A True Minimalist Wedding

The idea of a wedding can be super daunting for a minimalist couple.

Everywhere you look, there’s potential for some other frivolous expense: engagement photos, save-the-dates, wedding cake AND groom’s cake, fancy invitations, will-you-be-my-bridesmaid? gift boxes, wedding party gifts, bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen tuxes, something old/new/borrowed/blue, a cute little pillow for an equally cute toddler in a tux to carry your rings on, centerpieces, decor you will never have use for again but will feel guilty for throwing away after the big day, and even the several-thousand-dollar wedding dress that will sit in your closet for decades to follow. . . .

The whole thing is a lot to take in!

So when me and my guy decided it was our time to take the leap, we knew we didn’t want to do it like everyone else. It just wasn’t for us.

Instead, we just decided to elope.  To Ireland.  On a mountain.  Just the two of us.

And we couldn’t have been happier with our decision.

Despite being extremely close to our family and not wanting to exclude them, we still felt this was the right decision for us. We’re not frivolous or extravagant people, and the thought of having to spend (or having my parents to spend) such a large sum of money for only a couple of hours of showy celebration didn’t sit right with us.

We ended up getting a lot more bang for much less buck as we enjoyed a two-week trip abroad, and said our vows in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

My dress cost $80, and it’s something I can wear over and over again. We spent about $75 on his attire, using some pieces he already had in his closet. My jewelry wasn’t fancy, just some pieces I already owned, minus the bracelet I got on sale for $15–also something I can wear over again.

We ordered a simple 6 inch cake–chocolate with espresso Italian buttercream icing and chocolate ganache on top–that we ate in the middle of a meadow, and didn’t even bother fooling with something old/new/borrowed/blue or even a bouquet.  (Although the little granddaughters of the B&B owners where we were staying picked me a handful of the most beautiful flowers from their garden!)

Everything was simple and perfect.

We didn’t stress much over the day at all. We took three months to plan the whole trip (much with the help of our amazing photographer and his wife), hopped on a plane, hiked up a mountain, and made it happen.  Then after, we drove around southern Ireland for a week.  Ah-mazing!

I recommend more people go this route. Of course, if you want a huge wedding with all your friends and family present, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think you should go for it!  Just make sure it’s what the two of you really want and not what society has said you should do.

And if you have hesitations about doing it the “traditional” way, I hope that a story like ours will help you see that it’s OK to do things a bit differently.

I’ve heard so many married couples say they wished they had eloped instead of going through with the big wedding, but have heard none who eloped say they wished they hadn’t. There’s something very moving about it just being the two of you on that special day. After all, that’s what it’s all about. You two. Not all the hundreds of people (most of which you may not even know very well) you will have to impress and feed after the ceremony. It’s not about the mounds of gifts you will receive. It’s not about how fancy your dress, hair, or makeup is. It’s not even about the size of your diamond (mine is only .05 carat, and I couldn’t love it more!).

It’s about the two of you and the commitment you’re making to one another.

Another fun detail:
Due to the strict laws in Northern Ireland about getting married (you must have been a citizen for two years and can’t get married outside!), we actually legally tied the knot at the beach in Florida a week before we left for Ireland. We spent a four-day weekend laying on the beach, eating seafood, and drinking fruity drinks–a honeymoon in and of itself–before going on our actual elopement trip/honeymoon. Not too shabby.

Have we got you seriously considering eloping, now?  DO IT!!!

If you want to know any other details about how we did our big day, please feel free to ask in the comments! I’d be more than happy to share with you all!

Now, for a few of the gorgeous pics from our day as well as a closeup of my simple rings–that I’m totally obsessed with!

Thanks so much for reading!

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love         Photography by This Modern Love

 

Photography by This Modern Love Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

Photography by This Modern Love

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We’re All Minimalists

I was talking with family the other day about my use of minimalist principles in my life and how much doing so has changed me over the past few years.

