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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.