In Lieu of Peonies

By YourTango

Remember the Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn movie, The Break Up, where Aniston’s character, Brooke, is furious that Vaughn’s character, Gary, only brought her 3 of the 12 lemons she needed to make her 12-lemon centerpiece? Since that movie, and since seeing a friend of mine actually put lemons in a bowl and use it as table décor, the whole concept of a 12-lemon centerpiece really amuses me.

My fiancé and I just got an estimate for the flowers and other décor in the ceremony and reception for our wedding, and I may be the first bride in the history of the five-diamond resort where we are hosting to forgo flowers altogether. I am probably over estimating the pop culture awareness of my guests as well as their appreciation for my attempt to mock the exorbitant margins of the floral industry, when I anticipate that a 12-lemon centerpiece could be a total scream.

I used to be a girl who thought if you can’t afford to have an appropriately tasteful wedding, then you should do something tiny with just family and call it a day. Approximately 5 months into wedding planning, I am still that girl. The mistake I made was grossly underestimating the costs of my particular tastes. Show me a catalog of floral centerpieces and without knowing anything about flowers, seasonality, or necessary importing, and my favorite will inevitably be the most expensive in the lot. Who would have thought peonies were such a fortune?

At the same party with the bowl of lemons, I started chatting with some girls gossiping about a particular bride who had been especially obnoxious in toting how expensive everything was at her upcoming wedding. She was particularly proud of her Cartier invitations, (confession: I didn’t even know that Cartier did invitations). We were all man handling the invitation, the envelope lining of which was actually quite nice when it struck me that the invitation displayed no real creativity or demonstration of the bride’s unique taste. It was plain. Dare I say, boring. I was running to catch the bandwagon with the rest of the girls gushing over the grandness of the Cartier invitation, when I stopped myself, and here is where I take issue.

I’ve always said, "All the money in the world can’t buy good taste." With enough money, the tackiest most taste-deprived bride can plan an InStyle-worthy elegant wedding, pending she is smart enough to surround herself with tasteful people, and guise whatever missteps she may take behind names like Cartier.

There is, however, no achievement in this. Don’t tease me with a Cartier invitation only to show me your entire wedding is just a litany of decisions based solely on elitist price tags. I want my guests to recognize an element of risk-taking in my décor, and think, “I would have never picked that, but damn it looks good!” I may not be able to pull off the 12-lemon centerpiece in lieu of peonies, but I know I’ve got it in me to plan an event that people will remember as beautiful without succumbing to the cash cows of wedding planning. So mooooo-ve over Cartier invites. The cheap chic chickadees are entering the barn.

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