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OPINION: 'More and more couples are ditching the Big Wedding. It makes absolute sense.'

During a recent spring clean (ok, I was just cleaning out a cupboard but it took all bloody day) – amongst the Christmas decorations and the box of miscellaneous cables I’m certain ‘will come in handy one day,’ my daughter found our wedding DVD.

It was made 14 years ago and has been viewed exactly zero times.

Interested to see me wearing a white meringue and her dad in an uncomfortable suit from Roger David, she popped it into the DVD player (yeah, she found one of those in the back of the cupboard, too. No, this is not a story about hoarding. Please read on).

There we were in all our hopeful, perky, clichéd glory, sprouting words of forever. Whilst undeniably sweet, it was also unbearably cheesy.

I thought about what that day really meant. Sure, it was a fun party and I did marry the man I love, but looking back it all seems a bit over-the-top and naïve with its sugary poems of promise and peonies and I realised: a wedding is like a well-written book title that has no bearing on the story that follows.

Find out what first dance songs celebrities had at their weddings. Post continues below.

Video via MMC

Yes, we were excited for a future together, but my husband and I couldn’t really know what our marriage would look like.

We couldn’t say that our vows to love and honour would be enough to get us through. The truth is, it’s easy to promise a good marriage and harder to deliver.

We couldn’t foresee how we’d navigate fertility issues, indescribable tragedy, changing jobs, changing friendships, family challenges and sickness.

Likewise: the glorious birth of our children, holidays, career success and renovations (and let’s be honest, nothing is as challenging as that).

We’ve fought (not always fairly); broken each other’s hearts (sometimes accidentally and sometimes through simple selfishness) and learned to lean on and support each other. We’ve enlisted the help of counsellors and those we admire and committed to honest communication and healthy humour.

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Some marriages are destined to be for a season, a reason – my Mum and Dad were genuinely happier, better friends and better parents after they had separated – while other marriages are for a lifetime.

But a marriage is not a wedding.

The fairytale wedding is just that, a fairytale. A marriage is a masterpiece – different colours and brushstrokes of the light and shade of life.

A girlfriend shared with me that before their wedding, her partner had never seen her without make-up.

Firstly, how is this even possible? Is she getting up at 5:30am every morning to apply foundation? Not at all, she tells me, more like 5am.

So, here’s a thought: forget the big wedding, focus on the big marriage.

And it seems lovers are liking the idea of a ‘less-is-more’ wedding, with a recent survey finding one in 10 Queensland couples are choosing to get hitched in a registry office instead of going in for the whole-wedding-hog.

By starting with a low-key wedding, we can build up to a huge fifteen-year, Instagram-worthy wedding anniversary party, where we celebrate having lived and loved a person, genuinely, through the good times and the bad.

It’s similar to how we throw huge first birthday parties for children who are oblivious to the Shetland pony dressed up as a unicorn shuffling around our backyard and celebrate with a dinner party at home with 10 of our nearest and dearest on our 40th’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating love, but perhaps the key is to keep a big-picture perspective.

Throwing down $25 000 in one day doesn’t really make sense from a financial point of view, either, unless you get to drive away, fly away or live in the purchase afterwards.

And let’s not mention the hidden pre-wedding fees – hens week in Bali, anyone? Or the inevitable family and friendship friction and (sometimes) fallouts that are the results of the stress surrounding the lead up to the big day.

Plus, you’ll need that 25K when your partner ditches their reliable accounting job in favour of a career ‘up-cycling’ shabby-chic side tables.

In light of the hurricane of drama that surrounded her during her pre-wedding days, I kinda wonder if Meghan Markle might have preferred a 20 minute trip to the local court office followed by dinner with Harry, her Mum and Her Maj at their local Mexican place.

They could have toasted to a long life together with a carafe of Sangria. Less stress, less cost, still lots of love (plus tacos).

Also, how many people did you invite to your wedding that you’ve seen precisely three times since you paid $150 per head for the pleasure of their company on your wedding day?

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If we celebrated our tenth, twentieth, fortieth anniversaries with an alternate chicken and fish drop and open bar tab whilst wearing a fluffy, four thousand dollar dress, we would share it with those who have been instrumental in our union.

miranda deakin
Miranda Deakin and her partner. Image: supplied.

The friends we called to whinge about our partners. The family members who have dropped everything to bring over soup when the entire household got the flu. The cousin who reached in and helped us climb out of the dark hole of pregnancy loss.

The people who have helped hold the trusses while we secured the foundations of our marriage. Those who were there even though there wasn’t a three-tiered cake on offer in the corner. In fact, these are the people who are likely to offer to bring a plate of food around to help celebrate.

There is something really beautiful about a relationship that has weathered the storms of life. It is an achievement.

It is the to and fro of love, sacrifice and honesty, forgiveness and lots of kindness. It comes from a conscious decision to be a team, followed by a commitment to show up for each other. It comes from loving someone even when you don’t always like them.

It comes from choosing, every day, to build a relationship that you’re proud to be a part of. I think that’s something to really celebrate and a DVD worth watching.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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