Our wedding was everything we ever dreamed of, however planning it was hard and we didn’t get to our final decisions very easily. We wish we had the foresight of knowing the great possibilities of splitting up our reception and ceremony before we were ‘in the thick of it all’ so here is our story.

My husband and I were engaged for six years before we actually got married. During that six years we had planned several types of weddings. At first we planned a big backyard wedding where we envisaged getting married under a big tree then to feast on a long shared table while sitting on cushions on the ground with our tribe at our home. I had sent out ‘Save the Dates’ and everything to 80 of our friends for this event. Then the idea of the massive wedding became unappealing and the thought of spending tens of thousands on appearances for a day that would only last eight hours, just didn’t feel right to us.

I also became so focused on the details of the reception we were planning and not the ceremony itself, which made me feel a little disheartened because I felt the ceremony was really the most intimate and important part of the entire wedding.  I was so focused on what sort of party we could throw and what kinda of ‘spread’ we would put on for our guests that it became overwhelming and I felt we lost touch of the idea that the whole celebration was meant to be about US! 

We then planned to elope to Bali for a luxury resort wedding with our closest family and friends but again something was not quite right. The idea of eloping to Bali and having a small intimate wedding with only a few people felt like we had to cut too much out of a day that would mean so much of us. So what did we do this situation? With 80 people already invited to our ‘big’ wedding that we didn’t want to have anymore, but a strong desire to keep our wedding intimate and special? We ended up having TWO WEDDINGS! Yes TWO.

I vividly remember the day we cancelled our Bali wedding plans.  We were staying at a hotel on a Gold Coast for a little family getaway.  I had just spent the last three weeks on the phone to our travel agent and closest friends and family organising our wedding at The Mulia in Bali.  Everything was planned and ready to book. We had just finished dinner and I was sitting in my hotel room with my credit card and iPad in my lap about to pay my deposit for our wedding but the link the travel agent had provided to book was not working despite my several attempts to pay! It was the last day before they would release the hold on our bookings and at this point it was after hours so I was devastated thinking all our wedding plans were ruined. But let’s just say this whole episode was a blessing in disguise.

The decision to have a separate ceremony and reception for our wedding happened by total accident but it was the best thing ever! For our ceremony, we eloped down the road to the Gold Coast with just 17 of our nearest and dearest friends and family over a three day holiday weekend. Two weeks later, we had a house party to celebrate in our home with our entire tribe of friends.  And despite all the commotion going on behind the scenes, our guests were oblivious to our changing plans the whole time. In the end things worked out perfectly. To read the full wedding story click here (link to wedding story).

Why you should seriously consider having your  wedding ceremony and reception on different dates as seperate events:

  • It takes the pressure off during the most important part of your entire wedding celebration and that is your ceremony (you know, the whole reason you are spending all this money right?) not just the big ‘ass’ party you have planned for after it.  
  • Your mind will stay present during the ceremony making it even more special as you won’t be standing there amidst your vows thinking about whether uncle Ron and Aunty Marsh are going to get into a argument at the reception because they are in the same room together and bowl the entire dessert table down, whilst spilling red wine all over the bridal party.  
  • With separate ceremony and reception events you literally get to have two weddings and re-live the moment! Which leads me to my next point,
  • You have the excuse to wear your wedding dress twice (if you want to) and I figure why not?  It only cost you thousands!
  • It can be a way to save money! If you keep your wedding ceremony private you immediately take out the word ‘wedding’ when you plan your reception.  Without the ceremony happening on the same day, your reception is technically a party! You will be amazed how much this alone drops down your prices for your big day.
  • Let’s face it right, regardless of how you do it, most weddings are not that cheap so spreading out the celebrations as long as possible really makes you get the most memory out of each penny you spend.
  • By stretching out your celebrations with a separate ceremony and reception you get to enjoy each stage in its entirety.  There is no rushing or worrying about the time because you have the whole day to enjoy and indulge in each event instead of cramming it all into a very expensive (and tiring I made add) six to eight hours for it to then be all over.
  • Forget the idea that anyone is missing out on your big day, because you just did them a favour and let them skip the boring part (the ceremony) and head straight to the fun part (the booze and food).  Isn’t that why everyone loves weddings anyway? Keep your ceremony for your tear jerkers and show them how special they really are.

So there you have it, splitting up your wedding to stage two events might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it was one of the greatest decisions we ever made, and it just might be yours too!

Ms Zebra Says: I have always thought about the fact that so much planning goes into one day and then it’s over! What a ridiculously wonderful idea to spread it out between days/months to really make the most of your once in a lifetime!!

About Claudia: Hi I’m Claudia, mum of two girls, lifestyle blogger and content creator based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. As a former corporate marketing professional, now running my own business, I am a creative at heart who loves to write. I’ll be the first to admit that I am ‘winging it’ most days while I do my best to master the delicate balance of running a business and household while trying to be a ‘cool’ mum and half decent human. Find out more here.