{One of our goals at The NotWedding is to encourage solid and committed marriages, and in an effort to do just that, we’ve decided to start posting Sappy Wedding & Love Stories. As you relive the wedding day with former brides, we hope to excite you about your own wedding while also reminding you that it’s the MARRIAGE that’s really worth planning for!}

Our wedding was a community effort: catered by my dear friend, photographed by David’s cousin, officiated by David’s dad… Our ceremony was in our little wooden church, and everyone (even our big manly brothers) cried. I walked down the aisle to Phil Wickham’s Divine Romance, and we recessed to the super-country-with-banjos-and-everything “Will You Go With Me” by Josh Turner. We fed all 300 guests cupcakes, key lime pies, hot Krispie Kreme donuts and my mom’s famous cherry cheesecakes. I was freshly 21, and we looked like babies.

While our wedding reception was a simple dessert reception in the church basement, our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding was the real party. That night, we had a jumbalaya dinner and then enjoyed dancing and toasts with a much smaller crowd consisting of just our wedding party and our families. I remember telling my mom afterwards that it was the best night of my life.

My dad walked me down the aisle where my groom and his father (the officiant) were waiting on us. Our dads prayed over us before my dad gave me away. David and I stood on a little rug that his mom gave me at a wedding shower, telling me that we could think of our vows whenever we stand on it in our house (it’s now the rug at my kitchen sink). Pastor/Father-in-Law Bill stood below us during our vows so that our guests could see our faces instead of the backs of our heads, and I remember laughing at “for richer or poorer” since the job opportunity we were following to Nashville fell through the week before the wedding, leaving us jobless and essentially homeless.

We didn’t hire a videographer, but our good friend surprised us and recorded the ceremony and a few funny interviews with friends and family. This video is priceless, and I tell brides all the time now to VIDEO YOUR WEDDING. That is one wedding purchase you will not regret. We also had one of my best friends serve as our caterer AND wedding cooridnator. While she did an incredible job (honestly, I don’t know how she did it/why she still talks to me), I wish I had hired someone to do the dirty work so that she could have spent the day by my side as a bridesmaid. Biggest lesson learned: Involving friends and family is key to a personal and inexpensive wedding, but be sure that those friends and family will be duty-free enough to enjoy the day with you.

Two children, some cross-country moves, a military enlistment and a few businesses later and I can say that sure I would change a few decor elements here and there if I were to do it all over again, but the heart of our wedding (and the groom waiting at the end of the aisle for me)?! Wouldn’t change a thing.

-Callie Murray, Owner of The NotWedding

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