Before today’s amazing wedding graduate post about loving a wedding you didn’t want in the first place, I’ve got to say a few things so no one starts worrying about *their* wedding. First: here at APW we are pro-elopement, even though it sometimes seems like the last taboo of indie-wedding land. So if you want to elope, you don’t have to let Jessie’s awesome post sway you. Second: other brides have shared stories of not loving the wedding they didn’t want. So that happens too, and if it happened to you stop feeling guilty already!
But! But! In this case, Jessie and Steve loved the wedding they didn’t want, and they loved it for amazing reasons. And in the end, I think, they got exactly what they did want as the cherry on top of all the joy. So, this one is for those of you are mid-planning and scared that the wedding you’re getting isn’t exactly the wedding you dreamed of.
Even before we were engaged, Steve and I wanted to elope. We feel that a wedding is a personal thing, not a show. Soon after we announced our engagement, we realized our hopes of running away to be married in the mountains were simply going to be passing thoughts. Our families quickly got involved, and we came to the realization that just because we were the ones getting married, the day wasn’t just about us.
So, after some tears from my aunt, anger from my uncle and pushes from my mom, we began planning a wedding (with only 5 months). Throughout the planning process, we stuck to our guns about maintaining simplicity, not breaking the bank, and being unique. I actively avoided anything that screamed “wedding” and searched for things that represented who Steve and I are as a couple.
We decided to hold the ceremony and reception outdoors in July. What’s more natural than using nature as your backdrop? We had no altar or decorations where we had our ceremony, just a canopy of trees. Our guests stood around us to create intimacy, and we read our own vows in a ceremony that respected all faiths and all sexualities. After the ceremony, we celebrated in a pavilion that was probably 90+ degrees inside but filled with love.
What did I learn from the wedding that we didn’t want? First of all, I wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world. A wedding is not a show (we were right about that); it’s about letting those who care the most about you share in your love as you start out on a completely new path.
I also learned that people appreciate the parts that are different. There are things expected at a wedding, but we rejected those things (a bouquet toss, a dollar dance, limo rides, and over-the-top decorations to name a few). No one seemed to care and praised us for how “real” the wedding felt.
Don’t do anything just because it’s what other brides do. I bought my gown at a charity event. My shoes weren’t white or even silver. I wore rose colored shoes for no other reason than that I wanted to. We didn’t have wedding parties which made our ceremony so much more intimate and saved our best friends money. But, our friends were still there for us every step of the way.
Our array of different flavored cupcakes replaced an elaborate and expensive wedding cake and were a big hit. I wore my best friend’s wedding jewelry which was far more meaningful than buying new to match my dress. Finally, our self-written vows were hard to share with our guests (being so personal), but each person there was touched by their simplicity and honesty. Our pastor told us he’d never read vows so raw and full of love.
When it’s time to plan a wedding (even if you didn’t want it in the first place), remember: It’s not about fancy reception halls and expensive dinners. It’s about the vibe that you and your partner exhibit. The love you show will be reflected back at both of you, and you’ll leave your wedding feeling more emotion than you ever thought you could. Our guests didn’t come for an expensive party. They came because they love us. They pushed us into a wedding so that they had the opportunity to truly support us when we started out. Who could not want that?
And, for our honeymoon? We escaped to the mountains, unplugged from the world, and enjoyed a love that belongs to no one but us with the sweet memories of an unwanted (but amazing) wedding freshly in our minds.
Photos by Milestone Photography of Indianapolis, IN