I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, but have found myself groping for words that truly convey what I am trying to get across. It’s a bit of a heavy topic and I am honestly finding it difficult to calcify my thoughts into a coherent chunk of writing. So, I have been putting off the writing of the post. However, the recent news of Kim Kardashian’s filing for divorce after a mere 72 days of marriage (72!), spurred me into action. 72 days. That’s only four days longer than Mr. CA and I have been married. In our 68 days of marriage, I feel like we have not even scratched the surface of our love, our relationship, our marriage—72 days is just a blip in the radar of life, really.
Reading about K’s plans for divorce, part of a NY Times article really hit me, and at first I wasn’t sure why:
“…the fake reality of television shows that place more importance on a lavish wedding than on a lasting marriage.”
This. Exactly this. How dare she make a mockery of the institution of marriage? How dare she focus so much on the wedding and not on her relationship? How can they even know after 72 days of marriage if they could make things work or not?
I suppose that what has been bothering me about the whole debacle, and why the quote hit me so hard was this: the situation actually reminds me a lot of the wedding planning process these days. It reminds me of my own experience with wedding planning. Why?
Because I think we’re placing too much importance on our weddings.
Now, before you come after me with pitch forks and torches, let me explain. I love looking through wedding sites for inspiration, projects, and ideas. There is so much information out there for frazzled brides trying to find their way in wedding planning and I. love. it. I obsessed over things like flowers and cake flavors just as much as the next bride.
But, I also know how easy it is to get caught up in all of the details, all of the planning, just for one day. I know how it is to look at blogs and think, wow, my wedding will never be that beautiful. Do you want to know something sad? Throughout my planning, I kept thinking I need to do this to optimize pictures from the wedding day, and even found myself thinking our wedding will not be good enough for our photographer.
What the hell? Why did I think these things?? Who was I trying to impress with my wedding? Why did I feel like my wedding wouldn’t be good enough for our photographer?? Something is very, very wrong here. Looking back, it just seems so ridiculous, but with all of the inspiration shots of perfect weddings and photo shoots, it is hard to remind yourself that really it’s just a day, and that day doesn’t have to be perfect. Instead, that day should be focused on you, your husband/wife, and your love for each other. Not on the flowers, or the cake, or the photography.
You can spend as much or as little time as you want planning – working out details and seeing your vision for your wedding come to life is so much fun! I just worry that brides (and some grooms) feel caught up in the mentality that they have to spend mountains of time and stress and thought on planning one day. That they have to do certain things a certain way and they have to achieve a certain look. You don’t. Weddings are a celebration of love; everything else is just an added bonus.
I am so glad that throughout our engagement, Mr. CA and I took the time to focus on our relationship. We took time out for ourselves, we did our homework and watched Fireproof, we went through our pre-marital counseling and a Pre-Cana course, we went out for dinners together. We reminded ourselves that we were planning a wedding, but we were also planning for a lifetime of commitment to each other. A lifetime of fun and laughter, yes, but also a lifetime of give and take, of compromising, of sacrificing, of working really freaking hard on our relationship. Because honestly, marriage won’t always be easy. You won’t always feel like the perfect couple, answers and fights won’t always be easily resolved, and you will probably find yourselves in tough situations making hard decisions at some point or another. You may even find yourself questioning your relationship. Let me repeat: it will not always be easy.
During the planning, I ended up letting things go. Did I want to do a hundred DIY projects? Yes. Did I accomplish those hundred DIY projects? No. I did a few, but for the most part I asked myself “will I look back on my wedding in 30 years and be upset by the lack of signage for the bathroom, or sad that I did not personally hand craft our chair covers?” The answer was no. It was not worth the stress to me. Instead, I stopped looking online for inspiration and focused on cultivating our relationship, on looking forward to our vows and marriage.
At the end of the day, our wedding was a pretty kick-ass party (if I do say so myself). Everything looked beautiful, and I was so happy with how things came together. Yes, even the little details that I had agonized over. Did everything go perfectly as-planned? Nope. Did the details matter? Ultimately, no. It was fun to plan them and totally rewarding to see how everything came together when I walked through the doors into our reception, but ultimately they are just place cards and table numbers. All of this stress over making everything perfect for one day is not worth it. I could have married Mr. CA under a bridge wearing a paper bag and we would still be together today after 68 days of marriage.
I am not, of course, telling you to stop looking at wedding sites. Far from it! I love the inspiration as much as the next bride, and I love seeing what other people came up with for their weddings. But just keep in mind that your engagement should be a fun and happy and reflective time, not stressful.
Things do not have to be completely perfect for your wedding. Let things go that aren’t necessary. Remember to focus your energy on building and strengthening your marriage, not on cake that will be eaten by the end of the night or place cards that will be tossed.
Ultimately, try not to compare your wedding to others. If you don’t want to do tons of DIY projects, then don’t do them. If you want to, that’s awesome! I bow down to you, oh DIY goddesses. Just don’t feel like you have to because everyone else is. People have been getting married for years and years without stressing over the signature cocktail or how to make the perfect headpiece or doing a million DIY projects, so if you decide to forgo that (we did!), you will be okay. In five years, no one will care that you didn’t have flowers in the church or that you didn’t have a custom hand-drawn invitation. If you did, great; if you didn’t, great.
Enough babbling. Really, though, I am just trying to tell you that your wedding can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Spend time on the things you care about and let the other stuff go – wedding planning shouldn’t eat you alive. Your focus is better spent on your upcoming commitment to your significant other. Never forget that, and never forget what the day is truly about.
Have you found yourself caught up in all of the details for the wedding? Have you been able to keep an eye on the bigger picture of marriage throughout your planning? Did you find yourself thinking my wedding isn’t good enough like I did? And, on a lighter note, have you been following the whole Kardashian situation? What are your thoughts on their 72 day marriage?