S. Gets Married: The Collected Works

August 18th, 2009 § 25 comments

Discover, originally uploaded by academichic.

The Background Story:

Initially, T. and I had a bigger wedding planned for next year. We felt that it was expected of us by family and by friends who’d invited us to their weddings to reciprocate with a similar event. With both of us being knee-deep in PhD work and my getting ready to spend a research year abroad, the bigger wedding in the works was growing into a on-going financial and time-sucking burden. But we both felt that it was what we had to do.

The moment we both admitted to each other (and ourselves!) that we were willing to risk disappointing others to make ourselves happy with this, we knew we wanted to cancel the bigger event in the works and just elope.

The Gang, originally uploaded by academichic.

We didn’t want to elope in the original sense of the word since we both really wanted our immediate families present. We also knew that we could throw a small but nice wedding with much less planning time than our original wedding had entailed, so we decided to wait no longer and book the first date available to both sets of parents for travel. And that was on a Tuesday.

Having a Tuesday Wedding proved to be an unexpected blessing. Barring the strange looks and surprised reactions we got from many when sharing our date, it actually proved quite advantageous to the short-term nature of our planning. We were able to book a small reception room at our restaurant of choice, hire our photographer of choice, and secure our ceremony site with no competition from other wedding couples whatsoever! And all within two weeks notice!

Our Tuesday Wedding was one of the best and most meaningful days of my life. Often there seems to be an implied assumption that the size of your event counts as a direct reflection of your devotion to each other. In today’s consumer culture, bigger and more becomes equated with better and more respectable. But small, intimate weddings are no less charming or elegant. Here is how we planned our small, less than twenty person wedding in two weeks time and made memories to last a lifetime…

The Ceremony Site:

With both of us being academics, it was only too appropriate that we would wed on a college campus. Here’s the thing: college campuses are public spaces and there is no fee for gathering fourteen people together at any given spot and having two stand up for vows. We realized that as long as we didn’t set up chairs or do anything out of the ordinary, we could gather at our favorite spot on campus and hold our small ceremony at no cost to us.

Tip: Check the campus calendar to make sure your day doesn’t coincide with orientation events, on-campus rallies, or anything else that would seriously ruin the mood.

Backup Plan: When you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, you of course need a backup plan in case of rain. Ours was simple: I collected a plethora of fun and colorful umbrellas. We figured that in the case of rain, we could incorporate the umbrellas into the ceremony and consequent photo shoot, embracing it rather than fighting it.

artfoto7Image originally found here.

Champagne Toast:

We did not have music nor a formal entrance or exit strategy so we decided to make our ceremony special by ending it with a champagne toast. Nothing gets people more excited than a bit of bubbly, right?

The Reception Dinner:

Following our ceremony, we retreated to a wonderful local restaurant that gave us a private room for the evening. Upscale restaurants often have banquet rooms available for special events and will usually only charge for the dinner and drinks consumed and not for the use of the venue. We were also able to bring in our own table decor, which gave us another excuse to get crafty the morning of our wedding. We purchased several grocery store bouquets in our wedding colors and went to work making bouquets, boutonnieres and arranging them into small vases to adorn our dinner table:


For other simple yet stylish table arrangement ideas, check out John and Sherry’s lemons and limes centerpieces or use tissue paper flowers to decorate an indoor or outdoor space, such as Mithi of Mithi’s Creative Journey did. We made these for E’s baby shower and you can learn how easy they are to construct right here.

Marque pompom inside, originally uploaded by planetmithi.

The Getaway Car:

A limousine is not the only way to transport your wedding party in style. T. and I lucked out with access to his cute vintage MG. Having logged over 5,000 miles across the country together in this car, it carried even more special meaning to us as a wedding ride. Alternative getaway means that I just love are bikes!

picture-101Image originally found here.
Racing Bride and Groom, originally uploaded by jenniferbarbaraanne.

Or why not something as unexpected as a tractor? Be creative, borrow a friend’s ride you’ve been eyeing, use something that has meaning to you both, and think outside of the limousine box if you’re working on a budget.

a “couple” more, originally uploaded by kimmckown.

The Extras:

Having cut so many of our costs by going small and simple, we were able to splurge and book our photographer of choice. Wedding photography can be quite pricey so with our original plan, we were going to ask a friend to photograph our wedding. Having extra wiggle room in our budget, we went ahead and treated ourselves to a professional photographer and it was definitely worth it!

Anther bonus: we now have the funds to take the honeymoon of our dreams next summer! We’re going to Ireland!

Overall, we could not have been happier in following our instincts and changing our wedding plans to better reflect what we wanted of the day rather than doing what we thought was wanted of us. We met with some resistance along the way but it seems that every wedding story has its ups and downs and there will always be some who will ‘dissaprove’ of your plans – you just can’t please everyone. But it is your wedding, so you should first and foremost aim to please yourself with this event. And as one lovely reader put it, Tuesdays will now always carry a special meaning to us. S.

Just Married!, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 25 Responses to S. Gets Married: The Collected Works"

  1. Annie says:

    Why don’t more people follow your example? Some insist on having big, complicated weddings that are expensive and cause them no end of stress. Far more sensible to do what you want. So yours was smaller than planned; I’m sure it was no less beautiful and meaningful for that. And everyone looked so happy and relaxed rather than being on display.

  2. charlotte says:

    I think what’s great is that there are so many more resources for people looking for alternative weddings now. I think the folks who say small is the only way to go are just as bad as the folks who say large is the only way to go – like the decision about changing one’s name there’s no one right way for everyone. What’s great is that now we all can do what we like, with *less* pressure than before.

