Slightly over one year ago, on the first day of summer, at an old white church downtown, surrounded by most of our nearest and dearest, I stood and faced the man who had grown to be my very best friend. Behind chuckles and tears, we said our vows in the fanciest of clothes and sealed the deal with a kiss. Then we shared lots of hugs, dances, and all of our favorite desserts.
I love to plan and organize, so for me to see 364 days of the most important planning, pinning, and purchasing come to fruition was quite magical. It was, and still is, my favorite day. Surprising peace, full joy, and overwhelming love were flowing the whole day. I can totally relate to Monica Geller/Bing; I want to go back and do the whole day all over again, even if that means planning it (but not paying for it).
Now we’ve spent one whole year fully together since that day, fully one. It’s surreal.
Officially one year in, I decided to stop and reflect on the day that has changed the rest of my days. Truth be told, it’s difficult for me to do so without remembering all of the ways that my wedding day was not perfect, rather than remembering it for the beautiful day that it undoubtedly was. I want to remember it as being perfect, but, if I’m honest, I’m sad over the fact that there has been more than one occasion when I’ve thought back to our special day and pushed down real tears over all the things I wish I could change. There are major details that I just don’t like; things that I didn’t notice in time for the big day. I wish I would have been quick-thinking enough to stick some peonies and eucalyptus in my lower-than-expectations-of-a-professional bouquet. I wish I would have hired different professionals. I wish I would have tried on more dresses. Three of my best were not standing by my side, and I deeply regret not asking them to… Even if it meant doing so at the very last minute. As a natural perfectionist, this really tugs at some ugly parts of my heart. I’ve exhausted my mind with all that could have been different.
I have let comparison and shame blind me from seeing so much joy.
Through the whole wedding planning process, my hope and peace came from staying focused on what the day really meant instead of allowing the many details to drown me in stress. I tried to consider people over things. Shouldn’t it feel even more peaceful after it’s done? Where did that sweet focus run off to? When I let myself compare my wedding’s details to imaginary standards of perfection, I lost sight of the most important realities. Yes, it’s okay to feel sad over circumstances that do not live up to our expectations and cannot be changed; however, what we desperately need to do for our hearts, when battling comparison, is to remember and see the greatness in where we are—in this case—where I was. My wedding is remembered as the greatest of days when I shift my perspective off of the material.
My wedding is remembered as the greatest of days when I shift my perspective off of the material.
The reality of that summer afternoon is that I never once felt nervous or stressed out. I got to have a sleepover with my very best friends and woke up to my favorite donuts. I unashamedly sobbed in front of everyone when it hit me how blessed I was to be in that very spot, with my family, friends, and community behind me. Old friends got to see how my life has changed so beautifully and what a good man could be. Even though the women who have grown into three of my deepest friends were not in matching dresses beside me, they were there—and have been there every, single day since. Our parents were extremely helpful and loving. My first best friend, my dad, got to walk me down the aisle. Here’s the deal though, if all of these things were absent, if there were no peonies and snapdragons, no vintage details, no dance floor, no cannolis (oh but praise the Lord for cannolis), no watercolor invites to gather the crowd, no photos…
I got Joe. He got me. Forever. And that, truly, is all that matters.
I’m sure that one day I’ll laugh about how I’ve driven myself crazy over a day that is now passed, but for now, I am choosing to remember all the good instead of all the ways I could have made it better. I am choosing to give myself, and others, who may not have met my expectations, a lot of grace. I’m realizing that having lovely details—and I really did—is a privilege. Having Joe is even more of a privilege, and one that only I will ever have.
I’m beginning to understand that marriage has very little to do with the wedding day, but rather all the days that lead up to it and all the days that we live and learn together since. Over and over, choosing joy and choosing grace proves to be the better option, though it really requires some grit. Comparison and shame never bring forth anything worthwhile, but grace—ah, grace… It breathes life into us with it’s beautiful realities.