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 our fanciest of clothes and kissed to seal the deal. Then we shared lots of hugs, dances, and all of our favorite desserts on the river. To see 364 days of the most important planning, pinning, and purchasing to date come to fruition was quite magical for a planner like me. It was and still is my favorite of days. Honestly, I can slightly relate to Monica Geller Bing; I want to go back and do the whole day all over again, even if I had to plan it; there are times that I miss it. Surprising peace, full joy, and overwhelming love were flowing through the whole day. Now we’ve spent one whole year fully together since that day, fully one. So surreal that I’ve had to intentionally stop and reflect on how that one day has changed every day in its following. I’m so thankful that we got to pause and do a little Naples staycation to celebrate as our times away are always so refreshing.
There were a couple times through this past year though that I would get caught up in looking back at just the short hours of June 20th. Reflecting on the first year of sweet memories and incredible growth together in marriage was honestly difficult without jumping to remember all that my wedding wasn’t rather than the most beautiful day that it undoubtedly was. I didn’t want to struggle over a day that felt flawless in the moment and a day that will go down as one of life’s most important. I want to remember it as perfect. I am sad over the fact that there has been more than one time that I’ve thought back to my wedding and pushed down real tears over the thoughts of all the things I could have changed. There were major details that I just didn’t like. Up to and during the big day, unliked or unintended details went unnoticed until all we had left were photos and memories. As a natural perfectionist, this really tugs at some ugly parts of my heart. I’ve literally exhausted my mind with what could have been different. I have laid in bed next to my husband and cried about small details and I’ve cried over crying about them and caring too much, totally letting my mind spiral, having no consolation other than calling on the Lord to help and let me at least get some sleep to escape the shame and anger. 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 didn’t gain 10 pounds in engagement. I wish I would have hired different professionals. I wish I would have tried on more dresses. I wish I would have been clearer in explanations of what I wanted. Three of my best were not standing by my side and I deeply regret not asking them even if it had to be at the very last minute.
I have let comparison blind me from remembering so much joy.
Through the whole wedding planning process my hope and peace was that I stayed focused on what the day really meant instead of allowing the many details to drown me in stress. I highly recommend reading “Inviting God to Your Wedding”; it helped me to put the wedding in perspective before the planning began. My prayer was that we remembered what was temporary versus what mattered for eternity so that all would fall into place. I tried to consider people over things and not let social media rule me. The entire process was shockingly drama free and so full of joy and support. As I look back on the spirit surrounding our day, I almost can’t believe it was me who planned it. How was I not pickier on bridesmaid dresses? How did I not tell the photographer to get more specific shots? How did I not speak up when the florist delivered my flowers?
There’s no other explanation than Jesus continually redeeming parts of my broken heart to make them new that accounts for this perfectionist being mostly level headed in the days of preparing to be married and that others felt him too.
One whole year has passed. Where did that sweet focus run off to? When I let myself compare my wedding’s details, or anything for that matter, to self-manufactured standards of perfect, I lose sight of the most important realities, even the great power of the Spirit actively and gloriously working in my heart. Yes, sadness over the circumstances unchanged or not up to expectations is valid; however, what we desperately need to do for our hearts when battling comparison is remember and see the greatness and trustworthiness of who the Lord is and where he has brought us. My wedding is remembered as the greatest of days when I shift my perspective off of material circumstances.
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 the Lord has redeemed and moved in my family, friends, and community behind me. Old friends got to see how my life had changed so beautifully and even just a sliver of the goodness of God. Even though the women who have grown into three of my deepest friendships were not in matching dresses beside me, they were there- and have been every single day since. Our families were extremely helpful and loving. My first best friend, my dad, got to walk me down the aisle. This introvert was filled by people. But, even if all of those things were absent, and if there were no peonies and snapdragons, no vintage details, no dancefloor, no cannolis (oh but praise the Lord for cannolis), no watercolor invites to gather the crowd, no photos, no party…
I got Joe. He got me. Forever. And that, truly, is all that matters.
Two broken people were saved separately by the same God and in his sovereign goodness he wove two stories together to make one. I’m realizing that having lovely details—and I really did- doesn’t make a wedding; having chosen pretty pieces is a gift and having Joe is even more so, one only I will ever be called to receive in oneness. I’m sure I’ll laugh one day about how I’ve driven myself crazy over a passed day and outdated details but for now it takes a little effort in choosing to remember all the beauty instead of all the ways I could have made it better. I am choosing to give myself and others that may have not met my expectations a lot of grace which honestly really hard sometimes, especially if they were paid. Calling on the Lord, choosing joy, and choosing grace always prove to be the better options and celebration is always better than comparison.
Hopefully my somewhat unpolished, rambling reflections shed a little light on often unspoken circumstances related to a wedding and how the condition of our hearts matter, for it will drive how even the sweetest of days are remembered.