wedding thoughts…

(always like a month late sharing these photos. TWO-ish months left now!)

There are less than 70 days until I marry my best friend. HOLY COW. Less than 70 days!!! It’s coming up so fast but honestly, not fast enough. Wanna know the truth? I’m just so excited to just get this all over with.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying hard to savor every second and, of course, I’m absolutely look forward to the big day. I’m not wishing that away. I can’t wait to hang out with all our closest friends and family in the desert. I love the excitement of being engaged. The newness of everything is wonderful BUT I can’t wait to not have to think about wedding stuff! I just want to fast forward a bit.

I’ve mentioned it before, I’m not the kind of person who dreamed of their wedding day, who had pinterest boards full of inspiration, who devoted any time or energy into planning before the engagement. I am simply not interested in the wedding industry…at all. I thought maybe once I was engaged I’d gain an interest but if anything, wedding websites and magazines became even less appealing.

To be honest, right after getting engaged, I didn’t want to share anything about my wedding here on the blog. I mean obviously, I’d share photos after everything was said and done but keeping details private felt right. It’s not a huge event meant for strangers. I’m not getting married for the blog. It’s a very intimate thing. I don’t want our decisions critiqued or judged ever, but especially not now regarding the wedding.

After a bit of thought, I decided that I wanted to share more about our upcoming wedding because I wanted to acknowledge that small weddings are great. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this whole thing, things that if written by someone else would certainly help me. That you don’t have to spend 30k or even 10k to have the best day ever. I thought back to Marine and Shawn’s elopement a few years ago and how much that inspired me to do my own thing. I’m sure there are lots of small weddings like this but I have no interest in digging for them on internet, especially not when I have to wade through tons and tons of huge events to find them.

I’m not sure what to call our wedding. It’s not an elopement because it’s not a secret and we’re inviting friends and family. But ‘wedding’ feels like a stretch. We’re literally showing up to a location important to us (one that is most certainly not a wedding venue), exchanging vows, and then heading to a different location to eat, swim, and celebrate. There will be no decorations, no aisle, and *gasp* no chairs. It’s kind of like a wedding flash mob in a way, I guess.

Despite all the excitement, this waiting period between now and then is… awful. I keep having little moments of panic where I think ‘will I regret not wearing a white dress?’, ‘should I be more concerned with decorating?’, ‘what if I change my mind?’, ‘should I be taking this more seriously?’ I know that what we have planned is wonderful and so absolutely perfect for us but being constantly exposed to over the top wedding celebrations on every platform definitely wears me down and makes me start to second guess everything.

Some people care a ton about weddings, and have no problem dropping loads of cash on them – and that’s great. Myself, on the other hand, I just want to celebrate our love with family, show off our favorite places out west, and get some really cool pictures of the two of us looking foxy as heck. Spending money on unnessary things isn’t something either of us are interested in but somehow spending all this time on the internet almost makes me feel guilty for it, ya know?

Our wedding will be weird. It’ll be small. It’ll be unique. It’s going to be perfect no matter what because it’ll be Jeff and I, and that’s all that matters. I just wish it was here already so I could stop stressing about all the silly little details, ya know? I’m so ready to stop obsessively scrolling through dresses in a panicked state thinking there might be something better out there than what I already have.

actual photo of me waiting to get on a plane to Arizona

Is it June yet?

PS. If you had a very small wedding or eloped – I’d love to hear about it or see photos!

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • My husband and I got married almost 3 years ago (by your Jeff lol) in a very small ceremony (maybe 12 family members) on the boardwalk in the Falls. We showed up, did our thing, took some pictures, and then went to our favorite Mexican restaurant after for dinner. Our plan was to do the “big” wedding the following year but that never happened, and honestly I’m ok with that now. No debt, no stress, just us and our closest loved ones.

    I am so excited for you two! Your day will be perfect!

    • It’s been three years already?!?!?

      I’m very excited to not be going in to any debt with this whole shebang. There are so many things we’d rather spend money on – including travel.

      Travelling > random wedding decor

  • My hunny and I had a vacation in Vagas with 40 of our favorite people for our wedding. We had started to plan a big wedding but it was so expensive and overwhelming and It just wasn’t “us”. So we thought of where we would love to vacation with all of our friends and decided “what’s the one place if we could drag everyone to, it would be the best vacation ever” and Las Vegas was just the place! We invited everyone we like and about 40 people decided to make the adventure with us. We still had a chaple, we still wore suits and a white dress, and it was the most amazing experience!. Most of the folks that came would never have gone to Vegas on their own and they were so happy we had made them go. It was great and I am so glad we did it the way we did. I had moments beforehand that I questioned my decision, and there were a few people who didn’t come that I wish had, but at the end of the day, i wouldnt change a thing. One suggestion, I was really happy we had it Live Streamed on a private website, and a TON of people watched that I didn’t expect. I had sent the website to everyone who had declined the invite a few that had just asked to watch. 2 years later and I still find out some people that watched that I am like “really, omg!” We even watched the Video with hunny’s Grandma a few times after we got back, which was a great experience in itself. Good luck and it will definitely be a wonderful, special day!

