How to Plan a Wedding When You Don’t Want One: A Guide for the Unenthusiastic

Weddings are often seen as a celebration of love and commitment, but not everyone dreams of walking down the aisle.

If you find yourself in the position of having to plan a wedding when you don’t want one, it can be a daunting task.

In this article, we will explore expert tips on how to plan a wedding when you don’t want one, while still making it a special and meaningful day.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand why you’re hesitant about having a wedding and set the ground rules accordingly.
  • Plan alternatives to traditional weddings that align with your values and budget.
  • Stay true to yourself and your partner and plan a celebration that reflects your unique relationship.

See Also: What Do You Need To Know About Planning A Wedding?

Understanding Your Reluctance

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t want one. It’s important to understand your reluctance before you start planning.

Here are some sub-sections to help you identify stress factors, prioritize self-care, explore personal values, and learn to compromise.

Identifying Stress Factors

It’s essential to identify the factors causing stress and anxiety when planning a wedding.

Stress can be caused by various factors such as family expectations, financial constraints, or social pressure. Identify the sources of your stress and try to find ways to alleviate them.

For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the expectations of others, set boundaries and communicate your needs clearly.

Prioritizing Self-Care When Planning A Wedding You Don’t Want

Self-care is crucial when planning a wedding, especially if you don’t want one.

Remember to take breaks, prioritize your mental and physical health, and engage in activities that bring you joy. Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk, reading a book, or spending time with friends and family.

Exploring Personal Values

Planning a wedding can be an opportunity to explore your personal values and beliefs.

Take some time to reflect on what’s important to you and your partner.

Consider what traditions or rituals you want to incorporate into your wedding ceremony and reception.

You can also explore alternative wedding options such as elopements or destination weddings.

Learning to Compromise

Compromise is essential when planning a wedding, especially if you and your partner have different ideas and preferences.

Learning to compromise can help you avoid conflict and find common ground. Consider creating a list of priorities and non-negotiables and finding ways to compromise on the rest.

For example, if you want a small wedding, but your partner wants a large one, consider having a small ceremony and a larger reception.

By understanding your reluctance and taking steps to alleviate stress, prioritize self-care, explore personal values, and learn to compromise, you can plan a wedding that feels authentic and meaningful to you.

Setting the Ground Rules For Planning The Wedding You Don’t Want

When planning a wedding that you don’t want, it’s important to set some ground rules with your partner.

This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and that the planning process goes smoothly. Here are some tips for setting the ground rules:

1. Communicating with Your Partner

The first step in setting the ground rules is to communicate with your partner. Be honest about your feelings and concerns.

Let them know that you don’t want a big wedding and why. Listen to their perspective as well. Maybe they have always dreamed of a big wedding and are having a hard time letting go of that vision.

By communicating openly, you can work together to find a compromise that works for both of you.

2. Establishing Priorities

Once you’ve communicated your feelings, it’s time to establish priorities. Sit down with your partner and make a list of what’s most important to each of you. This could include things like the venue, food, music, and guest list.

By establishing priorities, you can focus your energy on the things that matter most and avoid getting bogged down in details that aren’t as important.

3. Scheduling Regular Meetings

To keep the planning process on track, it’s important to schedule regular meetings with your partner. This will give you both an opportunity to check in, discuss progress, and make decisions together.

Use a shared calendar or scheduling app to make sure you’re both on the same page and to avoid any scheduling conflicts.

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Budgeting for Your Wedding

Planning a wedding can be an expensive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be.

Even if you don’t want a wedding, it’s important to know how to budget for one in case you change your mind or someone close to you decides to tie the knot. In this section, we’ll go over the basics of setting a budget and sticking to it.

1. Setting a Budget

The first step in budgeting for your wedding is to determine how much you can afford to spend. This will depend on your income, savings, and other financial obligations.

Once you have a rough idea of your budget, it’s time to start allocating funds to different aspects of the wedding.

EntityPercentage of Budget

The above table is a general guideline for how much of your budget to allocate to each entity.

