We just wanted all of our loved ones, a place to dance, and an open bar.
The second you say the word wedding, what should be a wonderful celebration comes crashing down around your feet in a flurry of multi-thousand-dollar estimates, tangled branches of the family tree, and a never-ending list of logistics. I never even knew what Chiavari chairs were!
The wedding world is in a different universe, and as much as you might envision that magical day, I do not believe any amount of pre-planning prepares you for when you dive into it.
Wedding Planning—and How Avoid Getting Overwhelmed!
I remember the evening when we finally took a step back and zoomed out. It was already months into the process—uplighting, gourmet popcorn, ghost chairs and DJ add-ons were flooding my waking hours and waking me up in my sleep.
So, we stepped back and said, “What is the point of all this?”
The point is to genuinely connect, to be with our people, and to share love. Chiavari chairs and uplight are not involved in that.
Microwedding Is a Possibility
Once we decided on a “microwedding,” a small ceremony with just our direct family (siblings and parents), the stress of the rest fell away. No huge DJ bills, no drink minimums, no passed appetizers.
This is not to say there were no expenses or no stress. We cared about crafting a genuine experience for everyone involved, and that includes a certain amount of planning, logistics, and emotional investment. We did pay for our venue, but just $450. We got a dinner reservation. We rented a white Tesla X. And we nixed a hotel for the week in favor of staying in a friend’s guest room.
This is not a one-size-fits all solution! Not everybody wants to sleep in a friend’s townhouse on their wedding week. More and more, though, millennials especially are opting to ditch the stress in favorite of smaller, more intimate ceremonies, where you actually get to spend face time with your people, rather than passing them in a buffet line.
Our microwedding plan was just the beginning though. After the planning dust settled and we solidified our tiny wedding plan, I realized something else.
The wedding is supposed to be all about you, the couple, and it is. You can ultimately decide how you pledge yourselves to each other. The union, however, extends beyond the couple to the family and their spheres.
Here is where the question arises: Can you have a tiny wedding and still make your people happy?
Yes, people were happy for us doing what we want and being true to our genuine selves. But, what about the people who helped raise us and won’t see us say “I do?” There are feelings.
I do not have the perfect solution. The best I have come up with is that in the perfect world, no one would get their feelings hurt. In the real world, it’s important to honor everyone’s feelings, including your own.
Related reading: "The Way to Prepare for Marriage Is to Savor the Engagement."
For our family’s part, both sides decided to throw us a celebratory party. In a way, it’s the reverse of a “standard” wedding. Instead of them traveling to see us marry, we will fly to them and come to their wedding party. It’s no reception, but it is what we love—a good party with our people. For our part, we eliminated the reception, the wedding invites and the fancy chairs in favor of a four-day experience in Seattle with our direct family. A tiny ceremony, a nice dinner, a boat ride and brunch, a picnic together with plenty of time to talk and relax and enjoy. That is our celebration.
Turns out, it may not be possible to plan a microwedding and keep everyone happy. But that is less about the microwedding and more about the fact that you can never please everyone.
In a wedding situation, as in anything, it comes down to being mindful of both your own needs and wants and those of the people you encounter. You zoom out and look at the big picture. You remind yourselves and others of what a wedding is really about. It comes down to what is genuine—no matter the size.
Related Topic: "Before Wedding Planning, Get Clear About Your Priorities"
For help with setting your wedding goals and making your wedding engagement more meaningful, or to build healthy relationships, check out our Drama-Free Marriage resources.