My Low Key Wedding - A Cheeky Wedding For Two

We got married!

I think I’m strange. I really do.

I always saw getting married as a long-term goal and more than just a ‘Big Day’. I never understood how all the other details like centrepieces, flowers and favours became an essential part of marrying the love of your life.

On some level I knew I’d end up doing it off-the-cuff or in a way that plays down the usual hype associated with getting married and having The Wedding.

What others deem highly important, requiring excessive fuss and expense, I don’t.

I’d been the second half of a long-term relationship with my now-husband, Lee for over a decade and despite not being all that bothered about getting married until about a year ago, we found ourselves tying the knot at our local registry office on a chilly Monday morning last year.

Clearly, my idea of marriage is unlikely to be found in any glossy wedding magazines and websites any time soon because who on earth gets married on a Monday?

It’s not you, it’s me.

I told you, I’m strange.

I find more excitement in doing things albeit rather awkwardly to some and luckily I’ve met someone who is the perfect match for my way of thinking.

I’m not surprised to watch peoples’ eyes glaze over when I tell them how we got married -depriving someone of the joy of discussing bridesmaids and button holes will do that.

It’s just that fully inclusive wedding day, complete with timing schedules, orchestrated photo shoots whilst draped in white (my least practical colour) that has always put me into an anxiety-induced state, that’s all.

hang on a sec…

What’s the point of getting married if you don’t want a wedding?

My point exactly. I wanted to be married to my wonderful man and all the other details that usually come with it felt unnecessary.

We had a mortgage and and that was more than enough for us in terms of commitment.

My thought process when it comes to weddings has always felt a bit ‘off’ and it’s glaringly obvious I don’t see it the same way as a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against them by any means! Weddings are good fun and I’ve enjoyed them both as a guest and a bridesmaid and been to enough to get a vague idea of my level of comfort of being under the watchful eye of EVERYONE there.

I couldn’t see myself doing it and whilst many people I know/knew were off planning their big day, I just…wasn't.

wait, so you’re not married or engaged?

Despite being with Lee for many years, we remained very happily unmarried and the idea of hosting a wedding still wasn’t appealing to either of us and people just did not get it.

It’s amusing, because as a couple if you’re not engaged or at least looking like you’re actively planning a wedding then to others you must be against marriage or not truly serious about your relationship.

It’s final. You hate it, always have, always will and shall remain unmarried forever.

We were totally on the same page all the way and had other things to be getting on with, like travelling to new places, renovating our home and trying to run our own businesses.

Although, at one point comments from even complete strangers who still couldn’t believe we weren’t married or engaged despite our long-relationship were starting to cause glitches in my otherwise polite and happy mood and I’d start wanting to self-combust.

The evolution of thinking about marriage

We are only human (I think) and the conversation about getting married did of course, come up.

It went back and forth like this for a long time:

“We don’t need a piece of paper to show we love each other.” Classic. And also absolutely accurate. However, the conversation still keeps cropping up and doesn’t seem to be going away.

“How about going abroad / eloping?” Idyllic, but restrictive when you realise you might not be able to legally marry in a location you set your heart on. There’s also the strong possibility you could very well end up traipsing back and forth trying to locate the registry office whilst eating up your valuable holiday (a.k.a sunbathing) time. May also need a translator and witnesses, too? Forget it, I’m exhausted with that idea.

“Vegas?” I honestly fell in love with this idea and kept going back to it but after doing some price research I decided it’s still too much money and fuss for what it might really be: a bit of ego inflation so I can tell people we ‘eloped’ and got married in Vegas and feel satisfied with my decision. We could go to Vegas any time if we really wanted to, minus the marriage part.

“Registry office wedding?” What’s the point in that? We may as well not bother, it seems old fashioned and impersonal. Or is it?

i’m not completely heartless, promise

As it turns out, there aren’t quite as many Google results for having a quiet wedding. I’m guessing an absence of flowers, dresses, favours and colour themes tones down the excitement level just a bit.

Guides for ‘How To Plan The Perfect Wedding’ are in abundance and if there’s one way to make you doubt your thoughts about not having one and dent your confidence, it’s that.

I had always assumed if I did have a wedding it would most likely be on a beach.

However, a bit like the Vegas option I realised getting married and being on a beach didn’t necessarily need to be combined - I can quite happily do both, just not at the same time and with no pressure from either choice interfering with the other.

Other than eloping (which still required too much thinking on my overly-anxious mind), my searches for ‘subtle, modest weddings’, ‘getting married quietly’ or ‘low-key weddings’ showed me that there is hardly any content for this kind of thing.

