The non-wedding wedding

Well, I don't normally put anything out there about me, but my friends are sick of the wedding talk (already!) so I need to say something, to someone, if you'd care to read.

Our story: we met online 4 years ago, and after our first date I thought "He's fab, and handsome, but I'm definitely not his type", and he thought, "She's smart, and fun, but definitely not my type". Fast forward a few months of hanging out as friends, and he asks me when I'm going to realise he's in love with me and wants me to be his girlfriend.

So, that was unexpected.

We moved in together sooner than we would have liked, for financial reasons. Then bought a house to do up a couple of years ago. In those two years we've had poor luck when it comes to jobs, and have been living off one (very modest) income the entire time as redundancies abounded time and again. Things are on the up, though, finally.

We'd talked about getting married before. In that we both agreed we didn't want to get married. Ever. We hate weddings.

The proposal:
We were out walking the dog on a Sunday morning. It was a gorgeous day, but we were just taking our normal route through the pretty fields near our house. I thought he'd bent down to tie his lace, so just kept walking til he grabbed my hand and told me to wait. Before he could say anything else I said yes.

So, that was also unexpected.

Then we called the family. I told my friends on Whatsapp. None of them believed us. When they realised we weren't joking, they were happy for us.

The logic:
It's time for us. We never said we hated marriage. We said we don't like weddings - so we're not having a massive do. Both of us don't want to be the centre of attention, and we have many sceptical family members we don't want to spend our day appeasing. We're not fancypants people either, and neither of us dreamed all of our lives about having a big white wedding. We want to be married, to have a marriage, so that's what we're doing.

The plans:


The date:
Initially, we wanted to do it quickly, and elope somewhere. Part of this is because we've not been on holiday in nearly 4 years and were desperate to just get away.

We've taken a step back, however, and are now thinking summer 2018. We're taking the holiday in January anyway, and will do all the big planning when we return. Which gives us about 5 months to save up and book everything in.

Here's the kicker: the budget is £1,500 all in, including a ceremony at an Anglican church (which is a minimum £500 as set by the state).

The invites:

DIY'd on for the princely sum of £19.

The ceremony:We're having only about 20 guests (plus any of the congregation who insist on turning up at the church - they're a lovely bunch who're excited at the idea of a wedding in our little local chapel, to which only 12 of us regularly attend on a Sunday and hasn't seen a wedding in years as I understand), and will have a small reception at our house (a 3 minute walk from the church) afterwards. The plan is to set a time limit on the reception (state it on the invites), a 'cocktails and cupcakes' type thing, and then we can go on honeymoon in the evening.

The wedding party:
None! I'm doing it all myself because there are so few guests it would be strange to single some of them out. It's such a small wedding there's no need to be asking anyone to do anything, really.

The dress:
I ordered it today. It was £20 from Amazon and I sent it to my friend's house so will try it on at the weekend. I might need to return it, if it's too short. 


  • Looking forward to reading more Annie, congrats x

  • Thank you! :D

  • MrsK2017MrsK2017 Posts: 230

    I love the sound of your wedding! X

  • I love the sound of your plans - so relaxed and chilled. Looking forward to reading more!

  • Thanks! I'm getting a bit frustrated because we haven't set a date yet and he's being way too relaxed about it all. We're off on holiday in January for 2 weeks, and he said we can plan etc once that's done... but if we want to get married around May/June that leaves only a few months to do everything! Argh! It also depends on when we can get baptised at the church - it's not a pre-requisite for us to do so as it's C of E, but we want to as we're both returning to faith after a while away (which has played a small part in the decision to get married, too). 

    I bought one dress from Amazon for £20 and need to return it today, as it was too short for my very gangly frame. But it's just as well, as I found the Lisette dress in cream from Lindy Bop on sale for £26 and it's perfect for me! So that's on its way over now and I'm very excited to try it. I think I might even stress less once I've got a dress, I just want to have SOMETHING to show for the start of the wedding planning lol. We haven't even gone out with family or friends to celebrate our engagement, so I guess it's simply not feeling real right now. 

