Honesty Hour Vol. 2: What do you think about weddings?

Our first Honesty Hour was a massive success! I am so excited to be striking up these conversations throughout the month!

I found myself reading this TIME article the other day on the problem with weddings. A little bit of an intense approach, the writer speaks up about why she hates weddings:

“There’s the very good argument that weddings are tradition. But did our great, great, great grandmothers register at Crate & Barrel? Did they hire make-up artists and spend thousands on cakes? Probably not. And yes, everything evolves. But I’m thinking this evolution has gone too far and, in the end, hurts us.”

Weddings in the last 10 years, since the rise of Pinterest, have gotten increasingly more extravagant. However, I’ve also seen a lot of friends forgo the traditions and stick to a small and holy ceremony. Mind you, I did a lot of the things the writer referenced in this piece. I had a registry at Crate & Barrel and Target. I had a make-up artist. We honeymooned right after the big day. We chose to forgo the cake to do a milk & cookies bar. Our guest count was 220 people. When it came to finances, some money came from my parents and some came out of my own pockets. My mom, on the other hand, was married in the backyard of my dad’s home wearing sandals and a purple dress.

There were definitely some times throughout the wedding planning process where I wondered: Why does tradition say we should do this? Can we just skip this part? 

There are some things she wrote in this article that I agreed with:

“Contrary to what romantic comedies would have you believe, a wedding is the starting point, not the finish line. And by obsessing over this one event, we’re putting ourselves behind in the marathon that is a marriage.”

At the core of our wedding, Lane and I wanted the day to be about our guests and what God had done in our story. I like to think we went extra lengths to make our people and God the priority: handwritten notes for each guest, seating charts, a worship-filled ceremony. Every wedding is different and that’s what I love: you get to make the day your own.

So, readers, let’s have Honesty Hour. Chime in and say whatever you’re feeling. No wrong answers here: 

What do you think of weddings? Did you have a big wedding or do you dream of one? Married or single, what investments truly matter to you on the wedding day? Regrets? Things you would do over in a heartbeat? 

46 thoughts on “Honesty Hour Vol. 2: What do you think about weddings?

  1. I just attended my first wedding last weekend as a guest. Before that, I’ve been a part of weddings – twice as a photographer and twice as Maid of Honor. I’ve always threatened to elope, much to my mom’s dismay (going on 23 years as a single person though, so she doesn’t have to worry about it any time soon, haha!). I’m a little too practical for the whole ceremony thing, and coupled with my social anxiety, a whole day ‘about me’ is literally the last thing I want. As beautiful as the weddings I have been a part of and to have been, I always see multiple rent payments or car payments, a really nice honeymoon or vacation fund… I see everything on the other side of the ceremony and how much the money poured into it could affect it. I can party with my friends any day of the week at a restaurant and not have to rent the whole place out for it! So, I don’t necessarily have a problem with weddings and receptions, but I don’t think I’d ever have one in the traditional sense.

  2. I have always been for weddings. I love the idea of celebrating two people and how much they love each other. Celebrating love is a beautiful thing. As I have gotten older though, I realize my personality doesn’t match that of a big wedding with all the DIY center pieces. I want to help my friends plan those weddings. For me, I want a simple wedding, probably a step above a courthouse wedding. I want it small and for those memories to be so personal but I also want a celebration. A party that last all weekend and has friends and family so filled with joy they can’t help but return to their daily life with a smile to share. I like the idea of a wedding being more about the gift of love from God rather than a specific relationship. I want a wedding that leads way to a beautiful marriage. But mostly I want a great dance party.

  3. The age of the Pinterest wedding is so difficult to navigate. Suddenly, you’re comparing your love story to hundreds of others (which can lead to a surprising amount of resentment and disappointment…*shivers*). The “more, more, more” side of me wanted to splurge on the trendy things that seemed like essentials. But in reality, there were only three essentials for our wedding day: my groom, Jesus, and me. And also a stellar photographer who happened to be a close friend and gave us a beautiful discount. As we planned for our wedding, our premarital counselors said, “Be willing to invest as much into your marriage as you are into your wedding day.” We took that to heart. Like the Times article says, the wedding day is indeed the starting point.

    And while some people may have been shocked by how much we spent – and others shocked by how little we spent – we tried our darndest to stick to the budget my parents set. We wanted to honor them by making fiscally responsible decisions, together. So yes, we cut corners where we could. We still had catered food that cost an arm and a leg (but oh did it taste good).

