I haven’t been married very long. In fact, it’s been less than a year since we tied the knot. So when my cousin who’s in the thick of making preparations for his own wedding asked me the other day, “How did you do it?!” I totally understood where he was coming from. My memories of the rollercoaster ride that can sometimes be the wedding planning season are still very fresh in my mind.
When it comes to the period of planning that precedes a wedding, every couple’s experience is unique. For many, the sheer number of things to stay on top of can be overwhelming. There’s usually a lot to figure out, decide on and plan. And even when other people make it a point to remind you that the most important part of the whole thing is actually the part that comes after the wedding (i.e. the marriage), it does little to ease the pressure of knowing that you’re only going to get one shot at putting on an event you can be proud of.
I’ve been there; I understand.
Thankfully, when I went through my wedding planning season, God gave me a number of strategies which proved really helpful to us as we navigated the highs and lows we encountered along the way. For instance, He revealed to us that there were three things we couldn’t afford if we were going to make it through the process in one piece (and by that, I mean maintaining our joy, remaining perpetually at peace and basking in God’s grace and glory all the way up to our wedding day – which would be amazing if we did things His way). The three things were Tiredness, Busyness and Prayerlessness. Consequently, these three words went up on the whiteboard in my room:
• REST • FOCUS • PRAYER •
Here are some reasons why resolving to be intentional about these three things in the run up to your wedding might be helpful to you as well.
Wedding preparations tend to involve making lots of decisions and choices; decisions around money, dealing with family and other close relationships, aspects of the wedding and so on. You are more likely to make rash decisions and handle things badly when you are not well-rested. Allowing yourself to get too tired can also put you in a position where it becomes difficult to clearly discern the heart of God on situations that arise, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to be discerning during this season, especially if you’re a Christian couple.
If keeping your health in tiptop condition in the run up to your wedding is of any importance to you, then making sure you’re getting enough rest is crucial. For one, it is much easier to think creatively and figure out alternative plans and solutions, as well as tackle issues of conflict when you are well-rested. The ability to do these things effectively should help to reduce the likelihood of getting unduly stressed out and releasing harmful toxins in your body.
The wedding preparation season can be quite a glorious one in a person’s life, with everyone treating you a bit more special than usual. You want to try and enjoy the process as well as the blessings and perks of that season while it’s still around, and not have to spend time worrying instead about poor health and regretful decisions you’ve made in moments of fatigue.
However many tasks you find yourself inundated with as you prepare for your wedding, the good news is that they have an expiry date and that’s the date you have picked for your wedding. Come that day, whatever is not yet done will have to be left undone. Inevitably, there will be some tasks which are more important to complete than others and depending on who you are, the tasks which fall into this category may be only a handful or a lot. Whatever the case, if you don’t stay organised and make suitable plans to get them done, you are simply inviting anxiety to creep in and steal your joy.
Just for this season (and especially as you get closer to the wedding), it may be a good idea to reduce your participation in non-crucial activities in order to get all your wedding preparation tasks completed. Particularly if you’re the type that cares greatly about having a ‘dream wedding’, come that day you will want to be able to rest in the knowledge and satisfaction that you did your best to make your desires for your special day a reality.
If you’re the sort of person that normally has a busy calendar with activities popping up all the time, you should probably make an effort to protect your schedule and prioritise wedding stuff whenever you need to. If you don’t, you might find yourself rushing about until the very last minute and possibly in a situation where everyone else ends up enjoying your wedding more than you because you’re so busy stressing about things you should have sorted out ages before.
For firm believers in Jesus Christ, marriage is a deeply spiritual thing to undertake and from all indications, the enemy doesn’t just sit around and watch marriages happen in the body of Christ without at least trying to throw a spanner in the works. It is in the place of prayer that such battles are really won.
When two believers are preparing for marriage, (the wedding day being symbolic of when this union actually takes place), there is a large number of things that can go wrong. I find that plans often fall apart, seemingly insurmountable issues often crop up and an interesting side of people’s characters (especially those of family members and close friends) tends to be displayed. In fact, the only thing that remains a guarantee during this spiritually-charged season is that God will be God from the beginning all the way through to the end.
Hanging out with God consistently during this season of your life will render every curveball that you encounter powerless over you and pay you more dividends than any other activity you choose to undertake will. He cares about the tiniest details of everything that concerns you – including every aspect of your special day. The blessing you need to crown this season of your life is best found in Him, so spend time with Him and you’ll be amazed at the guidance, provision and protection He makes available to you in this season.
In the run up to our wedding, we faced a lot of opposition and many unexpected challenges. It felt like we were constantly running into brick walls and having to scale hurdles. But for the strategies that God gave us early on in the process, many of the obstacles we came up against would have severely crushed our spirits. We had to trust God and focus only on things which were within our control (which is never easy to do especially when there are several other things trying to distract you!).
We couldn’t control our vendors, or family, or guests, or unexpected situations, but we knew that if we stuck to the strategies God had given us, He would take care of everything else. We had a choice to either do that and go through our season of planning sane, happy and at peace, or to ignore itall and go through the process troubled and stressed out. We chose the former and can testify to the fact that God did indeed keep us sane, happy and at peace – and exceeded our expectations of our wedding significantly!
Dear Bride-and-Groom-to-be, as you navigate the process of planning your own wedding, you have the same two options before you. I hope that you’ll make the right choice. I also hope that you find these pointers somewhat helpful and I pray you have an amazing wedding day and an even more amazing marriage!