Planning a Marriage

"When's the date?"
"Where is it?"
"What are your colors?"
"Who's in your wedding party?"
"What kind of dress do you want?"
"What's your theme?"
"Who's going to photograph?"
"Are you excited?!"
 I’ve only been engaged a few weeks, and I already feel like a broken record.  I know they’re just thrilled on my behalf, but family, friends, and strangers keep asking questions about the wedding–the details, the aesthetic, and whether or not I’m excited.

Of course I’m excited–I’ve been daydreaming about my wedding since I was a little girl.  But since the day of the proposal, the whole idea of planning the wedding made me uneasy, and I couldn’t quite nail down why.  After some reflection, I figured it out: I don’t want a wedding, I want a marriage.

Prince Charming…the fictional ideal of Disney princess lore.  Charming (of course), charismatic, handsome, smooth moves, and that HAIR.  I love classic Disney movies as much as the next person, but I experienced a major negative side affect: until I met Nate, the guy next to me at the altar in my wedding daydreams was just a faceless Prince Charming.  It was more about the dress, the flowers, and the decorations, than the fact that I wanted to get married.

But meeting the right person changes that–suddenly, you have a face smiling back at you when you picture your big day.  The other details fall away, and all that matters is the words you plan to say to one another and the commitment you want to make.  I realized that to balance my wedding planning, I needed to incorporate elements of planning for our marriage into the process so I felt that emphasis.  I’ve heard of couples getting caught up in the small battles over invitation wording and seating charts, but I think people who do this “fail to see the forest for the trees,” if you will. What’s more important is how you plan on communicating, handling disagreements, and making major life decisions together, and even who’s going to take out the trash. The everyday “stuff” that goes into making a marriage. I don’t believe that weddings are inherently about marriage, at least not these days. Relationships take work, and if we focus too much on the petty details, we lose sight of the importance of the event.

© Nathaniel Knobel

I also need to give myself permission to be enthusiastic about wedding planning. I can answer excitedly and discuss colors, centerpieces and dresses all I want, and focus equally as much on celebrating the relationship I have with Nate and the intricacies of a lifelong commitment to love and support one another.  I think we get out of something what we put into it–and the work Nate and I are putting into preparing for marriage will carry over to our wedding’s atmosphere so the day is not just a ball of stress.

I’m looking forward to our pre-marital counseling as much as I am to trying on dresses!  Cheers to weddings AND to marriage.

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P.S. “I said yes to the dress.” And it was amazing, but–it’s just a dress. 🙂 What matters most is it’s what I’ll be wearing when our next chapter begins.

What I’m reading now: A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene (check out the site if you’re planning too); The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm; and Fall In Love for Life: Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage by Barbara “Cutie” Cooper.

January's Bookshelf

January’s Bookshelf

What books did you read/are on your list to read to plan your marriage?