    As for honeymoons, we have no idea. We're on a budget for that. I'm tempted to suggest we do a staycation where we can take the pets to the countryside with us; two big holidays in the space of six months seems ridiculous, especially considering how broke we have been until recently! The holiday in January is our first in 4 years so it's well-deserved, but I think I want a quiet honeymoon without lots of planes, trains, and other honeymooners hahaha. (I am also not adapted to warmer climes lol). 

  • Sounds lovely, look forward to hearing more about your plans x

  • So the dress arrived and was the least flattering creation in the world. However I think I've found the right one, from Marks and Sparks. 

    Ordered my shoes anyway - flat cream satin pumps, can't go wrong with them whatever dress I end up with!

    And we still haven't set the date (argh!) but know within a 4 week time frame now - it all depends on when we can pin down the minister really.

    We're so set on having a humble wedding but don't want the focus to be 'cheap'; it has to be quality, small, and humble. Which is surprisingly difficult!

    Two of my friends have stopped talking to me because I'm not having bridesmaids. All I can think is "glad to find out who my friends are now rather than later!". They also wanted to arrange my hen  as a weekend away with a spa, pub crawl, and cocktail making class... I've been teetotal for 4 years (the whole time they've known me)...

    Oh well!

  • It's all changed!

    We found ourselves getting carried away, expanding the guest lists, imagining hog roasts and summer picnics...

    It's just not us.

    We also want to move house as soon as we can, and it'd be better to be married before doing that.




    We have a holiday booked mid-January. We're HOPING to talk to the vicar and arrange a weekday small wedding with just close family and my best friend, the day before our holiday is booked. If that's not possible, it'll be sometime very soon after we get back.


    No marquees, no hog roasts, no seemingly limitless guest lists.


    Just a handful of close friends and family, plus the congregation from our church who'll insist on coming anyway (because nobody has been married in that church for 20 years!). 


    Then coffee and cakes in the church hall, then home to collect our things and go away on the already-planned holiday as a honeymoon!


    So it's not quite the elopement we initially planned, but it's also not the huge summer do it was becoming. People will be invited, but being a weekday at short notice we don't expect them to come.

    Costco cake, possibly hot chocolate as an option instead of coffee, walk to the church (or drive in my cheap runaround if it's raining!), a small self-made bouquet, and that's it. 

    I just want to say my vows and be married. Everything else can go into the erm.. "feckit" bucket. :D

  • Really a great story!!! I hope i also share with you same story. LOL!! Good Luck!!  

  • MrsK2017MrsK2017 Posts: 230

    It's easy to get caught up in everything isn't it! At the end of the day, it's the getting married bit that matters, isn't it. The rest of the bits depends on personal taste. Your wedding sounds amazing :) 


    We're also doing the Costco cake - we've got a small wedding, and five of us won't be able to eat it anyway, so getting an alternative for the vegans and gluten free people (including myself!) 

  • I also agree it's so easy to get caught up in the excitement/needing or wanting to please everyone. 

    We've considered a Costco cake, It wouldn't feed the number of guests we're having BUT you can't beat the creaminess of a Costco one! x

  • Ah! We've set the wedding date! We paid the church yesterday... and it's been moved forward to the 11th January. Eep!


    We figured: why wait? There's a lot we want to do next year such as buy a house, and the wedding was just this stumbling block in the middle. So, we got rid of the block :) 

    It also made sense as our holiday to Iceland was already booked so we can treat it as our honeymoon, meaning we won't be splashing out on two holidays in a year.

    So there you have it: tiny church wedding, self-catered church hall reception, off to Iceland for the honeymoon.


    But...I now have ONE MONTH to get EVERYTHING sorted. The dress still hasn't been found yet, either, despite ordering and returning MANY haha.

    I'm not panicking. Nope. Not me.

    There's no panic to see here. Move along please. 

  • Nikki mrs C to be wrote (see post):

    I also agree it's so easy to get caught up in the excitement/needing or wanting to please everyone. 

