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Different Ways to Get Married, From Supersized to Surprise Weddings

Did you ever look at the way your friends or family got married and jump a mile? Or perhaps necessity or your own personalities demand some more unconventional wedding ideas? For millennials, there has never been more choice when it comes to tying the knot. Every couple is different, whether your aim is to express your identity as a couple with something uniquely different- or perhaps juggle your own ideas with family and cultural requirements.

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That said, there are still definite types of wedding. In terms of size and budget alone, certain trends come to the fore just as others, such as the traditional formal wedding, start to look rather dated. Equally, more and more couples from different social and cultural backgrounds are getting together, with different styles of wedding required to capture their personal and family values. Here are just a few current ways couples are negotiating those nuptial bells:

The Surprise Wedding

Do weddings always have to be big, brash, invite all-and-sundry affairs? Beneath all the glossy brochures and talk of modern trends, what many couples secretly desire is to have a small, understated wedding, rather than the marquee affair that takes months of planning and the sort of budget that could buy a Premier League striker. 

Indeed, savvy, less showy brides and grooms are already planning smaller events, where the emphasis is on fun and spontaneity rather than an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. And why the heck not? Some of us simply want less fuss and less pressure. We may also want to save time and money, whilst still having a memorable wedding.

So what is the surprise wedding and how does it work? Such an event is exactly as it sounds; the bride and groom don’t let on at all, although they are usually already engaged. A party is arranged for family and close friends, under a different pretence such as a birthday or special occasion. The entourage then get the ultimate surprise when it is revealed that the couple is getting married on that very day!

There are definite advantages and disadvantages of the secret or surprise wedding. It requires less budget, less stress, is fun and a genuine talking point, to name just a few pros. The baffled look on granny’s face, besides the risk of some key guests not busting a gut to be there is another. The choice is yours then, but such an event is perhaps most tempting for the couple who want a smaller event, and whose sense of fun outstrips their budget.

The Supersized Wedding

It’s all well and good planning a smaller, intimate event for your big day, but what happens if that is simply not feasible? Do you have too many friends and family to list? Could you fill half of Wembley stadium, let alone the larger wedding venues in your area?

There is both an excitement and a danger in planning larger weddings. It could be the best party in history; it could also be a logistical nightmare of bordering-on-Brexit proportions. So what are the priorities and pitfalls at stake?

You can probably forget about most city venues for a start unless you can find a gem of a giant venue or stretch to a scary budget. Rural settings with outdoor space or a semi-permanent marquee are a much better bet. Inevitably, the only way to keep a larger event affordable will be to budget carefully.

Creating 2 guest lists could be essential too. Stick to a core of special guests and family of no more than fifty for the ceremony and wedding breakfast. But hold the main charge and the ravening hordes for later in the day, where you can serve a more budget-friendly buffet and provide entertainment for the many. If a few later guests are a bit peeved, that’s too bad. After all, you are not made of money and even a big, fat wedding shouldn’t leave you with a frightening debt.

The Destination Wedding

Destination weddings

Not everyone wants to get hitched in the town they grew up in. For every couple who find such an event nostalgic, another will find it rather yawnsomely predictable. Perhaps the perfect antidote is to shift the whole shebang to somewhere more romantic, or even exotic? Enter the destination wedding.

Some couples go the whole hog with this idea. They get all of a lather dreaming of their wedding in Vegas or Greece, while their guests quietly despair at the cost of flights. These are extreme examples though; UK destination weddings are far more common, whether it's a jaunt down to Cornwall, or in our case rural Wales. A great way to freshen things up; and when you stop and consider it, even if you host the wedding close to home many of your guests will have a drive of at least a couple of hours.

The Double Wedding

How does the idea of 2 weddings on the same day strike you? Twice the romance and half the bill… in theory at least! This could be a wonderful way for you to get married on the same day as a close friend or family member, sharing the joy in style at a very special event. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Just like the course of true love, however, nothing in life is quite so simple. A double wedding requires not only great organisation but excellent communication between the couples. There will be many things to resolve that you might not have thought of too. Who goes through the ceremony first? Who picks the decor and invites? Do guests give both couples a gift? The speeches could go on for hours too.

We repeat, the double wedding can be a wonderful thing but the two couples have to be thick as thieves to make things run smoothly. If you have total confidence in each other though, it could be one of the most sensational weddings.

The Cross Cultural Wedding

True love does not recognise boundaries of race, nationality, gender or faith. Furthermore, with the world getting smaller and better connected the “fusion wedding” is here to stay. It can be a beautiful thing too, bringing the best of two cultures together in joyful fashion. In practical terms, however, the organisation will be more a case of pragmatism than idealism!

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Image: Oliver Wong Quinnell Photography

In a nutshell, the crux of the event will be about respecting and celebrating both families’ cultures. Which sounds wonderful until you consider that there will inevitably be different religious, sartorial and food requirements. Of course, it could also involve relatives who speak different languages and live in different countries. Inevitably, the bride and groom's personal wishes will not always be top of the list. Compromise will be key; a good lesson for a happy marriage in itself perhaps?

The fusion wedding is the obvious answer, which can be a truly wonderful thing. Imagine a great wedding feast, for example, with two fantastic food cultures juxtaposed? However, for many couples (and especially those with family in two countries or with two different languages or religions) the only answer will be to have two weddings.

Court Colman Manor: One of the most versatile & romantic of wedding venues in South Wales

Wedding venues in South Wales

However you decide to tie the knot, Court Colman Manor is a superb place to get married. Excellent food, a beautifully elegant setting and friendly, experienced staff are just some of the reasons why we are one of the best places to get married in Wales. Situated in a delightful country house location, yet also near Swansea and Cardiff (within 40 minutes drive of both), we offer personalised service and a range of brilliant wedding packages and offers to suit your style and budget. See our weddings section for further information, including our downloadable wedding brochure.