I have many wise friends and have gathered invaluable insight from them over the years. Featured below are responses and wedding advice from some of my friends who have begun their journey of marriage… I hope that some of these insights speak to you as they have me!
Just for fun, I have split these “Wives’ Words” into two parts: Part I features advice from friends who are closer to the beginning of their marriages and Part II of this posting will include advice from friends of mine who have been married for a slightly longer time:)
1.) For how long have you been married and what has married life been like for you so far?
Jaclyn: My husband and I were married in August, 2010 so it’s been just over a year and a half. Honestly, I don’t think that married life has been all that drastically different for us because we lived together prior to getting hitched and had already worked out most of the joint financial/legal stuff. So, really, being married has just been a nice way of celebrating the love and commitment that we already shared.
Lian: We’ve been married for about a year. Married life has been great! Much like life before marriage, but with increasing closeness between us.
Daphne: In August I’ll have been married for 3 years. Married life is a wonderful surprise. Although there is a sense of partnership when you’re dating, nothing can prepare you for the adventure you are about to embark on — it’s a total shift in your state of mind, and it frees up emotional energy that might have been consumed by thoughts about your relationship in the past. And while there’s a lot to be said for romance and domestic bliss, I think the biggest change comes from knowing you have a true and steady companion – someone you can always count on, who will weigh important decisions with you and always keep your best interests at heart. Being married is fun!
2.) What is your most cherished memory from your wedding day?
Jaclyn: Gosh…so hard to choose. I loved the whole day as it was such an authentic reflection of the joy and love that we were feeling. The ceremony was great…dinner and dancing were a blast… I’d say maybe my two most favorite parts, though, were the feeling of having our closest, most cherished friends and family all around us and going to sleep that night with my husband because after all the fun commotion, we were still “us.”
Lian: My most cherished memory for my wedding day is reading our vows to one another.
Daphne: There was something profound and essential about publicly professing my love for this other person. When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it’s a tacit acknowledgement between the two of you, and completely private. To verbalize such a deeply held private sentiment was really nice. Coming in a close second, was having my family and friends come together. Those opportunities become few and far between when you’re older.
3.) What was an unexpected moment from your wedding and how did you handle it?
Jaclyn: Luckily, there were no major disasters or blunders (at least not that I was made aware of because I had an excellent wedding planner doing all the damage control). I think I found myself during a couple moments getting a little too caught up in the schedule and timing and whatnot. Thankfully, I was able to catch myself and just get back to enjoying the present moment.
Daphne: My flowers arrived halfway through my ceremony, which meant no bouquet, no corsages, no flower arrangements when it all started. I’m not sure I even processed that information (I was told literally before I stepped out), but to be honest, when that day is set in motion, the momentum of it is bigger than you. Everything just carries on.
4.) What advice would you give brides who are planning their weddings?
Jaclyn: I understand that there are lots of family/cultural traditions that are relevant for couples as they plan their weddings, but I would advise brides to choose the ones that are meaningful to them and their partners and to let go of the rest. I’ve been at several weddings where it was evident that the couple was not connecting to the language or rituals being used and it can be so uncomfortable for everyone. Take some time to reflect on what you want your event to say about you and your relationship, and it will be so much more meaningful for you and your guests.
Lian: Just relax – it’ll work out – and even if things stray from the plan, simply having your closest friends and family all together is what makes the event.
Daphne: Delegate, delegate, delegate. It will free you up to be sentiment enough to enjoy the day and all of your hard work.
5.) What “insight” did you hope your wedding would reflect about you as a couple to your wedding guests? (ie. did you include any special touches that uniquely represented you as a couple?)
Jaclyn: We were told during one of our toasts that our relationship was like a hooded sweatshirt: warm, comfortable, relaxed, and worn. 🙂 I think that totally describes us and what we wanted our event to reflect. We wanted a small, intimate gathering that was comfortable so we explicitly encouraged people to dress casually. We designed our own wedding ceremony based on the traditions from our families but with the inclusive language that was meaningful to us. We included our families a lot to demonstrate our love and appreciation for our “foundation” (e.g. we had a display table of family/friends wedding portraits, my uncle was the MC, my mother played the violin, my mother-in-law made the flower girl dresses, we had a vow from our family/friends to support us in our marriage, etc. etc.) And overall, I think we set the tone by being joyful and comfortable that day which was absorbed and spread among our guests.
Lian: We wanted it to be unique – non-traditional – and we made choices that were consistent with our desire for it to feel more like a party than a traditional wedding. For example, we didn’t have assigned seating and, instead of more traditional food items, we served tacos and donuts!
Daphne: That we cared to celebrate in an intimate and personal way: the wedding was small in size, held at the home of a relative, food was served family style and selected according to our personal tastes; we also tried to belie the usual wedding set-up.
6.) Words of wisdom for beyond the wedding day?
Jaclyn: Don’t let your wedding day be the exception to the norm. Make EVERY day a reflection and celebration of your love and commitment.
Lian: Memories of the wedding bring such happiness.
Daphne: Definitely take a honeymoon – it’s the one time you have a ‘free pass’ from work!
7.) Anything else you’d like to say?:)
Relax. Have fun. Ask for help. Let go. 🙂