One of my sister Sofia’s besties, Maude, is getting married in the spring in South Africa! When she came to visit in the country this summer, we talked about wedding planning and looked at a magazine feature of our wedding. We actually had three weddings: a civil wedding ceremony at Stockholm’s City Hall (Stadshuset – where they hold the yearly dinner for the Nobel laureates) which is when we were legally married, a “small” Indian wedding (only 4 events and 250 guests) in Stockholm and a relaxed western wedding in Sardinia in Italy.
Here are some of my favourite details from our wedding(s):
1. We had our closest friends and family down to Sardinia for a long weekend and we wanted it to feel like a vacation. So we compiled as much info as we could about the destination on a wedding website. When guests arrived, we had welcoming committees at each airport, and upon arrival to their hotels, and then on each morning following, they received a letter with relevant information for that day. We included restaurant, ice cream, tourist and beach tips, helpful phrases, ideas for souvenirs, what to eat, as well as practical information like where to fill up their rental cars before returning them at the airport etc. We also had a cocktail party the evening before the wedding, and a beach picnic the day after.
2. My bridal bouquet was put together by a relative from a combination of market flowers and wildflowers, and it was actually four smaller bouquets tied together as one. Right before the bouquet toss, I just loosened a ribbon around the stems, and actually tossed four bouquets instead of just one. Four of my lucky friends, including my sister, caught themselves a bouquet.
3. Spend on the things that last – foremost among them being the photographer. Thanks to our wedding photographer Linda, we have beautiful photos of every detail of our big day. One of our favourite photos from our entire wedding was the big group photo we took after our ceremony in Italy. It is so fun to have all our guests in one big photo. On the same theme – I splurged on my shoes, and they are definitely a favourite lasting souvenir from our wedding.
4. At the beginning of our dinner, we sat at our own table, just the two of us. It was such a wonderful thing to have a moment to ourselves to just sort of catch our breath before the rest of the celebration. Once the dinner started, we each took our plates and spent some time sitting at each of the other tables for a little while, so we got to spend time with all of our guests. I liked that there was no head table or any kind of indication that some of our guests were more or less important than any of the others.
5. At our Indian reception in Stockholm, everybody was dressed up bollywood style. We had had outfits brought in from India for everybody who wanted one ahead of time, and at the party we had bangles and bindis (from India) as party favors for all the women. It was not an extravagant gift but I think it was a fun little souvenir from our party. At our western wedding in Italy my godmother and I had made ceramic napkin rings with each guest’s initial.
6. I did my own make-up for all of our events. The thought of having someone else do it and not feeling like myself (I never wear lipstick so something like that would have made me just feel weird) put me off having it done professionally. That, and the cost of having make-up done for 6ish events. Instead I went to make-up class (you can book a private session at a make-up counter and you usually can take home products amounting to the cost of the session, so it’s essentially free), learned the looks I wanted to use and brought home the products I needed. I love that I have everything I need to recreate my wedding looks anytime I want.
7. And the most important tip to make sure you have the day that you always dreamed of: don’t let yourselves be tied down by conventions and traditions. Weddings seem to be that one thing that makes even the freest thinker suddenly afraid to break the rules. But you don’t have to do things any certain way just because your sister did or your mother expects it. Pick and choose which traditions, ceremonies and conventions you want to include and skip the ones that don’t feel right. At our Indian wedding we skipped the grand entrance and sitting on a stage all by ourselves. Greeting all of our guests as they arrived at the reception was one of the funnest parts of the whole evening and we had much more fun sitting with our families than alone on a pedestal. This will be one of your biggest days, so do it the way that will make you (and nobody else) happy!