Whether you had an elaborate wedding in a dream-set location, with all the colorful flowers, lively music, beautiful fancy dress (or tuxedo,) many guests and, of course, a post-ceremony reception that lasted for hours…
Or perhaps a low-key ceremony reserved for a few close family members and friends at the City Hall – chances are that you consider it one of the most important events you’ve ever experienced in your life.
But, in the grand scheme of things, was the wedding celebration itself really that important?
Chances are the answer is a big, fat “no.”
Now, I’m not saying that every couple out there planning to get married should simply ditch the party and elope to tie the knot at the nearest courthouse having only the law-required witnesses attend a ceremony (which has about the same level of excitement as renewing your driver’s license… ok, the line might be shorter than that at the DMV, but you get the idea.)
What I mean is that many couples spend way too much time planning and discussing tiny details about an event that will last only a few hours (or a whole day at the most) – and too little, if any, time thinking about what married life after the wedding will be like.
I’m telling you this as someone who has tied the knot twice, in two completely different ways and with two completely different results. Knowing what I know now – believe me, that time before your actual wedding can be much better spent setting the bases for a successful married life together than planning a big party.
My First Marriage
For my first marriage, I had a very fancy (and pricey!) wedding which I happened to share with my sister.
Since our dad was paying for the whole event – and our resources, although not scarce, were certainly limited, we figured that, given the fact that we were marrying brothers (twin brothers, to be exact) it would be a lot more fun to have a huge wedding party for all four of us instead of each couple having a more modest, smaller wedding.
All that, not to mention that we would be the “hottest item to talk about” among our family and circle of friends… After all, it’s not every day that two sisters get to marry twin brothers on the same wedding!
That Honeymoon Ended Really Fast…
From the moment my wedding and honeymoon were over, I began to sense that my marriage was not at all what I had originally expected. I realized that I barely knew the man I had married, and I pretty much disagreed with his general lifestyle. The allure of my “big day” along with the time I spent planning it and daydreaming about it caused me to overlook more crucial elements of marriage, such as financial plans and general lifestyle habits. Nevertheless, six years later, that marriage ended up in a divorce, not to mention that I forever “ruined” my sister’s wedding memories (video, photos, etc.) since she is still married to her husband.
My Second Marriage
When I got married the second time around, this time to George, my actual husband of 6 ½ years (as of the moment of publishing this post), I made sure I did not make any of the mistakes I had made in my previous marriage.
So instead of spending time planning a big wedding party… George and I both sat down to figure how our future family finances would be structured. Rather than simply trusting that our love would carry us through and somehow we would make things work out … We took the time to get to know each other and we communicated and organized how our lives would work together.
This involved investing effort and time, calmly talking and determining how everyday tasks such as house chores and errands would be executed and divided, and even discussed things such as our respective careers and what we each expected to achieve professionally in our future.
Don’t get me wrong… George and I were crazy for each other (we still are) but rather than rushing into marriage – we made sure our points of view and ideologies were compatible.
Only then did we decide that marriage would be the right thing to pursue for both of us. We got married on a Tuesday at our local courthouse, with only a handful of close friends and family members present. And long after that day, we still revise the things we discussed prior to getting married, adapting them to our current necessities.
My Second (and current) “Honeymoon”
George and I couldn’t have a “traditional” honeymoon, as we were immediately required to move cross-country for a great work engagement that my husband got presented with only days after we tied the knot. If we had spent the time needed to plan our “big day” and “dream honeymoon” instead of planning for our life after the wedding, chances are I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this.
All I can say is that, even though this time I didn’t have the beautiful, white dress, the fancy hair and make up, the perfectly edited photos and video, or the long, exotic trip, my husband and I are still just as happy and in love (perhaps even more!) as that magical day at the North Miami Beach courthouse when we recited our vows.
We take our marriage as a daily opportunity to build a stronger relationship based on trust and mutual respect. This formula has worked very well for us, which means that till this day we are very happily married and as a result my second “honeymoon” is still going on.
Photo Credit: LizSullivan