    • That’s what I’m most excited about – making our family and friends go on a vacation with us! It’s going to be the vacation of a lifetime! I am 100% not second guessing that! I can’t wait!

      That’s a super idea! How did you do that? Website recommendations? There are a few people we’re really bummed won’t be able to make it and that’d be the perfect way to share the day with them!

  • My husband and I got married in a park near our house at the end of November. It was raining, but there was a gazebo, and it was just our parents, siblings, and grandparents (about 22 people). We just showed up early on a Sunday morning, thankfully no one else was there, and then left. No music, no decorations other than nature, which is what I wanted. We were there about fifteen minutes, then we all went to a buffet at our local boat casino for brunch.

    After that, we walked our dog, went to the movies, then had dinner at our favorite diner. It was a really good start to our marriage.

    Of course, I DID panick about not having a more traditional wedding, so we ended up having a reception a year later. We spent about $6k on it, and it was still a lot of fun. The photo booth and live band were my favorite parts. Three years later, I’m still happy with how it all turned out.

    • That sounds like the perfect day!!

      We’re doing a reception at my parent’s house after we get back from the trip. I’m honestly not stressed about it for some reason? My family always does a huge fourth of July party with lots of fireworks and food so we’re just turning it into our reception this year. It’s always like my favorite weekend of the year anyway so no stress there, at least not for me!

  • Oh man that photo made me laugh out loud (also jealous of that skeleton, always). I’m impatient for your wedding too because it means I get to take a road trip and see some wonderful things (your wedding included). It will be incredible!

  • You’ve got the important stuff down. What matters at the end of the day is you’re gonna be married at the end of the day to the dude you love! That’s all that really matters, the rest is just bonuses =)

  • Hi Kaylah! My husband and i got married at the courthouse for only our parents last November and it was the best decision we ever made. It only cost us $60! I got a cute little dress from a local boutique and he wore a suit he already had. It was small and perfect and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. A few weeks ago we had a party at our apartment to celebrate with our friends and family but that also was less than $200 spent. The most important part for us was not having a big blowout $50,000 party, but being with the people we love most. Having a small wedding is going to be the best decision you make!!!

  • Don’t stress or second-guess yourself. Get married the way that feels comfortable and right for you and that way you’ll never regret anything about the day. We got married 30 years ago – small wedding but still not the way we would have done it. We would have preferred a Justice of the Peace and two witnesses but we caved to parental pressure and I’ve always regretted that I didn’t have the guts back then to just say, “Sorry, we’re doing it our way.” If I had it to do over I would definitely do it differently! Your wedding only needs to be what you want it to be. Best wishes!

  • My husband and I got married in the Redwoods up in Northern California right next to where they filmed the Stegosauruses in Lost World! Only 12 people were there and it was the best day of my life. Our ceremony was all Kaiju monster themed and my sister-in-law played the harp! The next weekend we celebrated with a few more people at a brewery with our favorite music and a food truck. Best wedding EVER! Not sure how to share pics here but they are beautiful photos!!

  • We had a very small wedding on a hill in the south of Sweden with just the Closet family and friends. I had a green dress, made shoes and crown myself and a friend made the dress for me. Then we had the reception in a greenhouse. It was wonderful and we tried to do without as many traditions as possible. You can read and see more on my blog. There are a few posts with lots of photos.

  • I had a small wedding. We looked at small venues and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. We decided to spend all the money on the honeymoon and go somewhere amazing. We chose to get married in our backyard on a Monday afternoon. The summer solstice because it was the longest day of the year and would make for a perfect anniversary date. We then went to Maui for 10 days. It was the best trip of our life. No regrets.

