Tradition tells us that our wedding day should be the kind of life event we should be so excited to enjoy. So, what about those who don’t want the fuss of a big do? There can be countless reasons why you don’t want one – from family tensions to the cost and everything in between. While it’s only natural not to want a wedding (at least in the traditional sense), where does that leave you? Well, here is everything you may want to consider.
So, what do you do if you don’t want a wedding? If you don’t want a wedding, you don’t have to have one. Otherwise, there are many alternative ways to get married and avoid a typical (or traditional) wedding, such as eloping (and getting married in secret) or just keeping it low-key. Or you could emit certain parts of a wedding altogether and just pick and choose the bits you want.
If you are engaged (or hoping to be) but don’t want to do the whole wedding part of getting married, keep reading.
I have some great alternatives for the wedding shy and a few tips to help you tell your friends and family you don’t want a wedding.
Is It OK To Not Have A Wedding?
It is 100% OK to not have a wedding, even if you do still want to get engaged and/or married. Alternatively, it’s OK to have a wedding on your own terms – even if that means you don’t follow cultural standards or norms.
Although tradition can connect you with the family before you who have got married, sometimes tradition can also heap a lot of pressure on a couple.
In fact, some people worry that their dislike of weddings might mean they don’t want to get married.
This is unlikely to be the case. Just because a wedding sounds absolutely awful doesn’t mean you don’t want to be married to the love of your life.
Your marriage, at its core, is just about you and your partner.
If you want to get married and make it about just you two, doing away with all the fuss of a traditional wedding, I say go for it.
The last thing you want is to pay for a wedding you don’t enjoy and end up regretting the decision to keep others happy by sticking to tradition.
Alternatives To A Wedding
If a big traditional wedding is not for you, that is totally OK.
Here are a few alternatives to a traditional wedding that can help you find the best way to honor your marriage for you and your partner.
Elopements have been one of the number one options for those who dislike the idea of a traditional wedding day.
Elopements tend to just be yourself and your partner, with no guests, no fuss, and no one to please but yourselves.
The best thing about eloping is that you save a fortune on all the food and entertainment costs of a traditional wedding.
Meaning you can redirect those funds to create the elopement of your dreams.
You can get married abroad, somewhere hot or even somewhere cold, if you love the snow and it is just about you and your partner.
The only tricky thing about elopements is arranging a legal marriage ceremony.
There are lots of companies out there that will help you arrange your ceremony and sort out all the legal stuff, so you don’t have to.
However, it will cost you a little bit more.
That being said, an elopement does not have to take you out of the country.
You could skip over to another state and make a special, romantic weekend out of your elopement.
If the big church wedding just does not sit right with you.
Maybe you are an atheist or just have a strong dislike for the church system; then a civil ceremony may be the option for you.
Especially if you still want to get married with a few friends and family around.
Civil ceremonies are conducted by registrars, and these ceremonies can happen pretty much anywhere.
Outdoors, on the beach, in your parents’ yard, or at the legal registration house in your local area.
You can keep it as small and intimate as you like and avoid all the fuss of a big wedding and reception.
I always suggest you check the legal requirements for civil ceremonies in your state.
Some states/local authorities set limitations on where you can get married, and each state will have its own set of costs involved.
Arranging your marriage around another event can take a lot of pressure and focus off a couple who want to keep it low-key.
Maybe you love festivals, or there is a concert by a particular band that is important to you and your partner.
You can arrange a small ceremony beforehand with your close family or friends, and then all head off to a public event.
What a memory to have.
Bopping away in the crowd with your wedding dress on, having the time of your life with your friends and family, and no stress of organizing or being the center of attention.
How To Tell People You Don’t Want A Wedding
If you have decided that you don’t want a wedding or you want to organize an alternative wedding day, here are some things to keep in mind when you tell people about your plans.
On Your Invites
If you are arranging an alternative wedding but are still sending invites, this is the perfect place to let people know that you are not having a traditional wedding.
You could even send non-invites.
These are basically cards or letters letting friends or family know that you are getting married, but you are not having a wedding.
You could let them know if you are attending a public event that you would love to see them there, but there is no pressure.
Arrange A Get-Together
If you are really not having any sort of ceremony or reception, you may want to let your family know face-to-face that you will be getting married, but there will be no ceremony for family and friends.
You can avoid this if you are eloping, as many couples love to elope in secret, but just be prepared; someone may have some choice words over your decision.
Let those opinions roll off your back like water; as long as you are happy with your decision, no one else’s opinions should matter.
Be Honest And To The Point
When you tell family and friends that you won’t be having a wedding, make sure you are honest about your intentions, why you have made that decision, and that you won’t be changing your mind.
It can help to plan what you say beforehand, so you don’t go off-script and say things that you weren’t planning on saying.
Especially if you are talking to a rather traditional person who you know is not going to be overly impressed about your decision.
Don’t Worry About Opinions
People love to have an opinion, especially when it comes to weddings.
Be prepared that some people won’t understand your decision, and others will be very vocal about their dislike of your wedding plans.
It is best to just ignore these opinions.
As long as you are happy with your wedding decision, no one else’s opinion should sway your mind.
Do People Regret Having A Wedding?
Some people do regret having a wedding, especially if they feel they had a wedding for the sake of it or to abide by social norms. That being said, others feel it is one of the best days and decisions of their lives. It ultimately comes down to the type of wedding you have and the reasons for ultimately how it all goes.
When People May Regret Having A Wedding
Weddings are expensive, and one of the biggest regrets couples have is spending an absolute fortune on a single day.
Not everyone sees weddings as a waste of money, but hindsight often shows us when we have spent money on things that were not really that important.
Families are complicated dynamics, and some couples who have families with fraught relationships can end up regretting their weddings.
Whether it be from the disappointment felt when family members don’t show up or leave early to avoid other people or if fights or arguments break out that ruin the mood of your big day.
Difficult family relationships can sometimes ruin a wedding.
Traditional weddings have become so ostentatious that a lot of couples regret losing sight of the important things.
Instead of getting excited about becoming part of a married unit, couples can often spend more time worrying about pleasing their guests that they never enjoy their big day.
When People May Not Regret Having A Wedding
There are of course, people who do not regret their wedding (and for full transparency, I fall into this group).
Consider, we had an expensive wedding with more people than I thought I wanted.
But here’s why I have no regrets.
It was a day where everything was about us.
It was with everyone we loved, coming together, to celebrate us.
And while it was a very expensive day, I cannot think of a better way to spend the money.
On memories we will keep for the rest of our lives.
On people who mean a lot to us.
On people we may not get a chance to see much of again.
We have wonderful photos, we made a strongest commitment to our marriage that should help us fight for it even during the harder times, and we enjoyed the day like no other we have had.
I know this may not be the case for you reading, but I just wanted to say that as a nervous bride who struggled with a lot of anxiety, by the time it all came around – I loved it. All of it.
Ultimately, we do not regret our wedding because we had what we wanted. On our terms. It was our decision.
So, You Don’t Want A Traditional Wedding
Although a big wedding can be so much fun, it is not for all of us.
If you don’t want a wedding, that is OK.
If it is a marriage you want but not a wedding, you can do that.
Find how best it would be to honor you and your partner and your union and go in that direction.
Making sure you love the day you get married and look back on it fondly is always more important than pleasing family and guests with a wedding you know you won’t enjoy.
To put it simply, your marriage is only ever about two people – you and your partner – so your wedding should be about just you two, and if that means you elope and get married in the French countryside, then so be it.
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!