    We've considered a Costco cake, It wouldn't feed the number of guests we're having BUT you can't beat the creaminess of a Costco one! x

    And also - thanks everyone for supporting the Costco cake idea :) his dad has a membership so the plan is likely to be a case of "Supermarket sweep" style aisle ramraid on the 10th January and just mash it all together to make some semblance of a buffet! Haha. 

    What's lovely is that we set the date after yesterday's morning church service, and after we'd done all the ID checks etc after the evening service, we told our friends in the congregation and they IMMEDIATELY all offered their help in various forms! It was so lovely to know they're just as excited as we are :) 

  • Oh wow, one month to plan a wedding, how exciting! And how lovely that everyone immediately volunteered their services to get everything done.

  • I love your storytelling style and I'm so excited that you have set your date. I wanted just a three month engagement but have ended up with 11 months. Good luck with the dress hunt x


  • Thanks ladies!

    We've booked and paid for the church, and ordered our rings (which were too small so we're returning them and have ordered the right size!). 

    The dress, however, is just becoming a nightmare! I really cannot find ANYTHING to fit that doesn't cost hundreds of pounds - and I'm stubborn, but I resolutely won't spend a lot on a dress that I'm going to wear for a maximum of three hours!


    Our banns were read in church this Sunday and it was so special to hear it - lots of people came up to me after (the other half had to work - boo!) and wanted to talk about it and offer yet more help. Looks like we're going to have a full house whether we wanted to or not - weddings in the church family don't happen very often so everyone turns out for them!

    All we need to sort now:

    - his suit (did someone say, "January sales"?)

    - self catering platters

    - Costco run for drinks etc

    - Borrow slow cookers and erm, 'test' the hot chocolate recipe I've got... :D

    - buy bits to decorate the reception hall (which'll all be lighting-based for quick and easy set up/take down, and we're donating the lights to the church afterwards for other people to use)

    - MY DRESS! Waaaaahhh :(


    So actually not a lot. Also we need to design the orders of service. We had a lovely, lengthy visit from the vicar last week and he was really helpful. We're allowed secular music as well as hymns, which surprised and delighted us. My aisle music is the wedding version of Never Stop by Safetysuit, and there'll be a lot of Keith Urban in the playlist too.

    So really the only thing I'm stressing on is the dress, but I have faith I'll have a solution by the time it rolls around... in three and a half weeks...


    OH! I almost forgot. I thought the wedding might be postponed! On Friday I took a nasty tumble on the ice and now have a compression fracture in my spine. Ouch. The good news is that most of the pain is muscular, and will heal (mostly) prior to the wedding. The docs have said we can still go to Iceland, IF I look after myself in the meantime. Lots of hot springs on the honeymoon have been recommended - I can abide by those doctors' orders for sure ;)

  • OK, it's been busy!

    The rings we ordered don't fit, so they've gone back. We're waiting for the guy to make the next size we need, which is cutting it fine but we should be OK for it.

    We've decided on very basic flowers, but lots and lots of candles in the church as it'll be dark when we get married (4pm) so it'll look nice and romantic. I spent a small fortune on candles and holders in Ikea yesterday! (Hint: the small Pomp vases make perfect hurricane lamps for 15cm pillar candles, and only cost £2.50!). So we've got four of those, one for each window, and two copper charger plates for a candle arrangement to sit either side of the only flower arrangement on the east window in front of the altar. Then, when the ceremony is done, we can take the hurricane lamps through to the hall and use them as centrepieces on the coffee tables. 

    I ummed and ahhed over the tableware, but we've agreed that as it's only for two hours and everything is going to get thrown away anyway, we've gone for basic white biodegradable plates, basic foil platters, and from Tesco I found some cheap 'linen feel' disposable white table cloths for the trestle tables (£2 for a large cloth). We have tried to get as much recyclable or biodegradable stuff as possible, so that we're not causing too much waste. The thing is, we're off on honeymoon as soon as the reception finishes (we have a hotel booked that's an hour away, on the way to the airport so we only have to travel an hour the next morning instead of two!). That means we'd have had to leave someone to do the washing up, which isn't fair on anyone! 

