What I Want My Daughters To Know About My Wedding

Dear Daughters,

A few months ago you were both in a wedding and between that and all the popular TLC bridal shows on Netflix and the breathtaking wedding boards on Pinterest, it’s got you asking questions about my wedding.

So, I want to tell you about it.

First of all, it was ugly.

No, really, it was. It was 1994, so that didn’t help.

Neither did my temporary romantic love for the Victorian era. My accent colors were mauve and forest green. Yeah. They were interesting colors against the burnt orange pews of the church and twinkling Christmas trees on the stage. (It was a December wedding).

The bridesmaids wore handmade mauve tent-like dresses that could accommodate an array of sizes, including a very pregnant bridesmaid. I’m pretty sure they were burned while I was on my honeymoon.

I had always planned on wearing a long-sleeved ivory Victorian gown. But instead I fell in love with a white off-the-shoulder sequined contemporary one. I had multiple themes going on.

Remember when you found my dress in a box in the attic a couple of years ago and asked if you could try it on? That kind of stuff is hard on moms.

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The reception was in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall. There wasn’t dinner or dancing or enough satin to cover the drabness of the room. There was some sort of Sprite punch, a delicious wedding cake, groom’s cake (with a plastic fisherman on top) and some mixed nuts.

There weren’t party favors or sparklers. The guests threw birdseed as we ran to my blue Isuzu compact car, awash with ridiculous writing and a condom on the muffler (your Uncle’s contribution). I can still remember the look on the pastor’s face as we waved goodbye.

We immediately stopped at a fast food restaurant where I dumped a pint of birdseed from my underwear on the floor of the bathroom. That was wrong. But it was itchy.

I can’t think of a single pin-worthy picture from the day.

It wasn’t trendy or lavish.

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There wasn’t a dance floor or fresh orchids and chandeliers hanging from trees.

But I wouldn’t change a moment of it.

Somehow even with our less than glamorous wedding photo album and honeymoon on an extreme budget to exotic Arkansas, your dad and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage this Christmas.

Because we understood that a marriage isn’t about a wedding.

We discovered that a lifetime of love and commitment trumps an event any day. We learned that starting our new life together debt and doubt-free was a gift to each other.

Yesterday, I read that 70% of girls creating wedding boards on Pinterest, aren’t even engaged yet. With every other marriage ending, do we have time for all this planning and pining for one perfect day?

It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only.

I want you to know marriage is more than a venue or a menu. It’s far more than The Perfect Day or saying yes to the dress.

And I know you will probably want all of the above some day. And that’s okay.

I just want you to spend more time praying than planning. I want you to sacrifice more than you spend. I want you to understand your commitment to the man of your dreams is more than a certificate—it’s a covenant to God.

Most of all, I want you to know love. The kind of love your dad and I have that lasts through heartache and headaches. I want you to know that you are loved. You don’t have to earn or achieve it. It’s not dependent on a good hair day or bad. It’s not something you can lose. Whether you’re swept off your feet or remain a confidant single woman, you are enough.

I have seen how fast time flies. I know the days are long and the years are short. I put away the toys and clothes you outgrow regularly. I know while I write this, one of you is practicing eye shadow upstairs and the other is practicing cartwheels in the yard, and I will blink and it will be time to give you away.

You are just beginning to dream. Don’t stop.

And on this regular summer Monday, I want you to know that my wedding wasn’t much.

But my marriage is more.

Love,

Mom

Comments

  1. 1

    Lisa says

    Thank you!!! The wisdom and truth behind your words is crucial to remember in the time of excess we live in.

  2. 2

    Alison S says

    One of the things I love best about my wedding is that, as the first of my generation to get married, my grandparents’ friends were all in attendance and partied for the complete 12 hour reception. Men and women danced with each other, in the style of the 50′s and 60′s, and as they aged, I would go to wakes and funerals and the widow or widower would look at me and say-”What a wedding- the last time I danced with my wife was there.” That is why the ceremony, the pageantry, the “inconvenience” of a wedding is all worth it. A chance for people , if only for one day, to practice the finer arts of courtship once again. And 16 years after that day my hubby and I are still dancing- even if only in the living room. I am deeply grateful to my parents for making it a priority in their lives to provide a wedding for me…to help build a marriage filled with dancing in the face of life’s struggles.

    • 2.1

      Tina says

      Thank you.

      No, a marriage isn’t an event. But by golly the memories made that day are worth so very much. I was married just two months ago. We had a dance for the married people, counting up anniversaries to see the last couple standing. At 64 years, it was my husband’s maternal grandparents. His grandfather is quite ill and those photos and that memory will be cherished by many for a very long time. I also heard my father give a speech for the first time in my life, he even gave me the scratch paper his words were scribbled on.

      Weddings of significance are important, but they need to be built on a good foundation.

  3. 3

    says

    Agreed! We spend so much on the wedding and very little on the marriage. In our present educational system, even Christian schools, nothing is taught on how to be a godly, submissive help meet or parents who raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, the 2 very most important things the majority of girls will grow up to do; be a wife and mother.

    • 3.1

      Angel says

      And thank goodness for that! I would never send my daughter to a school that taught her to be “submissive”. Ick.

      • 3.1.1

        Amy says

        Being submissive is not about being less than your husband or having a marriage that’s run like a dictatorship by your husband. Being submissive to your husband and ultimately to God is about standing beside your husband and knowing that God chose him to lead your family and trusting in Him enough to let him do so. it’s about supporting your husband and encouraging him to be the man of God knows he can be. Just like your husband should be doing for you. That’s what makes a strong marriage with God at its center.

        • 3.1.1.2

          Amanda says

          That’s right!!! Being submissive isn’t about being beneath your husband. It’s about trusting him to follow God while you follow him; trusting that the decisions he’s made or making are grounded in prayer.

        • 3.1.1.3

          Jenn says

          Amy, I could not have said that better! So very true! Many women have a completely wrong view and definition of submissiveness !

        • 3.1.1.4

          Lisy says

          Amen….I have been married for 43 yrs. and totally agree with you. Your daughter is blessed to have a mother like you. Keep up the good work!

      • 3.1.2

        Deana says

        The biblical word “submissive”, when used in context is a good thing…. I am a strong, self sufficient woman, fully capable of caring for myself and my child. But if a Godly husband is at my side, and I can let go of many things

    • 3.2

      Kris says

      Lori-I’m right there with you. There should be much more formally taught to those entering into Christian marriage. For heavens sake, you have to have formal training and a license to cut hair!

  4. 4

    jfred says

    Yes! Ours was a scrambled, 32 days to put together, on a super-super tight budget wedding! Dh had leave from overseas, and I had to make all the arrangements while working 3 jobs, and while 2 hours away from the wedding! But, he was there, and I was, and everything else didn’t matter! We got 3 really good photos from the bunch, 1 that I blew up super-sized, then cut a tiny 2×3 photo from to frame. And a bunch of cheesy pose forthe camera ones. But in them are pics of my grandparents, siblings, inlaws, friends I forgot were there…and I am thankful to look thru them (all 3×5″), and remember. There was nothing over the top, nothing much beyond 90′s wedding cheesy….but it was a happy day, and the beginning of our lives together. And I would not change one bit of it, nor would I pay one penny over what we did for something “great” or “magnificent”.

  5. 5

    Casey says

    As someone who is getting married in 47 days (sidenote: ahhhhh!) it has been a constant fight for my fiance & I remind everyone of this! People are surprised and even horrified that my groom ansd I are keeping the budget low in favor of investing in our marriage. I got a dress on Etsy for less than $200, and I care more about our vows to each other than I do about having the party of the year.

