Then the Letting Go

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?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Candy Apple

Location:
Princeton Junction, NJ/ Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
August 2011
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  1. Member
    haelmai 321 posts, Helper bee @ 10:40 am

    Awesome. Thanks for this, Mrs. Candy Apple!

  2. Member
    bridalbear 2 posts, Wannabee @ 10:49 am

    thank you for sharing! :) i haven’t even scratched the surface of planning but am already thinking the way you were “our wedding won’t be good enough for our photog”, etc. i’m so glad you wrote this article to give us some perspective, i needed it!!

  3. Member
    quesarasara 24 posts, Newbee @ 10:50 am

    I am that rarest of beasts–a woman who hasn’t been planning or dreaming about or obsessing over my theoretical wedding since I was old enough to pick a handful of dandelions and drape a pillowcase veil over my head while declaring my undying love to the family golden retriever dressed in a makeshift bow-tie.

    The trappings of the wedding mean very little to me compared to their place in the big wedding industry machine. I think that some of this is simply a mellowing with age–life looks different at 40 than it did in my 20′s. All the details that might have seemed so important to me back then just don’t hold the same fascination for me now.

    Bridesmaids dresses? I don’t care–wear something black you love. My dress? One that flatters and feels great, but doesn’t cost the same amount as my first car. Dark Maple white wooden chairs? Doesn’t matter.

    I want to get married surrounded by people I love, to the man that I love.

    The Kardashians are a real life family living a manufactured life. That wedding was a spectacle, but it wasn’t much of a celebration. Her divorce is accelerated, indeed–but it’s simply a very public version of the way that 50% of the weddings that aren’t on TV will eventually end.

    The sanctity of marriage wasn’t insulted by her wedding & divorice. Kim Kardashian’s wedding is just the reflection of the society that couldn’t wait to watch it all unfold. The TV screen was just a great, big, giant mirror.

  4. Member
    msdoe 639 posts, Busy bee @ 10:55 am

    Well said, CA. I also LOVE Fireproof too by the way.

  5. Member
    jjblog2011 62 posts, Worker bee @ 10:55 am

    Thank you for this post, I’m seriously so happy that you wrote about this. You are 100% correct, the focus shouldn’t be the wedding, it’s the marriage.

    In terms of Kim K.:
    I’m so, so incredibly sick of her and of seeing/hearing about her life all the time!

  6. Member
    vmblai1019 922 posts, Busy bee @ 10:56 am

    THIS. Everything you just said… DH and I got married two days before K decided to get divorced. And these are all the things I was feeling about it. I’m laughing at myself now because of how silly I was when I stressed over little details. Nothing was perfect on the day of, but at the same time it was… I guess what I mean to say is that life isn’t perfect, and things don’t go as planned, but the improvisation is the fun part anyway.

  7. Member
    stardustintheeyes 4845 posts, Honey bee @ 10:57 am

    it drives me nuts that she went straight for a divorce. I mean I get that she supposedly was doubting the marriage prior to the wedding day but then she should have acted like a big girl and said something then. As outsiders we will never know the truth. I think its possible to know early on if someone is THE one but even if that is the case a good solid healthy foundations takes time in a relationship. I think they dove in too soon and being in such a spotlight like they are put extra pressure and I think it just snowballed and got away from them. Its a sad situation for so many reasons.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    martine, Guest @ 10:59 am

    thow doth protest too much

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    delicious, Guest @ 11:01 am

    Thank you for this post.

    I’ll be honest and say that I’ve thought those exact thoughts – worried that our wedding won’t be as “beautiful” or magazine spread worthy as some of the stuff I see on wedding websites.

    Thank you for the reminder to prepare for the marriage, and not just the wedding!!

  10. Member
    MaggieL 494 posts, Helper bee @ 11:03 am

    As a very recently engaged couple (less than week), I’ve already let myself get swept up in all the things that I feel like I HAVE to do in order to make my wedding the best.

