Sunday, December 11, 2016


Whoa. Between our trip abroad, our reception back home, Thanksgiving, going back to work, and now getting ready for the holidays- I have had zero time or bandwith to blog.
Getting back into it- because there is SO much to post about!
xo, laura
santorini greece wedding
(photo credit: george ventouris photography)


For those who haven't been following along with the B&B Wedding Series- let me do quick fill in on what you've missed:
Michael and I got engaged in May, and since we've been together for 7 years and have talked about marriage for most of those years, we knew we wanted a short engagement and a private wedding.
We'd been talking about taking a trip abroad to a couple places on our bucket list for a while, so the stars just kind of aligned to get married while on our trip. We planned a 2 week vacation to Italy and Greece in October- with the actual wedding being at the end of the trip, with just the two of us present (+ a photographer). We also planned a casual late night party/reception for a few weeks after we returned from our vacation so we could come back and celebrate with our family and friends.
So there you have it. Engaged May 12th. Married October 26th. Reception November 19th.

This post is HUGE because we've gotten so many questions about why we chose to do things the way we did- so grab a glass bottle of wine and dive in, folks. I'm going to break it down into parts answering them and hopefully it will all make sense! Also- because it wasn't a secret I got corrected by multiple people for using the term "elopement"...and "destination wedding" just didn't seem to fit- so for now I'm calling it "runaway". Deal with it and keep your comments to yourself if you don't like it PLZ. Thanks. xoxo.

1. Why such a short engagement?
Short answer; We couldn't wait to be married to each other!
Long answer: Like I said, we've been together for a long time, and we've been talking about getting married for so long that once we got engaged, we were really excited to be married. Also, neither of us had an interest in a drawn out engagement since it wasn't necessary with the wedding plans we had. Unlike a lot of the weddings my friends planned, we didn't have to book a venue a year or more in advance. Kudos to them for their patience, because it is something I do NOT have!

2. Why get married abroad?
Short Answer: It seemed exciting, romantic, and practical to mix the wedding and the honeymoon all into 1 trip.
Long Answer: We have traveled a fair amount together in the USA, but never abroad together. We had been talking about a trip to Europe for a while, and it was just really exciting to us to have that first trip together there be our wedding/honeymoon!

3. Why Italy & Greece?
Short & Long Answer: They've been on our bucket lists forever, and they seemed like beautiful, romantic places to go!

4. Why get married alone, just the two of you? Why didn't others come with?
Short Answer: Because it's what we wanted.
Long Answer: Anyone who knows us well enough can tell you Michael and I are a pretty openly lovey-dovey couple. My sister can fully attest how eye-roll worthy we can be with our overly cutesy name calling and PDA. Shockingly, when it came to marriage, we both wanted to be really private. As much as we love sharing how much we love each other with everyone on a regular basis, there was something so serious about saying vows to each other that we wanted it to just be the two of us there. The idea of being 100% focused on each other and nothing else in a place that was new to us just .... fit. In addition to that, we wanted our day to be 100% us, 100% free of stress, 100% OURS. We felt like the more we opened up the marriage ceremony to more people and more factors, the more it would slip away from what we hoped it would be. We've been to so many weddings where the guests are complaining about SOMETHING. The food, the weather, the attire, the seating, the cost of travel, whatever. I take things personally, and I know if I had heard that on our special day, it would have really hurt my feelings and taken some joy out of that moment.

5. ...but what about your families? Weren't they mad they couldn't be there? Don't you feel selfish?
Short Answer: Sigh. You can ask them how they feel. And yes, we did feel a little selfish.
Long Answer: GAHHHHHH. This is the question we were asked so so much. Depending on the day/time/mood I got asked it, it affected me in a different way. Sometimes I was unfazed by it, sometimes I was annoyed, sometimes I felt sad, and sometimes I was downright pissed. It's hard to put into words without sounding rude, but at the end of the day,  we are the ones that have to be married to each other. This experience is 100% what we wanted, and at the end of the day, that ruled out the opinions of any friends or family we talked to.We went back and forth about it, but knew in our guts that if we compromised we might regret it. We love our parents a disgusting amount, and are lucky that they are understanding people that let us do our thing our way. Planning a big reception/party when we got back was our way of still showing everyone we loved them and wanted to have them be part of our marriage.