    However, I also watched as God made my little girl dreams come true in amazing ways. We couldn’t afford a wedding dress that cost thousands, but I fell in love with a Grace-Kelly-style, silk gown that made my heart go Boom-BOOM. I remember cringing as I reached for the price tag. It had taken me so long to find a dress, and I wanted to go home with it. But could I justify the $$$? I could. Somehow, someway, this dress of mine was no longer part of the bridal store’s seasonal catalogue. They wanted it off their racks for $425.00. I cried happy tears. And God whispered to me, “Remember the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin, yet see how I adorn them? How much more precious are you to me? Trust me to provide.” God did it again, when our florist worked tirelessly to create arrangements that weren’t extortionately priced. And again, when a talented home baker asked to gift us with a wedding cake.

    In hindsight, I probably would have taken the $ spent on favors and made an offering to our church. I would have said no worries about a cocktail hour – let’s just get the party started and eat along the way. I went back and forth on a videographer. I want our children to re-live our wedding day with us, but I decided they could do that through pictures, and not a really pricey video. The make-up and hair was worth every penny because I felt like a princess, and I don’t often like to spend money on pampering myself, but I’m really happy my bridesmaids were cool with doing their own primping and preening – that saved us a ton.

    I guess this is a very longwinded way of saying that as brides, we deserve to treat ourselves a little – and treating ourselves is relative for each person. But there’s also a “need vs. want” conversation that we should have in our hearts. Contentment should come from the beautiful, sacred act of getting married. All the other stuff just sets the stage. At the end of the day, that stage will look different for us all. And I think it’s our duty as women to encourage and inspire one another, no matter how elaborate or simple or pinterest-worthy our wedding days are.

    1. Wow, wow, I love this so much! I am smacknin the middle of planning my own wedding & feeling all those same need/want pulls. I so appreciate your wise & kind words!

  4. Whew. I can relate to this on an all-too-real level right now. I’m planning a wedding myself, and just spend the weekend at two weddings that, while very beautiful, probably cost a combined total of about 100K. And all I could think of this weekend was money, money money, and for what? I just kept thinking about a downpayment on a house, student loans, and a honeymoon to Iceland…
    Weddings have turned into a overwhelming contest to try to “one-up” the next person, or at least keep up with them. And when you’re planning your own, it can be so hard not to fall into that trap. My parents have set a modest budget (they are paying for two weddings in one year, after all) and we really want to honor that out of respect to them, as well as contributing to the catering and keg funds ourselves. Right now, all I want is to get married underneath a waterfall in the woods, and then find a reception spot that will let me eat doughnuts and breakfast for dinner with 200 of my favorite people that will not break the bank (y’all say a little prayer please that I can figure out how to make that happen). At the end of the day, we want the celebration to be filled with Jesus and love, and to honor all of the people who will come together to lift up and celebrate the start of our marriage. And at the end of the day, I’ll be married to the best (and hottest) human alive, and every day of the planning process I remind myself that that really IS all that matters!

    1. My best friend had donuts at her wedding with iced coffee and it was absolutely genius! They’re pure joy – and on top of the joy of celebrating the love forged by Christ in two people? THE BEST! 🙌🏻

  5. I have attended a countless number of weddings. I have been a bridesmaid 4 times, 2 of which I was the Maid of honor. I would have repeated the expensive, exhausting, time consuming process in a heartbeat for my big day except I find myself in love with an introvert who has no care about the expectations that society places on individuals. This has led to a great deal of reflection and praying on my part.

    South African weddings have very little, if anything, to do with the bride and groom. The wedding is about the coming together of 2 families. This process includes Lobola negotiations which is essentially a negotiation between the uncles of the groom-to-be and the uncles of the bride-to-be, about an agreed upon bride-price. Thereafter there is a ceremony to welcome the groom (by the bride’s family). Thereafter there is a ceremony to welcome the bride (by the grooms family). Just when you think we are done, we have also adopted western wedding traditions as our own. So… then only do you start planning your “white wedding”. Disclaimer: All families are different and have their own expression of these African traditions, but this is how it works in mine.

    Anyway… I would love to do away with all of this and just marry my love. I would do this in a tutu and gold superga sneakers ( I own them lol). As long as God is there and my parents to hand me over, that would be enough for me.

