It is two weeks and three days until my wedding now. I have been planning it for the past nine months, during which time any mention of the words “wedding,” “bride,” “groom,” “marriage,” or pretty much any other word related to weddings or marriage has caused me to feel a buzz of excitement. Any time I glimpse a picture of a bride or a wedding, whether on TV or in a magazine, I feel unable to stop myself from fixating on it. It’s as if I have a 24/7 wedding radar that alerts me whenever the topic arises.
I guess that that’s pretty normal behavior for a soon-to-be bride. Perhaps it’s normal behavior for any girl who dreams of getting married one day. But for me, the wedding buzz has been such a constant companion and the wedding planning such a constant job, that I’ve at times wondered what I will do when it’s all over and I’m no longer a bride, but a wife. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely cannot wait to be Mrs. Westropp! It’s just that planning for this day has been a huge part of my life for such a long time that I’m sure it will be surreal when it finally happens, and then strange when it’s over. All of this pondering about the near future has made me realize the importance of putting your wedding in perspective.
The fact is that your wedding day is basically just a big party. Yes, you will only have one wedding day (hopefully), and yes, it is your special day. But at the end of it, you will be left with a few things: your memories, your guests, and your new spouse. I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when planning a wedding is how to make sure that these three things are happy at the end of the day.
I’ve been told many times that the actual wedding day will fly by in a blur. Many people try to combat this by hiring expensive photographers and videographers to record every moment of it. The problem with this, I think, is that realistically you are probably not going to sit around and watch your wedding video more than a few times in the rest of your life. And even though your photos are probably going to be looked at much more often, you hopefully aren’t going to find that your wedding day was meaningless just because your photos aren’t super expensively professional. I’m not saying it’s bad to hire a videographer or a photographer; I’m just saying that it’s not the most important thing about your wedding. I’ve asked several of my good friends who are excellent photographers to do my wedding for me, and I have absolutely no worries that this choice will negatively impact my wedding. That’s because even if the photos aren’t great (which I’m sure they will be!), I’ll have what really matters, which is my marriage.
For me, this also means that I want to try to take it slow on my wedding day and enjoy every moment instead of stressing out about every detail. I would rather have a few things (or even a lot of things) go wrong and enjoy the day anyway than stress out to make it perfect and be too busy to appreciate it. My memories of this day aren’t going to be filled with me running around trying to manage everything; they’re going to be of me enjoying my first day as Cory’s wife.
As for your guests, well, I think it’s a nice idea to try to make them happy. If they were willing to come to your wedding to celebrate you and support you, then surely you can show them some gratitude for that. In my case, it means giving up little things I want to make it more enjoyable for them. For example, I may have wanted to hire an expensive caterer to provide a small amount of fancy food, but instead I decided to put in more work on my part in order to provide more food for the money that I have to spend. That means I will have to do more making, picking up, transporting, and setting up of everything, but it also means that my guests will have enough to eat. Compromising on the small detail of where the food came from is well worth it to have happier, more comfortable guests.
Brides and grooms also need to be flexible for their parents and special guests, and do the best they can to make them happy. Perhaps this means doing a few more traditional things instead of the unique twists you had originally envisioned. Maybe it means inviting everybody on your parents’ guest wish lists, even though their families are huge and you really wanted a small wedding. Whatever the case may be, planning a wedding requires compromises, and you have to be willing to make them to keep the people you love as happy as possible. That being said, you also shouldn’t kill yourself over people being unhappy with some of the details—somebody will always complain about something, because for some reason when it comes to weddings, everybody has an opinion. So do your best to make the people you love happy, but don’t freak out if you can’t pull it off perfectly. It really is about the marriage, not the wedding, and in the end everybody will be happy for you and your new husband or wife.
And of course, last but not least is your new spouse. Practically this whole blog is about what to do with your spouse once you’re married and how to make your marriage work, so there’s not much more to say here. But I will reiterate that it is important to keep your wedding in perspective and remember that your new husband or wife is the reason you are doing it. Your wedding day is more about the big picture of your new marriage than it is about the actual day. It will be over before you know it, and then you have forever to be married. That is what really matters, and that is what you should care about more than any of the details of the celebration.
For me, planning my wedding has been a ton of fun and extremely exciting. I have not once experience annoyance or stress about having to plan it—I’ve loved every minute of it! And I don’t think that there is anything wrong with wanting certain things on your wedding day or having a vision of how you want things to be. I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with enjoying your special day! But I do think that there is something wrong with being stubborn, immovable, or snotty as a bride (or as a groom). If you are getting married because you want to be married, than the details should not make or break you. So go ahead and plan things the way you would like them, staying flexible and courteous to the needs of others, and enjoy your one and only wedding day. Then, when it’s over, don’t forget to enjoy your marriage much, much more.