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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.

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.

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