    But alas, alas…

  6. I love weddings and have dreamed of mine since I was 15. I remember watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and creating my Pinterest wedding board. Through a phase I would say I obsessed over the idea of this beautiful gorgeous wedding, not a marriage. As a single 20-something, I have made an effort to not think about this hypothetical wedding – i’ve stopped pinning on my Pinterest. I took an honest look an Pinterest was brining me no joy- it just brought comparison and how my life would be ‘one day’ rather than living today. My brother and his wife eloped sort of to Muir Woods in California. There were 12 people at the wedding- just family and their pastor. It was beautiful and simple.

    All this said- of course I have an idea of my dream wedding! I would love to have a sunrise/early morning ceremony followed by a breakfast/brunch reception with a waffle station! 🙂

  7. Thank you for this honest talks.
    I am getting married at the beginning of August to my girlfriend. We are going to celebrate with 40 people in a small location where you can see above our city. 4 Days later we will go to our honeymoon in Taize, France. It is a order of brothers and nuns where a lot of people from all over the world come to sing and pray and find peace. We are looking forward to start our marriage with this opportunity to practice mercy, joy, simplicity and prayer and I know that this migth not be your usual honeymoon. But I hope it will be worth it. If you like, please wish us well 🙂

      1. Thank you so much! And also thank you for being inspiring and doing all the amazing work your do!

  8. LOVE this!

    I just got married at the end of April and we planned the entire thing ourselves. Throughout the entire planning process we constantly reminded each other, “It’s only one day.” Granted, it was the best day of our lives so far, but it really is just one day.

    We invested more in our venue than anything else, because our top priority was to make sure our guests had a BLAST celebrating with us. So we got married at our favorite brewery in downtown Cincinnati that had an event space with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and string lights hanging across the wooden beams on the ceiling (my three requirements, haha!). But as we planned everything else, from the flowers and decorations to the food, we wanted to keep it simple and avoid spending too much money on things that, quite frankly, people don’t care much about in the end. We bought fake greenery and flowers from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, and we scavenged for decorations around many, many antique shops. That process in itself was so fun for us! And we didn’t order the food for the reception until about a week before the wedding – because we got sub sandwiches, pizza and donuts! I honestly would not have changed a single thing about our wedding because we saved a lot of money, but more than that, we saved ourselves from stressing out unnecessarily about millions of details.

    I think that as a couple, we value simplicity, and that was really reflected in our wedding day. Other couples may want to be more extravagant, and that’s okay too! I think the greatest thing about weddings is that they’re truly a reflection of the couple that’s getting married.

  9. i haven’t gotten married yet but i’ve always said i wanted a small ceremony. and only the people who have known us as both individuals and as a couple to be invited because i can trust that they will truly celebrate with us.
    and as for investments, i would rather a simple backyard wedding with all the diy available because marriage is what surpasses the wedding day.
    i want to honor the days ahead.
    the future we are promising one another.
    i want to protect it, even financially.
    and in the end, the most important part of a wedding is the covenant being made before my husband and God.
    as long as that is fulfilled, everything else is optional.

  10. I think I’m going to take an opposite stance from many people in this post and to be quite honest, I hope that I don’t get roasted for it. I’m not one of those people that dreamed of my wedding since I was five. Heck, I always thought that I was going to end up a lonely woman with 72 cats all named Fabio for most of my life. Then I met my current boyfriend. He makes me happy and pray to God daily that I do the same for him. Our relationship has grown from friendship to something that I hope never ends. After being in countless relationships, I think I finally found the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with. If we do ever get married, the only think that I’ll be getting from Pinterest is a checklist and probably some decoration inspiration.

    In my opinion, a wedding in not supposed to be about cereal bars, donuts, and Instagram hashtags. A wedding is supposed to be about the love between two people that is uniting two families. A wedding is supposed to be about the fact that the love that two people have for one another is so strong that they want to profess that love in front of whatever form God takes for them and their loved ones.

    That being said, I’m all for gay marriage and I think that everyone has the right to profess their love and have it recognized by the world at large. My problem is that I feel that in getting those Instagram worthy moments, weddings are becoming more about documenting a day for people’s approval rather than really investing time into making sure that it is between you, whatever deity you believe in, and the ones you love.

