Post # 1
Wondering what people think, has anyone ever done this? I am considering after rescheduling multiple times (Pandemic related) and having invited extended family and friends who have to fly in from other countries where they haven’t been able to get as easily vaccinated or are uneasy flying…as well as experiencing sticker shock of costs of a wedding and also personally getting way too focused on the party and decor aspect instead of focusing on what matters, my marriage ( I am in NO WAY saying all brides do this who have big weddings, it’s just something I realized I started doing, it’s my own baggage!). I love to dance and I think the main thing that is making me hesitate is not being able to dance and cut a rug at my own wedding. Also, both of our immediate families have some STRONG personalities and I’m worried doing an intimate wedding with just immediate families may be a bit intense…
I saw a New York Times article (pre pandemic 2019) where a couple had a wedding ceremony and reception with their immediate family at their childhood home and then had after the ceremony, for the next six months, a “Deconstructed Reception” where they had intimate gatherings / “mini-receptions” for extended family and small groups of friends. The couple getting married footed the bill for each small dinner party reception.
They did a dozen mini receptions as dinner parties and chose different locations and restaurants to hold each a private dinner party (8 in NYC where they live, 2 in Los Angeles where one groom is from, one in San Francisco where they have a lot of friends, and one in Tel Aviv where they had their honeymoon and have friends). This caused no one to have to travel to their wedding, they chose out of town dinners to coincide with work trips and family events that they already had to go to. Their friends and extended family got to choose which date and city and meal they wanted to attend. Each dinner in NYC had a max of ten guests, each out of town dinner had a max of 20 guests. Itinerary was as follows:
Mingling and Champagne
Seating, welcoming all, introducing everyone to each other,
Acknowledging how each person has contributed to them in their life
Place photos from wedding weekend and walk guests through ceremony and parent’s marriage advice
Read excerpt from ceremony, sharing philosophy of marriage.
Lastly, asked guests to add their blessing/ an excerpt to a book they bring to each dinner as well as to the original ceremony with immediate family
- Cheaper, you don’t have to pay for decor or flowers, seats, tableware, etc. you don’t get a “wedding” price tag, you can choose how expensive or cheap each restaurant is
- Intimate, you get to have long talks over dinner with, essentially, a table at a time instead of rushing over to each table in one night
- Fun, instead of choosing one type of food, one restaurant, one theme, one outfit, you could choose many different ones, depending on how you theme each dinner if you choose
- Time, instead of feeling like the night is over before you know it, you get to re-live that wedding moment
- Guest Consideration, guests spend essentially no money, they don’t have to travel, they don’t have to buy an outfit (unless they want to lol), they don’t have to pay for a hotel room, guests get to meet in a way that they wouldn’t typically have, around an intimate dinner party
- COVID, these can be done outside and are safer limiting the amount of guests, etc
- Drama, if certain extended family don’t get along, this is an easy way to not make it personal and have them come to different mini dinner party receptions
- Planning Craze, if you’re someone who gets overwhelmed with the big wedding planning or find that you’re starting to get upset about the little things of what looks good with what instead of focusing on the big picture, marrying your best friend, a small intimate ceremony and many small dinner parties at restaurants may be much easier and relaxing.
- Weekend, you can make the wedding weekend have a lot more events because there are fewer people, and it could be cheaper, you could also have a destination wedding!
- Witness, Your friends and extended family don’t get to witness your big day in person, they don’t get those intimate moments in person,
- Together, there is something special about having all of your loved ones in one room at one moment. Your immediate family may not get to meet people you’ve always wanted them to meet.
- Family, maybe your immediate family is a little difficult and the only thing that will keep you sane on your wedding day is having your friends and extended family there as buffers…
- Party, there is something so fun about dancing and partying with a big group, it is so fun to plan a blowout reception, it’s the event you’ve planned since you were small and you have a certain image or concept of how you want it to be!
- Alternative, depending on how traditional you are this could be a good or bad thing, but this deconstructed reception is different and people might think it’s weird or strange.
- Gifts, you may get gifts or you may not but people will not feel as obligated to do so.
Post # 2
I did consider this briefly. It seems like a lot more work than you’d expect. Having looked into the microwedding route, it’s harder to find venues for smaller parties. And some expenses would be redundant. I think this would actually end up being more expensive. You’re essentially throwing multiple microweddings. However, your guests might not be as excited to attend or make it a priority because it’s not the actual wedding, or even anything resembling a vow renewal. It’s a small dinner party showing off photos of an event they didn’t get to attend
After my husband and I got married in a teeny covid ceremony, our priorities shifted. We put our energy into finding a new home. Now that we have a house, it’s a lot of work. I can’t imagine constantly traveling and throwing parties for a 6 month period.