    With that, Thank you for bringing me back to reality! I’m just so thrilled to have a day where that I can share with my family and friends, and that after that day I will finally be married- and that is an amazing thought- the marriage, not just the wedding.

  11. Member
    knvprincess143 1036 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:14 am

    My thoughts on the Kardashians was this post post on my FB this morning after seeing all the feeds regarding what everyone thinks…

    “I have an idea, lets not care about the Kardashians. Every time we mention one of there names they see dollar signs. They don’t care if we love them or hate them. They only care that we are talking about them. Let this be the only post where I reference that name. #BoycottTheKardashians”

    I think it was fake from the begining and it makes me sad that people put so much energy into fame, money and status. It makes it harder to take things that matter (ie relationships) seriously.

  12. Member
    sheilad72 729 posts, Busy bee @ 11:15 am

    Very well stated, and unfortunately it is so true. I too am guilty of getting caught up in the planning details at times, but as you said, it’s all about the relationship in the end. So that should be our main focus. I will try to keep this in mind next time I get frustrated over my centerpeices! :)

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Steph, Guest @ 11:21 am

    Thank you for this amazing post, and for reminding us what is ultimately the most important thing we’re all working on. Marriage, not the wedding. This will help keep things in perspective.

  14. Member
    eggsbenedict 347 posts, Helper bee @ 11:29 am

    Great post! And it reminds me of a lot of how I felt before I got married – I wanted the wedding but I wanted the marriage more.

  15. Member
    mamanda 5 posts, Newbee @ 11:33 am

    Such an important, important, important message. One we all need to hear as we read all the fabulous wedding websites and blogs (Weddingbee, included). They are fun, not examples we HAVE to follow in order to be good enough. What matters is the RELATIONSHIP. Thanks for the reminder!!

  16. Member
    Merelton 352 posts, Helper bee @ 11:45 am

    Thanks for your post CA. I’m about five months away from the big day and I find myself in a daily struggle between being realistic about the day and wanting it to be the most amazing event anyone has ever attended (i.e. unrealistic.). Shows like the Kardashians are hard on a bride-to-be. They made it look so easy! And I suppose when you have access to that much cash, it IS! What’s so disappointing is that as soon as things got hard…she bailed. And I think the real work, time and effort begins the day after the wedding. So I’m trying hard to remind myself that the wedding doesn’t have to be perfect… What’s important about that day is the promise you make to each other in front of the people who love you most and then restating that promise every day to each other in thought, word and act.

  17. Member
    julies1949 30908 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 12:18 pm

    I agree with quesarasara. If this were a bee whose marriage fell apart, people would be all over her with compassion and kindness. But, if you live your life in the public eye, something like this brings out the “beast” not the “best” in people.

  18. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:38 pm

    I love this post because we all get sooner or later caught into ‘the perfect wedding’ situation. Thanks Mrs. CA.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Partyspace.com, Guest @ 1:26 pm

    Could not agree more. It is a real shame to see what some celebrities and even some everyday people make of marriage. Yes, the planning is fantastic and it really is the one day of your life that you can plan every detail, but most importantly we must all remember how sacred a marriage is. If anything we should all learn from Kim K’s whirlwhind marriage and promise ourselves that we will never be like this. Afterall, as famous as she is, she will never know what true love and happiness feels like and that’s just sad.

  20. Member
    Sunlavender 567 posts, Busy bee @ 1:41 pm

    amen.

  21. Member
    JuneBride2012 536 posts, Busy bee @ 1:44 pm

    FANTASTIC post.

  22. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:00 pm

    Great post!

  23. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:53 pm

    Great message CA, I completely agree!

  24. Member
    Ree723 1941 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:57 pm

    Absolutely brilliant post. I too have been a bit taken aback by how much focus is placed on the one day and how little thought is given to the lifetime commitment one is making. Thank you for articulating my feelings on this so much better than I ever could.

