Growing up in the Midwest, you learn early that normalness is next to godliness. Straying outside the box too far draws looks of surprise and disapproval. Everything from clothing style to wedding plans often falls in the realm of the expected — of what is normal. I can outline the normal Midwest wedding down to every last detail:
The wedding takes place in the hometown church of either the bride or the groom. Bows are tied on the pews to decorate the sanctuary. The procession will be traditional – family, bridesmaids & groomsmen, and then finally the bride on her father’s arm to be handed over to the patiently waiting groom. Some combination of a quick sermon, romantic song, exchange of rings and vows, lighting of a unity candle, and a kiss will then take place.
This is the formula, and it rarely varies to include anything truly personal. This lack in variety and individuality has convinced me that my own wedding will be different. Here are few ways to shake up the standard formula:
Scenic locations for a wedding are all around you. Consider parks, gardens, museums, or even local wineries. If you prefer to keep it traditional, consider choosing a cozy old chapel for an intimate setting. One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was in a meadow on the bride’s family farm. I once played piano and sang for a wedding on the terrace of an old mansion that had become a historical site. Personalize your wedding by choosing a location that represents your style or has been meaningful in your life.
Decorations can be stylish and beautiful without driving up the cost of the whole event. Consider getting a large group of friends and family together – maybe as part of the wedding shower to craft some simple décor. A friend of mine gathered together her extensive family to make vintage-like streamers of colorful flags to hang around her outdoor reception. They were both simple and beautiful. Browse Pinterest for wedding craft ideas.
Mix up the standard program. Include those traditional elements that are important to you while shucking away and replacing those that may feel too formal or outdated. Consider including personalized vows, a poem or relevant passage from your favorite book, short speeches from friends who love you, or a hand-fasting ceremony. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your ceremony will be meaningful for you both.