If I’m being completely honest with you, my wedding day was not at all what I’d envisioned it would be. I envisioned starting the day with my bridesmaids getting pampered, popping some champagne, and getting into my dream wedding gown. Then spending the day taking photos, walking down the aisle in front of everyone to my future husband, and dancing the night away. We planned for 150+ guests to come celebrate our wedding day with us. Then, as you all know, 2020 happened. I was devastated that the pandemic ruined our wedding plans. Plans that I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl. Within a week, we went from a wedding with 150 guests down to 11. We postponed our reception to the next summer. And we eloped.
I remember calling my Mom multiple times just crying over the phone because I didn’t know what my wedding day would look like. I remember long talks with Alex about what we should do. The one thing we kept coming back to was how important our marriage was to us, and not the big party. So on July 5th, 2020, the day after we were supposed to get married here in Medina, we loaded up the car and headed down to Hilton Head Island for our beach elopement.
Our intimate wedding day was perfect. It was even better than I could’ve ever imagined. I was finally married to my best friend and I gained an incredible family.
Here’s a few things Alex and I learned about our intimate wedding day.
- The small details don’t matter as much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by every single detail of a big wedding. I found myself getting stressed about finding the right centerpieces or making sure every single guest sat with someone they knew, etc. As a photographer, I stressed about what details will photograph nicely or what robes my bridesmaids should wear so everything matched a theme. We had none of that down in Hilton Head. I wore my mom’s earrings that she wore on her wedding day. We got ready in our pajamas. I had my dress, a bouquet, our vow books and our rings and that was pretty much it. Also, don’t even get me started about the weather. It rained ALL week long. Yes I was stressed about that, but at the end of the day, rain or shine, I’d still be married to my best friend. So I tried not to let that stress me out too much (because as we know every bride gets a little stressed over the weather).
- We prioritized our marriage. This is probably my favorite part about intimate weddings. Alex and I did what was best FOR US, not for everyone else. We prioritized our needs and what felt most important to us about our wedding day. We knew that we could wait for the reception, but didn’t want to wait to become husband and wife. We wrote our own vows and exchanged them to each other during the ceremony, and that was SO important to us. We were extremely ready to start that next chapter of our lives together and grow together as husband and wife.
- Our wedding day was spent with the people who meant the most to us. Besides the ceremony, my favorite part of our wedding day was the dinner. Not because the food was fantastic, but because Alex and I were surrounded by our family, and SO much love. I feel like with big receptions, most of my bride & grooms tell me they wish it lasted longer. You don’t have nearly enough time to talk to everyone when you have a giant guest list. Sitting down at dinner, Alex and I were able to spend so much time with our parents and siblings, as well as enjoy the delicious food. We didn’t feel rushed! After dinner we all went back to our rental property to cut our wedding cake and talk about how special the day was.
As much as I am looking forward to this July when we can celebrate with our grandparents, bridal party, and all of our family & friends, I am so grateful that we had the wedding day that we did. That day was full of some of my favorite memories EVER and I know that we will cherish them for the rest of our lives. So if you are a bride on the fence with postponing or having a smaller, more intimate wedding, I hope this helps you make the decision just a little easier.
Photos by: JB Marie Photography