“As a young girl I was absolutely convinced that my wedding would be massive.
You know the kind, where we’d squeeze three-hundred of my extended family into the garden and my cousin’s next door neighbor’s kid would have to sit on the floor to make space for my Great Aunt three-times removed to get a seat at the table.
I’m Italian, you see. And that’s just how Italians do it.
But when my time came to say, “I do” — only a few weeks ago now — the ceremony we had couldn’t have been further from my childhood vision.
And the ten-year-old version of me would probably roll her eyes at, what I can only describe as, the best day of my life so far.
She’d ask: where were the giant flower bouquets? Why was your family guest list so short? (we mostly only invited friends). How come we didn’t cut a five-tier wedding cake and share it with hundreds of wedding guests?
Truth is, I can’t tell you when these things became less important to me.
All I know is that when I sat down with my fiancé to start planning our wedding ceremony, we both shared the same dream: that the day would be intimate and nontraditional.
And most importantly: that it would be a celebration of our love, our relationship and our journey so far.
If you’re recently engaged — congrats! — please take the following advice, because actually getting married truly changed my perspective on weddings.
Firstly, Your Wedding Day Will Bring You Closer Together… But Not in The Way You Maybe Expect
When friends and family ask me if I feel different now that I’m married, the honest answer would be “No”.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m still walking so much on cloud nine that even if a truck drove past me and covered me head-to-toe in freezing cold puddle water, I could still think back to saying our vows in the sunny Tuscan countryside and feel warm-n-fuzzy all over again.
But has becoming a wife changed my sense of identity? No.
And has wearing rings changed my relationship with my partner? Not really.
Let’s face it: gone are the days where couples get married before living together or sharing a bed. Having been with my boyfriend — whoops, husband! — for ten years already, there wasn’t much that having a wedding day would change.
So, when I say that our wedding brought us closer together, I don’t mean because we are now husband and wife.
Really the most transformative part of our wedding day was having the opportunity to bask in the love we have for each other.
How rare is it that you take a whole day to shower your partner with love and affection? To stand up in front of the people you hold closest to your heart and declare that you’ll stick by your now-husband’s side, through thick and thin?
And so, it was by proclaiming our lifelong commitment to each other that we took our relationship to the next level.
But not because we are now legally obliged to do so — as we’ve been each other’s biggest cheerleaders for ten years already.
More that we’d taken the time to confirm it.
(And to enjoy a lot of toasts to our everlasting happiness!).
Secondly, You Should Make Yourselves the Priority – Always!
I’m not the first of my friends to get married.
So, as I’ve helped arrange and organize other people’s weddings, I’ve always been struck by the amount of family politics and people-pleasing that seem to drive decisions about the day.
Mum wants this; Dad wants that. We can’t put so-and-so on the same table as whoever, because of that falling out they had three years ago.
Sigh. And — of course — you want your wedding day to go as smoothly as possible. And you want all your guests to have a magical, amazing time.
But, guess what? None of that really matters as long as you and your partner are happy!
So, when it came for us to make decisions — big and small — we tried to just ask ourselves: “What would we prefer?”. It was this process that led us to booking a beautiful tiny wedding in Italy.
As I mentioned, I’m Italian. My husband is French. And we live in Denmark. But we met in London.… you see how if we’d tried to please everyone, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere?
Thing is: who says you can only have one wedding day? We had two! One where we did ‘the legal bit’ in the UK, and then the spectacular celebration with nearest and dearest in Tuscany.
And that’s not to say the ‘legal bit’ wasn’t beautiful too, because it was.
So, what I’m trying to say, is rip up the rule book! Ignore family politics. Don’t get caught up in other people’s dramas. You and your partner take first priority. So, do it your way. And don’t compromise to make other people happy.
And Lastly, Your Wedding Day Will Only Be as Special as You Allow It to Be – So What Will You Do with It?
We’re all guilty of one nasty habit: comparing ourselves to everyone else. And this can be especially true in the lead up to a wedding.
If you’re already following the most envy-inducing wedding blogs and inspiring Instagram accounts. And you’re invited to other people’s weddings along the way. You’ll more than likely find yourself second-guessing the decisions you’ve made.
Don’t worry if you do — it’s totally natural. But my advice would, again, be to put yourselves first. What is it that you really want?
At the end of the day, you’re the ones who can make the final call. Your wedding will only be as special as you plan it to be. So, what’s in your heart?
If you try to follow a cookie-cutter model of a wedding day, yours will almost certainly not be what you dreamed of.
But if you allow yourself the honesty to say exactly what you want — even if that’s eloping with one other person, or having a simple registry office ceremony, or partying all night with hundreds of guests.
So long as it’s what you wanted to do, then you’ve done it right. Follow in other people’s footsteps and your wedding will be like theirs. Follow your own path and your wedding will be uniquely yours. Don’t be hesitant to write your own vows and have really unique readings, too.
Honestly: before we got married, my partner and I totally knocked the idea of your wedding day being the best day of your life. We would say, “Isn’t that depressing… that in one day you could reach such heights that nothing would ever compare again?”.
We promised each other we wouldn’t join that clichéd way of thinking. But now, well, let’s just say we were wrong.
… and we’re already trying to find a way to justify doing it all over again.
I Think My Wedding Day Will Always Give Me Butterflies – And I Hope Yours Does Too
It’s not easy to plan a wedding, I know.
But if you allow your shared vision with your partner to be your true north, then you’ll always find your way to the right decision.
Looking back, the only thing that was missing from our wedding day was Phoebe, our dog. If you’ve got a pup, and you want them to be there, try to make it happen! Because who doesn’t love having a dog in a wedding?
So, if, like me, you know you want a less traditional ceremony, then check out this DB&MH post ‘4 Wedding Traditions You Might Want to Rethink (and What To Do Instead)’.
But like I said — you should go your own way.
Best of luck!”
Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.