A few wedding seasons ago, I was attending weddings critiquing what I liked and didn’t like; I was gazing on the brides dress and bouquet, wondering what I would choose when the time came for me. I attended weddings alone, awkwardly sitting out the slow dances and seated at a table with the other single friends of the bride and groom. I attended weddings with my boyfriend, and then with my fiance, where people who we knew weren’t invited to our wedding would say things like, “we can’t wait to celebrate you two!”
Now, I attend weddings and I know what the behind-the-scenes logistics actually look like because I have had my own wedding. I know the bride is trying to remember when she’s supposed to give her bouquet to her maid of honor, and I know if the reception says it starts at six it will likely be at least an hour behind schedule. At one wedding, a few guests and I decided to go play a game of mini golf in between the ceremony and reception to avoid the small talk that goes on for too long at the reception venue while waiting on the newly weds.
Attending weddings is a blast, because the focus is marriage, romance, and a celebration of love and for Jackson and I it allows us to relive our own day. We have conversations about fun stories we don’t take the time to reflect on normally, and are reminded of how much we love and value being married.
But, as many of my friends approach their wedding day, I realized a lot of women are so focused on the wedding, the marriage can take the back burner. A day that is meant to celebrate a relationship, has become a day about pushing the relationship aside in order for the day itself to be perfect. In a world of Pinterest boards and Instagram posts, we are bombarded with images of what a wedding day should look like, and it’s often pretty far from reality. So, happy (almost) wedding season, based on my experience (about two years of marriage) here are some myths about your wedding day, and some tips to help you through it.
Your wedding day won’t turn out how you planned, and that’s what makes it yours.
I am a planner (when I want to be). I had my entire wedding weekend planned out. I had a detailed schedule, I had left time for errors because I didn’t deny there could be some things that went awry, but I had even planned and accounted for those things, so when I approached my wedding day I was certain it could and would be perfect. I was so wrong, even though I thought I had thought of every single detail. My sister and brother-in-law didn’t have the rings, a groomsmen passed out, the train of my dress got caught on the floor and prevented me from walking down the aisle. I wore my nice shoes for my first look, and they got soaking wet so I ended up wearing the flats I had brought just in case for my entire wedding ceremony.
Despite my detailed timeline, everything was running later than expected, and my husband and I left the reception sooner than we thought we would. When I think of my wedding now, all of the crazy things that went “wrong” are actually what made it so perfect for us. A lot of those details the guests didn’t know or wouldn’t have cared to notice, but they became detailed and intimate funny stories Jackson and I have about our wedding day. After our wedding, we went to take extra photos at sunset at a nearby park, and our photographer was so sweet and flexible.
Then, we went and got Portillo’s (a famous Chicago hotdog chain) in our wedding garb, and I’ll never forget how fun it was eating fast food all dressed up, just us, husband and wife for the first time. I had the best time on my wedding day, and even all the unplanned craziness of the day is remembered fondly. When preparing for your wedding day, stay flexible. Stay focused on the person you are saying “I do” to, and don’t take things too seriously, go get yourself a hot dog if you’re hungry.
Everyone will have an opinion on something, but very few are important.
I am also a recovering people pleaser. I sometimes have to literally remove myself from a situation to decide how I feel about it. I often say yes, and have to reevaluate and come back to a conversation and change my decision so it isn’t influenced by other voices. This was a challenge for me when I was wedding planning, because if I ever verbally processed a decision with a new person, I let a new voice come into play when making a decision. If I could do it all again, I would make a list of the things that were most important to me in the very beginning, and then make sure those things happened. I cared a lot about having enough time for photos, I cared about flowers, and I wanted donuts + brunch food no matter what anyone else said. (Except Jackson, but he was cool with all that.)
Be careful who you choose to let into your decisions, and if you don’t get everything you wanted remember...
Your wedding is one day, your marriage is forever.
In the church we talk a lot about idolatry and worship. But for some reason, the Christian vision for marriage, although beautiful, is sometimes lost on a wedding day. We have clogged our minds with the emotional experience we want for our wedding day, or we have gotten bogged down in the wedding timeline, the financial sacrifices required for a Pinterest worthy wedding, the details of what shade of pink the flowers look in photos has overshadowed what the day really means. No matter how the day goes, no matter the amount of rain, or whether the cake is the right color, at the end of the day you leave married. Hopefully, you stay married. Make sure you are worshipping your heavenly Father rather than your wedding day.
A lot of people spend forever planning and dreaming up their wedding day, and forget about planning for and dreaming up their marriage. The behind the scenes preparation is what is going to really count after you say, “I do.” Because you may get to the honeymoon and realize no one booked the rental car, and now what? Are you quick to blame your spouse, or are you quick to forgive and speak kindly? The work and preparation on becoming who God created you to be is what really counts after the wedding day.
After you have thrown this huge party with all eyes on you, what does your marriage look like? Who does the dishes? Who humbles themself and says, “I’m sorry” first? The wedding will end, but the marriage won’t, and the real investment of planning should be put into the forever you’re vowing to, rather than the day that will come to an end.
I love weddings, I love celebrating love, and I love watching people make a covenant and vows to one another. Ultimately, marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for us, and I think it should be treated with reverence. That means preparing and investing time in the intangible things that your guests may never see, or may not notice until years down the road when they’re talking about how something in your marriage makes it different--more forgiving, more joyful, more powerful. Carve out time during the craziness of your wedding day to spend time with the One who created you, and created marriage, because His perspective is what counts the most, and I think He’ll celebrate you better than anyone tearing it up on the dancefloor.