    I love this reminder, and I hope in 20 years I’ll be able to write a similar letter to my own children! Thank you for sharing this!

    • 5.1

      says

      I bought my dress off a clearance rack a year before the wedding, in fact, before we were officially engaged because, it was so plain and simple and since it was on clearance I feared they wouldn’t have that style again……….

    • 5.3

      Megan says

      Congrats on your upcoming wedding and marriage! My husband and I are coming up on 8 years and ours was a budget wedding as well about $200 head to toe for me. So many things (the perfect colors, flowers, isle decorations) seem so important at the time and they just aren’t. Mine are all sitting in a box. God bless the two of you!

    • 5.4

      Indi says

      Congratulations! Also I love your style. After being in 2 weddings in a 4 month period it confirmed that whenever I do get married I want it to be simple and debt free too. There’s something about a simple wedding (preferably in a dear friend’s backyard) where we could just spend time with friends and family rather than in a rush of pageantry that seems so much better. I hope your day turns put perfect and that people will understand and support your decision to keep things simple – undoubtedlyit will still be beautiful, and perfect since irs what both of you want. God Bless!

  6. 6

    Julie says

    I am re-posting this because I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote. My wedding may have not been a huge lavish pinterest worthy event. We still had a church service and a reception with food, cake, dancing, socializing and lots of laughter. The best part was, the celebration with our families and friends. I haven’t seen that many people smiling and laughing in a room together in a long time. We celebrated our friends and families coming together, and we celebrated our marriage. My husband and I have very fond memories of our wedding day and we have some of our wedding photos in our bedroom. Lavish wedding or not, I still married my best friend.

  7. 8

    says

    I recently wrote a series of posts on this very topic! http://www.justbethlawrence.blogspot.com/2014/06/dear-bride-to-be-series-tornado-that.html
    We’ve created a thing in this culture that I call wedding worship. I heartily “amen!” your words…
    “It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only.”
    Good word from a wise woman.

  8. 9

    Johnnal Salyer says

    I Agree! My husband I got married in his grandparent’s living room, me in an $80 dress from Fashion Bug! We did this by choice, it wasn’t a shotgun wedding. It was small, intimate and perfect! I have been to a great many weddings and helped with tons and I don’t regret my tiny wedding with it’s 15 pictures and 2 tiered wedding cake at all! I have no stress or heartache, no frustration or worry to look back on. I didn’t leave my reception starving or worrying about who would clean up. I have only happy memories from that day and 18 years of marriage to show for it! If my daughter wants big, I will give it to her, but big doesn’t make a happy marriage, God does!

  9. 10

    says

    if it makes you feel any better–we tried to plan but only had a $1000 budget (or atleast that was what my parents thought would be ample money) we were hoping to get married in a park, I was so naive, in fact, to the point that we had everything and then, 2 or 3 weeks before the wedding someone said ‘did you reserve the park’ why would we need to do that, can’t we just show up and have a wedding? you need to call and get permission–what? turns out, it was against the law to get married in the park……….I hadn’t budgeted for a location fee and sadly they were all over $1000 anyways, we could get married in our home town but the official we wanted to marry us wouldn’t travel (go figure) and finally, a week before we were to be married we were stressing about the wedding while preparing to go to vegas for my niece’s baptism and well, we ended up getting married in Vegas that weekend, it definitely made for some interesting stories, my older sisters paid for the wedding chapel which cost $350 and included a honeymoon in the stratosphere hotel….our first ‘argument’ as husband and wife was whether or not the person who wed us was man or woman, we agreed to disagree, his name was barbara

    • 10.1

      says

      oh, and I forgot—hubby (bless his heart) also forgot to request the day off….and well, turns out he was scheduled to work and they weren’t budging but he got the weekend before off to go to vegas, so we figured that was our sign

  10. 11

    Lynnea says

    I actually wore the victorian themed dress and a hat too.. the bridesmaids wore matching dresses with little purple flowers printed on them and carried baskets of flowers. The church was one that my Grandparents and parents and other family members had built.. literally. An uncle performed the ceremony and 2 of my aunts played the organ and piano and sung solos. In the fellowship hall (which was the original church) we had cake and punch and snacks and I opened all my gifts and personally thanked the givers. The cake was made by a friend of my mother in law and when we left everyone cleaned up and put away the tables and chairs. No alcohol and no dancing it was a pretty strict Christian church.

    Then we went over to my in-laws house. They wanted to feed their side so they had a big cookout. I was at a cookout in my wedding dress. But we needed to make everyone happy. Finally we made our rounds and said goodbye. I went to my Grandparents home to get changed and on the road to the honeymoon.

    And it was exactly what I wanted….

  11. 12

    Phyllis Blickensderfer says

    You pretty much described my wedding – sans fisherman – from 1961. We celebrated 53 years together this last May and (the Lord willing) we celebrate the 54th and some to follow. We do the celebrating with family – those by blood, by marriage and by the love shared with Christ. May your children always be wrapped in that love.

  12. 13

    says

    I love this. My husband and I got married in 1996 six weeks after we graduated college – I made my dress, along with all my bridesmaids’ dresses (they were floral, and the colors were burgundy and hunter green with some mauve accents) and my matron of honor was 6 months pregnant, I hung grapevine wreaths on all the windows in our fellowship hall/gym in an attempt to cover the grating meant to protect the windows from basketball/volleyball damage. After the cake & punch reception was over, we had a potluck with family and opened our gifts (many family members were from 100+ miles away). A family member gave us 2 nights at a nice hotel about an hour away, and then the remainder of our honeymoon was driving from Montana to Pennsylvania to start our new life together.

    The entire thing was less than $1500 total (the biggest expense was the pseudo-dried flowers that we used for bouquets & decor – my mom still has an arrangement made with those in her living room). It may not have been fancy, but we meant our vows that day, and I’m thankful that we were able to commence our life together without a ridiculously over-the-top production that left us drowning in debt.

  13. 14

    missy says

    Beautiful. Made me cry. I have two daughters 9 months and 4.5 yrs old. I can’t even imagine! I’m really looking forward to sharing this w/them one day.

  14. 16

    says

    Resounding AMEN from a mom of five daughters. The Pinterest culture has done us no favors. The day has very little to do with the work, joy, sacrfice, and love that is needed for the future.

  15. 17

    says

    This is a great post. Really a lot to think about. I had the dream wedding that ended up in a bridal magazine. I have the pinterest worthy photos. But now, eight years later, I want the GOD-worthy marriage. We’re working on it. It’s hard but we’re not giving up.

  16. 18

    Ann Marie says

    My husband to be wrote almost every word of our ceremony because that was important to him, we knew then (12 years ago) what it was about. Our reception was a total dud, with most of the guests leaving after half the room emptied for a large family picture, but we still have some of the “older” guests say “what a beautiful ceremony!”

  17. 19

    Cindy says

    Such wisdom! Should be required reading for all young girls! Also, I think your wedding dress is stunning!

  18. 20

    Heidi says

    Yes! Growing up in the 80′s my parents went to a lot of “fancy” weddings and my dad said he was convinced the length of the marriage was in direct proportion to cost of the wedding. In my dad’s estimation the more expensive the wedding the shorter the marriage. I joked he said that because he had 2 daughters. Obviously there are exceptions, but yeah . . . I think he might’ve been on to something.

    Our wedding was done “on the cheap” and I’ve long said I would change everything except the groom (my parents were moving from out of state and I had to go wedding dress shopping by myself so I bought the cheapest one–I didn’t love it and it didn’t even fit well), but our marriage is the most important thing to both of us!

