Will + Jennifer

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

As I was thinking of friends' weddings that "stood out," the Majors immediately came to mind. Why, you may ask? Their wedding, if I could summarize it in two words was simply: authentic & inspiring. I don't know too many couples who've taken a journey across multiple states to celebrate with their guests, wore their wedding outfits more than once or made their bridal registry about giving back than receiving. EE is absolutely thrilled to share Will and Jen's story with you! There's no way I could possibly capture the details of their thought process, so I asked them to share their wedding experience. Here it is in their own words...

How do you make your wedding day a momentous one? I don’t have the answer for you and your love, but I can share with you how my husband and I achieved the wedding of our dreams. Our one year anniversary is one month away, and my husband Will and I still laugh and smile about our wedding season. From a beach ceremony in Malibu, California, to a wedding tour across the United States, and then a honeymoon in Puerto Rico we returned home with zero wedding debt and memories we now share with all our family and friends.

For years I watched my girlfriends get married off in a church, dancing their night away in gorgeous reception hall, and finally making their grand exit to an exotic honeymoon of their dreams. It was always so picture perfect. When it came time to finally plan our own wedding I didn’t even know where to start to achieve such perfection. With family and friends spread over six states, the state of our economy not looking bright, and only six weeks from the time Will proposed to the wedding day we did everything we could to be sensitive to the finances of our guests.

With these things in mind, Will and I sat down and talked about what was most important for us to have for our wedding that 10 years from now would still make us smile. So our check list began: we wanted the day to be a reflection of us, for everyone to have fun, for all (and I mean ALL) of our family members to participate, to walk away with no debt, and above all else to honor God for the blessing that He gave us in each other. Here is where the real planning began.

We only asked our immediate family, maid of honor, and best man to fly in from out of state to witness our exchange of vows in California. While we were officially married in a courthouse in front of our family the next day we exchanged our own vows and rings on a beach in Malibu, California. Our friends formed and intimate circle of love around Will and I.  We fell deeper in love in that moment as we shared our hearts and hopes for our future in front of people who poured into us.

Our reception that followed was in the courtyard of our apartment complex. Lanterns hung from the trees that were wrapped with white paper and accented by candles all over the courtyard bringing a hint of romance to the evening. Love and laughter filled the air as we all celebrated in the blessing that God gave to us.  There was dancing, food, wine, cake, speeches, and laughter I can still hear.

A few days later we began our wedding tour. From Los Angeles our stops included Las Vegas, NV, San Antonio, Texas, Pensacola, Florida, Stafford Virginia, Yonkers, NY, and then ended in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Through this road trip “wedding tour” we were able to include all of our family and friends into our marriage and essential part-2 of our wedding. At every stop our family and friends welcomed us with great food and fellowship, and in return we put on our wedding attire each time so everyone could have pictures with the newlyweds. It was so much fun, and I got to wear my dress SIX TIMES!!

So you might be asking yourself, how did they manage to walk way debt free after a ceremony in Los Angeles, a road trip across the country, and a honeymoon in Puerto Rico?  The answer for us was to let go of tradition. There are so many different ways you can conduct your wedding and at times forcing yourself to stick to “traditions” will cost you in the end. Ultimately, this is your day and should be a reflection of you, so who cares what other people think or say about how you decide to celebrate your day. All that matters is that in the end it meant something and was picture perfect to you and your love.

Planning our wedding made Will and I realize how much God absolutely cared about every detail of our lives. Whether we need a photographer, a singer, a BBQ, a cake, a set of speakers, a hotel room, or a make-up artist our friends were there to help us achieve the wedding of our dreams.

We needed to say “thank you” to God in a way that expressed our deepest gratitude for the love He blessed us with and for the blessing of our marriage. Instead of receiving gifts via a traditional registry we decided to ask our friends and family to donate to Generosity Water a non-profit organizing aimed to help fight the clean water crisis around the world. Through their generous giving we were able to fund a well in Ghana (Africa) which was our thank you to God.

I hope our wedding story was able to inspire you in planning yours. It may sound cheesy, but you are the author of your own fairy tale. It can be as lavish or as simple as you want it to be. All it needs to be is unique and a reflection of you to achieve that momentous day you are looking for. Stay true to those two things and I know you will have the wedding of your dreams.


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