6. Do you guys not like traditional weddings? 
Short Answer: Not for us, but yes for other people!
Long Answer: We have been to some AMAZING weddings. Weddings that were small and huge and everywhere in between. Weddings in churches and barns and gardens and golf courses and beaches. We've gotten to witness our friends and family members get married and be so happy and dance the night away. We absolutely LOVE sharing in the joy of our friends, in whatever shape it may take. Just because a long-planned out wedding with a cake and first dances and table numbers wasn't what we chose to do for ourselves doesn't mean we don't love them for our friends. Sometimes when I've gotten this question it feels like a trap- that by saying we didn't want a "traditional" wedding we are crapping on our friends who did. Hopefully people get that weddings aren't one-size-fits-all by now!

7. So, how was it? Did it turn out like you planned?
Short Answer: AMAZING & YES.
Long Answer: Other than our wedding clothes that we shipped over getting stuck in Greek Customs (argggghhhhh), everything was awesome. The location was perfect, the staff were unbelievable, the photographer was hilarious, and the moment was exactly us. We said our vows, exchanged rings, kissed, and then couldn't stop grinning. :)

8. What was the best part? The worst?
The worst: Our stuff being stuck in Customs. THAT was a bill we didn't anticipate. Oy.
The best: Other than getting married (duh), the best part was once we finally finished taking photos and the sun was fully down- we went into a cave at our resort to have dinner. We sat there and rehashed the day while eating an insanely good meal and drinking overpriced drinks. We had this awesome buzz around us, overlooking the sea in the moonlight. It was one of those moments I know I'll never forget.

9. Did you re-do your vows at your reception? Did you wear your dress again?
Short&Long Answer: Nope to vows. Yup to dress.

10. WAIT..wait wait wait. But are you even LEGALLY married?
Short Answer: Yes.
Long Answer: Our goal initially was to legally be married in Greece. I worked on getting some paperwork done and had a month and change of VERY frustrating emails back and forth with the Greek Consulate. Boring story short, paperwork didn't go through for our wedding to be legal abroad, so we got our papers legally signed in Wisconsin when we returned.

11. Ohhhhhhhh Nice try then. So I mean you weren't REALLY married in Greece?
Short Answer: OMFG don't be rude you jerk.
Long Answer: Very few people asked me that question in that tone of voice, but the people that did...well..let's just say I think less of them now. To me, and to Michael, October 26th is our anniversary. It's when we said our vows to each other and promised to be together forever as husband & wife. The fact that the State Of Wisconsin doesn't recognize that date is fine with me, I understand the legal stuff- but the State of Wisconsin doesn't get to tell us when our true marriage was real. I have a friend who at their big, traditional wedding had something go wrong with their marriage certificate- and so they weren't legally married until 3 weeks later when it all got sorted out. Would you go up to her and say OH SORRIEZ your wedding wasn't real! That's not your REAL anniversary! So it's the same with us. Bai. (can you tell I get fired up about this? BAH.)

12. Ok fine- but where are the wedding pictures? Aren't you sad you don't have photos from the day from other people?
Short Answer: They are on their way. And only like 10% sad.
Long Answer: The wedding pictures are being edited, just like any other wedding pictures. We have a sneak peek but haven't posted them yet.  Obviously we're antsy to get them too. 90% of me is just fine not having any pictures from anyone else, because again, that was the plan. 10% is bummed that there weren't many candid non-professional shots captured, but my fingers are crossed the professional ones will all make it worth it!

