So after five years of being together, last weekend Kevin and I finally said our “I Dos” on surrounded by family and friends on the sand in Bethany Beach, Delaware. We were kind of surprised we ended up there, after all, the original plan had been to elope. Neither Kevin or I are that into big weddings, and with all the time and money that goes into planning them, escape seemed like the only option. We were so close to booking a flight to the Keys and visiting their clerk of courts. But while I liked the simplicity of the idea, getting married in a courthouse just didn’t have the inspired, meaningful exchange I envisioned on our wedding day. I wanted the day to be calm, and about our relationship, and our relationship with family and friends.
When some close family friends offered us their beach house for our wedding, inspiration struck. Could we have a simple wedding on the beach, with just a nice dinner to follow? Could friends and family stay with us in the beach house? And instead of rushing around like crazy maniacs on our wedding day, could we just relax and enjoy their time and company? It seems we could.
Don’t get me wrong, there was still some work and planning, and a lot of coordinating, but all in all, it was a good day for us.
We gave ourselves three months to plan the wedding. We immediately decided that there would be no bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc, because once you bring that element into the wedding there is a whole other universe of preparations that opens up- and that involves picking out dresses, and fittings, and parties and showers, a whole lot of functions we personally do not care too much about. We were happy enough with our close friends and family just being at the wedding with us.
We had the meal catered by a local, farm to table restaurant in Rehoboth, Delaware, Nage, and they did a fantastic job. Even my vegan requests didn’t befuddle them! They took care of the cake & all the linens & chairs. Since we only had twenty five people at the wedding, this did not break the bank. And it made life much easier. (My mother finally convinced me that cooking a meal for twenty-five people in my wedding dress may not be how I wanted to spend the day). In keeping with the local, in season theme, we made my bouquet out of white mums. (thanks Chrissy for your help with this!)
The real time my mother and I spent was on making favor bags. We went a little over board, as we kept telling ourselves there were only 25 people. Besides, I love to get creative & just found myself jumping into one thing after the other. This was entirely my fault, and I enjoyed doing it. Good thing, because most people forgot to take theirs 🙂
We also set up the decor for the table using candles surrounded by sand & shells from the beach & plaster starfish that I got all crazy crafty and made two days before the wedding. Thanks for all that work mom! The ceremony was going to be short and sweet in case it was cold, so we did not rent chairs. But I wanted a spot where it was obvious people should congregate, something that wouldn’t take away from the beauty of the beach. Because that is what the ocean is for, right? A simple decorated shepherd’s plant hook worked just fine.
Our good friend was the minister. We’ve known for a long time we wanted her to perform our wedding. Our dear friend, Bunker, whom we’ve had the honor of working with on our film projects, is a brilliant photographer and filmmaker. He kindly offered to take pictures for us, and these photos are his. He has traveled around the world filming and always inspires me. Check out his website.
And a shout out to my brother and awesome new sister in law who flew all the way out from Idaho to spend the day with us, literally. They arrived Friday night & left Sunday morning. Heroic!
Another favorite moment? As part of the ceremony we handed out seashells Kevin & I have collected from all over the world. We had our guests take two: one representing their wish for Kevin and I, and the other, a wish for themselves. We then threw the shells into the ocean as a group. And to end the ceremony after the kiss: bubbles. Because the day just felt magical, and what’s more magical than bubbles?
We also hired someone to come and set up a bonfire on the beach for us, and then come the next morning to take it away. I’m glad we did it, roasting s’mores over the fire was one of my favorite parts of the night.
The next door neighbor generously offered us his beach house for the weekend too, so there was plenty of room for all. The house was so beautiful; it was like a mini-honeymoon in itself. We got to have brunch with family the next day and relax in two beautiful beach houses, right on the ocean, in the quiet of the off season- one of my favorite times of year at the beach. The weather was unseasonable warm, in the sixties, just for the weekend. (We managed to squeeze all of this in after Hurricane Sandy & a nor’easter and before the weather got cold).
I’m glad we had our ceremony the way we did. The key was to be ourselves, and not feel pressured to do something just because that is what society typically does. Weddings don’t have to take a lot of time and money. Standing before each other and professing your love in front of family and friends is special enough. If it’s authentic and from the heart, that’s all you really need.