On Organizing A Simple Wedding (Or Trying To)

Upon hearing the news about me about to get married, some people started asking me all sorts of questions, like: “What kind of venue do you have in mind?” or “What kind of wedding dress would you like to wear?” or “What flowers would you like to have?” or “What would you like for your wedding gift?

To which I replied with, “Hmm, actually… I haven’t thought about it.”

And it’s true. However, strangely, for some reasons, I feel a little bit guilty about it. I guess I just don’t want people to think that I don’t care about the wedding. Because I do care. Though I have to admit that I do not put that much weight on the ‘ceremonial’ part.

***

When my fiancé asked about what kind of wedding celebration I’d like to have, I said I have no particular idea. For me, a small and simple gathering with families and friends should do. What’s important is that we are legally and officially married. And, that’s it. Which surprises some people–especially those who know that I was once a pre-wedding photographer and a themed-wedding designer.

I have to say that I love beautiful wedding ceremony or themed-wedding celebrations (they are so magical–especially the forest-themed wedding!), and I still love designing such experience, but not for my own wedding.

I feel like I just want to have a basic and simple one–more of a low-key kind of approach (although my fiancé wants to throw a small post-wedding party in Amsterdam). I don’t know why. Maybe because I am an introvert and a private person who naturally feels out of place in the middle of parties; not to mention the awkwardness of having ‘me’ as the spotlight of the party!

So, here’s the thing: the wedding is less than 2 months away, and I still have no idea about my dress, my bouquet, or my wedding ring.

***

The ins and outs of engagement/wedding rings is something quite foreign to me. I see them merely as a symbol.

I remember this story I read in a forum years ago, about a woman and her fiancé, who wanted to get married. Because both of them are still struggling with daily necessities, they bought her wedding ring at a flea market–a vintage ring that costs nothing; but she liked it and she was happy. She said it was more than enough as a ‘symbol’ of their love and their intention to get married.

A friend of a friend made a ring-shaped tattoo on his and his partner’s ring finger. For them, it’s more practical than wearing a wedding ring. At least you don’t need to worry about losing it or having it slipped out of your fingers when washing dishes. If ‘diamond is forever‘, so is a tattoo.

Somehow, I like these kinds of stories. It never fails to fill me with such a warm and fuzzy feeling. I think it’s because I am attracted to people who embrace symbols as one should: nothing but a symbol–a reminder, a sign–that we give meanings to symbols; not the other way around. Thus, when some people were commenting on how small my engagement ring was (maybe they were joking, right?), I just laughed.

***

A few weeks ago, my fiancé took me to OOGST, the goldsmith studio where he got my engagement ring–the one he selected to propose. The goldsmith studio is run by Ellen Philippine and Lotte Porrio, lovely, warm, and friendly artists whose love of their artwork is clearly visible. In their beautiful studio, they design pieces of jewelry made with recycled gold and conflict-free diamonds.

“What kind of wedding ring would you like to have?” my fiancé asked.

“There is another ring? But, there’s already this one,” I pointed at my engagement ring. At the time, I didn’t know that you can get a different ring as a wedding ring (how many rings should I wear?).

So my fiancé and I had a discussion about it–and we’re still thinking if we need to get a wedding ring or not. However, even if we decided to get one, instead of purchasing a new pair of rings, we’re thinking of melting the ring of my late mother and the ring of my fiancé’s grandfather, then recycle them to make a pair of simple wedding bands for the two us. We think the recycling process can also be seen as a symbol for the ‘melting’ of the two families. A lovely sentiment, isn’t it?

***

The next thing to tackle (apart from the venues and F&B) for our small wedding celebration is, of course, the wedding invitation. Based on my experience, I know that wedding invitation can be one of the most expensive things in your wedding budget (to design, to print, to deliver)–especially if you have a large number of guests.

I understand that many cultures still put a lot of weight in having a printed wedding invitation that is (preferably) hand-delivered by the soon-to-be bride or groom. However, I also realized that most people do not keep wedding invitations they received; and sooner or later–sadly, these beautiful invitations will be thrown away.

After weighing the pros and cons, my fiancé and I finally decided that we won’t be printing a physical wedding invitation and going paperless instead. We cross our fingers that our friends and families would tolerate our decision, and we started designing our wedding invitations with Paperless Post.

