Prev Next

Chris & Marianne


Today’s post isn’t just any wedding graduate post. It’s from APW Advertising Manager Emily’s Dad (with photos by Emily, obviously). You already know a bit about Emily’s family, since we ran her grandparents’ (fourth picture down) 1951 wedding and her great-grandparents’ wedding. And now, without further ado, we shuttle you off to Thanksgiving weekend with a blast of family-centric joy. Have a wonderful holiday, from the APW family to yours.

*Chris, Teacher & Marianne, Retired*

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Chris & Marianne | A Practical Wedding

Our wedding was supposed to be a surprise. We billed it as a house cooling—she was moving in with me and renting out her house—and invited our friends over for a party. The hardest part of the planning process was deciding who to invite. Early on we decided we had to tell some of the guests—our own kids and a few others who had to come from out of town. Since we did the deed on a Thursday evening—the eleventh anniversary of our first date—it was likely that some would have had perfectly valid excuses not to come. We didn’t tell people in town and one good friend in particular missed the party. Feelings were hurt. Other people weren’t invited because they weren’t immediate family or long-term friends. More feelings were hurt. If we had it to do over again we might have made the invitations more explicit and more inclusive.

We had both been married before; she with a big formal affair and I with a private court ceremony. This wedding split the difference, so to speak. The most important things to us were simplicity, informality and the absolute absence of stress. The event itself was entirely informal; we both were barefoot, our guests sat in camping chairs during the ceremony, and our dogs were maid of honor, best man, and “father of the bride.” My best friend performed the ceremony using a one-time license (and was well-dressed for the occasion, yet was the only person who stepped in dog doo). Our grown daughters, both possessed of quirky sensibilities, were in charge of decorations and dessert, and Marianne’s mother brought flowers from her garden. We barbecued tri-tips and everyone else brought something to share. A couple of impromptu toasts were made, and my younger daughter’s boyfriend treated us to an impromptu fire spinning show. In every respect, save the invitations, everything went off perfectly and a good time was had by all.

The only surprises of the evening were positive. My friend Bruce, the officiant (a generally quiet and serious person), made a short speech with only a day to prepare, and came up with a hugely humorous homily; among other things, noting that we were barefoot (which he did not know beforehand) and saying that it should be called a weddin’ rather than a wedding. After Marianne’s uncle made a toast for her side of the family, my friend Alan volunteered to make one for my side, but he said it in Chinese and wouldn’t tell us what it means. They couldn’t have been funnier if they’d had weeks to think about it.

Thinking back on it, there is not a single bad memory. The food was excellent, everyone had a good time, everybody got to talk to everybody else, and we all ended up around the fire pit at the end of the night. There is nothing I would have changed.

Photos by: Emily Takes Photos

More in Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Ceebee

    Makes me say…”oh, daddy…..”…….

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

    The pugs! The PUGS!

    Even though Chris and Marianne mention that feelings were hurt because of the small event, I really like the idea of something that’s so intimate and a surprise. From my perspective, it ends up looking like a great reflection of everyday life. It’s a reminder that love doesn’t have to be a huge “event” with ice sculptures or china; it’s about committing lives together.

  • Nicole

    Awesome in every way. This reminds me of my mom’s wedding a few years ago. But it would have been exponentially better with dogs in bow ties.

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    This really sounds like a lovely day, full of love, family, imperfection (the dog doo on the one person who was dressed up), as it should be. About the hurt feelings, I think it is one of the hardest issues with wedding planning. Even if you have an event with formal invitations, some people will get hurt because you can not invite every single person even if , inside you, you want to. I hope you will be able to fix those friendships.

  • http://apileofgoodthings.blogspot.com Erin Elizabeth

    I want my wedding to be EXACTLY like this. Jeans? Barefoot? Camping chairs? Absence of stress? Yes PLEASE.

  • Maddie

    So first I went “awww” at the pugs in bowties. Because c’mon, right?

    But then…I clicked over to Emily’s grandparent’s post and I teared up a little.

    Families are awesome. (You can quote me on this on Friday when I’m ready to abandon mine on a highway somewhere). :)

  • Melissa H

    I smiled the entire time I read this post and there were some laugh out loud moments too. I particularly enjoyed:
    “…my friend Alan volunteered to make one for my side, but he said it in Chinese and wouldn’t tell us what it means” < this gave me a serious case of the giggles

    I don't even know these folks, but I wish I had been invited! No wonder feelings were hurt – it looks like the happiest backyard party I've ever seen :) And you know what, even if they'd had a huge wedding and invited everyone they could think of, there would inevitably be hurt feelings as there somehow always is with weddings (why?!).

  • http://www.christinarichardsweddings.com christina

    These are so lovely!

  • http://www.armyamy.wordpress.com Army Amy*

    What a beautiful, joyful wedding! I snorted out loud when I read that one of the pugs served as “father of the bride.” Y’all are too cute!*

  • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    New life goal = be invited to a surprise wedding. Not sure I can work toward it but here’s hoping!

  • Moz

    What a freaking awesome wedding! Absence of stress and surprise wedding can only equal excellence. Hope the life together is similarly hassle free….or as much as possible :)

    Congrats on your marriage xx

  • Krista

    A relaxing wedding? YES please! This looks seriously awesome. Congrats!

  • Susie

    I love love LOVE this casual wedding! If I didn’t have a huge extended family and assorted friends accumulated from the three cities I’ve lived in this would have been my first choice of party. Congratulations! xx p.s. the dog poo cracked me up ;o)

  • Cass

    Firstly, I want to dive head first into that dessert buffet!

    Then, I’m wondering if more people would have been likely to attend (and thus less feelings hurt) if the invitation said something like “You are invited to a House Cooling party, where we will be sharing more exciting news!”
    It still leaves an element of surprise, but lets people know it’s more than just a Thursday night barbecue.

  • http://okokwhatever.com marissa

    i love this! beautiful!

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

    LOVING!!!!

  • http://www.sadiesadiemarriedlady.com Sadie

    How fun! I would love to have something this intimate, as was our original plan… but as it was not to be a surprise, one phone call from one aunt (who had not been on the original list as it was only parents, siblings and very best friends) about how excited she was to attend led to a guest list explosion. It’s okay, it will still be great, but this? This was amazing.

  • http://www.topweddingquestions.com Wedding Etiquette

    House cooling – awesome! You’re setting a terrific example for couples everywhere with your laid back, fun style wedding. kudos!