As it turns out, planning a wedding is not for the faint of heart.
There are the logistics.
And then there’s the emotional stuff.
It’s really easy to perseverate on the logistics to avoid feeling the emotional stuff. I’ve noticed myself veer in that direction countless times in the last year and particularly in the last month or two.
It was shocking to me how many peoples’ first question after I told them I was getting married was, “What are your wedding colors?”
Really?! Out of all the things that contribute to a wedding, let alone a marriage, the first at the top of our minds is what are the colors going to be?
Now, I consider myself an artist. And I love adding beauty to the world. But I must admit, my wedding colors were never top of mind (and they ended up changing several times and finally being determined by the color of Mike’s suit and my sisters’ dresses).
I, of course, have not been left out of the crazy tulle and sequined froth that the bridal industry whips us into around these events.
I have obsessed about place cards, baskets for sparklers, signage, beverage containers, bistro lights, decoupaging the frame of a bulletin board, Road Trip themed mix CD’s and welcome bags, to name a few.
Each time I feel myself sneaking down that wormhole called “Stuff you’re wasting energy on that you’re not even going to remember in six months,” I’ve done my best to stop and back up.
Yesterday I was pretty far down the Welcome Bag wormhole. Making people feel at home is one of my absolute biggest pleasures and highest values. So the welcome bags for out-of-town guests have been a huge focus for me.
I couldn’t let the logistics go even after Mike officially called me off the project and told me he’d handle it. (He’s SO good like that. Reason #876 why I’m marrying him.)
Finally, he came up behind me to give me a hug. I tried to pull away, feeling rushed —I had more important things to do than stand around and hug.
“Don’t resist me,” he said. I still pulled.
“Don’t pull away,” he said. I still pulled.
“Let go,” he said. I pulled for a moment and then, finally, I relaxed every muscle in my body and melted to the floor, tears stinging the corners of my eyes.
Mike laid down next to me and we both fell into a fit of giggles.
A few months ago my friend Rachel posted the following quote on Instagram:
We were together. I forget the rest. ~Walt Whitman (Click To TWEET)
When I read it I felt a zing of recognition through every cell of my body.
It was exactly the touchstone I needed during the wedding process.
(I even got it printed on cocktail napkins for the reception as my talisman reminding me to release the details that don’t matter and focus on what does: marrying the man I love in the company of those I love.)
I knew that I would marry Mike in a brown paper bag and serve bologna sandwiches if it meant getting to be with him and be witnessed by those I love.
Ultimately, that’s all that matters. And what I’ll be left with after the wedding day is my love for Mike and for the other people gathered with us.
Life is full of emotional transitions. Birth, death, marriage, graduation, leaving jobs, starting new ones, moving, breaking up, falling in love, surgeries, debuts, and more.
And for every emotional transition there’s an industry, substance, or set of rules designed to help you avoid feeling what it feels like to leave one state of being and start a new one.
No matter the life moment you find yourself in, take Mike’s words to heart:
Don’t pull away.
Sometimes God is in the details. And sometimes the details distract us from what’s real. (Click to Tweet)
Focus on feeling what’s real. Distill everything down to what really matters. And forget the rest.
What are you obsessing about right now that you could let go of?
What detail has been a thorn in your tush for a while now that you could extract by deciding it doesn’t even need to be done?
Leave a comment below – your stories of letting go will be salve to others’ souls – including mine.
Epilogue: I wrote this post on July 3rd. Two days later I married the man of my dreams in the company of those I love. It was epic. (That is not a word I use lightly or often, but it’s the only one that truly captures the day.) The beautiful details like looking out at all the faces of our nearest and dearest during our ceremony are etched in my heart forever. We were together. I will forget a lot of it. But I will never forget the way it felt to be next to the man I love, surrounded by the most important people to me in the world. That will stay with me forever.