The hopes of young people are to have a happy marriage, but when I got engaged, I realized I also wanted a happy wedding. I wanted a pretty dress, and beautiful love songs, pretty flowers, and good pictures, but most of all, I wanted our wedding to be a happy wedding. My advice is to not focus on designer weddings, perfect dresses, or other's opinions. As you make decisions, keep close to your heart those things that matter most to you.
1. Your spouse (to be)
You have opinions. Your fiancé has opinions. It is more important to learn respect, communication, and cooperation than to have your own way. When the day is over, the words you said and attitudes you displayed will linger a lot longer that the satisfaction that you got the groom and groomsmen to wear a pink shirt and suspenders. (Unless, of course, they wanted to wear a pink shirt and suspenders, in which case I want to see your wedding pictures, because that sounds kind of cute!)
2. Your family
Your family loved you long before your knight in shining armor showed up. You know them, too. You know what makes them happy and what makes them feel loved. I felt like this was my opportunity to try to show them that even as I was leaving them and joining my life to my husband-to-be, I still cared for them. Whether it's a special night out, or a special part in the Big Day, you can let them know how important they are to you.
3. Your convictions
It's the most important day in your life. It is going to be your "best day ever." Why ruin that memory with regrets because you gave into peer pressure, or you wanted to be a little more like the fashionable weddings everywhere on Pintrest and magazines? Whether it's modesty, stewardship, or simplicity, the God-given convictions you have do not disappear on your wedding day. Remember that you want God's blessing on your marriage, and now is not the time to let go of convictions. Personally, I also wanted to be reminded of the correlation between God and His Church and a pure marriage. I reminded myself of verses such as "as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee," "they twain shall be one flesh," "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church," and the quote from a song, "Church of God, thou spotless virgin." It's such a beautiful thought to think of God desiring me and loving me so much. Even more than I wanted to be a beautiful bride to my husband, I want my God to be pleased with me.
4. Your stewardship (while we're talking about it...)
Weddings are expensive. I saw an article about how to have a cheap wedding and I was amazed at what people considered a cheap wedding. If I judged our wedding off of the standards I saw everywhere on the Internet, we had a cheap cheap wedding. The truth is, no matter how much other people spend on their wedding, I know deep down that I could have been a lot more thrifty and still had the happy wedding I wanted.
5. Your sanity
Is it worth it? Don't let the little things stress you. Let things go. I was blessed with a beautiful wedding day, but I could still choose to focus on little disappointments if I wanted to. The sky was too bright in my pictures, or some decorations were missing from the guest book table. If I had chosen to, I could have focused on all those little trifles on the morning of my wedding. What was more important to me was that my husband to be was there waiting for me, that friends and family were there to celebrate, and that God had kept us, had led us together, and today we were going to be married, a union ordained and designed of God.
I know there are huge catastrophes at some weddings, and sometimes when it seems like nothing else could go wrong, the worst happens. However, we can save a lot of our sanity by simply being a little more simple. The best way to keep an ice swan sculpture from melting during the reception is to not have an ice swan sculpture.
6. Your guests
It's easy to blame all extravagances in the name of pleasing the guests, but it's an excuse that doesn't really hold up. I learned that instead of trying to make a good impression, it was more important to make good memories. Instead of showing off, show that you care.
I realized now, even more, how overdone weddings are in our popular culture, and how much we are effected by that, even without realizing it. Even the simplest things can grab us and lead us to disappointment. Personally, I did have a Pintrest wedding board, and I pinned a lot of ideas to keep it organized. I remember a particular sweet, romantic idea of writing letters to one another and exchanging them on the morning of the wedding, or night before, or something like that. What's wrong with that? Nothing, unless I start to measure my husband and our relationship to other people. My husband didn't write me a letter for me to read the night before our wedding, but when I stopped looking at other relationships, and look at ours, I realized that he didn't have to, and if he had, it would not have been as romantic as it sounded. The truth was that he showed me how much he loved me, and his love is more real than a romance novel or Pintrest idea. That is a simple and somewhat harmless example, but there are many many traditions and new ideas out there that can steal your focus and your happiness on your wedding day. I even found that I was encouraged somewhat by a subconscious pressure to live up to expectations to friends and family (who had no ill intentions). In the end, it didn't matter if everyone liked my theme or my colors, or even my wedding dress.
What mattered is that my fiancé knew/knows I love and respect him.
That my family felt loved and cared for.
That I stayed true to my convictions.
That God remained the center of our relationship.
That I didn't give into excess that I would latter regret.
That I didn't stress out over things of no importance.
And that our guests had a good experience.