However, keep in mind that your priorities may differ, and you should adjust accordingly. For example, if you care more about the venue than the flowers, allocate more of your budget to the venue.

2. Sticking to the Budget

Once you have set your budget, it’s important to stick to it. One way to do this is to keep track of your spending using a spreadsheet or budgeting app. This will help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back.

Another way to stick to your budget is to be mindful of your spending. Avoid impulse purchases and try to negotiate prices with vendors. For example, ask if they offer any discounts for paying in cash or for booking multiple services.

Choosing the Right Venue

When planning a wedding that you don’t want, choosing the right venue is crucial. It can make all the difference in how much you enjoy the event. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect venue for your non-wedding wedding.

Scouting Potential Venues

The first step to finding the right venue is to scout potential locations. You can start by asking friends and family for recommendations or by doing an online search for venues in your area. Once you have a list of potential venues, visit them in person to get a feel for the space.

When visiting a venue, be sure to ask about the following:

  • Capacity: Make sure the venue can accommodate the number of guests you plan to invite.
  • Availability: Check that the venue is available on your preferred date.
  • Amenities: Ask about any amenities the venue offers, such as catering, decorations, or audiovisual equipment.
  • Restrictions: Find out if there are any restrictions on what you can bring or do at the venue.

Booking the Venue

Once you have found the perfect venue, it’s time to book it. Here are some tips to help you through the booking process:

  • Read the contract carefully: Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract before signing it.
  • Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price or the terms of the contract.
  • Make a deposit: Most venues require a deposit to secure your date. Make sure you know how much the deposit is and when it is due.
  • Get everything in writing: Make sure all the details of your agreement with the venue are in writing, including the date, time, and cost.

Remember, the venue sets the tone for the event, so take your time and choose carefully. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect venue for your non-wedding wedding.

For more information on choosing the right venue, check out Martha Stewart’s guide to wedding venue selection and Brides’ tips for selecting the perfect wedding venue.

Managing the Guest List

Planning a wedding when you don’t want one can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to managing the guest list. However, with some careful consideration and organization, you can successfully navigate this process.

Creating the Guest List

The first step in managing the guest list is to create it. Start by determining the maximum number of guests you are willing to invite. This will help you prioritize who to include and who to leave out. Consider the following factors when creating your guest list:

  • Immediate family: This includes parents, siblings, and grandparents.
  • Close friends: These are the people you see and talk to regularly.
  • Extended family: This includes aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  • Work colleagues: Only invite those you are closest to.
  • Plus ones: Decide whether or not to allow guests to bring a plus one.

Once you have identified who to invite, make a list and categorize them by priority. This will help you determine who to invite first if you need to make cuts later on.

Managing RSVPs

Once you have sent out invitations, it’s important to keep track of RSVPs. Consider creating a spreadsheet to manage this process. Include the following information:

  • Guest name
  • Whether or not they are attending
  • Any dietary restrictions
  • Plus one information

Make sure to follow up with guests who do not RSVP by the deadline. This will ensure you have an accurate headcount for the wedding.

In addition, be prepared for unexpected guests. Have a few extra seats and meals available just in case. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Overall, managing the guest list can be a stressful task, but with careful planning and organization, it can be done successfully. Remember to prioritize those closest to you and keep track of RSVPs to ensure a smooth and enjoyable wedding day.

Organizing the Wedding Party

When planning a wedding, one of the most important steps is organizing the wedding party. This includes choosing who will be in your wedding party, coordinating with them, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Choosing the Wedding Party

Choosing who will be in your wedding party is a personal decision that should be made carefully. You want to choose people who are important to you and who will support you on your big day. Traditionally, the wedding party consists of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but you can also include other important people in your life, such as siblings, close friends, or family members.

When selecting your wedding party, it’s important to consider their availability, personality, and responsibilities.

You want to choose people who are reliable and will be able to attend all of the pre-wedding events and the wedding itself.

