I have lots of strong feelings about weddings. I don’t believe they should result in debt. I do believe they should be a celebration of your personalities, and sing with details that say something about your love. And generally, I don’t believe there are rights or wrongs in weddings, because really … who are we to judge what’s right for you, or the next couple?
A really bad-ass post by my friend Emily at Eco-Chic Weddings (& Good with Style) reminded me that one of my strongest feelings about weddings is something I’ve not posted much about… yet. In the spirit of continuing where Emily left off …
Your wedding isn’t just one day. It’s no carriage-gonna-turn-pumpkin at midnight, people. It is the beginning of your life as a married person. As a couple. As a team. It’s kinda like, your wedding is like the ultimate New Years Eve. Out with the old … and in with the new — resolutions vows and all. Heck, there’s even usually Champagne toasts and kissing involved! It is not about expense. It is not about purchases, or timelines, or gratuity envelopes. It is not even about beautiful dresses and photographers and music. It is about you, your partner and your love. It’s the beginning of a new phase of life, but now you’ve got a buddy who wants to be there every day with you. PS: how freaking rad is that?!
It goes lightyears beyond what kind of partner you want to be to your mate. If you haven’t already, now is the time to decide how you want to approach life together, as a unit. Whether you’ve been together for 5 minutes or 5 years, it’s up to you to decide what the next 5 minutes or 5 years or 5 decades will be like (beyond the to have and to hold business). This can be so fun (and it doesn’t cost a single dollar)! Look back at your relationship, and think about what elements you can infuse into your wedding design and your ceremony, as reminders to yourselves and to communicate to your posse, the kind of life you’re creating together. So … eff tradition and let your unorthodox light shine, if old-school ceremony doesn’t suit your style. Or revel in the ritual of convention and history, if that’s what makes your heart sing. There is no right or wrong, as long as you’re being true to you. So be straight up with yourselves and don’t compromise. This is a rare moment in our adult lives, in which you really get to set yourself up for the future you dream!
When we wrote our ceremony, we were hellbent on making it extremely personally unique, and wanted to really use it to set up the life we want to forge together. If we were going to make a solemn, lifelong vow to each other, we decided it was best to put everything into words and actions that personally embody our priorities as a couple. And it went beyond the vows to each other. We invented symbolic gestures to replace ones that didn’t resonate with us, or we borrowed inspiration from others and made it our own. The Internet is rich with cool people who’ve designed personal and rad weddings, and we made good use of their legacies.
At the top of the ceremony, we invited our guests to join in a group blessing, to commit to support and protect our relationship — and then continued their involvement with a ring warming ceremony. We wrote personal statements to each other, and customized our vows completely, looking boldly at our strengths and shortcomings, weaving in ways to keep us strong, grounded and connected. We also dedicated a section of the ceremony to making vows to the universe — pledging to be conscious caretakers our Earth and her people, and to lead by example in an effort to help others find a way to greener, kinder lives. Later, our guests showered us with compliments about our ceremony. Many said they’d never been to such an unique or personal wedding, and they absolutely loved learning about us through the event. The best compliment we heard all night? “It was so YOU!”
The same can (and should) apply to your design. Let your spirits sing, yo! Some of your guests may never have met you before, or perhaps the last time they saw you, you were rocking Pampers. You’ve invited this specific group to witness your marriage, so what do you want your wedding to say about you, and how can you include your guests? Have fun with it, and see how many ways you can infuse what makes you YOU into the day.
And please, lets not underestimate the valuable life lessons hidden in the wedding planning process. If you’re self-planning, there are some badass skills that you’ll acquire that can easily be applied to your life in ways that you’ll never imagine! From budgeting and negotiation, to creativity and design, to research and logistics, don’t just abandon all those useful talents you’ve been building up once you reach the end of that aisle! Use them to make your life better, easier, more fulfilling, and sweeter, every day!
Every couple has a different personality. A different set of priorities, or personal doctrines, by which they lead their lives. So why should your wedding be a one-size fits all, fill in the blanks script or design? Let your wedding day serve as a reflection of and launchpad for your life, and live its lessons every day, for as long as you both shall live.
How will you use your wedding as a launchpad for your life? What life lessons will you take with you?