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The Marriage Planning Checklist

One of the most cringe-worthy comments I hear as a planner who was once herself married, is when couples say “we are so ready for the wedding and the honeymoon when all of the hard work will be over!”.

Yall. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, so if you are having a rough day-- you may want to skip this post and come back to it another day. If not, put your big girl panties on and buckle up.

The wedding is the easy part! That’s right. I said it. All of the planning, checklists, vendor appointments, and writing thank you cards for gifts you may or may not have registered for-- that’s the gravy, baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that planning a wedding can be stressful, but if that is what you are setting as your Finish Line, we’ve got to have a chat or two before I fluff your dress and send you down that aisle.

We will literally pour blood, sweat, and tears into making your wedding day picture perfect, but please understand that there is a greater intention for us behind all of that work. Do we want you to have a fairytale day? Absolutely. But we want that for you because we know that it is the first day of the rest of your life.

There will be countless days in your future spent in yoga pants on day three of dry shampoo, grumbling about a messy house, and the fact that that hunky husband of yours forgot to take out the trash before work like he promised. And it’s on those days that you will want to look back through your wedding photos, reread the vows that you wrote to that hunky hubby of yours, and remember that y’all are in it for the long haul.

Statistically, 45% of marriages end in divorce. I am a part of that statistic. As someone with firsthand experience, I can attest to the fact that a marriage will fail if you are not both actively putting in a seeded effort to make it work. Some days that looks like couples therapy, others it may look like picking up his dry cleaning or planning to surprise her by cooking her favorite meal after a hard week of work.

It means picking up the slack when one of you is in a tough season, because you know that they will do the same for you when the time comes. It means communicating with one another, growing with one another, and loving your partner as you both change and grow.

It means loving that person when you don’t like them, voraciously defending them, and working to be a better version of yourself, because that is what they would want for you as well.

One of my top three favorite moments of the wedding day is the anniversary dance. When all married couples take the floor, and begin dancing, and one by one they leave, until only the couple who has been married the longest remains.

I love scanning the dance floor while it’s still full, to try and make guesses as to who will still be there when the song is nearly finished.

I love watching how those couples who have been together for 40+ years move with such ease, barely having to check in with one another about what move will come next, because at this point their bodies just know from muscle memory.

I love when the DJ stops to ask this couple how long they have been married, and then asks them to offer up advice to the newlyweds. Typically, it’s something along the lines of “Learn to listen to one another, support one another through your bad seasons, and put God at the center of your marriage.”

I love all of these nuggets of wisdom, but if I was the last couple standing in the middle of the dance floor, my advice would be this: “Never stop praying for your partner, even on the days when you question their decisions. Understand that they are human and will make mistakes, and that it’s your job to love them through it. Support their goals and ambitions, and recognize when they need to take more than they can give. This is going to be harder than you ever thought possible, but if you wake up every morning and decide to make it a beautiful marriage, a beautiful marriage is what you will have.”

I make no claims to be an expert on marriage, but I do feel confident in my knowledge of weddings. With that in mind, let me encourage you to take the commitment of marriage very seriously before you walk down the aisle.

We love weddings, but we love seeing successful marriages and couples that have become stronger as their marriage continues even MORE. So take the time before the wedding, to put in the work. Go to premarital counseling; have all of the hard make or break conversations like kids, politics, religious views, and money-- because those things won’t just go away if you avoid them.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a downloadable Marriage Planning Checklist to offer you that makes things easy and stress free. But I will leave you with this; On the days where you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up-- remember that couple who was still standing at the end of the anniversary dance on your wedding day. Remember that they endured wars, economic crisis, and a whole list of other things we could never even imagine in today’s society, but they worked through it.

So before you walk down the aisle, get really honest with yourself and see if you're willing to work through the good times and bad. If you are-- awesome. And if you're not-- that's okay too. But let's try to get that figured out BEFORE you say I do, yeah?

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