When my partner and I decided to have a wedding, we also decided that we were going to do it our way—or that it wasn’t worth doing. This is a pretty selfish stance to take. But we are both blessed with parents who have very few expectations re: weddings and we wanted the process to be fun. Not stressful. Which for us meant opting for a very, very small ceremony.
Don’t get me wrong—we still wanted an opportunity to hang with our extended family and friends. But the actual getting married part we wanted to just share with a few people. Mostly because the thought of saying nice, sincere things to each other in front of an audience was a terrifying prospect. But also because getting married is an intimate event, as we preferred to keep the occasion intimate, too. So we’ll be saying “I do” in front of 20 people, followed by a dinner where we’ll all sit at the same table. And we’re really happy about that fact.
As for the hanging out party I mentioned earlier? We’re throwing a party the following evening for that extended group of people. There will be snacks and kegs and music and we’re hoping that everyone has a good time. A rowdy time. A time that isn’t necessarily marked by sentiment, but is rather marked by high energy and a feeling of celebration. Whereas our dinner will be celebratory, sincere and probably end at a reasonable hour, we hope our party will be celebratory, high energy and that it will probably end with several people swimming in the pool in the wee hours of the morning.
It has of course, brought up some feelings. Quite a few of our close friends will not be at this ceremony. Family members coming in from out of town are also not invited to our intimate dinner. And family members that we see quite often are similarly excused. I’m sure people have feelings about this that they haven’t mentioned to me, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a bit of guilt about the fact that we’ve excluded some people who genuinely want to be there. But the guilt doesn’t outweigh what we want for our day.
While at first I thought this set-up was relatively new (did I start two-part weddings?), I’ve actually chatted with quite a few people who have done something similar (answer: no). And hearing them talk about how much they enjoyed their own weddings in two parts has only confirmed what I already felt: that this is the right move for us.
So. Family, friends, extended circle of loved ones—you can’t come to my wedding. But I hope to see you celebrating at our kegger. Laughing, dancing, singing, eating, drinking—and swimming in the wee hours of the morning if you like.
The Wedding Planner is an ongoing series where we give you some real-life wedding planning advice for every kind of bride, from finding the dress to dealing with that ever-growing guest list, as we figure it out ourselves.