    My in-laws have been married 56 years and my parents have been married 42 years so we have some great examples! (My mom sewed her wedding dress & bridesmaids dresses in 1972. My MIL got married in the dress she wore to her high school graduation the year before)

  19. 22

    says

    Ain’t it the truth! We were married 34 years ago in a church. We had simple decorations and a simple reception. When our daughter was planning her wedding, I thought, “WOW…times have changed!” She had a beautiful wedding, and we were thrilled to do it for her…but it’s easy to get out of control and lose focus on what’s important.

    What was so wrong with those little pastel mints and a can of mixed nuts? :)

    I have tried to hammer into my children that a wedding (or a certain size/style of ring) does not a marriage make. Because hard times? They will come. And they have to be about more than a Pinterest wedding board. And they are.

    Our son was recently married in a beautiful ceremony with a beautiful reception. And most of their wedding pictures were “lost” by the photographer. My daughter-in-law is crushed, and we are so sad for her. And so I am reminding myself…and her…that a wedding can be many things, but a marriage can be more. Thank you for this post.

    • 22.1

      says

      Many of our wedding pictures were lost during a digital download in between our picture taking time and reception. We have a handful of pictures of just my husband and I. It was heartbreaking when we found out. While it is really about the marriage and the vows you are making, it is still extremely sad not to have something tangible to remember the special day.

  20. 23

    says

    I am a wedding photographer and to this post I say “YES!” While the wedding magazine industry was doing a good job of portraying lavish weddings as the norm when I started shooting weddings 8 years ago, once Pinterest came on the scene it became even more so about the ‘photo op’ and even less about the marriage starting that day. It is rare for us to photograph a wedding day that feels truly grounded, and every year the percentage of weddings that leave me wondering how the bride and groom could ever look back on the money and time spent on that day without feeling utterly depressed increases. My husband and I were married by ourselves on a beach 10 years ago (my attempt to run away from the Grand Wedding Expectations), but looking back I do regret not having our families there–those people that play such a role in our marriage. When we photograph a wedding where the focus is on celebrating the start of a marriage and honoring the role the guests have played in their story so far and will play in their story to come, I rejoice. When we photograph weddings that seem nothing more than a display to end up on Style Me Pretty, I count down the days until I finish nursing school.

  21. 25

    Karen Gross says

    I have enjoyed reading the comments as much as the article! We come from different parts of the globe (I’m Canadian), we are different ages and stages of our lives, and yet women from everywhere have so much in common! I think that my Mennonite parents would have agreed with Heidi that the length of the marriage is inversely proportional to the cost of the wedding. I had a little over $1000 left of my student loan money, Hubby was living in a trailer court, but he had no debt and the trailer, his pickup truck and a muscle car (that he later sold to pay for my new kitchen cabinets), my parents kicked in $500 for a simple but hearty meal, his parents kicked in $500 for a brief honeymoon driving across the north western states in the muscle car (with no air-conditioning), and then back up to Alberta to spend a week with his parents.

    That was 26 years ago, in 1988. In my high heels and 80′s hair I towered over my dad as we walked me down the aisle. Now I have two daughters, and I pray that they will marry godly men who take care of them like their father has cared for me.

  22. 26

    says

    We worked hard to make our wedding pretty on budget. Our wedding was simple but it was meaningful and it expressed who we are and what we wanted our marriage to be about. It wasn’t at all lavish like you’d see on pintrest, not even like some of the other weddings I’ve been to. We couldn’t afford a fancy venue, dinner, a getaway car… I didn’t go to weddings for awhile because I felt bad that it was so simple and I didn’t want to see all expense my friends had gone to for theirs. However, eventually I came to learn that our wedding was exactly what it needed to be and like you said, ” starting our new life together debt and doubt-free was a gift to each other.”. We spent a lot of time before and after the wedding preparing for and building our marriage and that’s the most important part.A good marriage is the goal, not a fancy wedding. Our culture is so into wedding planning but cares so little about beautiful, lasting marriages.

  23. 27

    kelly says

    APPLAUSE!!!!! thank you Kristen!!
    out of my 3 girls…2 of them are Pinterest addicts!! the ONLY saving grace is i refuse to let them have their own accounts…its under one name…MINE..as will stay.
    My hubby and I also celebrated 20 years in July…even though apart on our actual day I really could look back and appreiciate everything we have been through..He IS MY PARTNER IN LIFE AND LOVE

  24. 28

    Allison says

    Thank you for this! My husband and I didn’t have a wedding, just a simple ceremony with the two of us and a very dear judge in our hometown. At times, I’ve regretted this, but after reading your article, I realize I don’t regret a thing! It was special to us and that’s all that matters.

  25. 29

    RefreshMom says

    Truth! It sounds like we had almost the same wedding, just 6 months earlier. (My colors were forest green and purple, and our reception was in the park across the street from the church.) As simple (and affordable) as it was, it was also very personal and unlike all the other weddings at that church that looked all the same. The flowers were fresh-from the florist live plants to go with my garden theme. My “soloist” was the high school choir I’d worked with for years. Our “rehearsal dinner” was a barbecue that included all of our out of town friends and family which gave us real time to visit with them (because after the wedding all you get to do is smile, shake hands, smile, take pictures, smile, cut the cake, smile…until you can’t smile any more!).

    If I had girls I think I’d ban all of the TV wedding shows (as much as I personally love all the weddingness). Hearing every single bride declare, “It’s MY day!” makes me sad/frustrated/fearful-for-their-future. The worst was on just the other night where she told her groom he’d get to choose the cake flavor. He was looking forward to his one bit of input into the whole shindig. And then she declared that she preferred the red velvet cake to the fresh strawberry (his choice) and since it was HER day, they were having red velvet. Methinks their marriage won’t last much longer than it took to plan HER day.

    My prayer is that my boys will choose to marry young ladies who recognize what you stated here, that the marriage is more important than any wedding. And that those young ladies will understand that the wedding is not the Bride’s day, but it is truly about the two of them becoming One. And they can’t become One as long as they are focused on MY.

  26. 30

    says

    –My wedding wasn’t much… but my marriage is more– YES. Yes to all of this. Thanks so much for this transparency on such an important topic. I have two little girls (1 & 3) so am just beginning this journey- soaking every nugget I can about how to raise them to love well and have the right perspective when the world might be telling them the exact opposite. Appreciate your perspective!

  27. 32

    says

    Love this! I feel exactly the same way. My girls & I love to watch wedding shows, but we always talk about how unnecessary most of it really is. They are 12 & 10, and they already plan for me to make their wedding cakes, search for inexpensive dress options, etc. They know all about my wedding – what it cost (& what it did not). It was a beautiful Christmas wedding – which means we were able to use the church’s Christmas decorations (lights, window greenery, etc), simple white poinsettias, and only had to rent a few candleabras. My aunt made my wedding cake (Mom & I bought all the ingredients – she just made it for me), and a friend did the food for the buffet reception (Sam’s Club buys – $300 total!). With help from family & friends, you can create a beautiful wedding & reception without spending a fortune.

  28. 33

    says

    I have never understood this wedding phenomenon that is vogue. A wedding is a party. A one day party where you wear a dress. It is a special dress but you wear it ONCE.

    My wedding cost $2500 (IN 1982) which included my dress, the reception and the photos. We held it a fire hall. People still talk about how much fun the party was.

    I am still married while many friends who had much fancier weddings are divorced. My husband and I were able to move into our first house right after our honeymoon and we retired early into our present house that we own without a mortgage.

    My parents had no money to pay for a big wedding and we were not going to start out in any more debt than we were already in from our mortgage and student loans. It is simply not worth it for a PARTY. To impress others….crazy.