You also want to choose people who will be able to handle the responsibilities that come with being in a wedding party, such as planning the bridal shower or bachelor party.

Coordinating with the Wedding Party

Once you have chosen your wedding party, it’s important to coordinate with them to ensure everyone is on the same page. This includes communicating your expectations, setting deadlines, and delegating tasks.

To make communication easier, you can create a group chat or email thread where everyone can stay updated on wedding plans.

You can also create a shared Google document where everyone can access important information, such as the wedding timeline, vendor contact information, and the seating chart.

When delegating tasks, it’s important to be clear about what you expect from each member of the wedding party.

You can create a table or list that outlines each person’s responsibilities, such as helping with the decorations, giving a toast, or assisting with the wedding rehearsal.

Overall, organizing the wedding party is an important step in planning a wedding. By choosing the right people and coordinating with them effectively, you can ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly and is a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Creating a Wedding Website

Even if you don’t want a wedding, creating a wedding website can be a helpful tool for keeping all of your information in one place. Plus, it can be a fun way to get creative and express your personality. Here are some tips for creating a great wedding website:

Choose a Platform

There are many platforms available for creating a wedding website, such as Zola, The Knot, and WeddingWire. Each platform has its own features and templates, so do some research to find the one that best suits your needs. Consider factors such as cost, ease of use, and customization options.

Include Key Information

Your wedding website should include all of the important details about your event, such as the date, time, and location. You can also include information about the dress code, parking, and accommodations for out-of-town guests. Consider adding a section for frequently asked questions to address any common concerns.

Get Creative

While your wedding website should be informative, it can also be a fun way to showcase your personality. Consider adding photos of you and your partner, or sharing stories about how you met. You can also include a section for your registry, and even create a custom hashtag for your guests to use on social media.

Promote Your Website

Once your website is up and running, be sure to promote it to your guests. Include the URL on your invitations, and share it on social media. You can also create a Pinterest board or Instagram account to showcase your wedding inspiration and keep your guests updated on your planning progress.

Creating a wedding website can be a helpful tool for planning your event, even if you don’t want a traditional wedding. With a little creativity and attention to detail, you can create a website that reflects your personality and keeps your guests informed and excited for your big day.

Obtaining a Marriage License

If you’re planning a wedding that you don’t really want, obtaining a marriage license may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s an important step that you can’t skip if you want to make your union legal. Here’s what you need to know to get a marriage license:

Research Marriage License Requirements

The first step in getting a marriage license is to research the requirements in your state or country. Every state or country has different requirements for obtaining a marriage license, so it’s important to do your research beforehand. You can find this information online or by contacting your local county clerk’s office.

Schedule an Appointment

Once you know the requirements for obtaining a marriage license, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your local county clerk’s office. This is where you’ll go to fill out the necessary paperwork and pay any fees associated with obtaining a marriage license. Some county clerk’s offices allow walk-in appointments, while others require you to schedule an appointment in advance.

Bring the Required Documents

When you go to your appointment to obtain a marriage license, you’ll need to bring the required documents with you. These documents typically include:

  • A valid photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport)
  • Your social security number
  • Proof of residency (such as a utility bill)
  • Divorce decree or death certificate (if you’ve been married before)

Make sure to bring all the required documents with you to your appointment to avoid any delays or complications.

Pay the Fees

There are fees associated with obtaining a marriage license, which vary depending on your location. Make sure to bring enough cash or a credit card to pay the fees at your appointment.

Setting the Wedding Date

Setting a wedding date can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t want to have a wedding in the first place. However, if you have decided to go ahead with a wedding, then setting a date is one of the first things you need to do. Here are some tips to help you set a wedding date:

Take Your Time

The first thing you need to do is take your time. Don’t rush into setting a date just because you feel like you have to. Take the time to think about what you want and when you want it. Consider your work schedule, family commitments, and any other events that may be happening around the time you want to get married.

