Wedding Wednesday: Where to Start?
















I have to admit, I never thought about the idea of a wedding growing up. I’m not sure if it’s due to generational or cultural differences (likely a mix of both), but no one in my family has had more than a small civil ceremony. When my sweet grandfather got married he was living in the community workers’ housing in China. I asked him about his special day, to which he responded: “What’s that? Our wedding was me picking up my cot and moving it to the same room as your grandma’s cot!”

Over the past few years many of our friends have tied the knot, so we’ve had a chance to see a range of ceremonies and locations. Quaint backyards, seaside estates, beautiful hotels, big ballrooms, and small churches. Later this summer we’ll even be attending our first city hall wedding and Indian wedding (can’t wait for the colorful sarees and oh, the food!). Getting to see a variety of venues was nice, but more importantly, I loved seeing the different ways each couple chose to celebrate their commitment to one another.

Considering all the options available today, I was largely inspired by both Cee’s beautiful, classically simple wedding (which she orchestrated for an incredible value) and Tam’s romantic, intimate ceremony that had me swooning. I wasn’t successful in convincing Nick to elope with me to the south of France or the tropics of Thailand…thus, we began exploring ideas back home in Boston. He’s a born and raised west coast boy, and wanted to share “the city where we fell in love and built our lives in together” with our friends and family from around the world, which I felt was earnest and something I was happy to be on board with.

Readers who are married – I’d love to hear about the type of wedding you had, large or intimate, near or far, and how that initial decision came to be!

87 thoughts on “Wedding Wednesday: Where to Start?

  • Reply Kangana June 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I am Indian and married an Indian – so I had the standard giant wedding in India with over 700 guests. My wedding was beautiful – perfect day, venue, feeling. I have the most amazing memories. Still, I think nothing beats a small intimate ceremony, where you KNOW everyone who is present, and who is sharing in your happiness. I was living in America and my wedding was in India – so the planning process was stressful, I really let them handle the most of it.

    I am so happy for you! Hope you enjoy the process. My mantra is usually to care a little less about the small details so when its the day of your wedding – you are OKAY with something not coming the way you wanted – and its more about you, your groom, and your family and friends.

  • Reply Dressed with soul June 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and the really interesting post! When I married my first husband we had besides the civil marrige a huge marriage in a romantic Bavarian church. I wore a white Bavarian costume and my former husband wore also a costume. We had nearly 100 guests and the celebration was in an original Bavarian restaurant with Bavarian food and music. My second marriage was in the opposite very small: only my current husband, our children and I attented the civil cermony. But I again wore a traditional Bavarian costume but in this case not in white 🙂 Fortunately I'm still very happy with my second husband although the marriage was much smaller!

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Reply marisa June 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Ah! I love seeing the pictures! After also trying to convince my husband to elope and realizing an outdoor wedding in North Carolina would probably make up lose friends we went to the destination wedding of our dreams! We got married on Kauai and with the help of my very industrious mom we got about 50 guests to come without breaking every ones budget! It was perfect, I was relaxed and got to chat with each guest and walked down the aisle twice to double rainbows! Best of luck to you and Nick with the planning!

  • Reply Olive Piper June 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Congratulations!! I'm not married, but my best friend is going to be in less than a month! I think the most important thing is to remember that you're celebrating your love. A lot of the time people get caught up in the whole planning to the point where it's not even about the couple anymore, but rather more about what you're offering guests that attend. Obviously you want your guests to have an amazing time, but don't lose sight about what this whole celebration is about. It's about you and your finace, and you guys should celebrate it in the way that bests shares your love 🙂

    You're going to have a blast!


  • Reply Ella Pretty Blog June 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I seriously can't wait to see what you decide! Love your grandfather's description of his wedding! There can be so much drama attached to wedding planning – I think the most important thing to remember is to make it a fun day for your spouse, family and friends. We opted to have our wedding in Bangladesh – I had spent all my summers there as a child – and my cousins always made me promise that no matter what, I'd get married there. It was a huge wedding with lots of family – and luckily my mother did all of the wedding planning so I only had to enjoy the experience 🙂

  • Reply M Anderson June 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    We were living in SoCal and wanted something elegant, yet with a laid-back vibe for 100 people. After looking at several properties in the area, we chose the Four Seasons Aviara (Carlsbad-near San Diego) for our venue. Our ceremony and reception were at both at the resort. One thing we knew we would never have to worry about was the weather – it was a perfect April afternoon!

