My cousin is getting married in two weeks. We were just talking Sunday evening about all the stuff she has done, hasn’t done, and still has to do—everything from dancing lessons to where we’re having lunch (before manicures) the day of the rehearsal. There are so many things to think about, worry about, and do for a wedding. At one point, my cousin seemed to want to have chosen a different bridesmaid dress and wondered about if she was making the right decision on some other things. I said, “The only thing you need to worry about making the right decision on is the groom. If he’s the right one, nothing else really matters.”
It’s easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” of the wedding. I mean, you’re organizing a major event, at which many people will be present, and some of which will judge you on every little detail. It’s a lot of pressure.
Looking back six years ago to my wedding, we did have to keep reminding ourselves that the wedding was only the beginning of something great—it was not the something great.
It is from that perspective that I offer these thoughts to my cousin and other engaged couples:
If you are going to agonize over a decision, make sure it really is important. Choosing the readings that mean the most to you and your future spouse is more significant than whether the 10 people you choose to put at a table will talk to each other. (That’s why there’s a DJ and a dance floor!)
Focus on the wedding as a symbol of your new life together. What are you doing to reflect the life of unconditional love you are committing yourselves to? It’s not that he has to meet with every vendor or go to every cake tasting with you (though he would likely be fine with the latter), but that every reading and song you choose should have meaning to your life together.
Don’t be afraid to do something meaningful to you—even if others don’t get the significance (or think you’re weird). Something that may seem like just another decoration may actually be a silent reminder to you of your love story. Think the Holy Spirit brought you together? Maybe you want to have red ribbons in your bouquet. Or maybe your ceremony ends with the release of two doves. (We had three flowers in our bridesmaids’ bouquets because we believe that a good marriage takes three: bride, groom, and God.)
Remember that no matter what goes wrong (and something is bound to), perspective and a cheerful, flexible attitude will really help make it a good day. Your life together (including your wedding day) will include many challenges. It’s how you choose to respond that will determine how “perfect” your wedding—and ultimately your marriage—really is.
As a side note, here are some recent good books I’ve read on marriage:
Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards—This book kind of reminds me of the All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The author presents simple things you can do to get or keep your relationship great. Don’t be fooled though, simple and basic does not mean easy. Take Small Step #1 for example: Say “I’m Sorry”…enough said.
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About the First Five Years of Marriage—This one covers many of the touchy subjects that you have to address at some point, and hopefully you do it sooner rather than later. From communication to personal baggage, money to in-laws, don’t wait until your fifth anniversary to read this book.
Happy Spouse, Happy House—Written by Pat Williams (co-founder of the NBA’s Orlando Magic) with commentary from his wife Ruth, this books offers the BEST game plan for a winning marriage. Not sure whether it was the sports references or my strategic placement of the book everywhere he went, but I even got my husband to read this one.
He’s Not a Mind-Reader and Other Insights for a Fabulous First Year of Marriage—This is a fun and easy-to-read book, but the topics include some of those tricky things you have to deal with when you first get married. Sometimes, you’re still learning and dealing years later. Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s a great read for any year of marriage.
Put the Seat Down and Other Insights for an Awesome First Year of Marriage—Okay, I have to confess that I didn’t actually read this one because it’s the guy’s version of the He’s Not a Mind-Reader book. I would like to read it, but somehow I feel like I would be eaves-dropping on a manly heart-to-heart.
****Feature photo: Rosen Georgiev