Love is real!!!!
ISPWP holds four photo competitions over the course of each year and chooses winners for 20 different categories each time, from "Wedding Details" to "Humor," resulting in 80 first-place winners. The society just released the full list of first-place winners from 2017, and they're completely gorgeous. Some highlights:
These adoring friends and family.
Christiaan de Groot / Mooibelicht Fotografie / Via mooibelichttrouwreportages.nl
This bird's-eye view.
Marcis Baltskars / Via baltskars.com
This eye-catching bride.
Cristiano Ostinelli / Via ostinellicristiano.com
This pre-wedding snapshot.
Christophe Viseux / Via christopheweddingphoto.com
These newlyweds and their sheep friends.
Donatella Barbera / Via tuscanyweddingphotographers.com
These playful kiddos.
Victor Lax / Via victorlax.net
These happy-crying friends.
Santi / Via nouenfoc.com
This getting-ready triptych.
Emin Kuliyev / Via em34.com
This mesmerizing view.
Lu Minifeel / Via minifeel.tw
This gorgeous dress detail shot.
Chiara Ridolfi / Via nabisphotographers.com
These ecstatic lovebirds.
Daniel Ribeiro / Via estudiod.com.pt
This joyful bride.
FengHe / Via waimaophoto.com
This emotional groom.
Kate Crabtree / Via katecrabtreephotography.com
This champagne-popping couple.
Sebastien Clavel / Via sebastienclavelwedding.com
This gleeful sun salute.
Jinling Lee / Via jinlingvision.com
These runaway kids.
Sergi Escriva / Via sergiescriva.com
And this dog-happy duo.
Byron Roe / Via studio-br.com
Sometimes we *do* wonder what it would have been like if we waited to get married.
But that doesn't mean we regret getting married young.
I know plenty of older married people who get the same feelings.
When you ask us "why" we got married, we know what you're trying to say.
You actually want to know if we're having a baby...
...or super religious...
...or needed a visa.
And we always want to respond with, "MAYBE WE JUST LOVE EACH OTHER, OK?"
We're kind of over the shocked faces when we tell people we're married.
So sometimes we might not even mention it until later.
Plenty of us were not virgins when we got married, so we hate it when you ask if we ever really took advantage of being single.
We hate that people think we don't want to party just because we're shacked up.
And we hate that we ALWAYS seem like a package deal.
If you're inviting me to your wedding, I get it — invite us both! But it's not like I can't go on vacations WITHOUT my husband, y'all.
While you think we might grow apart, we went into this thinking we'd grow together.
And we don't really think being in a marriage is "holding us back."
We get tired of people thinking we eloped because there's no way our families would understand.
Yes, some of our marriage problems stem from us being young.
But we work at our marriages just like any other couple.
Honestly, you can be immature in relationships at ANY age.
And finally, every young married couple is different! Please stop lumping us all into one group.
“A family torn apart made whole again!” I GOT ACTUAL CHILLS WATCHING THIS.
This is Jeffrey Agan Sr., 52 and Lorrie Agan, 51, of Bowling Green, Ohio. They were first married in 1989, and had eight kids together before divorcing in 2014.
"They originally got married in an electronics store, because they were too poor to afford a proper wedding," their 21-year-old son, Jeffrey Agan Jr, told BuzzFeed. "They fought, separated, divorced, and it tore the family apart. Each of us felt like we had to cope with the destruction in different ways, and on our own."
Courtesy of Jeffrey Agan, Jr.
After a few years of reflection, growth, and counseling, they started talking again...and then dating again. And on Dec. 22, 2017, Jeffrey Sr. presented Lorrie with a poem that he wrote and then printed out and had framed for her at Hobby Lobby as a Christmas gift.
"Is it a pizza?" Lorrie asked as she opened it, because she is all of us.
"No one knew Dad had planned the proposal, and the detail and love he put into it," Jeffrey Jr. said, "but I read the situation quickly as it was happening, and I pulled out my phone and caught a great recording!"
Since Jeffrey Jr. tweeted it on Saturday, the video has been viewed more than 8 million times.
"When I tweeted the tweet, I expected like, six favorites from close friends," Jeffrey Jr. said. "I never anticipated for it to go viral! So many people have shared similar stories, or asked to support them, it’s started to feel like the whole world ships Jeff and Lorrie!"
"We’re wanting to throw them a dream wedding, to thank them for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us kids," he said.
"Things were hard, tight, and tough for us as a family, but we never went hungry and they’ve spent so much time trying to dig us out of the dirt. They’ve invested in our success and our futures at the expense of their own wants and needs. I’ve made a Gofundme in response to requests to create one, so people can contribute to their wedding. I’m blown away by the support!"
