There Was No Wedding

posted in: Life, Marriage 83 comments

Most girls dream of their wedding day.

The perfect man, the perfect dress, the perfect venue, the perfect cake, the perfect first dance, the perfect day.

I am not most girls. I grew up announcing loudly to anyone who would listen that I was “never going to get married or have a wedding, pfffttt.”

Never say never.

I did however, maintain my stance against weddings.

My experience of weddings were dreadful, long-drawn out affairs filled with too many people I didn’t know or like, bad greasy Chinese food and cheesy slide shows of the couple from the time they were babies to the time they met (what’s the point?), and me just wishing I was spending my Saturday night somewhere else, doing something else.

I hated getting wedding invitations, as that meant I had to a) go or b) lie to get out of it.

So when I did meet my perfect man and he proposed, we agreed: NO WEDDING.

My poor mother, who’s had to deal with her unconventional daughter all her life, did not seem surprised at my announcement that there would be no wedding. She did her best to persuade me otherwise, to no avail.

To no one’s surprise, we did not have a wedding, complete with no official wedding photos, no wedding dress, no wedding first dance.

Instead, on November 15, 2007, a Thursday, my future groom and I were in Australia, his adopted country. We woke up bright and early, and I donned my custom-made cheongsam in navy blue and he looked handsome in his newly purchased Hugo Boss suit.

We walked the 5 minutes to the Registrar, with his mother and two brothers. We waited 30 minutes before the civil ‘ceremony’, during where we joked about the drab waiting room with its brown carpets, fake flowers and uncomfortable floral armchairs.

We were ushered into the ceremony room, and I giggled at the pipe-in cheesy romantic ballads from the ’90s.

The two of us stood awkwardly in front of the marriage celebrant and said our short vows (we chose the shortest version, of course), and he put the ring on my finger (He didn’t get one. We’re non-conformist, remember?).

We then sat down and signed the marriage certificate and looked on as our two witnesses (his brothers) scrawled their signatures, then took a few pictures next to some dusty fake plants.

It was over in 20 minutes.

Afterwards, we walked to a nearby cafe for coffee, looking decidedly out of place in our dressed-up-ness. After a glorious two hour nap at the hotel (yes it was JUST A NAP), we got dressed up again in our suit and cheongsam, drove to the beach and had fish and chips for lunch.

Who’s to say we had any less of a perfect day?

Nuptials

Happy 7th Anniversary to my Sweetie, father of my children, and love of my life. 

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • November 15, 2014 Lorna

    Happy Anniversary!

    I regret certain aspects of my wedding (shoulda worn a purple dress and had a photographer who wasn’t a dumb-ass), but I love my husband, my marriage and my family.

    I love and respect what you guys did and do!

    Lorna xox
    Lorna recently wrote…Mama MultitaskingMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      What’s important is your love! And thank you.

  • November 15, 2014 melissa

    That sounds perfect. We had our wedding in our living room. The ceremony was also over in twenty minutes then we took our 10 guests and went to a local pub lol and My husband looked fancier then I did. I’m classy. The ONE thing I wish we did though was professionally done photos. To me photos done by a photographer are 100 percent worth the investment. I’m begging my husband for 10 year anniversary photos.

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I do wish we’d taken more photos of the day itself, but at least we got the important ones. C’est la vie!

  • November 15, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Aww, Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary and sounded like you did indeed have the perfect day big wedding or not πŸ™‚
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…The Glass Half Full or Half Empty?My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Janine! We did have an awesome day!

  • November 15, 2014 Vanessa Chin

    Happy Happy Anniversary!!!! I Love Your Perfect Story. It’s exactly what I would do also! Love this Picture too! πŸ™‚

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Vanessa!

  • November 15, 2014 Maureen

    Love it Alison! Your wedding day is true to yourself and that is awesome. I am not one for 500+ guests wedding like we Indonesians are used to πŸ˜€

    Happy Annivesary!
    Maureen recently wrote…Discovering South Sulawesi: Tanjung BiraMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Maureen! Now, what’s your wedding going to be like next year? πŸ™‚

  • November 15, 2014 Vanessa D.

    Too often we get so hung up on the wedding that couples forget to think about the marriage. Your wedding day sounds lovely – and perfect.
    Vanessa D. recently wrote…Two At Home AgainMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, that exactly!

  • November 15, 2014 Jennie Goutet

    You both look totally gorgeous. It was the perfect wedding for you because no one else had to lie or (shudder) GO. πŸ˜‰
    Jennie Goutet recently wrote…Mint Chocolate PuddingMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Haha, yes! I shudder to think about being the centre of attention at a wedding. I know, I’m weird.