  29. 34

    Amy B says

    I literally just lost my wedding rings today–exactly one month shy of our 10 year anniversary. Thank you for the reminder that all the “things” are unimportant. Our pictures (on film) were terrible, my flowers died, my dress was off the rack, and our entire wedding cost less than most used cars…and yet it was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had. Probably because we were celebrating the start of our marriage with our dear friends and family and not just throwing a party. Ten years later I keep that close to my heart. And now I add to the list by rembering that my ring doesn’t make my marriage either. Healthy kids, a loving husband, and the many blessings I’ve been given trump “all the stuff” any day.

  30. 35

    Jess says

    Beautiful sentiment definitely. But I also have to say come on. Most of the girls I knew 20 years ago had been “planning” their wedding since they were about 13. I say don’t knock these girls for using a tool to dream about what they think they want their day to be. I think we need to impart the other part of this message that getting married isn’t about that day, it’s about the rest of your life. Do you want to & can you afford to start your married lives together with a lavish party? Wouldn’t you rather put that towards a home/ your future so you don’t have to struggle? Each answer will be different but it’s an important discussion to have & keep having.
    As a woman who never thought I would get married (& am now engaged) yep I want a great marriage based in faith to the man of my dreams. I’m not going into debt to make it happen. It’s not really about the wedding day it’s about being married to him.

  31. 37

    says

    This was my wedding! We were in ’96, the homemade bridesmaid dress was peach, my dress was short sleeved, and we ordered pizza, but other than that, this was so much of what we had. Our service lasted 8 minutes because we took out almost everything except the vows. My florist and caterer (cake and punch church reception here too) sat in the back of the church and cried. They had been to hundreds of weddings, but told my mother that my wedding was more of a start to a marriage than any they had seen. I consider that to be the best thing anyone said about our wedding. Our weddings might not have been pin worthy, but this post was. I am so happy that someone else still thinks this way.

  32. 38

    Harrison Krenitsky says

    You are right on the mark. Marriage is not about being at an event, it is a about a lifetime commitment to a journey that will be filled with both joys and sacrifices for each other. It is not about being equal but instead about seeing and treating the other in and with equality; the equality found in the Spirit of Truth, Love, Forgiveness and Humility.

  33. 39

    Stacie says

    It was 1991.
    My accent colors were mauve and gray.
    handmade mauve tent-like dresses and very pregnant matron of honor- check.
    white off-the-shoulder sequined contemporary dress- check
    The reception was in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall- check
    There was dinner (no one ate because it was too hot)
    no dancing or enough satin to cover the drabness of the room- check and check.
    Sprite punch- check
    a delicious wedding cake- check
    groom’s cake (with a plastic fisherman on top)- nope
    and some mixed nuts-yup
    There were party favors- lacy potpourri bags
    No sparklers.
    The guests threw birdseed as we ran to the car- check
    condom on the muffler – nope
    We stopped at the airport where I dumped a pint of birdseed from my underwear on the floor of the bathroom- yuppers
    I can’t think of a single pin-worthy picture from the day- not a one
    There wasn’t a dance floor or fresh orchids and chandeliers hanging from trees- no, nope, and nada
    But I wouldn’t change a moment of it- AMEN!
    I think we had the same wedding. So glad it was all about the marriage. 23 years and still going strong!

  34. 40

    says

    This is absolutely beautiful, and so right on! Our wedding was simple and small, with only our immediately family there with us, and that’s the way we wanted it. On that beautiful day, never could we have imagined the trials, heartaches, and losses that were ahead of us in the years to come. And never could we have imagined how deep our love would grow over the years, and how the trials and heartaches would change us and grow us into different people. Marriage is about so much more than the big wedding, fancy reception, and delicious food; it truly is about becoming one and loving another person selflessly and learning that love covers a multitude of sins.

  35. 41

    Ann says

    Love this! It was my wedding too!! We had crazy dresses and for some reason the hose that my bridesmaids wore turned out to show up silver on the pictures :) The dresses were light purple..so, just picture that for a moment. My dress cost less than $100 dollars, we had cake from the grocery store and flowers from another grocery store and up until the last minute I forgot about decorations for the front of the church. They played the wrong music and my husband came out too soon. But, the vows were vows before a Holy God that we both love and abide in and we stood before Him and made a covenant. Those vows stand today through a house that is forever falling down, a husband with a brain tumor, a son with autism, and a life filled with love and joy that God graciously offers to us each day. I loved your article! Thank you for writing it and putting it out there for everyone to read!!

    • 41.1

      Colleen says

      I smiled broadly at the silver hose and purple bridesmaid dresses…and went on to tear up at the end. Lovely comment…God bless you!

  36. 42

    says

    remember I was hot. The air in the church wasn’t working. I had a lot of dress on. The sweat was running down my back. I was a nervous wreck. We asked the ushers to sit people on both sides of the church…not on her side and his side…but mixed together. They forgot – or people were stubborn. A lot was stressful. I hadn’t been able to eat in weeks. I was 123 pounds, an alll time low for me. Very unhealthy. Skin and bones. My dress was actually a bit big for me since I’d lost weight since the last fitting. I was marrying my beloved and despite what people thought, I knew it would last. Funny that he and I got married in a church, because we weren’t Christians at the time, but that foundation of being married in the sight of God, held us together. 1 Corinthians 13 stuck, and it became real as we grew up and faced seemingly insurmountable trial. To do it over? I’d marry him again, definitely in a church…but I sooooooooo would NOT stress over a dress, a veil, programs and birdseed. I remember all of that with angst and pressure. No to do it over, I’d have invested much more time working on our relationship. Now, looking back, I would be perfectly happy getting married in blue jeans and having friends over for a barbeque. It WAS fun to wear my wedding dress, but it is much more satisfying to have shared my life with Chuck for nearly 25 years.

  37. 43

    Dawn says

    I look at the comments before mine…I think – Such beautiful memories…such beautifuls comments”…I think – I cannot compare. then I understand – it is not about comparison. My husband and I have been mnarried more than 14 years. It is the 3rd (yes – THIRD) marriage for each of us…but more than that, it is the LAST marriage for each of us. We finally realized what GOD gave to us. A partner…a best friend…a confidante…etc….when we married, we had a very small, simple ceremony…..and to this day, it has proven to be THE most blessed, remebered, most sacred cdermeony we have EVER had….weddings are NOT about the “dress, or the rest”….the wedding is about the lives that are being committed….the sacredness of marriage…the holiness of it….

    Thank you for this blog. You have been SUCH a blessing to us! <3

  38. 44

    John says

    Dear future – I write this while living in an age of marriage idolatry, in age age where sex and children are a God-given right and responsibility. Even though I just celebrated 53 years of celibacy and am fine with that, you won’t know who I am. By the time you read this, same sex unions, pleural marriages, and marriage to dogs and cats will proobably be the norm. Because in this age of condoms on mufflers, everybody thinks marriage is no more than Sprite punch, party favors, and a couple of I do’s.

    • 44.1

      Carmine says

      Yes, same sex marriage equals humans marrying animals. Next thing you know they’ll be letting blacks and whites get married… oh wait! -.-

  39. 45

    Lorna says

    We celebrated 15 years of marriage this weekend. We got married in my sister’s apartment by an ordained minister we got out of the Yellow Pages. My husband was already stationed overseas. We felt the real gift was having our immediate family be present. I have never regretted the simplicity of our marriage.

