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Make it Yours and Yours Alone (okay, his too)

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So there you have it, from start to finish… a week full of wedding recaps. My favorite thing about all these photos, three months later, is thinking that our wedding could be no one else’s. That’s my own personal measure of success. For what it’s worth, here are a few tidbits we learned along the way:

Celebrate your weirdness. Really. All those ways that you feel different than the brides in magazines? Rejoice in it! By putting as much of who you and your fiance truly are into your wedding, you’ll be repaid tenfold by how personal and meaningful your wedding becomes. Oh, and the less it’s like any other wedding your guests have seen? The more everyone loves it. So take ownership and go!

Start your own traditions. If you love every wedding tradition in the book, that’s great. But if tradition isn’t for you, throw out that wedding book and start from scratch. Use an officiant who means something to you personally. Use words that strike right to the heart of who you are and why you’re there. Create space for your loved ones to affirm and bless your marriage. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable; do the things that will make you happy. We’re all different. Our weddings should be, too.

Get inspired… and then edit. The amount of wedding inspiration out here in blogland is phenomenal. Every day – no, every hour – we can find hundreds of different ways to say I Do, from dresses to venues to food to photography. That’s a wonderful thing. But once you’re well on your way, don’t let all that new inspiration sew seeds of doubt. An edited vision is just as important as an initially brilliant one.

Go team! I’m especially talking to my fellow gals out there without planners/DOCs: know that  you cannot do it all by yourself. Create a small team of family and friends that you can trust and work together through the entire process. Address new projects realistically in terms of what you can and cannot accomplish as a team. Don’t micromanage. Don’t take for granted. And toward the end, when new folks ask you how they can help, don’t blow them off. It takes a village. A very, very organized one.

Be confident. You know you have a killer wedding vision. That third cousin five times removed who doesn’t get it? Or the random person wrinkling her nose at the lack of things like veils and wedding cakes? Go on with your strong self and make it work! As with so many wardrobe dilemmas, you can wear anything as long as you slip on confidence first. You can throw any kind of wedding you want that way, too.

Laugh. Because weddings are really funny. And chances are, when your entire family and his entire family and all your friends are in one place, hilarious things are going to go down. Make sure you’re in the moment enough to appreciate them. (Oh, and when you forget to put out your carefully matted and framed Save the Date for guests to sign, host a theme night instead where everyone writes fake “I give you a year” messages and signs silly names on it. Because the sight of that really will make you laugh forever.)

Be joyful. At the end of the day, here’s what matters: you’re married to the love of your life. Stress will present itself before that moment – oh it will – but don’t let it consume you. As cliche as it sounds – and fine, I happen to be an optimist anyway – focus on the bigger picture. What counts the most is that you’re full of wonder and excitement and yes, joy, at what’s about to take place. That’s all it comes down to, really. Be joyful.

On that note – and as my last hurrah! – I offer some of my favorite images from the wedding that I haven’t shared yet.

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I’d like to give a huge thank you to Elizabeth Anne Designs for hosting me this week. Sharing our wedding here has been an absolute delight!

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(All photos by Beach Productions)