What's Really Most Important About Your Big Day

A personal essay on what matters most.

What's Really Most Important About Your Big Day

Photo: Susan Bordelon

You're six months out, and what's the truth?

Right about now you may be asking yourself, "Are the flowers I’ve chosen going to come in season in time for my wedding? Is the color story I’ve dreamt of going to work in the ballroom? Is my style too contemporary to withstand the test of time? Should I fall back to a classic traditionalism so my photographs will always look “right”? What if the weather turns and we get rain? What if the florist is late? Why did I choose acid green with chocolate brown? Why is this all so expensive!!! Agghhhhh!!!!!“

But honestly, what’s the truth?

I ask myself that question often. It’s a tool for me, actually. What is the truth? When I ask that question, it stops me and makes me really think. I always take a deep breath. I always let out a peaceful sigh. And in that single moment, I find the truth. It’s generally not my truth -- you know, the one where I get my way, on my terms, all the time -- but I do believe that when I stop, take a deep breath, and settle myself long enough to truly listen, God always provides me with the real truth. That truth that is good for everyone, that truth that pushes us to be better and stronger people, that truth that serves a greater purpose over a longer period of time.

I’m impressed and reminded each day by certain undeniable truths in our lives as I work with couples toward realizing their wedding celebration. What’s the truth? Family is the foundation of all that we do. Friends are the “super glue” that keep our frayed edges from splitting. Animals are the angels that lighten our loads and remind us to play every day. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We are all here to serve one another with the intent of serving a greater purpose. We are all free in our world to pursue those things that bring us happiness. These are the truths that we hold to be self-evident.

And what’s the truth about flowers? What’s true about flowers is that there is no ugly flower. There couldn’t be an ugly flower -- its truly impossible. The star jasmine climbing the terrace ballister; the French lavender reaching daisy sneaking under the bench; the chamomile and the oaxalis and the crabgrass playfully popping up everywhere we don’t want it to... all beautiful. None of them are a mistake.

When you look back on your wedding photos five years, ten years, fifty years from now, you’ll see a lot of things. I can promise you, however, what you’ll see as most important. You’ll see your mom and your dad. You’ll see your life’s partner, your brother, your sister... you’ll see all the brilliantly beautiful faces of your friends raising glasses in your honor... you’ll see one powerful moment in your life when you said “I do” in front of an altar, or under an arch, or chuppah where your God’s power was summoned in a joining of your two souls. Yes, in your hands you’ll see a beautiful bouquet -- perhaps garden roses, or long stems of calla lilies, or a pomander ball of oak leaves. Yes, you’ll see tables at a dinner reception loaded with beautiful stems of hydrangea or peonies in beautiful cachepots or vases. Yes, you’ll see a towering wedding cake layered at each tier with gardenia blooms or stephanotis, in a classic ballroom or a canopy, draped in lustrous taffeta embellished with passion flower vines or creeping fig. But what happens if the garden roses aren’t available because of an unexpected rainstorm? Or the peonies didn’t open like you expected? Or the florist gets stuck in traffic? Or the hydrangea got a little wilty in the afternoon sun?

As you approach your celebration, each day closer on the calendar, remember to take time out, and to take a deep breath, pause, and listen for the answers to your questions. Flowers and fashions and styles and colors and textures and linens and candlelight and hotels and bars (and yes, even floral designers) will all come and go. Love, family, and friendship will never go out of style, and will always fly high above the demands of trends. Hold that truth dear to your heart -- six months out, and when you say “I do” -- and then frame it in whatever is in season. You can only do everything right.

Opening photograph by Susan Bordelon