Since I’ve never been married, I have nothing to compare it to, but September 8, 2018 was the BEST DAY EVER!
Our ceremony was incredibly moving. I cried going down the aisle (Femi did too, which was super satisfying), and our officiant Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe from 18Doors Atlanta did a phenomenal job–if you’re looking for clergy for your wedding, you can fill out this form and 18Doors will assist. I had multiple people who don’t identify as Jewish come up to me and say how much they appreciated that Malka explained everything that was happening in the service, so no one was confused. They loved the blending of our cultures, jumping the broom and smashing the glass (which took me three tries by the way), the seven blessings as song lyrics, and how the ceremony was so personal to us as a couple.
The reception was full of energy and joy. I had a smile glued to my face the whole time, and I could have danced for a least two more hours after the party was over.
That being said, I do have some last-minute tips you might find useful for your special day:
I planned the wedding almost entirely on my own. I’m an event planner by trade, and I gave myself enough time to get the job done. But when the person(s) getting married do the planning, they must recognize the point in the day when the “planner” hat comes off, and the “bride/groom” hat goes on. Otherwise they’ll never be able to truly enjoy themselves. Make sure you enlist family and friends ahead of time to do things like:
My parents, my Best Person Sarah, and the Main Man Pat were instrumental in making sure I could focus on taking in every wonderful moment at the wedding, and for that I’m truly grateful.
I know this may seem obvious, but let me explain. During the reception I had a very uneasy feeling about something. My stomach was upset, my anxiety was climbing, but I just couldn’t figure out why. I took a moment to think about what was coming up in the reception that could make me feel this way, and I realized: The hora. I was nervous that we wouldn’t have enough room on the dance floor, and that the chairs weren’t sturdy enough to hold my and Femi’s weight.
So rather than just fighting through those feelings, I spoke up and asked Femi how he’d feel if we just didn’t do it. He looked at me and said, “It’s our day, we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to do.” And that was it. I told the DJ we weren’t doing it, and my anxiety disappeared; I was so happy that I spoke up. If something in the moment doesn’t feel right, take a second to try to identify it, and see if you can take steps to change whatever it is that’s causing it. You’ll be glad you did.
No wedding is perfect. At ours, there were a few folks who were no-shows (as in, they gave us either less than 24-hours’ notice that they weren’t coming, or no notice at all), one of our vendors bad mouthed us on Facebook the day of the wedding and the tables weren’t arranged correctly per the diagram I sent the venue. And I’ll admit that some of those hurt feelings bubbled toward the surface during the reception. But I made sure to stop myself mid-thought and tell myself to focus on all the love and positivity in the room. There would be time to hash out the negative. Which leads me to my last tip…
Femi and I got married on a Saturday night. On Monday, he and I went out to a nice dinner, just the two of us. This was wonderful for two main reasons. One, after a weekend involving so many friends and family, it was nice to share a meal alone. Two, we now had time to reflect on the joys and challenges of all the events. It was a nice space for us to be able to relive the wonderful parts and commiserate on the letdowns.
Our entire wedding weekend was chock full of beautifully powerful moments that I’ll never forget. And I’m thankful to have been married in the digital age because of all the pictures and videos I’ll have at my fingertips to remind me of those moments. No matter what obstacles you might encounter before, or even on the big day, remember that at the end of the day, you and your partner will be happily married.