    I have been in multiple weddings where I have been a guest and others where I have been a bridesmaid. I’ve noticed that in the last 5 years that with the rise of all of these wedding tv shows and Instagram posts, that people have begun this process of doing every single thing they can to make sure that their wedding is an event to remember for everyone. Last I checked, the requirements for a wedding (depending on the state) are a marriage license, two witnesses, and a minister. Why have we stepped away from small weddings in order to take out bank loans to get “everything we want” on our special day? Check out the statistic on marriage debt, they are staggering. Marriage shouldn’t about the person we love being every single thing that we want, because people change. Marriage is about learning life and growing with a person. A $150,000 wedding is not going to make that process of learning and growing with someone any easier.

    I am under the opinion that people need to stick to simple ceremonies grounded in love rather than extravagant features.This causes people to go into more debt and adds more stress to marriage. I mean sure, if you are lucky enough to have $50,000-$100,000 after paying taxes that you can use for a wedding, why not? However, many people are struggling to find clean water and their next meal. Why would a person invest that much money into themselves when they could take that kind of money and give to the poor, a battered women’s shelter, or another charity? Not everyone has that kind of cash just laying around. More importantly, why are we surrounding people with an idea that the only wedding that counts is an extravagant one?

    Jesus was not a man of extravagance. He was born in a manager and died on a cross. His body, though put in it’s own private tomb to be guarded, was covered in a simple sheet. I feel like in giving into extravagance, we are stepping away from God and away from the love that brought us to the alter in the first place.

    1. Hey Jules! That’s why I love these posts- I love seeing everyone’s opinions. So no, you are not alone in your feelings! Thank you for expressing them!

  11. I Love what you wrote about your wedding being about your guests. Our society talks so much about how your wedding day is all about YOU, when it fact its way more than that. Personally I look at a wedding as a big party the bride and groom are hosting, you want your guests to feel welcome, wanted and appreciated. That might mean pulling your self off the dance floor to talk to all your guests, taking the time to write handwritten thank you notes, picking foods that are generally liked and not special tastes that just you like and keeping them in mind when choosing time, location etc. I like what you said about choosing to do place settings. People appreciate when you consider them, and my thought is, they have spent time investing, praying and nurturing you your whole life, the least you can do is help them ENJOY your wedding!!

  12. I’m currently single, so I haven’t gone through my own wedding phase yet. But I’m in my mid 20s which means weddings are about to happen at every corner I turn! And I am not sad about it. I think weddings can be so fun, especially when they are unique and perfectly exemplify the happy couple. Weddings can be large, small, expensive or not but no matter – the ones I remember the most are the ones where the bride and groom’s joy is contagious and is reflected in the faces of every guest present. I can’t wait for my own wedding day when I get to eat ice cream, dance my feet off and smile until my smile can’t be removed from my face 🙂

  13. Weddings to me are great. When it’s done in a meaningful way that is. If it’s not totally focused on how much is spent or how many people are invited, I’m all for it. To me it’s about love and sharing that love with your closest family and friends. Some people get mixed up on how to celebrate their day that they end up being more stressed about their wedding than actually being happy. I haven’t had a wedding yet – I’m not married – but there are investments that are important to me if that day ever comes. I hope to have a low budget that could be met. And during a time of saving up, I hope to find ways to save even more. My thought is, if let’s say the average wedding is 50K I would want to save that 50K during my engagement period. But instead of using it all on my wedding day I would want to use most of the money towards a home for me and my future husband. Until I’m in the situation of putting together a wedding I know my thoughts could change but these have been my thoughts as I’ve gotten older.

    Small is sometimes more meaningful. At least to me it is.

  14. After having helped countless friends with DIY weddings, I am so done with the fuss for tiny details that nobody even cares about. I want to gather under tall trees in a forest with my family and his, all clustered around us, to make our vows. Then I want tacos, and dancing, and much laughter. That’s pretty much it. No seating arrangements or time consuming “easy and fun!” DIY projects or stressing over who to invite and how to find an ample and affordable venue.
    It’s all you need, baby. 🙂

  15. My husband and I were married May 27, 2017. We were together for 16 months prior to getting married and the time prior to our wedding felt like more of a courtship than a season of dating because we both knew exactly what we wanted and we were both in the same places. Our wedding had 50 people (including us and our families). With all the hype that you see about weddings, I knew I wanted something original and I knew that I wanted to be able to enjoy it. We wrote our own vows, didn’t have a DJ (used a custom playlist through speakers), had a donut bar, and one of my very best friends did our flowers (she’s starting a floral business). The planning felt crazy (we were also planning an out of state move), but we promised each other that no matter what happened, as long as we had made a covenant with God and each other by 4:45 PM on May 27th that was the most important thing. I look back at my wedding and wish I could relive it because it went by so fast, but all in all, I feel like we had a really great day.