  • Reply Elaine June 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I love all things weddings so I can't wait to read more about your planning process 🙂 I have a really big family so while I wanted it more intimate of course it was larger than expected however still small compared to many others (I had about 130 people). My husband's family is REALLY small and they had never attended a wedding in 20 + years so I didn't want to overwhelm them. I had a church ceremony (as my family is catholic) then I found a reception venue on a private lake – it used to be a house but when the owner inherited it she turned it into a wedding space. So it was quaint enough that it felt very casual and almost like people were just coming to home rather than a hall 🙂

  • Reply Alison June 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Congratulations!! My husband and I were married in October of 2012 and it was definitely overwhelming to plan, but totally worth it. We nicknamed our wedding the "Jewish-Italian Wedding in Amish Country" which sounds nuts… and it kind of was. We had just over 100 guests and were married at Riverdale Manor in Lancaster, PA (even though neither of us are from there!). Ken is from Long Island and has a gigantic Italian family, and I'm from southern NJ with a tiny family. I'm Jewish, and it was important to me to have a Jewish ceremony, but we made sure that our mostly non-Jewish guests knew what was going on by having lots of explanations in the program. I blogged about it a few times, so you can go check out the pictures. 🙂

    Also, one of my favorite websites, not only for wedding stuff, but for life in general is A Practical Wedding ( Our wedding was featured there, which was super fun to be a part of ( The website it a great resource for planning all kinds of different weddings, as well as a great community of smart, funny women. It's really lovely. I used a few vendors that are supported by APW as well, and they were the best people.

    Good luck, take deep breaths, and enjoy the process as much as you can! Sending you lots of love!

  • Reply aichan June 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    My wedding was in a Japanese restaurant overseeing a small lake in the nearby city where we lived in Southern California. The ceremony was followed by a lunch reception. Although we were on budget, the wedding was still very intimate and sweet as my hubby and I planned everything by ourselves; all my dad's siblings and my mom's were all here with my husband's relatives and a few close friends. We've been married for 11 years now with 2 small children.
    I've been following your blog for a few years now and this is my first time to leave a message. I'm a petite too; your simple and clever style inspires me so much. Look forward to seeing your wedding (no pressure, haha). You will be a beautiful bride. =)

  • Reply becomingbrown June 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Congrats! Wedding planning is fun. I really enjoyed my own planning after a friend directed me to the Practical Wedding website ( I wrote about our wedding over there too! (

    When we got married, both me and my husband are Deaf so it was important to us that we had interpreters at our wedding. We got married in a public park in Colorado because Colorado is where I am from. Middle sized wedding to me, about 100. It was really lovely. I love how weddings become about who you and your spouse are. I hope you enjoy the planning.


  • Reply Jackie June 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply Jackie June 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Jean, I am so excited for you. I celebrated my 7th anniversary not too long ago.I had a small church wedding. Money was tight and my mother was going through chemo at the time so we wanted something simple for money and sanity's sake. I had maybe 75 people attend. It was a lovely little wedding, but cheap and simple; we probably only spend $3,500 on everything, including the dress – that was 2007. We saved a lot of money by having finger foods buffet style afterward, instead of a whole meal for each person and having the whole thing in my mom's church so we didn't have to pay for a venue. We also have a woman from the congregation who was a friend of my mom's take photos (she was a photographer) take the pictures so we didn't pay for that either!

    I guess you have to decide first who you want to be in attendance and what style of wedding you want to have, and what's appropriate for you both at this time in your lives. My sister, for example had very small ceremony with immediate family only over a weekend. Her and her husband are both military and move around a lot, so it didn't make sense to have big wedding.

