How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reflections From 30 Years Of Marriage

As I’ve said many times before, here on this blog, some of the most wonderful people on the face of the earth are my friends.  Not bragging – just a fact!  And I’ve had the good fortune to officiate the weddings of many of my friends.  A while ago, I sent a questionnaire to friends who’ve been married for more than five years.  I asked each couple to pick any ten questions (five each) and share their answers here at my blog.

The reason why I asked these wonderful people to share their thoughts on marriage and weddings, is that I hoped they could offer you, the couple in the throes of planning, some perspective on the whole shebang.

Hanna and Bruce celebrated their 30th anniversary on October 6th.  They are the first friends whose wedding I officiated.  The photo was taken earlier this week, on their anniversary.  The wine goblet was the chalice used at their service.  It had belonged to my grandmother and was my gift.

So, from the vantage of thirty married years, here are Bruce and Hanna’s insights on love, weddings and marriage. . . 


Q:  Why haven't you gotten divorced?
A:  Checks and Balances.

Q:  What three things are you grateful for in your spouse?
A:  Love of God, love of others, love of food.

Q:  One sentence advice you'd give to a couple planning to get married?
A:  You must always be grateful for the easy times while being prepared for the hard times.

Q:  What has surprised you most about being married?
A:  How much I love it, and how much I fear I would miss it.

Q:  In no more than 140 characters, sum up your thoughts on marriage:
A:  If marriage was easy and effortless, everyone would do it. It's not. Marriage is by far the greatest challenge any two people can undertake.

Q: What three words do you think of when you think of your wedding day?
A: Joyful. Unifying. Memorable.

Q:  What three things are you grateful for in your spouse?
A:  He rubs my feet, when I don't even ask.  He showed genuine kindness and devotion to my parents in their declining years.  He knows how I like my coffee and my gin, and he quenches all my thirsts.

Q: One sentence advice you'd give to a couple planning to get married?
A:  Every so often, ask yourself “What is it like to be married to me?”

Q:  How has your partner helped you become who you are today?
A:  Here's an illustration: For a long time I was content to let Bruce be the one who made eye contact with the homeless and mentally ill; the man or woman asking for spare change on the street. He would give what money he had in his pocket with warmth while I sidestepped the whole encounter. It felt, since it was “our” money that he was acting on behalf of both of us, and I got a pass. But you know what? It wasn't enough, and I learned that from him without him ever saying a word to me about it.

Q:  What did you experience at your wedding that you hope other couples experience at theirs?
A:  A snapshot memory: We left our reception and got into our rented red Subaru that our nieces and nephews had gleefully decorated with cans and streamers and the requisite “Just Married” sign. It was a beautiful early autumn day in Vermont with glorious colors as we drove the 40 miles to where we would spend the night. I will always remember the smiles, the honks, thumbs-up from other cars as we drove along. At a stoplight I pulled a flower from my bouquet and handed it through the open window to someone in a car the next lane over.

To feel the love and support in celebration of our marriage from our family and friends was wonderful.

To receive it from total strangers was a transcendent gift.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wedding Conversations I Overheard At My Favorite Cafe

This post is a bit different from my others as it’s inspired by conversations I overheard at my fav café on two different days. . .

The other day I was sitting at my local, fav café, Aroma, when I overheard a young woman (20’s) at the next table whine,  “I tried on my grandma’s wedding dress and it was pretty, but old-fashioned so I’m not gonna wear it.”

Okay, so you’re not “gonna” wear it BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t still incorporate the dress somehow.

This is where creativity comes in – with how you incorporate family tradition + heirlooms in fresh, contemporary ways.

I’m not going to turn this into a DIY blog BUT I once had a bride who didn’t want to wear her grandmother’s dress BUT who loved her grandmother very much.  Her grandmother let her use the dress for part of the canopy of the Huppa the bride made.
It was beyond beautiful!

Even if you are stressing the small stuff (which you shouldn’t!), PLEASE enjoy the fun of being creative and inventive – not for the sake of wowing guests BUT for the sake of honoring cherished traditions and heirlooms – honoring family.


So, I was back at my fav café, Aroma, and this time I was sitting next to a guy talking about how family politics is driving him batty as he and his fiancée come closer to their wedding day.

Apparently, his mother doesn’t talk to his aunt, with whom he’s close, and the sisters haven’t talked for over a decade.  His mother doesn’t want to be in any family photos with her sister BUT he thinks it would be nice for the entire family to have a portrait taken on his wedding day.  His two friends then chimed in with tales of their parents’ dysfunctional family relationships.

So, there you have it – family politics is all part of a wedding – and my experience has been that very few couples manage to get married without family wackiness tripping them up.

But, here’s the thing – when I officiate a ceremony, I look out at the people gathered AND what I see is a bunch of people wanting to believe that despite ALL the divorce and messiness of families, there’s hope that these two people will get “it” right.

That’s why I say that your wedding is a

Statement of HOPE

No one knows what the future holds
Everyone hopes
That the two of you
be faithful to:

The dream of becoming who you want to be as a couple