    So the plan is plate up any leftovers, which my friend will take to the homeless kitchen, and then everything else is a quick clean up into the recycling. The decorations are just candles and lamps, which'll take zero time at all to take down.

    We've also found the food we want to order from M&S, and will go to the supermarket for all the extra bits and bobs the day before the wedding, too.

    All that's left to do:

    - Order rings

    - Buy his suit

    - Confirm and print order of service

    - Choose registry signing music

    - Make a playlist for the reception

    - Order cake and food

    - Order flowers

    - Get hair done, go to salon the day before for lashes

    - Make bouquet and arrangements the night before

    - Make a few food things for the buffet

    - Get married!!


    It's getting so close. In two weeks I'll be on annual leave and in two weeks and one day I'll be getting married! Eek!

  • Annie40Annie40 Posts: 63


    So, the dress fits enough for me to like it, and I have a slip for underneath. I've bought all-white Converse and am putting white satin laces in to 'bride' them up a bit.

    He is going suit shopping tomorrow... 

    He needs to sort out the playlist music for the ceremony and reception. The rehearsal is on Monday.

    The rings arrived today so hoping they'll fit.

    The orders of service went to print today.

    I've got a food order from Tesco arriving on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday will be plating everything up on platters.

    The cake has been ordered from Costco, and we're collecting that on Wednesday along with last-minute food stuff.

    The kennels have been confirmed, as has the honeymoon itinerary.

    The flowers (which I wasn't going to buy at all then found a reasonable cost of £70 for 160 roses at Waitrose florist) arrive on Sunday, and I'll be doing basic centrepieces on Wednesday.

    The hair appointment for colour is on Saturday, and the salon is booked for lashes Wednesday.

    We're going to set up in the church hall and the church on the day of the wedding! Initially, we were going to set up on the Wednesday afternoon and I was going to take him to his Dad's for the evening. However, this meant that on the day of the wedding I'd be left to do everything myself, and it was turning into a logistical nightmare. It turns out that neither of us were bothered about the "don't see the bride before the wedding" tradition, so he's staying home and we're going to set up together the morning of the wedding instead. I've insisted that he get ready in the afternoon and then I'm kicking him out to the church before I get ready, though! Got to at least have the "open the door and walk down the aisle" reveal moment.

    At this point, I just want it over with. I want to be married and I don't want to be the centre of attention. We've spent more time, money, and effort on it than we initially intended (still well within budget) and we're both sick of it already. Roll on Thursday!

  • mrsdivinemrsdivine Posts: 161 New bride

    Can't believe how much you have achieved in such a short amount of time. I am taking a week at a time to dither over each element of our wedding day! Glad to hear you found a dress, what did you choose?

  • weatherwaxeweatherwaxe Posts: 860 New bride

    Annie, I hope you do a report or a summary after you're back from your honeymoon. I really do want to know how it all turns out!

  • This is an amazing thread. It just goes to show that all that matters in the end is that the two people get married. 

    I agree with Weatherwax. I would love to see a report after the wedding.

    Iceland is magical. One of our favourite countries and nothing like other places we have visited.

  • MrsBeehanMrsBeehan Posts: 378 New bride

    I love this thread! Like the others have said it keeps the meaning of marriage alive instead of it being about everything else (which is lovely for some but not essential). I also hope you do a report thread and maybe some pics? :)

  • Annie40Annie40 Posts: 63
    mrsdivine wrote (see post):

    Can't believe how much you have achieved in such a short amount of time. I am taking a week at a time to dither over each element of our wedding day! Glad to hear you found a dress, what did you choose?

    Thanks MrsDivine! Having such a short timespan has really helped my natural indecisiveness, that's for sure!

    I found one on Amazon by BiuBiu, for £16.99 - I don't know if links work but I'll try: 

    It's a tad see-through, because it's white, but a simple jersey slip underneath (another grand £5 on that!) has sorted that problem. It's the best fitting dress I found, and it still comes to just below my knee, despite me being 6'2! The ruching around the chest is sooo flattering - I'm a big girl but a member of the itty bitty titty committee so it's hard to find things that balance out, and this dress was great! I also have a (£3, Amazon) long-sleeved shrug for after the ceremony, just in plain white, as the church hall can be a bit nippy even with the heating on!

