Redefining Your Wedding: A Different Kind of Party

Dear Thriving Bride,

It is 40 days before my wedding, and all I can say is thank you for taking this journey with me.  As I am writing this PJ says “Holy crap, we are getting close to a month.” Yes, holy crap!  I am inspired by the many women in my life who are sharing their wedding stories with me for the first time.  I have known some of them for some time now, but for some reason we never spoke about their wedding day and how they went about planning it.  Some people had to choose to have their parents there or not, one woman couldn’t believe how nuts she went in order to plan the perfect wedding for her daughter and another woman had three different weddings: one for one set of parents, one for the other set of parents, and one for themselves.

Her story is important mostly because it helps me show you some options for what to do when the ones you love have very different ideas of what the day should look like.  Remember, there is always possibility to have the day be a pleasant one for all involved as long as you remain open to what can happen when you get creative.

I had lunch today with a friend of mine from San Francisco, and she told me her story.  Basically, her husband’s parents were very social and enjoyed entertaining and dreamed of a wedding with 150 people.  On the other hand, her immigrant father was more intent on showcasing his Russian immigrant roots by serving Russian food. You see, there were two clans of “traditional” people here.  Her husband’s parents were more in line with American traditions of how a wedding “should” be and her dad was part of the “old world traditional” ideas that stems from the desire to embrace the new country without forgetting the old country.

Note: She told me that her father had not served Russian food when she was growing up, but that now he wanted to. 

Warning to Brides: Don’t freak out when your loved one seems to be someone you don’t recognize.  They are still the same person, but they have never been in the kind of situation like this that forces them to think about what is most important to them, how they want to present that on behalf of their child and/or friend and “what everyone else might think” if they do or don’t do that specific tradition.

So, I love what they chose to do.  I think it’s pretty brilliant.  They understood who their parents were.  So, they had three “weddings.”  Well, it was more like one wedding and two receptions, but it went something like this:

The first ceremony and reception was  for themselves, their immediate family and their friends.

On another day, his parents had their version of a wedding reception according to the traditions that were important to them.  It included the 150 people that would have been invited to the original wedding if the bride and groom didn’t see the red flags early enough.  Thankfully, they did!

On another day, her parents had a smaller and quieter reception at their home.  Her parents  had the opportunity to. respect their wishes as well.

So, Dear Bride.  Nothing about this process has to be either/or.  Either you invite all the people you don’t want but your parents want or you just invite your friends.  Either you have a sit down dinner or a potluck in a friend’s home.  Either you have a day filled with your vision or you relent and give up to avoid the stress and regret that choice when you look around and none of your friends are there to represent you on your special day.

What if you adopt a vision of your day that includes the word “and.”  What if you can get married at a church and a local park?  What if you can have a sit down dinner and a taco truck?  What if?  What if ? What if?  I just like thinking about this because the possibilities are endless.  You just have to know that!

Stay tuned for more ideas for paying respects to your family traditions without sacrificing your own!