I guess I have some explaining to do.
On Saturday I got married. And it was quite the secret ceremony. Just the two of us, my girlfriend who officiated the ceremony, and another girlfriend who took photos. Save for a guy who walked his dog along the beach while we were standing around talking, we were all alone.
Exactly what we had wanted.
Neither of us wanted a big, blow-out wedding. We didn’t want to book a hotel ballroom or hire caterers. We just wanted to exchange our vows with as few spectators as possible in a place that was special to us.
The whole experience got me thinking about weddings.
As most of you know, I got married about two years ago. While we kept that event pretty low-key — just over 200 guests at the Waikiki Aquarium with an awesome live band and a slew of food from my favorite restaurants — it was still a bit of a production. I had to think about everyone coming, where they would park, what food they’d want to eat, the variety of alcohol I’d have to provide. I considered my guests when I picked the flavors of cupcakes and the choice of music. It wasn’t so much about the two of us as it was about everyone else involved.
And that’s fair. Let’s face it: weddings are about more than just the couple. And I think that’s fine. But I understand — and completely sympathize — with couples who are pressured into doing things they may not want to do or can actually afford. I’ve heard all the stories, from parents who get overly involved in the guest list to friends who feel slighted they weren’t part of the bridal party.
It’s par for the course, really, when you consider what a wedding is: it’s a momentous event, full of pomp and circumstance. There are slide shows to organize, playlists to come up with, vendors to hire, dresses to try on, cakes to sample. No wonder it takes couples around a year to fully plan — and save for — a wedding.
And they’re not cheap, either. According to Real Simple, an average wedding in Hawai‘i hovers around $50,000. That’s not chump change. And considering most of us are just barely getting by on salaries that haven’t even kept up with the rise of inflation, that’s an expense difficult to wrap our heads around. It’s just one day, that much for one day. But it is the one day you’ll celebrate the start of a new life together — and that’s how we justify the cost.
We decided to just get married. Both of our parents had done the same thing — small ceremonies (if that) and no reception to speak of — and it worked out just fine.
That’s just what we wanted. It’s not to say our way is the right way or everyone should save their money and get hitched at the beach on a Saturday morning. I know some couples couldn’t get away with not inviting their parents and others actually love big, traditional weddings. And that’s all good. The bottom line is you should do what you want — not what everyone else wants — and that’s all that should matter.
Special thanks to Christine Strobel for officiating our ceremony, Rona Bennett (of Fighting Eel) for serving as our official photographer, Lan Chung and Ava Sky Hawaii for styling me, Grace Lo for the earrings, Ginger 13 for the gorgeous bouquet, Jason Dow for crafting the perfect ring, Kristin at A Cake Life for the gorgeous cake, and Roy’s Restaurant in Hawai‘i Kai for hosting our families afterward.
And, of course, to my husband, Kai, for wanting to marry me just after six months of meeting. It may seem crazy, but it just felt right. It’s the most awesome feeling to marry your best friend!