I think my lovely colleague and I have done our parts to convey the sentiment that every wedding is a good wedding. As long as no one got seriously hurt, no one was arrested or assaulted, and the bride(s) and/or groom(s) were legally wed by the officiant of their choosing, the wedding was a success. Maybe things went a little wrong here and there… the baker never showed so gram had to go down to Publix for six sheet cakes in the pouring rain, but you said your “I dos” and no one went without cake.
Why am I bringing this up for the umpteenth time? Because it comes to my attention every now again that there are plenty of people who think there is a definite right way to get married, and if you’re not getting married the right way, your marriage is doooooooomed. The right way usually involves white dresses, high heels, bridal veils, bridesmaids, groomsmen, big churches, solemnity, being escorted down the aisle by daddy, traditional music, limos, a tiered cake, father-daughter dances, circulated nibbles, an open bar, and at least 100 of your closest relatives and friends, if not a great many more.
The fact is, however, that some brides and grooms don’t want wedding attendants or butlered hors d’oeuvres or a gaggle of attendants or any of the other pomp and circumstance that frequently surrounds the modern wedding. Some couples don’t even particularly want guests other than a handful of witnesses, and where it’s a legal possibility, there are people who choose to have their officiant and a wedding photographer provide for the legal necessities. And sadly, sometimes these brides and grooms feel guilty about wanting small weddings, if a question posted to Metafilter is any indication.
But the question itself isn’t as important as the answers, which in my mind were gorgeous and I wanted to share some of them here for anyone reading who might be feeling a bit odd about not wanting that big wedding pushed by advertisers everywhere.
Mr. Adams and I picked a minister out of the Yellow Pages and were married at our favorite bar/restaurant. We, the minister and our witnesses all sat in a large booth throughout the short ceremony. Afterward we had a very small reception for family and friends at an Italian restaurant nearby whose ad (“Try our banquet facilities!”) I’d read on a placemat. Almost 16 years later every time we see a movie or TV show about weddings and bridesmaids and seating plans and picking out the “right” gown, we both turn to each other and say emphatically “I’m SO glad we didn’t go through that!” – Oriole Adams
It’s 20 years on for us, and no regrets. I’m not a centre of attention type of person at all, anyway (female). I did know one lass who married young in a registry office, and her second wedding was all Gone with the Wind. If I was to take on another man at this stage, I have an even smaller wedding and as before, concentrate on the marriage. – b33j
Got married by a judge at the courthouse with just a couple of friends present as witnesses. No diamond ring, no honeymoon, no party, no nothing. We didn’t even get our wedding bands until a few months later. We had next to no money and neither one of us was interested in a shindig anyway. We just had our five-year anniversary and our marriage keeps getting better and better. We’ve never had a single regret. – feathermeat
My husband and I were married with just our parents as witnesses. We all went out for dinner at a nice restaurant afterwards. That was 17 years ago and we’ve got no regrets that we did it that way. Granted, we had both been living on our own for quite a while when we married, so we had all the “stuff” (food processors, china, towels) that a lot of younger couples count on getting from a big wedding. – rhartong
My husband and I married each other, alone together on a mountain in Colorado — where the law lets you do that. It was only last August, but I haven’t regretted it yet. It’s true that if you don’t throw a wedding, you won’t have wedding memories, but why assume that those memories would be so great? Maybe some bad or disappointing things would happen, including all the effort you put into trying to make sure the memories would turn out good. And all that effort could instead be put into real love and the beautiful details of your normal life together. There are so many memories to be had: Why try to manufacture conventional wedding-type memories, when the best things that happen to you might occur the next time you go for a walk or eat breakfast or go to bed with your husband? Today. – Alizaria
There you have it — small weddings are weddings as much as any other. And doing away with some or all of the trappings of the modern wedding won’t doom you to an eventual divorce. Far from it! I think that maybe those couples who choose small weddings are just so confident in their relationships that a big affair can seem like overkill.