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Planning a Wedding Based on Your Values

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Tim Schuster shares how to plan a wedding according to your values, instead of other's opinions.

There are many ways to begin the wedding planning process.  One is to listen to the frantic voices of well-intentioned family members that, despite the fact that you’d like to get married sometime next year, think that you have already run out of time to plan…especially if you want to have THE BEST caterer and THE PERFECT venue, which you MUST have, says everyone.  Forty-five Google searches, 20 phone calls and 3 days of visits and trials later, you’ve decided that there is no way that you will ever be able to afford any of it.

But there is another way.

Write a list. Stick to it. How you start is how you’ll finish.

Just days after our engagement last year, we wrote down on paper the top three values we had for how our wedding would look and feel. This was our list:

1)      Honor our guests

2)      Keep it simple

3)      Express who we are

At several points, when faced with a decision, we pulled out the list as a reminder for what was important to us. We found this not only helped us make tough decisions, it helped us to explain to our family and friends why we made those decisions. It was less about preferences and more about values. Beyond that, it helped us find peace – doing something that we hadn’t ever done before, making decisions between two ‘right’ options; we were able to fall back onto something that was concrete and already decided.

My best man (we’ll call him Drew) told me,

“Remember, as the man, your opinion doesn’t matter, but you have to have one.”

As the husband-to-be, the established values helped me find “my voice” in the process, because values don’t lie.

You have more freedom than you ever imagined. With all this freedom, values will guide your way.

Written values also help to avoid the most profound mistake you can make in planning your wedding (the costliest, too… literally): making the assumption that everything has a special, unique, or eternal meaning attached to it. A marriage is a collection of moments compiled into a life of commitment and fidelity. Not every element or color or song has a sort of mysterious meaning with eternal implications. If something breaks on your wedding day, it’s not symbolic for the success of your marriage. In fact, there is nothing you can do or say on your wedding day that will ensure the success or failure of your marriage. It’s one day. There is a difference between planning a wedding and preparing for marriage.

We were married on a beautiful Saturday morning in August. We set up chairs in the lawn of the church where Kelsey grew up. After a short ceremony (some stories, vows, some verses and a prayer), we treated our 200+ guests to a great meal. A really great meal of generous sandwiches, full salads, and invitations for seconds. And thirds. We had left-overs for days.

Why all the food? Because Value #1 was to honor our guests. We chose to do this instead of a honeymoon, because it didn’t fit our values very well. The best part about it?  Feeding our friends and family members gave us such great joy.  Having them together, talking and laughing, that was what we valued above everything else.

What about the rest of the day? We changed into more comfortable clothes, and that evening our friends threw us a huge bash (it had a Facebook event and everything). It was complete with homemade wine, lights strung tree to tree, and a dance party with a playlist made by one of our best friends.

We enjoyed our first dance on the back lawn just after dark – under the trees and surrounded by our friends.  No one witnessed our first dance as a married couple, our friends were too busy celebrating. We could feel the evening pulsing with joy – and we embraced the invitation to soak up every moment of this day that expressed who we are and our want to be together.

If anything went wrong that day, someone forgot to tell us. Call it what you want, but it looked a lot like a wedding.

How you start is how you’ll finish.

Written by Tim Schuster

This blog post is from the Author's perspective and doesn't speak for brightpeak financial. Contact brightpeak if you want to know more about brightpeak products, and keep in mind that they are not available in all states and there are some limitations (some exclusions and restrictions may apply).

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