I wrote a little while ago that in some ways, I felt like my wedding was over before it had begun. A reader (wow, someone’s reading!) asked if I had any advice for creating lasting memories of one’s wedding. I’ve done some reflecting in the months that I’ve been married. If I had to articulate a thesis for ‘how to make lasting memories’ it would be this: live fully *in the moment* as much as you can on the day of your wedding. I’ve come up with the following suggestions for how to do so, culled from my own experience:
1) Hire a day-of coordinator, or ask a friend to coordinate wedding day logistics. We asked my brother’s girlfriend to be our DOC, and I honestly believe that having her handle the details allowed me and my husband to be IN the moment and not anywhere else. Ten years from now you’ll want to remember enjoying the feeling of just being married, not the stress you endured trying to set up your escort cards, telling the DJ when to play the last song, and making sure everyone got their check.
2) Decide ahead of time what is mandatory (as in, ‘I’ll regret not having done this ten years from now’) and what you’re willing to give up. That’s right, even the best laid plans can get thrown off when you throw in a hundred or so guests and a handful of vendors. Be prepare to throw a few items you’ve planned to the wind (e.g. I’m sad – but not crushed – to not have had a father-daughter dance). Embrace any gaffes that may occur during the ceremony: these are usually funny anyway. Let go and have fun during the reception. Relax and let the professionals do their jobs.
3) Find your grandparents, your parents, your best friends, etc. and take a moment with each of them. It can be overwhelming to have so many of the important people in your life together in one room. The idea of this really freaked me out in the weeks leading up to my wedding. I kept wondering how I would spend quality time with everyone. Realize that you don’t need to spend the whole evening with your friend just because she flew across the country to be at your wedding. She is there to witness the event more than anything else. However, identify the people who are most important to you and take time out to spend a moment with them – whether it’s with your new spouse at your side or on your own.
4) Spend time with family before the wedding. We were lucky enough to have parents, aunts, siblings and cousins from both of our families in town a few days before the actual wedding. The Thursday before the wedding, my aunts hosted a ladies’ luncheon with women from both families, where we spent time getting to know each other. It sounds cheesy, but we shared laughs and tears. It was touching to have all of them uniting because of their love for me and my husband. We cemented a family bond that day. Meanwhile, my husband got to go on a hike with members of his and my family. They undoubtedly bonded in a manly way (beer was definitely involved). These memories are some of my fondest from the entire wedding weekend.
5) Hire a good photographer. And if you don’t get good shots of the two of you, take some shots together after the wedding. Hire the best one you can afford. The portraits of the two of you will be the most poignant memory you’ll keep of your wedding day.**
**I liked (but did not LOVE) my photos. The ones I’ve posted on this blog haven’t been the best, since I’m not so keen on posting large photos of my face or the faces of people who may not want to be up for display on the internet.