  16. Hannah,

    I’m in a serious, long term relationship to my absolute best friend and soulmate. I come from a large family, who LIVE for weddings. Both he and I are introverts, albeit some extroverted traits every once in a while. For me, I’ve dreamed of eloping and having a huge party to celebrate our family and friends support afterwards. When I think of us getting married, I want to enter in this thing a united front and to have a special memory for just the two of us. On the other hand, my family has been planning my wedding and bridal showers and everything else since I was born. I’m one of 4 girl grandchildren, there is a lot of pressure to throw a great party. I think weddings are great, but I am looking forward to the marriage more than anything else in the world. If I could have it my way, we’d do the simple thing, just us and honeymoon afterwards. We’d come back and throw a huge party a few weeks later. Alas, it isn’t just about me, which is hard to make compromises with.

    I’m interested in what others have to say!

    – Rachel


    1. I’m super single, so my opinion may not matter, but ultimately – a wedding comes down to you, your partner, and the celebration of a Christ centered and given love. If both you and your boyfriend want to elope and throw a party in celebration at a later date – GO FOR IT! It doesn’t diminish your love for each other, or even your love for you family and friends. Parties are just as fun any day of the year, whether your marriage license is signed on the same day or not. 🙂

  17. When I think about my future wedding, the one thing that stands out in my mind is the venue. I’ve always dreamed of getting married in my home church. Not only was it the church I was raised in and met Jesus in, but it is also the church where my parents and two of my aunts got married. I think I would be willing to bend on almost anything to make sure my I am wed to the the man God has to me in the church that has so much history in my family.

    I also want to honor my mom at my wedding. I lost my mom 13 years ago and although she won’t physically get to be at my wedding, I want her to be a part of it. I want to have pictures from her and my dad’s wedding, I want to have a picture of her sitting next to my dad in the front. I want everyone there to know how important she is to me.

    If I can make these two things happen, I’m sure that everything else will fall into place. I want people to know that me and my husband love each other, our families, and God.

    I don’t want all the fuss or craziness. At least thats what I say now, as (hopefully not forever) single girl.

  18. My husband and I married on July 2, 2016 (almost 1 year ago!) Our wedding was very traditional and I wanted it to be full of beauty. But most of all I wanted it to be full of the gospel. Because of a tight budget we did not have dancing and we did an afternoon brunch. It was beautiful and exactly what we wanted. To be honest, sometimes I still feel self-conscious about the fact that we didn’t have dancing. I worry occasionally that maybe our guests didn’t feel cared for, or it seemed cheap. But it was beautiful and totally us. I keep trying to remember that.

  19. I love weddings. I love watching people love each other and commit their lives to each other forever. I got married August 27, 2016. At first my husband and I talked about going to Colorado and getting married, just the two of us. But that’s not how it ended up. We ended up having a traditional church wedding with around 200 people attending and a reception afterwards. I’m glad it ended up that way because I got to share my big day with so many people I love. We paid for the majority of the wedding ourselves, with some help from both sets of parents. I think that people tend to get hung up on really unimportant things when it comes to a wedding, and I tried really hard not to do that. It was stressful and I’m very glad I don’t have to do another one!
    To each their own…whether you want a huge, fancy wedding, a small one, or if you want to elope the most important thing is that you get to spend forever with your best friend. Nothing is better than that.
    Yeah there are some things about my wedding I would change but it turned out more beautiful than I expected. My husband and I had so much fun. That night we went to a hotel and then left for our honeymoon the next morning. It was wonderful.

  20. So being that I am a wedding planner in a tropical destination, Key West, Florida, I see big and small weddings. My biggest piece of advice to people having weddings, whether destination or in your home town, is use your money where it will make the biggest impact FOR YOU! People will always remember the food and the music but all you and your partner have to take home is the memories and the photos. Also be sure to step aside with your spouse and take in the day. It will go by so fast. Over a year or months of planning and in the blink of an eye, it’s last call.

