I’ve been engaged for over a year now, and in that time I’ve planned three month long trips and about 80% of one wedding. Guess which one I like doing more?
It’s not that I’m not excited about being married- I am! Or that I don’t want a nice wedding- I do! It’s just the amount of bullstuff that comes with planning “the happiest day of your life,” is beyond ridiculous.
I think one of the biggest shocks about this whole engagement process has been how little I enjoy wedding planning. I thought all bride’s love choosing colors, shopping for dresses and obsessing venue choices. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me, that I would rather be checking air fares, fantasizing about small towns in Europe and writing long essays about where I’ve been.
I’ve been talking to a lot of brides lately, and I’ve realized that no, there’s nothing wrong with me. Some people are really into planning weddings, and some people aren’t. Personally, I’d rather plan trips, and here is why:
Planning a Trip is Cheaper
We are having a pretty small wedding, and we’ve come up with some fantastical cost-cutting measures. Even so, the amount it costs to have a wedding these days is just obscene. There’s the dress, the flowers, the open bar, and every time you mention the word wedding to a vendor the price jumps up a bit more.
Now, I know how to plan a trip on the cheap. I know all of the bargain flight websites, the best way to find cheap accommodation and endless ways to amuse myself for free. I know how to eat really well for cheap (link). I could travel for 6 months or more with the amount of money it takes to throw a fairly simple, 40 person wedding.
Trip Planning Offends Way Less People
I don’t know what it is about weddings that brings out these hidden strong beliefs in people, but all of a suddenly people have Opinions with a capital O. About weird things, like what food your serving, or whether it’s impolite to send e-save the dates. Which is hard for me because, when it comes to weddings, I don’t really have that many opinions beyond “do what works.”
Sure when I started planning my RTW trip people had opinions, but the were usually helpful opinions like “you should check our Miyajima while you’re near Hiroshima.” Nobody gets legitimately upset when you don’t take their travel advice or refuse their help picking a backpack.
Planning A Trip is Less Emotional
Should we go to London or Paris? I dunno, both I guess, or maybe we’ll hit one up later. Making decisions about destinations, flight times, itineraries is easy compared to the emotional minefield of wedding planning.
Planning a wedding forces you to confront all of these questions that you never really thought before but all of a sudden have Major Life Meaning. Should you change your name? Will the ceremony be religious? All of a sudden everything down to what music you should play seems to have major implications for the rest of your life. Add this to the point above about people’s opinions and you have a major cannon ball of emotion.
All of a sudden you’re googling flights to Mexico.
If you’re not married or engaged you probably think I’m exaggerating. I did before I got into the thick of it. I’m a totally sane person, I swear, but something about the word wedding just makes every decision a million times weirder.
It’s Not Going to Be “The Happiest Day of My Life”
Maybe some people find their wedding day to be the happiest day of their entire lives, but I already know for me that is not going to the case. It will probably be a really awesome day, and I will be stunningly happy, but the happiest day?
When I think about the happiest days of my life, they are days when I’ve felt free, full of possibility and fresh to the wonder of the world. They were, you guessed it, travel days. The day Mike proposed to me for example, on that mountain top in Colorado, that was a freaking happy day. It was special, and it was unique and it was ours.
This makes it sound like I hate my wedding, which isn’t true either. Mike and I have worked together to create a ceremony and reception that will celebrate our marriage and hopefully give everyone the warm fuzzies. I like the idea of having a wedding, I just don’t love all the time-consuming work that goes into it.
And mostly I resent that wedding planning forces you into this box. This huge multi-billion dollar industry and all the hoopla and preconceptions around it, they all want you to be this one way, and when your not, that means there’s something wrong with you. It speaks to that rebellious part of my personality that sent me off traveling in the first place. Except this time I don’t get to go traveling until AFTER.
It’s going to be a beautiful wedding. Not a perfect wedding I’m sure, but a nice, happy wedding that I will remember fondly. Even with all the stress and the indecision and last minute candle related disasters. Most importantly, at the end I’ll get to be married to the most awesome guy who I love so much.
Next time though, I made Mike promise we can elope.