Is there really a way to fully express what these past two weeks have meant to us? The answer, I believe, is no. We planned for seven months straight, all while a state away from where the wedding would eventually take place. The wedding planning process itself was, at times and in all honesty, frustrating and fun; breakdown-worthy and beautiful. These words, in all their contradiction, aligned as allies towards the end. And it’s not to say the “good” words were neither felt nor acknowledged throughout the wedding planning, but they also were not the front runners of the race when it came to describing my state of mind.
All this to say, our wedding day was more perfect than I could have ever imagined. It was raining the entire week leading up to Friday, May 6, 2016. We (separately) awoke to a brisk morning that turned into clear blue sky. The weather was everything I prayed for and hoped for.
I wore the Sarah Seven dress that I immediately fell in love with, and gold shoes that were to be my best friend throughout the wedding day. Brendan and I had a first look, out of excitement to see one another and the convenience of getting all the photos out of the way so we could party after the ceremony. So, our favorite photographer Louie walked Brendan and me around sweet, sunny Noblesville. Eventually we met up with our wedding party.
We had already been back to our individual rooms when it was time for the ceremony. I was tired, but also anxious. I checked the clock every six seconds and sat on a chair with my Matron of Honor. Before our wedding day, I had some expectation that I was going to on edge or so scared to be committing myself to one person for the rest of my life. Nothing detrimental, but definitely a “This. Is. It.” moment. Thankfully, I didn’t have that. I was at peace and excited to stand before Brendan, our friends and family, and commit my life to his and to see his to mine.
And we did just that. Kurt, our marrying pastor, was so fun and made both of us feel 100% present and comfortable. I can only describe the feeling of standing at our little alter with Brendan and Kurt as “home.” Both of those men meant so much to me for so many different reasons. I had the love of my life before me and a mentor next to me on one of the biggest days of my life. I was home.
The ceremony felt 6.5 seconds long, but it was the best 6.5 seconds. Brendan and I wrote our own vows to each other – something I had always dreamed of doing. I mentioned The West Wing. He mentioned the Enneagram. We were fully ourselves through our words. Then we said our I Do’s and danced our way into the hall to greet each friend and family member we love to the bone.
Truly, everything about our wedding day was perfect. The ceremony was perfect. The reception was perfect. Everything about our friends and family being there was perfect. We even heard that a member of the catering team joined in to dance. I thought that was perfect. I wish I could buy our day-of wedding coordinators Disneyland, because even they were perfect.
A few weeks before the wedding, Brendan and I met with Kurt. He asked us what is one word that we wanted to hope for for our wedding day. I said “fun.” Once the reception was over, we made our run through the sparklers and into a 1950’s Bentley (Thanks, Sam!). The whole ride to our hotel room was laughing over how much fun everything was. The fun made anything difficult about the wedding planning process disappear. It’s not the say the emotionally scarring things disappeared for good, but they certainly had the stamp of grace sealed upon them.
And I am writing this all out, because it needs to be a reminder to myself and an accountability from others to be thankful for the entire process. I had planned on writing an entire blog on “Wedding Planning and The Things You Should (Probably, Most Likely … Yeah, It’ll Happen) Expect.” (I mean, 37 friends seemed on-board for it!)
However, what I came to taste and see was the perfection of our wedding day. I felt like what I would write would mostly be recalling The Worst of Times, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do. So, I still want to note a few of the “Probably, Most Likely … Yeah, It’ll Happen” expectations, and I want to do this from a heart that is familiar with the overwhelming-ness that wedding planning is.
Not All About You Two: I think it is important to note, especially for those in the midst of wedding planning now … your wedding day is not fully about you and your husband. (I heard this early on from a girlfriend during her wedding planning season.) Is this fair? Absolutely not. You will have many different voices coming at you about who to invite, and then follows the disappointments as you lay down healthy and wise boundaries as you and your fiance respond. Unless you were raised in The Partridge Family and you’re marrying the Leave It To Beaver family, it is wise to expect these moments. It is weird to say, but so much of the wedding is a reflection of your lives … and your parents’ lives ([hopefully] out of a sense of pride for their child). Try to meet in the middle. It may still feel like it’s not enough for them, but remember: Your wedding day will be the best day ever and everyone will forget why they were upset. I promise.
Breakdowns: They’re Normal!: I had a major one that led teary eyed me to the door of my Matron of Honor. It was only a few weeks out and what set me off was a conversation about a ring bearer pillow. I was at a point of “I can no longer care about the ring bearer pillow” when I toppled. (I saw my therapist a few days later.) Throughout the process, allow yourself to cry when you need to or express what the heck is going on. Otherwise, you will be a ticking time bomb waiting for a conversation about the ring bearer pillow.
All The Questions: You will be asked about 60,000 times how the wedding planning is going and where you’re at in it. It will feel repetitive, but know that it’s OK to say you don’t want to talk about it, too! You will want to talk and think and feel for something else in your moments with your friends. That is 100% OK. Your nearest and dearest will be understanding. Brendan and I ended up making a pact that we did not talk anything wedding on Tuesday nights – my school nights.
Speaking Of Friends/Family: LEAN INTO THEM. I made a giant mistake of trying to do everything myself. Not a joke. It’s my Enneagram One and my personality to assume that I can do it by myself and I don’t need anyone. Mistake #1. Allow people to take on tasks. B’s mom was so gracious as she consistently wanted to help, so she ran every errand from afar. I felt like a sleeping bear left my shoulders after saying Yes to help. Also, invest in a great therapist.
Partner With Your Partner: It is important to note that gender is not a rule to play by in the wedding process. Brendan, although male, still wanted to be apart of the planning process. In some areas, I shut him out (Sorry, B!) and that was my fault. I assumed he didn’t care. Turns out, he very much did. Your wedding day is a day meant for you two.
Invest In a Marriage Therapist and/or Mentors: Brendan and I did both. We started going to Travis at Spring Tree Counseling for pre-marital counseling and we met with a mentor couple within our church (through Soul Mates). Hands down, the best decision we’ve ever made. Travis walked with us through so much as a couple. Be it communication, personality styles and habits, or sexual expectations – we put it all on the table so we weren’t taken by surprise when we began life together. Our mentor couple, Bryan and Mary, did the same with us. They gave us insight to their marriage and that was SO helpful and beautiful and vulnerable. I can honestly say these two things were my favorite parts of the engagement season.
That’s really all I can suggest. I’ve heard every high and low from girlfriends about their wedding planning process, and these are the areas I found us relating to the most.
Ultimately, the planning you and your partner are doing is 100% worth it. There are frustrating days, hilarious moments, and anticipatory feelings. When you have said your I Do’s, danced until your toes hurt, and laughed at the beauty of your day with your now husband or wife, you will have entered a world of Retrospect. You will find yourself saying, “In retrospect,that ring bearer pillow wasn’t a big deal.” Funny, but true.
Brendan and I, in retrospect, have walked out of our wedding planning season together (also known as “Engagement”) refined as a couple. I know him and love him deeper than before because of how much we partnered and fought for one another. Most of all, the Lord refined our trust in Him. He worked out all things for our good and His good. Even in my bittered and battered heart, God saw that I could be better. He called me forward and into a perfect day before Him, my husband, our family, and our closest friends, and I get to call that day Our Wedding Day.
“What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”