  21. I go back and forth on this. I come from a massive family (my parents are divorced and both remarried); I feel a struggle of having a large event where everyone can be present, versus something more intimate with just my closest friends and family. To add more struggle, my long-term boyfriend is from a large Catholic family and he’s been adamant that his family would not be pleased with a non-Catholic wedding.

    While the Instagram-worthy details are beautiful, I don’t remember the centerpieces of the last wedding I went to or even if we got favors. Ultimately, I’m of the crowd that things weddings are for the two people–not for everyone else–and you should do what makes you happy.

  22. I’ve been working in the wedding industry for about a year now as a day-of coordinator, and while the weddings are always beautiful, the bride and groom always seem so stressed out on the day of with all of the little details and everything! The venue I work for actually requires them to designate a day-of point person (normally a mother or maid of honor) to answer any questions or address any issues on the big day so that vendors aren’t bombarding the couple with questions. Even then though, it always makes me sad when the newlywed couple is inevitably stressed.

    Working in the industry has actually made me want to skip the wedding altogether and put that money towards a fabulous honeymoon!

  23. i love weddings- not because of the 3 tier cakes or the thousands of flowers or the perfectly matching bridesmaids dresses- i love weddings, because two people found each other, and they are ready to stay forever.

  24. Weddings are great! I could flip through wedding magazines all day and scroll through pinterest, drooling over stunning wedding dresses. I always thought I’d do a small wedding. My sister had a wedding that she planned for two years. I helped where I could and listened when I could. Just that alone was stressful. Life is too short to worry over little things like favors and who to invite without causing a drama storm.

    So when my turn came, after a lot of back and forth, I let my husband talk me into total elopement with a fabulous honeymoon! We eloped by a waterfall in Costa Rica and finished out our time there on our honeymoon. It was perfect. A marriage is about two people and it was just us, filled to the brim with happiness. Don’t worry. I still wore a white dress.

    Not to mention I just couldn’t imagine spending that much money on ourselves for one day when what I really wanted was to own a house, which we now do and wouldn’t have just yet if we spent way more on our wedding than we had, and to travel, which we will do more of one day soon once we get our feet on the ground.

  25. Elopement has crossed my mine in marriage. I really just want simple. I’ve always thought the perfect wedding for me would be my mate and I in a tiny building with our parents, hopefully grandparents, and a friend or two. I want to be able to touch every single one of them and laugh with them and cry with them. I want to be able to leave a simple dress to be draped in pajamas as the reception in a little brunch place with the few people that really truly matter. I want to not be overwhelmed by expectation but just sit in vulnerability since the idea of a massive outpouring of love seems quite overwhelming and extremely scaring to me, but I hope to be around the people that treasure that fragile heart of mine and keeping loving it to more and more pieces. That’s my idea of the start of another book. However, I guess all this is a long time coming….or maybe it’s not. Maybe I really won’t know the best way to celebrate love until I really fall in love.

  26. Just celebrated our 50th. Men 50 years ago had little input into the ceremony and it’s surroundings. Since then two questions are interesting to raise for Christians: Who was the only man in the Bible to “fall in love” and to say to a woman: “I love you.” 2nd, What Biblical example of a wedding did you, would you follow? What Biblical principles of economy and awareness of the needs of others should a ceremony reflect?

  27. Hannah,

    I really enjoyed reading your article about “What Do You Thing About Weddings?” As a photographer most of the time I am behind the lense and have a unique perspective on what occurs at these celebrations, but in 88 days I will be the one in front of the lense as I get married.

    I would agree with you based upon all the weddings I have photographed that too often Pinterest, and other more elaborate ideas take over and it seems like it is less about the joining of two people and more about how grandiose can they make the day and is it bigger and better than “Mary Smith’s” wedding was.

    As a woman who is remarrying for a second time, and who has children at University, who has to deal with the day to day issues with bills and what not I made the decision that while yes it would be fun to do some of the things I never had before (married with a JP the first time) the financial crunch and the need to celebrate our heritage became much more important than wedding favors, a big fancy wedding gown, and the make-up artist.

    Thank you for bring it back into perspective that it is ok to have a small intimate occasion in the backyard and to enjoy each other and the people who come to celebrate with us.

  28. I love weddings. I helped a photographer during my senior year of university & cried at every one of them. (Well except one… No need to explain that mess). The holiness and beauty of the covenant of marriage leaves me awestruck.

