Thursday, May 24, 2012

on wedding themes

Dear ESB,

I need to ask you a favour...I need you to write about 'themes'. In my 'defense' I have to mention we do not have such a thing in Spain and just started exporting it from the US, but...

what is an organic engagement?
why would someone want to be married in fairyland?
what is vintage-chic, urban-cowboy, black tie-martians????

What the hell is a wedding for an average US citizen? You tell me please...I am so over colour palettes plus themes's too much for me.

My question a wedding a disguise party?
and a birthday too, right? we also have cowboy and pirates and fairies here...
and organic engagements..

I would love to see pictures of a wedding with NO decor, NO DIY, NO party favours, NO external beauty...just inner beauty...

The next thing after photographing childbirth is themed childbirth, right?

Yes I can see that...I was born a princess...bad luck my dad was not ready with a cookie wand and a tutu (sorry that's a fairy...)

I don't mean to hurt anyone...but I needed to bust it out.

I like who I am, no disguise, I may or may not like who my family and friends are, but I trust that letting them be who they are is more important than coordinating their shoes. I loved seeing my people glow in our wedding, and having a good time, and some looked gorgeous and other's looked gorgeous too, just in different ways. Some photos were great and other's are bad, they show how nervous we were, how tired we got and how difficult life was being at that time for our families. My husband chose what he wanted to wear and I did not get to see it beforehand. He has a personality, you know? and he was not happy being dressed as a dwarf, just like I had expected (for my see)

I did not WOWWW at all aspects of my wedding at first, but I can WOWWW at them all life long. People keep letting us know how happy they were, how much they enjoyed it, but this will stop...I am happy as long as they keep calling, keep trusting, keep sharing with us. In...fairyland...

The princess_fairy

P.S: do you have carnivals?..


Here's what I think about wedding "themes."

If you're getting married in a raw loft space or an empty backyard, or, say, throwing your reception in a desolate catering hall, a theme and/or a motherf*cking color scheme will help you to pick out the chairs + tablecloths, narrow down what kind of centerpieces you want, etc. Nobody says you have to have centerpieces or flowers or bunting or any of that shit, but do you want to do the thing in an ugly blank space just to make a point? I don't think you do.

You can take the color scheme to an extreme, and tell your bridesmaids exactly what shade of purple, cocktail-length dresses they are required to wear, at which point they will email me because they can't find anything under $200. THANKs.

And you can -- obviously -- take the theme to a crazy extreme, maybe because you always wanted a fairyland themed birthday party and you never got one? Not sure about that.


Here in the US we have a penchant for taking things too far. Though I have never been to Spain, my dear princess_fairy, I suspect y'all are a little more.... restrained over there. I hope you are.

p.s. I guess an organic engagement means you're holding a cabbage bouquet and/or a pitchfork in the fucking engagement photos?? Please advise.

Image: Mel Robson via The Jealous Curator


  1. "spain" and "restrained" are not words i put together outside of limericks, but that's just me.

    i gave a winter formal date a brussels sprout boutonniere once. he retaliated with a radish corsage for me.

    1. in terms of wedding trends, I would say that is accurate. America is way over the top when it comes to the wedding industry. Wedding planners have only recently become a thing in the UK. I think in Europe weddings are still much more traditional and family oriented, rather than faux circuses or hunger game themed.

  2. Most countries follow trends. The US carries trend-following to weddings. If you do not like "wedding themes" like "using colors" and "decorating a room where you're having a party to celebrate something REALLY SPECIAL," then cool. Don't do those things. Meanwhile, I'll keep folding my paper flowers, and being wrong. Because it makes me feel like I'm doing something special for the people who are coming to celebrate with my future husband and I.

    The thing is that I already know that my guests aren't going to give a FUCK about any of these things, but I think they've earned the effort all the same.

    1. hate to be that girl, but people keep doing it wrong: it's 'my future husband and me' in this instance.

