Your wedding day will be referred to time and time again as ‘the best day of your life’. Of course it’s going to be epic, but the turn of phrase feels a little sad. Does that mean you’re on a downhill slope from thereon in? I like to think you two are going to have so many ‘best days’ that you won’t be able to count them.
Undoubtedly you will have put in months, if not years of planning, effort and expense. But does all that pressure and expectation really make for a more memorable day, or can it actually take away from the real meaning behind the day.
I have married several terrified grooms, who have been left a long and detailed ‘to-do’ list to complete once they get to the venue, along with instructions of things that absolutely have to happen or the entire day will be a disaster. Likewise there have been stressed brides who have been close to tears (and sometimes in tears) because the cake has turned up and wasn’t the right shade of blue (/green/pink/cream etc.), or their hair doesn’t look exactly like it did at the rehearsal, or one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets has gone missing. When you take a step back and look at the sheer volume of things you have hoped to orchestrate perfectly all at the same time, it would be a big surprise if everything did go exactly to plan.
This is a lesson I learnt at my own wedding. Our wedding was very DIY (partly because it was on a very tight budget, and partly because I became totally engrossed in making as much of it as I could).
The planning took 15 months, and yet here are just a few things that didn’t go to plan:
We had a string quartet (see here) that were going to play ‘All You Need is Love’ at the end of the ceremony. I’d made big cardboard signs with the lyrics on that my young ushers were going to run up to the front and hold so that all the guests could sign along as we walked down the aisle (I insisted the lyrics weren’t to be printed in the order of service because I wanted this singalong to be a surprise – mistake number one, don’t throw surprises like this at your guests). Not only do I realise, in hindsight, that this is a horrible song to sing (have you ever tried singing the verses?), but I neglected to tell my little ushers anything about the idea, so the boards just sat in the grass.
One of the ushers, my then-nine-year-old nephew, Josh, lost his smart black shoes on the morning of the ceremony and had to wear his trainers with his waistcoat and cravat.
As favours, I’d bought fortune cookies to put in each guest’s place for the meal. I found the unopened box of 100 fortune cookies the next day. Forgot all about it. So much for good fortune.
All year I’d saved the petals from bunches of flowers and carefully dried them to make my own eco-confetti. I took a big box of it down to the ceremony space on the morning of the wedding, ready for it to be distributed to throw at the end of the ceremony. You guessed it: I forgot to ask anyone to give it out. In fact I think I still have a little box of petals stored away somewhere…
And these are just a handful of things I actually remember five years on. Did any of them actually matter? Did they make a difference to our day – indeed did any of our guests even notice? Of course not! We were all far too busy having an awesome time together.
So remember that nothing, however big or small, is going to ruin your day. Because only two things are important:
You want your family and friends have a great time at your wedding. That’s not going to be enhanced by singing a Beatles tune or opening a fortune cookie. Promise. They will all be thrilled to see the two of you having a great time, and some of the simplest weddings I’ve attended have been the most fun because they are relaxed and fuss-free.
You start your marriage in a pure, loving and romantic way. A last minute diva-fit about shoes, flowers or bunting is none of those things. Never ever forget what your big day is about. It’s about how much you are smitten by each other, and about how excited you are about your future together.
Remember these two goals and I guarantee your wedding will be glorious, not matter what.