    Every year of university my idea of the “perfect wedding” has changed. There was a time I wanted BIG and DIY. There was another time I wanted to elope. But none of these had a man or the gospel attached.

    Fast forward to now. I live in Scotland and am missing many of my best friends weddings. I’m missing that “always a bridesmaid never a bride” chunk. And i’m so grateful. It’s hard to not be a part of their day, but I’m in a place where I have to remind myself the gospel is worth it. I’m learning more about the Bride of Christ and how He pursues us.

    I’ve met a guy that I finally care more about my marriage than I will our wedding. But my deepest desire is for our wedding to be a perfect picture of our marriage, and that’s the gospel.

    I want my wedding day to be beautiful, because God gives people the gifts and abilities to create beautiful things to glorify God. Even in the beauty, I want it all about Jesus. That’s my deepest desire. And exactly what i’m praying for, even today.

  29. I’ve been on various sides of this coin over the last 12+ years. In 2005, I was in a relationship that I wanted to be The One more than it actually was, and pressured myself into marrying the wrong guy. I thought over and over, “This man is the best I will ever see,” and talked myself into settling. That marriage would change him. I once saw a quote that fit this so perfectly – “When you’re wearing rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.” Over a decade of abuse of control and heartache followed before I escaped with my children.

    Our wedding had gathered 120 family and friends – and honestly, I barely speak to 99% of those people any more. My mom took it upon herself to plan virtually my entire wedding; she would announce that my decorating budget was gone, for instance, because she’d wandered into a store and purchased everything she wanted. There was little to no joy in the planning. Ruinous marriage aside, the day itself was not mine, and I have a number of regrets regarding how it was handled. We had chosen a “build your own pasta” meal with several stations and personal chefs. It was delicious, but took ages, and many guests had to wait a long time. I listened to my husband-to-be’s wishes when he said, “I hate dancing,” and did not hire a band or DJ, so guests had nothing to do. Many of my guests left as soon as dinner was done. There were a few beautiful elements, but I did not get to enjoy any of them because of the entire planning process.

    I have been a wedding photographer for 9 years now, and seen many beautiful weddings, from 6-figure events that deserve their own TV show, to quiet backyard or beachside elopements with the couple, officiant, and two guests. I have seen couples who clearly cared more about the big day than their marriage, people I was positive would be breaking up soon. And I’ve seen couples so thoroughly in love that I wept behind my camera, and my heart ached desperately to have that kind of love. Weddings were hard, during the worst parts of my marriage, but after a while, the bitterness turned to hope, and helped me realize that I did not to suffer through divorce, and that maybe there is a redemption story out there for me that could include a real love.

    Now, I’m thoroughly single, but I know what kind of wedding I want (with groom’s input, of course). I don’t need a big event. I want something small. A nice dress, a handsome tux, my kids, an officiant, and a wonderful photographer – preferably at a vineyard. 😉 Then off to a lovely honeymoon sans kids, and a casual backyard BBQ type celebration for friends and family later. But the biggest thing for me is knowing that I want a real love, a real marriage built on love and equality, and I won’t settle ever again. I won’t ever put myself second to a man, or stand for abuse. I believe and hope for that in my future, for a redemption story for my kids and I. Would I love a big, beautiful wedding? Yes, of course. But I’d rather have a big, beautiful marriage.

  30. I am getting married September 1st. We have chosen to forego a few traditions (like the cake) and keep things as simple and low cost as possible. Our focus is the dance and party, with buffet style dinner. I splurged on a few items like my dress 🙂

    Total price tag estimated around $10,000. Could of done it for cheaper but we had the savings and some support from my in-laws. Have lots of friends who elopes or just did civil ceremony and have no regrets. Lots of people doing stand up receptions, potlucks.

    My opinion is guests don’t really cares about centrepieces. They just want to part of your day and won’t remember the details anyways.

  31. My Ex and I did our wedding for around 5K which seemed like a lot at the time. It was perfect for us and who we are. I think the wedding of your dreams slogan differs greatly from person to person. We are not big frills and lavish lifestyle type people so we did it in the rose gardens in front of a water fountain where she and I used to walk when we were dating. It was perfect for us. I loved every moment of the day. I think that will be remembered as much as a really expensive wedding would have been, however there were moments where we did look at each other and said “Maybe we should have just eloped!”

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