Your wedding day, the one day that is meant to be all about you and your other half making a lifelong commitment to one another… or… A day that takes months or years to plan, causes stress, a lot of crafting of invites/table decorations/bunting, chasing RSVP’s, organising every last detail (sometimes more for others than yourselves), tears and sometimes fall outs. So why do most couples do this to themselves?!
For our big day, we chose a different option – to get married abroad with the help of a wedding planner. We didn’t want to spend twice or triple the money in England – have you noticed that as soon as they add the word wedding before something they then add 00’s to the end of the price?!! We didn’t want to worry about the weather, to feel as though we had to invite every second cousin removed from my Dad’s side who I didn’t know just to please family and I certainly didn’t want a cold drafty church.
My (now) hubby proposed on a beach at night on the Greek island of Zante and having visited Rhodes once on a day trip (when staying in Turkey) we decided to keep the Greek theme for the wedding. We loved Rhodes so much that we immediately looked into how to make our big day happen there. It turns out it’s pretty easy! I contacted a British lady who ran her own company in Lindos, Rhodes. She met us in England at a local hotel, I gave her all my ideas and, in a nutshell, she made it all happen. All I had to do were invites, get dresses, suits, rings and organise a holiday – easy!
I see women getting so excited about wedding dress shopping. They traipse around every shop they can find, try on dress after dress, all in different styles and shades of white, usually with family and bridesmaids in tow, having themselves pulled and tied into dresses in wrong sizes to try and get an idea of how it may look once altered. I knew this wasn’t for me (definitely not girly enough!) and I never stepped foot inside a bridal store. I knew the style I wanted and turned to eBay, with the help of my Mother-in-law who actually spotted the dress whilst we scrolled through and pointed it out to me. Wanna know the cost?.. £40! Yep, I was not prepared to pay hundreds or thousands for one dress for one day and as we wanted a beach wedding it didn’t matter if it got sand, sea water or drink on it. I will never understand the costs of wedding dresses and why people will happily pay so much to wear it just the once. I did the same with my bridesmaid dresses, £34.99 on eBay and sashes for their waists at £3 each. No stress, no hassle, no wasting time in shops and all delivered to my door. I will let you decide if you think they look that cheap in the picture at the end.
Rings? Ebay!! have you seen the costs in jewellery stores? Plain white gold bands for each of us.
Don’t worry if you are sitting there thinking eBay?!!! I won’t be offended, I call it my eBay wedding and feel happy that I saved money yet still pulled it off.
From the moment we got engaged to the wedding day was only about 6 months so we had to move fast on invites. We sat one Saturday and worked as a team getting these done. He printed off the information about the island, where to stay and what it’s like there whilst I hand wrote the shop bought invites – yep, we didn’t have custom made ones, we didn’t make any ourselves, we simply bought white cards with silver writing inside.
All the flowers, legal arrangements (except the notification here with the registry office), decorations, photographer, ceremony, hair, makeup, transport, DJ, musician, food and venue ideas were all down to my wedding planner and her team. We just signed off on it all and picked the beach and reception venue once we were out there – although that was a tricky process and many hours were spent driving around with her to get our perfect spot with all of us getting a bit anxious at some points. But, she pulled it off! We ended up finding a beach where no one had ever been married before. We were due to get married on the Saturday but the town mayor had to agree to the ceremony due to it being a new venue and this wasn’t actually confirmed until the Thursday night!! Hey a little excitement thrown in never hurt anyone (cue the huge sigh of relief). Having this beach made our wedding day even more special.
The day for us was all about us and we wanted an easy going wedding, no stress and for everybody there who wanted to be… that’s the joy of going abroad, only your closest friends and family will be prepared to go all that way, and pay. Unfortunately, some people couldn’t get the time off work, were ill, pregnant etc so we did have a party at home for everybody 2 weeks after we got back. We showed photo’s, video’s, used the same colours in the room and had the DJ play all the same tunes. No, I did not wear my dress again, I was not recreating the day, just re-celebrating it.
I do wonder if those who go to wedding fayres, bridal stores, buy magazines, search the internet for ideas every night, make a wedding bible and spend every weekend dedicated to wedding planning actually do enjoy doing half these things, or whether they are just simply following the trends and doing what they think is expected of them? Your wedding day isn’t about stress and upset, it is about joy, celebration and love. It isn’t about a huge dress that you cannot afford, who can and can’t come, it is about you two making your lifelong commitment to one another, you are the two important people in this day.
On my day I had 28 guests, I had already seen all these people the night before at a lovely meal so I did not spend my day trying to get around talking to everybody and making sure I had said hello, thank you and having to make idle chit chat. I easily spoke to everybody and got to enjoy my day with my new hubby both being able to party with friends, having the time of our lives. One of the biggest complaints I have heard in the past from brides is that they felt they spent most of their day thinking about who they had and hadn’t yet spoken to as they had so many guests. I do agree it’s lovely to have so many people who love you at your wedding, please don’t get me wrong, but you want to be able to look back at your day and remember dancing and drinking and having fun, not about how stressful it was doing the rounds and wondering if you had kissed old Aunt Edith yet!
My wedding planners were in the background dealing with all the arrangements so I never had to worry about anything, although not one of us noticed how many bottles of wine the Greeks had opened – they do like to keep their food and drink flowing bless them – the bill at the end of the night was a bit surprising!
Our honeymoon was simply incorporated to the holiday. We went out a week before the wedding to chill, see everyone and get a tan. We were married on the Saturday in the middle and then had another week to enjoy – I could have stayed a month, it was amazing.
The most common comments I receive when I tell people about our wedding day are:
Didn’t your family want you to getting married here? How much was your dress?!!! Weren’t you stressed when you couldn’t find a beach? Weren’t you worried about the details? How did you not worry about your hair and makeup trial? (I had this done a few days before the wedding day itself) How could you put your trust in someone doing it all abroad when you were in England?
Why did others seem surprised at our story? Our decisions? There was no stress, there didn’t need to be. If it had just been myself and Rob it would have still been perfect. We didn’t need a 25k wedding, we didn’t need all the fancy trimmings (we had BBQ food for the meal) and we didn’t need to ever worry. Our wedding planner pulled out all the stops, she listened to our every need, my friends and family overwhelmed us by coming out to support and celebrate with us and every single person said what a fab time it was.
Your wedding, your day, your way. Make it special.