your gut instinct and what you should go with.

    For me, I always knew I wanted some sort of barn-like setting and outdoors. Once I found my venue, everything fell into place.

    Look, my wedding was far from magazine perfection-- but it was perfectly us. It was the most amazing day of my life and trust me, your wedding will be too. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what flavor cake you had, or how your programs looked; all that matters is that Gabe is your husband and you are his wife.

    Much love to you my dear,

  6. I am a wife of 4 years now... someone once told me when you find what you want or plan a part of your big day stop looking for more ideas. You will always find something cool, different, or more beautiful out there. Trends and ideas are always changing. I had a beautiful wedding, I loved every minute of it. I never stressed over the little stuff. We planned our wedding in 6 months exactly. I felt like if we planned it longer we would stress out more and spend more money. Find what YOU like and don't worry about what others might think. It is your day!!!

  7. My wedding day is quickly approaching (two months!), and i totally understand where you are coming. We have a very small budget and I have expensive taste and big dreams. I have looked over many a blog in wonder and envy putting myself down and feeling down in the dumps that, like you, can't have that spectacular vintage car or even that goregous manzanita tree centerpiece dripping with crystals.I've had to come to terms with what we can do and make it as beautiful as I can with my budget. It's been difficult, but the day will be beautiful and after all is said and done, we will forget those little details we cared so much about before and remember the moments that actually mean something. Good luck! I'm sure whatever you come up with will be amazing!

  8. i got married before i read any wedding blogs (thank goodness) but as long as you do a wedding that makes you happy it will be beautiful.

    And here you go... you can computer print your own vintage handkerchief looking invitations - http://eatdrinkchic.com/post.cfm/diy-wedding-hanky-love-letters

  9. good luck to you!
    it sounds like you've got it figured out though :)

  10. I think your list is perfect and staying away from the wedding blogs to help. I mainly made a list of everything I kind of wanted. And in the end I think my wedding day was beautiful. It was us and there is no reason to be upset.

    I guess you just have to somehow not put pressure on yourself and not feel inferior. Your family and friends can definitely help in that situation. x

  11. We kept things simple, yet splurged on a few things that we were in love with. It was the best day of my life, but I could have been wearing a pillowcase and I still would be with the man of my dreams. Don't let the magazines and blogs run you down. They are in it for selling products so just go with your heart.

  12. I have been lurking for longer than I remember and love reading your blog. Congratulations on the engagement! My husband and I have been married a little over two years. I am an interior designer and loved reading wedding blogs and dreamt of using all the fun ideas that I saw. But, when it came down to it, we had a pretty tight budget.

    We stuck to our guns on getting a killer photographer and amazing flowers. We scrimped other places to make a tight budget. It all worked out wonderfully and when I looked back on the day all I remember was happiness. I love our pictures and still look at them pretty often, even though neither of us are model material. I love seeing that fresh, excited love in our eyes.

  13. Oh wow! I love this post Bethany. As you know, Noah and I are engaged and we have almost exactly one year until we hope to get married. Why do I say hope? We still haven't set the date yet! Or location!

    We've been engaged for six months and still can't decide if we're having the wedding in Harrisonburg or Winchester (an hour apart!). I cannot begin to imagine deciding between Wisconsin and California. Good luck!

    As far as wedding blogs, magazines, and the such I just like to take as many ideas as I can and try to figure out a low budget system to do something similar. Our problem in this area is that I'm about the most laid back bride ever and Noah is the one who dreams of a fancy, expensive, traditional wedding with a big white dress. He wants it ALL when I want something simple, fun, outdoorsy, and just a big old party.

    It's actual the thing we've disagreed on most in our six years. It's just tough.

    I love seeing the ideas online and in magazines to try and show Noah that more casual weddings can be a great way to go too (mostly because they're not as expensive as paying $5,000 for a vineyard).

    I love all your ideas about what to do for a wedding. Vintage would be so great for you! Look at the ring for heaven's sake - it's perfect! If you ever figure it out let me know. Eloping sounds good to me except for the fact that you don't have your friends and family there.... Yet I still dream about eloping and getting married in some British Castle just the two of us. Hah.

  14. I think this list was a perfect idea. I have lots of things written down for my someday wedding, but when the time comes I know it will be all depending on what our lives are like at that point. I think you are going to have a fabulous wedding, because you are a fabulous person and have the best creative ideas! Invest in the help of friends for DIYs, then the wedding will be a collection of beauty that the people you love helped you make!

  15. I know what you mean about wedding blogs! I spent most of our engagement pouring over them (attempting to steal ideas), wishing our wedding could be just as fabulous and filled with tons of adorable crafty details, but seriously who has the time or the money to pull those crazy, but beautiful, weddings off? Your wedding is about you and your man, not what everyone else is doing. Take a few things that you love and want in your wedding and run with them (a good photographer is SO worth it). And I have no doubt you will have a beautiful wedding, you have such a great style! But in the end all that truly matters is that two people in love are getting hitched, and that's enough to make it the best day ever.

  16. So... looking back the one thing I would change was spend less money on food. we had a caterer and it was delicious, but a LARGE chuck of the budget. I mean good food is good, but so is simple food and honestly, do you remember any meals you've had at weddings?
    In case you wanted to know that...

    For me, I went through the list of all the wedding "must-haves," and nixed all the things that I didn't care about, the best weddings are the most unique. Have fun!

  17. oh beth, you are so on the right track! i know the feeling of wedding blog envy & discouragement all too well...but i know beyond any shadow of doubt that your day is going to be eXquisite! you and gabe are AAAdorable and you are so wise to keep your family & friends at the center and focus on your creative strengths from square one. your day is going to be complete amazeballs, and i don't use that term lightly.

  18. I understand your temptation to elope in Paris, as my fiance and I have considered eloping many times, but in the end I think it is so much more memorable to have the time to plan the wedding with your mom and pick out a beautiful dress that you will have for the rest of your life. Either way, the most important thing is to celebrate the love between you and your lucky man.

  19. I like your CAN do list. All of those can't do things are unimportant, because whatever you choose to do on your special day will be wonderful and beautiful because it will be a reflection of you as a couple! Looking forward to hearing more of your wedding plans!

  20. I've been reading your blog - yes the whole thing for the last couple of days - thank you for your inspiration and gentle spirit. Have you looked at nothing but bonfires wedding? She did it herself and her colours were very you! Cheers

  21. Honestly, finding people out there like you. It's so encouraging and refreshing to hear it from someone else.

  22. I absolutely LOVE your blog!! It's so easy to feel overwhelmed by all those wedding blogs and ideas, but a good way for me to stay on track is remembering what I can do to makeup it unique and expressive of the relationship I have with my guy. I love your ideas by the way!! They're absolutely awesome!


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