    I've also decided on a veil (£8, Amazon Prime comes to the rescue again!), which I wasn't going to have. I bought it last-minute before my hair appointment on Saturday and thought we'd try some stuff out with it and without it, and see which looked best. Well, my hairdresser (who happens to be my bestie and MOH) was bawling by the time we finished the first pinup and added the veil! So we decided a veil was necessary. I told the fiance about it when I got home, that I was having a veil, as we were talking about the rehearsal. While he'd not complained when I said I WASN'T wearing a veil, when he found out I WAS having one his face lit up like a kid at Christmas. It was very cute.

    The rehearsal is tonight! Eek! He's decided to ask his BIL to be best man, and I officially asked my bestie to be MOH, although nothing really changes. His BIL will operate the music during the ceremony, but he was going to do that anyway! We aren't buying suits or anything, it's just a way for us to recognise that these two are very important to us and to thank them for their support in our relationship so far. While it's his BIL, we were so excited when he married into the family last year, as he's more like the fiance's brother than his actual brother is! 

    The orders of service were delayed on print which, seeing as I work for the printing house, was erm... unexpected! However they're in folding as we speak so should be collected later today. We've asked two ladies from our bible fellowship group to do a short reading each, as we wanted people doing the readings to be those who really believed and understood what they were saying. We're having Ephesians 3: 16-21 and Philippians 2: 1-12. They're not typical wedding ones, but they mean a lot.

    We're setting up the church on the day at 10am, then heading back to ours to get ready. At first I was worried we might not have much time, but with the MOH coming to help the division of labour will make it a fast setup I think. The food is all being delivered tomorrow night, and we'll take it up to the church to plate it up there (saves space in the fridge!). It's your typical buffet style food, but with some fun extras like a sushi platter and macaroons for dessert.

    We collect the cake from Costco on Wednesday, so I'm hoping that turns out OK. To be honest, we don't really care as the cake isn't a centrepiece for us - we mostly got it because it's 

  • Annie40Annie40 Posts: 63

    cheap at £13.99 and feeds 45 people! 

    We're having elderflower fizz for the toast, as I don't drink (I'm allergic to alcohol!), and I managed to snap up lots of nice Belvoir elderflower fizz the night before a half-price deal ended, which meant we saved about £30. 

    We had a bit of a problem with the flowers. They got delivered yesterday, but were wrong! It turned out that, at literally the moment I placed my order for 100 sweetheart harlequin roses, the back end of the website was being updated to be for 100 RED sweetheart roses. So instead of yellows, reds, and oranges, I just got all red! The second bunch, white and pink sweetheart roses, arrived so bruised and bashed we'll only be able to use about half. Seeing as 100 of these roses is about the size of a standard supermarket bouquet, because they're so tiny, that's not much!

    However, Waitrose were apologetic and quick to help, and refunded the ENTIRE order (£80 including the delivery fees). So we got some free flowers and some budget back to get more! We'll just get some supermarket bunches the day before. I've got some glass tumblers that I'll wrap with silver ribbon and stuff full of flowers - simple, but effective. People have been asking me what my theme is and that's the answer: simple! The sweetheart roses will be cut at the head and dropped en masse in the bottom of hurricane vases around a pillar candle, for the window decorations. These'll then be taken through for table centrepieces in the hall. 

    I had something similar with my makeup, too - my Superdrug order got 'lost in transit' so they refunded it. A few days later, I had a missed delivery at home...which turned out to be my makeup! Someone had read the billing address as the order address (the order was definitely supposed to go to my work!), which is why it got lost. 

    So, some hassle, but financial blessings! Strange how some things work out. The money we got refunded has gone on a nice bottle of giftboxed Moet for the BIL (best man) and bestie (MOH). It was fortuitous that we got those refunds so we could get them a nice gift each.

    Also good news is that his grandad, who was looking really ill at Christmas (we thought he wouldn't see new year) is much better and able to make the wedding!

