Anna Vatuone was swept away by wedding planning following her October engagement.
When she and fiancé Trevor Scanlon got $20,000 to $30,000 catering quotes, they pivoted.
Vatuone said it was empowering to reimagine the event — though there was a grieving process.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with the influencer and personal branding consultant Anna Vatuone, who went viral this week for canceling her wedding. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Three years ago, at age 26, I started gaining traction on TikTok while documenting a solo road trip across the country from Oakland, California, to Boston. I fell in love with Boston and decided to stay on a whim. A year and a half ago, I met my fiancé, Trevor, there.
We got engaged in October, and started wedding planning right away. It's funny because I initially thought we were going to do something really small. That was always the vision I had for myself — I didn't want a big wedding with a lot of people.
But I suppose it's just easy to get swept up in the process. You start looking on Pinterest, hearing other people's testimonials on TikTok, and — all of a sudden — we're planning a 120-person wedding. I wanted us both to have all the people we wanted there, so it was easy to keep extending the invitations.
We booked this incredible venue right on the water on the South Shore of Massachusetts for $6,000, which couldn't be more quintessential New England. But as soon as we put the deposit down, we had to get quotes from caterers. That was when we had to evaluate whether this was something we could really move forward with in good faith.
One of the quotes was $30,000; another one was $27,000. It felt like the minimum we could do it for — and this would be compromising on a lot — was $22,000.
At 30, the older I get, the more mindful I've become about money. And I want to make good choices because it's not only about me anymore — it's about me and Trevor and the future family we want to create. We want to have kids someday, and I want to make sure that we are prepared for that.
Scrapping the plans was ultimately empowering, but there was a grieving process
When we made the decision to cancel our original wedding plans last month, I felt empowered. I was really proud of us. It felt like us choosing what we were going to do instead of just getting swept up.
We're going to do the wedding in northern Idaho, close to where my family lives. It isn't locked in completely, but we're looking at the Coeur d'Alene resort, with an intimate ceremony of 30 people maximum, followed by a private dinner on the premises.
All told I think we're looking at probably $15,000 — though we still have to finalize a few things, including my wedding dress and our travel expenses.
That said, after we made the decision, I definitely went through a grieving process. I felt aimless like I didn't have a direction anymore (as I'd done weeks of planning on the first vision). We also didn't get our $2,000 deposit back on the first venue, which was a total bummer — though that was the only thing we didn't get back.
After the holidays, I created a new mood board and color scheme to reflect the new setting in the Pacific Northwest, and I started to feel a lot better. After that wave of emotion, it felt like the appropriate time to talk about it on TikTok.
I've created a ton of content over the years, but I've never received this type of response before, where it's probably 99.98% positive and affirming. This really struck a chord in people: how empowering is it to be able to step back and remind ourselves that we get to do this how we want.
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