Consider the Weather

The weather can play a significant role in setting a wedding date. If you want an outdoor wedding, then you need to consider the time of year when the weather is most favorable. For example, if you live in a place with harsh winters, then you may want to avoid setting a date during those months.

Choose a Meaningful Date

Choosing a meaningful date can add a special touch to your wedding. Consider dates that are significant to you and your partner, such as the day you first met, your anniversary, or a family member’s birthday. You can also choose a date that has cultural or religious significance.

Be Flexible

Being flexible with your wedding date can help you save money and avoid stress. Consider having your wedding on a weekday or during the off-season when vendors may offer discounts. Being flexible with the time of day can also help you save money. For example, having a morning or afternoon wedding can be less expensive than having an evening wedding.

Check Availability

Before you set a wedding date, make sure to check the availability of your desired venue, vendors, and guests. Create a list of potential dates and check with your venue and vendors to see which dates they have available. You can also send out save-the-date cards to your guests to ensure they can attend on the date you choose.

Setting a wedding date can be a challenging task, but with these tips, you can make the process a little easier. Remember to take your time, consider the weather, choose a meaningful date, be flexible, and check availability.

Selecting Wedding Attire

When planning a wedding that you don’t want, selecting the right wedding attire can be a daunting task.

However, it’s important to remember that you have the freedom to choose whatever you feel comfortable in, whether it’s a traditional wedding dress or something completely different.

Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect wedding attire.

1. Choosing the Wedding Dress

If you decide to go with a wedding dress, there are several things to consider. First, think about your budget.

Wedding dresses can be expensive, so it’s important to set a budget before you start shopping.

Martha Stewart suggests that a wedding ensemble, including veil, undergarments, and any other accessories, accounts for 10-15% of the total wedding cost.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start looking for the perfect dress.

When choosing a wedding dress, consider the style, fabric, and color. You’ll want to choose a style that flatters your body type and makes you feel comfortable.

If you’re having a summer wedding, you might want to choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or organza.

If you’re having a winter wedding, you might want to choose a heavier fabric like satin or velvet.

As for color, you don’t have to stick with traditional white. You can choose a dress in any color that you like.

2. Deciding on Wedding Attire

If you don’t want to wear a wedding dress, there are plenty of other options.

You can wear a pantsuit, a jumpsuit, a skirt and blouse, or even a cocktail dress.

When deciding on wedding attire, think about the theme of your wedding and the formality of the event.

A pantsuit might be perfect for a casual outdoor wedding, while a cocktail dress might be more appropriate for a formal evening wedding.

No matter what you choose to wear, make sure you feel comfortable and confident in your wedding attire.

This is your special day, and you should feel like yourself. If you’re not sure what to wear, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can ask your wedding planner, a trusted friend, or even a stylist for advice.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wedding attire, so choose something that makes you happy and reflects your personal style.

Allows you to express your personal styleCan be expensive
You can choose any color you likeCan be difficult to find the perfect dress
You can wear something other than a traditional wedding dressCan be overwhelming to choose from a wide variety of styles
You can feel comfortable and confident in your wedding attireCan be difficult to find something that flatters your body type

Finalizing Wedding Day Details

Now that you have decided to have a wedding, it’s time to finalize the details. This is where the fun begins!

You get to choose everything from the wedding rings to the wedding photographer, and even the live band. Here are some tips to help you finalize the details for your wedding.

1. Wedding Rings

Choosing wedding rings is a personal decision. You can choose to have matching rings or choose something that reflects your individual style.

You can also choose to have your rings engraved with a special message or date.

2. Wedding Photographer

Your wedding photos will be a lasting memory of your special day. It’s important to choose a wedding photographer who understands your style and can capture your special moments.

Look for a photographer who has experience shooting weddings and has a portfolio that you like.

3. Officiant

The officiant is an important part of your wedding ceremony. Choose someone who you feel comfortable with and who can help you create a personalized ceremony that reflects your values and beliefs.

4. Live Band

A live band can add a special touch to your wedding reception. Choose a band that plays music that you and your guests will enjoy.

