We Abandoned Our Big Wedding Halfway Through Planning

On getting back to "us"


Joey and I met in 1999. I was 15, he was a day shy of 18, and within a month we were boyfriend and girlfriend. We kept those titles for the next 11 years.

Cue the infamous question—“What took you so long to get married?”

We’ll put aside the fact that we were babies when we met, with high school to finish, college to graduate from and careers to figure out, and I’ll tell you that marriage just wasn’t a top priority for us, which I think is hard for some people to understand. It wasn’t that we weren’t completely committed to one another. We bought a house together, and a dog…and then another dog. We were committed; we were creating a life together and figured we’d get married when it felt right for us.

Before we got engaged, we talked about getting married at the courthouse, keeping it simple, maybe even eloping. But then the love of my life put that blasted ring on my finger in March of 2011 and I lost myself (and my mind) for a little bit.

Everyone was so happy for us. I was consumed by the outpouring of love and excitement. The funny thing is that up until that point, we played by our own rules. We did what made us happy and what felt right for us as a couple, but now I felt like what would make us happy (simple, no fuss wedding), would make others unhappy. I was trapped by my people pleasing ways.

I knew in my heart I had no real desire to plan a big wedding, and I knew Joey didn’t either, but we forged ahead not thinking there was another way. We set a date—June 6, 2012—but it never felt real. It never felt right. My gut was telling me one thing, but I was too scared to listen. I didn’t want to disappoint our family and friends.

It was late October when we finally had our “Come to Wedding-Jesus” moment. We finally acknowledged that we didn’t want the wedding we were kinda, sorta planning for June. What happened to the courthouse? How do we get back to Us? Doing Us had gotten us this far, why would we abandon that now?

So, we put our big girl/boy panties on and did a complete 180. And guess what—it was OK. Actually, it was better than OK. It was perfect.

We had only booked two things for June 6—the venue and the photographers. We were able to get back our small deposit on the venue, and our photographers were Leah & Mark Photography (found on APW, love at first sight), and were beyond awesome, thought our change of plans was cool, said +Raven was available on December 9, and so our new wedding—our wedding—was born. We had about six weeks to plan, which would probably freak a lot of people out, but for me it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I finally felt excited, and I could tell Joey did too.

We got married at the courthouse in Annapolis with our immediate family present. Our reception was a dinner party with our nearest and dearest, and then a larger group of friends met us out at the bar to celebrate afterwards.

We didn’t send Save the Dates, there were no letter pressed invitations, I didn’t walk down an aisle, we didn’t pick out linens, there was no DJ. Our first dance? In the middle of the street (photog’s suggestion, that’s why they’re so damn awesome).

We didn’t have all those things (things!), but goshdarnit we had a wedding! Everyone was happy. Our hearts were full. The day felt as easy as breathing from start to finish. I married my best friend, and life got a little bit better, a little bit happier.

Turns out your wedding day isn’t a direct reflection of how much you love the people in your life, but rather how much you love and respect your partner. The people in our life, well they still love us, and are happy we’re happy. In fact, one of the most heartfelt notes I received was from someone who wasn’t at our wedding.

It read:

I am so happy to hear that you are following your heart. This is your time and your day. All that is important is the memory of Joey’s face when he says, “I do.” All that is necessary will be with you then. I wish you both the most magnificent of loves.

All that is necessary will be with you then. I read that, and I cried. And when we said our wedding vows, I realized how very true it was.

To all the future-brides, I have just two words for you: be brave.

Be brave enough to follow your heart, to dig deep down inside and listen to what that little voice is telling you. Be brave enough to change your mind, and change it again if necessary. The people who matter will support and love you, and anyone who wants to judge—well, they’re just not worth it. Your love story is just that—yours. And no one can write it better than you.

The Info—Photography: +Raven of LeahAndMark.com / Venue: Harry Browne’s / Diane’s Dress: Ann Taylor / Diane’s Faux Fur Jacket: Nordstrom / Diane’s Shoes: RSVP from Zappos.com/ Joey’s Three-piece Suit: JoS. A Bank

Featured Sponsored Content

Please read our comment policy before you comment.

The APW Store is Here

APW Wedding e-shop

go find all our favorites from around the internet, and our free planning tools

Shop Now
APW Wedding e-shop

Planning a wedding?

We have all the planning tools you need right now.

Budget spreadsheets, checklists, and more...

Get Your Free Planning Tools