Don't worry, be happy: Remember what your big day is really about

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If I could do it all again, I would do everything different. Instead of worrying about flowers, I should have stopped and smelled them. Instead of counting calories, I would have counted my blessings. In place of memorizing how many steps to the altar, I wished I would have kicked my shoes off and ran toward him. 
 
It’s hard to write about weddings or even marriage without reaching for some tired clichés. Phrases associated with marriage — “old ball and chain,” “taking the plunge” — evoke visions of drudgery, regret and vapid materialism. Even the most hopeful bride-to-be can get overwhelmed with the endless planning and unwanted opinions surrounding the auspicious occasion. 
 
Sometimes it helps to get back to the basics. In traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom stand together under the chuppah, or canopy, meant to symbolize the home the couple will build together. What a comforting and beautiful reminder to those who are taking the first step in starting their new chapter — you’re preparing to build a home together, a life together. Suddenly, the corsages that don’t match and the shoes that fit too tight seem to fade into the background as you join your partner before the officiant and your family and friends. 
 
My former boss urged me to focus on the smallest, sweetest details of that busy day, like the way my husband’s hands looked on my hands. Time seemed to stand still as he slipped on the ring. The ring I wore for nine months shone in a new way as it sat upon my wedding band. I suddenly forgot all the planning and drama, and for a few precious seconds saw clearly that we were vowing to have and to hold each other, to build the foundation of our new life. Nowhere in those vows did we say this would always be easy. We didn’t say we would always agree on home décor (trust me, quite a few of my husband’s ceramic wolves found a new home in our basement). Or that we would agree on the same dinner entrees — my husband hates beans, sushi and things baked with cheese (don’t get me started!). But what a moment it was to clasp each other’s hands and dive head first into “us.”
 
What struck me the most on my wedding day was how fast it went. One moment I was getting my hair and makeup done, and the next I was dancing to the last song, ribs aching from my tight wedding dress. You have to try to enjoy every minute. In years to come, when you look back you won’t remember the minor blips but all the love you received, the families coming together, the camera flashes catching your every move. Enjoy the cake you agonized over, hug your bridesmaids and thank them for being a part of your special day, and save many dances for your new husband. 
 
Unfortunately, you might feel a little letdown the day after. I found myself reliving all my favorite moments over and over and wanting to do our wedding again. How sweet it would be to redo our wedding every year, but time, budget and my blood pressure would prevent that from happening.
 
In the days where broken relationships are all around us, including billboards promising an “easy divorce,” getting married ultimately seems like an act of courage. To me, it’s one of life’s greatest blessings to have someone to share my life with. I like that I had the chance to celebrate our commitment in front of our loved ones and make the promise of a lifetime. 
 
Surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in marriage and support yours is enormously important. We have a close inner circle of people who have seen us at our worst and have pulled us through our toughest times. We’ve faced a thousand temptations, the longest nights and the desire to run away, but I’m glad we’ve come this far and look forward to getting to know each other for the rest of our lives. I’ll be eating sushi while my husband scratches his head, wondering where in the world his wolves  went.
 

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