Yes, we made some mistakes when it came to planning our wedding. But we also made some really good decisions. You’ve heard the bad, now it’s time for the good (and the ugly? We’ll save that for later).
Having a small wedding
Getting married is really fucking overwhelming. I’m a massive extrovert and am incredibly comfortable being the centre of attention, and I still felt swamped during the process. We had 25 people at our wedding, and those people were some of our nearest and dearest. None of them required us to put on a show and we could be utterly ourselves during the day. We were able to spend time with every one of them, and I can’t imagine that being the case with a guest list over 100 long. Not to say that a big wedding is bad – it just wouldn’t have been right for us.
It was also lovely to have the same people at the ceremony and dinner. There was a cohesion to the day, and with a lot of people staying on the island the night before everyone had bonded together. There’s nothing better than seeing people from different areas of your life coming together and getting along well. Sometimes a little too well if you ask me…
Doing it all on an island
One of the things that surprised me most about getting married was how many people wanted to invite themselves along. We even had someone ask us when the ceremony would be because they wanted to come and watch it. And you can’t get mad – because people behave like that out of love It’s wonderful when others want to share in your day. But it’s much easier to avoid offending people when you’re getting hitched on an island!
Keeping everything casual
Mikey and I are both extremely laid back people – some would argue too laid back at times. We’re not particularly ones for structure and are far happier going with the flow than a regimented routine. This philosophy informed our choices about the wedding. We weren’t too fussed about what our bridal party wore, so long as they were happy. It didn’t really matter if things didn’t run to plan, provided we were having a good time. I wasn’t going to critique how our friends decorated out table because I was more interested in saying thank you for the help.
Not sweating the small stuff saved us so much stress and heartache.
Having a First Look
I don’t know where I first read about having a ‘first look’ (tbh, probably pinterest) but I’m so glad we had one. Not being ones for tradition we’d spent the previous night and the morning together anyway, so had already triggered the ‘bad luck’ card if such a thing exists. If you follow the rule of not seeing one another then you lose so much time together on a day that is supposed to be about the two of you. It gave us a moment that was just for the two of us, and allowed us to enjoy an hour alone. An hour of calm that helped to keep us sane amid the hurricane of our wedding!
It was also great to get an hours worth of photos ‘out of the way’ meaning we had more time after the ceremony to mingle. And also – photos before the wedding tears ruined my makeup was a bonus. Even though I definitely cried anyway.
Asking my Mum to make the wedding cake
Because – look at what she created, and knowing she’s created it for us was even better. I swear you could taste the love.
We weren’t going to have a cake at all (we planned to have wheels of cheese until we saw the cost of it, eesh) but changed our minds so we could use a knife that had cut cakes at the weddings of Mikey’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. I asked Mum to make us a simple ‘naked cake’ for the sole purpose of cutting. She made us this:
Doing our own flowers
Do you know how freakin’ expensive flowers are? At one point I got quotes purely for my bouquet and almost fainted in shock – $200 or more! If you can afford to hire a florist then, by all means, go for it, but we did not have the budget. Instead we visited a wholesalers, chatted to the staff and ordered in flowers to collect the day before. $400 got us enough for 4 bouquets, 4 button holes and a hell of a lot of jars on the tables. It was then a team effort to assemble everything with wire and pins and god knows what else. We couldn’t justify spending crazy money on something you essentially hold for 3 minutes then use in photos. And they still looked pretty!
Letting everyone make a speech
So I’m not sure what the bullshit is about women not speaking at weddings, but I sure as hell wasn’t following that convention. We asked all parents and ‘best people’ to give a speech and decided to make one each too. I can’t imagine my Mum and my best friend not giving speeches at our wedding just because…they have vaginas? With seven speeches in total (Mikey’s mum is not a fan of public speaking) we staggered then out between courses at dinner. It was a lovely way to hear from everyone and a nice way to break up a long meal too.
Writing our own vows – and ceremony
As someone who likes to write (duh) I assumed that my vows would come naturally to me. In fact, I found quite the opposite. How on earth are you supposed to compress all of your feelings, promises and hopes for your future together in one neat little speech? As it turns out, by working really, really hard.
Ditto our ceremony. It would have been way easier to simply go with the template given by our celebrant, but we’re so glad that we took the time and effort to go individual. I probably read thousands of potential wedding readings until I hit upon two that felt right. The hours of research, writing, and editing were worth it and we ended up with something that was perfectly us.
Having a joint stag and hen do
My sister was a little upset when I announced that we quite wanted stag and hen dos without guest lists decided by gender. Many of our friends are just that – our friends – and I’m just as likely to hang out with a guy as Mikey is to go to the pub with a girl. We found a compromise, with separate activities during the day and meeting up in the evening. Getting to celebrate with our friends and one another was not only special but a lot of fun.
Having Guysmaids and Groomschicks
It’s totally fine if your best friends are of the same gender as you. Get matching dresses and go for broke! But for us, that wasn’t the case and it seemed unfair that people we love couldn’t be in our wedding party just because they had different genitals to us (I’m assuming, I didn’t check).
Spending money on a photographer
A few people baulked at the cost of our photographer. But we knew that was one area we were prepared to spend money on. We didn’t want to run the risk of ending up with photos we weren’t happy with, hiring a pro meant that we didn’t have a single worry on that front. For some people getting great photos might not be a priority, but we knew that we’d cherish them for the rest of our lives.
All of the photographs in this post are from Stephanie at Peppermint Lane and we cannot recommend her highly enough.
What do you think – did we make the right call on our wedding decisions?