Dating and Relationship Advice

I got married in June 2019, in a rented Airbnb country house a couple of hours north of Toronto. There were only about twenty people invited—just close friends and families.

We hired a party rental company to provide disposable utensils, a few outdoor tents, lights, and other charming but basic fixtures. A local Portuguese restaurant provided buffet-style catering of fish, meat, potatoes, and rice. My dress wasn’t a wedding gown. It was an elegant cream dress with a black tie around the waist and an open back that cost $300. The morning of the event, I went to a nearby supermarket with one of my best friends, day-drunk on champagne as we giddily picked out six different layer cakes that probably would have horrified any bridal magazine editor. The entire event cost under a few thousand dollars, including the accommodations.

At the time, I didn't even know that "microweddings" were a thing. But I knew that I wasn't into weddings, and my friends even called me the "anti-bride." That was a label I wore proudly.

If you want to splurge on your dream wedding, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I personally decided to put my money somewhere I found more valuable, like buying a house. Weddings are so often surrounded by stress and people-pleasing that the actual needs of the couple get lost in the chaos. People have big, lavish wedding because it’s what’s expected. But is it what they actually want?

My event wasn’t packed to the brim with people. I didn’t receive extravagant gifts, which is a big reason people have larger weddings. I pushed materialism to the side and decided I wanted a day surrounded by love and only love. No politics, stress, or financial worries. I got to actually spend time with the people I adore, and the overall atmosphere was homey and laid back. Trust me—even if your wedding is top-tier in fanciness, if the couple is stressed out, the guests will absorb that energy too.

We knew we wanted our event to focus on community and intimacy, and going tiny  paid off in terms of a memorable and authentic experience that truly defined our values. Even after the pandemic ends, consider having a small wedding for these reasons. Don’t stress about hurting feelings of the uninvited. Don’t let yourself cave from outside pressure—even overbearing parents. This is your day, after all. You can create a totally luxurious mini-wedding, or one on a smaller budget, and end with a stunning event. Here are some tips for your own DIY tiny wedding.

1) Consider non-traditional venues

We thought a farmhouse look would be charming, so we searched for that aesthetic on Airbnb. It’s much cheaper than renting a venue. Just make sure that your host allows events.

2) Take advantage of the outdoors

Nature is the perfect way to awe people without spending a fortune on decor. Just maybe not the best idea for a cold month.

3) Make sure there’s a lounging area

This means a patio, backyard, or communal space in a house where small groups can break out and socialize. An inviting lounge spot with sufficient seating is ideal. Feel free to even include a few board games.

4) Party rental companies > wedding planners

Anything with the word “wedding” tacked on immediately costs more. You can also order what you need without mentioning it’s for a wedding, which could add extra cost.

Wedding planning can get expensive fast, so look at party rental companies and local vendors.

5) Skip the officiant

My husband and I decided to read our vows to each other in a field, with people standing nearby and watching. Since we already had a court wedding, we didn't want an officiant or a set schedule for things like ceremony and cake-cutting. Decide if something like this appeals to you, or if you actually want an officiant present.

Download Iris