When I was little Stephanie growing up, I always thought I wanted to be a wedding planner. I most definitely had the organization skills, I had a love for all things pretty (dresses and jewelry), I could plan a bomb event, I enjoyed making hip playlists, I loved DIY arts and crafts, and I could sew up an accidental hole in a bride’s wedding dress in a snap. Where did I get all these skills from? None other than my mother- the queen of most things. If there was anything that needed to be done, she could do it better than the rest. My mother instilled great work ethic, organization, and creativity within me. But when my imagination led me to dream of being the fairest wedding planner in all the land, my mother knew it wasn’t right for me.
I will always remember the day she told me she would support me in whatever career path I chose, but she just knew wedding planning wasn’t what I truly wanted. At the time, I was resentful and didn’t understand how me and wedding planning weren’t a match made in heaven. However, now that I look back on that moment, it’s very clear.
Weddings aren’t everything.
Don’t get me wrong. Weddings are beautiful and fun. Weddings are beautiful with their white lace, their twinkling lights, their fancy schmancy chalkboard signs, and their bling bling frosting the bride. Weddings are fun with their “you may kiss the bride” moment, their first dance bride dips, their bridal party shenanigans, and their face smashing cake eating moments.
But, weddings aren’t everything.
If you are a woman who already has your mind made up that you want a big, fabulous wedding, keep reading. So was I…
Would you rather have a good, big wedding or a perfect, small wedding?
All my life I envisioned my future wedding being big, grand, beautiful, and over-the-top fun! After spending a week with Zach back in 2010 and knowing he was the one God made for me, I began to turn my vision into a detailed plan. Even before he popped the question, I had a document on my laptop called “our wedding”. My wedding checklist, my vision board of ideas, and the theme of our wedding was cultivating. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it all to look. All I had to do was book the right people to make it happen and shop for the necessities.
My wedding was 80% planned before he even popped the question.
Naturally, after we got engaged, the topic of wedding planning came up (literally the next day). I shared my visions with Zach and he quickly opened my eyes to something called reality. He said we had two options; We could have a grand wedding and a tiny honeymoon or we could have a small wedding and the honeymoon of a lifetime.
I went quiet.
A light bulb went on in my head. What do I really want from all of this? Well ultimately, I want to vow to love this man for the rest of my life. I want to spend as much quality time with him as I can and experience as much as possible now, because you never know what God has planned for the future.
The answer to my two options was simple. I knew I wanted the honeymoon. At that moment, my childhood dreams of a big wedding were easily swiped away for a better reality- a honeymoon of a lifetime with the man I love.
I realized what my mother and Zach knew all along. Most weddings tend to overshadow the true reason for a wedding: love. The pomp and circumstance of weddings make the whole wedding day more about others than the love between two people. They can be superficial and brides can be a little crazy sometimes.
A big wedding means more guests that you have to walk around and say hi to which leaves less time for you two. A big wedding means more wedding planners, DJ's, hair dressers, etc running around asking you questions and not allowing you serenity to enjoy your day. A big wedding means more money being spent on one day of your life than any other day, ever. One day.
The average week long honeymoon costs around $5,000.
The average wedding costs around $35,000.
You could have 7 weeks of honeymooning or one big, BIG day.
The Dorworth’s made their decision: small wedding & great honeymoon.
Boy, are we so glad we made that decision. I’ll skip our wedding day details in an effort to not bore you (because you know I had pages and pages of details planned). Ultimately, our wedding day was pure happiness. We had no guilt of making our parents pay for this day because we took the responsibility all on our own. Neither of us were stressed, we had our 7 closest family members there to share in our joy, and guess what...the entire day was about us. Our small wedding was perfect!
That’s what getting married is all about. The love between two people. Not the size of the wedding, the cost of the wedding, the band you hired, or how drunk everyone got. It was about us. And I felt like a freakin’ princess.
Overall, our intimate wedding cost us under $8,000 and it was still beautiful and fun. We just made budget-friendly decisions for everything.
Afterwards, I sold my dress, decor, and accessories on Tradesy and made over $1,000 back. We made out like bandits on that one. Never once did I feel like it wasn’t the wedding of my dreams. Never once did I regret having a small wedding. I had the one thing that mattered that day: a happy and loving husband. That’s all I needed.
For our honeymoon we went to the most romantic country on earth: Italy. We got to visit Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Bologna. Our little Italian honeymoon in 2015 will never be topped. Since then we have zip lined across Hawaii and taken railways across Spain and nothing compares. Italy will always be our place. It was the place where our love blossomed. It was the place we chose to spend our hard earned money over the course of two weeks instead of on just one day. And boy, did we get our money’s worth in Italy. The experiences we had there were unforgettable and our travel itinerary was legit.
Traveling with your spouse is a beautiful thing. You get away from the everyday stresses of work, cleaning your house, doing the laundry, and having to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to go to work. You get to erase all of that and actually enjoy time together with less distractions. Sleep in until 11am if you want, eat 5 spaghetti bolognese dishes a day, drink a bottle of wine before noon, snooze in the middle of the afternoon... that’s the beauty of it. There’s no stress. Just the two of you and quality time. Nobody to please but yourselves.
Couples travel is a chance to bond over life experiences.
Thanks to Italy, we can now say...
-We rode a gondola through the winding canals of Venice
-We learned how to sip wine correctly from a vineyard owner in Tuscany
-We climbed all 296 steps up to the top of the Leaning tower of Pisa
-We stayed among the cliffside, colorful homes in Cinque Terre
-We drove (correction: sped) a Ferrari through the countryside of Maranello
Had we had a huge wedding, none of that would have been possible. Had we had a budget honeymoon, we couldn’t have visited that many nice places and stayed there more than a few days.
I am grateful for my mother, who taught me lessons I sometimes didn’t understand until I grew up; Like the fact that a wedding is superficial and I am not. I am grateful for my husband, who taught me that I should care less about what others expect and more about what I know will make me/us happy.
follow our journey
For us, a small wedding and a grand honeymoon was the perfect beginning to many, many years of true love and happiness.