Two Rules for Planning Your Wedding the Right Way

Confused by all the wedding rules there seem to be? The shoulds, shouldn'ts, must-haves, and must-dos required for a 'real' wedding? Eff that noise. Let me tell you the only two rules you absolutely have to follow in order to plan your wedding the right way:

1. Pick the right person.

This is the most important thing, so don't fuck it up.

2. Follow the rules...

...of any jurisdiction or religious institution that you want your marriage to be recognized by.




Confused by all the shoulds, shouldn'ts, musts, and must-haves when it comes to your wedding? Eff that noise. Let me tell you the only two rules you absolutely have to follow in order to plan your wedding the right way:

When you ask me, "Can we do _______?"

My answer is always going to be "YES, YOU CAN!"
(Assuming it's logistically possible and fits within your budget.)

Because it is your wedding, and it should be what you two want it to be.

YOU pick which traditions feel good, and which you want to skip.
YOU decide whether a religious or secular ceremony is right for you.
Yes, YOU can order pizza delivery for your reception dinner if you want.
Or YOU can have a four-course plated meal.

Skip the cake or the first dance or the bouquet toss or the toasts, if that's what suits you. Or include every wedding tradition there is.

It's not about making the 'right' choices; it's about making the right choices for YOU.

So go ahead, embrace who YOU are, and plan a wedding that is the YOU-est event there ever has been. I'm here for it, and your loved ones will be too.

Wondering how to even get started making this shindig happen? Grab my free checklist.

Need some professional planning help? I have a full range of wedding planning services for just about every budget.

Engagement Ring Photo © Christy Tyler Photography

6 Things To Do Before You Book A Wedding Venue

Happy New Year!

Did you know that 33% of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? Are you one of those newly-engaged couples, trying to figure out how to start this whole planning a wedding thing Then you are in the right place!


The first thing most couples do is look for a wedding venue – but that can be a big mistake! There are six things you really should do before you search for a venue if you want to end up with a wedding that works for you and your budget.

Speaking of budgets, that’s also NOT the first thing I recommend doing. Here’s what I DO suggest: that you take the same first step all my clients take when they work with me and Create a Wedding Manifesto!

“WTF is that?” you may ask. Great question! It’s a mission statement of sorts that lays out your priorities, wants, needs, and hopes for your wedding. When you create it together, you’ll discover what’s most important to each of you individually and you’ll develop a shared vision for a wedding that reflects the two of you, your relationship, and your community of family and friends.

If you keep it handy as you plan, it will make every decision clearer and easier. Which means less planning stress and a wedding that actually suits YOU, rather than the Pinterest or Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) trend of the season.


Want to hear the steps I recommend next? Drop your email address below to get my free How to Start Planning a Wedding checklist, and you’ll get an instant PDF download plus a week of email lessons walking you through each step.


You’ll probably have some questions as you work your way through the beginning stages of planning a wedding, and I won’t leave you hanging! Mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 at 7:00 pm CST, when I’ll go live in the Aisle Less Traveled Facebook group to give you all the answers you need.

How To Plan a Wedding When Civilization is Doomed

7 ways to mitigate the frivolity of planning a big-ass party when neo-Nazis are marching, the planet is melting, and POTUS is leading the Confederate States of America with “alternative facts.”


There is a fuck ton of pressure on all young-ish people who are in relationships to get married. Be sure you know why you are getting married, and that you are not just taking the next expected step.

And do your very best to pick the right person. I cannot stress this enough.

Life is short. Nukes and armed white supremacists and increasingly-frequent severe weather events could make it dramatically shorter. Spend it with someone you can’t imagine spending it without.


One way to fight white supremacy and the patriarchy is to redistribute power to non-white, non-Christian, LGBTQ+, and female people.

Take the extra 90 seconds when you’re vendor hunting to read about pages and find out who they are. Most of us will tell you right there.

Look through portfolios to see if there’s representation beyond the straight, white, wealthy, and thin wedding industry standard.

