A wedding is a beautiful thing. For many, it’s the defining moment in which they officially enter the realm of adulthood. Regardless what age you are when you get married, it changes your life. It’s the day when all of the thoughts pertaining to your abstract future plans suddenly become real and attainable. For me, this was on a hot day in July of 2011. Andy and I had already been together for six years so it didn’t feel particularly life-changing at the time. We were simply solidifying and outwardly committing to what we already knew; we were in love, happy, and intended to stay together for the remainder of our lives.
Maybe it’s just us, but we kept waiting for the day to get away from us, go off down some unpredictable path like everyone said it would. We hoped that wouldn’t happen and it turned out to be a casually smooth day. Sure, it had its bumps, many of which I didn’t find out about until later, but nothing extreme. We spent the majority of the day enjoying each other’s company, our friends and family, and the moment.
Many brides will tell you in their experienced wisdom to try to step aside for a moment with your new spouse and savor the moment. Take in the details. Relax and enjoy, if only for a moment. While that’s lovely advice, well-meaning and worthwhile for the frantic couple being tugged in a million directions, to me it felt a little misguided.
I spent the whole day savoring the moment. That is, all except for the hour right before the ceremony when I couldn’t find my bridesmaids and couldn’t dress until after they did, but we won’t worry about that. After some time, I’ve realized why my wedding day experience varied so greatly from many couples on their wedding day, which I believe is the secret to having a less stressful wedding day.
Our emphasis was on the marriage, not the wedding.
Don’t get me wrong, I planned the HECK out of that wedding! I’m definitely not advocating that you don’t plan. Plan ’til your little heart’s content. I DIY’ed so many details of my wedding that my sister, and maid-of-honor, lovingly deemed our family dinners as “Kira’s wedding sweatshop.” I went for a unique look that forced me to walk a fine line between natural and whimsical… and circus themed child’s birthday party. When the day came, I knew I had done what I could. It was all pretty much out of my control at that point. I let the details all go.
It’s your overarching views on life in these grand moments that define how it will all go. We valued what was happening and sharing that moment with our loved ones. It did not matter that I stood at the end of the aisle while the processional song was restarted because the flower girl refused to end her trip down until every last petal was dropped from her basket…one…at…a..time.
Personally, I’ve never adhered to societal norms just because they are so. If you want me to do something, give me a legitimate reason. “It’s how it’s supposed to be done,” by the way, is not a legitimate reason.
Throw etiquette and social convention out the window.
The biggest thing you can do to make the wedding more about the marriage is to make your wedding day what you want, not what you think it’s supposed to look like.
I chose a “theme” that everyone else was worried would be tacky. Additionally, we chose not to have a receiving line, which caused more than a few looks from the more conventional members of the family. There was a very informal “snack hour” between the ceremony and reception in my parent’s garage, and we did not spend every moment of the day entertaining guests and away from each other.
Get Creative and Be True To You
Instead, we found other ways to show our guests gratitude and love and have them enjoy the day. There was a candy buffet with 20 different kinds of candy. A caricaturist that everyone loved had a non-stop line throughout the reception. And the programs were fans to help keep guests cool during the ceremony.
The result was a wedding that people are still telling me to this day was the best they’ve ever been to. In fact, a few have even admitted that they had more fun at ours than their own or their children’s weddings. We’ve also been told that it was the most beautiful and unique ceremony they had ever seen.
It’s all about the wedding, the experience, and doing what makes everyone happy…including the bride and groom. What made us happy was to throw a great party that everyone would enjoy. Our goal was to do this without sacrificing our day to the demands of others or “rules.” With some planning and a lot of remembering what the day is really about, it was a success.
The secret: do you and go with the flow
If you’re planning your wedding now, or will be sometime in the future, keep this in mind. Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t have the day YOU want. It is your day. Remember, as long as your guests are cared for and feel a part of it all they will not ostracize you for enjoying the day in your own way, whatever that means for you. If they do, remind yourself that it’s okay. Don’t let it ruin your day because someone else is upset that you didn’t do things their way. Just let it go and rise above it.
What are you glad you did at your wedding, even if it wasn’t the popular choice? Looking back, is there anything you wish you would have done differently? What advice would you give to a couple planning a wedding that would differ from the societal norm?
-To your better life-
All photos in this post were taken by Tatiana Shirasaki at Tati Photo. http://www.phototati.com/