Unsolicited Advice

(Originally posted December 16, 2010 on blogspot.)

Ten years ago today, I got all dressed up in a fancy dress and went with my friends and family- who were also dressed up all fancy- to a church. Where I married my husband. (who was, incidentally, also dressed up all fancy.) And then we had a big party. And to celebrate that fact, I have been posting memories of that day on facebook. And to my surprise, other people are commenting and posting memories of their own. Granted, many of the people posting are family members. But not everyone. People remember our wedding. It is widely accepted as the most fun wedding ever.

And. Because so much of my career has centered around young adults, I know lots of people who are getting married in the coming months.

So. Here it is. You didn’t ask for it. But here it is. How to have the second-most fun wedding ever. It involves some ugly truth. Are you ready for it? Here it comes….

Weddings don’t matter.

I’ll let you take a moment to recover while you pick up your ten-pound wedding planning binder you just threw at the computer. But I’m not taking it back. Weddings just don’t matter.

It’s a day. One day. With a party. Hopefully a really fun party. But there are only two elements that make any difference at all: two people, and some vows. That’s it.

Don’t get me wrong. Weddings are fun. Ten years later I’m still remembering mine. I took care in planning the details. And I was ridiculously organized. I handed the minister a full itinerary- complete with full script- like he had never seen. I mean come on, I know how to plan a performance.

But once the planning was over and we got within a week of the big day, I let it go. People who were there will back me up on this. I let it go. “Mindy, do you want red napkins or gold at the rehearsal dinner?”

“I don’t care.”

“You have to care. You have to choose.”

“But I don’t care. I choose for you to choose.”

“But you have to!”

“Alright then. If one napkin color makes me more married than the other one, I pick that one. Otherwise, flip a coin and leave me alone.”

I have no idea what possessed me to treat my wedding this way. Let’s be honest. It’s not like me at all. But something told me all that mattered was getting married, and I went with it. And I didn’t do anything just because it was tradition. Again, I did many traditional things, but only if I fully understood them.

“But you have to have a sit-down dinner!”

“Will my marriage not count?”

“Well, of course your marriage will still count…”

“Cool. I don’t like sit-down dinners and I’m not having one.”

And it’s been ten years. And ours is still widely remembered as The. Most. Fun. Wedding…. Ever.

Eyes on the prize, people. And the prize is gettin’ hitched. Period.

Alright, while I’m at it, let’s talk about those vows real quick.

They’re serious. And they DO matter. A lot.

If you’re going to stand in front of God and everybody and promise to be with someone “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live…” you can bet that He is going to give you ample opportunity to prove it. I think we’ve had all those things this week. (well, maybe not richer. Not with money, anyway.) But it’s a promise. And I say this because so many of us (Ryan and I included) get married so young. It’s hard to believe that worse and poorer and sicker would ever really happen. But it will. And the promise is that you’ll stay together anyway. Even when you don’t really like each other that much. Because if you hold up your end of the bargain, God will hold up His.

And I say this only to be encouraging- I have lots of friends and family who have, for one reason or another, gotten divorced. I’m not judging you guys in this, I’m pretty familiar with your situations and I get that sometimes it’s what’s best. (And for many, the match wasn’t right in the first place…) But for those of you who are about to get married- and there are a lot of you!- just remember. Those vows are for real. They’re a promise. And you’re practically begging for them to be tested. But stick with it, and you end up sharing your life with the one person who gets you through it all.

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