Happy Thursday, readers!
I have been thinking about weddings and marriage recently, because my husband and I are going to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary this month! So, for today’s Deep Thoughts Thursday post, I thought it might be fun to talk about some things that I learned throughout the wedding planning process. I have been a bride, bridesmaid and wedding guest, and I think that all of those experiences have been good learning experiences.
- People will have expectations/opinions.
Weddings are one of those events that just about everyone has some kind of opinion about. It’s just natural. It’s an event that symbolizes a pretty big life change. I remember when I got engaged, within the first day people were asking if we had set a date yet! I know that people were really excited to celebrate with us, but I had barely gotten used to the ring on my finger. Throughout the planning process, people will give them opinion, and it will often be unsolicited. But, one of the best skills I learned was to listen to the unsolicited advice I got with grace. One benefit to this is that you may get some good ideas that you had never thought of!
- There will be times when you will need to compromise, and other times when you will need to put your foot down.
While planning your wedding, there will be times where what you/ your future spouse want will not fit well with what someone else wants, whether it be your parents, friends, vendors, etc. During the planning process, decide what details are really important to you, and what details are less important. The things that are less important are perfect opportunities to compromise with people. The things that you feel are extremely important are the things you should perhaps spend more money on, or at least emphasize. My husband and I had originally wanted pie at our wedding instead of having a wedding cake. We both vastly prefer pie to cake, and we thought it would be rustic, unique and us. We were able to actually save tons of money by getting our cake from Costco (and it was delicious). The dessert was not a detail that either my husband or I had our hearts set on, and compromising in this area saved us money that we were able to put towards things that were more important.
- Just like death and taxes, ruffled feathers are (almost) a certainty.
I have not yet been to, or been involved in, a wedding where someone’s feathers had not been ruffled. A wedding is such a high-stress situation, and, like I said above, people can have strong opinions on how things should run. Everyone involved have their own interests to look after as well. I have been to weddings where one of the parents got a little upset because their child stepped out of the reception to attend to something important. With me, someone got upset because I had no intention of putting down tape to mark out where my wedding party was supposed to stand. In my mind, adults should be able to walk down an aisle, and stand roughly where they are supposed to be. I also did not want to focus on a detail that I didn’t think I would notice. I had a really intimate, casual wedding, and the last thing I wanted to do was worry about something like that. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t look at anyone in the wedding party once during the entire ceremony. I was too happy enjoying the ceremony and trying to stop crying to notice if anyone was standing out of line (people were, I still don’t care).
- Yes, the day is about you, but it’s not just about you.
Shows like Bridezillas don’t exist because those kinds of people don’t exist, it’s obvious that they do. One thing I always hear people say in shows like that is “it’s my day…”, mostly as some kind of excuse to be really mean or demanding. The wedding day is of course important to the bride and groom. It’s a big event for them, and one they will never forget. Despite that, I don’t honestly think that it’s an excuse to walk all over people. It is not an excuse to act like a prince or princess (unless you are literally a prince or princess). Your wedding day involves your family, friends, and guests. It’s important to make sure that those people feel loved and appreciated, they are there to celebrate your union, the last thing you want to do is alienate the people that love you the most.
- Look into unique wedding traditions.
We’re all used to seeing the same wedding traditions and symbols: diamond ring, “something blue”, white wedding dress, etc. But, there are traditions and symbols that are not used as often, and hold great meaning. For example, when we were planning our wedding, I read about wedding traditions to find things that would be fun to incorporate into our ceremony. I read that it’s good luck to get married during the second half of an hour, because the minute hand is moving up the clock, instead of downwards. So, we scheduled our ceremony for 4:30 in the afternoon. The only reason I got a diamond wedding ring is because it is vintage, otherwise I would have wanted a different kind of stone (I am really uncomfortable with the blood diamond situation). We also chose not to do a unity candle or anything similar (sand art, etc), because it just was not something that we felt was necessary. I have been to weddings where they did a unity candle or similar thing, and it was beautiful, but we didn’t want it, and I don’t think anyone really missed it. It’s your ceremony, make it unique and personal!
- Don’t be a bridezilla.
I know I kind of already covered this one, but I think it bears repeating. You want your friends and family to still be there for you and love you after the ceremony is over, so trying not to alienate everyone is the best way to accomplish that goal. If you feel that your interests are the only ones that matter, then it might be beneficial to consider your future. I have been in a situation where a bride was very alienating by putting her wedding ceremony over friendships, and it is not something that is easy to bounce back from. Relationships are what matter, and the people attending your wedding are what make it such an amazing and memorable event.
- Unless you’re really close to the wedding day, don’t hold in important conversations.
The bride I talked about in the previous point started becoming mean a few months out from her wedding. From the beginning, she was somewhat difficult to deal with, but nothing a glass of wine at the end of the day couldn’t fix. As the date got closer, she got more demanding and judgmental. Eventually, it got to the point where I wanted her wedding to be over so that we could stop being friends. So, at that point, I realized it was important to try to talk about what was happening, in order to salvage the friendship. That conversation did not go well. At all. But she was willing to put a party over her friends. In the end, I knew it was good for both of us if we were no longer in each other’s lives. People had important conversations with me when I was planning my wedding, and it helped keep me in check. It helped me keep perspective about what was actually important. I am grateful for those difficult conversations.
- A strong marriage is more important than a beautiful wedding.
For some people, once they get engaged, they focus on their upcoming wedding. The problem with this is that the wedding is just one day. And, it is of course an important day, but it’s not the most important day. I feel like the most important day is every day, because all those days build (or break) your marriage, depending on how you spend them and what you value. My husband and I have some pretty big issues to work through before we got married, but getting those things sorted out before we made it official was so important, and helped us have the strong and successful marriage that we are celebrating this month. I would rather have married him in a court house in jeans and a t-shirt if that meant we would have a marriage that would last.
- Weddings are not worth going into debt for.
This is absolutely related to the previous point. The wedding industry makes billions of dollars every year. Glossy wedding magazines make it seem like you have to have a dress that costs as much as car and a venue whose rental is the same as a house. Those weddings are obviously gorgeous, and make beautiful pictures. Yet, when I see these kinds of weddings, all I can think is I hope that couple are not going into debt to make such a day happen. Even without debt, money is one of the biggest issues that couples fight about. Compound that with the debt added in for the wedding, and that just sounds terrible. My husband and I had an extremely frugal wedding. In fact, our wedding was more frugal than I think most people would like. But, it was perfect for us, and we were able to start our marriage with our wedding paid for.
- Above all, have fun!
A wedding is supposed to be a celebration. It doesn’t have to be super stressful. Be thankful and appreciate everyone who is there to celebrate with you. Try to take in as much as you can, it will be over before you know it. And let your hair down! The best part of our wedding was dancing with our friends as everyone took turns plugging in ipods into our speaker system and choosing songs to play. It was better than anything we could have planned.