Let me preface this by saying that this is our personal opinion and we in no way look down upon those who view this matter differently than we do, be it in simpler ways or more extravagant. This is just us, what makes sense to us and our lifestyle.
After we were engaged we prefaced all our decisions with questions like "how much is that going to cost" or "do we really need that?" Something about being a young, engaged American, that society still attempts to dictate how we do our weddings today and while I believe there is some validity to some traditions I believe that some of those are just there for the sake of tradition and when challenged it is met with "because that's what you do" or "that's just how it goes." I personally responded to Dylan on more than one occasion with those exact responses, mainly due to the fact that I didn't know why that happened and/or It was a simple tradition that I didn't feel the need to be neglected or challenged at this point. There was etiquette and traditions that I also thought were silly and we would discuss them together or he would just leave me to make the decision on whether or not I felt like it was necessary.
In the end it came down to our lifestyle and what we were comfortable doing. Our parents were a huge help with the financial end of things as well as emotional support, ideas, crafts and legwork. So one of the most important things to us was to be financially responsible with the gifts given to us without sacrificing our own personal lifestyles.
A large majority of our personal belongings were given to us, thrifted or picked up curbside on trash day, so we tend to lean on the frugal/sustainable side of things. We were warned by several friends to not get swept up in all the things that everyone else wanted us to do and to "just do us". We took that advice to heart. It meant more work and not hiring a planner. It meant spending just a little bit more to have compostable plates and cutlery. It meant that we had a couple work days and craft parties to get things done for the amount of people we wanted to accommodate. To keep it sentimental and meaningful it meant that we wanted family to be involved, in location, wedding party, and all the extra bits. And it meant having TWO receptions because we are so blessed by so many important people in our lives and wanted them to know their importance to us and having an open invite. A little extra work but so worth it.
The highest compliments that people expressed is that it all seemed very much like us and that we placed such a high importance on family and friends.
I kept thinking something needed to go wrong because everything was going so well. Everything was perfect and we couldn't have been more happy!