  • My husband and I were both the kinds of people who figured we’d never get married – it just wasn’t something that interested us. Then, to everyone’s surprise (including ours), we decided to get hitched after all. We made that decision in late November ’15, and had our ceremony about 6 weeks later. We got married in a local park, with a few of our close friends, while wearing onesies (mine was a dinosaur; his was blue covered in hot dogs). We paid around $100 for the paperwork and wedding commissioner, and spent around $80 on our wedding rings (I got them custom-made from a local gal I found on Etsy). After the ceremony, we went with our friends to a local pub for food + drinks, then spent the rest of the night at home watching movies. It was perfect for us & I wouldn’t change a thing 🙂

    I don’t feel like weddings should be an overwhelmingly stressful experience – you don’t have to have an extravagant dress or book an elusive venue or spend thousands on decorations, if you don’t want to. I hear people talk about how weddings are more for the family than they are for the people getting married, and I (personally) think that’s kinda ridiculous – you & your partner are the ones who will live with the memories the most, so make your special day be exactly what you both want to remember. Small + weird + unique sounds great, so I’d say stop comparing what you want to what other people have done for their weddings, because it will only drive you nuts; follow your gut instincts & they won’t lead you astray <3

    • Thanks, Jenny! <3

      I definitely agree. After we first got engaged I spent a bit of time lurking wedding forums and that really really soured my views. I remember searching something chairs and someone had written about a wedding they attended that didn't have chairs and all the replies were basically just slamming the bride because 'omg how could she not have chairs? didn't she think of the family?' It was just SO harsh. Seeing that sort of thing has just left me questioning "Crap! What else am I doing wrong? What could I do better?"

      I just think, in general, the wedding industry is really messed up. I don't like how much pressure there is to spend money, and throw a big party than anyone ever. It's kind of just a big pissing contest.

      So yeah, I agree + am trying to hard to stick to my beliefs and not be stressed about something I know it's dumb to stress about.

  • Have you ever checked out Offbeat Bride or A Practical Wedding? I think both you would enjoy it. It is all about small weddings, or just weird ones. Offbeat Bride has “wedding porn” aka wedding photos that you can drool over that feature same sex weddings, multiple partners, non-white wedding dresses, eco-friendly, tattooes, nerdy, whatever. A Practical Wedding is much more down to Earth, feminist, and talks about how your wedding DOESN’T need to be big, but can if you want. I suggest you submit something because I think it is important to keep a dialogue going about not always feeding into the wedding industry if you don’t feel like it. (Oh, I was featured ^__~) I am always told that I had one of the best weddings ever. People always say how we had such great food (it should be it cost us a fortune, and we didn’t have too much of a choice with that venue) and it was just overall laid back. It sounds like your wedding will TOTALLY rock!

  • My husband and I had our wedding in the flower garden in our back yard. We only had family, so there were only 8 people there, my husbands twin brothers signed as our witnesses.
    I asked the justice of the peace that married us for the shortest possible vows, and we were married in under 2 minutes. Afterwards we all went out for pizza.
    The next day we had a party at our house for all the extended family. We had a potluck so cooking and clean up was a breeze and his grandmother made our wedding cake.
    I wore the same dress both days, I refused to wear white so it was black and purple and I got it for $5 at Goodwill. I did not want to spend a ton of money on a dress I’d only wear once.
    It was so easy and so much less stress having a small wedding and just not worrying about anything. We did it our way and I couldn’t be happier with our decision.
    I hope your small wedding is all you hoped for and more!

  • I think your wedding/celebration is going to be perfect! If traditional isn’t for you, it isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean you won’t have an amazing day.

    My husband lives in New Brunswick, Canada & I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. We attempted to get married (in jeans & tshirts) when I went out to visit him for a week but found out the courthouse in his town required a few week’s notice and only did ceremonies on Friday afternoons. We had to do a bit of planning but didn’t anticipate doing anything traditional. Like you, I never dreamed of my wedding day. We had to have 2 witnesses for the wedding so my mom & brother ended up flying out and my mom insisted on me wearing a wedding dress, which I was in for all of an hour 😀 Looking back, I am happy that we got dressed up because it was fun! You just have to do what works for you.

    I’m excited to read and see more of your wedding plans/ceremony!

  • Sounds like you have found the best way to have your prefect day and that is exactly what it should be, YOUR perfect day! I think your plans sounds amazing and that it being so unique to you guys is what will make the day so memorable and special. I’m sure these last few months will rush past.

  • We also got a tiny & different wedding 5 years ago (already!) and was just perfect. We even had to deal with bad reactions (very bad!) from some part of the family by not wanting to have a regular big wedding (we paid every penny of it as well, so it was our choice, right?). We got married in the historic city hall in Barcelona, the city where we met so it was an important symbol for us, and got there using a Barcelona cab, ha! We also didn’t have a wedding venue, we reserved a restaurant inside the city which we loved. My dress was a bargain from etsy, but completely my style; I added a cardigan too 😉 and we spent most of our budget on a good photographer we admire to have a pretty memory of that day.

