A bit of a personal post here, but hopefully it will be useful for readers who are struggling with the wedding conundrum. When we got engaged about two years ago, we started planning a traditional ceremony. But after months of agonizing over details and a strict budget, we wanted to do something a little different, but much more meaningful for us. We decided to essentially elope, but wanted to allow our family to be a part of our celebration in a way. We alerted them to our plans, received their blessing, and exchanged our legal vows in Maine this past August with our parents and siblings as witnesses and my dad officiating. When thinking of where to have our private ceremony, I remembered my childhood dream of exchanging vows in St. Andrew’s Chapel in Chaddleworth, England. As a family we spent some wonderful months in this place and it holds very fond memories for me. Memories of a time when my brother was still with us, and our innocence could never have comprehended a life without one another. Our ceremony in Chaddleworth was wonderful. The weather cleared for us and we woke calm and stress-free (not having to worry about the typical things one does for a wedding). After a light breakfast of toast and coffee, we retired to our room to get dressed. I wore a linen skirt I found at a vintage shop for $25 and a linen top I purchased from Creatures of Comfort a week before our wedding. I did my own hair and makeup and wore jewelry that featured Mitchell family heirlooms given to me by two of my dad’s sisters – the engagement ring was made with my great grandmother’s diamond, the earrings were made by our friend Kate Jones and featured diamonds from my great uncle’s cufflinks, and the barrette in my hair was also my great grandmother’s. Ted wore a suit from J.Crew’s Ludlow shop, Alden brogues, and a custom tie that our friend Andrew of General Knot & Co. custom made for him (the fabric is from a Laura Ashley dress my mum used to wear when we were kids). After we got dressed our photographer Ursy Burnand (a friend of the family friends we were staying with) arrived to capture our day. We took photos around the house and grounds before making our way to the chapel. My feelings of joy during the service were uninterrupted as I was able to completely concentrate on my husband and the vows we were making. We exchanged wedding bands that were also made by Kate. As we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, local bell ringers rang the steeple bells. We couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with joy with triumphant bells ringing in the background. Our union was cheered with glasses of champagne in the garden before we retired indoors for a delicious (very British) meal of cold filet of beef, fish mousse, and chocolate cake. I feel so incredibly lucky to have my husband, and to have the family and friends that helped us celebrate our union as we did.