It took us a long time to get around to getting married. Kaden asked me to marry him when we had been in a relationship for only 3 months - but we'd been living together as "roomies" for a few months longer, and known each other through mutual friends for a few years. In fact, we saw each other at a show when we were 17 & I always say it was Love At First Sight right then.
I had said over and over that I was "never" getting married. Furthermore, I had only had relationships with girls (I can't really say women; we were 15-20), before Kaden. When he asked, I took a very brief moment to consider, and instantly realized I could commit to spending my life with him, no problem. We were both 20 years old then, so we didn't really tell anyone because they might think we were silly or rushing into things.
We only decided to go through with it and get married the first week of August, 2010. We wanted to do it on a Saturday, and before summer was over. The 14th, my mom was out of town. The 21st was my weird-number day, and I didn't want it to be our wedding anniversary. The 28th we were going to the ocean with Kaden's family; the 4th of September was Kaden's birthday weekend. September 11th would be tacky...so we went with the very last Saturday of Summer, September 18th.
We had about 5 weeks to plan. No proooooooblem, man. We wanted simple & low-stress, and that's what we got! Having limited time to plan really helped us with that goal. Plus, we didn't have a "vision", and we were never concerned about perfection; we knew however the day unfolded would be perfect.
Keeping it Small
This photo pictures every single guest at our wedding. There are three other people we would have LOVED to have, but they all were living out of the state. Both of our parents asked us to invite other family members, but we stayed firm in our resolve to maintain a SMALL wedding. We felt like getting married was extremely personal, and we didn't want to share it with people we weren't close to. (example: my uncle who came to my college graduation party, proceeded to re-arrange all my parents' furniture, and said only three things to me: Get Your Uncle a Glass of Wine, Did You Know I am Living with a Hot 22 year old [I was also 22 at the time], When I Retired I Wanted to Become a Gynecologist).
We noted on the invitations that it was a casual event, and that no gifts were requested. Of course we got some stuff, mostly gift cards, but nothing excessive. We opened a joint savings account for any money we received. After the ceremony, we sent out Announcements to all the family and friends who hadn't come to the wedding.
We had tentatively planned, for a long time, to get married at Kaden's folks' house, especially since their next door neighbor is a minister - she just has a certificate to do weddings, non-denominational. We thought it would be much better to be married by "Reverend Aunt Claire" than by a stranger. She just walked right over! We said our vows where the wedding party is standing in the photo above, which was exactly where I envisioned it. Our friend James, who we lived with for 5 years, was our main photographer, though everyone with a digital camera contributed some shots.
We wrote our own vows; they were really short & simple, based on Quaker vows - which we chose for their simplicity! My sister was my attendant. I wanted my parents to give me away. The ceremony was in the back yard. We went out the front door and came around the house, and I started laughing my butt off! I couldn't believe it was finally, actually, my wedding day.
The actual ceremony was extremely brief - we hadn't really rehearsed, and everything we'd planned to say ended up taking very little time. We had made funny things to say when we put the rings on each other - I put his on as a symbol to keep other women from paying him inappropriate attention; he put mine on so I would think of our love when I snag it on something. My mom said that if she had known that our ceremony would be "so funny", she would have videotaped it! A lot of people said it was the most fun wedding they'd ever been to.
Food and Other Stuff
Our folks' paid for everything, split equally between the two families. I don't know how much the grand total was, but I'm absolutely certain it was lower than an "average" American wedding!
The most expensive part of the wedding was the cake! It was even more than the room we stayed in for our (one-night-only) Honeymoon! But our friends own a bakery & we were more than happy to support their business - AND it was like the best cake ever! Almond Poppyseed! Many of our guests said it was the best wedding cake they ever had.
the top layer slid a little during transportation!
My BFF Cree & her wife Kristina (who we were living with at the time) did all the rest of the food. We just wrote up a list of all the things we wanted - cold cuts, cheese, rolls, salad, vegetables, olives & pickles - not a dinner, just easy luncheon type stuff. They did all of the prep and clean up as a gift to us. We served only Miller High Life, Miller Lite, pop and water for beverages!
My dress was only about $80 (my sister works at David's Bridal, and I got it on the discount rack), Kaden's suit is a hand-me-down from my dad, and we both wore Chucks. I found a local jeweler on Etsy, and we worked together outside of Etsy to create very simple silver rings - both for a total of $80. Mine has an aquamarine setting; Kaden's is plain. The lady who did our rings also let us cut a ton of hydrangeas from her yard! She really wanted to get rid of them! We had no cost for flowers, venue rental, minister services, photography, catering, or bar. Or invitations, announcements, and Thank You's - we work at a printing company! I did the design.
Our overnight Honeymoon was about 2.5 hours away, at a funny "resort" at a renovated Masonic Lodge/orphanage/retirement home, McMenamins Grand Lodge, and it was $125 for a King Size bed with a private bathroom.
And we did our "dance" to "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins!