All images (c) Babb Photo
I have a love/hate relationship with the wedding industry. It sells a perfect vision of what weddings should be like. If that vision is to be believed everyone who gets married is young and pretty and thin and, aside from a few exceptions, white and heterosexual. There is very little diversity unless you look outside of the mainstream.
I love there is a wealth of inspiration available to help you to have a day that's unique to you.
I hate the fact that it's so easy to get sucked into wanting to present a perfectly orchestrated, aesthetically pleasing spectacle.
I got married in September last year. On a scale of one - Bridezilla I like to think I'd score a one at best or maybe a two or three at worst. I am pretty low maintenance.
I am a wedding photographer so I'd been to a good few weddings before I tied the knot myself and my husband and I (I'll just call him Pete from here on in, shall I?) were pretty certain that we were aiming for a laid back kind of a day.
On the Monday before our wedding we popped off to the town hall with our parents and siblings, to do the legal bit, and then we went for tea.
Our actual wedding involved an outdoor ceremony conducted by a friend, camping, a hog roast, cheese and biscuits, some outdoor games and then a brilliant (at least I thought so) ipod play list.
My dress was second hand from eBay and I even took it off at around 9pm so that I could dance more comfortably.
My wedding was low key and not being an 'I've dreamed about this day since I was a girl' kind of girl, I had fairly low expectations, and yet I still found myself getting sucked in to the wedding planning bubble. I even threw a little stop once that made my mother cry and left me utterly ashamed of myself.
Pete and I were really lucky when we were planning our wedding. No one made any demands of us. No one gave us any advice about what we should and shouldn't be doing and we managed to avoid any tension as a result.
Lots of couples whose weddings I photograph aren't so lucky. Family members you haven't seen for years - or in the case of one couple, family members you have never even met! - expect an invite, everyone has an opinion about how things should be done and people get sniffy if you don't invite their kids/dog/favourite house plant.
There are wedding blogs and wedding magazines and wedding directories with lists upon lists of amazing recommended suppliers to choose from, lists of things you should be doing, lists of things to add to the lists that you made to keep a track of all of your lists.
When you start planning your wedding you'll also start to realise that people will try to sell you things you never even knew you needed. And the cliché that things can cost more when the supplier finds out it's a wedding isn't so much of a urban legend when you get a quote for a £6,000 hogroast.
"What's your THEME" people cry? "Have you set a date yet?" they wail, even though you've only been engaged for three hours. It's no wonder that we become bogged down in everything being perfect.
The perfect dress - show me a bride that hasn't had a wobble about their dress and I'll show you a bride who is having a naturist wedding.
Perfect décor - at a wedding I photographed last year the bride left her reception to rearrange all of the tables because she wasn't happy with them. That really upset me as she should have been enjoying her wedding not worrying about how the flowers were arranged.
Perfect weather: exceptionally unlikely in the UK, where I work. I think it rained or hail stoned at every single wedding I photographed in the month of April last year. Umbrellas are a firm feature at a good proportion of British weddings.
Perfect food - at our hogroast our caterers didn't keep enough vegetarian food back for the actual vegetarians so they basically got salad and potatoes. Whoops. Luckily there was a LOT of cake for desert and we'd had loads of cheese in the afternoon so no one went hungry but it was a pretty crappy thing to go wrong.
There are so many variables and things that can go 'wrong' that it's no wonder people find the wedding day and planning process stressful, but unless something prevents your actual ceremony from taking place you really do need go with the flow and tell yourself that whatever happens on the day the most important thing is that you got married.
You will save yourself a whole heap of wedding day stress by letting go. Turn up, get married, have a party. Don't worry about the details or the politics. Don't stress about things running on time because they never do. Ever.
The title of this post is a bit of a lie. Your wedding will be totally perfect.
Things went wrong.
I didn't care.
Pete and I got married.
Everything else was a bonus.
If you accept the fact that no wedding is perfect then you will have the perfect wedding day.