    In case you haven’t seen it here there ares the directs link to our wedding posts:

    Don’t be anxious about it, because no matter what happens it will be just perfect. I know it’s a cliche, but when you are marrying your best friend there’s nothing that can be wrong 😀 I know you know, but hey, a reminder doesn’t hurt 😉

    I’m very excited for you guys!

  • I’ve been married twice, the first time I did a real wedding, it was still smaller than most, and I would have preferred it to be even smaller. It was okay, I don’t really remember much except standing in a reception line FOREVER, and then it felt like we left soon after that, not a tone of enjoyment. The second time I got married, it was in my mother’s living room, with my parents, the grooms dad and the minister and his wife, and I wore a red dress I already owned because we were pretty broke at the time and I didn’t want to spend money on a new dress. (My grandmother eloped when she was 18 in the early 1940’s and got married in brown slacks and a yellow sweater – and she and my grandpa were married for 65 years – so it really doesn’t matter what you wear or how you’re married). Honestly, the wedding doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially if you’re doing exactly what YOU want to do, in the end it’s not really about the wedding, it’s just the fact that you got married. Don’t stress, don’t worry about the details, as long as you and Jeff and the people you love and want there are there, that’s all that matters, everything else is just fluff. Besides, it’s the honeymoon that is where the real memories are made! 😉 I can’t wait to see your cool desert wedding though – because it sounds like it’s gonna be pretty awesome and unique, just like you guys are!

  • Hubs (then bf of course) and I went cross country from PA to CO to visit my family and decided while there to check out the requirements for getting married just on the off chance it would be easy. It was! We made a date with a judge for the next day and got the paperwork from the town clerk and went back to my parents’ place to let them know… My mom and I spent the afternoon looking for a dress (we found one that I didn’t hate) and she gave me a pretty amber necklace to wear with it. We went the next day to the courthouse and did the deed between two criminal cases. The judge had so much fun and lectured us soundly and afterwards had us show him on a map where we were from. The whole experience was so spontaneous and unfettered by anyone’s expectations or attention. in other words perfect for us. We registered/notarized the papers and went for Irish coffees afterwards and also bought a bunch of albums on cassette tape for the journey home. My parents took us to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. That was it! Oh yes, my step dad tried to take my bf out for a stag night, for some reason he thought they should go to a titty bar..? They left pretty quickly! Hilarious if one knew him at all! All in all we are still feeling pretty smug with our marriage adventure. We avoided the possibility of a church wedding and all that entails. I didn’t even have to answer the question of whether I would convert to the catholic faith… and we both avoided the need to put on a show in front of a bunch of people. Phew! We have been married for 24 years now.

    • Ah! That sounds so perfect!!! I like that it was between two criminal cases too. What a fun story.

      Congrats on 24 years! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  • My boyfriend and I have been talking a lot about marriage lately and the conversation has really been heading the same way as your views! He’s been married before and I’ve never wanted to spend a million dollars on a day about me and my best friend celebrating! We’ve only decided so far that we’re having pizza and just inviting people that are in our life constantly and not a thousand half-friends just to please someone. But it’s nice to hear from someone who feels like I do! I’m so excited to see your big day!

    • Yes to inviting the constants! That was something really important to me, only inviting people who are always around and not people who I really only see on special occasions. I want to feel 100% comfortable on my wedding and keeping it small is going to play a huge part in that! I want people at the wedding who are genuinely excited for us, and not just coming because they have to.

  • Wedding flash mob! YES! That’s the perfect description! We did just that. We showed up with a handful of friends to our apartment courtyard (which fortunately was beautiful and peaceful), did the deed, and moved on to a favorite restaurant and later the bar where we met for the celebrating. IT WAS PERFECT. The only thing I will regret for the rest of my life is not having my family there. It was a quick wedding though – very little time for planning – and I have seven siblings plus parents and in laws and niece and nephews. So the plane tickets would have added up quick, and it just didn’t feel right at the time to push for it – but now I wish I had. I say as long as it feels like YOU and your closest loved ones are there, it’ll be exactly what you want and you’ll love the memories! Small weddings are the BEST.

  • I am in the midst of planning a summer elopement as well, and so far it is going to be super basic but super US! All that matters to me is him, I, and somewhere beautiful in nature. We have a vague idea of a trip out to the mountains on our anniversary that happens to fall on a full moon….and that is it. I have been trying to find the perfect moon themed dress but have yet to come across THE one yet and am trying not to stress. I wasn’t planning on telling anyone until after the fact, but he is leaning towards wanting to be traditional in a sense and asking my parents for my hand in marriage. I was just a bridesmaid in a wedding and it totalllllly solidified that I do NOT want a big ordeal. There was soo much stress, drama, and money involved. meh. It is about us and our love, I truly don’t need anyone else there.