    I agree with Olive. The most important thing is the marriage, not the wedding, and the lifetime of memories you'll make together. The best advise I think, would be to do what makes sense for you and you guests and use any resources you have to save so money (more for the honey moom lol)

    Prayers and best wishes for you and Nick 🙂

  • Reply Sandy June 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Jean, couple weeks ago I read that a couple had their wedding on the farm, I thought it's very nice, sweet and unique, it's a Fall wedding though, so not sure if that's the time for you and Nick, here is the website, there are other weddings summer and winter ones too…

  • Reply Jackie June 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Sorry for all the typos -__-

  • Reply Sandy June 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    oh, as my own wedding which was over 11yrs ago, we just did it simple, had the service at a beautiful church, then we went to the restaurant for the banquet, it's the end of March, so it's too cold for an outdoor wedding, plus most of my relatives are in China, I only have few friends on my side, we had a small wedding about 30 to 40 people, mostly are close friends and family member, but we had a blast later to rip the dancing floor…depends on how many people you and Nick are going to invite, there are many beautiful places in Boston area for an outdoor wedding…can't wait to see your wedding picture because we know you both will come out something sweet and unique

  • Reply Emily @ Gingham and Steel June 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, Jean, I'm so happy for you. I have no doubt yours will be the most beautiful wedding Boston has ever seen – you're so gorgeous and classic!

    My husband and I got married with a $10,000 budget, which was perhaps higher than really necessary, but which we don't regret. Half was the food/venue – an historic Victorian mansion nestled in the mountains near Colorado Springs, CO. While I ended up not being thrilled with the woman who worked directly with us, the certainty of not having to handle the hassles involved – and of being assured of delicious food and a remarkably "us" location – was well worth it. We did get married in November, the "off" season, so we saved a good amount over what we would have spent in the same location in May or June.

    Most of the rest, we did ourselves. It ended up being a very intimate affair (around 30, all told), and I absolutely loved the custom ceremony we designed with our minister/officient, complete with string quartet move-theme arrangements my husband wrote that underscored key moments (very appropriate for two actor/singers!). Our photos were one of our favorite results, so I'm glad we didn't scrimp on the photographer. (I wish I'd talked my sister out of doing just that for her wedding! Oh, the regrets they have.)

    The only part I regretted doing "by ourselves" was the invitations, as my mother- and sister-in-law had promised to do them, being creative stationery-making types. In the end, I had to do all of them myself, with minimal help from them, and as I had no clue what I was doing, I was both disappointed and exhausted with the effort. (We had already bought all the supplies and were over budget due to their choices anyway….) So many simple, cost-effective ways to do invitations out there – don't make them by hand unless you're a pro and can guarantee the time.

    I spoke early on with my then-fiance to ask him what parts he wanted to be involved in planning-wise, which was great. I then delegated certain sections of the event to him and just checked in. It was a great way to reduce my load AND to make sure he felt involved and that the whole day reflected him and us, not just me.

    Someone told us during the planning phase (which really was minimal, compared to what people told me to expect – I guess because I'm organized but trusting that it all will unfold in God's time) that the reception is for your guests, but the ceremony is for you. If you keep that in mind as you're planning, it makes a lot of decisions easier, I think.

    Lots of love and joy to you, and happy planning! I know you'll have the perfect wedding for you both.

  • Reply mrsgrassmonkey June 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    At first, I was dreaming about a beach wedding or a rustic wedding or anything with natural backdrop and surroundings, but our main idea has stayed the same: a small intimate ceremony to celebrate with our close family. In the end, we chose to have the civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall with our close family members. It couldn't be better. I agree with all the fellow people here. The most important thing is to enjoy the day and celebrate with each other! 🙂

  • Reply lucy June 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I was the same way as you. Never had any big dream of fancy, large, over the top weddings growing up. So when we got engaged, I was so confused on where to start, where to even start dreaming of a wedding I could possibly want. Do I want to elope or have a small wedding back home? Or do we go all out and invite everyone we know? I think you just have to focus on what's important to you and your fiancé… and your families and find the perfect balance. Everything will come together and you will have an amazing wedding. We had the most stress free wedding planning and wedding – and I think that is because we didn't worry about the small things and focused on the fact that we were celebrating that we were becoming a family of our own. I can't wait to read about your planning (hopefully you'll share : ] ). Have fun with it!

