The micro-wedding series: what we did (and didn’t!) include on our big day

We were certainly a little less traditional…or were we?

This is the second post in a series about our experiences putting together a micro-wedding. You may want to read the introduction to the series, or the first blog post before jumping into this entry! Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by any of the mentioned restaurants or businesses. We are mentioning them by name as they went above and beyond to make our day special. 

We spent the first of our few days trying to figure out how to pull off the whole thing in an eight-week window. We didn’t have much time, but we knew we could be efficient and succeed — and that was partly the reason why we managed to get it all done.

Whether you’re planning your own wedding or getting help from an event planner, it’s important to take the time and research when developing your game plan. With such a high-stakes event, it’s probably not best to ‘ride the wave’ as you wouldn’t want any surprises — be they financial or otherwise.

Research and planning

We discussed our plans with a handful of people: Jon’s parents, a few trusted co-workers, and even a pastor who actually liked our idea as it goes back to the very traditional version of a wedding ceremony. Often the older ceremonies involved just a handful of people; there weren’t dozens there to witness the event. She said it was refreshing to see some change and said that all that mattered was that we were happy — which we were.

We also set our budget right out of the gate; excluding our rings, we were a little less than three thousand dollars under budget because we were so strategic with how, when and where we spent our money.

So, what parts of the wedding did we keep? What did we nix? These were some of the major questions we asked ourselves as we sat down every night for a few hours; I took notes as Jon would make remarks.

What we included

The most important thing was the commissioner and the marriage licence — because, well, you can’t get married in B.C. without one! We put that at the top of our list. In B.C., the commissioner files all the paperwork once the ceremony is done. It was also important we apply for the marriage license as soon as possible; I was concerned something might go wrong (and it actually did, and had to be fixed by the company that put together our application) so make sure you apply for your certificate as soon as you can to leave enough time to account for any possible mistakes.

When we went to apply for our wedding license, we weren’t sure that the person accepting our application knew how to do it, but the person assured us they did. We were told that the paperwork for marriage licenses at each authorized location is sent to vital statistics in batches, so it took about a month and a bit before we found out the license we applied for was filled out by the clerk incorrectly, and therefore did not exist. Fortunately the authorized issuer notified us, and we went in and reapplied again.

Where would the wedding take place? We picked a park not far from our home, as we are often found there, enjoying its natural beauty. Jon took on reaching out to the city. Because we weren’t setting up any tables and chairs (the wedding ceremony was less than half an hour) we wouldn’t need any special permits. That was probably the easiest thing to complete.

We knew we wanted to have an intimate dinner with family. We wanted a place with high quality food; private and memorable. We also wanted everyone to enjoy a top-of-the-line open bar. Fortunately Jon has about a decade of experience in the local culinary world and is up to snuff on his Metro Vancouver dining. It didn’t take long to come up with the suggestion to have the entire party dine in a private room at L’Abattoir in Vancouver’s Gastown. Not only did they take care of planning out our courses — they also helped us with our place settings and floral arrangements. We had a couple of centerpieces done by The Bloom Room in Vancouver — and they were beautiful.

We also wanted a photographer. This was also a no-brainer selection for us (you may have seen some of the photos that Yinan Scott Shi took for us in previous posts) so we reached out to Yinan about shooting our big day. He was incredibly flexible with our requests, including the length of time we needed him for, but take note of the fact that not all photographers will be as accommodating. No matter the time of year, you should book your photographer as soon as possible. He made the time for us while shooting other campaigns — and didn’t have to — but he did, and we are so happy that he did!

Lastly, my bouquet and Jon’s boutonniere were put together by Jon’s mom, who worked as a florist. Also a no-brainer. My mother-in-law did a fabulous job and managed to go above and beyond with our requests.

What we decided to nix…

The wedding party. There were a number of reasons for this; one of the main ones being that my parents were not going to be involved. (My parents divorced when I was young; my father passed away in 2009 and my mother has Alzheimer’s and is no longer in Canada.) Even if they were involved, I would have campaigned to ditch the wedding party. Fortunately, Jon was in agreement. He and I felt that it was only going to cause drama; we didn’t want to subject a wedding party to jumping in headfirst into our eight-week planning bonanza. We also wanted to keep the day as private as possible until the ceremony was done.

A massive wedding invite list. We limited ourselves to 20 people; the majority of those spots were taken by close family. All but one in our final selection RSVP’d. A smaller list would also allow us to be social with more people.

A bridal shower/stag/bachelorette party. We were quite firm on this, and everyone was understanding. We didn’t want to tire ourselves out leading up to the big day — and we aren’t really big party people anyways.

A wedding registry. Did that stop people? Not really, but the gestures were appreciated. (Plus we certainly put what we received to good use!)

The most difficult thing to do in eliminating these components: telling people. There were people I knew that had always wanted to play an important part in my wedding that we thought were going to be devastated. However, everyone was incredibly receptive and understood that we were going to do what made us happy. If you’re able to communicate your decisions to your friends and family with respect and conviction, eventually, they’ll come around. We are also fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who care about us and what we wanted.

At the end of the day, Jon and I just wanted to enjoy marrying one another. And that we did.

We’ll be taking a series break for an organizational post, so stay tuned for the next micro-wedding series blog entry — that’ll be published on Tuesday, July 24th! Be sure to subscribe to this blog for hassle-free email notifications.

Our beautiful wedding photos, which are featured heavily throughout this series, were shot by Yinan Scott Shi. If you’re in the Metro Vancouver area, Yinan comes with our highest recommendations for professional photography work for any occasion.

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