Beware the big, fat hipster wedding...
How many jam-jars have you got? As more couples opt for bespoke celebrations, bride-to-be Rachel Dugan resists the urge to go crazy for DIY decor
'As long as there are no jam-jars, just, don't make us drink out of bloody jam-jars…" I'm having a post-work drink with a pal and, as they often do these days, the conversation has strayed onto the topic of my upcoming nuptials.
The thought of a traditional Irish wedding has never appealed to me. Big frocks, big entourages and big, soulless function rooms cause an uncomfortable tightening of the chest. So, like many slightly older (ahem) urban couples, my fiancé and I are opting for a small ceremony in Dublin followed by a similarly intimate afters in a favourite restaurant.
So far, so low-key. At least, that's what you would think, but boutique no longer just means small and intimate. It means days spent fashioning 500 metres of your very own monogrammed, festival-style bunting; hours deciding which cheesy polaroids will look best on your fold-out 'story-of-us' themed invites; weeks weighing up whether your guests would prefer their late-night, pulled-pork brioche buns with or without slaw. Boutique and bespoke weddings are not the pressure-free walk up the aisle I had anticipated.
Being a laid-back (lazy) bride-to-be, I thought I'd be somewhat immune to the competitiveness and one-upmanship I'd seen other brides succumb to. And I was, until the emails from the wedding website I'd signed up to started to arrive. Soon I was being bombarded with daily digital missives telling me about some other cutesy, folksy, vintage, oh-so-personal touch I had not thought of. The effortlessly cool nuptials of perfect strangers started to make me rethink every wedding-related decision I'd smugly thought I had nailed.
Was my venue too pedestrian, should I have opted for some kind of 'space' rather than a boring old restaurant? Maybe we could transform a disused warehouse and throw a Willy Wonka-themed bash? Should I have designed my own invite or ordered one of those trendy, tea-towel invites I'd read about? Was I really being fair to my guests if I didn't splash out on an ice cream van to dole out handmade dairy treats?
In short, despite the fact it is totally out of character for this laid-back bride, would I be judged for eschewing the handmade, hand-tied and hand-embroidered in favour of something far more, well, handy?
Luckily, just as I am about to pick up the phone to inquire about hiring a Bedouin tent for the outdoor whiskey bar, my lazy gene chooses to make its presence felt and I reassure myself that none of these things are a necessary part of our big day.
Which brings back to the hipster's receptacle of choice. I have to admit that, when the restaurant owner suggested serving our guests something cool and boozy in the ubiquitous jam-jar, I hesitated for a moment, thinking this was exactly the type of thing I'd seen those hipster brides and grooms clutching on that wedding website (usually while posing with ironic fake moustache props in a photo booth they'd hired).
Then I realised the last thing I wanted my wedding to be was some cringe-worthy approximation of a night out on Dublin's South William Street. After managing to steer a course away from the big traditional Irish wedding, it would be such a shame to simply follow the crowd in the opposite direction. So there will be no jam-jars, no bunting and no photo booths or vintage food trucks.
There will be no thoughtful wedding favours we stayed up late into the night putting together, nor will my guests find cute little table names with pictures of us affixed to them.
So, dear guests, please don't be disappointed. It doesn't mean we don't love you, we just don't want a big, fat hipster wedding...