I have mixed emotions about this article.
I am a backyard bride. We are having the ceremony and reception in my dad’s backyard that backs up to a beautiful creek. I absolutely love the homey feel of gathering all our friends and family in our home. It feels more welcoming. I have a greater sense of community, which is really important to me. And I like the idea of being able to walk down the creek to our wedding site whenever we visit my dad.
It’s going to be a mixed bag of how “big and expensive” our wedding will be. On the one hand we’re going for a casual picnic kind of feel. We’ll have lawn games. We’re asking family and friends to make an assortment of desserts instead of a wedding cake. I’m encouraging people to dress casually. I found our photographer on Craigslist for $800.
But we’re definately not having a small wedding. We’re inviting 230 people. For us, it was very important that we get to spend the day surrounded by all our friends and family. We would rather get cheaper food and only serve beer and wine, rather than have to cut wonderful friends and family from our guest list. Those are our priorities.
There are times, like when I read that article, that I feel guilty for having such a large guest list. I think “I’m a horrible materialistic, consumer driven wedding industrial complex slave!” And maybe I am. But I’m not inviting all these people to show off for them. We’re having port-a-pots. This isn’t a showy wedding. I’m inviting these people because I genuinely want them to be with us on the day that we get married. Yes, there are a few people (8 to be specific) that we’re inviting because they’re close to my parents. But my parents have been a huge help in palanning everything, and we’re doing it at their house, so I thought that was only fair. And yes, there are some distant relatives that I don’t get to see very often – and I’m super pumped to have them there because I don’t get to see them very often. My fiance and I actually like our families and are excited to see them. I can’t wait to see friends who have moved away and I don’t get to see often.
I am one of those people who loves being surrounded by giant, crazy, fun grounps of family and friends. I cherish long term relationships – even if I don’t get to see people very often. I find it very fulfilling to belong to a community. And communities need times to gather to reestablish bonds. Whether that’s extended family or college friends or whatever. I have “wedding and funeral” family members that I’ve seen for the last 3 funerals, that I’d really like to see for a happy occasion.
So yes, I’m having a big wedding. And yes it’s going to cost a lot of money (although less than average). But I’m okay with that. Friends and family come to weddings to support the wedding and the marriage. And I figure we can use all the support we can get. So I try to remember why I’m having the wedding we’re having. I try to remember our priorities. Family. Friends. Community. I think those are worthy priorities.
Of note – it occurs to me that perhaps part of the reason wedding are getting bigger is simply because people get to know more people these days than they did 30 or 50 years ago. People (both men and women) are more likely to go to college. To move away for that college. To move away for a job. To move multiple time and have multple jobs. We’re much more transient. Which means we pick up more friends along the way.