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When I got the catering menu to approve, it turned out that with our tiny guest list, we could afford a really cool meal. He worried he’d mess up somehow or get too nervous. Our wedding photographer was a dear friend of my family, Todd Sumlin.We ended up with a three-course, sit-down dinner with goat cheese and mascarpone dip, garlic rolls, penne alla vodka, pasta primavera, balsamic pork with roasted grapes, chicken parmesan, and pea and pancetta risotto. That special dad-daughter moment was important to me. No, he’s not a preacher, but he did get ordained online just for the occasion. But we already knew we wanted short, sweet, and clear vows: a prayer, the I DOs, the ring. Wedding photography usually costs thousands upon thousands of dollars, and for good reason.

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I’m so glad we stopped to think of what we really wanted.

friends, there was a slippery slope thing going on.

We didn’t care about whether or not we got married in a church. Neither of us wanted a long ceremony or special music. We weren’t concerned with anything looking fancy, but it had to taste really good.

We also weren’t super into a traditional reception with a DJ and decorated tables and wedding favors. I’d heard stories of receptions where the newlyweds barely got to eat and that just wouldn’t work for me.

Sure enough, our favorite Italian restaurant (Mama Ricotta’s in Charlotte) had a room perfect for our guest list. I couldn’t think of a person on the face of the planet I’d rather have.

They didn’t seem too weirded out when I told them we were actually going to be exchanging our vows there, either — good sign! My dad was not enthusiastic about the idea at first.

It wasn’t everyone’s dream wedding, but it was mine.

We’ve been sold this idea of what a wedding should be (flowers, aisles, centerpieces, favors, towering cakes, princess dresses) and when I was planning my wedding, I felt a weird pressure to conform to that.

The thought of scaling down to save money embarrassed me.

What if people came to my wedding and thought it was dinky because we couldn’t afford many flowers?

Or what if they could tell I couldn’t afford a super nice cake?


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