  • Reply Erin June 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    So interesting how many commenters here had small, intimate weddings! I'm getting married in DC next March at a fun boutique hotel downtown, where we had our first date. My fiancee and I feel the same way about DC as Nick does about Boston — we love living here and want to share it; also, we've been here long enough to have lots of friends in the area who will be local guests. It's definitely going to be on the larger side — we're inviting 210 and expecting ~180. Both of us and our parents started with a list of who we wanted to invite, and we just couldn't cut it any smaller than that. My parents come from large families and have lots of friends (who are like family to me), and we really wanted them to be there to share it with us. So it's all about who you want to share your day with! I think you have to start from that question and then find a venue that holds that many people.

  • Reply Orange You Classy June 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    congratulations and i'm sure your wedding will be beautiful!

    xo, Liz

  • Reply Tam June 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I'm so happy to hear you were inspired by my wedding! We loved how romantic and intimate it was, but we are also planning a casual reception this summer to celebrate with some of our family and friends–best of both worlds :).

    Boston is a gorgeous city, and I'm sure that you and Nick will have a lovely wedding there. I think it's important to remember that it will be perfect no matter what because it is yours. It doesn't matter at all if things don't shape up exactly according to plan–you will end up married to your best friend. Happy planning to you both!

  • Reply Faye Y June 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Our wedding(s) was fairly ornate in terms of location, but very simple in terms of actual components (no crazy decor / flowers since the hotel was gorgeous already, no 12 bridesmaids/groomsmen). So we saved a lot of headache that way.

    If you like the luxe feel but don't want a giant circus, I'd recommend picking a location that is naturally quite grand/ decked out already (like a really gorgeous fancy hotel, or a private versailles-esque park etc), then have a simple ceremony.

    Also, I think it's really crucial to have an event planner/ wedding assistant. Whether it's a professional (if you can afford the extra budget) or a trusted bestie/ mum. Someone to handle all the technical details like being on-site to receive the chairs/ deco/ tents/flowers, chase up stuff, and making sure on the day stuff is happening when they are supposed to (most important part!). We were very fortunate to have a event planner that was included in the venue we went with, and in retrospect it was the "best" thing in the carrying out of the wedding. As she was behind the scenes making sure the flowers made it in, dinner got prepped, tables got moved etc… and all we had to do was actually get dressed and get married! I was so dazed/ excited at my wedding, I think it would've been a big shame if all I remember was being frazzled on my wedding day at trying to make sure everything was going off on time.

    All the best, Jean!

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Don't stress. My husband of 8 years and I selected the most romantic venue. A lovely Victorian mansion on the water in City Island (a lovely seaside community in the Bronx near where we lived and I grew up). 2 1/2 months out from our wedding day – the venue burned to the ground!! I kid you not. I had to redo invitations and scramble to find a place and pray I could get our date, since people had already booked travel from around the world. While we found a place and it was in the Bronx and on the water, so we got the same boaty feeling with a NYC skyline. But it was a cookie-cutter catering hall. Everything was lovely, but nothing was unique – but what can you do? At least we had good music, right? My hubby selected a cool ska band that was going to do a fun oldies set and an hour of tradditional Jewish music. Perfect. Well 2 weeks out, the band leader has a heart attack and passed away. How could I be upset? A poor man died. I found a crappy last minute DJ. Put our must have songs on a CD and said make sure you play these. Was it still the best day of my life? Well, tied with the day I met my hubby and the birth of our kids. Bottom line, don't stress. It's the marriage that matters.

  • Reply Alice Gu June 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I am in a very similar situation where both my parents and fiance's parents never had a true wedding. My parents claimed it was like a drive-thru marriage. Needless to say, we find it kind of odd to have a huge wedding when our parents never did. So far we're thinking about a very small destination wedding ceremony (probably family only) and then a local reception in St. Louis for friends and family that has all of our favorite comfort foods from the city we grew up in. We want to pay for the wedding ourselves, so it'll be a long engagement and worth the wait. We also plan to have weddings for both of our parents in the future so that they can have a real wedding too. Good luck Jean and I hope you can share your tips and wisdom with all of us!

