Most girls dream of the day their Prince Charming gets on one knee and proposes to spend the rest of their lives together. They mentally plan out every detail of their wedding day before they meet their future groom. While other girls pictured how big their diamond ring would be and what their wedding dress would look like, I was trying not to punch them in the face.
Marriage and weddings weren’t in my thoughts. And they certainly weren’t in my plans. But clearly the universe (or higher being) had other ideas for me. On April 26, 2012 in Central Park, New York City, my soulmate (with whom I was in a happy common-law relationship) got on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Of course I was happy, but a diamond ring wasn’t going to determine whether or not I would spend forever with him. In my mind, forever was already written in stone. We’re perfect for each other in every way and a piece of jewelry (though beautiful) wasn’t going to make that commitment any more real.
Upon returning home, we were greeted with endless “congratulations” from family and friends, followed by repeated questions like, “What are your wedding plans?” and “Have you set a date yet?” At the time, we got away with saying, “We just got engaged – we have lots of time”. But it’s been 7 months now, and still no date has been announced and no plans have been shared.
As family and friends were getting anxious waiting for us to announce our wedding plans, we instead made this announcement: We’re not having a wedding.
For some, eyebrows were raised as they wondered why we didn’t want a big wedding celebration (or family reunion as some people treat it). For others, disappointment filled their eyes as they simply asked why.
Of course we sugar-coated our reasons for not having a wedding to our parents and close family members. But here are the candid reasons why we voted against a wedding.
Weddings are overrated – not to mention expensive.
Society, celebrities and the media have got us convinced that having a “dream wedding” is what every couple wants. Weddings are a billion dollar industry and while other couples are okay with blowing $30K plus on a party, we simply can’t justify clearing our savings and taking out debt just to throw a party. An elaborate wedding certainly doesn’t guarantee marital bliss, but a pointless debt can definitely guarantee marital problems.
Small weddings are impossible with big families.
A common suggestion we’ve heard is, “Just have a small wedding. It’ll be affordable and intimate”. The people who were happy to suggest that might not have been so happy if they didn’t make the shortlist of guests. Simply put, small weddings are impossible with big families. Everyone has to be invited, and if you don’t invite someone, hell will be raised by that someone’s aunt, uncle, cousin or cousin’s dog walker. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out the right combination between inviting everyone, while staying within budget and doing what makes us happy.
This is supposed to be a celebration of love, not a family reunion.
Rather than being a celebration of love, very quickly a $30K party can turn into a glorified family reunion. There’s nothing romantic about a wedding when family and friends treat it as an excuse to get stupid drunk. The bride and groom usually spend more time entertaining their family members and ensuring drama stays under control than enjoying each other’s presence after having just tied the knot.
Weddings are a big show, and we don’t want a spectacle.
I’ve noticed one common theme among big weddings – they resemble the traits of a Broadway show, minus the singing (usually). The wedding party is dressed in matching attire marching to pre-defined music and taking their spots right on queue. The bride walks down the aisle wearing her elaborate dress, trying not to trip. The minister reads his lines followed by the bride and groom repeating their vows. The guests watch on like an audience as all the characters on stage do what they practiced the night before and try not to “mess anything up”. That seems like a lot of pressure, and frankly we don’t want the spectacle.
A wedding doesn’t make a marriage.
If neither of us have any desires to throw an expensive and unnecessary party, why should we? In our minds, we’re already married. We’ve been married since we merged our assets and moved in together. Isn’t living together in love and harmony more relative of a marriage than a party? We think so.
Just because we’re not having a wedding, it doesn’t mean we’re not getting married. We’ll get married of course.