There is a baby boom that is about to explode among many of my friends in the next couple of months, but there is another boom taking place as well: WEDDINGS! I feel like all these kids - yes, kids - are getting engaged! There have been a lot of weddings this year, a lot of weddings coming up and many more to come. It's just how life goes. Many of my friends - myself included - are celebrating 10 year anniversaries this year or next, so I'm sure many of us have been reflecting on just how far we've come. I bet many have dusted off those precious wedding albums - yes, I said dusted - and taken a trip down memory lane.
When I got married, it was just before social media became the way we share our lives with the world. It was before Pinterest, before Instagram and before the Hashtag, and I have seen a lot change in the world of Brides and how they view weddings in the last 10 years, and I have to say that some of it is a little concerning. There has always been comparing, there has always been the Wedding Wars, but not quite like what I've witnessed recently. Who's wedding can be the most beautiful and unique? Who has the cutest hashtag? What can I do to be different? The expectation these girls have for their day has to be exhausting. I'm sure it's fun. It is. It's exciting and it should be, but I think there should be a shift in thinking. If I were talking with a future bride, these are some things I'd love for her to hear and seriously consider. I would love for her to take the blinders off and just listen. Every bride is told, "take the money and run." They chuckle, disregard and go on their merry way, but the advice I have is a little more practical, hopefully. Please know, these words come from a good place!
Dear Blushing Bride,
#1 It's not the amount of money spent that makes the day, it's the attitude.
I have been to lavish weddings and I've been to simple weddings, but the weddings that have been the sweetest have been the ones where the couples are just thankful. They don't have much, but they have each other. It is witnessing a ceremony between a man becoming a husband, a woman becoming a wife and together making promises to each other and the Lord. It's the humble Bride that is the sweetest. The sweetest, most beautiful bride is the one who is in awe of how the day came together, whether they spent $3,000 or $30,000, and they can't help but give thanks to those who made it happen and to those who came to share it with her. Nothing makes a more beautiful wedding than a beautiful attitude - I promise.
#2 It's NOT your day. It's NOT all about you. It's the Lord's day, let His Glory SHINE!
Yes, your name is on the invitation. Yes, you've been told your whole life, from everyone, your wedding day is YOUR day, but I beg to differ. If you think about a wedding and a marriage, it is so much more about what God has done in your life to bring 2 people together and the plan to make 2 people into ONE. It's amazing to think about really! It's God painting a picture for the world to see of Christ and His love for His Church. And once you realize that and know "this isn't all about me," I think it relieves a lot of pressure - I promise.
#3 People are more important than having the perfect day.
If you are planning a wedding and there is tension, stress, anxiety, gossip, slander, hurt feelings, or unrealistic expectations...something needs to change. If people are feeling the stress of your expectations, you need to change your expectations. That's the bottom line. You chose these people to surround you, because you love them and they love you. Let's keep it that way. Be considerate of budgets and time constraints. Again, refer to #2 if you need a reality check. The more gracious you can be, the more those around you will want to bless you - I promise.
#4 I've NEVER met a person who wished they spent more Money. Not ONE.
Weddings are such a racket! The flowers, the dress, the cake (or whatever unique alternative that you can come up with), the awesome venue, the food, the DJ, the cars, the jewelry, the favors, and let's not forget the photographer and videographer, and the list goes on. Here's the deal: I'm a photographer, I love and appreciate pictures. They are priceless. And people always say to not skimp on your photographer, but you know what?? Even when you spend THOUSANDS of dollars on the PERFECT photographer and the PERFECT photos, you know what happens soon enough? You have the PERFECT baby and those once perfect pictures are replaced with an even more perfect picture and no other picture will ever compare. You'll put that album away...to collect dust...and you won't look at it again until your 10 year anniversary. And then you'll gawk at how much money you spent and wonder why on earth your cake didn't have icing on it, but remember that you paid extra for that cake because Naked Cakes was "the thing to do." I promise!
#5 When it's all over, you will never open another bridal magazine or add another pin to your Big Day Pinterest board ever again and you won't care about anyone else's either.
SO here's a suggestion, invest that time into what you really need in the future: Advice, Wisdom, Counsel. Find an older lady you respect or admire and soak up her wisdom. Ask her what she wished she knew, ask her what was easy and what was hard. You will need it. Read your Bible. Read books. Some suggestions: When Sinner's Say I Do, The Excellent Wife/The Exemplary Husband, The 5 Love Languages and Love That Lasts. Get into premarital counseling (we did and it was invaluable). The wedding is a day, a marriage is forever. You will be thankful if you invested more time into a lifetime instead of a day - I promise.
#6 No one cares as much as you do....except maybe your mom.
I don't say this to be mean, I say it because...it's true. People are happy for you, they wish the very best, but all that time you spend on the details - only you and your momma and your dear bridesmaids (and only because you have them tying bows until the wee hours) will notice. Sure, people notice if it's pretty or not, or if it was fun or maybe a little boring, but they talk about it for about as long as their ride home...and that's it. BUT if they are going to buy an outfit, spend 50 bucks on a shower gift, 50 bucks or more on a wedding gift, you need to feed those people. People like food. If you can, invest in blessing those people who came to take time out of their day, feed them well, even if it's just cake. They may not remember it long term, but they'll be thankful for it at the time - I promise.
#7 The less you have, the MORE the Lord can work!!!
Look, if you can afford an awesome wedding, more power to ya! But if you don't, it's okay. It's actually a blessing. You will be able to see so clearly how the Lord is working. This was me. I'm the oldest of 8 kids and I knew my parents couldn't afford an extravagant wedding. We were 21 year old college students and we certainly couldn't afford it. We had to make do. My parents were generous, my grandparents were generous, my in laws were generous and complete strangers were generous. I will never know the depths of everyone's generosity, but all I know is I had $6,000 and I had everything I could want and more. It wasn't making any magazine covers, but I was so humbled. I wouldn't change a thing about that day, because God was so clearly at work and if I had had more, I may not have been able to see all of the blessings - I promise.
So, that's it! There's my 2 cents...or 7 points. Dear Bride, it's not the day that is to be celebrated, it's the future, it's the Lord, it's the promises made. Love God, love others and for the love of God and others, let them eat cake!!!!!
Love, An Old Married Woman