  • Reply Elizabeth Greene June 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    My husband and I had a small wedding according to my family's standards: 60 invitees, with 55 actually showing up. That included the bridal party! We had a tight budget, with wiggle room of course, since I have a terrible time keeping to budgets. We got married in Phoenix, AZ at one of the only venues (golf club) that didn't charge an arm and a leg to rent the space (no charge!) as long as you used their in house catering. This cost also included the wedding cake! BARGIN! We had a short engagement (5 months) since we dated all through college (5 years!) so I ended up doing a lot of the decorations myself or using my florist's keen design eye to stretch me vision. It was a vintage theme wedding, colors were ivory with latte and soft blue accents. (want to see? We accomplished our dream day while maintaining our budget, only going over by about $2000, which is great if you ask me. We loved the smaller, intimate feeling with our guest list. Somehow, smaller is always less chaotic. I'm a control freak, so I liked that I didn't feel stressed out, and everything went smoothly. Thankfully, I had my two sisters as my bridesmaid and maid of honor to remember the things I forgot. I only wish I could wear my dress again…

  • Reply Purple Closet Beauty June 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I really enjoyed planning my wedding and hope you do too. I really liked and for planning and "wedding porn" photos. I disliked how catty some comments were on, and would not recommend it as a resource to anyone who wishes to maintain a positive outlook while planning a wedding.

    As for the venue, my cousin, years ago, had the most beautiful wedding I've been to at a country club on lake Erie in Cleveland. Being by the water was so marvelous that we found a location with a similar feel on the south coast of Long Island since my husband and I both grew up in the tri-state area and most of our parents lived there at the time. The ocean breeze was perfect in July, and we could not have found a better place. Whatever or wherever you choose, it should be true to you! Of course, having lobster rolls at a New England wedding would icing on the cake 🙂

  • Reply Purple Closet Beauty June 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    What luck! But it does all work out in the end. You have an enviably easy going and positive attitude about it all.

  • Reply Sam, Leave The Nest Up To Me June 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    It wasn't our original plan (ahem, surprise pregnancy!) but my husband and I had a very small civil ceremony in a garden with just our parents in September. I bought a dress from BHLDN, he bought a tie from Nordstrom and it was done. We are getting the marriage blessed by the Catholic Church this summer and having a party afterwards with all our friends and family. To be honest, it was kind of deflating to plan a wedding in our area (Washington, DC). The relaxed outdoor wedding that we dreamt of having was outrageously expensive and really made us reconsider what was important and how much we wanted to spend on a 6 hour event. In the end, as long as you're husband and wife, nothing else matters. Good luck!

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I suggest thinking about which aspects of a wedding are most meaningful to you and not compromising on those. Also, it seems luxurious to hire a wedding planner but honestly it makes the process go so much more smoothly. A good wedding planner will introduce you to amazing vendors you'd otherwise not find and they will troubleshoot any and all issues that arise on the big day, without you knowing!

    In planning our wedding, we found that what mattered to us most was designing a ceremony that reflected our values and traditions and kick ass music. We hired the best DJ in town and the dance floor was packed the entire night. It was the most fun we have ever had surrounded by our family and friends.

    Congrats! Enjoy the process. I felt very "stressed" throughout the planning. Now that I have a 10 month-old baby, I look back on that time and laugh at what I thought was stressful. Enjoy the process together!

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I'd love to hear how your mom accomplished that! it sounds so amazing! 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Hello Jean..congratulations on your wedding…I am an Indian and Hindu. We had a small wedding ceremony in a small temple town in India. It was my dream to get married there as I feel very connected to the place and blessed every time I am there. This was the only thing me and my husband chose. Everything else was decided by my and his parents as they were the one's who made arrangements back in India. After the wedding, there were two receptions, one in my city and one in his…with more than thousand people attending…I am quite an introvert and I was so exhausted towards the end that I really wanted it to get over..

  • Reply Meera June 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I'm getting married in September. My fiance is Jamaican/Irish and I'm Indian. I really wanted to elope but wasn't able to 100% convince my fiance (and my family). Ultimately, I decided against the usual big Indian wedding and am instead having 80 of our closest friends/family for a short fusion ceremony and dinner/drinks/dancing reception in Dallas (my hometown… I live in Austin).

