Reality Sinks In
Alright, cool. Sugi and I are both engaged. YAY! Now for the "fun" part... actually planning the wedding.
Neither of us are the kind of girl who has been planning her wedding her whole life. For all the "Friends'" watchers out there, let's just say we are not Monica. You know, the girl with the scrapbook of memorabilia (*ahem Pinterest board) she's collected over the years, all leading up to the "biggest day of her life"? To be honest with you, I never put any thought into it. Zero. Let's be real, I didn't even know my engagement was coming! Sugi might have had more of an inkling, and theoretically had more time to contemplate ideas, but definitely still hadn't thought long and hard about it. So when it came time to actually sitting down and planning, we were stumped.
First thing I did was Google "how to plan a wedding", and holy shit were the results overwhelming! I personally had no freaking clue where to start. So I shut my computer and put it off for another couple weeks. I decided to approach the topic when I was calm and ready. Two weeks later, I Googled "wedding checklist", and clicked on the first result... The Knot. I've heard of it before (I don't live under a rock) and figured they were credible. So, I opened the website, made an account, and started going down the checklist...So these are all the things I'm supposed to do?
Being the self-starter Sugi is, she decided to jump right in and get going. First order of business was choosing a date... because family overseas needed to plan accordingly... Well she realized she actually needed a venue to have a date... Then she realized she needed at least a rough idea of a guest list to pick a venue. So, ACTUAL first order of business: guest list.
For Sugi and Derek, creating this guest list was easy. They've been dating for 11 years, and their parents were able to quickly put together a list from each side. They were set at a solid 155 guests. For Dustin and I, it was a real bitch. Between our friends and our enormous families, we didn't know how or where to draw the line. So we literally wrote down everyone we knew, adjusted as needed, and set the list at 268 guests...Yikes.
Once we had our guest counts, it was time to start looking at venues. Living in San Diego, I couldn't get up to Santa Rosa often enough to check out venue spots - so my wonderfully retired parents offered to look for us... Badabing Badaboom! Easy right? Sugi and Derek on the other hand were hitting up a venue E V E R Y weekend - their final count was something like 13 venues! Now that I think about it, my folks looked at about 8...Eww. After numerous venues, nothing was feeling right, mainly because they were all ridiculously expensive and kind of impersonal. I'm not talking.... "We could work with this." I'm talking... "Is this real life? People pay this much? This is a thing?" Come on!! Realistically we're not about to drop $7k on a venue with an $18k minimum for food and beverage plus an additional 24% service charge- NOT an exaggeration btw. On average, a venue costs $10k (that maybe comes with chairs that we have to set up ourselves!), then $8k for food, another $2k+ for decorations… HELL NO. Nope. Nu-uh. Not doing it. This is dumb. Weddings are dumb.
This is when Sugi and I both had our "FUCK IT!" moment (A motto we've been expressing a lot lately). Sugi mentioned a courthouse wedding to Derek, and I mentioned traveling to another country and just eloping with Dustin. "Just the two of us", we begged... "Let's just do it, it's so much easier" we argued. "We can just have a party after." Sugi and I were both so down to just throw in the towel and not plan a damn thing. But funny thing, neither Derek nor Dustin were fully on board for the idea, and argued valid points about families, and the importance of doing it with friends and family. Okay, fiiine. Back to the drawing board.
That's when we had our epiphany. Why in the holy hell were we allowing society to dictate how we plan our wedding days? Why do we have to follow a checklist, or live up to standards set by "birdezillas" and the wedding industry (who sets the standards.. ahem... prices in the first place)? Why is it solely about the bride and what she wants? Isn't it about the marriage? We reminded each other what was important. Dustin and I are getting MARRIED... me and Dustin... only us. Sugi and Derek's are getting MARRIED... Derek and Sugi... no one else. This day isn't about what our families want, it's not about what our friends want, and it's sure as hell not about what any outside influence expects us to do. This is about me and Dustin... Derek and Sugi - starting our own families.
So we made a pact: "Fuck it!". We said "fuck it" to wedding expectations. We both decided we were going to do it our way, because there are no rules anymore. We want to save money and work as a team to plan for OUR futures. Everyone says "but this is your special day", "this is only going to happen once", "do whatever you want, it's worth it", "spend the money" - but the deeper we got in the planning process, the more we realized... WHY? Why is it worth it? It's not dictated by anyone else... Every decision should be made by the couple about to tie the knot. Why are there even rules?
It'll obviously still be a very special day for each of us, but it'll be one that exemplifies the true authenticity of our relationships... one we're comfortable with. Knowing that we want to invest in our future, and that we want to own a house one day, or maybe get a new car when ours kick the bucket - we had to set realistic expectations that were right for us. When it comes down to it, decorations and flowers, fancy places and expensive attire, gourmet food and costly items don't truly make your experience... the people make the experience. We'll still serve great food... but it'll be BBQ. We'll still have a beautiful venue... but it'll be in my sister-in-laws gorgeous backyard or in a warehouse owned by a friend. We'll still have amazing flowers, but they'll be free because Sugi's dad has worked at a greenhouse for 31 years... Lucky bastard.
It's time to change our traditional standards to realistic ones... It's time to start thinking about who we know, and use the resources that surround us. It's time to throw the norms out the window, and do it our way, the unconventional way - the NeonBride way. Stay tuned, because we have a whole lot more to say, and we can't wait to share all the tips and tricks and unorthodox ways to plan a wedding. Welcome to the new age of weddings.