Ah, weddings. I love them, don’t you? The celebration of love and life just makes me so happy. Slowly, more and more of my friends are getting married, and it makes me very nostalgic. See, I’ve been married just over two years, now, and though I’m by no means an expert on all things wedding, I feel like I learned some significant things when I was planning our wedding. If you’ll allow, I’d like to share them, for posterity. Hell, I don’t even know if anyone is reading this. I’ll share them for myself.
1. Let them in
One of the biggest things I struggled with when planning my wedding, was letting people help. I was determined not to put anyone out, I didn’t want my wedding to be that huge, stressful thing for all my friends. So, I tried to go it alone, and nearly drove myself mad. You see, I’m not a planner, I’m not a crafter, and I’m also not made of money. My friends are, variously, crafty, helpful, full of love and a desire to help. And one thing I’ve realised since then, is that I would have had more fun planning the wedding, if I had allowed my friends, who very much wanted to, to help.
I have wanted to help my friends with their weddings, and I keep seeing the same thing: bride goes batty trying to do everything, while putting up a front of ‘coping’, and shutting everyone out. Let your loved ones help when they offer. They offer because they love you, and they want to see you happy.
2. Let it go
I know how my family is, I know how my now-husbands family is, and I know that just because I was getting married, that was no reason to expect that they would change their fundamental personalities just to make my life easier (as lovely as that would have been!) So every time my dad was selfish, or my mother-in-law did something inexplicable, I was hurt and surprised that they could be so terrible. I was engaged for two years, which was plenty of time to come to terms with this. And yet, two years after the wedding, whenever I think of that time, it’s tinged with sadness that I was unable to get through planning my wedding without my (and my wedded) family misbehaving themselves. Ah well, we live and learn, hey? And surprisingly (or not, depending on where you stand), the older I get, the more OK I am with this.
I had, like every bride, certain expectations of my wedding day. I wanted to be calm, radiantly happy, beautiful, and present in every moment. I wanted to feel significantly married and, well, different after having spent so long planning this one day event. In the end, though, between my uncomfortable wedding dress, my makeup taking much longer than I expected, and my dad being his usual completely obscure self, I was none of what I expected to be.
I don’t know why, but I hoped that the love I feel for my husband would shine out of my face, obscuring the fact that I had been living on a diet of coffee and cupcakes for months before the wedding (hot tip: this does nothing to help the double chin you are insecure about). I hoped that I would love every small bit of my wedding day. I hoped we would have a fabulous dance party, and everyone would go home in the small hours. Instead, I was tired, my dress had a zip that chafed my arm all night, I chose the wrong lip colour, that made me look angry, and my photos were…. well, they were of me, and I really dislike having my photo taken, so I was unhappy (the photos were great, my unhappiness was with myself).
I didn’t feel different. My now-husband and I had been together for 5 years when we got married. We were venturing off on our honeymoon immediately after the wedding, and we had bought a dog about 6 months before the wedding, so I had moved in with him already. Our lives had already taken on a pattern, we were already a team, the wedding was a formality to legalise the commitment we had already made to each other every day of our relationship thus far. One expensive party didn’t make the difference I thought that it would to the way I felt about him, about us.
But even so, two years later, I realise that although the legalisation felt kind of superfluous at the time, it has made us a team in a more permanent way. And that is the value of the wedding. And hell, it’s a fun party, too.