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Wedding Wrapup: Reflecting on what actually mattered

August 13, 2010

Hello dear readers, I apologize for my significantly long absence. Finals came and went, then the wedding was fast approaching as well as many life changes such as moving Joe and myself. Time has flown by since May, and I am now successfully and happily married. When someone asks me what my favorite moment was about the whole day, I admit it was driving away from our reception yelling with joy that we were done with the whole event. But I definitely have to say that I genuinely liked our wedding. It was really pretty, and fun, and simple, and sweet, and odd. So here’s a little recap on what mattered, what I may have differently and what was successful.

Get Help

Planning a wedding can make you feel crazy. And overwhelmed. The number one relief to this is to let go of your psychotic need to control every detail and let people help you. This may mean you need to let people take their own initiative and contribute their own ideas/style… but if people offer TAKE THEM UP ON IT. People love helping you out, and it will make the event more special to them and they will feel honored to help you. Plus, a lot of people go ape over the opportunity to pretty up an event.  It was such a relief for me to write a check in the amount of our entire food budget and simply hand it over to my very capable, very tasteful friend. I simply trusted that she would make the food awesome. And she did. She assembled an ARMY of women enlisted to bake dozens of cupcakes, wash dishes continuously for 6 hours, puree sweet potatoes, rock babies and hang out. She also produced every single serving tray/dish we could possibly need and made them all cute and match somehow.  The decorations were a similar story: all I had planned were homegrown flowers but before I knew it an arch was being constructed for us and hundreds of mason jars and handmade centerpieces and antique textiles materialized out of thin air.  The day of the wedding was really a miracle. It rained cats and dogs but then cleared up a few hours before the wedding, allowing my team of ladies to scurry out to the field and construct a cute, pretty, magical reception site. I did literally nothing. It was awesome.  So I cannot emphasize enough: DELEGATE. Let people take their own initiative and contribute their own creative ideas. It will save you a lot of stress, time and decision making.

Hosting is hard work when you are introverted

I was overly optimistic that I could relax, help out with food prep, hang out with friends AND try to host people while trying to remain unstressed and not exhausted feeling. I start feeling a little crazy when I’m around people for too long, so I felt I made an unwise choice for myself being in the middle of everything non stop. The wedding was at Joe’s parents’ house which has a few out buildings. But all the action was happening at the main house: there were women and kids and babies and dogs and food and friends from out of town and family coming and going non stop. We ran out of room for babies to nap. We ran out of room for people to sleep. It was pretty nuts and I felt a little crazy. One of the only times I cried was Thursday night after feeling torn into many directions: feeling so obligated to help and host but feeling so wiped out. I took a night time walk into the field and cried and cried and prayed and prayed until I felt relief. Thankfully some friends of ours volunteered to put up a bunch of people, and that really helped me out with the hosting aspect. I booked a hotel room for myself and some close girlfriends Friday night, and I really wish I had done that a night earlier just to get away.

Forgo the traditions that don’t matter to you (and don’t be afraid to make your own)

Joe and I really struggled with planning our ceremony…. it seemed to be the thing we kept pushing back. Finally when we got to Missouri Joe’s dad (who married us) helped us write the thing. It ended up being very simple, sweet and short. We wanted to acknowledge our faith and our commitment before God, but we didn’t want our wedding to be like some preachy church service that would make our non-believing friends feel creeped out.  We also decided not to do personal vows, on account of me feeling like I was going to lose it publicly if I tried to read something super super heartfelt and private out loud. We decided to exchange more personal vows privately… which we still haven’t done. I decided to make my vow into a video for Joe and I’m excited to do this special thing for him to express my commitment to him personally.

Joe and I didn’t connect with any wedding traditions such as a unity candle or sands or whatever. We felt they were cool metaphors, but fairly obvious metaphors. We instead decided to take communion together since it was a ritual we both agreed with. Joe’s best friends played original songs and a hymn during our ceremony, which was a great way to involve them since we only had our brothers and sister stand up with us.   We did not toss a bouquet or garter, we did not have dancing, we did not have a bridal party, we did not have assigned seating, we did not have speeches. We also realized that we forgot to inform people we weren’t doing the driving away thing, so we just said good bye to our friends and took off…. and I guess some people were waiting around for the send off or whatever. Whoops.

We really wanted our wedding and reception to be casual and light hearted. We had games and snacks and a photobooth. People got pretty into it…

One of my favorite silly aspects of our reception was our Unity Volcano… which started as a joke idea and turned into a reality thanks to our talented friend Andrea. She constructed an awesome golden paper mache volcano which erupted jello and sparkles. It was a riot.

Joe and I felt so blessed and served by a huge, loving community of family and friends. Our wedding was truly a collaborative effort and celebration of family and extended family. The way that people served us with their time and help has literally changed my entire perspective of what it means to love your family…. even when you aren’t related. I am so proud and thankful to be welcomed into this beautiful community that has such a strong capacity to love and serve. My wedding was more than just the celebration of the love between Joe and I, but a greater love that binds us together as a family in faith.

So, dear readers. This is the end. Thanks so much for keeping up with my process as I planned my wedding. It was a pleasure to get to know some of you and be supported by you as you endeavored into the world of weddings as well.

Signing off…..

Shelby

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One comment

  1. I can’t tell you enough how much you inspire me. You will never truly understand and know the impact you have on my life. I’m over-joyed that GOD is giving you on loan to me for this very short time in life. I love you my friend and I am truly blessed.



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