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November 12, 2014

After six years of dating, followed by four months of engagement, my partner and I slowly began talking about what type of wedding we wanted. The more we talked, the more we knew that we either wanted to invite everyone we knew, cared about and loved — or no one but the two of us.

We narrowed it down to what was most important: to create an environment for our marriage ceremony that would be relaxed, and that would make us feel excited and happy. Seems simple enough, right?

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Quickly, we realized that we just wanted the two of us at our marriage ceremony. An official wedding? Who needs one? We were celebrating ourselves, our connection, and our future together, after all. Plus, some of our favorite, most intimate and memorable times together have been adventures camping, canoeing and traveling. Why not recreate these experiences in the ultimate "wedding" weekend?

And so we did. And we dubbed it a "weddingmoon."

What's a weddingmoon?" you're probably — or definitely — asking. Well, it combines the intimacy of a honeymoon with the straightforward act of getting married. The rest is up to your imagination.

With just about a month of lead time, we booked a cabin on a remote mountaintop, told our families our plans (who weren't upset at their absence in our plans, nor were they even too surprised). Then we got to planning the rest.

So on September 25, 2014 we ventured up to Topsham, Vermont from Newport, Rhode Island to embark on our weddingmoon weekend. And funnily enough, we actually went through with the whole wedding deal: I wore a fancy dress, we exchanged vows, there were beautiful flowers, we ate delicious cake, and the night was filled with festive dancing.

… but with a few twists. Our weddingmoon weekend went a little something like this:

Shooting stars. A cold lake dip. Scared runs to & from the outhouse (bears! moose!) Wildflower picking. Nature yoga. A quest for Heady Topper Beer. A gorgeous & uninterrupted mountain landscape. Leaf-peepin'. A sunset wedding picnic. A visit to the Harpoon Brewery. And a champagne-infused, blazing fire-fueled, record-playing dance party!

In short, we celebrated in whatever way we wanted to at each moment. We used our celebration to celebrate ourselves — and no one else. So how did we feel about not inviting our families and friends?

We knew there would be compromise no matter how big or small the wedding was. Our so-called "weddingmoon" wasn't about excluding anyone or not inviting people who were close to us. Instead, it was an exercise in staying true to what made us the most happy, a good first step for our marriage.

Our celebration was about slowing down — not about getting revved up or bogged down with party-details and logistics. It was about enjoying each other's company. It was about creating a space where we could be exactly ourselves and share it with one another. It was about starting our new life together the way that felt most natural, and for us, a weddingmoon captured exactly that.

The weekend turned out more exciting and more awesome than we could have ever imagined and we would do it again in a heartbeat. But will we also go on a honeymoon? You bet.

Photo courtesy of the author

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