Anna of Fruit of A Common Tree

I’m thrilled to introduce loyal (and awesome) reader Anna with the tale of her wedding to her husband Andrew. Like so many of your stories, we could dwell on how savvy she was, and how she saved money and had a beautiful wedding – and that spirit of practical mixed with adventurous would be delight enough. But instead, I want to dwell on Anna’s Wedding Graduate wisdom, because wise women sharing is the heart of what we’re doing here, and Anna is both generous and wise with her knowledge. Well, that, and I’m always *thrilled* to get to share another interfaith wedding. So with that, I give you Anna:

A little about us:
The context of our engagement was graduate school, so by the time the wedding rolled around, spending a lot of money seemed wasteful and outrageous. Finding employment after school made us appreciate what we had even more, so we purchased very basic necessities as we could afford them, one step at a time.
I followed no particular timeline or checklist for planning the wedding. In fact, we were going to get married in March of 2010, and changed it a few months earlier to November because we didn’t know what we would do with the extra time! I would say there were about 3.5 months in between when we picked the date and when the date arrived. Most of our planning (food, music, décor, flowers) happened in the final three weeks.

What made our wedding sane: We had a friend take photographs, a friend do our flowers, a friend officiate, and we relied on our community of loved ones to volunteer help whenever we needed it. I was a major delegator, which worked for me. Even though the idea of decentralizing that much control might freak many brides out, it really helped me to reach the wedding date without a single implosion. In the end, the event far exceeded my expectations; I couldn’t believe how beautifully the wedding turned out. In our case, trust was the key to great results (good practice for marriage, too).
I am Jewish and my husband is not religiously affiliated. We combined a diverse range of customs into our Jewish/interfaith wedding. As a sign of respect, we had the ceremony on a Saturday evening (so after Shabbat had passed), and incorporated many of the traditions, such as a chuppah, a ketubah, and blessings, that made the ceremony feel special and real for me. A few of our loved ones contributed fantastic readings. Our officiate performed without a hitch!
The ceremony was followed by a simple dessert reception. I cannot sing high enough praises for the “champagne and cake” reception; not only is it cost-effective, you are also in the mood to drink bubbly and eat dessert when you are feeling giddy and in love. Our ceremony and reception were both hosted in a historical mansion that we rented for the day from the parks department. The cost was very low, and because the mansion remains beautifully restored, it was a decoration in and of itself.
Advice for others planning to get married and throw a wedding:
1) There is a right way to do things, and that way is whatever feels right to you.
2) Pick the necessities that make your wedding feel real, and leave the rest in the dust.
3) Because our wedding was so practical, we feel stress-free now that it is over. We get to travel to Guadalajara in January, and Lima in March. Not going into debt is the best wedding gift you can give yourself.
4) Once you pick a date, things align. It may seem vague and misshapen at first, but everything will work in the end.
5) The wedding is a few hours. The marriage is a lifetime. Allocate resources accordingly.Which is… everything that needs to be said. Seriously. If you’re early in the planning process go read this post again, just to make sure you really absorbed it all. Thank you Anna, reading about your wedding makes me feel all glow-y. So, may the two of you bask in each others glow for many many happy years.

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  • "5) The wedding is a few hours. The marriage is a lifetime. Allocate resources accordingly."
    Great advice!

  • Beautiful wedding! I love historic venues. That gauzy chuppah is lovely – and great advice.

  • Great advice! I love #5 too! Thanks!

  • Love this post! Like everyone else, I loved #5 especially. I think we all need phrases like "The wedding is a few hours. The marriage is a lifetime" running through our brains more often.

  • I really respect people that can delegate. I have a tendency to want to do everything myself. Thank you for posting Anna's inspiring words.

  • Meg – I don't know if I ever mentioned this in a post to your before, but I really love that you do this. It brings a reality to the actual celebration…focusing on real feelings, real sentiments, real life. I appreciate that about your blog. It's honest. These wedding graduates sections are simply fantastic.

  • Vee

    LOVE this eloquent and valuable advice. Especially numbers 3 & 5. Thank you!

  • I have to say that my jaw dropped when I saw this post, as I have known Anna since she was a little girl attending the summer camp I used to work at.

    I can only say that having the privilege of watching Anna grow up and turn into the amazing, wise woman before you now makes my heart glow. And that she shared her story here, well…that flat out made me cry *lol*

    Much love, Anna, and thank you for sharing your advice.

  • I think now, after my wedding is complete I need to think of those perfect words: "the wedding is a few hours. The marriage is a lifetime. Allocate resources accordingly."
    Every hint of regret just washed away.

  • Love that sashed dress. Super cute! And we are also having a dessert reception to save moola – also because dessert is really the best part of any meal anyway! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Oh how I love these. How about an entire week, grad after grad. My head would explode in delight.