As the waves gently crashed near the jetty where we were standing, I looked over and realized my now-husband was on his knee, presenting me with an engagement ring. I immediately started to cry and somehow managed to get the word, “Yes!” out of my mouth as beachgoers cheered and yelled congratulatory words to us. On the way home, I gazed at my sparkling ring and knew that I wanted to plan the perfect wedding.
I wanted a wedding that represented our love, our interests, and our shared life. I wanted to gather friends and family in a warm space, surrounded by candlelight and romantic flowers, as we danced the night away to our favorite songs. I envisioned a gown in ivory, and I knew exactly what kinds of flowers I wanted for the centerpieces at the reception.
My head danced with details in the coming months, and when our day finally arrived, it was perfect.
Our wedding was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
Except that it wasn’t.
But I didn’t know that back then, thank god.
You see, we got married 18 years ago and our nuptials occurred before social media and the digital age. My access to bridal gowns was limited to what I could find in back issues of Brides magazine, and wedding photography was not what it is today by any stretch. When my friends and I marched down the aisles in our off-the-rack dresses purchased at big bridal marts, mashed potato bars weren’t even a blip on our radar.
I’m not going to lie: I’m bitter about the mashed potatoes, people.
Frankly, had I known that weddings where cocktails are served in mason jars existed, I’d have been the bride practically running down the aisle toward the bar.
We recently attended the wedding of two dear friends, and it was so hipster it hurt. In a good way, mind you. My husband and I were blown away by the exquisite simplicity of their venue and decorations, and as we left their reception, I announced to my husband that I wanted a hipster wedding do-over. And not just because of the mason jars either.
1. Hipsters have weddings in barns. And it’s awesome.
Not only are barns a throwback to a bygone era of farming and all things equestrian, a barn floor is the perfect place for an all out hoedown dance party. When I got married, our hotel ballroom was decidedly not rustic. And there wasn’t an ounce of shiplap. We did have a great DJ, but that hotel parquet dance floor wasn’t the least bit ironic.
2. Burlap is the new tulle.
In the late ’90s, tulle was the go to decoration for wedding planners and brides everywhere. But hipsters have turned their ironic beards up at tulle and it’s sad ordinary presentation. They have brought burlap back by storm and no surface is safe. From table runners to adorning mason jars overflowing with daisies, someone get me a bolt of burlap for my do-over wedding.
3. Custom hashtags are a thing. And I want one.
Because we got married back before social media even existed, our photos were limited to the ones captured by our photographer and those hopelessly precious disposable cameras on the tables. But these days? Social media means that couples can create impossibly cute hashtags by mashing up their last names. Though, considering my husband and I both have Irish last names, our hashtag would wind up sounding like an advertisement for the Golden Arches.
4. Blackboards are back. And hint: They aren’t in classrooms.
Whether it’s a tiny, tuxedo-clad tot bearing a sign as he toddles down the aisle or a display next to the artisan cheese spread, chalkboards are a must at a hipster wedding. The trend is adorable, and I want my own, hand-designed blackboard emblazoned with the names of the organically grown, free-range hors d’oeuvres at my hipster wedding do-over.
5. Hipsters know how to eat.
Our wedding venue was at a typical hotel, and our wedding menu, while lovely, did not include a buffet featuring comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and buttermilk biscuits. Hipster wedding appetizers are scrumptiously relevant. The flavors and presentation of food at hipster weddings are the perfect melding of social justice and paprika. When I saw the spread at our friends’ recent wedding, I wanted to rethink selecting pigs in a blanket for one of our appetizers. And also? I’m seriously not kidding about the mashed potato bar.
Our wedding day really was perfect and I wouldn’t change the details for anything in the world. Our wedding represented who we were back then, and when I attend weddings these days, I quietly smile to myself and appreciate how far we’ve come since that day. But as we slowly danced to our wedding song under the soft twinkle lights strung on the beams of that ramshackle barn, I was grateful for hipster friends who throw one hell of a romantic (and rustic) wedding.
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