Would you consider yourself a typical bride? If you get sick at the idea of taking a loan out for your wedding, or feel that diamond rings are more marketing gimmick than romantic symbol, consider yourself a practical anti-Pinterest bride.
I always thought weddings were overhyped, but when my boyfriend and I decided to get married, I realized I didn't want to entirely reject the tradition. And if you're like me, even though you prefer to elope, you also feel compelled to have a wedding to celebrate with friends, make your parents happy, or just to say you've done it.
I'm proud to say I've planned my wedding without succumbing to huge expenses or societal expectations. Here's how you too can hack your wedding and say "I do" without selling out.
1. Forget rings. A promise is enough.
If you're going to found your marriage on trust, do it. Do you really need an extra piece of expensive bling? Get a ring only if you truly believe it symbolizes your love and commitment.
I told my fiancée I didn't want a ring, and then jokingly said I'd rather have a Prada bag. All kidding aside, he understood that we trusted each other enough that we didn't need a diamond ring, or even wedding bands, to show that we're "taken."
2. Divide and conquer to avoid family politics.
To satisfy you and your fiancée's needs and your parents' wishes (especially if they're culturally traditional), separate the parties. Make the often-overlooked engagement party your main event and leave the wedding guest list up to your parents.
I realized I could make the engagement party our ideal wedding -- a small intimate gathering with friends -- and leave the formal wedding day for our parents to plan.
3. Stop wasting time on Pinterest.
A wedding need not be over-the-top Pinterest and wedding blog-worthy to be meaningful. Realize that modeling your wedding after Pinterest is like trying to measure your body up to Barbie's proportions.
I briefly browsed through Pinterest to uncover some creative and low cost decor. A single balloon as part of the centerpiece decor can also communicate the table number. Form and function on a budget!
4. "Wedding" services are for suckers.
Avoid wedding photographers, wedding makeup artists, and even wedding dresses if you can help it. It's a known fact that there are exorbitant markups on anything qualified as a wedding activity.
When we went to New York, we used Flytographer, a photography service that connects you with local photographers. We ended up paying a fraction of the price for engagement photos taken in one of our favorite cities.
5. Know you also have the power to propose.
Why do women wait around for the men to pop the question? If relationships involve two people, the solidification of them shouldn't be left to the devices of our male counterparts.
Even though my fiancé popped the question, I felt it wasn't equal footing, so I asked him too. In my mind, there was no doubt that I too had the power to propose.
6. Don't wear white.
We have come to associate white wedding dresses with virginity. If you don't find meaning in purity or innocence, perhaps there's no need for a white gown.
You can opt for a color that's closer to your heart and that you could wear again. Try shopping for discounted evening gowns at the end of prom season.
7. Ditch the bridesmaids.
Not having a bridal party at all might be extreme, but paring down the party to only the maid of honor and best man may be a good idea for your finances -- and friendships.
Since my fiancée doesn't want to play favorites, we decided to opt out of having any kind of bridal party.
This is my list and I'm sticking to it. Although I recently saw on my Facebook feed a friend had just eloped to Portugal, and that doesn't seem like a bad idea either...