  • November 15, 2014 Bev

    Happy anniversary! I think that’s awesome that you stuck with what you wanted to do and what felt natural. I had a more traditional wedding, but I was never one of those girls who dreamt about my wedding day. But after going to 7 weddings this year, I’m definitely weddinged-out for the year!
    Bev recently wrote…Allowing a little girl’s creative passion to grow + a giveawayMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      SEVEN? Omigosh. That’s more than the weddings I’ve attended in the last er, 7 years!

  • November 15, 2014 Onica {MommyFactor}

    I didn’t have a wedding either for both of my marriages. Nothing wrong with doing something less traditional. What matters is the commitment to each other. Happy Anniversary!
    Onica {MommyFactor} recently wrote…Becoming the Voice of BIG HERO 6 Baymax #BigHero6Event #BigHero6 #MeetBaymaxMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I absolutely agree!

  • November 15, 2014 Julia

    Happy Anniversary!
    Julia recently wrote…Win a Graco Car Seat with LifeBankUSAMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thanks, Julia!

  • November 15, 2014 sisters from another mister

    Ok, that happy little half smile over your shoulder … pure love xxx
    sisters from another mister recently wrote…Mamalode and Movember. #blessedMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I also felt incredibly awkward in my cheongsam and stiletto gold heels at the beach, where most people were half-naked, lol.

  • November 15, 2014 Rea

    SAME HERE! Wow, we are so much alike in this department. And we just had our 4th anniversary last Tuesday. We had a civil wedding in like 15 minutes with no celebration, nothing, and we worked right after our wedding.

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Happy Belated Anniversary to you!

  • November 15, 2014 Echo

    Simple and beautiful. My husband and I got married in our backyard. My in-laws wore t-shirts and jeans, LOL. It was perfect because it was all about us!
    Echo recently wrote…That Time We Made Snow!My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I LOVE THAT, TRULY!!

  • November 15, 2014 Kerstin

    Happy anniversary! Sounds like a perfect day to me πŸ˜€
    I tried weddings three different versions: the first one was the same as yours, at a court house in Colorado Springs. The second one was with gown and 150 guests. The third one was at a court house in Germany, followed by a casual BBQ with a few of our friends. The last one was my favourite πŸ˜‰
    Kerstin recently wrote…43/7My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I’m sure Roland would agree. πŸ™‚ Yay for simple weddings!

  • November 16, 2014 Tamara

    My sister did have a wedding, as you saw, and it wasn’t small, but I still thought she’d have the wedding of the century. And what it was was homemade and special. It just goes to show you that sometimes, always, it’s really about being together.
    And you two are a wicked good-looking couple!
    Tamara recently wrote…There is a Third.My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      It is about being together, in your happy space. Australia is that place for us. And thank you!

  • November 16, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    Happy Anniversary! I love your unconventional “wedding.”

    We had such a production for our wedding (mainly b/c both sets of parents had more of say than we did) and it proved to be exhausting and not what we necessarily wanted.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…What If the Stories Stop?My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you!
      I can just imagine what it was like because I helped out a friend’s wedding, and although it wasn’t large by any scale, it was SO stressful for her. I’m so glad we went our own way with our day.

  • November 16, 2014 Elaine A.

    I think everyone’s wedding should be exactly how they want it and since this was that for you two, it was PERFECT!!! You are a gorgeous bride with a handsome groom! Happy Anniversary you two love birds!!! XOXO

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Perfectly said, my friend. xo

  • November 16, 2014 Stephanie Sprenger

    I loved reading this. You are such a gifted storyteller. xo
    Stephanie Sprenger recently wrote…Self Promotion Feels IckyMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Aw, Stephanie, THANK YOU. xo

  • November 16, 2014 Gabriella Muka

    Good for you! Getting married should happen the way the 2 people getting married want whether it means no people or 200 people! And I understand exactly what you mean about dreadful drawn-out affairs. I once attended a ceremony that took hours. And was in three different languages. And that’s not even the worst experience I’ve had. Which is why we kept our ceremony to 10 minutes with just local family and a handful of very close friends. And no first dances or bouquet throwing. Just good food, good conversation,and a separate table for me and the Mister.
    Gabriella Muka recently wrote…The Weekend RoundupMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Your wedding sounds awesome! And OMG, hours-long weddings drive. me. insane. I went to one that served a 9 course meal. Which took 4 hours. I was starving.