Many forums and websites support all budgets and are all for helping you not to spend a fortune. However, my budget wasn’t a problem for me; it didn’t exist.

I was becoming slightly concerned that there was something wrong with my idea of wanting to get married without the wedding.

Everything is geared up for The Big Day and I still wasn’t satisfied with my research and I realised the reason for my struggles: the word ‘wedding’.

It was throwing everything off and I was asking the wrong questions, spending too much time thinking of how to get married when really it was simple:

just get married…

hurrah, we did it!

After all that deliberation, we tied the knot last year in a laid-back, low-key ceremony with not a centrepiece in sight.

This is why I want to share my experience about my [really] small marriage celebration to show it’s absolutely possible - despite the obvious shortage of confidence up this quieter, less popular end of Wedding Avenue.

I decided whilst at home alone one day to bite the bullet and call my local registry office and explained how we would like to get married and we have no idea what to do - please send help, thanks.

make it work for you.

Like many other things in life, I’ve learnt it’s perfectly okay to think about what means the most to you and do it your way without any damn stress.

So, what about all those poor guests and family members who would love for you to have a wedding? Depriving them of a fully catered day out where they can eat, dance and be merry all at our expense, you mean? I’m good.

Count your blessings if you have a big family/friend count who all get along with no drama. Unfortunately for us, we can’t say the same and ultimately only wanted what was best for the two of us.

Luckily, I’ve not had to find myself dealing with any of the following scenarios which I’ve learned from real-life situations I’ve been privy to (all anonymous, of course):

a) divorced parents won’t agree to being sat on the same head-table and would prefer to sit with their new spouses on the guest tables. Great!

b) concerning myself with changing a guests’ menu choice if they’ve just decided they’re off meat and is there any chance they could swap to mashed potato instead. This is not a restaurant!

c) a member of the Groom’s side of the wedding party has piled on some extra weight and now their suit jacket doesn’t fit. Too bad!

d) the wedding is the next day and the marquee venue still doesn’t have any tables or chairs in it. Oh dear!

It’s your day (and your pocket) and I really think it was okay to be selfish on this one by not entertaining any of these options. At all.

we are gathered here today for the ‘anti-wedding’

My family are all very laid back about this kinda stuff and no one has ever pressured me/us on the marriage front. If I’m happy, they are happy.

“Wait, so this is like The Anti-Wedding?” were the words of my Dad when I told him how we had decided to tie the knot. I guess you could say that, yes.

Whether I knew it or not, I was clearly looking for something that was the complete opposite of a wedding so I’m going to try not to use that word anymore in this post.

planning a not-so big day

Fun fact: the only thing you really need on the day is each other (oh, and witnesses).

The registry office is an ideal option if you’re not going for any traditional you-know-what routes and just want a quiet ceremony. It’s also ideal if you want a little bit of tradition, like music, flowers etc because they cater to that also.

I didn’t have any of that though because I just wanted the marriage, remember.

The next available ceremony date after giving Notice was quite a wait; three months from then. We kept it relatively quiet from everyone until nearer the time because once again, we loved that idea.

We turned up on the day with three of our closest family members as witnesses, repeated the most simple version of the vows, signed the dotted line, took a couple of photos then went for breakfast and celebrated with a glass of bubbly.

This was probably the easiest ceremony the lovely registrar ladies had done in a while and it took them longer to complete the marriage certificate paperwork than it did to do the ceremony which went a little something like this:

  • Early Monday morning ceremony
    (I know, I know - who on earth gets married on a Monday?)

  • Quick vows, short-and-sweet
    (they tried to get us to choose the longer ones, we said no)

  • No exchange of rings
    (I’m not a fan of wearing permanent jewellery and do not expect Lee to, either)

  • I now pronounce you: married!

What I wore:

  • jeans

  • my favourite blouse

  • my favourite heels

  • leather jacket

So there you have it: a cheeky wedding for two!

Some friends (ish) actually did ask us what the point was (I know, how rude).

Honestly? We loved it. Why wouldn’t we. It suited the way we are 100% and it was just about us.

Coincidentally, before we even decided to get married we had a family holiday to Mauritius booked exactly one week after. Honeymoon/family-moon anyone?

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A little note from me: I battled with the idea of putting this post together because I don’t want any of you who’ve chosen the traditional wedding route to think I am belittling you.

If I didn’t suffer from extreme overthinking, a severe lack of decision-making ability and anxiety then I may even have considered doing the same myself, but I went in a completely different direction and want there to be more content about this style of getting married, and that’s what this post is about!

Some of the examples I’ve used are also based on real-life people and experiences and I hope you enjoyed reading! XOXO