My Big Fat Geriatric Wedding
I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to get married when you're "older." Please, don't comment and say "But Brandy, you're not old!" I KNOW that, guys! But we can't deny the fact that I when I said "I do" I was more than a decade past the age most women get married for the first time.
I would be lying if I said I didn't wish I had met Mike 10 years ago. That it doesn't make me sad sometimes to think about the time we "missed" with each other. But I also know that everything in our lives had to happen to get us to where we are today. And for me, that took 39 years.
Just a few weeks ago, we marked six months of marriage. And it made me nostalgic for March 30, 2019. I flipped through pictures from our day, and thought a lot about our "geriatric" wedding vs. a more traditional one.
And I wanted to write about it. Because some of you are still waiting. And I want you to know that there are beautiful things about getting married when you are older and wiser and a little more smoothed out by life. And some of you may be in the whirlwind of planning your wedding, and I want to say to you "calm the heck down." Learn from me -- I was old and tired when I got married, so I had to really budget my time and stress.
So I wanted to share some of that wisdom with you, to encourage you and calm you and hopefully make you laugh.
You do you. I know this seems to go without saying, but your wedding day is not about what other people want or expect of you. Mike and I decided to theme our wedding "Brandy and Mike's Favorite Things" which meant we could literally do whatever the heck we wanted to do. For us, that was a mac and cheese bar and donuts. And for goodness' sake, tradition for tradition's sake is GARBAGE. Don't want to do a bouquet toss? DON'T! Don't want a parent to verbally "give you away" (don't get me started on women being treated like property)? DON'T! Don't want to invite that person you're "supposed" to invite? DON'T! Don't want to spend a ton of money? DON'T!
Our pastor gave us a piece of advice when we were in the thick of wedding planning, and I was getting worked up about some decisions that might make people upset with me. "Whatever you choose, it has to be authentic to you and Mike." That lens made decisions a lot easier to make.
Communication is beautiful. Let's be really honest here -- 30-something Brandy is a LOT better at communicating than 20-something Brandy. There are some things in life that can only be learned with time, practice and counseling. And for me, one of those things is communication. As a life-time people-pleaser and peace-maker, I used to have a really hard time expressing what I needed. But then I had a counselor say "You can't get upset with people when they don't read your mind." And that has stuck with me. If I don't tell you what I need (because I fear I will inconvenience you), then I can't be mad at you for not giving me what I need.
Mike and I talked about EVERYTHING when it came to wedding planning. And we were mature enough to understand we each had individual giftings. I am a planner, and I had a 15-page Google doc to prove it. He is a "doer" and we have the coolest wedding cake/donut stand to prove it. I expressed my vision (often in a shared wedding check-list on our iPhones) and trusted that he would follow through. And he did, in amazing ways.
Let people love you. A lot of people have asked me "Were you super stressed on your wedding day?" And I can say with full honesty that my wedding day was one of the most peaceful days of my life. Part of that was the confidence I felt in marrying Mike. But another huge part was I had delegated the heck out of our big day.
The key to good delegation is you have to delegate to people who love you. Because then you can trust that they will make decisions rooted in their love for you. I woke up on the morning of our wedding knowing that people were baking the cookies that I had distributed in the days before. That the color-coded bins I had carefully packed would be delivered to those who needed them. I handed my phone and my credit card to my lovely friend Kristin who had agreed to be our day-of coordinator, told her "you are now me," and never thought about it again.
Could I have had that level of trust in my 20s? Maybe? But I think wisdom and time brings the ability to release, and that was beautiful and freeing.
This isn't the finish line. Seriously, if this is the ONLY thing you take away from this entire things, remember this. Your wedding is the BEGINNING of your marriage. So of course, do what you can to make it the day that you desire, but don't do it to the detriment of your marriage.
For us, that meant doing what we could to minimize stress for each other, because with stress comes the shortened fuses and the petty arguments. We committed to each other that our wedding day would not start our marriage with debt, something that we had actively worked to eliminate. We worked to not burn any bridges with family or friends -- because these were the people who were going to walk alongside us in our marriage.
Our wedding day was beautiful (and I was happy to write a blog post that I could show off some of our beautiful wedding photos)! But at the end of the day, when I scrubbed off my make-up and fished all of the bobby pins out of my hair, when Mike loosened his tie and packed away his suit, we sat next to each other and grinned. We did it. It was beautiful.
Now let's be married.
All photos were taken by our AMAZING wedding photographer, Jenny Marvin!