Meg over at A Practical Wedding is running a great feature right now: Brides who have made it to the other side and have come back to share their post-wedding wisdom.
It's refreshing to hear them echo much of the same sentiment again and again: the details don't matter as much as we thought they did before the wedding. Community, connection, commitment, and fun do.
It's easy to see why the details feel like they matter. There is a multi-billion dollar industry that bombards us with magazines, TV shows, and advertisements that scream: "The details are everything!" The professional photography that we see from weddings exacerbates the situation: the shoes, the centerpieces, the cake...all of these images convince us that our guests really are looking at those things. And if our guests are looking at those things, then we sure as heck better focus on them.
There's also the DIY, hand-crafted movement that celebrates the details. For lots of us, it's fun to make favors or hair accessories.
I think the trick when you're planning a wedding is to remember that it's very, very easy to see the world through wedding lenses. The details--for a lot of us--tend to feel way more important than they otherwise would. Everything gains a significance that it otherwise wouldn't. We're at risk for focusing more on the wedding than the actual marriage.
The decisions we make while planning a wedding should be filtered through an awareness of the wedding lens. We should ask ourselves, "How would I feel about this if I weren't in the middle of planning a wedding? Is there something else I should be thinking about or doing that would develop my post-wedding life more?" I'm not saying you won't still have those crazy moments. But at least you'll have a mechanism in place for re-grounding yourself as needed.
I included an image of some thank-you cards I just picked up at the Target clearance. The Wedding Industrial Complex tells us that our thank-you cards have to coordinate with our invitations and our colors and our wedding theme. The DIY movements tells us they have to be made with a Gocco or designed by an artist.
But when the wedding is said and done, the aesthetics matter less than the sentiment. What matters is the message on the inside and how sincere and personal it is. Of course those two things aren't mutually exclusive. The details of our weddings can be both aesthetically pleasing and full of sentiment. But we have limited time, and the more time we spend thinking about one, the less time we have to think about the other.