      • November 18, 2014 Gabriella Muka

        Agreed! Wow. Just wow. 9 courses? I can’t even imagine. I think for me, the absolute worst was a boat wedding. The invite said anyone not there on time would be left. But the wedding was over 3 hours late to start because when we arrived (25 minutes early) the wedding party, bride and groom included, was no where to be found. The boat didn’t leave the dock for another 3+ hours. And since it was on a boat, once the ceremony was over (which had lots of songs and readings and sitting and standing) you couldn’t just leave. To make it worse, the food took forever and they ran out of silverware and plates. The cake was served on napkins. It was the most ridiculous wedding I’ve ever experienced.
        Gabriella Muka recently wrote…On worrying and afternoons at the beachMy Profile

  • November 16, 2014 Sarah

    Sounds wonderful to me! My wedding ended up being WAY over the top due to my parents insisting on inviting half of our small town to it. Definitely not the wedding I would have planned, but they were paying so I didn’t get to make all the decisions. It was still very memorable!
    Sarah recently wrote…Reading while Driving #bookchatMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      With half the town there, I BET it was memorable. πŸ™‚

  • November 16, 2014 Rorybore

    Phew! I thought I was the only one! When I got engaged, I was Not prepared for the barage of questions: flowers? colours? food? venue? music? white, off white, bisque, or ivory gown?
    Huh? Um, white?
    I never focused on those things growing up either. I was never sure I’d even get married either: but I did know, if I did – I wanted a MARRIAGE. the wedding details were most secondary.
    Now, I got the big wedding because I gave my mother and MIL the greatest gift a mom could ever get: go ahead and plan it. Just tell me when and where to show up. As long as I married at the end of the day = success!! LOL
    and you know what? I had a completely relaxed and stress free day because of it.
    Rorybore recently wrote…Got Apples? Get Crisp!My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      You are brilliant! My mother wanted to do a dinner in my hometown post our marriage registration, and I told her to go ahead, plan it, and tell me when to show up, lol. She didn’t (phew).

  • November 16, 2014 My Inner Chick

    Noooooooooo.
    You are not “Most Girls.” Thank Goodness!
    Perfection comes in several forms!
    Your day sounds exquisite.
    CONGRATS))!!! xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Australia, Amy Winehouse, & AspergersMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      It was exquisite. Thank you! xoxo

  • November 16, 2014 Robbie

    happy anniversary! Sounds like your wedding day was perfect for you.
    Robbie recently wrote…Fractured FridayMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you! And it was.

  • November 16, 2014 Leigh Ann

    I wish I could tell young brides how overrated weddings are. But they may not think so. I just think of my wedding as a lot of stress and frustration that I couldn’t wait to be over. I love that you guys did what YOU wanted to do.
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…some stuff: I’m cold editionMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I think many brides actually love planning their wedding, especially now in the age of Pinterest. I wouldn’t take that away from anyone. Just not my cup of tea.

  • November 16, 2014 Susi

    I never dreamed of a big fancy wedding either. I remember when Cindy Crawford got married and fell in love with the idea of a simple beach wedding, never thinking I’d live in Florida one day. Well, we did have our beach wedding with a party at the house after. No muss, no fuss – just fun. We’ve been married 13 years. πŸ™‚
    Susi recently wrote…Their silly side… (Wordless Wednesday)My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      A beach wedding would have been something I’d have opted for if we DID have a wedding! Yours sound perfect.

  • November 16, 2014 Jeanette Nyberg

    LOVE this! I am inspired to write a post about my non-wedding, too. Oh, and I’m the one who usually doesn’t wear a ring. πŸ™‚
    Jeanette Nyberg recently wrote…Spotlight: 150+ Screen-Free Activities for KidsMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Please do, would love to read it!

  • November 16, 2014 Alexandra Rosas

    What a perfect day. And I love how Nablo’ing is bringing more of you to us. xo

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      You’re not sick of me yet?

  • November 16, 2014 Greta

    You’re a gorgeous couple. Here’s to many, many more years. Cheers!

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thanks Greta!

  • November 16, 2014 tracy

    What a beautiful couple! I hope your day was amazing. We didn’t have guests either – just the 2 of us in a castle in Scotland. oxoxo
    tracy recently wrote…On BroadwayMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      It was amazing! I love your wedding story.

  • November 16, 2014 jasbir

    Happy Anniversary! It’s always the simpler things in life we remember.
    jasbir recently wrote…A white suitMy Profile

    • November 17, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, definitely.

  • November 16, 2014 Leslie

    This sounds like a perfect day to me too. I don’t want a wedding either but the boyfriend does so we will see if that time comes who will win that battle. You guys are cute together!
    Leslie recently wrote…Making Molds: Smile BrilliantMy Profile

    • November 17, 2014 Alison

      Good luck! You could probably meet in the middle – a smaller wedding πŸ™‚

  • November 16, 2014 BritishMumUSA

    Haha, we kinda did the same thing. We eloped in Egypt, and ate KFC as a wedding dinner. MIL made us do a white wedding when we were home, I can’t even remember the date of that one. To funny, I like your wedding too πŸ™‚
    BritishMumUSA recently wrote…Mother of all Road TripsMy Profile

    • November 17, 2014 Alison

      KFC as wedding dinner – love it!