  • Reply Larie June 11, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Congratulations! 🙂 We wanted something smaller (about 50 guests) and classically us. We are both from other parts of the US but we met and live in Seattle, so that is where we wanted to get married – it's a city that we love and are so comfortable in. We did everything in a restaurant with a beautiful, modern banquet loft space, and we focused more on food and tailoring our ceremony to our needs (short and sweet!) than with some of the more "traditional" aspects of weddings. It only has to be everything you and your partner need – nothing more, nothing less.

  • Reply Tara June 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Jean,
    I (like several other commenters) had a large Indian wedding, though mine was in the US. I loved the size and felt blessed by the amount of people who came from all over the country.

    I got great advice from a good friend during the planning process: Just remember, the wedding is not about you. Everyone wants to make the bride and groom happy, but your families will have expectations of what THEY want in the wedding as well. Letting go of the small stuff (chair sashes?!?!) really helped me out. That said, the day of was really beautiful!!

  • Reply stylefeastlove June 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Congrats Jean ! When husband and I were planning our wedding, the best thing we did was to pick TWO things we were to spur on and spend time on. We didn't want the wedding day itself to overtake enjoying the engagement (it can easily be the center of everything). I picked photography as my top importance and my husband picked food. Everything else we kept to a minimum and didn't fuss about it. Enjoy the engagement, Jean!

  • Reply myhanh June 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm


    I feel like it was just a little while ago that you were congratulating me on my nuptials. And here you are! 🙂 I love weddings and am looking forward to "Wedding Wednesdays!"

    First, Al and I had an spreadsheet with our budget that included estimates, percentage of total budget, and actual. (Forever an Oxford comma girl!) It was really helpful so as to not go crazy with "it's once in a lifetime" thoughts. Although this is true, debt can also last a lifetime, which was something we did not want to start our marriage on!

    We thought about what was important to us: an intimate ceremony, food, and our honeymoon in Sicily! We chose Elephant Walk- yummy and also palatable to family members who are more used to Asian flavors. Choosing a restaurant with a private function room took out the cost of renting a venue like one would at a hotel or estate. There were also things I didn't care for and didn't do like favors and flowers (my sister made the bouquets from TJ and Stop & Shop!).

    I think people in your life will want to get involved. Find ways for them to do so while also balancing what you want. For instance, our neighbor is a baker and made our cake for us as our gift. It was delicious!

    I am also really into logistics. So instead of having a day-of-coordinator, I made a cue-to-cue that had times, what was happening, and what people needed to do. I also picked one of the bridesmaids and groomsmen to be the "executors." There's a really sweet picture of the guys looking over the cue sheet before heading to the ceremony!

    Enjoy everything! And please don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything! I love weddings and think you are a gem. Happy to help!


  • Reply Michelle June 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Like MyHanh, it was an easy and quick decision to do a restaurant with a private function room. We knew it was going to be family members and a VERY select few friends, becauwse I've never wanted a huge hullaballoo and would rather have spent on our honeymoon and (eventual) house. So we narrowed it down to a few restaurants where we knew we liked the food, because we wanted to treat everyone to an awesome dinner. We did trial run dinners at each of them, and based on that, we chose to pay more to get married at Eleven Madison Park, because they took SUCH good care of us and we knew we could trust them with anything. (They totally lived up to it, btw. Money well spent IMO!) I booked the savings on my gown — I knew I didn't want to spend thousands and thousands on a polyester dress I'd wear once, so I shopped vintage, and found a lovely tea-length satin brocade 60s dress for $98! It didn't even need alterations! We agreed it made sense for Ben to spend money on a good suit he could wear repeatedly, so he paid $2500 for a custom suit that he has worn many times since. The suit and the meal were our big expenditures — we saved on a lot of little things that I didn't care about, such as not having a veil or bouquet, bringing in our own centerpieces from a local florist instead of paying the restaurant to do it, not having a wedding cake (there was already dessert and people were stuffed, it was the right call) or personalized wedding favors (people just end up throwing those away and many guests who are travelling in have limited luggage space to take tchotchkes back with them). I think I was happy with almost all the decisions on hindsight — if I could redo anything differently, I would have done a photography session — Ben didn't want it, so I didn't force the issue, but somehow with Nick's interests I don't think you'll be missing out on that! Good luck and we're all looking forward to hearing more about your wedding planning!