Start your search at places like Catalyst Wedding Co., where you’ll find a whole directory of #WokeWeddingPros.

Here are some to get you started. Also, here are a couple more. Ok, maybe just another one or two. There really are quite a few to choose from!


You know what happens for most people when they plan a wedding? They spend a lot more time than usual around their families.

Do you have a racist (covert or overt) uncle? A homophobic grandma? A cousin who thinks immigrants should go back home? Take the extra time when you are wrangling their RSVP or making small talk at a shower to teach them about privilege, intersectionality, and recycling those beer bottles you’re clinking. (You may need this.)

Do you still have some things to learn? The answer is YES. The answer is ALWAYS yes. Start here.


Weddings produce a ton of trash. Let’s make your big day more sustainable:

  • Save the trees by foregoing any paper goods that you don’t feel really strongly about (Goodbye, programs, place cards, and menus that end up in the trash. Hello, large signs with wedding party, schedules of events, food choices, and seating charts!)
  • Consider taking your invitations online. If not entirely, at least move RSVPs, directions, travel info, and all other extra insert cards to a website instead of printing and mailing.
  • Reuse: there are many places to find gently-used wedding stuff, so you don’t have to buy new. As a bonus, it’ll probably cost you less AND you can re-sell it afterwards! Keep your décor out of the garbage bin!
  • Same goes for wedding gowns. Or refashion a dress from a close friend or family member to suit your style. Or buy something you will actually wear again, repeatedly.
  • Don’t be shy about asking vendors what their sustainability practices are! You’ll find florists who source sustainably grown blooms, stationers using FSC-certified papers, and caterers who insist on composting and recycling.
  • Encourage your guests to carpool! (Or share a cab or a Lyft or take public transportation, or walk.)
  • Make sure recycling is happening if you are serving food or drinks.


Can you afford to support organizations that are working for social justice? Great! Make a donation in honor of your marriage. Better yet, make it an annual tradition to give every year on your anniversary.

No extra cash? That’s ok. Make your wedding budget do double-duty:

  • Instead of giving out $2 favors to each guest, put all that money together and donate it to an organization that is making the world a better place.
  • Hire vendors who do the same as part of their business practices.
  • Haven’t booked a venue yet? Look into non-profits in your area, and see which of them have event space available for rent.
  • Ask your guests to bring canned goods or a donation to your favorite charity in lieu of a gift.


We all know wedding planning is stressful; and when it’s added to the pile of Things that are Happening in the world and your life, it can easily push you to a breaking point.

And so you may find yourselves feeling something like:

A) “Everything is completely fucked, so let’s throw the raddest party with all our friends that we can dream up!”
B) “Everything is completely fucked, and we are now unable to accomplish anything so trivial as planning a wedding!!”
C) “Everything is completely fucked, so let’s get married as quickly and easily as possible!”

All are totally legit reactions. Give in to whichever calls to you as much as possible. Some possible responses:

  • Hire a planner so that you don’t have to invest your emotional energy and time in logistics and details.
  • Choose 2 or 3 priorities for your wedding and just say no to everything else.
  • Skip on down to the courthouse, e-vite your nearest and dearest, order some pizzas, and call it a (wedding) day.
  • Use wedding planning as an escape from this insane reality.



We will keep fighting, and this will almost certainly continue to be a giant dumpster fire for a while, and we may get nuked or we may become a fascist dictatorship, and we may have (more of) our rights stripped away, but they can never take away what is in our hearts.

So keep that, treasure that, celebrate it with every ounce of your being, in every moment that you have the opportunity to do so.

Because #LoveIsLoveIsLove.

This post is dedicated to Hillary Clemens Harbor, who dedicates many unpaid hours of her time to gathering and summarizing the actual, real, non-alternative facts and news every weekday in the Harbor News Roundup. If you want to stay informed, and I know you do, I suggest you give that a follow.