Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding

Have you set a date yet?”, curious friends would often ask.

At first, our response was, “YUP! We’re getting married on June 29th, 2014!

I came up with this date because Cody's birthday is on April 29th and my birthday is on September 29th, so I thought it would be awesome to get married on June 29th, smack dab between our two birthdays!

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography

It was a cute idea and all, but the closer we inched toward that date, the less confident we became about whether or not this was really going to happen.

We've had an extended engagement without any solid plans (other than a date) to make it official because Cody and I thought we hadn't saved up “enough” money for a proper wedding.

That was, until we began to question what our idea of a “proper” wedding was.

After seeing some dear friends get married their way at the end of April, Cody and I were inspired to create our own little celebration befitting of the commitment we wanted to make to one another.

I realized upon witnessing their heartfelt ceremony that the only thing that was really important was that he and I were married at the end of the day.

It was the commitment that mattered the most. 

My expectations suddenly vanished when that realization washed over me and we decided to plan our unconventional wedding that was organized in a few weeks!

Yep, you read that right. A FEW WEEKS!

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography


I confided in a wedding industry friend that Cody and I were waffling about getting married this summer but that I was hoping we’d be able to find an affordable outdoor wedding venue to get the ball rolling.

Out of nowhere, she generously offered to allow us the use of her rustic barn, creek, and field if we wanted to come check it out.

I could barely believe that Desi was willing to do such an enormous favor for us, but I was ecstatic because her property sounded pretty close to what we had on our wedding wish list!

We fell in love with the picturesque outdoor setting and I knew instantly that it would be perfect for our unconventional *FLASH* wedding! Desi's Farm was the venue we were looking for!

I envisioned having our intimate ceremony tucked in the woods on the edge of the creek followed by a reception at the open barn surrounded with an expansive field and mountain views. It was dreamy!

A rustic-styled wedding with a few DIY elements was what we had in mind, but I wanted nature’s beauty to do most of the decorating for us, so my plan was to keep everything as simple as possible.

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography


As crazy as it sounded, I thought that planning procrastinator-style would help us finally take the plunge! While the venue was worked out sometime in May, the rest of the details didn't begin falling into place until 2-3 weeks before the wedding day.

It didn't leave much time for planning, I know! And people thought I was NUTS for even thinking about attempting such a crazy feat, but we were ready and we didn't want to wait any longer!

There are many instances where I should have been freaking out HARDCORE, like when the dress I ordered online didn't get here until 3 days before the wedding or the fact that I didn't get a wedding photographer booked until 2 days before our big day, but I wasn't.

I kept reminding myself that Cody and I would be married at the end of the day and that everything else would be a *BONUS*! This became my mantra.

We didn't want to keep holding off until we had a certain dollar number saved up. It might have been a few more years before that would've happened! Plus, we’d like to be homeowners in the not-too-distant future!

So, with managed expectations, we planned something super simple, laid-back, and low-key, just like us!

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography


It was decided that we would take the slender $1,000 budget we had saved and tap into the relationships & resources available to us here in the Boone community to bring everything together!

This took a ton of trust (or blind faith) and reaching out to others (countless emails were sent) but I was determined.

Many arrangements were made to barter & trade services for some of the major cost factors (as you may know, I'm a wedding photographer & graphic/web designer) while other items were donated and lent to us by friends, colleagues, and family.

I didn't think this was possible, but we ended up spending LESS than $1k with all of the support we received from family, friends, and folks in the community, which was pretty unbelievable!

I think it would have been impossible to have a true DIY budget wedding without receiving help from others. 

Maybe everyone doesn't have the same skills and/or resources available to them but you really have to get creative to make it work when you are paying for a wedding yourself.

Allowing others to help was one of my biggest hurdles but in the end it was the ONLY way we were able to make this spontaneous fête happen!

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography


Cody and I were excited about making this life-long commitment to one another even though it was scary as hell to just “let go” and hope that everything would come together in the end, but that’s exactly what we continued to do over and over again every time we felt anxious or overwhelmed.

It took a shit ton of surrendering to make it through, but planning a wedding in three weeks has given us this we-can-do-absolutely-anything attitude and our lives are changing for the better!

I’m not going to lie, though, the idea of planning a wedding in such a short period of time is downright insane. But it’s possible because we did it!

Yes, it was a little crazy for a few weeks leading up to (and after) the wedding, but I managed to handle everything fairly stress free the entire time even though loose ends were still dangling days before we said I DO!

Everyone kept saying, “I can’t believe how laid-back you’re being about everything?!?!”

But I continued to remind myself that the only thing I cared about was being married to Cody at the end of the day and everything else was a *BONUS*!

Focusing on the Marriage and Not the Wedding | Image by: Kimberlee Edwards Photography
Photography by Kimberlee Edwards Photography


We packed so much in that abbreviated time frame, and with the help of a great team and others in the community, things came together pretty seamlessly!

In fact, I totally felt like I cheated in the end because it felt too easy!

Our wedding was an absolute blast, it was an incredible day that far exceeded my hopes! My favorite part was definitely our heartfelt ceremony down by the creek where we exchanged rings in the rushing water. It felt like I was in a fairy tale as cheesy as that sounds!

We watched snippets of the video a friend shared with and we laughed and cried all over again while watching it! I look forward to sharing more from OUR WEDDING ADVENTURE as I continue to relive our special day here on the blog, so stay tuned and get connected if you want to see more!

If there’s any aspect of the wedding planning process that you’re particularly interested in hearing about, please don’t hesitate to send me any suggestions you may have by commenting below! I'd love to hear from you!

Boone NC Wedding Photographer | Wayfaring Wanderer | Jessica MacedaHi! My name is Jessica a.k.a. Wayfaring Wanderer and I reside in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains here in Boone, NC. I'm a free-spirited wedding, engagement, and lifestyle photographer who loves working with couples, families, and individuals who are committed to travel, adventure, and laid-back lifestyles. If you think we might be kindreds, I invite you to join the WW tribe by signing up [ HERE ] for weekly updates & get connected to the [ WW Facebook page ] to join the conversation! | Website

Featured VENDORS }
» Desi's Farm | Desi's Floral & Design Studio (Venue, Coordinating, Flowers, etc.)
» Kimberlee Edwards Photography (Wedding Photographer)

Featured LINKS }
» DIY Down-Home Backyard Wedding: Emma + Alex
» Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | Wedding Styled Shoot @ Camp Sky Ranch
» Wedding Dresses from South's Specialty Clothiers at Smithmore Castle
» FREE Wedding Magazine When You Subscribe for the Weekly Wander

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