  • Reply Kat June 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Enjoy the wedding planning process. Honestly it will get overwhelming at times but before you know it you are married and might even experience a little bit of planning withdrawal, LOL (I did). I am Filipino-American and my husband is from the Midwest, but we chose to have our wedding in SF Bay Area where we both lived for work, met, grew a relationship, and fell in love. I wanted a whimsy fall-themed wedding, and hiring a wedding planner certainly helped us execute our vision. We were blessed to nail down beautiful Kohl Mansion as our venue after our original booked location fell through, and it all worked out in the end for us, and I had the wedding I dreamed of after plenty of planning and styling for the event. I would advise to have a clear vision of what you want, be it intimate or big, simple or elaborate, what theme or motif, etc., then plan from there but be open and flexible when kinks happen 🙂 hugs, Kat

  • Reply Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I married the man of my dreams, we knew each other when we friends and we were 18. At 36 we met again by chance and within 12 weeks we were married and now have a beautiful son. My dress fitted me wonderfully, I'm very small and felt so lovely in a beautiful, French very reasonably prices outfit, about 300 dollars. It was a quiet affair by wedding standards. I only invited people who had helped me in my life, who supported me through the tough times and I made a speech and told each person what they had done and how they had affected my life from child to adult. Many people were not invited! It was a simple affair. Nothing huge, simple good food and plenty of it, wine overflowed, I did not pay for a venue, just looked for something convenient where we could all meet and arranged it with the managers of the venue and they were just fantastic. They saw it just he way I did. Funnily enough the celebration went on until 4am back at our place in front of a huge fire with more food and vino. What more can I say, I had everything I needed to say goodbye to the past and to welcome the future. We all enjoyed a very simple, not expensive affair and it was a joy! Good luck Jean, there are so many people who don't get married because they cannot afford it. We married because we wanted to and didn't listen to the great expectations of others. Have the fun the way you want it and thank you for your blog it has been most beneficial to me. Lots of love, Sandra xx

  • Reply Ashley June 12, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Just wanted to say.. happy to host you in Thailand! Of course, I'm in rural Phichit, not exactly a tourist mecca 🙂 Super happy to read this happy news though, and you're making me miss Boston very much while I'm over here for the next two years! (Peace Corps volunteer :))

  • Reply Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 3:56 am

    I think the thing to take from all these comments is that no matter what kind of wedding someone had, it ended up being perfect for them. That includes me…I'm a Bostonian and we opted to get married in Salem, at the Peabody Essex Museum. It was beautiful and we love that we can go back and visit it in the future. Congrats again.

  • Reply simply bliss June 12, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Congrats! I had a vintage (yellow, grey, and hint of navy blue) wedding. First thing I would suggest is look for venue and dress because venues go fast and they have vendor restrictions so without a venue booked, it's hard to get everything else done. As for the dress, shall you buy brand new, it will take 6 months to make, another 4-6 wks to tailor because you'll have multiple fittings. I suggest trying on different dresses. I posted my findings on dresses for petites ( I eventually went with Vera Wang Fawn ). THat would be where I start. As for what type of weddings to go with, I would say it actually depends on the family. Getting a guest count from parents and considering what they want narrowed down to only a few places for me. (for ex, I married into a huge family so I couldn't have a patio wedding. It had to be a venue that could accommodate 200+ people. Or Winter wedding – older guests would not like outdoor wedding, etc.) I just had my wedding in May, I'm happy to ask me any questions.

  • Reply RS June 12, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Love your blog! I have my own petite fashionista who recently started her blog. Is there a possibility you and I could e-mail?

  • Reply Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Congratulations, Jean. As somebody else said there above, the most important thing is that your wedding is what you two want it to be. Your grandfather was a wise man 🙂 I'd say: keep it simple. I had a wonderful, small wedding with six guests. We had a little party at home and the went dancing in a restaurant. After 33 years I still remember everything and we still are together. Here you can see our style in my blog Love — Anu from Finland

  • Reply Annapurna June 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Congrats Jean! I live in Boston, but my dream was a "wedding" at City Hall in NYC with just me and my husband; my mom got married in someone's apartment so she wanted a nice wedding for me. So we had both! My husband and I did our civil marriage/license thing at City Hall in New York City – just the two of us and my best friend as our witness – then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for dinner. I wore an Ann Taylor sheath that I had bought years before (shopping my closet: 😉

    Then we had a religious ceremony and buffet lunch in my parent's backyard on Memorial Day weekend. I think our budget was $5000 for 50 people. I bought all of the beer, wine, and soft drinks from Trader Joe's in Cambridge. Lot of folks say they loved our little wedding. It was very low-key. Great weather helped. And now every time my mom looks out of her kitchen window she remembers that day.

