A few months ago you were both in a wedding, and between that and all the popular TLC bridal shows on Netflix and the breathtaking wedding boards on Pinterest, it’s got you asking questions about my wedding.
So, I want to tell you about it.
First of all, it was ugly.
No, really, it was. It was 1994, so that didn’t help.
Neither did my temporary romantic love for the Victorian era. My accent colors were mauve and forest green. Yeah. They were interesting colors against the burnt orange pews of the church and twinkling Christmas trees on the stage. (It was a December wedding.)
The bridesmaids wore handmade mauve tent-like dresses that could accommodate an array of sizes, including a very pregnant bridesmaid. I’m pretty sure they were burned while I was on my honeymoon.
I had always planned on wearing a long-sleeved ivory Victorian gown. But instead I fell in love with a white off-the-shoulder sequined contemporary one. I had multiple themes going on.
Remember when you found my dress in a box in the attic a couple of years ago and asked if you could try it on? That kind of stuff is hard on moms.
The reception was in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall. There wasn’t dinner or dancing or enough satin to cover the drabness of the room. There was some sort of Sprite punch, a delicious wedding cake, groom’s cake (with a plastic fisherman on top) and some mixed nuts.
There weren’t party favors or sparklers. The guests threw birdseed as we ran to my blue Isuzu compact car, awash with ridiculous writing and a condom on the muffler (your Uncle’s contribution). I can still remember the look on the pastor’s face as we waved goodbye.
We immediately stopped at a fast food restaurant where I dumped a pint of birdseed from my underwear on the floor of the bathroom. That was wrong. But it was itchy.
I can’t think of a single pin-worthy picture from the day.
It wasn’t trendy or lavish.
There wasn’t a dance floor or fresh orchids and chandeliers hanging from trees.
But I wouldn’t change a moment of it.
Somehow, even with our less than glamorous wedding photo album and honeymoon on an extreme budget to exotic Arkansas, your dad and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage this Christmas.
Because we understood that a marriage isn’t about a wedding.
We discovered that a lifetime of love and commitment trumps an event any day. We learned that starting our new life together debt- and doubt-free was a gift to each other.
Yesterday, I read that 70 percent of girls creating wedding boards on Pinterest aren’t even engaged yet. With every other marriage ending, do we have time for all this planning and pining for one perfect day?
It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only.
I want you to know marriage is more than a venue or a menu. It’s far more than The Perfect Day or saying yes to the dress.
And I know you will probably want all of the above some day. And that’s OK.
I just want you to spend more time praying than planning. I want you to sacrifice more than you spend. I want you to understand your commitment to the man of your dreams is more than a certificate—it’s a covenant to God.
Most of all, I want you to know love. The kind of love your dad and I have that lasts through heartache and headaches. I want you to know that you are loved. You don’t have to earn or achieve it. It’s not dependent on a good hair day or bad. It’s not something you can lose. Whether you’re swept off your feet or remain a confidant single woman, you are enough.
I have seen how fast time flies. I know the days are long and the years are short. I put away the toys and clothes you outgrow regularly. I know while I write this, one of you is practicing eye shadow upstairs and the other is practicing cartwheels in the yard, and I will blink and it will be time to give you away.
You are just beginning to dream. Don’t stop.
And on this regular summer Monday, I want you to know that my wedding wasn’t much.
But my marriage is more.