You can also ask the band to play your favorite songs or create a playlist of songs that you want to hear.

5. Seating Charts

Creating a seating chart can be a daunting task, but it’s important to ensure that your guests are comfortable and happy.

You can create a seating chart based on relationships or interests. You can also choose to have open seating and let your guests choose their own seats.

6. Wedding Day Schedule

Creating a wedding day schedule can help ensure that everything runs smoothly. Include the ceremony time, reception time, and any other important events such as the first dance or cake cutting.

Share the schedule with your wedding party and vendors to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

7. Playlist

Creating a playlist for your wedding reception can be a fun and creative task. Choose songs that you and your guests will enjoy dancing to. You can also create a playlist that reflects your wedding style or theme.

8. Wedding Style and Theme

Your wedding style and theme will set the tone for your entire wedding. Choose a style and theme that reflects your personality and interests.

You can choose from a variety of styles such as rustic, modern, or traditional. You can also choose a theme such as a beach wedding or a winter wonderland wedding.

9. Wedding Ideas and Inspiration

There are countless wedding ideas and inspiration available online and in bridal magazines.

Take some time to browse through these resources to find ideas that you love. You can also create a Pinterest board to save your favorite ideas and inspiration.

10. Wedding Reception

The wedding reception is where you and your guests will celebrate your special day. Choose a venue that reflects your wedding style and can accommodate all of your guests.

You can also choose to have a sit-down dinner or a buffet-style meal. Don’t forget to choose a wedding cake that reflects your style and tastes delicious!

Now that you have finalized the details for your wedding, it’s time to enjoy your special day with your loved ones. Congratulations and best wishes for a happy marriage!

Avoiding FIVE Common Wedding Planning Mistakes

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t want one. However, with the right mindset and approach, it can be a seamless process.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when planning a wedding you don’t want:

Mistake 1: Letting Others Take Over

It’s important to remember that this is your wedding, even if you don’t want one.

Don’t let others take over the planning process and make decisions for you. It’s okay to ask for help and advice, but ultimately, the final decisions should be yours.

Make sure to communicate your vision and preferences clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.

Mistake 2: Not Setting a Budget

Just because you don’t want a big wedding doesn’t mean it won’t cost anything.

It’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Before you start planning, sit down and determine how much you’re willing to spend. This will help you avoid overspending and unnecessary stress.

Mistake 3: Not Prioritizing

When planning a wedding you don’t want, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of what’s important. Make a list of your priorities and focus on those.

For example, if you’re not interested in a fancy venue, don’t waste your time and money on one. Instead, focus on what matters to you, whether it’s the food, the music, or the company.

Mistake 4: Not Taking Care of Yourself

Planning a wedding can be stressful, even if you don’t want one. It’s important to take care of yourself throughout the process. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.

Take breaks when you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, your mental and physical health should always come first.

Mistake 5: Not Enjoying the Process

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process, even if you don’t want a wedding. This is a special time in your life, and it’s important to make the most of it.

Take time to appreciate the little things and celebrate your love with those closest to you. Remember, a wedding is just one day, but your love is forever.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can plan a wedding you don’t want with ease and confidence.


Planning a wedding when you don’t want one can be a challenging task. However, it is possible to make it a smooth and stress-free experience with the right approach. Here are some key takeaways to help you plan a wedding you don’t want:

  • Be honest with yourself and your partner about what you want. If you don’t want a big wedding, don’t feel pressured to have one. It’s your day, and you should celebrate it in a way that feels right for you.
  • Use a wedding planning checklist to stay organized and on track. This will help you keep track of all the details and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Consider alternative wedding venues such as a beach or park. This can help you save money and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need to have all the traditional elements of a wedding if you don’t want them. Focus on what’s important to you and let go of the rest.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to friends and family for support. They can help you with everything from planning to decorating.

Remember, planning a wedding you don’t want is all about staying true to yourself and your partner. With a little bit of organization and creativity, you can create a celebration that reflects your unique style and personality.