My fiancé David, my mother, and I were walking outside of the cake shop; the spring sun was shining, although the air retained winter’s chill. David suggested that in order to stay within budget we might get a smaller cake.
“But I really think we need to have three tiers on the cake, otherwise it will have no presence in the room,” I heard myself saying.
And then I may or may not have started crying. Clearly, the stress of wedding planning had gotten to me.
That was nine years ago. The memory still embarrasses me.
I generally consider myself a laid-back person with simple tastes. But when it came to planning my wedding, I sometimes found it hard to restrain the bridezilla. I blame part of this on the fact that I worked as a waitress at a country club for almost eight years before getting married, and the fancy receptions I served at may have warped my expectations.
But for any bride, there can be the sense that your wedding has to measure up. There can be so much pressure coming from so many directions—the companies that want to sell you your “dream wedding,” family members, your own towering expectations.
It can be a subtle pressure, and you might not realize just how much pressure you’re experiencing until you find yourself having a meltdown outside of a cake shop and wondering what in the world is happening to your normally happy-go-lucky self. At least, that’s how it happened to me.
After leaving the cake shop and getting a good night of sleep I was able to recognize that I was letting my priorities get out of whack. I knew that while a wedding can be a beautiful celebration of a marriage, the marriage matters much more than the wedding. And the kind of wedding I had was not going to make or break my marriage.
I thought of my grandparents—one of the most loving couples I know—and recalled how they had a simple ceremony after church one Sunday with a low-key reception in the church hall. That was normal then—people didn’t think it was necessary to spend small fortunes to get married.
They said their vows, and they meant them. And that’s what carried them through.
Looking back, I wish I had better kept in mind the distinction between what is essential and what is trivial. What is essential at a wedding is that a couple is bound by commitment, two people become one. The height and elegance of the cake is obviously a trivial detail.
The funny thing is, I honestly can’t tell you how many tiers my cake ended up having. I think I was too busy on the wedding day to even look at the cake. Instead I was smiling at my husband and embracing family and friends who had traveled from around the country to support and celebrate us.
So, lovely bride, looking forlorn because some small wedding detail is out of place—don’t sweat it. Focus on your fiancé. Appreciate those who have come to support you. Say your vows. And then go live them.