How to pull off an intimate wedding.
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Intimate wedding experiences – authentic weddings and how to pull them off
Time to be controversial and authentic. Many of our couples contact us as they exploring elopement options or intimate wedding experiences, seeking a more personal wedding experience. Something that feels more like them, something more authentic than a traditional big wedding. I was chatting to venue owner this week who has been married for 30 years. We were wondering incredulously, retrospectively at the lack of choice and pressure there was back then (not so long ago really!) to have a certain type of wedding day.
How weddings used to be
It was either the church or the registry office for the ceremony and then on to either a village hall or local hotel for the wedding breakfast and celebrations. Our generation were obliged to invite certain family members and friends of our parents’ as it was the done thing. The whole experience was formulaic and was more about keeping up appearances than any thoughts or preferences the couples themselves may have had. Thankfully todays’ couples have far more choices.
What makes an authentic wedding experience?
There is much talk about living authentically. But what does that really mean when it comes to having an authentic wedding?
To have an authentic wedding, it’s not enough simply to try to be yourselves on your wedding day. First you have to know yourselves as a couple and be clear about your joint values and desires for your wedding day. Challenge each other, explore possibilities and go with your gut feelings. Only the two of you know what will really make your day perfect.
Take time to build this picture together. Having a clear vision of what’s OK and what’s not up front will provide a line in the sand that you can keep referring back to as your wedding day plans evolve. Consider, size, the vibe you want, who you really want around you, budget and style. Do write this down. Not only will this help you make decisions along the way and keep you true to your own values and desires, it will also help you explain your decisions to others in a clear consistent and compelling way.
When it comes to the details, don't be constrained by rules or tradition. Your wedding really is a blank sheet of paper. Consider what’s important about your day to you and what's not. Think about things like: who do you really want there; where do you want to have your ceremony; what type of ceremony do you want to have; what do you want to say to one another; where you get ready and who with; do you want to be separate or together; do you want a first look moment; where will this be; what will you wear; will you have rings; do you want to incorporate music; do you want to have an environmental conscious wedding; do you want to create your own traditions and so much more?
Take responsibility and be true to yourselves
By taking responsibility for your wedding day and your choices, you are not acting in isolation. You’re welcoming of feedback from others, interested to hear other points of view, and always open to learning more. Do take inspiration from others and listen to what other might have to offer in terms of ideas, but ultimately make our own decisions and own them. It’s easy to be leant upon by relatives with their own ideas and expectations. They’ve had their turn, or they will have it, so listen, acknowledge but only follow advice if it feels right for the two of you. You are not duty bound to please everyone on your wedding day. Equally it’s easy to get suckered down the “Instagram Wedding” route, but let’s be honest, who really wants to stand on stilts under their wedding dress, who really wants to have a wedding cake that’s bigger than them and have to cut it with a huge sword? I use extreme examples, but my point is this: sure draw on the all the resources around you for inspiration and ideas but always check back to your own personal vision to make sure you are being true to yourselves.
Be ready, as those around you attempts to control or manipulate your wedding plans. You will need to be ready to resist external pressure to avoid the trap of going along with how others think or expect if you are to have the wedding day you really want. This doesn't mean not listening or excluding others, but it does mean weighing up suggestions rationally, reaching your own judgment, and then hold your ground based on what you think rather than compromising yourselves. There will be plenty of ways of involving those who want to help when it comes to putting your plan into action. Some of those closest to you may need this re-assurance!
In these ways, the two of you own your wedding decisions and take responsibility for your actions, fully knowing the consequences. We wish you luck and if you'd like any help or advice in planning an intimate wedding in this way please do get in touch by calling Jane on 07411 117294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!
The images here are from a beautiful example of Lorna and Jon’s authentic wedding that we arrange for September 2018. These lovely images are by Verity Westcott.