10 years, it seems like an eternity when we were first married. Even 5 years seemed far. And yet we have arrived here and it is hard to believe so much time has passed! When I was married I wasn’t a wedding photographer. So now after 10 years of marriage and 6 years as a wedding photographer, I have a different perspective on weddings, wedding photography and it’s meaning to me. So on my 10th anniversary, I write this for the newly engaged.
Above all, the most important thing to remember about a wedding is that it isn’t all about the bride and groom. (Unless you are choosing to make it solely about that, and there is nothing wrong with that either. More on elopements later!) That is what marriage is about, the two of you traveling through time together. A wedding is about the very beginning of that (in a legal and often spiritual sense) and honoring all of the people who were there with you on the journey that got you to this milestone in your life. Especially your parents, grandparents, siblings, close friends etc. It is the probably a once in a life time chance where all of your favorite people in the world come together in happiness to eat, drink and dance in your honor. I like to imagine that if heaven exists, it would be one endless wedding day surrounded by those people with unlimited food, drink, and fun.
That is what our wedding was like. If only we could hold on to that feeling and those people forever.
Everything else is just the details. Repeat: Everything else is just details. That goal of “heaven” can be accomplished with proper planning from a city hall ceremony followed by an intimate lunch to a lavish affair at the Plaza. It is all how you look at it, but the goal should be the same and the setting determined by your budget and personal style, appropriate for the season and location of course. :) However, I do believe that years later these things that are SO important at the time you marry, will be less so as you age. The entire wedding industry is built on selling you these details. Trust me, while they are pretty to photograph, they aren’t 100% necessary. Really think about details in terms of meaningfulness. If you think it will still be meaningful in 10, 20, 30 years, then go for it. If isn’t a 10 on the meaningfulness scale, then spend your money else ware. A beautiful location and anything that makes your day easier, like a wedding coordinator, are worth their weight in gold and are much more important.
There are times when I lament not getting all the details right at my wedding because we had to rush things and I was not living in Louisiana at the time. I even borrowed a dress from my mom’s cousin. And then I remember WHY we planned our wedding in 2 months. Had we waited, my father-in-law would not have gotten to see his youngest son get married. Our wedding was one of the last fun things he got to do before he died of cancer two months after our wedding. And even at our wedding he was unable to smile due to Bells Palsy and had to use a cane, yet I know he was smiling. My favorite story of him from the wedding was that he stayed up late telling stories at the after party in the main house. (our venue is a bed and breakfast) Early the next morning he got locked out of his room with my MIL and they had to call the night watchman to let them in! I know they had a great time despite that mishap.