see-the-good-life asked a question:
Any advice for a young couple planning a wedding?
Hey dear friend, first of all: congratulations on your engagement if you’ve indeed been engaged! It’s an exciting and scary time, and can be very stressful, too. Here are a few things I learned both during and after the wedding to help. It will be a different experience for everyone and you may feel free to take these as you like.
1) Please enjoy the whole process. My wife and I tended to freak out about the tiniest details, and after the wedding, we realized how much we could’ve relaxed and enjoyed our engagement together. A lot of our fears about the planning turned out to be completely unfounded, like most fears often do. Every married couple told us the same thing, to just relax and enjoy. If there’s anything I could go back to change, it would’ve been this.
2) The wedding doesn’t have to be perfect. Your wedding cake might have fingerprints on it. Your florist might get sick. Your photographer might not be as great as their website. It seems the more you add on to your wedding, the more it can go wrong. But these little things are not very important in the bigger picture. They can, in fact, be totally memorable.
The night before my wedding, our hotel caught fire and everyone had to evacuate. There were about twenty police cars and fire trucks outside, and the entire wedding party slept just a few hours. We were cranky, but we also laughed the whole time like crazy. What a night, you know. The hotel also gave us all the rooms for free.
3) Your friends want to help. You can save a lot of money and spend more time with friends if you ask them for help, and they want to help. I think Do-It-Yourself settings are the best way to go. Most of us don’t also have a giant budget for all the romanticized stuff you see on fashion blogs. Our invitations and programs and take-home gifts (and a lot of other things) were done by friends for a fraction of the cost, and turned out extra special because of who made them.
4) Get pre-marriage counseling. I think this is not only wise, but mandatory. No matter how much you learn about marriage from books and seminars and old couples, nothing can really prepare you for the everyday challenges of becoming one. Getting counseling sessions, whether from your pastor or a paid professional, will be a huge advantage to start the marriage right. It’ll feel cheesy and even emotional and vulnerable, but it’s worth digging up these things now.
5) Little reminders. Make sure to call all the vendors the week of the wedding if you have them; sometimes the photographer or florist or DJ will forget your date (they have a lot of events!). Invite more than you plan to have; there will be people who cancel at the last minute (I got a text in the middle of the ceremony from a friend who canceled). Try to have your friends and family from both sides as close as you can the week of the wedding, if possible, so they’re familiar with each other by the date. Get an e-bag.
6) Keep it simple. I really did want all the extras: a cappuccino vendor, a snow-cone stand, a karaoke bar, a photo booth, hipster lighting, and the rest. The more stuff we saw, the more we coveted. But my wife and I stripped it down to the bare essentials. We didn’t want a “privileged,” entitled, self-indulgent wedding. I know it sounds like we did a lot, but we tried our best to be tasteful and wise. I have nothing against those luxuries, but what people will remember and you’ll remember is the beauty of the ceremony. As corny as it sounds, it’s true. Your wedding can be just as great if you two walked down a concrete sidewalk with five friends and a bouquet of silly straws.
7) Enjoy the wedding. Really. On the actual day, you’ll be tempted to make sure everything is going right and that things are where they need to be. But it’s your day. You don’t have to worry about that. The day will go by fast. So enjoy it. Thank God for such a wonderful, beautiful union. Laugh, a lot.