I went to a wedding fair a couple of weeks ago. It was much as I expected - lots of pretty things I couldn't afford (dresses, flowers, hats, cars) and some I wasn't really interested in (chair covers, make-up artists, John Cleese impersonations). I went with some friends: J, who's recently married, E, who's getting married in December and L, my bridesmaid, mostly for the fun of it and to look for ideas we could use. What I didn't expect was to be slightly freaked out by the experience. All the people I spoke to were lovely, very friendly and obviously keen to promote their particular product. That's fine by me, that's what they're there for. It was more the pressure to create a perfect day, but not my idea of perfect - someone else's. It's like there's this identikit wedding template which everyone has to fit into. Expensive dress, perfect flowers, big car, everything covered in bows and flowers and tulle. I felt a bit lost.
Rob and I are semi-side-stepping the wedding industry. We chose our venues (our respective church buildings) without doing the trawling round halls and houses some of my friends have done. I was going to make my own dress, but actually have bought one from eBay, along with my bridesmaids' dresses. I intended to go dress shopping anyway, but having been to a wedding fair, I don't think I want to do that. I'm quite happy with the dress I've got and don't want to spend any more time being told what I ought to be wearing. I suspect we will end up with a wedding that fits most of the cliches and conventions of people of our age and class and that's OK. I just want to be in control of the cliches, rather than having them control me.
I suppose I'm probably falling for my own set of cliches. The wedding ideas I love have mostly come from US-based wedding blogs - OffBeatBride, Wedding Bee. Some of the things I want have come directly from things I've seen on blogs. There are very few new ideas in weddings! Still, finding an idea on a blog and turning it into reality ourselves seems far more fun than paying for someone else to package it up for us.