Paperless Post

The website offers both paperless and printed pre-designed wedding invitations (they are so beautiful and the designs from Rifle Paper Co. are so cute!). Some designs are free, but some premium ones worth some coins (you can buy coins to purchase and send your invitation).

What I love the most about the paperless part is the fact that you can export your guest list, schedule the sending of your invitations, track the sent invitations (and notify you if the invitations have been opened by the recipient–or not), manage the RSVP, send reminders, and many more!

At first, I was thinking of using the lovely designs from Rifle Paper Co. (I have some of their notebooks!), Oscar de la Renta, or Kate Spade NY (yes, they designed some wedding invitations there!). However, since there are some limitations in customizing a pre-designed layout and there is an option in the website to upload your own design, my fiancé urged me to design the invitation myself.

“Why don’t you make some illustrations, so we can make it more personal?” he asked.

Surely, I procrastinated for about 2 weeks or so, and only yesterday I decided to wrap it up. Finally, I decided to go with a casual-modern look for the invitation design (something we both like) with an illustration of the two of us.

***

Here’s the thing: I never thought that I would get married.

I mean, not that I don’t want to get married, but when I hit 30, I kind of dropped my idea of a (traditional) marriage. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism–because I live in a culture where people are expected to get married (in the national identity card, the marital status column can only be filled with “married” or “not married yet“) and women are expected to get married when they are in their twenties.

So, when I hit 30, then 31, then 32, and so on and so forth, and still being single, it always raises some questions (and eyebrows. and sometimes, unsolicited ‘advice’).

Maybe that’s why I decided to drop the idea of getting married.

I remember that there was this one point in my life when I asked myself: What if I never get married? What will happen then?

I really gave it a serious thought. I listed down all the possibilities of this ‘alternate universe’ where I am living by myself, forever single.

I think about living alone, maybe with my pets and pots of plants. I think about my job, my friends, my social life, my passion projects, my single apartment somewhere. I think about traveling alone. About cooking for one.

And as I was thinking about it, I realized that it’s not bad. It’s actually not bad at all. Staying single is something I know I can live with. And being alone–to some extent–is something I am naturally inclined to as an introvert. So, there, in my thirties, I decided that I will be okay even if I will be single forever. I know I will be fine and will still be able to have fun nonetheless.

And then, here I am. Organizing my simple wedding and designing my wedding invitation.

But maybe it’s good, though. To go through that thinking process and knowing that I can be single or engaged, or married, and it doesn’t define my level of happiness or worthiness, nor it defines who I am as a person, and what I am capable of.

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  • Best wishes to you both. I like your ideas about the symbolism coming from the meaning we give to things. We celebrate 50 years in a few weeks. I was in the military hundreds of miles away while we were engaged, so I bought what I considered an unusual and pretty gold wedding ring for my wife without her seeing it. I bought a simple gold band for myself. Roughly ten years later, I lost my ring in a boating accident [all else came through well]. I bought a replacement, still wear it, and never was concerned it was not the original. A few years later, we discovered my wife was allergic to gold; she has not worn her ring since. But as I said, it has almost been 50 years.

    • Dear Ray, thanks so much for sharing your stories about your ring(s)! I am so touched reading it! And 50 years of being together… OMG, that’s amazing! :’) Congratulations! Do you have some plans on what you’d like to do to celebrate? And please send my regards to Alie :*

    • Dear Ray, thanks so much for sharing your stories about your ring(s)! I am so touched reading it! And 50 years of being together… OMG, that’s amazing! :’) Congratulations! Do you have some plans for what you’d like to do to celebrate? And please send my regards to Alie :*

  • So happy for you kak Hanny! Semoga diberikan hikmat untuk mengambil keputusan terbaik dalam proses menuju pernikahan. Sekali lagi, selamat berbahagia kak.
    **Pas baca paragraf “Here’s a thing..” hingga akhir berasa membaca kisah hidupku sendiri juga hehe. Not in that age yet, but still I can relate as a woman and an only child.

  • Mbk Hanny, lama sekali aku nggak cek blog mbak. Dan aku pun tak menggunakan sosmed lagi. Senang sekali rasanya membaca postingan ini.. Selamat ya Mbak, semoga selalu dipenuhi kehangatan dan cinta kasih..