Wedding vs Marriage : Our Small Family Affair


You know how newly-engaged girls dream about their big day? How they visualize walking down the aisle like a princess, beaming at crowds of loved ones?

Well, I never did.

In fact, since I got engaged, I have had nightmares about me getting ready to walk down the aisle lined with hundreds of guests, freaking out about a wedding vow that I have not yet prepared, and wondering why the heck did I do this to myself?

I should clarify that the jitteriness did not come from fear of commitment, but rather, my fear of being the center of attention. I have been with my husband for four and a half blissful years before we got married and I am absolutely convinced that I want to spend the rest of my life with him.

However, marriage and wedding are two entirely different matters. We all know what went down with Kim Kardashian’s extravagant weddings (emphasize plural). On the other hand, countless life-long happy marriages had a humble beginning.

Of course, there are also plenty of fancy weddings followed by happy marriages, and I am not at all against luxury weddings. If this is your thing and you can afford it, do it! After all, YOLO you only live once. I have been to my friends’ gorgeous weddings and I loved each and every one of them. I have had so many good memories and I am thrilled that my friends are generous enough to share their special day with me.  However, I could picture myself passing out from stress in the middle of a crowd.

Most of my loved ones have been supportive in our decision on a humble affair, but there also have been skeptics. Someone questioned if this was my frugal husband’s idea. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event, after all. I would argue that I traded in a luxury affair for so many special memories that only come with a small, intimate wedding.

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In the end, we had a ceremony with 16 of our dearest and nearest present, followed by a reception with 38 family members. Apart from the makeup artist I found on Craigslist, it was truly a small family affair. My sister made me beautiful bouquets and my brother officiated our wedding at Palace of fine Arts (which is a public space and doesn’t require rental fee). I recruited my cousin, who had no previous wedding photography experience, as the one and only principal photographer.  Our two families (a party of 38!) enjoyed delicious chinese delicacies at a mid-range restaurant close to my parent’s home. We splurged on the food because it was only right to treat our guests to a nice dinner.

Getting stared by hundred of people who may or may not care as I walked down the aisle? Unchecked.

Loss of sleep because something may “go wrong” on the big day? Unchecked.

Feeling bad watching hotel staff tossing out a centerpiece because I have spent $XXX on it? Unchecked.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Not everything went the way it was supposed to. We realized that we left our wedding bends at home when we were about to say I Do (which would make a very cliched romantic comedy story line), but no one freaked out and my mother-in-law loaned her rings to us. They were just rings, after all. We were about to begin our life together and it was all that matters. We created memories as the day goes by. I unexpectedly felt overwhelmed with joy when my dad walked me down the stair at my parents’ home and gave me away. We did not rehearse anything beforehand, and just ran with ideas on things from how to make an entrance to picking a spot to get officiated.  However, the whole day felt more genuine as it rolled out unscripted.

In the end, the wedding felt like us and I only hope that our marriage would turn out the same way…there will be so many surprises in life that we may not be prepare for, but nothing that we cannot handle as long as we have each other. In that sense, it’s the most romantic wedding I could ever ask for.


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