      Anyway, I agree overall - the act of assigning a theme and doing lots of diy is much more about the couple expressing themselves than for guests' pleasure. Most guests won't remember the pinwheels you scattered on the tables, but if you had a great time making them, then good on you.
      What I don't understand is people who stress themselves out to make things, when they aren't enjoying the process but just feel they need to because it's the current trend. If you aren't enjoying making/decorating something, screw it. No one is going to notice it (read cake topper, paper flowers, mustaches, table display, tea cup candles, etc) wasn't there!

    2. I let grumps overtake grammar. thanks for the correction!

  3. If people want to have a crazeballs juvenile costumey wedding, that's just the kind of people they are, and they are loving it. And probably their friends think it's awesome, since they're, you know, the people that particular couple has chosen as their friends.

    That said, people who are NOT fans of using any celebration as an excuse to recreate Halloween should not feel any pressure to do so.

    The most important thing is that it doesn't realllyyyy make a difference to anyone what anyone else is choosing to do to celebrate joining forces with their new partner for life... and hopefully if the anti-theme folks can restrain themselves from judging, the pro-themers can do the same and respect those of us who don't like pitchforks and fairy wings.

    That said, this was the funniest letter ever and I PERSONALLY feel exactly the same way. Color schemes and general ambiance, yes. Acting like children... no thanks.

    1. "that said" twice, really? who am I.

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    3. oops. didn't meant to put my whole rant in reply to you, sorry! I just wanted to agree wholeheartedly with your pro-choice stance.

  4. I'm squarely in the middle of them "theme vs no theme" debate. I don't give a shit-people should do what makes sense for them, the space, their guests, etc.

    However, what the fuck is an organic engagement? Color me intrigued.

  5. Hahahah pitchfork organic engagement!

    I think that you don't necessarily need a theme or even a color scheme to nicely decorate a place. We are having (read: making) some decorations but there is not theme that ties them together, and there is certainly no color scheme. I just refused to pick wedding colors. To anyone that asks, I say our colors are rainbow. It's working out marvelously fine.

    1. good idea, i'm getting tired of explaining to people that i don't need wedding colors

    2. Yes! Why is the first question everyone asks me about my "colors?" I wasn't aware I needed them.
      That said, I will be decorating the hell out of the place.

    3. we had an outdoor wedding and i just used plain white linens and white chairs and candles and large torches. whenever people asked what our colors were going to be i said "fire."

    4. ahhh, i know! colors?? what? so confused. i was just thinking- beautiful flowers, basic linens, call it a day?

      people asking me about "colors" instantly makes me want to quit wedding planning.

    5. I think you are supposed to say "my colors are blush and bashful" and then your mom, who is Sally Field says "her colors are pink and pink".

  6. lol@ those engagement photos. Cabbage bouquet!!! I think I peed.

    On the topic at hand, however, I have some thoughts. I bet in Spain, they do have decor at a wedding, but I bet it's much more likely to be the same traditional set up at each wedding. Nothing wrong with traditional, but it's true Americans put a lot of stock in individuality and like to do their own thing, particularly anyone "Gen X" or younger. Sometimes they take it a little too far, but not necessarily because they've lost sight of what's important.

    I know a couple who had a World of Warcraft themed cake, and it was really important to them. And many of their friends thought that was awesome, so even though I think its a bit lame and weird in the abstract, I think it's great they did their thing. Others are sort of performing for the blogosphere, which rubs me wrong, but again, its all about what adds meaning to the event for the couple. Or just makes the whole thing more fun for them... I think they have that in Spain.

    You've compared it to having a themed childbirth. I would argue that it's more akin to decorating a baby's room. Yes, it will be a long time before the child is aware of the curtains you put up, and will make zero difference in how the event surrounding said room play out. But decorating it makes you feel good, while you are doing it and after it is done and you are doing something very meaningful in the presence of said decor. And if fairies are what make you feel good, I pretty much say go for it.

    Maybe don't put it all over the internet though, otherwise, I personally reserve the right to laugh at it.

  7. Perhaps in Spain themes and color schemes are unnecessary because BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE.