“Truthfully, I believe we’re all minimalists,” I said.

I went on to explain how we all have our favorite possessions: a handful of favorite clothes, favorite shoes, favorite jewelry, favorite hair/makeup routines, favorite pieces of technology that get most of our use, favorite bands/CDs/records, and even favorite meals that we prepare.

All minimalism does is calls us to have those favorites be in the forefront at all times, never getting pushed to the side by the mounds of clutter that creep into our homes, slowly taking over our spaces and lives.

Instead of feeling trapped by all the “stuff” around you, the “stuff” that prevents you from getting to spend the majority of your time indulged in the few favorite items that bring you the most pleasure, why don’t you consider becoming one of the brave ones?  Make the tough choices to eliminate the clutter that doesn’t bring you joy during this way-too-short period we have on this gorgeous planet.

Truthfully, based on my experience, you probably won’t even miss the cast-offs.

I honestly can’t recall a single thing I wished I had held onto during my bouts of decluttering.

And it’s funny how things change; I’ve reduced my possessions by about three-quarters, and instead of looking around and asking myself where everything went, I find myself remarking on how much there is still left to be rid of.  I know if most people saw my house, cabinets, and closets, they’d think of me as a crazy person for saying such a thing.

It’s OK, though.

My life is changing.  My goals are changing.  My definition of happiness is changing.

And my lust for life becomes more ardent with each passing day.

Again, we’re only here for such a short time.  So why should we allow ourselves to be bogged down by the things that not only don’t bring us joy, but also take joy from us?

Let your inner minimalist come out.  I promise, you won’t regret it!

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No.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with saying yes when I really want to be screaming no.

Or in some cases . . . .

Hell no!

Not gonna happen.

Are you nuts?!

Why, on God’s green earth, would I do that for you?!

I’d rather gouge my own eyes out.

. . . . the list goes on.

I know that by saying yes in certain situations, I end up saying no to the things that are actually more important to me.  I’m only hurting myself by obligating my time and energy to things that are not beneficial to my personal growth. 

I just can’t do it anymore.

I don’t want to snap, or be unnecessarily rude to someone in my life, so I will just say no.  No explanation is required.  I do not need to justify my choice.  

It will just simply be no.

Does this mean I will never sacrifice my time to help others?  Of course not.  I’m only weeding the unwanted, crazy, pointless, dumb, stupid tasks and commitments out of my life.  Being asked to complete a task by someone who is perfectly capable of executing said task themselves is just not going to fly for me anymore.

I have so many things in my life that I yearn to say yes to, that I really can’t afford to waste time on the tasks I consider too stupid or meaningless to perform.

This will require brutal honesty in some cases, but I’m OK with that.  I know, in most cases, my honesty will be better for both parties involved.

Are there things or people in your life you need to learn to say ‘no’ to?  What things would you rather be saying ‘yes’ to?

 

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Personal Manifesto

Today is the day.

It’s time for me to get my life together.

I’ve been pussyfooting around for months now when I’ve known, all along, the things that I’m capable of.  I can achieve greatness, so why waste time being so sluggish about it?

I’m going to start eating better.  Today begins my 3-day fast: a fast from wheat, dairy, sugar, and meat to kick-start my body.  After that, it’s moderation from then on out, while still striving to avoid the foods that are poison.

No more laziness with my body.  I will start exercising 4-5 days per week and spend time in prayerful meditation daily.

I will get back on my novel.  It needs me to finish it.  I will finish it.

I will continue to eliminate the unnecessary from my life.  I’ve done extremely well with this endeavor so far.  I will keep up the pace, attacking the areas that are more difficult with a vengeance.  My world needs to represent my life now.  I will not have my home be a museum of my life or let the past’s junk define me.  It’s difficult enough trying to find out who I am and where my place is without having to trudge through the reminders of yesterday, telling me who I used to be.  I don’t owe the past anything.

I will press on toward my goals.

Today begins the rest of it all.

