Family everywhere . . . Flutters of excitement . . . Warm, sunny skies . . . My wedding day went off without a hitch, and I remember it fondly. Even so, through the passing years, one regret has nagged at me: I didn’t put enough into my wedding day.
As I write this, I realize that most ladies – perhaps even the majority of them – wouldn’t dream of committing the errors I’m about to mention. But for those of you who are quick to make sacrifices for the sake of convenience and frugality, consider this advice from someone who’s been there:
When it comes to your wedding gown, be picky.
I’m not generally hard to please, which is normally a good thing! Unfortunately, this trait manifested itself in my wedding dress shopping. While some women scour wedding magazines, stalk wedding gown sites, and spend days visiting bridal boutiques, I took a different route: I Googled “inexpensive wedding gowns,” saw one I liked (at least on the model), and ordered it. (I know; I cringe to think of it now!)
At the time, I would have told you I wasn’t worried about having a drool-worthy dress. My focus was on making sure my husband and I could handle the expense of returning to Bible college once we were married. Sure, I wanted to look nice, but I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into finding a dress I loved. My dress turned out fine, but did it leave me feeling giddy? Not really.
I don’t regret being frugal, but I do regret being indifferent about the most special dress I’d ever wear in my life.
The same goes for my bridesmaid dresses.
I got married eight years ago, and it’s amazing how much has already changed in regard to technology! At the time, online shopping options were limited, and the phrase “modest bridesmaid dress” was pretty much an oxymoron. There was no Dainty Jewell’s, no Pinterest, and no social media #ModestyMovements.
In the end, I chose a bridesmaid style, and my mom rigged sleeves for my bridesmaids. I’m not unhappy with my wedding, but I still look back with wistfulness about how I should have put more thought into our dresses.
Lately, there’s a lot said about women planning extravagant weddings and doing almost no preparation for the actual marriage. That’s definitely a problem, but you can also go to the other extreme.
After getting engaged, I was excited about the wedding, and I wanted it to be beautiful. But how were Josh and I going to be able to afford our Bible college tuition as newlyweds? Again, that weighed heavier on my mind than having a gorgeous wedding palette, a delicious reception menu, or adorable wedding favors. So I made quick decisions on just about every aspect of the wedding, basing choices on what sounded easy and budget-friendly, and etching details in stone before they’d hardly had a chance to ruminate.
Life goes on after the wedding day, and it’s important for newlyweds to remember that. But looking back, I wish I’d slowed down to savor the summer of my wedding – those last days of singleness, the wedding shopping with my mom and sisters, the sweetness of the moments and memories . . . I wish I’d taken the time to plan the most amazing (not to be confused with “extravagant”) wedding ever.
In the end, all was well. The good times Josh and I have shared would have happened just the same if we’d been married in T-shirts and denim. Even so, I write for those of you who are budget-conscious and career-minded above all else — you who rightly realize that marriage is so much more than one amazing day where you get to be spoiled. You’re right! But remember, chances are, you’ll spend more than 25,000 days on this earth. Of all those days, one single day — your wedding day — will stand out as one of the most special.
No, you can’t control everything that happens on your wedding day, and a flawless wedding definitely doesn’t equate a happy marriage. Even so, celebrate! Pamper yourself. Put your heart into your wedding. Make it a day of no regrets.
Photography: Jason Smelser Photography