Last weekend I was able to attend a cousins’ wedding by grace while I was in the US because someone gave an anonymous gift to help fly me there. I got a save-the-date in an email today for a good friend when I return back to the UK.
I have been to 5-10 weddings a year for about 12 years now. I also went to a few family and church weddings as a kid. I am pretty sure without doing all the effort of counting that at this point I have been to close to a hundred weddings. I am past the wedding boom of my mid twenties where I was going to 10-12 a year and I have 5 this year alone and one I had to sadly miss.
All of that has got me reflecting on some of my thoughts about weddings and a nagging thought that I am behind on my 30-30 series and I had a blog post on marriage coming.. I will try to get to that eventually! Until that comes, here is the wisdom I have gathered in all of my days of wedding attendance.
1.) Preparing for your marriage is more important than preparing for your wedding
2.) On that note, preparing for what kind of a wife or husband you will become makes growing in your character and facing sin issues head on as a single person really crucial.
3.) Weddings are often stressful. Attitude, demands, expectations, “I deserve” … etc factors can make a wedding more stressful or even serene depending which way they swing.
4.) All the must have’s are optional. Actually. I have seen expensive weddings, cheap weddings (Yep! They exist!), complicated weddings, simple weddings, fast engagements (my brother with the record 2.5 months) and long engagements. Ask: What can we afford? What is most important? And let those things determine how you plan and not what everyone or you think you need*
5.) The longer I have been to weddings the more I am reminded that it is a marriage I will be preparing for with my best friend if I have the privilege of marrying… everything has become optional in my world except “let’s somehow get our immediate families there.” In my cross cultural life it is funny how everything else has whittled away. If we had a lot of money we could think bigger, if we had pennies, let’s just see how to get the families there. Perspective I didn’t have at 22 and I think my dad will be grateful I have now.
6.) The wedding is a day. Marriage is for life. Marriage is hard work. I have enough married couples who let me into their lives to not have any blinders on in that regard. Don’t build your expectations around a fantasy day but build your prayers, efforts, and devotion around making your marriage work. It is more than pretty lights and fancy dresses and the right centerpieces. It is two sinful people learning to give grace to one another for the rest of their lives. I love my no nonsense cousin in law who was the maid of honour last week and gave one of the toasts. She started with something to the effect of “You guys are embarking on the most impossible journey ever. Marriage is hard.” She is great at saying it like it is… but then she reminded them of grace. Don’t let images of a perfect day ruin the reality that marriage is hard work.. but it is good and worth fighting for and worth the effort.