    I was reading Elle magazine last night – the June issue – and a bride in there wrote about her decision to wear red. I wore red at my religious ceremony (I'm South Asian). I believe that may be an option for you too – consider it!


  • Reply pumpkinmommy June 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I had a very standard issue Japanese wedding, with a Shinto ceremony and a reception in a hotel banquet hall with 100+ guests. My husband and I decided it would be easier to have a standard issue wedding than to explain to everyone why we didn't have a wedding ("no, we can afford it, no, she's not pregnant, no, our families are super happy for us, etc…) For the wedding, I wore a long black kimono and changed to a white lace wedding dress during the reception. I felt really lucky to have all these people wishing us well, but other than that, the wedding has never really meant that much to me (although to this day, I think avoiding all the questions about NOT having the wedding was a good idea). The life you have after the wedding is far more important. So far, so good. He gave me diamond earrings for our 10th anniversary 🙂

  • Reply Katy June 12, 2014 at 10:04 am

    My husband and I got married in Boston – we had the same goal as you: to show off our beautiful city to family and friends from around the world! We got married at Emmanuel Church (an awesome, progressive, and ecumenical church) in their small Lindsey Chapel and had the reception at the Union Club of Boston on Park Street. I can't recommend either venue enough. It was a relatively small (80 people), very intimate wedding, and, even though I run events for a living and was very organized, the folks at Emmanuel and the Union Club really made it happen.

    There are so many options in Boston. I've coordinated weddings at venues ranging from the Omni to the Artists for Humanity Epicenter to the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, and they've all been beautiful and special. Good luck planning!!

  • Reply Dawn Garretson June 12, 2014 at 10:26 am

    OMG Jean, I'm so happy for you…Congratulations to you and Nick! It has been a while since I read your posts since I'm very much pre-occupied taking care of my baby daughter. I had a simple wedding– civil ceremony at our local city hall and a buffet reception for 30 people. Since my husband and I are both teachers, our wedding took place during our spring break. 🙂 The most stressful part of preparing for a civil wedding is making reservations for the reception based on our budget and finalizing our guest list. (We wanted to save most of our money for our summer vacation/honeymoon trip to the Philippines..El Nido is highly recommended!) I DIY'ed tokens for our guests, which was the fun part. 🙂 Please feel free to PM me if you have questions. I'm hoping to meet you in person someday soon.

  • Reply Muneezeh June 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Congrats on your engagement! (My fellow petite friends and I love your blog.) My husband and I made the decision to get married in Houston, even though we met and were engaged in Austin (which is where we met in college). My family is Bangladeshi, and my husband is from a very small town in Texas, so we knew we were going to have an interesting culturally mixed wedding. I wanted a cross between a traditional "Big Fat Indian Wedding" and something modern, American, and sophisticated. In the end, we found a gorgeous venue in Houston that looked like a giant villa/castle, had a chapel-esque room inside (to appease my husband who is quite Christian), and gorgeous dual ballrooms with a grand staircase. It helped that the venue was built recently and also specifically for weddings, so everything was tailor made for our needs. After lots of drama with a custom-made "hybrid" gown that arrived too late and too ugly, I ended up getting an emergency white dress from David's Bridal (much to my horror) as well as an Indian bridal lehenga (skirt/top) just 1 day before the wedding! In the end, everything turned out just fine–all that mattered was our vows and who was there to share the moment!

    You can see how it all turned out here:

  • Reply Tia @ Tina and Tia June 12, 2014 at 10:45 am

    All of my family members have had small civil ceremonies as well. My parents got married in a courthouse – then my grandparents hosted a dinner for their friends. I've never even seen pictures from that day (if there are any).

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