Maybe you don't buy into the pressure of One Perfect Day. Maybe you have a crippling fear of tulle. Maybe you'd just rather spend your money on something else. But somehow, you've gotten yourself engaged and roped into having a wedding (RUUUUUUUNNNN), and you're not excited about planning it—at all.
The good news is you totally have a choice: You could have Charlotte's wedding to Trey, or you could have Charlotte's wedding to Harry. Or you could have Blue Ivy's third birthday party—you know, the one with the six-layer rainbow cake (opens in new tab) and the snowflake ice sculpture.
Here, we've synthesized seven wedding experts' top advice on how to throw the literally-no-frills, not-uptight-at-all, chillest, happiest non-wedding wedding you never knew you wanted. One attitude adjustment, coming right up.
You don't need to do that
Even if you're planning your own nuptials for budget/E L James reasons (opens in new tab), there are still shortcuts you can take. For example, Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events (opens in new tab), recommends the master checklists and other resources that websites like The Knot (opens in new tab) and Martha Stewart Weddings (opens in new tab) provide for free.
Otherwise, delegate as much as you can and hire someone who, as Angie Nevarez, owner of Baton NYC (opens in new tab), puts it, "cares more about your wedding than you do." Photographer Chellise Michael (opens in new tab) says she'll have brides who come in wielding massive shot lists when all they *really* need to do is tell her the particular, unusual details they want in their albums, like a special relative they haven't seen since they were in Huggies. Just make sure you're doing a thorough job of choosing the professionals you want to work with (as in looking at an entire wedding a photographer shot, not just the highlights on her website).
The same goes for makeup: Laramie (opens in new tab), makeup artist and founder of Book Your Look (opens in new tab), suggests setting up a lesson a few weeks before and doing it yourself day of. You'll pick up some new techniques, plus if it's good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge (opens in new tab)…
Do you instead
There are no more rules, said everyone we interviewed for this story. And, honestly, your guests will love you simply for feeding them and plying them with alcohol, says Jove Meyer, owner and creative director of Jove Meyer Events (opens in new tab)—so besides that, do whatever you want, regardless of familial pressure or tradition or trends. Wear a funereal Thom Browne dress (opens in new tab) if that's your style. Wear pants. Have a warehouse rave. Give your vows not in front of everyone. If it feels right, it is right.
Blame it on the wedding planner
Once they hear you're getting hitched, the hordes will start offering up ideas and china-pattern suggestions left and right. But what if you can't thank Pushy McPushypants politely and change the subject? What if Pushy McPushypants is your mom? It can be tough to reject their input, especially when your parents are footing the bill, but Weinberg says just have an open conversation with them—you want to be happy, they want you to be happy, and together, you can reach a compromise. If that fails, says Meyer, just make the wedding planner your scapegoat. He/she doesn't mind taking the fall.
Plan the event *you* most want to attend, not the one you think people would want to attend
When your guests leave your wedding, what do you want them to remember? That's the test floral and event designer Juli Vaughn (opens in new tab) devised to help her couples pinpoint what elements are most important to them. Is it taking over your favorite deli for the night? Hosting a teen-movie house party with a keg? You want people to go away saying, "That was so them." Along those same lines, don't shove yourself into a "romantic" or "minimalist" box, says Vaughn. You can be a beer-and-bouncy-house sort of bride and still request roses from Kew.
You should also check out:
5 Reasons You Should Definitely Skip Your Wedding (opens in new tab)
5 Wedding Outfits So Chic They Almost Upstage the Bride (opens in new tab)
10 Totally Over-the-Top Gowns for Lady Gaga's Totally Over-the-Top Wedding (opens in new tab)
Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.
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