I am so grateful to have made it through 2020 with my life and my health, and I am so excited to fill in my good old-fashioned paper 2021 planner! It's great that my work and my daughter's schooling and our family holiday gatherings were all able to go virtual during the pandemic. And as much as I appreciate that, I am looking forward to getting back into the real world. I know that the pandemic's course is still uncertain and that I need to pencil everything in for now, but I am starting to let myself dream about everything I'll do after I get my vaccine: have dinner with extended family and friends, take walks and go shopping without anxiety about personal space and masks, get a haircut, go in to work, and gather with people in real, shared space for holidays and birthdays and other celebrations.
Like weddings! Oh, the weddings that will begin to flood our calendars starting in--I'll hazard a guess--late 2021! Can you imagine?
If you've had to put off your wedding in 2020, I'm so sorry. And also, congratulations! While we wait for our vaccines, there is still time to doodle and dream, but soon we'll be able to start setting firm dates.
When I got married in 2007 (spiritually/socially, after my 2006 legal elopement), I was the first of my friends to have a wedding and didn't really know how to plan one. I was young, ignorant, and poor, with a budget of $6,000 (less than 20% of today's average wedding budget) funded entirely by my father. My mother-in-law tried to help by sending me vintage wedding etiquette books published no later than the 1980s. Oh dear. Fortunately, wedding blogs such as The Offbeat Bride were becoming a thing in the mid-2000s, so I had access to up-to-date guidance and inspiration appropriate for people of my age and generation.
With no experience and very little professional help (we DIY-ed everything we could), my husband and I pulled off a spectacular wedding that, while beautiful, focused more on experience than looks, more on joy than perfection. It was a 3D wedding, a Real Life wedding, a banquet for the five senses and the emotions that wasn't designed to be preserved in a flat, glossy photo book and never was--maybe I'll get around to that for our 20th anniversary. Anyway, for many years afterward, our friends and family talked about how much fun they had, and some swear they've never had a better time at another wedding, even their own, no matter the budget or size.
Our memories of that day are warm and hilarious and tender and thrilled that we got the feeling so right--even if we didn't know how to get every detail right.
The Offbeat Bride is still a great resource for today's wedding planners. The website and the book are both updated regularly and filled with everything you need to know about the nitty-gritties of etiquette and ceremony and style.
High on the success of my own wedding, I also wrote a series of ten blog posts called "Budget Bride," covering more general tips and tricks about maximizing the experience for the guests and wedding party on a small budget. Over the next ten Thursdays, I am going to re-post that series, complete with retro pics of my own 2007 wedding. You are cordially invited back to The Magic Nutshell every Thursday for some funny stories, lessons learned, and timeless wisdom on how to start a marriage with a proper party and freedom from wedding debt so you can plan a (dare we dream it?) post-pandemic honeymoon!