Wednesday, October 30, 2013

in defense of my large wedding

I'm pretty sure that Pinterest is ruining weddings for everyone and I have said about a thousand times that I am so, so grateful that I got married before anyone besides my grandma had a use for a mason jar. I feel like lately in blogland, there is a big divide between weddings: those who had a big wedding, and those who had a small one. I feel like many brides who had small weddings emphasize the fact that they focused on the marriage and not the wedding. Good for them! We all should have done that, right? I feel that their opinion about their preparation leads many to believe that the opposite is true: that those who had a big wedding only prepared for the day, rather than the marriage. And so, like the wordy person I am, I want to tell you why that simply wasn't true. At least not in my case. Planning my large wedding gave my husband and I many opportunities to prepare for our marriage.

Program kits came from Michael's but we wrote the content and printed them ourselves. From what I remember, we had to hand feed each page into the printer, which was as awesome as it sounds.

Andrew asked me to marry him on Christmas in 2008. At the time, I was doing teacher training and we thought I would get a teaching job the next fall, so we set our wedding date for June 2010. A year and a half away. Andrew has three sisters as well as an extended "family" in New York who have actually hunted down other family friends who eloped as to not miss their big day. My parents are divorced and both remarried with huge extended families of their own. In large part because of this, but moreso because it's what I had always wanted, we planned for a larger wedding - about 100 people.

I like to plan and I like to have research in front of me. But I kind of hate doing the research. My husband will research all day if he needs to. I scoured the internet for possible venues, caterers, DJs, and more, and he presented me with info on pricing, location, etc. He might kill me for saying this, but he was a great wedding planner. When we signed contracts and had payments due, he was the one who knew when they were due and made sure we had everything done on time. I saw great ideas on the internet about wedding binders and index card boxes with all of your guests' info and he was the one who printed extra copies and reminded me to go buy the cards. It was a great opportunity to prepare for our life together - an ongoing project that we got to work on together.

We folded each box (Andrew was good at that) and I stamped the top with the Vegas sign stamp. Then we cut out pieces of paper for each box that read "To remind you that love is sweet, enjoy this truffle from Las Vegas' John Phillippe Patisserie in the Bellagio, where we got engaged. Thank you for celebrating our wedding with us!"

I always think that something better is going to come along so I am awful at making choices. He was the one who looked objectively at what I loved and convinced me to make a decision. Up until our engagement, we hadn't embarked on any big projects together. The whole thing was a learning experience in seeing how we each handled decision-making, stress, and problem solving. Andrew can be a panicker at times, but one of the few things I can say is that I don't let certain things bother me. We balanced each other out well.

Our biggest wedding project was making the DIY coasters that are now all over pinterest - get the bathroom tiles from Home Depot, cut scrapbook paper to fit, and then mod podge to the top and add cork to the bottom. We thought this would be easy and cheap. Um, no. We hated ourselves through cutting hundreds of  pieces of paper with a wonky paper cutter, almost choking to death on toxic sealant when we had to improvise, and a house that smelled like mod podge for days. If I were on my own, I may have quit, but having someone to suffer with me and who was better at seeing how great the project was going to turn out helped push me through.

The coasters. Also served as escort cards. I punched each card and wrote each family or couple's name and we hand tied them with a ribbon that read "Eat, Drink and Be Married."

We went through highs and lows while wedding planning - none Earth-shattering, but they all seemed really big when you were planning the "most important day of your life." And we navigated them together. We had a fairly detailed wedding and we dreamed it up ourselves. We wanted to be reflected in everything and worked together on gluing invitations, printing programs, creating three types of favors, writing vows, picking music, and more. I wouldn't trade the things we learned about one another in those eighteen months for anything. And yes, you can definitely learn great lessons about your person just living life or planning a small wedding or without getting married at all. While it definitely isn't necessary to plan a larger wedding with your partner to be ready to marry them, I don't think it can hurt. Besides, you never know - he may end up being pretty good at it.

Oh, and for what it's worth? My wedding day was perfect and there isn't a thing I would change! Regardless of the size of your wedding, I hope you feel the same.

