This morning, I woke my entire family up at 5 a.m. so we could reset and restore at the beach before all the crowds arrived. We walked out on the sand just as the sun was rising and saw a crowd of about 15 people (which is considerably large these days).
It was a wedding. A simple wedding, probably among friends and family, right there on the beach at sunrise. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. No flowers other than a bouquet, no tulle on chairs, no ornate guest book—just two people saying “I do” in front of the people who matter the most to them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been married 18 years, but I still love pining over beautiful weddings in magazines and on Pinterest. There’s just something so alluring about trying to come up with all the little details to make your day perfect. Yet, having lived through a wedding day where lots of things were far from perfect, I also know the little details are not really the most important thing.
Having lived through a wedding day where lots of things were far from perfect, I also know the little details are not really the most important thing.
Our limo driver was smoking cigarettes and harassed us for a tip even though one had been prepaid. Our DJ played the music so quietly no one wanted to dance. Family tensions bubbled up in uncomfortable ways. The Florida heat left my husband sweating so bad I had to muster up strength at the words, “Kiss your bride.”
To be totally honest, I was far from gracious. I had many joyous moments, but I also spent time pouting and trying to restore things back to my perfect vision. These days, we tell these stories over wine and laughter, but I certainly didn’t find it funny at the time.
Almost 20 years since then, my marriage has given me more joyful days than I can begin to remember. We’ve walked together through cancer, raising four wild children, travel adventures, family crises, job losses and running a business together. It hasn’t been easy. but if I had known then that the joy and beauty is in the marriage, not in the perfectly planned wedding day, I think I could have seen my wedding day as a perfect segue into our lives.
The joy and beauty is in the marriage, not in the perfectly planned wedding day.
My favorite wedding day memory is not the venue, though it was beautiful, but the look on my husband’s face when he saw me. It’s the same face he makes when we get away for the elusive date night or the memory of sneaking away right after the ceremony to laugh at the incredulity of us doing something so bold as getting married. It’s the same way we laugh each time we come up with the next big scheme we’ll tackle together. Basically, my best memories are the sort of everyday things that you do with the person you love.
As a custom jewelry studio, we’ve seen how the shutdown of public gatherings has impacted wedding plans. I hurt with these brides who have seen their visions of the perfect wedding day ruined. For some, the choice is to wait until better times and plan the same wedding, but I’m deeply moved by the couples who have chosen to move forward.
It embodies what a lifetime of marriage will be—bravely holding hands and walking into the unexpected together. Taking what life brings and knowing you’ll get through it together. It’s also a powerful symbol of hope to those of us who stumble upon your weddings and catch a glimpse of courage in action right there at sunrise.
I’d say to anyone thinking of postponing, get married now. Life is short, and marriage is a beautiful journey.