  25. Member
    RaeBird 36 posts, Newbee @ 6:06 pm

    Love, love, love this! It doesn’t matter if you elope in the court house or have a lavish wedding; at the end of the day, you’re still marrying the love of your life. :)

  26. Member
    emma5w 547 posts, Busy bee @ 6:29 pm

    I really didn’t want to be one of those girls who walked around saying “At MY wedding,” “On MY wedding day,” “I want,” and, of course, “It’s MY day.” I made a concerted effort to say the words WE and OUR instead. And yeah, we talked about our wedding a lot. We put a lot of time and energy into planning it and making it about US as a COUPLE. But what we talked about more was OUR marriage – all that stuff that comes after the wedding – promises, kids, plans, money, futures. I’d bet the $18million that Kim made on that tv wedding on the fact that she and Kris did not have those discussions.

  27. Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:10 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful post, Mrs. CA! I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to get caught up in the spectacle and show of a wedding, which I think is what clearly happened with Kim K. But after all the guests are gone, it’s just you and your spouse, and it’s so important to focus on the day-in and day-out of your relationship. The wedding is one day, but the marriage is the rest of your lives.

  28. Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:38 am

    bridalbear: Let go of that mindset! I know it’s hard :)

    quesarasara: “I want to get married surrounded by people I love, to the man that I love.” YES. This is what I was going for with this post :) I guess my issue with the K divorce is that, well, the marriage lasted 72 days. Yes, many marriages these days end in divorce, but c’mon, 72 days?? They didn’t even TRY to make things work.

    vmblai1019: Isn’t it funny looking back and being like, WHY was I stressed about that?!

    stardustintheeyes: Very sad indeed. At least try to work through problems, you know? Or address obvious issues ahead of time.

    MaggieL: Good – try to keep that perspective! It’s tough, I know ;)

    knvprincess143: I know; I’m tired of seeing them pop up everywhere. This is my last post on the subject, I promise!

  29. Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:42 am

    mamanda: Yes! Exactly.

    Merelton: “I think the real work, time and effort begins the day after the wedding” Yes. I love this. It’s true! Weddings are hard to plan, but marriage is harder. Good luck with the rest of your planning :) Enjoy it, try not to stress.

    julies1949: That’s true, but I think that a large part has to do with the flippant nature of the situation. The massive, extravagant wedding. A marriage that lasted only 72 days. It’s tough, though, and I see your point.

  30. Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:45 am

    RaeBird: My point exactly!

    emma5w: Love this comment – I tried to avoid the ‘my’ language too. A wedding involves two people!! And yes, it’s obviously great to talk about the wedding, but talk about the marriage too! We had so many discussions on those topics as well.

  31. Member
    Crown 578 posts, Busy bee @ 10:10 am

    I’ll echo Sunlavender…Amen. These are the kinds of posts that brides to be need to read…and have repeated over and over. I love how you touched on the illusion of perfection. As a wedding officiant myself, I tell all of my couples on the day-of: “Your wedding will not be perfect, but it will be perfect enough.” As a bride to be, I’m using my own advice to guide me in the planning of that ONE DAY.

  32. Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:39 am

    Couldn’t agree more…and shame on KK!!

  33. Member
    nicoliolihpf 232 posts, Helper bee @ 12:36 pm

    I think this really depends on the person, but I do agree that the majority of us stress out way too much about the wedding, especially bloggers. I ended up completely separating the marriage and the wedding in my mind because honestly, they are completely different entities these days. Marriage is about your relationship and commitment to each other; weddings are about throwing a great party. And I know I stressed the details more than I should have and stressed myself out too much for things that weren’t that important. I hope newly engaged people will take this post to heart. It’s so easy to get caught up with the pretty pictures, but raising your expectations ridiculously high can only lead to heartbreak.

  34. Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:34 pm

    Great post, thank you :)

  35. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:52 am

    Great post. It does sadden me that some people get so caught up in the wedding that they forget abou the marriage. The epitome of these folks are the ones who say they’re glad the ceremony is over. Well, the ceremony is kind of the whole point.

  36. Guest Icon Guest
    shannon, Guest @ 2:45 pm

    Thank you for this post. It made me realize how crazy I’ve been being. :)

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