Little Bit of Class Little Bit of Sass


  1. people stress way too much over wedding planning. i had a blast! and this was before pinterest or any of those sites and i had to rely on MAGAZINES for ideas. in the end, i just went with it, planned out what was most important to me (the food/booze) and everything else was secondary. i also wanted to cut costs as much as possible so i called in all of my favors and made almost everything myself.

    Vodka and Soda

  2. LOVE those coasters! They are so cute! I can't imagine doing 100 of those though. We also had a big wedding (200 ppl) and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

  3. I got married right before Pinterest was huge, and we did use mason jars, lol. I had no idea they'd be such a THING someday. We had some bigger fights while planning and I actually mentioned it to my husband the other day, and he doesn't even recall the arguments like I did. Haha. I LOVE the favors, how sweet {literally!}.

  4. I definitely don't think a smaller wedding guarantees happiness, just like a bigger diamond - or any diamond - on the ring isn't proof of more genuine feelings.

    My only big dislike about about large weddings is the hanger-ons and guilt invites. The co-worker who doesn't even say hello to you every day, but they want to be at your wedding so they can drink. The uncle who you don't even like, but since you are inviting his brother/your other uncle, you have to invite him or Grandma will be mad. Then you have to invite his girlfriend, her adult daughters, and the daughters' boyfriends. One friend whines because her kid wants to be a flower girl, another friend wants her son to be the ring-bearer, etc. It seems that guests try to make the bigger ceremonies about them.

    That sort of thing was my #1 reason for wanting to elope. If someone couldn't even return a phone call on the other 364 days of the year, they didn't need to be at this important event in our lives.

  5. We got married in 2009 - so way before Pinterest, as well. I love this post because, yes, just because we had a big wedding didn't mean we didn't want to focus on the marriage! Also.... my husband has a huge family. :) Love those coaster favors!

  6. I think pinterest would've added a whole other level to wedding planning when I was doing it. I'm glad I didn't know about it, I don't know if it was around then or not (Sept 2010).

    I had 274 people at my wedding and I don't think the size of your wedding has anything to do with focusing on the marriage. If you're not focused on the marriage whether 274 people attend or 30 people, you're screwed. And that will all come out in the wash.

  7. I love Pinterest (mainly for recipes) and think the Mason jars are cute but we're not using them. I use them at home to jar foods I make, lol. Our DIY favors, I found the idea on Etsy but we're doing our own version (and when I've told people what they are, they're like wow, different and practical!). Your coasters are cute. I don't think Pinterest is ruining weddings; I just think a lot of people are going mason jars, burlap, chevron, etc. All of which I actually like, but am not incorporating into the wedding. Is 100 considered large? We're inviting 185 (including bridal party and their sig. others which totals 15 right there), but could have easily invited more. We're on a budget so we're not inviting all coworkers and every SINGLE family member (parents cousins and their kids, grandparents siblings, etc). I don't think the size of the wedding matters, either.

  8. Love those coasters and the truffle idea. My brother planned more of his wedding than my SIL. Sometimes they are just better at making decisions and that is ok too! All that matters is that you two came together to make that day special for the two of you!!

  9. First of all, I don't think 100 people is that big. I think that is pretty normal nowadays. I thought you were going to say like 300 people. Then that would just be nuts!

    And I agree that Pinterest is killing weddings. It's making people do everything Pinterest has to offer for their weddings and they don't seem authentic. I totally agree with you there!

    Thanks for linking up with us. Your wedding seemed so cute! You need to share more pictures!

  10. First I 100% agree with you. In the beginning our wedding was looking like it would be much larger than anticipated because of all of the extended family. We eneded up right around 200 so it wasn't too bad, but I felt the same vibe you did around the internet.

    Just because my wedding was bigger doesn't mean it means less and I was more focused on the pomp and circumstance than the wedding. My husband and I both were more focused on getting married than anything else and for someone to assume that is just rude.

    I love all of your diy touches and am so glad you had the wedding of your dreams, I did too!

    Stopping by from the link up!


  11. I think at the end of the day, as long as you ended up married...who the hell cares if you had no people, 100 people or 1,000 people at your wedding! Sounds like you did it right to me.

    Oh, and by the way...I love your coasters, so pretty!

