So here’s something that I haven’t seen much discussion about yet: minimalist weddings.
Jeanie Witcraft recently asked on Twitter, “Oh, minimalists, how would you plan a wedding?”
The question grabbed my attention because I had this post about minimalist weddings sitting around for a couple months. I’m planning my own wedding. and wanted to share my thoughts.
On page 140-141 of The Commitment, Dan Savage makes fun of the wedding industry:
“People won’t take your commitment seriously if you just run down to city hall or fly off to Vegas. If you want people to take your relationship seriously, if you want them to believe you’re really in love, then you need to marry in the presence of God, friends, family, ministers, caters, waiters, banquet hall managers, bakers, bartenders, disc jockeys, jewelers, florists, wedding consultants, limo drivers, photographers, videographers, and Web designers. Oh, and ice sculptors–don’t forget the ice sculptors.”
With all the stuff that comes with weddings these days, it’s easy to forget what the day is really about — the love and commitment between two people. It’s not about staging a huge production. It’s not about picking and displaying your best friends. It’s not about the four-tiered cake. It’s about two people. Simple.
When you hear the words, “minimalist wedding,” what comes to mind?
Do you envision tables covered in white with simple candles in the middle? Perhaps white square plates with small portions of food? Large or small gatherings? A ceremony in the woods or on a mountain? Perhaps the ultimate minimalist wedding would just have a couple, an officiant, and witnesses. Maybe there would be no officiant or witness: in Colorado, couples can marry themselves!
Let’s review the idea of minimalism. It’s not just about getting rid of stuff, it’s about eliminating the unessential things from your life and focusing on what truly matters to you. Basically, you get rid of what you can to make room for the things you really want. Can the concept be applied to a wedding? Of course!
The great thing about applying minimalism to a wedding is that every wedding will be uniquely different based on what you truly value. Some people may just want to elope, some want to celebrate with 500 friends, some will have a bare bones reception where everything is draped in white, others want the 3′ tall centerpieces, and some people want a BBQ at the beach. Weddings can be designed any way you want it! It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. Who decided that every wedding had to have 300 guests and thousand-dollar designer dresses? Who decided the dresses had to make brides look like overdecorated vanilla cupcakes? Who made it a rule that we needed to send out save-the-dates? No one.
With that thinking in mind, I spent time perusing alternate wedding websites. Then a few months ago, I unsubscribed from all the wedding blogs I was reading. They were all great (Green Wedding Shoes, A Practical Wedding, Offbeat Bride, and a few others) but I finally had enough inspiration and was feeling overwhelmed. Even indie and green blogs are still wedding porn. In the end, after spending hours looking at these photos, I always felt like my wedding would never measure up. What kind of idea is that!? Who wants to feel like their wedding needs to be a performance? Not this girl. And probably not you.
Above all, it is very important to pay attention to what the day is about — the marriage. Too many people focus on the wedding and forget to pay attention to the marriage. Personally, my soon-to-be husband and I have spent many more hours taking classes and doing counseling/mentoring with older couples to help us build a solid foundation for our marriage. I highly recommend that every couple goes through a similar process before tying the knot.
So what’s my ideal wedding? My dream wedding is going deep in the woods on a picturesque lake and getting married to the love of my life with our parents and immediate family standing around us. This would then be followed with a vegan luncheon/BBQ where we played games and flew kites. Is this happening? No. But that’s OK.
When we sat down and started planning, we thought about what really matters to us:
- Each other. We just want to focus on each other.
- Being with our immediate families and closest friends.
- Eating good food.
- Excellent drinks – alcoholic & non-alcoholic.
- Not spending too much money on anything.
- Having a great time!
With these values in mind, it is easier to decide what unessential costs can be eliminated. A lot of the stuff that usually comes with weddings doesn’t really matter. That said, we are still keeping a few things traditional. Some things really work for us, and some things don’t. Some things are great for other couples, and not for us. That is what gives each wedding the potential to be beautifully unique — no two couples are the same.