  40. 46

    Jen says

    Fantastic post. My parents (divorced) split the cost of our wedding, and after I had a mini heart attack at how much my dress cost, my dad gave it to me as a birthday gift. We had a NICE (not lavish) wedding, with lovely flowers and food, fantastic cake, and 350 guests. Mom’s choice. Men in the audience cried during the ceremony, because we went into it, regardless of the day, knowing that we were starting a journey, and it showed.
    My dad and his wife paid for our 3-day honeymoon.
    We took a real honeymoon after we’d been married 2 & 1/2 years. It was much sweeter then.

  41. 47

    says

    This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read; and I’ve read quite a few in the past few years that I’ve been following blogs. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing it! I have boys, but would likely say most of the same things (though the oldest is still five so it will be a while)!

  42. 48

    Emily says

    We had 350 in attendance at our wedding, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My father is a pastor, and my husband was a member at another church. We had in attendance that day two church congregations, lots of family, and families that had a huge influence on my life from our previous churches. I was able to buy my gone at the sample price and got my veil and headpiece as gifts from family. We used a friend of the family to do the flowers and had fresh wildflowers (tons – along with Bells of Ireland and hydrangeas per my request) for around $600. We did feed everyone and have a cake since mine was a dinner time wedding, but that we also got on discount because the lady had done events and birthdays for my church and several families in my church. My choir director decorated as his gift to me. We had a guitar/mandolin as our only instruments at the wedding and a band (again on discount from connections) for the reception. Our children’s director did the video for free. Everyone danced, ate, and had a blast. Because we knew so many wonderful people, we were able to spend more time with each other and his son (I became a mom that day, too!) and working on praying for a Godly marriage than planning. Some planning was involved, but it was flawless so not much time was spent on it at all and zero headaches. We have so many incredible memories from that day, and the tips and stories from seasoned Godly couples we take with us still today. Yes it was a bigger wedding and “looked” big, but everyone chipped in because they love us so much, and God was the center of it all. The whole experience coupled with my Dad officiating gave us a great kick start to our marriage. Just wanted to say – just because it may be a little bigger, or with more food, doesn’t mean the couple left God out of the equation. I have known small, non fussy weddings result in heartbreak and broken families just as I have with larger weddings. If the heart of the couple, and those around them, are found whole in Christ and He is Lord and Center, THAT is what makes a wedding result in a successful marriage – not the size or amount of money spent.

  43. 49

    Nicole says

    LOVE this post!! Very wise words!! My husband & I just celebrated our 20th anniversary as well. I look back on our wedding and smile. My bridesmaids all hated their dresses (teal green, another favorite color from 1994!) We did pull off a wedding that I loved, nothing too big or too fancy, but just right! But the memory that people still talk about is this… My dad was handicapped, he had M.S. and was unable to walk. He rode in an amigo/motorized cart all the time (at the time of my wedding he had just gotten to the point that he was riding in that 100% of the time.) After my husband & I made our grand exit, we came back into the church to usher our parents out. I sat down on my dad’s lap and rode down the aisle with him. That was a PERFECT wedding memory. And now, 20 years later I still have people come up to me and say “What I remember most about your wedding was when you rode on that amigo with your dad down the aisle.” Nobody remembers the colors that you had, the flowers that everyone carried or even what kind of food you ate. It’s memories like that one that people hold on to, cherish and remember for years to come. Marriage IS hard work, and unfortunately in our days of Pinterest the idea of a MARRIAGE strictly means a wedding. We need to redirect our focus onto the next (hopefully) several years that we live as husband & wife!!!

  44. 50

    Olivia says

    A wedding is avery important and significant event and should be treated as such. BUT, you can emphasize the importance (the joining of two lives and two families under God) better when it is very simply and very tastefully done. I don’t think Jesus is going to have a shabby wedding feast for his bride, but the focus won’t be on that, although it will be wonderful, the focus will be on what is important… JESUS. A shabby wedding does not bring glory to Christ, but neither does a wedding that is focused entirely on elaborate decorations and an over the top wedding gown… that distracts from the meaning…. distracts from Christ. To treat a wedding as though it isn’t very important is wrong. It is very significant… a picture of our future wedding to Christ… but to place it on a pedestal as a god is wrong too.

  45. 51

    Val says

    My wedding was just one step up from going to the just of the peace. It was held in a church by a pastor who my family knew but not in a church I had grown up in. I was 17 and my husband 18. We were expecting….my parents didn’t suggest anything but this, nothing more. There were 13 people there in total. Two of whom were our witnesses. They brought gifts….two different sets of towels. My parents bought us a used car since my dad was in that business and my in-laws, a pull out couch and my father-in-law brought his camera. That is where everything ended. So for as much as everyone is on the don’t spend side of a wedding, I would differ. Even if someone is getting married like we did there is so much more that can be done to create an atmosphere of beauty while honoring God. Because we had become Christ-followers a few years after our marriage, we believe to honor Christ both with the ceremony and with our lives is of most importance. This is a church service, which most folks do forget. I think within a created budget, a day both the bride and groom will remember for the rest of their lives can be accomplished. I believe commitment from each other to each other and together to Christ goes before love. Love can wain or simply go away but a commitment to Christ and what He has for your life is the most important. So our goal in our daughter’s wedding day was to glorify God while creating an atmosphere of remembrance that they could go back to saying this is where we committed to God to love each other forever!

  46. 52

    Claire says

    Things like this are beyond ridiculous. Because women dream about their wedding day using Pinterest to help them remember good ideas they will have a doomed marrige? I don’t think young women dreaming of their big day is anything new. People who have ugly weddings have better marriages than people who have nice ones? I will remember that when my soon to be husband and I have our first fight. Man, we must be fighting because our wedding wasn’t ugly. Or when we reach our 20 year wedding anniversary I will stop and think, how did we get here? We didn’t have an ugly wedding. That sure makes sense. I understand keeping reasonable expectations and not blowing the bank but Pinterest has tons of cheap do it yourself ideas. Not using the resources readily available to you is just stupid. My “pin-worthy” wedding and the life after will be filled with love and happiness and wonderful family and friends and we’d thank you not to judge people based on the style of their wedding.

    • 52.1

      melissa says

      I think you are missing the point. She wasn’t saying that people who have perfect weddings have doomed marriages. She is saying that there is so much more to a marriage than the wedding & that is absolutely true.

      Today many weddings, & almost every other celebratory occasion for that matter is taken to the extreme. She just wants her girls to know that it doesn’t have to be “perfect” because that is not what it is about. We now live in the era of “Bridezillas” & shows about women “critiquing” (criticizing) other women’s weddings & choices. We live in the age of Kim Kardashians & other serial brides who repeatedly plan over the top weddings like it is a business & seem to have no clue to what the wedding is actually supposed to lead to.

      So of course you can have a perfect wedding & still have a happy loving marriage. I just think the author is saying that in this day & age where our society oozes the message of what a perfect wedding should look like, the younger generation is not grasping what it is really, deeply, truly about.

      Personally, this article spoke to me & really taught me something.

      • 52.1.1

        Carmine says

        Who are any of you to say that the “younger generation” doesn’t grasp it? All generations have said that about the generation after them. This generation is not as ignorant as you perceive.

  47. 53

    May Muntz says

    I read your post and was so encouraged as I read it. My husband and I were married for 36 years when he went home to be with the Lord. “Til death do us part” means more to me now than ever. We had a small wedding. My family alone would have amounted to 300 people, so we decided to invite aunts, uncles and several cousins. We had a reception of 50 people at my mom’s home. My best friends came to the ceremony, not the reception. They all understood that we felt the most important part of the day was our pledge before God at the ceremony. I have been to some lovely weddings. The ones that I enjoy the most are those with a meaningful ceremony, and the promise to remain close to the Lord, and with His help, to each other.

