In our last article, we talked about how the proposal can have a real effect on the engagement period afterwards. Now we've reached the next stage: the wedding.
It's true that, as the tagline I mentioned in the first article said, "It's all in the details." The only question is, what "all" and which "details." And this question is particularly relevant to the wedding.
One of the most difficult aspects of planning a wedding is that there are just so many people involved. You have the bride's parents, the groom's parents, and of course the bride and groom - all of whom may have conflicting interests and needs. A crucial thing to remember here is that, no matter how unbelievably important the wedding may seem, it only lasts for a few hours. The marriage, however - and the couple's relationship with the parents - is going to last a lot longer than that. So it's worth putting a lot of effort into keeping the peace.
One easy way to help keep things smooth is for the couple to realize the following: If either - or both - sets of parents are paying for the wedding, then the wedding is really for the parents, not the couple. I know, it's a hard pill to swallow, especially since the wedding industry has hyped up the "it's the most spectacular day of your life and you deserve the best" way of looking at things. But if the parents are paying, then the couple should just go along with whatever the parents want. As Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen puts it: "She gets him and he gets her. Let the parents have the wedding."
Now, that obviously doesn't mean that the couple can't express their needs and discuss the way they want their wedding to look. But it does mean that the couple shouldn't make demands, and should endeavor to be as easygoing and amenable to their parents desires as they can.
Sometimes it happens that one side pays for the entire wedding, either because of family tradition, or economics. If that happens, it should be clear that the other side as a whole needs to be taken into account. The bride and groom can be very helpful in this area. He can express her parents' needs to his folks, and she can express his parents' needs to her folks. If it starts to get sticky, though, then the bride and groom should try to stay out of it and find another "middle-man" - perhaps a relative or close friend - who can take over and work things out.
Here's a piece of advice for both the parents and the couple. It's very easy to get swept up in the (understandable) desire to have a beautiful wedding. Unfortunately, though, in today's consumer world, very often people spend outrageous amounts of money on the wedding, when the truth is that, not too far down the line, the couple will need that money to stay financially afloat. And the reason this is so tragic is that you don't need to blow that kind of money in order to have a beautiful wedding. It takes a bit of creativity, but if the couple and the parents really put their heads together, they'll be able to reduce the wedding expenditures drastically. And they won't have to cut the guest count down to bare minimum to do it, either. But if you don't have a Viennese table, or the most expensive wines or flowers, no one will really care. As a matter of fact, your wedding just might be more meaningful and memorable than the rest - because you'll be focusing on the important things, and your guests will feel it.
And, speaking of guests, they offer a wonderful opportunity to start your marriage in a beautiful way. Usually, there is a large crowd listening during the ceremony, and there's a very special feeling in the air because it's such an important moment. This is a great time for someone in the wedding party - either the couple, their parents, the Best Man - or any clergy who might be officiating to affirm any ideals that the couple may have and are going to build their marriage on. Whether the ideals are moral, ethical, religious, social - reiterating those ideals at the wedding ceremony gives them a certain permanence, and adds a depth to the wedding that lasts long after the party itself is over.
Like I said, you might not find these tips in the wedding planners that fill the bookstores with lace, flowers, tuxedoes and gowns. But if you follow them, you'll find that the memories of your special day will be so much sweeter, and the foundation of your marriage a whole lot stronger.
Reframing Your Marriage | The 5 Word Formula to Make Your Marriage Work - Part 2 | The 5 Word Formula to Make Your Marriage Work | The 3 Main Challenges to Marriage - Part III | The 3 Main Challenges in Marriage - Part II | The 3 Main Challenges to Marriage - Part I | See More »