Attending weddings as a single girl can be hard at times. Even if you don’t have plans to get married anytime soon, something about those white dresses makes us daydream of our own big day. This year I’ve had the opportunity to attend over 24 weddings and a handful of sealings. I’ve seen it all, classy and elegant, shabby-chic, country weddings, urban weddings, cultural-hall weddings, you name it. Through it all I’ve had the chance to reflect on my on own singleness, and my perspective and view about marriage and weddings. Here are a few things I learned from all the weddings I attended this year.
When It comes to fast engagements, we can’t judge
Some things are done differently in Utah, I’m one of the first to admit that. Here in Utah, particularly with LDS couples, courtships are short and engagements even shorter. It is perfectly realistic for a couple to meet, date, court, and get engaged in as little as 4-6 weeks. There are, and have been many debates over whether this is appropriate or not, and I for one have had strong opinions on the subject. I have set firm guidelines for how long my relationships will last but I have seen several friends who have, on multiple occasions, expressed their disgust with other’s quick engagements. Ironically, some of those same friends have ended up with 6-week engagements. When questioned about it they just shake their heads and say, “It just feels right.”
I’ve learned that we can’t judge these couples. We’ve only had an outsider’s perspective on their relationship so it seems silly to pass judgement on how prepared they may or may not be for marriage. While it’s true that some are more ready than others, we haven’t felt what this couple has felt. We haven’t received the same impressions or been involved in the same private conversations. As much as I’d like to think I’m an expert on marriage and relationships, I’m not! So, if a crazy happy couple decides to tie the knot one month after their first date, by all means, I will be at the reception with a smile on my face and a present in my hand. Speaking of which…
Weddings are extremely happy occasions and should be treated as such.
I’ve seen so many sour-faced people at weddings, and even more who just avoid them all together. This could be the result of several factors, some claim they hate weddings, or perhaps think they’re boring. Maybe they’re jealous of the happy couple and find weddings a depressing reminder of their own singlehood. Maybe they’re just too busy finding a spouse of their own! Whatever the reason, some miss what weddings are actually about. Weddings are a celebratory marker for the beginning of a new family unit. A new family is born! The family is ordained by God and central to His plan of happiness for His children. A family set upon the solid foundation of marriage is set up for success from the beginning. Why not celebrate this culminating ordinance, why not celebrate the creation of one more family in the world? So let’s go and wish the happy couple the best and give them a cheerful send off into the rest of their lives together.
I’ve also learned that I want my wedding to be a party. I’ve been to some terribly somber weddings and felt like I was at a wake rather than a wedding. Sure they’re beautiful and elegant, but almost serious instead of joyous. I’ve started to recognize weddings for what they are, a celebration! When it comes to weddings, I want to dance, sing, laugh, and cry from utter happiness. I hope I never forget how happy weddings are. It’s important that the Bride and Groom remember how happy they are on their wedding day.. Which brings me to lesson number three:
Say yes to the dress? No, you say yes to your fiancé.
I’ve spent some time working in the wedding industry as a florist. I have worked one on one with mostly brides and mothers and they all confront the demands of planning a wedding differently. But one thing remains constant; weddings are stressful. I’ve seen some brides who are so caught up in the wedding details, the cake, the bouquet, his tux, the venue, the decorations, the dress, that they forget what they’re actually planning for. They make themselves miserable trying to micromanage the planning of what should be the happiest day of their lives. I’ve learned it’s not worth it to stress about the details, what matters is to be in the right place at the right time with the right person. Everything else, including that burlap table runner, is just extra.
Focus on the sealing. Sure, provide a beautiful event for your guests to enjoy but you want them to also remember why they’re actually there. I want my family and friends to gush over the beauty of my new life as a married woman instead of my $650 dress I’ll never wear again. I want them to comment on the radiance of my husband’s smile rather than the size of the cake. A wedding isn’t about having the best photographer or the trendiest bouquet; a wedding is about giving your whole life over to someone you have come to trust completely and taking their life in your own hands to create something eternal and celestial together. When I’m at the altar across from that person, I don’t want to be fretting about not having enough tulle to cover the chairs with, I want to be completely engrossed in that moment that will mark my eternity. Forget the dress, say “yes” to your fiancé.
There’s a marriage after the wedding
There is life after the wedding, a marriage even. I’ve seen brides spend hundreds dollars on fabric and mason jars for gorgeous handmade centerpieces for their wedding, who then can’t even afford silverware to eat their leftover luncheon food the following week. Marriage is a big change for a couple, especially young couples. We’re often so excited and giddy about the wedding that we forget there’s a marriage to worry about. Marriage requires patience, cooperation, sacrifice, unconditional love, compromise, financial competence, acceptance, and much more! You don’t become an expert on being a spouse once you make those vows. There’s a lot to prepare for if I want to build a home for you and your spouse. For those of us who are single, we probably won’t have a full understanding of what married life entails pre-marriage, but we can surely do ourpart to prepare for life after the honeymoon ends.
I have truly come to love weddings and I appreciate them more than I ever have. Weddings are a beautiful tradition and when done correctly can become the most perfect day.