  12. We still use those coasters you made! I loved your wedding. (Thanks again for letting me tag along the whole day and the day before.)

    I planned David and I's wedding before Pinterest. In some ways, I wish I had Pinterest at the time, but on the other hand, I don't want to be bombarded with too many ideas. That would overwhelm me. I did use mason jars for the favors and I loved them. It was the one idea that stayed as is through the whole entire planning process.

    I enjoy looking at all the cute ways you can ask your friends to be in your wedding party on Pinterest, so I regret that I didn't do that. I was so excited that I immediately called them after I got engaged and asked them over the phone.

    It's interesting to see how people interpret large and small weddings. 100 or so people is about medium in my opinion (that's how big ours was) and anything above 150 or so is a large wedding. I have a coworker who is planning on inviting 250 people. I can't imagine that!

  13. I think at the end of the day, if you were happy, you did it right! Some people are going to prefer small weddings and some will prefer big ones. But, it doesn't make either better, just like everything else in life. Loves the details on the invites and coasters :)

  14. i am horrible at making decisions for that same reason. i always wonder, what if i change my mind?! or something better comes along!!! ahaha.

  15. Those coasters are such a great idea! I love that they double as seating cards too.

  16. Those coasters are such a great idea! I love that they double as seating cards too.

  17. I had no idea you had such a DIY wedding! And I'm so impressed :) You had great little gifts! The only thing I did DIY were folded cards with tissues and text that said "For your tears of joy." We didn't have programs because I lost the thumb drive that had it saved on it :) LOL

  18. Simply beautiful and classy.

    Have a wonderful day.


  19. I don't think 100 is big either. Ours was 75 and we got married a month after you. I consider anything over 200 on the larger side. I loved wedding planning. I did most of the work but I wanted to do it. Our main focus was budget. I don't care what is on pinterest. If I can't afford it then I'm not getting it and I was okay with that b/c I was just thrilled to be having a wedding. The coasters look great. Hopefully it was worth the effort!

  20. I love how involved your husband was with the planning! We made our invitations from a kit from Michaels too... and I wanted to smash our printer into a million pieces afterwards because we had to hand feed almost every sheet too. Luckily I only had to make 50 invites... I can't imagine doing twice that. The coasters are such a cute idea!

    p.s. looove that last picture of you two together!

  21. wedding planning is stupid and that's why i just kinda quit. if i see something nice on pinterest i will pin it because it's impossible to find a pin again. but i got my dress. i got a photographer and the venue. we painstakingly cut the list to 100 guests. i can't even care about hurt feelings.

  22. You are so crafty! I wish I was crafty, but also toting more than 4 bags to Mexico is no bueno. ;)
    I love the last pic of y'all and that Andrew was so hands on with the planning!
    Oh, and a co-worker today was dressed up as Pinterest...a white shirt with the red Pinterest logo and "pins" pinned to her shirt. The best part - she walked around holding a mason jar. :)

  23. Oh man the coasters are pretty but I can only imagine how time consuming that was

  24. I like that you take the opposite side of the coin and make it relevant and from a totally genuine perspective. Everyone's story and situation is different, and I can only imagine how gorgeous and loving your wedding was :-)

  25. I totally agree! It's not the size of the wedding that matters - it's the marriage itself! I hate when people judge my big wedding so I completely understand! By the way, you looked stunning and those coasters are amazing!!

  26. Great post Lauren! I love big weddings. I almost always have a blast when I go to them, and I always imagined that I would have one when that day comes. However - on the flip side of that, I have NO interest in doing anything handmade (crafts aren't my thing and I've been a bridesmaid too many times so I know what a pain it can be). Anyway, I definitely think it should be about whatever the bride and groom want! It sounds like the two of you had a great time planning everything out together and I love that!

  27. It's not about the size of the wedding, but the sincerity and the commitment that's shared during that special event. Thanks for sharing some details of your wedding preparations. This is a very important event, and you've made all things as perfect as possible. Congratulations on the new chapter of your life, and I do hope you'll continue to share your love story. :)

    Coreen Ogilvie @


I like comments and read them all but I'm not great about responding to them, so please don't be offended. I would much rather visit your blog instead!