Today is the day for change.

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Show Me The Money!

After another Friday night / Saturday morning yard sale weekend, I walked away very pleased with my continuing progress.

This time, I made $400.  AND got rid of quite a few bulky items that I’ve been sick of seeing for a while now.

My aunt, uncle, cousins, brother, brother’s girlfriend, Nana, Mom, Dad, and I all came together — each of us pitching in items that we were ready to be rid of.  We always have the best time.  

My aunt made a breakfast casserole, Mom had a crock pot of BBQ chicken for lunchtime sandwiches, and Nana brought over some cake and brownies for us to snack on.  We’re a super close family, so even though there was some labor involved throughout the weekend, we just visited and enjoyed one another’s company.  

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend.

All of us combined made about $1,000.

I hope this inspires some of you to host your own yard sale.  You really can make a good deal of money, making it worth your trouble.  If you need any pointers, just leave a comment below!

I hope y’all have a great week!

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Storage Unit

Recently, my boyfriend and I had quite the argument.

Having relocated rather quickly from his previous residence, he was forced to rent a small storage space to store the larger items, books, and winter clothes until he could get back into town with a truck to haul them away.

Time passed, and — as you all can probably imagine — the clearing of the storage unit had begun to lose its urgency.

In fact, the bill even went unpaid for a few months.

I finally told my guy that we would go as soon as possible to retrieve the items, which also meant paying up on all those missed payments.  Since work was pretty demanding for him at the time, I offered to work out all the details if he could just take a day off to drive the 2 hours with me to get the load of mess.

After a few phone calls and a little more anger than I care to admit, we learned that the items in the unit had been auctioned off due to my sweetheart’s lack of recent payment.

Of course, I was outraged.  “They can’t just sell your stuff without trying to contact you first!” I heatedly proclaimed.  Then I got back on the phone with the storage company to try to find the buyer of said auctioned items and to report that he couldn’t legally sell them without attempting to contact my boyfriend first.

The man on the other end of the line, God love him, informed me calmly that the company did in fact try to make contact with no success.  Several times, I might add.  My guy forgot to change over his address when he moved (it’s gotta be a guy thing), and so all the letters sent out in hopes to contact him went to the wrong place.  The company had also tried to call him at the work number they had on file — which was correct — multiple times, but were told that no one by the name he gave them was employed there.

I hung up the phone, completely baffled, and immediately filled in the boyfriend on what I’d found out.

Then came the light bulb moment.

Since the name my boyfriend gave the storage company was his legal name and he actually goes by a shortened version of his middle name, none of his new employees would know who Mr. Legal Name was when someone called asking for him.

Simple misunderstanding where really no one was to fully blame.

I originally acted out in anger towards my boyfriend for his forgetfulness and for not taking the time to call and give a change of address, but I was mostly upset because I couldn’t remember all the items in the unit that were lost.  What if we lost something super important?!  This obviously wasn’t the case considering I couldn’t remember anything of dire sentimental value — except for one thing; an old photo album containing the only childhood photos my boyfriend owned.  (There are others at his mother’s house, along with all the negatives of the photos we lost in the auction.)  Everything else could be replaced or wasn’t even worth replacing to begin with.

I had actually planned to sell most of it at my next yard sale, but we quickly realized that no money would actually be made on the items, seeing as how we’d have to pay the storage company for the months that we missed.

I never handle losing items that I don’t freely give up very well.  I’ve sort of taken my time with this whole process, and deciding each and every item’s fate is part of the therapy of it for me.  This was yet another wake-up call in my life to my attachment to things that don’t really matter.  Even the things that I’m not even sure I own — or my boyfriend owns, in this case.

I hate that I spent that much emotional energy on a bunch of junk.

After the dust of the loss settled, I quickly felt my anger being replaced with something else.

Yep.  Relief.

We didn’t lose any more money on the auctioned items.  We didn’t have to take off a day of work to go retrieve them.  And we didn’t have to deal with the aggravation of storing them just so we could deal with the annoyance of later trying to sell them.

