From the time you were old enough to consume media and films, you have been bombarded with an image of what your “big day” should look like, and, that it will be the Best Day of Your Life.
That “big day” I’m talking about is your wedding. The media has successfully fooled us into believing that wedding happiness looks like a cookie-cutter Disney princess movie, with a heavy dose of blush-toned Pinterest boards.
Ariel married Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid and became a land woman because of the transformative power of her wedding! Meghan Markle married a Prince and became a duchess! Grace Kelly became a QUEEN through her marriage! If you’re like me, you watched The One Where Monica and Chandler Got Married episode in Friends and saw Monica going off the deep end with the pressures and stresses of planning the whole thing.
Wedding expectations are pervasive — and they’re everywhere.
If there’s a story about love, you can bet the family farm that *somewhere* along the way, you will see a picture-perfect, Hollywood-ized wedding.
You have been sold the belief that your wedding is the biggest, greatest and MOST important day OF YOUR LIFE. And TBH, it should be a day that kicks ass, and goes down in history as one of the best frickin’ parties of all time –– but you also need to get up close and personal with the truth that at its core, your wedding is a celebration of your commitment to enter into a legal contract with the love of your life. And that shit is WAY more important and magnificent than any party.
“The bride is told that the wedding symbolizes the transition from a drab, unmarried existence, to the far more elevated status of married. She is told that the wedding will be the pinnacle of her life, the best day ever. This is the time that she will be at her happiest, skinniest, and prettiest. Time to sign-up for that pre-wedding facial regimen and those 6 a.m. bridal boot camp classes, and don’t forget to spend a small fortune on a dress that will only be worn once.”
— Karen Hopkins, Wedding with Intention
I personally have a problem with the idea that weddings are The Pinnacle of our lives.
Is it really all downhill after that? Is there nothing else as significant? “Will I ever be more beautiful than this moment?!?” Spoiler alert: the answer is DUH.
Because you have waterfalls to hike to and swim in. You will have endless amounts of laundry to fold. You will have mouths to feed, be it for fur babies, or real babies. You will have jokes to tell, songs to have kitchen party dance breaks to, and a life of love to share!
All of those extra-special tiny moments that make up this thing called life are what a marriage is all about. Committing to one another to be there for it all, so you can spend the rest of your days celebrating one another and your unwavering commitment to love. Your marriage is not about how many likes your wedding photos get, or how curated your celebration is. It’s about showing up like something fierce for your relationship every single day.
Life is magnificent, it is messy, and if you are lucky, it is long. I believe that every moment of every day presents an opportunity to bring something more beautiful than the last.
If I were to ask you about your partner, and about all the intricacies and intimates that loving them brings, what would you tell me? Would you share with me how they leave their worn socks all over the apartment? Or how they make the best French Toast in town? Maybe you would tell me about that summer you spent at your family cabin together, where there was no makeup worn, and morning coffees tasted better, and you both allowed yourselves the space and time to truly slow down and get into the pockets of joy. I bet when you think about your future together, you’re thinking about how the two of you can craft a life full of deep love while moving ever in the pursuit of adventure, and gratitude. That’s the shit I’m talking about! You know that your miraculous love is worth more than stressing over floral arrangements, cardstock and the heaviest question of them all: to veil, or not to veil? (The answer: research the history and true stories around the veil, and then make an informed decision!)
Despite all this, because you are bombarded with messages that your wedding day should, in fact, be the best day of your life, you immediately feel the pressure to be your happiest, prettiest, skinniest, most-perfect version of yourself. Uhmmmm, say whaaaa’? With so much pressure attached to your day of celebrating love, it’s no wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed, unsure of where to start, and surprisingly more interested in table linens than you ever have been before (what the heck is up with that?).
Here’s the thing – this is what the wedding industry needs you to believe in order for the industry to THRive. The contemporary bride and groom are primo marketing targets for everything from boot camps, to underwear and skincare regimens, and all the way to beard oil.
When I worked as a wedding planner, I could see how this notion contorted otherwise reasonable and kind couples into stressed, rude and not-so-pleasant humans as the pressure of their wedding loomed closer. Not only are you under a lot of unfair pressure to make this day perfect, but you’re also setting yourself up for one mega post-wedding hangover. Like, how boring is marriage going to be if your wedding day is The Best Day Ever?
Yeah, of course, your wedding day is going to be epically amazing. Especially if you come at it with intention and meaning! But don’t let the pressure of it being the “best day of your life” prevent it from actually being really fucking amazing.
From my new book (OMG!OMG!OMG!), Wedding With Intention, I explore this phenomenon in-depth and all the ways that we can push back on these traditions and expectations and find intentional, mindful practices within the wedding planning process.
The modern Western wedding industry creates so much hype and fanfare around the process of planning a wedding that it makes being a bride intoxicating – so intoxicating, in fact, that many brides suffer wedding withdrawal once the wedding planning euphoria is done. And that’s some tequila type intoxication right there.
When you add all this up, it makes sense why you might be feeling anxious or overwhelmed to HAVE to do so many very specific wedding-ey things.
But as always, here I am to keep things real with you: YOU GET TO BE BOLD, DARING, AND FIERCE, MY DARLINGS, SO GET FREAKY AND WEIRD! Or don’t, because I’m not here to tell you what to do, but it is my job here to challenge you to dare to plan a celebration with soul. Your wedding, your ritual.