Today is M and my one year wedding anniversary. CRAZY. When we first started planning our wedding, we decided to go the traditional route: formal ceremony, sit down dinner, night of dancing. As quotes came in, our costs quickly escalated and I came to the realization that with just the basics we were quickly approaching $50,000. I had a number of breakdowns; the last of which was after visiting with the florists. I picked three to get quotes from, each was highly recommended. I explained what I was looking for (simple bouquets with seasonal flowers and maybe a touch of rosemary or other hardy ingredient to pay homage to our love of cooking together.) Vendors asked what my budget was and I supplied a firm budget of $3000. Not a single one of those vendors respected that budget. One went as far as to DOUBLE the budget. $6000 for something that is going to last a few hours? No thank you. I melted down. This wasn’t the “happy times” of wedding planning either of us had imagined. It was tears, frustration, stress, and anger.
One night, M came home to me with a large glass of wine in my hands bawling my eyes out. I told him that this wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t need the formal ceremony, or the Chavari chairs, or flowers for a few hours of time. At the end of the day, I wanted to be married to him, and celebrate with those who are most important to us. We seriously considered eloping to Italy. So seriously, that I know what the marriage licensing process is and spoke to several wedding planners in the country. As we thought about Italy, we thought about those who wouldn’t be able to go because of money, family, work, health. We still wanted to celebrate with them, so we started looking at getting married in Italy and then having a party back home. Our costs again were quickly adding up. We had a big “what is most important to us” talk. At the end of the day, our answers were: to get married, to celebrate with those we love, and to have a kick @ss party. Not what everyone imagines when they think wedding, but for us, it was perfect.
Our wedding, while non-traditional for most, was the most amazing night of our lives. We laughed and danced with friends. We celebrated with family. We got married. Everyone says how exhausted they are after the wedding. We were on such a high from the amazing night we had, we stayed up until 4 am recounting our favorite memories of the evening.
It wasn’t always easy explaining why we weren’t having rows of chairs for guests to sit in during our 20 minute ceremony. Or why we weren’t serving a full dinner and just having a display of appetizers. Or why it was on a Sunday. In the end, we made those choices because we wanted a party that felt like something we would throw for our friends. And that’s exactly what it was.
(Oh, and about the no chairs thing: one of my favorite memories is walking out with my dad, down an aisle lined with friends and family and then seeing my friends and family gather behind us once I arrived up with M.)
Here are the fabulous vendors we used who made our night that much more special:
Dress: Ella Rosa from Ellie’s Bridal
Alterations: Fashion Dream
Hair and Make-Up: Erin Roberts
Invitations: Designed by me, printed by Mosaic
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Sonoma Wine Bar
Photographer: Wade Chi
Officiant: Jason Thorpy
Dancing Lessons: The Wedding Dance Specialists
Day Of Coordinator: Courtney Porter, Dogwood Events
Florist and Decor: DIY
Cupcakes: Bakeshop Arlington
Day of Transportation: Uber
Bridal Suite: The George
Rehearsal Dinner: 2941 Restaurant