Courtesy of Jeffrey Agan, Jr.
"My family is all very happy and overwhelmed with love right now," Jeffrey Jr. said. "A family torn apart made whole again!"
"This has been a magical time for my family, with all this outpouring of support. I have defining proof that true love does exist, and that gives hope to so many people!"
MERRY CHRISTMAS, YOU CRAZY KIDS!!!
Courtesy of Jeffrey Agan, Jr.
Do people swipe right on you?
Will you find “the one” soon?
Would you say yes to these *bridesmaids* dresses?
Would you cut these cakes?
Bakery and Site Credits
1. Rosalind Miller Cakes; 2. The Frosted Petticoat; 3. Nevie-Pie Cakes via ModWedding; 4. Sainte G. Cake Company; 5. Angela Marie Events via Burnetts Boards; 6. Faye Cahill Cake Design; 7. Cake Walk Bakery via Green Wedding Shoes; 8. Edible Art Charlotte via Ruffled; 9. Coco Paloma Desserts via Camille Styles; 10. The Whole Cake via Style Me Pretty; 11. Holey Moley Doughnuts via Junebug Weddings ; 12. Megan Joy Cakes; 13. Cove Cake Design; 14. Mjb Cakes via Ruffled
Do you hear those wedding bells?
You can have the fairytale. But it ain’t cheap.
You have a lot of location options at the parks. Like, a lot.
From Cinderella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom (for a $25,000 minimum, not including food and reception costs, whoa!) to Small World Mall at Disneyland, you can choose from your favorite Disney park and resort locations and probably make it happen.
A lot more people have had Disney weddings than you thought.
Disney has had over 50,000 Fairytale Weddings since 1991 (including those on the Disney Cruise Line and at the Aulani resort), and now averages about 11 ceremonies per day.
You can have a Disney wedding on a budget. Sort of.
Prices for a Disney wedding range from $3,000 for a small wedding (I'm talking 4 guests small!) to infinity and beyond for a large event with all the trimmings...which is probably why there's a "No, I'm just dreaming" budget level on the website, ha!
And yes, you can totally ride in Cinderella's coach. But it'll cost ya.
You can add this feature onto your wedding package for an additional $3,200, eek!
Your wedding might be early in the morning or on a weekday.
Escape Collection ceremonies, for example, are scheduled Mon-Thurs before 2 p.m. only. And if you want to get married in front Sleeping Beauty's Castle, you'll have a start time of 9:30 a.m. sharp, so rise and shine, eh?
You can have as many (or as few!) Disney details as you want.
Whether you don't want a Mickey or Minnie anywhere in sight, or you want the iconic couple to share your first dance, you can have it how you want it.
meganamandawettach / Via instagram.com
You can order super-cute escort cards that look like "Fastpasses."
missmichelle55 / Via instagram.com
But no, Mickey cannot officiate.
Characters cannot attend Disney wedding ceremonies. But you can still book Mickey to do the Cupid Shuffle with your guests at your reception (it'll cost you about $1,300 for 30 minutes, tho).
Disney provides all food and beverage for your reception, including your cake.
This is a hard and fast Disney Weddings rule – so, if you had your heart set on your grandmother making her famous lasagna for the occasion, well, sorry Nonna.
And your cake might just be the star of your day, TBH.
So, you aren't allowed to bring an outside cake. But the good news is Disney's pastry chefs can create a true masterpiece that goes with the theme of your wedding.
mindyjoym / Via instagram.com
You don't need to provide park tickets for your guests to attend your ceremony.
Most of the in-park weddings are held before or after park hours, so guests will be there for the wedding only, not to turn up on Space Mountain.
aaaliceee0105 / Via instagram.com
You can add on a castle photo shoot the next day.
Couples that do not get married inside the actual park have the option to take wedding portraits in front of the castle for an additional fee, but it has to be before the park opens.
amberlouisemt / Via instagram.com
Disney can hire actors dressed as tourists to "crash" your wedding and entertain your guests.
Cool...or annoying? I dunno, I'm on the fence.
You can have fireworks. I repeat, you can have fireworks!
Yup, for an additional fee (duh!), Disney Parks can arrange a special fireworks presentation for you and your guests.
bittner / Via instagram.com
And if you still haven't satisfied your Disney craving after all that, you can add on a Disney honeymoon.
Disney wedding coordinators can help you plan a honeymoon at their parks and resorts, too. But after what you spent on your Fairytale Wedding, I'm guessing we're looking at a Dairy Queen honeymoon, amirite?
simplydisney55 / Via instagram.com
Would you say yes to these dresses?
Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed
I got engaged in San Francisco, exactly 35 years after my parents’ 1974 wedding. Their San Francisco wedding cost about $2,000, which in today’s money is roughly $10K. So naturally, when we started planning, my mom thought that if I made the same good practical, frugal choices that she and my father had made, I should be able to pull off something similar for $10K. I just needed to be smart about it.
In fact, when most people get engaged, I think we generally assume it should be possible to get married for $10k BECAUSE THAT IS A FUCK TON OF MONEY. And yeah, if you cut some corners, in many parts of the country you actually can pull off a pretty nice wedding for $10K. (Hell, I've built a whole business around helping people do just that.)
But by today’s standards, my parents’ wedding was BEYOND. They got married in San Francisco's reigning massive church, Grace Cathedral, three days after Christmas. They had a whopping 300 people in attendance, and a cocktail reception at the swanky Marine's Memorial Club. Their cake alone was so big that when we tried to re-create their wedding, we couldn't even find a baker that still made cakes that large.
And yet their budget was only $10,000 in 2017 dollars.
"When most people get engaged, I think we generally assume it should be possible to get married for $10k BECAUSE THAT IS A FUCK TON OF MONEY."
As sticker shock began to set in (one quote I got for “affordable invitations” would have been one-fifth of the proposed $10,000 budget) it became really clear that $10,000 wouldn’t buy me a wedding anything like my parents' bash. But if you’ve planned a wedding, you know how breaking that news goes:
"Well, in my day, we were able to do that for a dollar. If you just got down to business and weren't so self involved/financially irresponsible/addicted to your iPhone, you could do it for that cost too."
“Well, my coworker’s best friend’s cousin’s daughter was able to plan her wedding for only $500! So I know it can be done.”
“Well, maybe if you were just willing to do things a little more simply. How much of that stuff do you really need? I’m sure if you just ask them, they’ll offer a discount.”
The problem is it’s really hard explain WHY things are so goddamn expensive, when everyone around you keeps pointing to your bad choices and blaming millennials and Pinterest.
So, with the help of my cooperative parents, my staff and I set out to re-create their wedding in today's economy, to show exactly what wedding inflation looks like. Luckily, my dad is a mathematician who remembers every number ever, so we were able to re-create their line-item wedding budget with astonishing accuracy. He gave us a line item on costs that added up to $2,195, or just under $10,000 in today’s currency. Then we made a bunch of undercover phone calls to see what the same things would cost in real life 2017 Wedding Dollars.
This is what we came up with.
The Ceremony: My parents got married in Grace Cathedral — aka a huge-ass church in the middle of San Francisco. They weren’t members of the congregation, but they were able to snag the membership discount in exchange for a kneeler, needlepointed by my grandmother. (Totally how weddings work now!!!!) The total cost for a Saturday morning wedding was $100 for the cathedral, $100 for the organist, and $50 for the verger (who assists with the ceremony). In 2017, the cost for nonmembers is $7,500 (or $7,250 if you pay by cash or check). There’s also an additional fee of $150 for the carillon (aka church bells), which my parents still talk about as being magical.
1974 cost: $250
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $1,201
What it actually costs in 2017: $7,650
Invitations: My parents sent out engraved wedding invitations, which, if you’re not familiar, is basically the most traditional, formal, and expensive method you can choose. Engraving is so fancy that most online retailers don’t even offer it. In 1974, they paid $250 for 300 invitations (they invited 600 people, because…1974), which translates to $1,201 when adjusted for inflation. In 2017, you can get a set of 300 engraved invitations in a simple design for $2,209 (with the invitation card, envelope and RSVP included, but no other bells and whistles.) The funny thing is, at $250, the invitations were easily one of the bigger line items on my parents’ wedding budget (certainly the most expensive detail). But in our 2017 calculations? They ended up being one of the least expensive things on the list, not because they were cheap, but because everything else was so damn expensive.
1974 cost: $250
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $1,201
What it actually costs in 2017: $2,209
My parents got married three days after Christmas, so for the ceremony, they used the flowers that were still up from the holidays — which means their floral needs were relatively small: one bridal bouquet made with holly, ivy, and irises; three bridesmaids bouquets full of daisies; flowers for the flower girl (same); and two arrangements for the cake table at the reception with chrysanthemum and ivy. All in all? $50 in 1974 terms.
Had they wanted decorations for the church? Grace Cathedral currently has an “approved florist list,” and the first one I clicked on had a minimum order of $8,000.
And in case you thought you’d be thrifty and reuse some of your ceremony decor at the reception? NOPE, not allowed. Which might seem reasonable if those altar flowers didn’t cost EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS AT MINIMUM.