  8. Funny, FUNNY letter. Awesome.

    That said (thank you Rachel above), if you are someone who wants a theme ( least in circles I travel, isn't really a mainstream 'thing' quite yet in the UK) have a theme. Because you *want* to - not because you feel like you *have* to or otherwise the Internet (or anyone else) wont think you're cool if you don't.

    Similarly, have a 'traditional' wedding if that's what you (and this is the plural you of you plus marrying partner) want - not because you feel like you have to. Have a taco truck if you like tacos, have a sit down catered 3 course if you want (even if you want it because it is less of an arse to organise than something more 'original' and you just don't care that much - because that's a valid reason for wanting something too). Have what matters to YOU. Fuck it, have tiny moustaches on sticks if you love them even though they are WEIRD and PLAYED.

    Also, external beauty isn't something bad in and of itself, surely? I mean, people like art and music and such, no? it is subjective, sure - but no need to deliberately avoid it if aesthetics are something you are aware of in your day to day? Context be all.

    But also, have fun snarking at shit. Especially the shitty shit. What do you mean I don't make the rules? Eesh

    1. I love this So So Much. You can make the rules.

  9. Also: themed childbirth HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    I am trying to IMAGINE the person who would have tried to force a tiny tophat onto my head, hold a moustache on a stick in front of my vagina during that debacle.
    Wait, is The Shining a legit theme?

  10. My theme was "Shit I love."

  11. I love how we got all Toby Keith on the Spanish lady (dude?). We can make fun of our country all we want but when somebody goes pickin' on our modern rustic country weddings...BACK OFF! Americans are awesome and awful because we do what we effin want, tradition be damned, tacky themes included. :)

  12. Thanks for blogging it! hahahaha

    I like reading how all of you feel about the themes issue :) It gives me a broader view of the topic and even if I still feel the same it's nice to hear how other's feel. THANK YOU!

    Most places holding weddings are already predecorated for you here (yes, someone mentioned it, and it is true) Somehow you choose the venue+everything else (flowers, menus,...) done for you (although this is changing).

    + everything is done for you
    - sometimes it's too fixed (basically if you marry in some venues, you get same backgrounds for your pictures-not same photos, because there are other PEOPLE)

    I would like future brides and grooms to feel that even if they chose same venue, same decor, even same dress, their wedding IS unique and I can understand they wanting their "touch" in the wedding, but this IS A CHOICE, it's not mandatory.

    My husband is unique, I am unique, our families and friends?...shared by many, still pretty unique. I am sure the same applies to you all.

    And by the end of the day WE were the ones who where husband and wife.

    Go to extreme radical wedding themes becase you WANT to and not because you NEED to differentiate from others.

    (congrats to all of you getting married! themed or unthemed, I wish you all a healthy and fun marriage)

  13. I feel like reading all this has made me grow as a person.

    The organic engagement debate is still open? Doesn't that mean "We don't have a defining point where we became engaged, but our dating gradually (organically) morphed into engagement which is gradually morphing into wedding plans" ...? I do not know.

    1. that makes sense, but in the case of labeling you're engagement pictures "organic"... the fuck does that mean?

    2. yeah, i'd personally like to see some USDA certification for that claim.

  14. ALSO: Cabbage is lovely! I would get married with cabbage. All the other props looked like they were stolen from Anne Geddes' studio.

  15. Do i spy a dress over jeans? ARGHHHHHH.

  16. 'Traditional' is also a theme.

  17. No one has brough tup yet that MOST weddings in the US are unthemed. You pick a hotel or hall or ballroom and MAYBE pick the napkin color. THAT'S IT. I definitely feel like that is a major percentage of the weddings.

    But on the internet blogs and photographers are most likely to post the "different ones" so it seems like the crazy themes are prevalent and most common. Also, a lot of the themed photoshoots are sometimes just photoshoots. They're models with a "party" set of 8 people in the middle of nowhere with fancy doors and funny hats.

    I have heard of first hand from guests and been to at least 20+ weddings but only ONE of those have been themed.

  18. S thanks for the comment. The blog flood coming from the US really drowned me. Good to know most of you are still living with your feet set on your islands.

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  20. Urban organic colour palette...I have no words to describe how I feel...