Today’s wedding graduate post is from Lisa, who some of you know as the fiercely smart and independent Giggles, from the comments. I’m a little overwhelmed by the honor of getting to share Lisa’s wedding graduate post for a bunch of reasons. First, Lisa is one of those smart, independent, tough as nails women that delight me, and even scare me a little bit with their greatness. Second, this is the first LDS wedding I’ve ever had on APW, and that’s an exciting thing for me (40% of our hometown is Mormon, so, so this is a kind of wedding that means something to me). Since Lisa and Brett were married in a temple, their wedding ceremony wasn’t photographed, and Lisa says that the other pictures were plenty (and I really really feel that, as you might have figured out, given that I shared all of one slightly blurry photo of our ceremony). Her post is packed with such wisdom and beauty, that you will totally, totally get the point (and might realize you don’t need your ceremony video-ed after all, who knows):
Condensing a wedding down to one blog post is about as easy as condensing an autobiography down to six words.
The whole focus of our wedding was on family, the families we came from and the family we were forming. Our wedding was our families and lives coming together in a single moment to push us into the next part of our family and lives together. That focus kept us sane throughout both the planning and the wedding. We used a particular table at the reception site to display wedding photos of our parents. After all, it was their weddings that ultimately made our wedding possible.
The day before our wedding we got both of our families together to meet each other and eat some good food at my favorite Brazilian restaurant. What’s better than good times with the people you love and good food? (The women had all gotten together the night before for a night of belly dancing.)
The morning of our wedding I went for a run with my father. My father and I have run together since I was a baby and he would push me in a stroller. In recent years we’ve run marathons together. That morning my father and I went on a run past the house he and my mom lived in right after their marriage and the hospital I was born in. A rather historical run in many senses.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe a marriage performed in one of the 130+ temples of our church around the world will last not only through time here on earth, but also after this life throughout eternity. We both currently live in Arizona and could have been married here. But everyone else would have had to travel. My family is spread out and was going to travel regardless. However Brett is from Utah, a lot of his family still lives there, and my 96-year-old grandpa lives in the area and would be able to attend there. So we chose the temple that is in Bountiful, Utah, for our ceremony. We held our reception just south of there at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah.
That meant we did the bulk of our wedding planning through phone calls and emails, which ended up being quite the adventure. We chose the bakery for our cake based on the one with the least annoying website (and got a lot of compliments on the yummy-ness). And I set up a blog for my wedding posse since my women were spread across the country.
While there are a lot of things we could plan for our wedding, one thing we couldn’t plan was the weather. It was snowing so hard as we approached the ceremony we could barely see the building from the street. Celebratory confetti from heaven. We were blessed with a beautiful indoor atrium at the ceremony site though and were able to get post ceremony photos there with our families and friends who attended. Wonderful forethought in hindsight in our planning. After photos with our families the snow had stopped and the scene could not have been more beautiful for photos of just us. Cold. But beautiful.
Things we learned and thoughts we had while planning a wedding:
1. A wedding is a reflection of both the bride AND the groom. A wedding is not a surprise party for the groom. There were several DIO (do-it-ourselves) projects and other things that we did that infused parts of us into every aspect of the wedding, from writing love in binary on anything that would fit through a printer for our computer geekiness, to the guest pens with feathers because the feathers were important to him, to our turtle cake toppers made by my sister, to our homemade ribbon flowers (I wanted pansies and making them seemed to be the easiest way to do that), to our computerized playlist, to the dress I sewed. Our wedding was us getting married, not Martha Stewart’s magazine getting married. So we were able to relax and make sure we were only doing things that mattered to us. And keeping my hands busy with the wedding stuff we cared about definitely helped with my sanity.
2. Important things are worth paying for. To keep my sanity, it was worth it to us to pay the price to have our reception at a place that would cover all the food, the set-up, and the clean-up. Worrying about that could’ve killed me. And it was important to me that our guests be guests at a party, not set-up and clean-up crews.
3. Sometimes an anti-to-do list helps. I’m a list person. I live by my to-do lists. But with wedding planning we found it fun to also list all the things some wedding magazines and blogs said are necessary for a wedding that we just weren’t bothering with. Then we listed on our anti-budget all the money we weren’t spending on those things. It made the actual to-do list and budget easier to swallow.
4. Having a fun photographer makes all the difference. A friend of mine (Amy Harrison) took our photos and that was one of the highlights of our day. She was having such a fun time taking photos and was great with the group shots after the ceremony. She didn’t even mind getting wet and cold in the snow, lying down on the cold ground at one point. We were so comfortable with her and it shows in our photos.
5. Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. Whatever that means to you. When you are uncomfortable it shows. Which is why I was wearing long underwear under my dress so I’d stay warm. And nobody knew except me.
6. Demurely carry a hanky. I got a kick out of the fact that I was able to demurely carry a handkerchief the whole day with my bouquet. It looked delicate and dainty, and I’m sure at some point I used it to wipe a tear from my eye. Mostly I was using it for my nose in the cold. But nobody knew the difference!
7. Some moments are pure magic. We loved everyone who came to celebrate with us. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so much love from family and friends. But the moments I will remember are the moments when everyone else faded into the background and we were the only two people in the world. During our ceremony, later when he surprised me by playing Somebody from Depeche Mode on the piano, during our first dance, it was just us. Those moments were magic unlike anything I’ve ever known. If I were to wish anything for a couple, it would be at least one moment like that.