As it stands, flowers can come from anywhere, so we sent some photos of my parents' bouquets to our friendly florist Belle Flower for a quote, and the estimate came in at $1,400. (That said, many florists in San Francisco these days don't get out of bed for less than $4,000, so in reality you may end up with more flowers than my parents had...and a much higher bill.)
1974 cost: $50
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $240
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,400
Photography: My parents met their (very experienced) photographer when he shot my aunt’s wedding. He had subsequently raised his rates, but was willing to honor the old price…which was a whopping $50. And while with enough elbow grease (or Craigslist skills) you can find photographers at almost any rate these days, most professional photographers working in San Francisco will be priced at $2,500 or above — and that’s on the conservative side. The experienced photographers often start around $4,000.
1974 cost: $50
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $240
What it actually costs in 2017: $2,500
Bridal attire: Getting married in December meant my mom was able to get a nice wedding dress from the premier department store of the time during a half-off sale the previous spring. It cost $150 in 1974, and her super-long cathedral veil and satin flats added an extra $45. All told, her attire would have cost $937 if you adjust for inflation. Recently (and blessedly) we’ve had an explosion of retailers offering more reasonably priced wedding dresses, so 50% off a dress of similar style and fabric would come in at around $1200, compared to the inflation-adjusted cost of $721. Her veil, on the other hand, would have cost four times as much, even from a relatively affordable brand like BHLDN ($144 in inflation dollars compared to roughly $650 in today’s dollars). Though once you start adding embellishments like lace, you could easily get upward of $1,000. The only thing that came under budget during this whole experiment? Ballet flats. Which you can get for $50 pretty much anywhere.
Bridal attire: 1974 cost: $195
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $937
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,900
Cake: My parents’ cake was ridiculous. Wedding cakes were bigger back in the day. And my parents got it into their heads that they wanted to serve birthday cake–size slices of cake, not teeny wedding cake slices. As a result, that cake will go down in history as only slightly less absurd than the woman who baked a life-size cake in the shape of herself. We’re talking five tiers — with every tier in a different flavor — and enough servings for 600 people. There was...a lot of leftover cake.
Courtesy Meg Keene
In 2017? Of the handful of bakers we called for quotes, most of them didn’t even offer a cake that big anymore. At most, we could get five tiers that would serve 300 people and then the offer to supplement with sheet cakes. But given the original cake’s extravagance, this is one area where wedding inflation wasn’t as bad as it could have been — because, hey, it was only triple the cost.
1974 cost: $100
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $480
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,500
Reception & Catering: My parents had their reception at San Francisco's Marines’ Memorial Club, where they got a sizable discount because my grandfather was a founding member. (Today’s membership discount is 2.5%.) My father says, “We served hors d’oeuvres and wedding cake. My mother-in-law, who paid for the reception, gave us the choice of limiting the guest list or eliminating full champagne service. We gave up the full champagne service and served champagne punch instead.” Total cost for the reception? $1200 (which, if you adjust for inflation, would be $5,769 today).
In 2017, my parents would have had one of the cheapest options offered by the Marines’ Memorial Club: an afternoon hors d'oeuvres package. I called them up to see if it’s possible to forgo the included open bar for a similar champagne punch setup, and was told that it would only save $10 per person on the built-in $80 per person cost (which I was told “they wouldn’t advise”). Translation: We will offer you discounts that are so menial you won’t even take them. All in all? Getting the same package they got in 1974 would cost $24,000 today, before taxes and tip (and more than $30K after).
1974 cost: $1200
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $5,769
What it actually costs in 2017: $30,128*
*Includes 2.5% discount
So all in all, this is what we’re looking at...
Total 1974 cost: $2,095
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $10,068
What it actually costs in 2017: $47,286
You read that right. That is a 370% increase in what it would cost to throw my parents’ wedding. Why? It's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. Sometime between 1974 and today, people realized that weddings weren't necessarily a side business. And now there's a whole industry around weddings. An industry that, as Rebecca Mead writes in One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, has been “assiduous in working to establish the trappings of the lavish formal wedding as if they were compulsory rather than optional.” And wedding vendors aren’t out to get you; most are small business owners who are charging for the increase in time, attention, and ~perfection~ that couples and their parents have come to expect.
Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed
Basically, expectations around weddings are much higher than they used to be, and everything is now considered mandatory in order to have a “real wedding.” Which you already know if you’ve ever heard someone say, “Well it’s not a wedding if you don’t… [serve three kinds of steak/hire a professional photographer for 14 hours/wear a crystal-studded thong].” And the phenomenon of higher expectations feeds into higher costs which feeds into even higher expectations, and the whole thing just snowballs until you feel like saying “Fuck it, let’s elope.”
