Weddings are ... difficult. For me, the past month has meant realizing more fully than I had ever truly realized how a wedding really isn't about me. I know, Modern Bride might beg to differ, but it's not just MY special day. It's a lot of people's special day, including, of course, the groom. And those people also have opinions about what the wedding should look like. Especially the groom.
I had ideas about what I wanted my wedding to look like, and I had to pretty much toss them out the window immediately. A lot of my friends (who like me, tend to run pretty indie and eco) incorporated a bunch of Do It Yourself projects into their weddings. In my head, I liked the idea of setting up the wedding with friends and family. But I'm not very crafty, my family is not really a "DIY" family, and we're having a fairly large wedding. DIY ain't happening here.
So, fine, I thought. I have always said that you don't have to be a cowboy, you don't have to do things yourself. Living sustainably can also involve hiring others who share your values. Maybe I can hire a "green caterer" or a "green florist." We can do email save the dates, or maybe not do them at all.
And maybe we will do those things. Or maybe we won't. Maybe we will be constrained by our budget and won't be able to afford the "green caterer," or maybe our attempts to be eco will end up saving us money.
I just don't know, and to a certain extent, I have to let it go.
In a lot of ways, I think weddings are inherently unsustainable from an environmental perspective. They are big shindigs that typically involve a lot of traveling by a multitude of people. It's a lot of money, a lot of energy, a lot of hassle, a lot of stress, a lot of crying. For what generally amounts to ONE DAY.
On the other hand, weddings are sustaining. Not just for one couple, but for entire communities. Weddings are our way of saying together as a community, "Yes. We're here for you. We love you. We're with you."
Look. We're inviting people from four different continents to our wedding (pretty sure there's no one from Africa or Australia on our lists, though I could be wrong.) I don't know if all those far away people are going to travel, but it's probable that some will. And the uptight crazy eco-nut that still exists inside of me to remonstrate when I do things like use paper towels or sleep in and drive to work feels pretty bad about all the energy that will be consumed so people can come to my wedding.
But the rest of me can't get too worked up about it.
I read a post somewhere about someone's wedding (vague I know, if anyone has any idea where the following came from let me know) where they talked about the oft given advice to not invite anyone to the wedding who you weren't sure you would be friends with in three years. And they said that that advice ignored the fact that some people WOULD be your friends in three years BECAUSE you invited them to your wedding.
There are few events where all the people you love make a point to gather in one room, and weddings are one of those select few events. And at the end of the day, that's what it's about for us. It's not about the chairs or the music or the cake or the invitations (though we have opinions on all those things), it's about the people.
I'd like to promise to myself right now, here on this blog, to keep that in mind for the next several months. That, at the end of the day, our wedding is about us, our friends, our family, and our joined community. And as long as I keep remembering that I know, that while our wedding might not the most environmentally sustainable thing in the world, it will be emotionally sustainable. And that's what matters most to me.