Please note that I’m not an advocate of not paying your bills on time.  This was just the positive outcome of innocent forgetfulness, and nothing more.  But what a weight that was lifted from our shoulders.

That storage unit is now one less responsibility that is cluttering my mind, preventing me from focusing on the here and now.

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Road Tripping

The yard sale was not a huge success this time.

We knew going in, that having it on the next to last weekend of the month had the potential to be not-so-beneficial.

We were right.

So, we’ve boxed up all the odds and ends and decided to try again next month. I made about $300 that weekend (mostly from a couple of items I sold on Facebook), so that was a good amount to take with me on the road trip my boyfriend and I had spent so many weeks planning.

And what a memorable trip it was!

We spent a day in Washington D.C., a day in Philadelphia, two days in the Catskill Mountains, a day in New York City, drove through Amish country, and took a couple days in Gettysburg before journeying back home.

I’m always amazed at how well my guy and I mesh when we spend significant amounts of time together. Aside from the occasional bickering over the other person’s driving skills, I’d say the trip was quite serene–even despite the constant moving we were doing. The scenery was breath-taking, and it was so exciting to see so many places we’d only seen in movies or read about in books for so many years.

We didn’t love NYC like we thought we would, probably because of the crowds, traffic, and stench. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly and repeatedly we fell in love with Pennsylvania. Such an awesome state to visit! Our goals on this trip were definitely achieved. We got to see The Felice Brothers at the first ever Felice County Fair, where even Simone Felice joined in the fun for the day (most pleasant surprise of the trip), and we got a good sample of many places in order to see which ones we care to revisit in the future.

And we did a little wine-tasting and purchasing at a little winery in the Catskills. One of my favorite experiences.

We also learned a lot about ourselves. We both realize that our time is not always spent on things that grow us. Of course this can’t always be controlled, but we definitely see that traveling together is something that has to be a top priority for us. We know that we have to make time for it in our lives. We both love and crave it so much.

We’re already thinking about where we’d like to visit next. San Francisco, maybe?

We shall see!

What were some fun places you’ve traveled to in the past or will travel to in the future? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Tomorrow Is A Big Day

Our yard sale is tomorrow.

I’m so excited.  Once again, I’m amazed at the amount of junk we were able to uncover.  (I’ll post a pic of my mom’s dining room after this post so you can get an idea of what we’re working with, here.)

My parents have a shed in their back yard.  In this shed were tons of items we were too afraid to encounter before.  But a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I put on our big girl panties and slayed the beast.

Childhood papers, old Hot Wheels cars and race tracks, Barbies galore (including way more accessories than I care to admit), Legos, board games (that never got played), hunting gear (brother’s), train sets, tools, car detailing junk, life jackets, beach chairs, bikes, wheelbarrows, home repair items, Christmas decorations, sports equipment . . . the list goes on.

My dad is still not ready to part with a large portion of his tools and things (even though, I really think he should and have told him so), and my brother’s more occupied with other activities than going through each item he owns to down-size.  That’s OK, though.  Me and mom did what we could and made huge progress.

I’m loving Facebook’s yard sale groups.  I’ve made close to $500 just in the past few weeks from using it.  So awesome!  I’m hoping to make a few hundred tomorrow as well.  New York is less than a week away, and I want to use the extra cash towards making memories instead of holding on to the things in my life that I’m getting zero use, enjoyment, or benefit out of.

I’m ready for great things, and I don’t want to be weighed down by my junk when the time comes.  I love seeing cleared spaces instead of feeling claustrophobic in my own house or car.  I love how quickly I can CLEAN my house with less junk laying around.  I love that I could wash every dish in my house by hand in 20 minutes or less.  I love that I only have to do about 2 loads of laundry per week.  I love that I’m obtaining more and more time to do the things that make me happy.

I love my life, and I love this journey.

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