Last year, I sat down with a client in her late 30’s who was getting married for the second time. I meet with brides to discuss their wedding flowers a few times a month, so on the surface of things, this meeting wasn’t out of the ordinary. Yet it was. This bride was relaxed, her entourage was nowhere to be seen, and she made her flowers decisions that very day, booking my services with a down payment in less than an hour.
Most brides (not all) are anxious, and they want peonies. There’s nothing wrong with peonies, except that they’re imported from Israel and the date of their arrival is uncertain. If you’re getting married on a Saturday, the peonies could arrive Thursday, or they could arrive the next Monday, in which case you’re in trouble. It’s a good idea to have a solid second choice, but is there anyone out there who is okay with a second choice for their wedding? I didn’t think so.
For me, peonies have come to embody the intensity that surrounds the wedding of a gorgeous young girl at the beginning of her adult life. She’s not totally sure what she’s getting into and many competing factors and voices weigh in to influence her wedding.
My late 30’s bride settled on sunflowers after looking at a handful of photos.
“Sunflowers are happy, and so am I,” she said. She didn’t have to deliberate, call her mother or stalk Pinterest. She just knew. And luckily, her late August ceremony was timed perfectly with the sunflower harvest.
As we edge toward 40, we know some things about life. Relationships trump ceremony. Simplicity beats extravagance. Truth is far superior to show.
Are you in your 30’s and getting ready to marry? A few things to consider:
1. Guests: Who should be there?
You know who your friends are. There’s no question what role your family members play in your shared life as a couple. Make a guest list that represents the community of love and support in which your marriage will thrive. That sorority sister you roomed with one semester? You won’t struggle to decide whether to invite her like you would at age 24.
2. Ceremony: What sentiments need to be expressed?
Think about the story you want to tell your guests about your union, and how each aspect of your ceremony call do the telling. More important, design a ceremony that is the one you want to remember. You’ll think back on your wedding day more than any of your guests will.
3. Honeymoon: Where will you go?
Many marrying couples in their 30’s have seen the world–or at least some of it–and are working their way through their list of must-see destinations. Is there a place on that list neither of you has explored that you want to descend upon together? Sometimes one half of the couple is dying to show the other their favorite place on earth. Or there could be a great city you toured together that you want to revisit as a married couple. However it plays out, don’t ignore the significance of the honeymoon. You might be entrenched in work and personal responsibilities, but that week away together establishes the two of you as a duo and elevates your relationship above the lives your established separately before you married.
4. Bottom Line: What do you want?
Assess your dreams and resources and decide on the style and scale of wedding that works for you and your fiancé. Your partner’s nod is the only one you need, so make clear, unequivocal choices for your union, and follow through with the same clarity that led you to your mate. Work as a team to choose the food, music and decor that meets your expectations: your life experiences have helped define your taste, and together you can design a day that represents your individual and shared journeys up to this point.
5. After the Wedding: What’s next?
You’re young, but it’s unreasonable to say that “you have your whole life in front of you.” At this point, you’ve made a lot of decisions that direct your path, and you are living with those choices. Being married doesn’t mean you will transform your life around your partner. Hopefully, the two of you have an understanding about how you’ll manage your existing responsibilities and how you’ll merge.
Another hot topic is kids. Even if you already have children, one or two more could be on the horizon. Blending families and bringing new children into the mix are among the most important decisions you’ll make as a couple. Reach out and find resources that will help you on this journey.
These are definitely conversations to have before the wedding.