  48. 54

    says

    Our wedding was ugly too. We had a Maid of Honor and Best Man. I fell off the alter, literally, not a full plant your face in the dirt kind, but the totally missed the last step to my one knee kind. We had a nice dinner that served the 43 in attendance. My gown was off a sale rack for the grand total of $128.00. The most important guest was God. I was 19 and Steve was 22. Our “honeymoon” consisted of a trip downtown to a local hotel. Our destination was going to the “Old Market” (quaint part of out city) for a day AND we invited my parents to come along. That was 36 years ago. P.S. My parents had 3 in attendance at their wedding, two witnesses and God. They were 18 and 21. It lasted one month short of 40 years and only ending because my father was called home. So blessed. Thank you for writing this beautiful pearl of wisdom.

  49. 55

    melissa says

    thank you for writing this! my wedding was nice but not what you see on pinterest or lots of times in a TBT in a FB news feed. but i married the person i knew i would spend the rest of my life with. sometimes i feel bitter when i see the “perfect” wedding & then i find out the person was married before & had a “perfect” wedding that time too. but obviously as you state a perfect wedding does NOT equal a perfect marriage.

    sometimes i look back on my wedding day with little resentment because certain things went wrong. i often wished we had just eloped & left everyone else out of it. but this article made me realize none of that matters. we said vows that day that will last through this lifetime & next. our love for one another is bigger & better than any wedding we could ever throw, in fact no wedding would ever be good enough.

    thank you so much for sharing this. i have two boys but i will still ingrain into them that when they get married these things shouldn’t matter to them or their significant other. that if their love is strong enough the day they say “i do” will be perfect no matter what.

  50. 56

    says

    Oh my goodness, we almost had the same wedding!!! (mauve and green, dresses that weren’t cute on the girls, birdseed!, cake and punch and nuts and tulle. God bless tulle which is cheap!)
    Only ours was in 1991! And the marriage has been a thousand times better than the wedding here too. PTL! : )

  51. 57

    Magic & Gary says

    Just wanted to say that, that was very nice. you are right it isn’t about the wedding, We didn’t have the chance at a wedding. Gary came down on orders so while on his 30 day leave we got married at the JP in Dec or 2004 it wasn’t glamours at all, but this year will be 10 years. its been a great roller coaster ride. wouldn’t change it for anything!

  52. 58

    says

    This was a fabulous post! What a great reminder to young girls, single girls, and engaged girls alike. The wedding is just one day, but the marriage is a lifetime. Thanks for sharing!

  53. 59

    Linda says

    My husband and I will celebrate our 37th anniversary tomorrow. A strong marriage is when a husband and wife take turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak. This will help you sustain a long happy marriage. So go ahead and celebrate your big day because memories of that happy day can get you through many hard times. Accept that to have a happy marriage does not mean you will be happy every day. Make your wedding meaningful and fun. This does not necessarily equate to expensive.

  54. 60

    Robin says

    Exactly. I have been saying this to my children and to my students for the past 27 years. We will be married 28 years this year and I still am very happy with how we did my wedding.

    We had a small wedding and, frankly, outside our immediate family, I couldn’t have cared less who else was there. I still think it was lovely and remember fondly the sweet things people did to contribute to our special day. The planning was minimal and it was beautiful. Afterwards, we left on our three day, two night honeymoon in Niagara Falls, the Canadian side.

    Last September, my oldest daughter got married. It was a beautiful wedding in our woods. We did the decorating, we did the food with help of awesome friends. Everyone pitched in to make it a memorable, beautiful day. I actually had people thanking us for being invited. It definitely did not cost the same as the average wedding today.

    The marriage is the point of the wedding. How did we get so far away from that?

  55. 62

    says

    How adorably sweet. If I deiced to have a wedding (my partner and I are thinking of saving money and drama by eloping), it will be as simple as possible.

  56. 63

    says

    Oh girl. I got married 8/20/94. I think we had the same wedding, only I did have the long sleeved dress. In east Texas. In 300 degree heat. ‘Cuz I’m crazy like that. (Actually, we originally planned a Dec wedding, but moved it up a few months & landed in August.)

  57. 64

    Laura says

    How beautiful the truth can be! This post is perfection and spot on. I’m engaged and in the midst of planning a wedding I remind myself daily I need to pray for my marriage more than I need to find the right decor or menu. Thank you for this wonderful read!!

  58. 65

    Teresa says

    Thanks for your well written story about “my” wedding too. It wasn’t a pin worthy but it was mine and 32 years later wouldn’t trade a moment, but wish I had more pictures! Such as, a picture of my big brother crying while singing those beautiful, sappy songs I choose or my sister – in-law chopping ( I mean cutting) the cake. Those are what we remember – those special moments in time where our loved ones are.

  59. 66

    Lois says

    I’ve been single all my life, but I’ve seen a LOT of weddings from the inside, either as organist, photographer, or most anonymously, the person running the sound board and making the recording of the service in the church.
    I wholeheartedly agree about the focus of the wedding on the relationships – bride and groom to the Lord, and their desire for a godly home that honors Him, then on the people who participate in the couple’s life.
    I’d work through the rehearsal and listen to the culmination of the fussing I’d sometimes listened to for weeks. Most of the details didn’t make a hill of beans worth of difference even at that moment, never mind the minute the wedding was over.
    As the guests arrived I’d watch. So few ever paid the slightest attention to any of those things that were fussed about. The flowers had usually run into the thousands, and judging by the average guest’s face, they’d have noticed them more in a garden. Such a short time later those flowers and I were alone as I rewound the cords and put aways the mics.
    The few weddings I remember have one common denominator: the bride and groom so overflowing in love as they understood the joy and solemnity of what a wedding signifies, that all present were caught up in it. To my knowledge, each of those marriages is still going strong.

  60. 67

    Kysia says

    I was married close to one year before you. Except for the colors, we had the same wedding (Red and White on New Years Eve- nothing fancy in the reception). Even Honeymooned in Arkansas. 20 years is awesome! Going into my wedding, I remember thinking, “When this is done, I will be Chris’ wife and I can’t wait!” Through sickness and health, good times and bad, we’ve been stretched and blessed because of it. God has been so gracious. Our pastor told us, “To keep Christ at the center of the relationship you both have to work on moving towards Him to come closer to each other.” I’m thankful for that lesson and all the forgiveness lessons learned along the way. Thanks for sharing!

  61. 68

    Amy says

    This is a great blog post, even if I only have sons and no daughters. I just wonder if you’d be so kind as to post a photo or two of your wedding. It will be tough to out-ugly my 1989 gem, but I’d like to give you a chance.

  62. 69

    says

    I could have written this … except it was Christmas 1992. We DID NOT dance at weddings then … and hey, the church was already partially decorated for Christmas anyway, so we went with it! In any case, almost 22 years later, here we are – happier and more in love than ever. We’ve survived losing a baby, a job/ministry, and moved so many times I can’t begin to count. We’ve started over more than once – but came out stronger every time. I could go on – but your article says it all – it boils down to finding “the right one” (and who also knows THE ONE, God) who will love you unconditionally, always and forever.

  63. 70

    says

    Thank you so much for this blog! I am engaged and scheduled to be married in 8 1/2 months, though my fiance and I are praying, planning and scheming to find a way to marry sooner. Between the two of us, we have next to nothing, and our parents have even less. A lavish, or even just big wedding, is out of the question. I have been absolutely torn, wanting to be married as soon as possible, but also wanting a nice celebration because we won’t get to celebrate that moment again. Your post, and some advice from my sister, have helped me to feel very excited about a small, very inexpensive celebration. There is so much pressure put on brides with all the wedding glitz out there. But the wedding isn’t the big deal, the marriage is. So we’ll keep it simple, even if it is a little tacky, and we’ll love and laugh much. And why shouldn’t that be enough?

