The happiness I felt when my partner (now fiance) asked me to spend the rest of our lives together was all consuming and inconceivable.
However, shortly after the post-engagement bliss lifted, I found my thoughts, conversations, and spare time consumed by wedding planning. Although assured the stress was normal, I felt unnerved by the time commitment, cost, and weight associated with planning “the happiest day of my life.” I realized a traditional wedding wasn’t for me and began toying with the idea of planning a minimalist wedding.
I discussed the idea with my partner (he loved it) and we nervously declared “we are going to plan this wedding in one week.” We threw out all of our previous planning, set an incredibly modest wedding budget, and began finalizing decisions.
In spite of naysayers and doubters, our minimalist wedding was a smashing success! Since so many brides-to-be have been curious about how we planned ours in one week, here are some tips to help guide you.
1. Host the Wedding at a Free Venue
Selecting a venue is undoubtedly one of the most stressful components of wedding planning — not to mention, that rental deposit will make a sizeable dent in your wedding budget.
Skip the stress when planning your minimalist wedding — instead, focus your energy on selecting a location you and your partner would be honored to exchange vows in. Start by compiling a list of your favorite free (or almost free) locations — think mountains, barns, lofts, rivers, parks, waterfalls, beaches, libraries, ranches, warehouses, forested areas, aquariums, museums, and pretty much anywhere else! If you are looking for something a bit more unique, follow this Arizona couple’s lead and hold your nuptials in an abandoned building.
2. Plan Your Honeymoon First
For many couples, honeymoon planning is entirely dependent on what leftover cash can be squeezed from the wedding budget. Many couples even forfeit or postpone their honeymoon as a consequence of exceeding their wedding budget.
Do it backwards when it comes to your minimalist wedding — plan your dream honeymoon and then use the leftover cash to plan your wedding! Another week spent bathing in post-wedding bliss and California sunshine will make foregoing the monogrammed wedding napkins worth it.
3. Use Natural, Borrowed, or Refurbished Decorations
Browsing a list of “necessary” wedding decor will make any minimalist’s head hurt — flowers, welcome signs, placemats, lighting, cake toppers, aisle markers, programs, etc. All to be lost in the post-wedding abyss of wilted flowers and dusty storage boxes.
Instead of investing in things you will never use again to satisfy the wedding status quo, use natural, borrowed, or refurbished items to create whimsical decorations for your wedding.
Besides, if you’ve chosen to exchange vows nestled in a lush forest, you’ll hardly need decorations at all. If you’ve opted for a loft or warehouse venue, natural decorations such as leaves, tree branches, and wildflowers can be used to add light to the bare space. If you’re in need of key pieces, think outside of the box — ask your guests if they have items you can borrow or alter for the day.
4. Digitize Your Wedding Invitations
The majority of our communication is carried out on digital platforms — so why are wedding invitations among the only items we print, sign, seal, and deliver in 2018?
Instead of spending hours poring over invitation designs, simply send out your wedding invitations online. The environmentally friendly, cost-effective alternative will allow you to provide real-time updates to your friends and family. An interactive platform such as a wedding website will cultivate a sense of community and bring your guest together before meeting for the big day!
5. Don’t Give or Receive Gifts
Registries, gift bags, wedding presents — oh my! The pressure is on for both guests and hosts when it comes to wedding gifts, often leading to a multitude of gifts neither part needs.
Instead of receiving shaped salt and pepper shakers from aunt Martha — opt out of gifts all together at your minimalist wedding. This will alleviate pressure and rid both parties of the social obligation associated with giving and receiving gifts. Instead, ask your guests to donate their time, skills, or useful possessions to make your wedding happen. You may be surprised by the hidden talents your friends and families possess (yes, I am referring to your macrame skills, Helen!).
6. Make it an Unplugged Wedding
You are about to experience one of the most intimate moments of your life — just you, your partner, your friends and family…and their social media streams?
In order to avoid distracted and disengaged guests, make your wedding an unplugged affair. This means asking your guests to turn their phones, cameras, and mobile devices off during your wedding ceremony. Although some guests may be reluctant at first, they will undoubtedly be won over by the overwhelming connected, present, and romantic nature of the event.
My husband (still get jitters when I say that) and I, are incredibly happy we made the switch to a minimalist wedding and are eternally grateful to all those that helped along the way.