    My wedding was larger than yours, smaller than most, held in a backyard, and was truly a labor of love by more folks than just me. I think that is the beauty of the more crafty weddings – the people who all come together and lend a hand to make it special.

  3. Mithi says:

    Glad you liked our pompoms! I’m hopefully going to be blogging much more about our rather unconventional, very handmade, wedding soon …

    By the way, love the premise of your blog – having survided a PhD myself, and worked 3 years postdoc-ing at Cancer Research UK; I can understand your wanting to rid the world of “ill-fitting polyester suit of academic yore” ;)

    We had some really quite well dressed academics at CRUK … but they were the exception rather than the rule … maybe the polyester suits is what made me give it all up and switch to illustration!

  4. admin says:

    Annie – thank you for your nice words about our wedding, it was wonderfully stress-free and enjoyable!

    Charlotte – your pictures are amazing! It looks like the most romantic, creative, and beautiful wedding, and I’m so jealous of your horseback entrance! I think you’re right and that the key is to do what’s right for *you*, be it large or small, traditional or unconventional, and remember that there is no *one* way to get married. Your looked beautiful, thank you for sharing!

    Mithi – I can’t wait to see more of it soon! I loved all the hand-made touches so far and your awesome bride and groom shot!


  5. Dawn says:

    Congrats again! I loved hearing about your intimate wedding and when or if I get married, I plan on doing the same!

    Also, yay for coming to Ireland on your honeymoon! If you need any tips or recommendations, don’t be afraid to get in touch!

  6. Sal says:

    Love this, S. We had a ceremony with only immediate family present – 11 people total – on a Friday night. Then, a big outdoor open-house reception the next day in my in-laws’ backyard. I loved it.

    The photos are gorge, and I’m so glad you splurged on them. You won’t regret it!

  7. Wow! It looks so beautiful. I think I want to do the same thing for mine…

  8. Sara says:

    I’m so glad that you shared your story – I think a lot of people feel that same pressure to throw a bash when they’d really rather not. Although I don’t regret how I got married (and it wasn’t extravagant by any stretch of the imagination), I wish I would have really thought about other options. Because in the end, the thing I love most about my wedding is still my honey-bunch!

    Yours is such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  9. A says:

    Congrats again, your entire day looks perfect from start to finish!

    And oooh! You’re coming to Ireland! If you need any tips or suggestions about what to do/see do get in touch!

  10. Rose says:

    Thanks for sharing the whole story and I am glad that you went for it with the photography. We skimpped on that and regret it. It is however our only regret.

    PS – I am jealous of your Ireland trip!!

  11. C says:

    I also got married on a Tuesday. Hubs and I decided about four days prior we were going to just do it (exactly one month after engagement).

    We decided the day before (Labor Day) that we wanted to dress up instead (we were getting married behind City Hall). I walked into David’s Bridal and had the best laugh when the woman helping me asked when the event would be – when I said “tomorrow!” the look on her face was priceless. I picked up a cheap dress, my friend and I altered it that night, and we threw together some flowers about 10 minutes before we got in the car to go.

    We had a handful of friends join us, and followed up with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.


    We did get grief over not having a full wedding, so we held a small reception for about 50 people on our one year anniversary.

    I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We not only saved ourselves some money (enabling us to purchase our first home this year!), but we also saved ourselves the stress.

    KUDOS to you and T, and CONGRATULATIONS. You both looked smashing. :)

  12. admin says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your nice words!

    Dawn and A – I will definitely have questions as we plan our Ireland trip! Don’t worry, I’ll be in touch! :)

    C – how fun, we’re both Tuesday brides! Your wedding pictures looks gorgeous, I can’t believe you got that dress the night before nor that you just threw those flowers together, your bouquet is gorgeous! I love the orange accents!

    Thanks for sharing your picture with us!


  13. ShopKim says:

    Your day looks and sounds amazing! I’m so glad to hear it worked out so well for you too.

  14. Luinae says:

    My parents had a small wedding- they were married in a garden in the mountains.

    I’ve always loved the idea of a small wedding somewhere lovely. It seems a lot more romantic then a big to-do wiht everyone you know and may not even care about.

    Good descision!

  15. Clare says:

    I love that you did your wedding this way. What a perfect way to celebrate your lives together. Again again again, congratulations!

  16. This is so great! It would be hard to go against the grain as so many people see weddings especially as the place to carry on tradition. Props to you and the man for sticking true to what you really wanted (AND for now having the opportunity to travel to Ireland next summer)!

  17. Giovanna says:

    Great wedding, congratulations!!!

  18. the spanish lady says:

    congratulations S! both of you look so happy and so much in love!! this is exactly the kind of wedding I am looking forward to!

  19. [...] for our last proper date before I leave. We decided to revisit the restaurant at which we had our wedding reception just last month, since it carried such special memories and the food had been [...]

  20. Noelle says:


    I love this. What a great way to make it special and ensure that you get exactly what you want, and not get loads of debt. Congratulations.


    P.S. I am Irish (I have lived in Galway, Dublin and am now living in Cork). If you want any tips or suggestions on what to do when you are planning your trip, let me know. I would be happy to help or suggest things. I get so much value from your blog I would love to be able to give you something back.

  21. [...] blogged through a semester of teaching, I blogged about planning a small wedding on a small budget, and I blogged during an entire year of living abroad and – more or less – out of two [...]

  22. I’m in tears. Happy tears! My man and I are planning a small (just us and our moms) wedding and, until now, we haven’t found any mention of anyone doing the same. Every wedding blog/site is all about the HUGE events that we have no interest in. It is so great to see that we are not alone, other people have done this before.

    Thank you SO much for sharing… I am very appreciative. Congratulations on your love.

  23. [...] wanted to reminisce about S.’s wedding and then my [...]

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