Hi everyone, I’m Tasha from By gum, by golly! I’m so happy to be guest posting for Franca while she’s off having a fantastic wedding and honeymoon!
I got married this summer, as well. On June 17th my sweetheart and I tied the knot in a pretty non-traditional way. We’d been together nearly 10 years and our home state finally allowed civil unions, so we marked the historic occasion by having our wedding the same month the law went into effect.
We knew we didn’t want a huge to-do, since we’re not really huge to-do kind of people. We did want something that represented us as a couple, and included our immediate family and one of our closest friends, in a very low-key way. So we had ourselves a little guerrilla wedding! I didn’t even know what we planned had a name until I heard the words escape my lips, looked it up on Google and thought, “Hey, not only is this a real thing, but this is what it’s actually called!” There’s no official rules for what defines a wedding like this, but it’s basically a wedding that’s hosted in a location that’s not reserved. You really have no idea how things will go. You hope for the best and keep your fingers crossed that everything turns out well. It helps to be flexible, and it helps if your guests are flexible and understand the situation, too. And above all else, you need a plan.
So here’s a brief scoop on how we orchestrated our little guerrilla wedding. It came down to 6 things: where, when, who, how, a backup plan, and a plan to have fun.
1. Where. We knew we wanted it outside. Outside in a major city like Chicago leaves you with a lot of options, but “spontaneous” privacy can be hard to come by. We looked into lots of public parks, trying to find a place where we could have a small gathering for a short period of time. We finally settled on a great public nature area. On the Saturday afternoon we scoped it out it was very quiet, so ideal.
2. When. If you’re looking for privacy like we were, you may need to pick a non-traditional time. We had our wedding at 2pm on a Friday afternoon. Before you decide on a time, do everything you can to check what’s going on at the location or in the neighborhood the day of. I can’t stress this enough! One of our location ideas was on a college campus. We were lucky to find out ahead of time that the day we picked was graduation day. Be flexible on your date or your location, depending upon which is more important to you. You don’t want to find the hard way that there’s a street festival blocking traffic the afternoon of your wedding.
3. Who. Not easy to pull off a wedding like this with a huge bridal party. Go small. Our total party included 12 adults, 5 kids and 1 photographer. That was probably about as big as I would ever have gone with this type of wedding. Small enough to be intimate and still able to wrangle people and give instructions on what the plans were on the fly.
4. How. Plan, but again, be flexible. We wrote a short ceremony and had a general idea of where in the nature center we wanted to have the ceremony. We told everyone the time to meet. Our plan was to walk into the nature center together, find a nice quiet spot, have our ceremony, and walk through the trails with everyone once the ceremony was over. We had reservations for dinner after, and made sure everyone knew how to get to the restaurant. Our two nieces shared duty as ring bearers. We coached them ahead of time on how we’d ask them to help us untie our rings. That was as formal as we got with the ceremony. The easier, the better.
5. Backup plan. What do you do if you get to your location and discover it’s raining? Or that a large event is happening that you didn’t know about? We had a backup location in another nearby park about 3 blocks away that we could easily have directed everyone to, if we had to. (Fortunately we didn’t, as our first choice location was much nicer!)
6. Plan to have fun. Really, it’s a bit stressful having a wedding that seems impromptu to the outside world. Don’t make it more stressful than you need to. HAVE FUN. You’re gathering your closest family and friends, you’re walking off somewhere with no reservations, possibly with the general public milling around you. If you’re not prepared to have fun and aren’t willing to laugh at yourself, you probably shouldn’t go this route. We just kept this in mind the entire time and had great fun with it, from our vintage outfits to the silly personalized bottles of water we passed out to everyone once we’d all been walking around in nature for an hour.
The whole thing was really fun to plan, our family had no problems with our quirky idea, and everyone had a marvelous time. It could not have been more perfect.
Thanks, Franca, for letting me share our little guerrilla wedding with your readers! 🙂