If dancing is what you care about, I’d have a moderately sized wedding at a blank slate venue. Have the ceremony in a public space. Use a DJ. Use nonfloral decor. There are lots of ways to cut costs
Post # 3
As a guest I would probably appreciate this. I live very far away from my family and I can’t just go to every wedding that comes around because I have work and other obligations. It would be nice to know that there was just one little reception in the summertime I could attend even if the wedding was a month I couldn’t possibly manage. As a bride there is no way I’d consider it though, it sounds like way too much of a hassle and I doubt it runs cheaper in the end. Definitely not cheaper than my own wedding since that was very low key.
Post # 4
Pre-COVID, I had a small wedding with immediate family and a few very close friends (courthouse ceremony + restaurant lunch reception), and I was 100% satisfied with that (i.e., I didn’t feel the need to have extra parties/celebrations), so I am clearly not the target audience for something like what you are suggesting.
But trying to look at it objectively, I still think your “deconstucted wedding” sounds like so much more effort, expense, time, and stress compared to just really dialing things back to the essence what you and your future spouse want and just doing that. There are so many ways to cut back, personalize, and minimize the planning hassles a ceremony and reception to consider before deciding to plan a large amount of small parties. But it seems like you are caught up in the “it has to be a large white wedding or nothing at all” fallacy.
Start at the beginning and have a deep, honest conversation about what you two want, making sure to leave out the wants/opinions/demands of anyone who isn’t you two. Then build your plan based on that and nothing else. Good luck!
Post # 5
This sounds like a whole lot of extra effort and at least the same amount of money as a more traditional wedding/reception. I would absolutely not want to spread my own wedding celebration out over 6ish months. I can only imagine that by event number 4 or 5 I would just be over it.
Likewise, as a guest who was aware that I was in the bottom rung of parties to celebrate someone’s wedding I suspect I would feel like I was getting crumbs. It’d be a no from me.
Post # 6
When we had to cancel our wedding celebration last year due to Covid we considered a lot of ideas. We ended up getting married with just the most minimal number of people for it to be legal and sharing a meal with them. Once that was done the desire to create another event or other events slowly disappeared.
Do you have the time to travel all over the country/world to make this work? If you get part-way through and can’t finish will some people be offended? As a guest I’d much rather attend a small celebration respecting Covid safety; I wouldn’t attend an indoor reception right now for anyone other than one of my children (and I hope they are smarter than that).
Post # 7
I think this sounds super fun as a guest! But as a bride, I think having to plan so many events would just really stress me out. There’s no wrong answer, so you should definitely do what makes the most sense for you and your partner, but for me personally, I think trying to host so many “mini-events” over such a long stretch of time would just feel like an exhausting marathon.
Post # 8
This all sounds ridiculous to me. A lot of aggravating work for the couple, and a weird vibe for the guests.
Groundhog Day Wedding.
Post # 9
For my first marriage, we had a Destination Wedding with reception with just immediate family and close friend. Then we had parties in our current city, my hometown and his hometown. They weren’t small like you are describing, but planning all of those events was tiring, expensive and stressful.
I eloped the second time 😑
Post # 10
IMO, absolutely not, although obviously this is your decision.
If I ever got married, I would have one wedding. One ceremony with one reception. Period. I would make the very best effort possible to have everyone important to me in attendance on that day, and if necessary would have it in a location that facilitated those guests coming to my wedding. I realize you’re in a tough situation with a lot of international travel (which would be an issue even without a pandemic), but I still consider second receptions to be just celebrations of marriage and I am not a fan of them. If someone can’t attend my wedding, I’d get together with them later. It sounds to me like this is a series of celebrations of marriage.
Post # 11
I think it sounds fun and I’d do it if I could afford it. My wedding was intimate and I loved it.
Post # 12
- Wedding: April 2017 - City, State
It does seem like a lot of extra time, effort, and money to do all of this. I would enjoy it as a guest though as I hate flying.
Post # 13
Contrary to what some are telling you, an intimate ceremony with a delayed reception or smaller delayed receptions is and always has been considered perfectly appropriate. Sure, the sky is always the limit, but I totally disagree you couldn’t do it a lot less expensively than a traditional wedding.
Just keep in mind that even though you’re not asking others to fly, you’ll be flying all over and attending multiple events, perhaps indoors or no masks with people from multiple households. Your guests may remain uncomfortable with some or all of that. I wouid be in your place or theirs. Having everyone test, including yourself, ahead of each event, staying outdoors, and requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated would help.
I’d personally just Zoom the ceremony if things are the way they are right now.
Post # 14
I agree with you completely here.
Post # 15
I think this sounds like something you might enjoy, and to me that’s all that matters! We liked the big party with everyone (though we kept it quite cheap!) but you make great points about the day passing fast, having limited time with each guest, getting stressed out by planning, etc. The day definitely went by fast for us. I personally love small intimate events as well.
As a guest, I am happy to celebrate my loved ones’ marriages (and other life events) in mostly any way they choose! If my friend said “hey we’re celebrating two months later at Old Chicago” I’d be so down. So if this is something you guys think you would enjoy, go for it!!!