    The fiance has been pretty stressed the last few days. It's started to overwhelm him, I think, now it's getting close. However, last night we made the reception playlist and by the end of the night he was much happier and more excited about it all! I think he feels there's just a lot left to do, but once I talked him through The Plan, he realised it'll be straightforward and easy. :) 


  • Annie40Annie40 Posts: 63

    Oh! And one more thing: he has a suit! I haven't seen it, but he showed me the fabric and it's a nice grey tweedy colour. I am glad that I've added a veil though, as we'd agreed to be fairly casual but he's admitted that it's a 3-piece suit and the shoes are winkle pickers which, compared to my knee length dress and converse trainers, is way more smart! I think the veil will make it more 'bride'-y though so should be fine...!

  • mrsdivinemrsdivine Posts: 161 New bride

    So sorry that I missed wishing you a Happy Wedding Day yesterday. I hope you had a wonderful day and are now enjoying Iceland to the full xxx

  • Miaow8690Miaow8690 Posts: 298

    Hope you had a lovely day and are enjoying Iceland! Look forward to hearing all about the wedding/honeymoon when you return!

  • Annie40Annie40 Posts: 63

    Well, it's all done now!

    The ceremony was so lovely, and everyone commented on how pretty the church was decorated with candles at night like that. 

    We don't have a single decent photograph, but that's fine because we didn't hire a photographer!

    I got chocolate sauce down my dress from profiteroles, but I was planning to dye it anyway so that's no problem.

    The reception was small and humble; his family didn't really 'get it' but the church family totally got where we were coming from so that's good. We even had cards from everyone and a lot put some money in even though we specifically said no gifts! So that went towards our honeymoon, which was helpful because ICELAND IS SO RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. We ate dinner out three times in the two weeks we were there, and not even multi-course dinners just two beers two burgers kind of thing, and spent around £400 on just three meals, in bog-standard restaurants.

    Iceland was INCREDIBLE though. We were blessed to see the Northern Lights five nights in a row, which truly made the trip memorable. Driving around the entire island became exhausting but never boring as there's always something even more beautiful around the next bend (and there are a LOT of bends). We stayed in lots of little self catered cabins and that not only saved us money but also sanity - when we had to stay in hotels we never got a good night's sleep because other guests were so noisy, but the cabins were isolated enough that you didn't get doors slamming all night etc.

    And now it's all back to normal - or rather, the new normal as a Mrs! I've decided to take his name, which surprised everyone as I wasn't going to, but I figure: we're a team, why not share an identity? He suggested taking my surname, but our names sounded better with his - there's no patriarchial reason behind it :) 

    And that's it! Done, dusted, glad to be married. It was all over in a couple of hours. We managed to set up the reception hall in the morning pretty quickly, then went back home to get ready. He got ready upstairs and I had to shut myself in the kitchen when he came downstairs to leave so we wouldn't see each other all dressed up. Little does he know that I was still in my jeans and didn't even have my hair or makeup done, less than 30 mins before the ceremony! It was that laid back. 

    I wasn't nervous at all until I walked the aisle, when I couldn't stop shaking. That may have been from cold, though, as I had to wait in the little entrance foyer of the chapel for ten minutes without a coat... I was definitely my something blue! 

    Thanks ladies for all of your support, it was small and quick exactly what we wanted. xxx


    (Oh, and my best friend/MOH drove me back home afterwards and all she said in the 3 minute drive was "That was the most intimate, cutest wedding I've been to. Oh, and me and Mr MOH have agreed to get married in 2020". It was significant because Mr MOH has been anti-marriage for a while, but also because they aren't even engaged yet so to have that year-date set is a Big Deal and it was because he'd seen that weddings don't need to be huge affairs (which is why he hadn't proposed) - so we could have helped in persuading him, too! But it does mean, when I thought I'd got rid of the wedding planning, I'm going to have it all over again very soon when I'm her MOH! hahaha).

  • Mrs_BadgerMrs_Badger Posts: 1,440

    I got the chocolate fountain down my dress when I got married last time. Lol

  • Congratulations. It's so nice to see a laid back/intimate wedding for a change. Sounded perfect. All the best x

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