How to Plan a Wedding When You Kind of Hate Weddings

Let’s get this out of the way — I’m so uncomfortable writing about my wedding. I hate thinking of a marriage as part of an “industry.” I didn’t love how much attention and money was focused on me just for getting married when I’ve done other things I think are a lot more important (writing a book, starting a business, etc.). So I don’t want to be a person who blogs about their wedding, because I want to be a person who blogs about things that matter. But that’s where it gets tricky — because these things do matter. A wedding doesn’t mean everything, but it does mean something.

To me, the marriage commitment is between me and Russell, but our wedding was about announcing that commitment to our broader community — our family and friends — and asking them to witness it, to celebrate with us, and to help us when we need it. We started a new family, but we’re also part of a bigger family, and we’re part of a broader community. I wanted our wedding to honor that.

We had a big wedding because our community is big. Russell worked for a decade as a bartender, and I was a barista for almost as long, and you meet a lot of people in jobs like that. I’m extremely close to my cousins. Russell has over a dozen aunts and uncles. Could we have limited our guest list to family only, or to our very closest friends? Of course we could have. But there are so many people who are truly important to us, and we wanted to acknowledge them. A big guest list meant we had to make cuts in virtually every other area, but it was worth it.

Putting on a big wedding on a small budget takes a lot of creativity, and making unconventional creative decisions is something I generally like to write about; I haven’t done that yet because I don’t want to look shallow. I don’t want my identity to be completely determined by my wedding or even by my marriage.

I think it’s time to write about it anyway. When I was planning our wedding, I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere — my friends who love weddings were frustrated with me because I think a lot of the “normal” wedding traditions are silly, and my friends who hate weddings couldn’t understand why we weren’t just going to the courthouse. Maybe sharing what we chose and why can help someone else out there who’s trying to find their way through wedding planning to something that’s meaningful to themselves, their partners and their communities. Maybe I’ll be able to thank the people who came together to make our wedding something so much better than I could’ve made it myself. Or maybe I’ll just be able to work out some of my feelings by writing about them.

I don’t think I can handle being a wedding blogger for more than a few days, so I’m planning on limiting my posts to the next couple of weeks. If weddings aren’t your thing, don’t worry — we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled Localist content very soon. Until then, I have a posts lined up about topics like Throwing a Wedding Potluck and DIY Rubber Stamped Invitations. If you see anything in the photos or blogs that you’d like to hear more about, feel free to reach out on social media, and I’ll try my best to write about whatever you’d like to know.

Carrie Rollwagen married Russell Marbut in September of 2019. She’s the author of The Localist, a book about buying independent, and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she’s Communications Director at Infomedia, a Birmingham-based web development company. Find her on social media as @crollwagen:
Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Russell is a web developer and jiu jitsu instructor who isn’t much into wedding blogs or website bios. He’s on Instagram as @russellg9.

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