There are moments in your life that you hope will last forever... And for many women, their weddings are a day of unforgettable moments that will live on in their memories, cherished, revisited and relived long after the day has passed.
I always tell brides I work with to literally smell the roses, savor the menu they have chosen and cherish the fact that their family and friends have gathered to celebrate her and her groom on their special day. I want them to take the time to notice and enjoy everything about their wedding day because it races by and before they know it, the day is over.
The second thing I tell every couple is that it is their wedding, not their mother's or grandmother's. Of course, there are traditions that should be considered and elements that will make a wedding timeless. But it is their wedding, and it is perfectly okay to shake things up, make traditions their own, and make their own rules.
Here are my suggestions of timeless wedding elements that should always remain included in a wedding!
We are Family
Marriage ceremonies are all about community -- friends, family, loved ones who come together to affirm and acknowledge your commitment to each other. This is the moment when your love as a couple is publicly celebrated; as all your loved ones witness your vows, they not only share in your commitment, they often find their own loves reaffirmed. It is a powerful gift to them, and to you. Family and friends are the cornerstones of who we are and will be a part of your new life as a married couple, so build your day to celebrate them, too. It does not matter how much you spend on your wedding or how elaborate the flowers are, what matters most is sharing the moment with the people that love you and want to be there.
Going to the Chapel
More and more weddings are held outside of a church or religious house of worship, and the ceremonies themselves are becoming shorter. But the ceremony, no matter how formal or informal, makes a wedding a wedding. I firmly believe a wedding should be viewed as a celebration and a big party -- but those few minutes or that full hour where all the guests' eyes are on the couple are essential. The ceremony of union is the focal point of everyone's attention, and no matter what else you do, it is one tradition that is timeless and should remain.
You May Kiss the Bride
Those are the five words everyone wants to hear. That first kiss as husband and wife is probably the one most significant moment in the entire wedding, the one everyone waits for and applauds. If you take away the ceremony, you lose the kiss, so this passionate expression of love is gone. Keep the kiss -- it is truly timeless! Who doesn't want to be kissed by the person they love most in the world?
There are numerous ways to celebrate the joining of two families, from a simple cake and punch reception to a full-blown party or something in-between. However you plan to celebrate, do it with style and keep that tradition going strong. While receiving lines are a thing of the past, the reception is usually the first chance guests can interact with the bride and groom, so plan some time for each guest to share a special moment with you. Then you, and your guests, are free to enjoy the fruit of so many hours of planning -- so mingle, party and celebrate together, in a magical party that everyone will remember!
I personally love when it is time for a speech, but only if they are tailored to around three to five minutes and get to the point, share a heartfelt story and give us as guest a little bit of history about the couple. Throw in a little humor and that goes a long way too! The speech is something that just should not be left out.
These five elements are the essential building blocks that make a wedding day magical. And one last thing: I also still believe a paper invitation delivered in the mail rather than an email sets the tone for the wedding and affirms it as the important rite of passage that it is. The bride will always be the centerpiece of the wedding and for the entire day, all eyes should and will be on her; the design, colors and flow of the day should radiate from her.
For everything else on your wedding day, I say break the rules, get married, say "I Do" and do it however you want. This is your day to shine and you should shine as bright as you want! You can break as many other traditions as you like, but keep the five above.