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How to have a non-traditional wedding

I’m getting married in December. I’m getting married but there will be no white dress, no bridal party, no first dance, no giving away and no cutting of cake. Does that all sound a bit negative? If it does, it’s not supposed to.

London Bride1

I always wanted to be married and when I fell in love with R, I knew it for sure. But as we moved in together, bought houses and planned our future, a wedding seemed less and less important. By the time we decided to get married, I was trying to work out how we could take a Friday off work, pop to a registry office then celebrate with pizza and beers without telling our loved ones.

But we couldn’t. My family would kill me – as would some of my friends. Plus, I have absolutely loved watching each of my friends get married in the last few years – welling up during vows, laughing during speeches and rocking the dance floor in to the early hours. Every single wedding I’ve been to has been incredible, so it seemed a bit mean to take that enjoyment away from our nearest and dearest.

But still the question remained: How could we get married and have a wedding without it being a “Wedding”?

London Bride.1

We started as we meant to go on. There was no proposal – I warned him many years ago I couldn’t cope with the cringe if he got down on one knee – so we decided to get married one Friday evening, whilst eating a takeaway curry and drinking wine and talking about life. I couldn’t have asked for anything more ‘us’.

We then spent the next few weeks planning everything. We chose a date, booked venues, tested and ordered food, we booked a photographer, I bought a dress online, tried it on in at home and asked for his opinion, and we made invitations together. At no point did we tell anyone.

We kept it a secret as long as we could. There was no Facebook announcement, there was no ‘engagement’ story, there was just us planning away in secret and it was more fun than I could have imagined. In the end we decided to tell people by sending out invitations and letting the postman/woman break the news. It was so brilliant receiving messages and calls from overexcited friends who had no idea until they saw the invite, and they all reacted in the best way possible. It reminded me that this was the excitement I wanted to share.

Since then, we’ve confidently ruled out every tradition going except for speeches and readings (because I adore speeches and we both love readings) and it was all going pretty well – until recently when I had a small freak-out that our non-traditional wedding will be no fun for anyone. I worried about our informal food, my lack of bouquet throwing and my non-white dress, fearing that people would wonder what we were playing at. It was all feeling a bit scary until we went back to basics and reminded ourselves that actually, whilst we hope everyone enjoys it, this is about us getting married. It’s not about spending £12k we don’t have on chair covers we don’t like and vol-au-vents we don’t want.

London Bride 2

Stylist has published a couple of interesting articles on modern marriage recently, this one on a new generation redefining marriage and this one by Me & Orla blogger on an un-wedding for the unconventional bride. Although I’d love to call all of this unconventional, I’m pretty sure it’s actually fairly run-of-the-mill. For me, a wedding should reflect the happy couple and whether that involves a big white dress and cathedral veil or a pair of jeans and a trilby is entirely up to them. I can’t be alone in that thought.

For us, we just want it to be simple and fun and a true reflection of the things we love. It doesn’t need to be the ‘best day ever’. In fact, I’ve never quite understood why we would put that much pressure on ourselves. I just want three things from it: I want us to be married, I want to be well, and I want us to enjoy spending time with people who love us. If all that happens, I’ll call it a success.

Images in the post are from London Bride (www.london-bride.com)
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25 comments on “How to have a non-traditional wedding

  1. We decided to get married one night, then staged an actual proposal for our families. We served barbecue at the wedding and had less than 20 guests. You do you- your wedding plans sound perfect for you two!

  2. Congratulations to you and R! This is fantastic news. I’m sure your “un-wedding” will be positively glorious. This gives me hope that somebody with a chronic illness (um….Me) really can have the “happily ever after”. No pressure, though! HA!! God bless. 🙂

  3. Before I became disabled, I was a makeup artist for 7 years and did TONS of weddings. I often feel like people lose sight of what the day is really about. When I got married I had just gotten REALLY sick and I quickly lost interest in making the wedding I had in my head pre-lyme and crps. In a way being sick allowed me to focus on what mattered the most: marrying the dude of my dreams and having a grand party with all my favorite people. To me that was one of the most beautiful parts of the wedding…seeing all these people who have been in different parts of my life join together and dance and eat and watch me promise to love another human for all my days. Don’t worry about traditions or any of that…just celebrate your love.Whatever you do it will be beautiful and heartfelt ❤

  4. I love this! I recently got engaged and we did the whole proposal thing (no down on one knee though – cringe!) but neither of us are into spending thousands on a glitzy venue, a big cake or a dress I’ll only wear once. I think it’s really important to you as a couple to choose a day that’s right for you and not feel the pressure to conform, but I do feel lucky that we both have very supportive friends and family in that respect. I’m sure your day will be just perfect!

  5. Your day sounds like it will be absolutely perfect. So many people get caught up in all the details that they forget it’s about getting married, not about a wedding. I was so laid back when it came to my wedding day and just went with the flow of it all— from planning to the day of itself— and loved every minute 🙂 No point in stressing out about things that don’t matter imo.

    • Exactly! Thanks Donna, I’m so looking forward to it – and quite enjoying dismissing some of the wedding ‘hype’ when it’s put in front of me! x

  6. I don’t believe in living together before marriage, but if i were ever to get married again i think my children would fall out with me if i didn’t at least have something nice to wear, a service and even flowers – in fact they would probably plan it and expect me to turn up. But you must do what makes you happy it is your day after all, just don’t regret that you didn’t do such and such at a later time.

  7. Kate Love

    Your wedding sounds wonderful and full of love and joy! We are getting married in September and navigating my very limited spoons alongside our wishes. Yeah, it’s challenging. Love matters most – not the fancy, themed weddings! Best of wishes to you and R.

    • Thanks Kate, and congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful day in September – eeek, that’s soon! Here’s hoping we’re full if extra spoons on the day 😀

      • Kate Love

        Thanks! This weekend I played around exploring weebly and built us a wedding site. It was the most fun I’ve had in this virtual space in a long time. A true labor of love. My favorite part was writing “Our Story”… I used a lots of spoons but my heart fills so full. ❤

      • Aaaw, amazing! I loved going through old photos of us when we did our wedding site. It was great fun! x

  8. I had enough spoons and our wedding was wonderful – uniquely us and full of love, laughter and connection. I even made it through a week long honeymoon with few symptoms/need for extra rest… Didn’t crash till we got home — am so grateful and happy ❤

  9. Pingback: I’ve got chronic pain and a wedding to dance at | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

  10. Pingback: The good in 2016 | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

  11. Lovely read! I’ve just done a blog post about big wedding vs eloping, your blog has made me feel more calm about maybe going and eloping! thank you x

    • Ooh exciting! I’ll go and check it out. I would have definitely eloped (and part of me still wishes we had) but there was something lovely about being surrounded by our favourites all day. Good luck with the decision! x

      • Would you, that’s what I’m getting from a lot of people, more people say they wish they had a smaller wedding than a bigger one. thank you x

      • I just read your post, and I guess it depends on your own approach but my wedding wasn’t at all stressful, I didn’t get up til 10am on the day, I didn’t wear white, it was low key and yet I still had all my friends and family there. I don’t think your only two options are ‘elope’ or ‘mega-stress’, you can still have a wedding here without it being crazy intense and expensive. We started by thinking, if no one else mattered what would our ideal wedding look like? And that’s what we made!

      • thank you! we have a lot to consider ha

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