For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Til death do us part. My husband David and I said the traditional vows that many couples say on their wedding days.
The main difference about our intimate ceremony: our only witnesses included bubbly 20-something photographer Mary Ann; grandfatherly former pastor Preston, whom I had met while working as a receptionist at Westhills Retirement Community; and the bartender Jorge, who stocked bottles quietly while we said our vows. David and I were married at the Vertex Skybar at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, South Dakota. The vintage art deco-themed rooftop bar overlooks the city lights and treated us to breathtaking views of the picaresque Black Hills.
I wore a sparkly red dress that I found on clearance at Herbergers for $75. When I tried it on, both David and I knew it was The One. I liked the fact that I could move freely in my dress — and that I wouldn’t need anyone to help me lift the dress in the bathroom. To complete my look, I held a bouquet of two dozen ivory roses with an antique brooch pinned to the black ribbon binding the flowers. David selected a $30 crimson tie from Men’s Wearhouse to match my dress, and he wore his own black suit jacket. We felt like a million bucks.
Although our wedding was small and non-traditional, I would recommend it to any couple over a larger affair. Here’s why:
1. The focus remains on your relationship and the promises you’re making to each other. Reciting our vows was the highlight of our ceremony — and David and I felt connected to each other on a transcendental level. We were having an emotional and intimate conversation with each other, rather than being distracted by anyone else in the room. When I would start to cry, David would stop to embrace me and kiss me. Those are of the sweetest moments and memories of my life.
2. You can pick a date and a place that means something to you. You don’t have to plan your wedding around anyone else’s quirky schedule. You don’t have to get married in a stuffy church. You also don’t have to worry about inviting people out of a sense of decorum.
We selected Valentine’s Day because we thought it was romantic to get married on a day that celebrates true love. Bonus: He’ll never forget our anniversary! Our wedding location, the Vertex Skybar, was meaningful because we enjoyed going on dates there throughout our relationship.
3. You can save time and money. The amount of time and money we saved is astronomical compared with the cost of most modern weddings. We didn’t spend time selecting invitations or planning elaborate menus. Our only expenses included my dress, David’s tie, two dozen ivory roses, and photography — but we hired a lesser known photographer and received a reduced rate. Our main indulgence was a celebratory meal later that evening, where we dined on fine steak and wine. With the money we saved on our wedding, we plan to take a honeymoon to Mexico later this year and stay at a resort in style.