Clara & Sam’s Recession Wedding

Oh you guys… I got this amazing email last week, with a wedding that made me remember what really matters, what all this is about. It’s not about money, it’s not about what we don’t have, it’s about what we do have: love, joy, family. So feast your eyes on this wedding, and breathe it in. I have been a longtime reader. I got engaged last summer. My husband and I, both law students, were planning a wedding for 2010. The economy has hit the legal profession especially hard. As a result, my husband and I decided to do a “wedding for now” and plan to do a “wedding for later”* when we achieve better financial stability. We planned our mini wedding in three weeks, right before finals, taking place two days before our law school graduation. We had our Dean of Admissions officiate with three witnesses attending, the ceremony took place in the center of our law school courtyard. In the afternoon we had a very non formal reception at an outdoor sangria bar across from the law school. Our budget was around $2,000. See? Don’t you feel much more joyful (and peaceful) than you did before? Me too.

*Editors Note: In my humble opinion, with a wedding this (dare I say) perfect, you totally don’t need a wedding for later. Because this is clearly the best wedding ever. What you DO need is a deeply fantastic anniversary party (and don’t we all?) By which I mean, congrats you guys! Here is to many many happy years.

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  • Anonymous

    omgomgomgomg a wedding in Ann Arbor!! U-M Law School! How perfect! Congrats to them! :)

  • This is beautiful. Congratulations!

  • mmm, Dominicks. I know exactly where they went for the reception — great place! I'm pretty sure I actually know someone who went to the reception (or this is a fairly common occurrence at Michigan). I love it!

  • LPC


  • awwwww this wedding is ohhh so cute!! and yeah I agree with you in your note :)

    And Congrats to the newly weds :)

  • this made me take a deep breath…and smile real big. your posts always calm me down, set me straight, and make me realize what's important (again!). I love that about my daily stops at your site…just wonderful.

  • Oh. Ma. Gaaah …

    perfection. Just perfection. Congrats (and happy graduation) to you both!

  • April

    Lovely. Just simply lovely. And I agree… no "wedding for later" needed (unless the lovely couple really really REALLY wants one).

    Cuz it looks like THIS one pretty much takes the proverbial cake!

  • I think this sort of thing is what Offbeat called "weddinged" – ie already married but ready for the big old party. But yes, many times "less is more" right? V sweet (and gorgeous frock!)

  • Adorable. Very true to my heart.

    And yeah, my friend kind of did the same, a small heartfelt wedding with plans to do it again later. It's been 7 years, two children and a move abroad later, and they never did. Because in the end the first wedding was all that mattered, and all they needed.

  • Great dress!

  • Kaitlyn

    Ha, re: first comment, I could have sworn it took place at Yale! Maybe they're more similar than I thought – Yale has a very similar courtyard where their wedding ceremony took place that I was considering for our ceremony, but the size was just not going to work with our wedding.

    I love it nonetheless! Gorgeous!

  • I don't know how they could top that wedding! It was perfect and intimate and anyone that sees those pictures would agree!

  • Anonymous

    I'm an aluim of UM Law, so this was very cool to see. Congratulations to the couple!

  • This is fantastic, and her dress is just darling! I have two law school friends who are doing a similar thing!

  • their photos look so similar to one love photo but that couldn't possibly fit into $2k budget could it?

  • TNM

    Lovely wedding! But, I think we need you to settle the location, Meg, because that law school looks eXactly like Yale. To a T.

    (I realize this is sorta missing the point of love and simplicity and all!)

  • It's definitely the U of M Law School- I recognise the Dean.
    And what a sweet and beautiful wedding- though a little mad to do it so near finals.

  • To Color Me Green: Our photographer's name is Linda Wan and she is amazing. She did fit into our $2,000 budget, the majority of the budget was actually for all the sangria! She really took the time to get to know us and worked with our limited finacial constraints. Note – she takes pictures the old fashioned way, with film that she develops herself in her darkroom. I would highly recommend her!

    And, we are both U of M Law alums! Go Blue!

    – Clara

  • Cate Subrosa

    I totally dig the idea of a fabulous first (or second, or fifth, whenever it turns out to be) anniversary party. I was thinking the same thing, Meg.

    And OMG you two have the hottest wedding style! That dress! And the waistcoat! *swoon*

  • p.

    michigan represent! law quad, yay!

    when i read "sangria bar" i knew it was dominicks, haha :).

  • Beautiful.

  • Congrats, and Go Blue!

  • First of all I want to say congratulations!
    13 years ago my husband and I got married at the San Diego Courthouse with one witness and our son. It was a beautiful wedding.
    Last year we renewed our vows with a few friends.
    I wish more people would go in this direction so that they could start their marriage off with no debt and focus on a life together.

  • One Love Photo

    I have chills while typing! i loved that! Kinda reminds me of us and YES we are planning an awesome anniversary party -10 years baby-watch out!

  • cr

    So sweet, and I love the photographs!

  • This is beautiful!

  • Yeah, Michigan Law! Props to Sarah Zearfoss! Wish I could have Dominicks sangria at my reception… Many years of bliss to the happy couple!

  • this totally makes me want to elope again. ugh.
    but so ridiculously beautiful!!!!

  • this is lovely.

  • I'm in love this this wedding – so beautiful!!

  • Aww, so sweet and wonderful!

  • Moz

    This is awesome guys – congrats!! I totally agree with Meg, have a stellar anniversary party when you can afford it. Where’s my ‘Exactly’ button to agree with Meg?

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  • Jacquetta

    This makes me tear up…my honey and I are in Grad school (she is in law school) and this just confirm everything that we are thinking. We are contemplating a ceremony on campus and a informal, fun-fill (aka alcohol) reception. This is beautiful inspiration.

  • olivia

    This is the exact wedding I envision–relaxed, with people you love, without the stress of entertaining and hosting. Kudos to Clara and Sam!

  • Emmy

    You know for the last year (and longer if i’m honest) I have gone in my head thru so many difrent versons of our wedding. Should we have island DW? Or maybe just have small intimate ceremony in a public park? Or perhaps we should sacrifce and have a large one now…Blah, blah, blah. I’ve been literally drivng myself crazy. I know the practical thing for us is to do the city hall/intimate route (and maybe a party later). But I still dream of a larger wedding. This post confirms that its time to go with my gut and just get freaking married already. I keep using the excuse we cant get married because of money. When the truth is we are in the same spot financially that we been in since last year anyway. If we had done this a year ago, it would have been a year married under our belts, rather than a year of frustrations and what ifs/woulda/couldas.

    Congrats Clara & Sam. You had an amazing wedding, thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Jill

    Dean Zearfoss can marry people!!? I may need to change plans …. ;-) I had lunch in that courtyard a couple days ago.

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