13. Did you guys do any traditions that day? Did you stay in separate places the night before?
Short Answer: Yes to traditions, No to separate places.
Long Answer: Despite not having a traditional wedding, I looove traditions! I still did the old "something borrowed/blue/old/new" thing, which was fun. We also did a "first look" before the vows part, which we got captured on camera. Also- Michael never saw my dress or me IN my dress before our first look. It was seriously tricky to travel together and hide it, but I made it happen!
We stayed in the same place the night before, and ate breakfast together that morning..and hung out most of the day too! Being on vacation together didn't really allow for separation ;-)

14. Did you write your own vows? Were they a surprise to each other?
Short Answer: both questions.
Long Answer: We wrote most of our vows together the night before our wedding and finished them the day of. We used a combination of parts of vows we found online, as well as some of our own words. The beginning and the end of the vows to each other were the same, and then in the middle we each wrote a few sentences that were a surprise during the actual exchanging of vows! We have the papers our vows were written on that we read to each other and I'm framing them to hang in our loft :)

15. Would you do it the same all over again?


Long story short, we really REALLY enjoyed our trip and our wedding. We have a million stories and memories that we get to share together for the rest of our lives, and we feel insanely lucky for that. Everyone has their own vision of how they want their wedding to be like, and we got really fortunate to be able to actualize ours. We had so many completely kickass friends and family members support us, share in our joy, and get us even more excited for the choice we made. If I could pass on one piece of advice to anyone for their wedding it would be this: Focus on what brings you and your partner joy and go after that. Stick to your gut and remember this is about a marriage, not just a wedding ;-)

Have more questions about how we did our wedding?
Feel free to leave a comment or email me! (beautyandbeard AT

xo, laura


  1. Thank you for sharing this! My partner and I got married privately, with only my parents and a photographer as witnesses (my mom actually got ordained online, so she officiated and signed the wedding certificate, and she and my dad wrote the ceremony, and we wrote our own vows the morning of). We got a lot of the questions you mention in your post and I too struggled with the variety of emotional reactions I experienced in response - so thank you for normalizing that!
    I think one of the hardest parts has been that friends/family seemed to feel judged regarding their choice to have big, white weddings, so I appreciate that you emphasized that you love attending other people's weddings but it just wasn't what you wanted. I would not change a thing about my wedding, but that doesn't mean I haven't loved every minute if weddings I have attended or been in.
    We also plan to have a reception with friends and family someday but probably not for a few years because we live so far away from everyone we love at the moment, and just don't have the time or money to plan the party.
    Lastly, I honestly hadn't thought about the fact that we don't have wedding photos with other people. I think any pictures you took at your reception should suffice? I have talked with some of my best friends after their weddings and the lamented that they didn't get enough photos of just the two of them, without friends or family. My only regret is that my husband and I don't have many photos of both of us smiling and looking at the camera. We were so blissfully happy that we couldn't stop kissing, and thus the majority of our photos you can't see our full faces. Oh well, it was a perfect day and the photos capture the loving energy of the day.
    I hope all is well with you and Michael - I am so happy for you! I'm pretty sure I remember when you two started dating ❤️ I'm looking forward to seeing more of your wedding photos soon. 👍🏽

    1. Claire! Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment- I loved reading it :) Hearing about other people who've been through those kinds of questions helps know it wasn't just us facing them. Isn't is crazy how...crazy people get about weddings?!
      CONGRATS on your marriage- sounds like you two had a completely perfect experience that was just right for YOU two- which is so so special!!
      SEnding hugs to you lady!

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  2. Congratulations!!! Having been married twice, I can definitely tell you from my perspective that doing it YOUR way is the best way. My first wedding was a big David's Bridal extravaganza, which I still feel guilty my Dad spent so much money on, and which had some tense moments for me as a bridezilla. And the marriage wasn't great.

    With my current husband, we spent years together before getting married, and we were so happy to be married with just our closest friends/family (counting us, 13 people total!) and it was PERFECT. I was more relaxed, more me. We didn't get a ton of gifts, and some people were bummed they didn't get to come to a big party... but we were happy and have no regrets!

    1. Aubrey- thank you so much for your comment! It's so great to hear that you did the second one your way and that you guys had no regrets!

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