I promised Southern Weddings that I would be blogging through this wedding planning process. And almost immediately after I made that promise, I forgot it (ironically, a symptom of wedding planning itself). There was so much else going on! A venue to find. Food to taste. A photographer to book. Musicians to interrogate. Wedding planning arrived at my doorstep, not in neatly-outlined tasks, but in one heaping pile. For the first two weeks, I did nothing but cower in corners, alternating between staring at my to-do list and staring at my engagement ring.
Cornering me there was something that I would begin to refer to as the “huddled masses.” They were a faceless, torch and pitchfork-wielding mob that like to shout indistinguishable judgement and opinions and skepticism into every decision I made. After all, this wasn’t just a dress, it was THE dress. It couldn’t just be a good song, it had to be the BEST song. That kind of pressure becomes too much to handle and I soon found myself entering into panic headstands — an unexpected but not entirely unpleasant reaction to the cascade of anxiety.
Worst of all, I felt my heart moving away from what really mattered. I was preparing for a wedding, not a marriage. So, two weeks in, I stopped. I shut out the hum of the huddled masses and sat down with a blank notebook marked ‘HITCHED’ to get my bearings. Every decision, cost, and project would seem aimless until I figured out where I was going. I sat down and I wrote. Pages and pages of cramped notes and tiny illustrations on what I thought the purpose and picture of a wedding should be. After I spilled everything onto the page, I condensed them down to a couple cohesive points. And then, I did what seemed like the next logical step: I wrote a mission statement.
Mission statement: To rejoice in the love that Thomas & I share now and promise forever, to glorify the Father that lavished that love upon us through His son, and to celebrate with a community that is ready to say, “We will” when we say, “I do.”
Somehow, it brought everything into focus. It was the standard against which I measured every decision. Even the small ones. Will spending thousands of dollars on table linens accomplish our vision for the wedding? Probably not. Should we elope? Nope, tempting as it might be at times, because a huge part of this marriage means making our promises in front of people that know and love us enough to hold us to them. Should I spend dozens of hours hand-crafting invitations when it would be so much simpler to order them? Weirdly, yeah. Because making art is a celebration of the beauty and joy and creation that Thomas and I want our marriage to be filled with. It’s easy to let candleholders and cocktail napkins cloud your mind and distract you from the terrifying, beautiful, profound thing that’s happening.
After two weeks of worrying, my heart was finally calm. I can let things go wrong. I can delight when they go right. I can proclaim the profound joy of having someone who will face life’s joys and sorrows with me. I can sing praises to the God that loved me first. I can bask in the company of friends and family who spend their time and talents to help this day come together. I can swell with affection and disbelief when I see how we are so loved, so well, by so many. That’s what I want my wedding to be about.