I’m delighted to introduce myself as one of Grey Likes Weddings Blogstress Mavens. But more about me later, let’s start somewhere in the middle of my story.
There were so many reasons for my fiancé and I to have a destination wedding: We love travel, we already live abroad, and it would be more affordable than the traditional alternatives (plus, there are few things more fun than showing the people we love the little island we live on).
So after we got engaged we initially thought we would be married here in Malta. We dreamed up our fantasy-Mediterranean wedding (it involved a nineteenth century palazzo and a day-cruise around the island for all our guests). And we started making plans.
But it slowly became clear there were many reasons for us not to have a destination wedding. We felt guilty about asking our loved ones to give up their vacation time and savings to make the trip around the world. And I worried I would miss crafting things for our wedding: Menus, seating charts, and a myriad of DIY-decor projects.
So during a road trip through western Europe last Fall we dreamed up another fantasy wedding that would allow us to celebrate with our family and friends in an inclusive way that still felt fun and unique: A New Year’s Eve bash in Canada with 100 guests, hosted in a modern industrial-style farmer’s market building. And we started making plans.
But it slowly became clear there were many reasons for us not to have a traditional wedding. Our venue fell through. We struggled and stressed over navigating the world of wedding vendors from halfway across the world on a grad school budget. Everything felt increasingly wrong.
So last Christmas my fiancé, Mike, gave me the best Christmas gift ever. A letter. It described his vision of the kind of wedding he wanted to throw for us. After reading it, I shed a few tears (of happiness and relief) and the excitement started building. And we started making plans.
We’ll be married this August in a small, private, pop-up wedding ceremony on the grassy hill in our Canadian hometown where we had our first date, where we would take our dogs to play when they were puppies, and where Mike proposed to me last June. Then we’ll sneak off for some photographs and send our small wedding party to a local pub for a pint. We’ll finish off the evening at an Italian restaurant to celebrate over carpaccio, gnocchi, and gelato (and a few bottles of prosecco for good measure); a nod to the area of the world we currently call home.
But of course, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too. We wanted to keep our ceremony small and intimate, but we also wanted to celebrate our marriage with all of our family and friends. But who said we couldn’t? Our solution: An informal, glittery, fun-filled sunset barbecue party at a boathouse with our loved ones from near and far, held a couple days after we say I do.
I’m Jess, a Canadian writer working my way through two master degrees (and all the best pizzerias) on the little island of Malta, where I’ve been living with my fiancé and our two pups for the last three years.
I’m also a graduate of art school, a former art gallery sales girl, and an expat and travel blogger. Given my background, I’m approaching all aspects of wedding planning – from finding the cutest disposable dishes to planning our two secret-destination honeymoons (we’re surprising each other) – with an eye for budget, design, and a pinch of introspection (and sequins).
Curious what a two-day wedding celebration looks like? Or how a pop-up wedding ceremony goes down? Or how a modern, nomadic couple navigates the complicated, wonderful world of weddings? You can watch it all unfold on Grey Likes Weddings this year. A big thank-you to Summer and the Grey Likes team for allowing me to share my story of planning a non-traditional transatlantic wedding with you (best read with a glass of champagne in hand).
Malta wedding inspiration board // Shot by Jess via Mike and Jess in Malta.
Pop-up wedding inspiration board // Atmosphere polaroid: Shot by Edyta Szyszlo via 100 Layer Cake. // Colors polaroid: Flowers shot by Hailey Moss via Ella Bella Floral; Sequin hearts via ban.do // Ceremony polaroid: Shot by Bonnie Tsang via Oh Joy! // Honeymoon polaroid: Shot by Peter Baker // Menu polaroid: Cheese shot by Nikole Herriot via Herriot Grace; Burger shot by Rosie via Rosie the Londoner; Vegetarian burger shot via Martha Stewart Everyday Food // Details polaroid: Heart piñata via Studio DIY; Paper gems shot by Kate Lilley via Minieco; For Like Ever print via Super Rural; Heart balloon shot by Jordan Ferney via Oh Happy Day.