  • November 17, 2014 Andrea

    The simplicity of your wedding appeals to me. We had a fancy affair filled with friends of my parents that was largely arranged by the venue. It was elegant and fun, but exhausting. I did love dress shopping, though.
    Andrea recently wrote…1989My Profile

    • November 17, 2014 Alison

      I had my cheongsam custom made, so I shopped for the fabric, and hunted down a seamstress. That was kinda fun too. Glad yours was!

  • November 17, 2014 Stasha

    9 AM, courtyard in North Carolina while visiting his mother. We waked in wearing jeans, me in white and Jason in black sweater. It was over in 10 minutes, and our witness thru rice at us as the judge pronounced us man and wife. She got told off. We then went for breakfast, nap and skiied all afternoon. This all happened a year and a half before you so we totally started the trend πŸ˜‰
    Happy anniversary my dear friend. You looked amazing on your wedding day x
    Stasha recently wrote…Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • November 17, 2014 Alison

      No wonder we are such good friends! πŸ™‚

  • November 18, 2014 JustVisitor

    Believe it or not, that kind of wedding is actually my dream. Well, perhaps because I’m too busy working. Anyway, happy anniversary, Ally!

    • November 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you!

  • November 18, 2014 Natalie

    Now that sounds like the way to go! πŸ™‚
    Natalie recently wrote…So Long Fall, Hello Cold WeatherMy Profile

    • November 18, 2014 Alison

      It worked for us!

  • November 18, 2014 Angela Youngblood

    I love this so much. Happy anniversary! You look so beautiful in that picture!
    I had a wedding and it was fun, but I kind of wish we hadn’t had it. We spent all our money on the wedding and had none left over for a honeymoon. “We’ll go later,” we said. We never went and man, I wish we would have gone away for 10 days to a resort rather than the whole wedding thing. As far as other people’s weddings now? I like them because it’s the only time I can take over a dance floor these days. πŸ™‚
    Angela Youngblood recently wrote…Feeling All The Feelings & What I Know For SureMy Profile

    • November 18, 2014 Alison

      Angela, you make any event fun! There is always time to go for that long overdue honeymoon.

  • November 18, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    This is such a lovely story πŸ™‚ I’m not engaged yet but we’re heading there and my bf has left the decision of a wedding up to me but I’m to the point where I don’t want one, I just want a dress and to seal the deal – maybe have brunch with family and friends and call it a wrap. I don’t want a whole thing or to be in debt for years for a party. It’s good to see this perspective, it’s refreshing really. Beautiful photo of you guys and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ALISON + HUBBY! Take Care -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Research Corner: Language is Brain ExerciseMy Profile

    • November 18, 2014 Alison

      Iva, I hope you get the wedding you want!

  • November 19, 2014 Tonya

    So lovely. You did exactly what you wanted and no one can fault you for that.

    Wedding can be such bullshit… so full of pomp and circumstance and that’s okay. if that’s what you’re into. That’s how my first wedding was. The second time around was WAY better, starting with the RIGHT guy! (:
    Tonya recently wrote…Being BusyMy Profile

    • November 19, 2014 Alison

      Having the RIGHT GUY is essential! πŸ™‚

  • November 19, 2014 Kim

    That sounds like a lovely day. I LOVE that you did exactly what you wanted to do, regardless of anything else. I think that is what all weddings should be. We had a wedding, but it was very small and simple. I just really wanted to wear the white dress. πŸ™‚
    Kim recently wrote…Flunking Happy – Could I Be Happy for 100 Days?My Profile

    • November 20, 2014 Alison

      And I bet you were a beautiful bride!

  • December 6, 2014 Rebecca

    Oh girl. I get you. I too proclaimed I wouldn’t marry. I didn’t want anyone holding me back, slowing me down, or getting in the way of my big dreams. So of course I ended up marrying at 19. LOL Still, no wedding. Never even considered it. I love the way you live your life to the beat of your own drum and you don’t let anyone (even your mom) convince you otherwise. Happy Anniversary! You two make a beautiful couple and even more beautiful kids!
    Rebecca recently wrote…My Baby Ate the Gerber Baby (Thanks Save-A-Lot)My Profile

    • December 6, 2014 Alison

      Omigosh, you’re so young! πŸ™‚
      And thank you!

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