I love Abi’s post because she talks so wisely about the way we journey to our wedding, how we have to do the work to “reach the point that you knew existed all along.” Which is so true. Plus, halfway through Abi’s wedding graduate post, she starts talking about having a meltdown over barn weddings ‘not seeming feasible’ and I started cracking up. I know, terrible right? But in this age of indie-rustic-chic-weddings, who hasn’t been there? Who hasn’t had a meltdown seeing something on a blog, and then trying to replicate it, and then realizing that it would cost a million dollars and require a small production team to pull off? So here is a love song to the journey to your own truth, and to simple weddings that are actually simple.
I started out like most brides probably do. I ignored any and all duties and began scouring the internet for venues, dresses, caterers and bands. I set aside school, dog walking, dinners and even my poor fiance while I delved into the once unknown world of trendy online wedding blogs. I denied that I was working hard on this event, or that I was trying to plan anything spectacular. When people asked I would say that we weren’t in any big hurry to get married and we would just see what we found.
The truth? Having gotten engaged in February and being in the middle of nursing school, I was internally freaking out that if I didn’t have my wedding over the coming summer, I would have to wait an entire 16 months from our engagement until the following summer and I just didn’t want to wait that long. A winter wedding maybe over my school break? I looked at romantic and beautiful snowy venues but soon realized that it would cost a fortune to have everyone inside and I could hardly ask my friends to fly to San Francisco only to be caught on Donner Pass in a freak snow storm with no chains.
After 2-3 months of trying to squeeze my budget and time frame into the beautiful world of weddings and other brides (with bigger budgets) that I was seeing online, my head began to spin. I had had it with the wedding industry dictating what I “should” do and tacking on several thousand dollars to every service once the word “wedding” passed through my lips. I felt like every idea that I had was shot down as being unrealistic for our budget, and that nobody had solutions for me, only potential issues like, “that venue is too small” or “too far away” or “too expensive to get to”…..agh! One night I finally cracked under the pressure that I didn’t even know existed and began a good solid crying session after a discussion with my mom about how a barn wedding without a caterer just didn’t seem feasible.
After some wonderful consoling from my soon to be husband, we remembered that this was supposed to be fun. Right then and there I decided to do everything in my power to have a wedding without enlisting the help of “the industry”. I knew that I could do it and that it could be simple, I was just going to keep my vision and not get distracted. Once I reached that point and made that decision, it was as if opportunities just started falling in my lap. I found a venue that night for our reception that I had somehow missed even after 3 months of looking. My fiance and I went there the next day and locked it in. We were on our way, our way!
Our wedding day was so relaxed and that was the ultimate goal. The part that stands out the most to me now is how much I was able to relish the anticipation. I had all morning to relax, eat, get ready, go boot shopping with my mom and sisters and hang out with my family. I loved every minute leading up to the wedding because I knew that once it started it was going to fly by, and I was right!
I heard (read) other brides say to just keep it fun, enjoy it, keep it relaxed. In the end I was able to do this, but after the first few months of planning I had started to lose faith in the entire process. Just know that it will work out! I wish I had slowed down and reminded myself of that in the beginning, instead of letting myself get upset and stressed out. In the end, it got me where I needed to be, but man was it tough not to listen to the caterers, planners, and venues out there!
What mattered to us was having time together after our wedding. A lot of couples go right into a good-bye brunch of sorts the next day which is understandable if you have people in from out of town that you need to see. We were lucky in that sense, as we only had our family present and we had our reception 2.5 months later, so we were able to spend the entire morning after our wedding having breakfast, getting massages and soaking in a giant hot tub. Even if this is not feasible for you, carve out some time for yourselves at some point after the ceremony to connect. Your guests will understand and will have a good time. What didn’t matter to us was that our reception was 2.5 months after the wedding and our honeymoon was 3 months after that. It worked perfectly for our schedule, was better for our friends and saved us a bundle!
We were surprised at how many people made it out to California for our reception. We thought that maybe since we had gotten married 2.5 months before, that people wouldn’t feel pressed to show up. I mean….what were they coming for? We were already married! But we were delighted that within a day or two our friends from the east coast and family from Oregon and Colorado had already made reservations at the local inn and were asking us about flights! We felt so loved and were so happily surprised at the turnout for a wedding where nobody actually got married.
It was so hard, at first, to shake the should’s and should not’s of the wedding industry. I hear so many brides say this, and I thought that they were crazy, but once you start looking around, it’s easy to just get sucked in. Be strong, stay your course. Doing what YOU want should be easy but sometimes it just isn’t. Keep your faith even when things get hard and it will be easier.
Mostly we were just so so proud that our wedding was so inexpensive, yet beautiful and just what we wanted. The favorite bits: the cowgirl boots with red hearts that I found 4 hours before the ceremony, our wedding night airstream trailer, the cupcakes at the reception, handmade napkins & bunting and the most beautiful part?! That it was so low impact! All of our reception food was local and organic, all flatware was bambu, all glasses were reusable mason jars or made of corn starch, the napkins were hand made and are being made into a quilt and we were able to burn all paper goods at the bonfire and recycle all bottles and cans, party favors were jars of honey from our very own bees. So proud we are!
I learned that you have to go through your own journey before you can reach the point that you knew existed all along. You have to travel to arrive, and it will be so worth it!
Photos By: (As Abi says) Mom, Sister and Brother. No websites, just the family of the bride! But the beef was from Stemple Creek Ranch. Yay!!