I’d like to kick off my refections on wedding planning with a sort of primer for those who might find themselves in a similar situation someday.
I was originally going to call this “Things to keep in mind when planning a wedding from abroad…and with a fiance who who can contribute during limited skype sessions during which the internet in whatever hotel he’s staying in cuts in and out throughout your conversation….and he comes from another country, so the majority of his family will be foreigners unfamiliar with American weddings.”
But instead I went with…
Episode 1: Mental Preparation
- Relax. Yes, you are planning a wedding from another country, however, this doesn’t really put you at any disadvantage. Due to the magic of the internet, planning abroad looks almost exactly like planning at “home”. You research vendors online, and spend way too many hours gathering inspiration/unrealistic visions on Pinterest and wedding blogs. When you need to communicate with vendors, email/skype/facetime are all at the ready.
- Embrace the distance. Although you will want input from loved ones and friends, it can be very overwhelming. Having the mental and physical space to make decisions is helpful and liberating.
- You have the benefit of other perspectives on marriage and weddings! In America, the wedding industry is so bloated and self-important you can begin to equate the importance of table settings, and ceremony readings very quickly. While weddings are still incredibly important events in other countries, in my experience, there is less focus upon crafting a “fairytale-blow-your-friends-out-of-the-water-pinterest-worthy” party.
For example: One of the first things a German friend asked me about the wedding was “Are you so excited to make this commitment with your man?”. I didn’t realize how conditioned I had become to expect questions like “Have you picked your dress?” “What flowers are you using?”. And I am very guilty of asking these very same questions to newly engaged friends.
Who cares which flowers you use? You are binding your life to another person’s until you DIE. If you are centering your thinking upon the meaning and importance of that commitment, you’ll be very happy about all the craps you don’t give about flower choices. All this is not to say that Americans don’t think in these terms about weddings, in fact, my favorite wedding website is devoted to promoting this approach to weddings.
The other advantage of foreign perspectives is learning about different wedding traditions! By expanding your mental picture of what a wedding looks like, you can feel free to craft a celebration that is meaningful to you without worrying that you’ve included every tradition, and every trimming that makes a wedding a “wedding”. In Romania, there’s a tradition in which someone does a chicken dance…as in, dances around the room with a real chicken. In Bavaria, couples saw a log of wood together in a unique kind of unity ceremony. You know what happens at every wedding no matter which country? The Bride and Groom say some vows and GET MARRIED! The rest is all customizable 😉