    • 70.1

      says

      You have the right attitude about this. It is hard to say “No” to all the glitz when it’s in your face all the time. But the love and laughter is what will keep your marriage strong. The wedding glitz is just one day, and the marriage is what is important. The love and laughter are forever!

  64. 71

    Lisa K. says

    I shared this with my “baby girl” getting married Aug 16, 2014. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories!

  65. 72

    says

    thank you for the voice of reason in a world where the emphasis is definitely on the wrong sylable these days when it comes to weddings! i am weary of hearing “but it’s my day” or “I’ve always dreamed of looking like princess” as an explanation for breaking the budget with a multi thousand $$ dress! so crazy! concentrating on the wedding instead of the marriage makes NO sense! it’s like dressing a horse up in a wedding dress rather than pay attention to the marriage and deal with the important issues related to the marriage long term!

    i married in 1968…yes, it will be 46 years this coming Sept. the time has flown. our wedding wasn’t beautiful either…certainly not by today’s standards. but we married and didn’t know better really.

    focusing on the marriage instead of the wedding will give a different perspective on things for sure! keep at it. i think you’ll succeed for sure!

  66. 73

    Emily says

    When I got married, everything minus the rings and professional pictures (which my parents paid for) was less than $1000. We had receptions at friend’s homes and did everything low key. I never wanted a big wedding, so the low key minimalist wedding and receptions were perfect. We had disposable cameras on all the tables for guests to take pictures with. I LOVE those pictures the best! It’s great to look back at all those who supported us, family and friends, some who aren’t with us anymore and smile at the memories. It’ll be 10 years next month for us and I’m very happy. I know many people spend a lot of money on weddings and I think it’s ok because that doesn’t really determine if a marriage will last or not. If we’d had more money or my parents, we would have done things a little differently. It’s just most important to realize you must have a good foundation when you get married or else it’s just a waste of money.

  67. 74

    Lisa says

    I used to watch the TLC show “Four Weddings” and was shocked at how much some of them spent on their wedding. I think the cheapest wedding I saw cost $20,000. I was also shocked at some of the complaints I heard from the other three brides. For example, one bride had sandwiches at her wedding, and one of the other three brides was like “Who has sandwiches at her wedding?” At another wedding, one of the brides was complaining about the lack of alcohol. (The only two options for drinks were ice water and sweet tea.) When I heard the comment about the sandwiches, I was thinking “There’s nothing wrong with having sandwiches at a wedding!” When I heard the comment about the alcohol, I thought “having booze at a wedding is not necessary.” A roommate of mine in college had a budget of $6,000 for her entire wedding. Another friend from college eloped with her fiancé a month after she got engaged. Like someone on Yahoo! said, “Weddings these days have become nothing but a circus.” If you want a huge wedding, that’s fine. You don’t have to have an elaborate, over-the-top party. Like someone else said, “The wedding is not the marriage. The wedding is the START of the marriage.

  68. 75

    Brianna says

    Beautiful! We got married at my hubbies grandparents house, them and his parents were the only ones there along with the justice of the peace. We left right after for our “honeymoon” at a b&b in a mountain town. We had pizza and an apple dumpling. We told ourselves that we would have a bigger wedding later until we looked back and realized it was perfect :) I was never one to dream of a wedding or to be married for the glamor of it, I think that clouds peoples judgement. I once told a friend that I wasn’t going to get married and have kids ect, he laughed and said I probably would in spite of myself, so I said well if I ever meet someone worth marrying I’ll be incredibly happy otherwise I wont do it. It all came true! I am a firm believer in true love now!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!

  69. 76

    says

    I loved this post! I too was married in 1994, my wedding color was rose, with a Victorian theme as well, plastic cherubs on the wedding cake and all. :) We took our own pictures, and went on a budget honeymoon around Oregon (our home state), and had the reception in a covered picnic area decorated my me and my hubby and sister and brother-in-law. I loved our simple wedding, and we too will be celebrating our 20th anniversary next month. Definitely an important post, loved it!! :)

  70. 77

    clairess says

    Ten years ago my husband and I got married in what I have always considered a beautiful ceremony. He and his groomsmen and the ring boy all wore kilts and I and the bridesmaids all had dresses made by my mother and a friend. The kilts were the most expensive item at the wedding. ($500lThe venue (local fairgrounds) under a pine canopy next to a pavilion was free. As were the chairs from the fair building. All our dresses were made from one bolt of cloth and we were able to have 20 dozen roses brought to Arkansas from Tyler Texas with my maid of honor for two dollars a dozen. The cake was paid for by my grandmother and I think it was about $200. Pictures were taken by a family friend who was just starting out and she made it my wedding gift (they are beautiful) we did splurge and rent a punch fountain and I bought some silver goblets for our first drinks. But even with invites, hair and make up, thank yous and all the little stuff I think we did it for less then $1000. We did not get a honey moon at the time but we are planning a week long get away next summer and honestly with three boys I think I need it much more now then I did then ;) I see these shows and magazines with all the over the top budgets and all I think is we bought our first home for that…. I’m so glad we did not start our lives based on that kind of debt!

  71. 78

    Crystal says

    My husband and I have been married for 31 years. I hand sewed my dress, made my flowers and my cake. We spent a total of $200.00 on our wedding. We have had our ups and downs. But love has always been there to get us thru. It shouldn’t be about the money. It should be about forever. Thank you for your words of wisdom to your daughter and all the daughters out there. I have two getting married next year, I pray they read this and take it to heart.

  72. 79

    Lisa says

    After attending many weddings — from the simple to the over-the-top elaborate — and then following the marriages afterward, I came to this conclusion:

    The more expensive the wedding, the shorter the marriage.

    Maybe it’s not an “absolute” but it has proven true more times than not. The two most expensive weddings I attended didn’t even last a year. Ours was a big, fun affair but not too much was spent on it. I borrowed my dress and my bridesmaids rented their dresses for $35 each. I used my aunt’s burgundy and ivory Christmas decorations (December wedding) and family members contributed reception food. We danced, ate, laughed and celebrated into the night. 25 years later, people still comment on how much they enjoyed our wedding. It can be done, and done well, without breaking the bank. You’re absolutely right — it’s the beginning of the marriage that is so much more important than the venue or the decorations.

