Let me paint you a picture… on the one hand I have my sister Hayley–covered in tattoos, jet black hair, chain smokes cigarettes and loves her Rottweiler dog, Whiskey. On the other handwe have my best friend from high school Whitney, a true SoCal blonde who has been dreaming of her wedding since the womb with enough Pinterest boards to break the internet. My sister decided to go “low key” which she soon found out is impossible because even with a local courthouse date and a backyard barbecue reception, the bills (and the stress) still add up. On the other hand I have Whitney’s lavish summer wedding at an upscale private residence that is rented out for private events. It is complete with “legendary nature” and a Personal Concierge at your beck and call for each event, ensuring every detail is flawless. What’s been the most interesting for me is hearing my sister say things like, “I’ve had to go to my tailor three times because I want the perfect dress” –this coming from a girl who literally never wanted to even get married let alone wear a white dress with lace. Or talking Whitney off the ledge as the bills start to add up as she tries to perfect every detail from the napkins to the invites (both flawless no doubt). I’m starting to realize that all anyone really cares about is good food and good company. Maybe that’s just my take on it, but from the multitude of weddings I’ve been to, what I remember most is crying on the beach watching my friend Brit’s dad walk her down the aisle, or jumping in the pool fully clothed at my friend Sara’s wedding, or waking up the next morning in a bed full of girls as we giggle about all the funny things we did the night before at my friend Kristen’s wedding. These are the moments I remember, these are the moments that matter.
Taking a step back and examining your own personal feelings will make selecting the place where you say, “I Do” a lot easier than you would think. All weddings are hard and expensive and stressful and beautiful in their own way – it’s your day and your memories, and you get to choose what things matter most to you whether that’s at a private residence, a country club, at a beach or in a backyard.
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and is a contributing writer to Jlife magazine.