There’s no doubt that we live in a society which has materialized some of our most sacred human experiences. I don’t think you need me to rant about this; it’s probably better that I don’t. Weddings these days have their own industry, and businesses have created hundreds of costly resources to help you plan your perfect day. It can be overwhelming to a young woman who just wants to celebrate a meaningful day with her future spouse.
I want to let you in on some ways I went about planning mine and Matt’s wedding. I am no expert party planner, but we did a lot on our own and I think even in the chaos we had a perfect wedding day. Some of these points are more abstract, some are practical, and they may not work for you – no worries! They’re just a few things that helped make the planning process and actual wedding day memorable for me.
1. Avoid “my” wedding
Sooo, all the wedding planning typically falls on the woman. Understandable. I can’t image very many men (wanting to marry women) who care about what color the bridesmaid dresses are or how the tables are decorated. Not to mention, most women have already dreamt about and planned their wedding since they were little girls.
Most brides refer to the day which they will marry their best friend as “my” wedding throughout the planning process. It’s easy to do. Read wedding planning tips online, in magazines, wherever, they’re going to refer to it as it being “your” day. Any vendors you meet with – it’s “your” big day.
Even if Matt wasn’t directly involved in a wedding planning decision, I thought about – ceremony music, reception location, flowers, cake flavor, etc. – in light of his opinion. I always referenced “our” or “mine and Matt’s” wedding as such because it felt more natural for me.
Our wedding day was the day we would give the Sacrament of Marriage to each other. Not just me. It wasn’t my wedding day to marry Matt and have him just stand there and smile (how awkkk would that be??). We married each other on our wedding day, and the sacrament was equally important to the both of us. Your fiancé/husband/whatever wouldn’t have gotten down on one knee to ask you if he didn’t think getting married was important.
You can have your preferences for little things, but don’t forget this is yours and your future spouse’s wedding day.
2. Ceremony First, Reception Second
I think most people in the wedding industry would disagree with me on this statement alone, and I’m not asking you to pull your hair over it either. If you know of an affordable place for your reception, but it’s not available on the day you originally selected at the church, sure, change your date at the church. No biggie.
What I mean by this is to make sure when you’re planning the big day to not take the ceremony lightly. Wedding planning nowadays is typically directed at making sure your reception is kick-a$$. It ought to be; you just got married and celebrations are definitely in order! BUT, no one tells you to plan a reverent and sacred ceremony which clearly illustrates the gravity of the sacrament you are entering. I meeean, this IS the part where you actually get to marry your best friend. It shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.
Matt and I were lucky to have the priest from my parish in Dallas do our marriage prep and celebrate Mass at our wedding. I was SO excited when he offered because I knew he would be able to help us have the kind of ceremony which would be meaningful to Matt and me.
I’m not saying to plan a good ceremony it has to be super traditional either – that was what was important for Matt and me. We had a beautiful choir and lovely music, and I tried to ensure guests wouldn’t be so confused during the Traditional Latin Mass by providing booklets for them to follow along with. This took careful planning. It wouldn’t have come together so well without some forethought.
If you get to choose the readings for your ceremony, don’t just choose the one which talks about what love is. Take time with your fiancé to pray with them and come to a decision. Even if you choose the “love is patient, love is kind…” reading, it will mean so much more to your wedding day after having prayed with and discussing what it meant to you and your future spouse.
Whatever kind of wedding you’re having – whether it’s a full Catholic Mass or a simple Christian ceremony, show how important marriage is to the two of you.
3. Make it a Family Affair
If we use our imaginations and go back to the days of old, we can see that wedding planning looked a lot different. Instead of hiring one person to be in charge of coordinating eeeeverything, the whole community came together to create an event which celebrated the newly married couple.
Yea, yeaaaa… our society looks a lot different than those good ol’ village communities, but weddings can still be a time to get the family working together – if you want that. I grew up with countless Czech weddings for cousins and cousins of cousins. I watched my mom sew flower girl dresses and sashes for bridesmaids; my sisters and I would help tie ribbon onto rosemary, help set up, whatever.
It was important for me that mine and Matt’s wedding be a time to get family and friends involved. I decided that we would do our own flowers ( 8O ), so the day before the wedding the bridesmaids, house party, groomsmen’s girlfriends, mom and sister-in-law were all at work arranging vases, corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets. We may have stayed up a liiiiittle later than the ideal, but the memories made were worth it.
Amongst that craziness were a couple of my aunts busy sewing and ironing the bridesmaids’ sashes to perfection. Another aunt drove out of her way to a tiny Czech town to pick up the kolaces for the reception. One of my cousins gathered 200+ pieces of rosemary and tied them with ribbon for each of the guests. She also made flower crowns for each of the flower girls. Two of my house party girls organized everything at the church. Boutonnieres and corsages were delivered by my brother and sister-in-law.
One of my dear friends from work was able to be my day-of coordinator, and she took charge of my little sisters’ friends who I asked to help set-up the reception. She also handled reception changes due to horrific rain storms while managing to keep everyone calm.
Looking back and writing some of this out, I can’t believe how much love we received from our family and friends. Mine and Matt’s wedding was great because I got to marry Matt. But, it was also great because of the people that helped put our wedding together. If having your family and friends actively involved is an option for you, I promise you that you will not regret it.
Well, I think I’ve spit a few more thoughts out on each of these points than I anticipated, so I will end this for now! Yay! I’ve just created a Part 1 and Part 2 Wedding Planning series!!
There are plenty of resources on how to chose colors for the seasons and learning what style of wedding dress looks good on whatever body type you have, but I hope these points will help give you a different perspective from the norm while you plan your wedding. Check back later this week for more!! :)