Post # 1
We are planning to have a very small wedding. Just our parents, step parents, brothers, and 3 friends each. Our plan was to do a fancy dinner party type reception and spend a weekend in the White Mountains of New Husband with our families just having a mini vacation together. We have good relationships with our family and definitely want them involved in the day. I’m also the only girl so I feel like that makes it so much more important to my parents that they be involved, so elopement is out of the question.
The more I think about it, the more I just don’t really feel like saying our vows in front of an audience? We’re pretty private people who have lived 3,000 miles from our family for the majority of our relationship. It almost feels like having less people there makes us even more exposed. It just seems weird to me to be telling my husband about my undying love for him and using private jokes in front of my mom and dad. Did anyone else ever feel like that or am I just being shy/crazy?
Has anyone ever done a private ceremony but still had a reception, flowers, a dress, etc? I think my biggest concern is not giving my dad the chance to walk me down the isle. I was thinking maybe we could all have brunch and then get ready together, and my dad could walk me to meet my fiancé and then him and I could go off together and get married? Any ideas on some kind of entertainment we could arrange for the family while we’re off together? Can the photographer be our witness?
Post # 2
I’m sorry, even if it would work logistically, I don’t think it would accomplish your goal of not hurting your immediate family’s feelings. There is no polite way to ask them to attend, especially a destination wedding, and miss the ceremony itself.
Post # 3
I totally understand how you’re feeling.
We were planning on an elopement somewhere overseas and then a party when we got back, for this same rwason. But we soon realised that it was going to get really expensive!
We ended up finding a place called ‘elope with twist’. They organise everything (celebrant, venue, decorations, bouquet, cake, after party etc.) and we just show up and get married. It will be a very low key casual ceremony and then a reception/after party.
I love your idea of going off to do the ceremony on your own. I’m a bit of an introvert and have anxiety. To be honest, the ceremony part and having everyone looking at me makes me very anxious and uncomfortable. I’m dealing with it by making sure we only invite people we really want there and remembering that all those people will be there because they really love and care about us.
I think if you explain how you’re feeling and why you want to do it on your own, people will understand. I’m sure the photographer can be your witness.
As for what everone else does while you’re having the ceremony, are there any activites/tours in the area that they could do? I’m from Australia, so never heard of the White Mountains.
Our wedding is in a wine region about 1.5 hours from where we live. A lot of people are making a weekend of it, so we’re thinking of organising a wine tour for people who are interested. We’re also really into board games so we’re having some at the reception and giant lawn games. So people can play/mingle while we have photos between the ceremony and reception.
Post # 4
“It just seems weird to me to be telling my husband about my undying love for him and using private jokes in front of my mom and dad” .
This is not typically what you do in a marriage ceremony . It’s what you do on your wedding night perhaps . Your ceremony can be in a short , dignified , traditionally-worded form.
Post # 5
It sounds like you’re planning very lovely, personalized vows. Is there any way it would work for you to say those vows at a different time of that day? Maybe sneak away for a first look picture and do it then? Then you could use more standardized vow language during the ceremony attended by your guests. You’d still get your private moment but everyone else would also feel included.
Post # 6
mapmaker : ooh I love the idea of a some kind of wine related event (one side of the family is Irish and the other is Italian so we’re big drinkers) but sadly it’s too cold for vineyards where we live. I wonder if we could have some kind of educational tasting party though, just as a weekend activity.
I guess part of me feels like it’s really awkward to arrange an event they “have” to participate in, and that hanging out in the area doing their own thing might be more fun for them. Even if we do have everyone come to our ceremony there will still be a lag time where we take pictures which is kind of awkward with such a small group. It’ll be too cold out for outdoor activities, but maybe we can have board games set up by the fireplace indoors with refreshments.
elderbee : Thats true. I think what’s really setting my anxiety off is that my fiancé wants us to write our own vows. Maybe we can have traditional vows at the ceremony and then give our more personal ones just-the-two-of-us at another time.
Post # 7
ellenoir : maybe you could do a whiskey tasting for the Irish side and wine for the italians?
I also really like elderbees suggestion, and that’s probably what we’ll go for. Use the standard wording and keep it short and simple for the ceremony in front of people and then maybe have a private moment where we say our own written vows to each other or I’m thinking of hand writing a love letter to give him on the day.
I love the idea of personal vows, but like you, I’m uncomfortable with sharing those private parts of our relationship in front of others.
Post # 8
ellenoir : I know some people do personal vows to each other at the first look or some other just you and him time and then do traditional vows during the actual ceremony. If it’s too weird for you to say the things you like to say to him in front of people, then that’s a good option. But I agree with others who have said having your parents fly out for a wedding but not letting them see the actual ceremony is likely not going to be any less painful to them than just eloping outright.
My friend did basically the small ceremony you’re talking about- both sets of parents, each of their brothers, me and my husband. She was also weirded out by the idea of walking down an aisle with a bunch of people staring at her and making a super important, private commitment in front of a lot of people. However, just that small number was ok with her.
I did want to say (which I say to everyone who plans a small ceremony/elopement and then a reception at some other time)- she did find that people didn’t treat her reception the way they seem to treat other more traditional weddings. They seemed to treat it with the same importance as some random party. She had a LOT of no-shows (like maybe 25%?) and virtually no one brought gifts. I got the impression they didn’t feel it was really a wedding since they didn’t get to see the ceremony. It’s a perfectly fine way to celebrate and if it works for you I say go for it- but just keep in mind that others may not “get” it or may not respond the way you’d expect.
Post # 9
Second the idea of short and traditionally worded vows. Our celebrant has asked us for some funny stories and things we love about each other so she can include it in the ceremony, and I said no thanks, an impersonal ceremony is fine.
Post # 10
Just to be clear, the wedding is only about an hour from our parents. It’s us who will be traveling for the wedding.
MexiPino : I do worry a little about people not treating the reception with importance, but I think the people we’re inviting will. We had originally talked about having a bonfire a few months later with our friends to celebrate and doing a much lower key dinner with our parents after the ceremony, but I wanted to get an entire wedding day that felt special. Not a bunch of sorta wedding days that never really live up.