Wedding vendors aren’t out to get you; most are small business owners who are charging for the increase in time, attention, and ~perfection~ that couples and their parents have come to expect.
But there’s hope! Here are some things you can do to help mitigate the sticker shock:
- Don’t spend money (or time) on things you don’t care about. No one shows up to a wedding for the details.
- Prioritize fun over pretty (it’s cheaper and more effective).
- Remember that just because you can’t do what your parents did doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.
And of course, the next time someone suggests that they know how to plan your wedding better than you do, tell them you’d gladly take them up on their offer to be your wedding planner. After all, wedding planners aren’t cheap these days.
Meg Keene is the founder and editor-in-chief of A Practical Wedding, your friendly neighborhood feminist wedding blog and the nonjudgmental big sister you wish you had while planning your wedding. Meg has published two essential wedding planning guidebooks: A Practical Wedding and the A Practical Wedding Planner. She recommends this handy planning checklist as the best place to start when you're engaged.
“One of our co-workers brought my ex-boyfriend.” H/t Reddit.
"My mother-in-law asked us if we could reschedule our wedding closer to step brother's so she could come into town once for both. Our date was booked a year previously during the time of the request."
"While my wife and I were taking pictures with guests and some were still getting their meal, my grandmother cut our wedding cake and began serving it. We never even saw what it looked like."
"A couple showed up at the reception too late for the dinner, it was already over, so they went into the restaurant of the hotel and charged their meals to the wedding party."
"My best man’s plus-one (who was essentially a long-term fuck buddy) asked if she could bring her own plus-one since the best man would be doing best man things all day and she didn’t know anyone. My wife and I respectfully declined this request."
"I’m a wedding photographer. Last year, the mother of the bride wanted the DJ to help her play a game at the reception. The game was this: The bride sits blindfolded on a chair, while the groom and groomsmen circle around her. She then has to feel their junk and guess which one is the groom. The DJ was inexperienced, but had minimal enough common sense to come ask for my professional opinion. I told him if he wanted to keep his job, he would never in a million years do that, and if the MOB comes back, he needed to keep conveniently forgetting about it."
"When my cousin and her husband were planning on getting married they wanted a small wedding. Something like 40 to 50 people. Both her mother and future mother-in-law weren't having that, and took it upon themselves to invite everyone and anyone they could. The guest list quickly shot up to around 700 people. The couple ended up changing the venue to somewhere way out of state to cut down the guest list and have the smallish wedding they wanted."
"My sister-in-law showed up the night before the wedding and tried to redecorate. She said the decorations were trashy and that she didn't like the caterers or the location. She actually tried to convince my wife and I to fake a break up so that she could re-plan the entire wedding."
"My great aunt called my bride and asked her to come pick her up from the airport…four hours before the wedding. Taxis are a thing, Aunt Pearl!"
"It was the handful of guests who couldn't be bothered to retain the address and directions that were provided to them several times via US mail, email, and internet link. And, who finally, when all that failed, needed to text me repeatedly to get clarifications on the directions instead of just using fucking Google. You know how busy a person is on their wedding day? I had more important things to do than answer texts about which exit to take."
"My brother's wife asked me to postpone the wedding 'a year or two' because she was going to try to get pregnant the following year."
"My grandmas (both of them) left the room when we did our toasts because we used actual champagne. We offered the non-alcoholic sparkling juice stuff for them, but that was not acceptable because it LOOKED like alcohol. They were so offended that we were drinking they refused to participate and returned once the toasts were done."
"We were engaged for six months and wanted our guests to have the maximum amount of time to have our wedding date on their calendar, so we used online invitations only. My aunt, who I have met 2-3 times, emailed me to inform me that she would not be attending because it must not be that important if we couldn't bother to send a 'real' invitation. I responded, 'OK'."
"My wedding, [my] drunk, fucker of a coworker swiped his finger through our wedding cake for a taste before we even cut it."
"One of the bridesmaids brought her fiancé to the wedding, and wanted our photographer to do an impromptu engagement photo shoot. The photographer laughed in her face."
"We asked people to let us know if they had any allergies or religious dietary requirements. Some people came back to us with preferences of ingredients they didn't like — a fact that became quite obvious after I had to clarify how serious the allergy was and if other related ingredients might cause an issue..."
"One of our co-workers brought my ex-boyfriend. We only had about 20 people there."
"I had a friend call me after he received his invitation asking me to reschedule the wedding because he already bought ticket to a NIN concert the same day."
Stay classy, assholes!
Some submissions were edited for length/clarity.