My best friend just got engaged to her partner and I am thrilled for them both. She’s jumped into wedding planning with both feet, yet she confessed to me in an email exchange about color palettes and bridesmaid dresses that she feels like she’s already behind and should be doing things she doesn’t even know she should be doing. My friend just got engaged about 40 days ago, and it broke my heart that already she’s feeling the pressure of ‘getting it right’—and that I work in an industry that perpetuates that unfair cycle of pressure.
We all do it to each other, whether it’s said with love or isn’t:
“Ooh, let me see your engagement ring!” An innocent statement that most people enjoy, but spoken with just a hint of a know-it-all tone sometimes feels like a request to peek inside your partner’s bank account.
“Tell me your proposal story!” “Oh, I’m sorry there isn’t an exciting one to tell.”
“What’s your wedding date?” (Asked within 24 hours of the engagement) ”What do you mean you don’t know the date? Surely you must have an idea of the season, at the very least. Where do you think you’ll have the wedding? The date and venue set the tone for the entire event. You simply must decide!”
As much as we know that all of these items are important to some degree, they’re just benchwarmer topics to the most crucial one of all: that two people are so madly in love with each other that they want to spend the rest of their lives together and no matter how or where or when they say “I do,” the focus on their union shouldn’t get muddled in the details of the big day.
Because at the end of the extraordinary day, it really doesn’t matter if you wear a hounds tooth suit at your West Palm Beach wedding in June or a birdcage veil at your quaint wedding at a historic church in Quintana Roo, Mexico, instead of a Spanish mantilla veil. A few nasty biddies’ tongues might wag, but really, who cares if your grandiose monogrammed trio of silver-plated letters is far too large for your two-layer wedding cake for your 40 guests or if you forgot to bring your menus to lay out on the chargers at your wedding reception. I’m staring directly at my darling designer wife on that one, because she spent so long crafting the fleur-de-lis scrolls and the precise font that matched our invitations, response cards, wedding website, yada yada yada. All of these cohesive printed and online messages to our guests were supposed to speak volumes to everyone about what kind of couple we were, and I do believe that theory.
As a bride, I bought into the “you must plan everything down to the tiniest nosegay of violets perfectly placed every two feet along all the bathroom vanities” crap. And I loved it so much. I had a blast planning our wedding. But you know what? No one noticed the missing menus besides my wife—not even me.
Things will go wrong on your wedding day, whether you plan it all or not. And there will be ideas you don’t have the time, money or energy to incorporate. And that’s OK.
The high priestess of inner wisdom Maya Angelou once wrote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I think this applies to weddings, too.
Your guests want to see you throw your head back and laugh so hard your belly hurts at an inside joke you and your partner share during your wedding toasts. They want to see you gaze into each other’s eyes with so much soulful knowledge and desire that they rekindle their own passion for their partner or change their own attitudes on commitment. Your guests are your dearest friends and family, and they just want to see you be happy. So let yourself be happy. And plan your wedding with that attitude—one of joy, not one of haste.
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