About two months ago, I got to be a bride again when we renewed our vows. It was a beautiful, perfect day, and it definitely got me thinking about how different our two ceremonies were. Our wedding was full of the typical stresses. But our vow renewal? Nothing stressful about it!
After experiencing both my real wedding and then a vow renewal over a decade later, I felt like there were some things that I wish I’d known when I was actually a bride-to-be.
1.Bigger isn’t always better.
When we got married in 2008, we thought we had to have a big guest list. (And we had a small wedding, so “big” isn’t actually the word here.) So we invited everyone and had the typical wedding and reception. It was, obviously, one of the most important days of my life. But then for our renewal, we had 12 people–and that included our kids and us. So really, 8 people that don’t live with us. And it was so intimate and special and lovely…I thought to myself: why doesn’t every single bride do this!?!?!
2. You don’t need a fancy reception.
Yes, our wedding reception had SUPER GOOD food. Or at least that’s how I remember it, because I was such a stressed out bride-to-be that eating at the reception was the first eating I’d done in quite some time. But come to find out, you can just feed everyone pizza and breadsticks in a beach house rental and everyone is just as happy. No need to spend all that money feeding people.
3. Outdoors is where it’s at.
Getting married in the dead of winter during a blizzard meant all our pictures were inside. The pictures were…fine…but looking back at them I just longed for something more magical. So we knew when we did our renewal, it would need to be outside. And for optimal pictures and to nod to our favorite place, it would need to be at the beach. The pictures were exactly what I’d always wanted.
4. Weddings don’t have to be expensive.
Sometimes, my sister tells tales of weddings she’s gone to, or bachelorette parties she’s attended, and I cannot imagine the cost of all this. We got married in a simpler time, when the people around us didn’t need to travel to another state for a bachelor/bachelorette party, you didn’t need to invite everyone you’ve ever met, and the bride’s dress didn’t have to cost several months of mortgage payments. Listen, ya’ll. I’ve felt like a FREAKING PRINCESS in two different white dresses now…and the first was $99. Eleven years later, I bought my second dress for $139. We did our whole beach wedding for so cheap it would shock you. And that includes staying in a condo on the beach for a week. Don’t spend all your hard-earned money on one day. Do a cheaper wedding and save the rest for a house. 😉
5. Stop and enjoy it.
Your wedding day is so fast and so busy that you find yourself asking what even happened. There’s a lot of our wedding day that is just a total blur. But when we renewed our vows, I KNEW how much I wanted to savor it and remember every moment. So rather than trying to force perfection (especially with two kids!), I relaxed and had one of the best days I can ever remember.
Whether you’re getting married, re-married, or planning a vow renewal, I hope my experiences and thoughts will help you have the most beautiful day you can dream of. Congrats!