I had a courthouse wedding, because I was dreadfully sick and my in-laws thought i was evil incarnate at the time. (They've grown to grudgingly accept me) I do joke that I married Mrchien for his health insurance. We told our friends who could make it to skip buying us gifts and to chip in with the dinner at the restaurant after. I was worried everyone was going to feel like we were being cheap. But I have awesome friends and the feedback i've gotten so far (it's been over 2 years) has been that our wedding was a lot of fun and they spent less on dinner than they would've on a gift or travel. Unfortunately none of my family was there because we just couldn't make it happen. But that may have also been why we had fun? I do wish we could've had a proper wedding but it just wasn't in the cards and I decided I'd rather not dump Mrchien, I've grown rather fond of him. ;)
I'm looking forward to a large Filipino Catholic wedding this summer in the Great Lakes area. Why am I looking forward to this wedding? Well I wish i could say it was solely based on my love for the couple (who are fun and I adore them) but that would be a lie. There's a custom of wedding sponsors in Filipino weddings, so they are huge, fun affairs! If you've ever been to a Filipino gathering over anything, you know they can throw a party and weddings are an excuse to throw an even bigger party. I'm always excited when I get invited to one of those. I know it's going to be a good time. :)
A side note, some of the most stressful weddings i have ever been in or attended were those small, affordable affairs. My general observation is those of us who have large extended families who like to chip in and help (like my family when i was a kid) can make those things work and still have fun. But if you don't have the connections then those things become stressful because the bride and a few other people are doing EVERYTHING while at the big weddings there's usually a wedding planner and much of the labor is paid for. There have been exceptions to this observation of course, but i'm just commenting on my own experiences.
So tell me about your favorite weddings and the ones you're looking forward too!