Today I opened up my wedding planning app for the first time in a couple of months and had a mini panic attack. My “overdue” list was bulging with reminders-book this, research that, call him, follow-up with her. My heart starting racing and I frantically began opening spreadsheets and pinning random things and checking budgets all in the space of about 15 seconds.
Then I took a deep breath and laughed at myself.
Isn’t it funny how caught up we can get in things? I am so excited to marry J, and I am so excited for our wedding. But I think it’s important to note that those two things are separate. The life I am building with J is not contingent on a big party with succulent centerpieces and rustic pallet backdrops. If something happened and we weren’t able to have our big wedding, it would suck. I would be disappointed and honestly really bummed out. But at the end of the day, I would still get to marry my other half, so really, isn’t that still a win?
Our culture has become so focused on this big fairy tale of beautiful dresses and tailored suits, of first looks and cake cutting and epic first dance routines. We spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time investing in this one day that signifies the start of a new life chapter.
What if we spent just a fraction of that investing in our marriage instead?
I read somewhere that the average wedding these days costs $37,000. Thirty-seven GRAND! Holy smokes! That’s like a car. A nice car. Or three semi-nice cars. Or 37 beater cars. That is a LOT of money. Not to mention the time that most brides or grooms (and their families) put into planning such an affair.
Now, I’m not saying that this is bad. If you have the money and want to spend it on a wedding, great! I’m excited for you and I hope that it’s everything you’ve ever dreamt it would be. But I also hope that you’re spending some of that money on date nights with your fiancé. On premarital counseling. On late night ice cream runs, or early morning Saturday coffee dates, or endless mimosas at Sunday brunch (yes please). I hope that you’re spending some of that time sitting next to your future spouse and simply drinking in their presence. On talking about your future hopes and dreams and goals and giggling over old memories and inside jokes. On discussing your roadblocks and planning for the future and digging into some of the hard stuff.
Because relationships aren’t always easy. And they shouldn’t be. Because like most great things in life, you can’t reap what you don’t sow. I think that when we start focusing most of our time and energy in other things (like a wedding) we forget to invest in one of the most important things in our life-our spouse.
Now, I’m obviously not married yet, but I have been in a relationship for eight years now and shared a home for about four. We’ve had our ups and downs, as everyone has, but we’ve always managed to shift things around so that our relationship stays at the center. That’s not to say we don’t have our own goals and priorities but we’ve always remembered not to let things get too far before checking ourselves and refocusing on what matters.
Because people matter, and relationships matter. Weddings and cakes and presents and beautiful centerpieces matter, but love matters more. As the months until our big day start to wind down and planning ramps up I’ve been trying to be mindful to constantly keep checking myself. Yes, I want a beautiful wedding and I’ve dreamt about all of the details for years, but I also realize that this wedding day is one day and our marriage is a lifetime. As beautiful as our wedding will be I want our marriage to be ten times as beautiful. My constant prayer in this exciting season of life is to always be reminded what matters the most.