  73. 80

    Corinne says

    This sums up everything I have told myself over the past two years. I got married last summer as a new college grad marrying a new college grad. With a small budget (we paid for the wedding ourselves – mostly) and not many resources in our small town, we had a church wedding with a reception in the downstairs fellowship hall (all free). We had some snack food, a candy buffet, cake, tea, and lemonade, but no fancy dinner, dancing, or drinks. I made my own wedding jewelry, bought my dress online, and did my own hair and makeup.
    As high school sweethearts, we had waited 7 years for this day. I struggled with what people would think about my wedding and what if it wasn’t fun or fancy or didn’t live up to modern expectations. I told myself over and over again that a wedding is a beautiful thing, but the marriage is more important. I tried to remember to focus on not only preparing for my wedding day, but also to prepare for marriage and my new role as a wife. It wasn’t easy to listen to people’s reactions when I said there wouldn’t be fancy reception with alcohol, dinner, and dancing, but I knew that it would all be ok. I knew our wedding day was about our marriage and that I would enjoy it no matter what because I was marrying the love of my life. My wedding day was one of the best days of my life (if not THE best) and I cried the whole day from happiness and excitement. I look back on that day as one of my fondest memories and wish I could relive the whole thing over and over again.
    I still struggle sometimes when I see elaborate weddings and briefly wish I could have done all of that; but then I remember that I had the perfect wedding because I married a man that loves and cares for me in the deepest way possible. A little over a year later, I am even more in love and even more grateful for the wonderful husband I have. Nobody can buy that for a wedding :)

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    Laura Cyr says

    My husband’s and my wedding was done on a tight budget–in the late “70′s, under 500, with food, dress and his clothing, flowers, all……it was very small-40 or so,,,,,,,families grow, and so goes it for the next generations. However, weddings can be done for a reasonable amount of money if planned right. I planned for both my daughters, and for $5000 each, all inclusive with carriages, vintage cars for the wedding party, tents, live music for one, and dj for the other, with a full spread of food 1 for 200, one for 300 people, if done right, it CAN be done….no need to spend thousands upon thousands. There are things we remember–the carriage coming in as the ring bearer lost the ring, and everyone was looking for it, and not the bride LOL, The eagle that flew out of the creek bottom, right over the bride and groom as they said their vows, for the other daughter, the elk that laid on the mountain, listening to the music and good times, the elk that bugled during the ceremony, the double rainbow over the reception. The family getting along and laughing and having a great time,,,,family we had not seen for years……..yes, this was the total cost for each wedding, and worth every penny. The brides and grooms also contributed, with work, and finances, and it was worth it!! But bottom line is…….great weddings do not have to bankrupt parents……All the brides and grooms were on board with working hard–flower arrangements, landscaping, planning, cooperating, no fighting. That is what makes a wedding so wonderful!!! Many great memories for all forever. That is a wedding!!

    • 81.1

      Laura Cyr says

      BTW–4 grandkids later, they all–both brides and grooms, and all the grandkids are best friends, and spend numerous hours together………that is what it is all about!! Love my family!!

  75. 82

    sam says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Other than the date and colors, you described our wedding (and Arkansas honeymoon) to a T. As of July 2nd we were married 25 years ago in a small church at Yale, OK. Didn’t have enough $ for a real wedding ring set. So we got a set of rings from a local jeweler and put diamonds from my mother’s wedding band in them. (I had inherited them the previous year when she was killed in a car accident.) My wife’s aunt made the cake and the church pastor (my pastor since I was a small child) declined his fee knowing we didn’t have any money.

    Looking back I can honestly say it was the best dumb decision we made. Has it been perfect? Very few times has it ever been. Would I trade one minute of it for perfect? Never!

  76. 83

    Trista says

    I just want to say ‘Thank You’ for sharing this. I am a frazzled fiancee, planning her wedding. I was never the little girl who dreamt of this day. I expectrd to be married poolside in my bathing suit like my parents. But my fiancee is from a big family and wishes for the traditional church wedding and as I try to plan this for him I find myself loosing sight of what this day truly means for us. So again thank you for putting it so eloquently what this day is supposed to mean for those of us who start this journey.

  77. 84

    Ginny Vaughan, Fisherville, Tn says

    The trend toward lavish, $40,000 to $150,000 weddings is an attempt at a sad compensation for lack of purity. Every single heart has a deep knowledge of and longing for, purity of both bride and groom on the night of the wedding. Our culture, however, no longer supports and even derides, purity. Next to the personal salvation of both the bride and groom, purity is the most critical requirement of a good marriage. Lack of mutual respect because of irreponsible, pre-marriage behavior kills marriage . Obviously. It’s why over half of all marriages fail.

  78. 85

    Jan says

    We got married in 1977. I made my bridesmaids’ dresses (a light blue small flowered print) but bought my own for $300. The thing I wanted the most was a tiered cake that was hexagonally shaped. Only white, please as blues can get funky. And what did she do? Trim it in blue. Our cake and ice cream reception was fine for our 2:00 ceremony. I can’t imagine competing with a Pinterest wedding today! There were many times I would have bailed out if I could, and I’m sure he would have too, but we made promises to God and each other. And God has honored us because we’ve been obedient to Him.

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    says

    Thank you SO much for writing this! I am pinning it to save it. Very well said. A wedding should reflect the ultimate celebration of Jesus and His bride. I am often so saddened by the lack of biblically based teaching on the subject of relationships between young men and women in the American church (in general). Thank you for sharing these precious thoughts. May they reach far and wide! ~christine

  80. 87

    Kelly says

    Thank you! My wedding is in two weeks and I’ve spent countless night awake worrying about the details. While in my head and in my heart I know the day is about so much more than the lists in my head, I am a natural worrier. This really put the day into perspective, so again thank you!

  81. 88

    says

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been trying to tell the young girls. I also didn’t go have a pedicure with all my bridesmaids, get a facial, or even have my hair done by a beautician. I did it myself. There was no bachelorette party, but after the rehearsal we came back to my parents’ house and I gave my best high school friend (and one of my bridesmaids) a surprise birthday party (just cake) because my wedding day was her birthday. I sat down by my grandpa and asked him, “What do you think of all this fuss, Grandpa?” but before he got to answer (he was a quiet man who didn’t rush his words) I was called off to meet some social obligation. That was the last time I talked to my grandpa who died 8 months later of a sudden heart attack. I always wish I’d sat there and listened to his wisdom. We had a short wedding (35 minutes and a short cake and punch reception (about 1 hour) because we didn’t want to make people spend their whole day on us. I know that the wedding is about the Bridal couple, but I think we need to encourage young people to think about others, too.

  82. 89

    Cookie says

    We got married on Dec. 30, 1970 in my parents’ living room in Houston, TX. My husband’s parents, my parents, my sister (who was my bridesmaid), my guy’s hometown friend to be his Best Man and my grandmother because she always came to my parents’ house for Christmas and stayed through new Years’ (She probably thought we rushed into a marriage because I was pregnant, but I wasn’t.) And the preacher from my husband’s hometown in West Texas, about 450 miles away.
    PLUS my despised ex-boyfriend (who also had moved into my guy’s room at college, when I broke up with the ex-boyfriend because I was in love with my guy.) He just showed up at the door the morning of the wedding and someone let him in! We had a spray of white gladiolas on the piano and a two-tier wedding cake. No music, just a simple ceremony. We left and “honeymooned” by driving the 550 miles back to the town where we’d gone to college, where we’d rented an apartment.
    Still great after all these years!

  83. 90

    says

    What a wonderful post and so very true! I want my girls to know the same truths! A wedding lasts but a day… your marriage should last you a lifetime. Let’s focus on the more important part.

  84. 91

    Crystal Rutherford says

    I feel quite the same way. We’re going on two years now and we’re not regretting our “Let’s go down the courthouse and get this show on the road!” We had an informal “re-creation” of our “wedding” which was horrible and not well thought out, but it was ours. Not only that, but we also recognized that marriage is not the wedding day, it’s the lifetime. We’ve never felt worse for wear about not having a full blown wedding (though, I’ll be honest, I kinda wanted a wedding dress and we were a little bummed about missing out on the presents! :P) But when it comes down to it, my husband and I love each other. It’s not, and never was about the wedding. Not for us any way. :)

  85. 92

    April Etheridge says

    I absolutely love this! I shared it with my daughters. I also married in 1994 and looks like we had the exact same dress and very similar wedding and reception in the fellowship hall! Thank you so much for writing this letter-In this pinning world we now live in- the focus is being drawn away from the marriage and placed on the wedding. I am so thankful for my sweet simple ceremony and 20 years and counting!

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