  • Very small wedding here: 6 guests!! Including our 6 month old daughter who was the ring bearer.
    My dress was beautiful, but not white. The “reception” was held at our house, an Indonesian caterer provided yummy food.

    Almost ten years on I’ve got no regrets at all, neither does my husband. Good luck with your wedding and try not to fret about regrets you might have later on. I seriously doubt that you will be regretting anything!

  • My husband and I got married in his mom’s backyard. I wore a $10 black and white sundress from a thift store; he bought a $150 suit that he also wore to his dad’s wedding a few months later. I think all told we spent $1000, including the rings (titanium!) and the officiant. Small weddings are the way to go, imho – they’re intimate, incredibly personal (it’s not another “show up at a church, listen to a dude drone on for 45 minutes, find some way to pass 2 hours while dressed up, then drive to a different location and spend the next 3 hours making awkward small talk with people you haven’t seen in 6 years” like seemingly everyone else has), and it doesn’t break the bank.

  • I’m from Arizona. There are so many wonderful, unique places here. It’s a state unlike any other. I’ve been all over the world and it is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. Can’t wait to see which location you chose.

    We had a small DIY wedding, but still pretty traditional (in the sense that we had aisles and chairs!). I didn’t wear a white dress. My husband wore steeplejacks. We had a food truck cater. It was everything we wanted. 6 years later we still have people reminding us that our wedding was one of the most fun they’d ever been to. We spent less than $10k and focused on what was important to us. For me, I wanted some of those traditional elements. But I did have a moment where I freaked out and was like, “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS. LET’S JUST ELOPE”. Even for small weddings, planning can be very stressful!

    I didn’t care much for hair and makeup and thought it was a frivolous expense, but looking back now I wish I’d splurged and gotten them professionally done. That’s my only regret. Something that doesn’t seem important at the time suddenly states its value when you have to look at the pictures forever!

  • I’m super late to the party but this post really struck me. I had what would definitely be considered a small wedding, with maybe 20 guests. It was at a wedding venue and there were tuxedos and a white dress and lots of cute decorations, but it was also unique and very US. That’s one thing so many of our guests told us afterward: that they’d never been to another wedding that so completely fit the couple and their personalities. To me, that was the highest compliment. So the fact that your wedding will be intimate and weird sounds perfect. I felt the same “will I regret this” things you’re feeling as I planned mine and even for a little while afterward, but 5 years later (this month!) I wouldn’t change a thing. It was perfect. I can’t wait to hear about your special day!

  • You should check out if you haven’t already. It’s filled with stories of “weird” non-traditional weddings!

    My husband and I had a small wedding and we really had a great time. It was so much fun and not nearly as stressful as it could have been.

  • We did a secret wedding in our own town. We knew the pastor personally since he had been a teacher at the school we met. It was small and beautiful. We didn’t want the pressure of having to invite certain people or do things in a certain way. We had a friend take some photos in a nearby location and took a getaway with great food and wine -also close to home.

  • I have a huge, incredibly close family, so I always knew my wedding would be kind of big–while we had a lot of traditional elements, I think we were still able to keep it very quirky and very us! Planning was so stressful, though–and honestly, there were some things that went wrong, so worrying about the details ended up feeling like a waste of time! It feels like you spend months planning this thing and then it’s over in a few hours. 😛 As long as you focus on you and your partner, you will have a blast! <3

  • I’ve been to 2 small, but very beautiful, weddings. One in a registry office followed by a bbq in their garden and one in a church, with literally 10 people, followed by a meal in a pizza restaurant. (In the UK there are lots of limitations on where you can get married.) Both were super lovely, and just as magical as any of the big, catered weddings I’ve been to (possibly more so, because they were super focused on the bride and groom, instead of all the fancy details). I’m not married myself, but I’ve always been baffled by the idea of spending a year’s wages on one day – it’s essentially just a big party. So it’s lovely to read about you planning something so perfect for the two of you! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful day!

  • I’m only just now getting around to catching up on my blog feed reader…. but awwwwww!!! We’re so humbled that you felt so inspired by our elopement! I’m glad I got to talk to you about it 🙂 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the only thing that matters is that it’s you and Jeff, together, sharing your love. The rest is way less important. I know it can’t come soon enough, but it’s worth the wait! 💕