| Port Huron Times Herald
When my wife and I were first married back in 2010, we were fresh out of college, broke as a joke, and only one of us had a (low-paying) job.
Friends and family wondered why we were making the plunge so young. Many cautioned us to postpone, given our financial situation. Of those who gave their tacit approval, we received a lot of advice on how to scale back the reception, save money by cutting the guest list, and have a “smaller, intimate” ceremony.
We disregarded all of that advice, and I’ve never had a single regret about any of it.
We planned the wedding of our dreams, complete with 200 guests, a full-course dinner, dancing, tradition, hilarious and heartfelt speeches and fancy-pants tuxedos and dresses.
Did I mention we were broke?
While our parents chipped in where they could, we paid for it ourselves with whatever we could scrimp together. We didn’t blow the bank—that was never an option—but we were getting married, and it was a CELEBRATION.
To be fair, not everyone wants a big wedding. Some couples prefer to celebrate with just close friends and family — and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with not being able to afford a big wedding, and making sacrifices for the sake of prudence.
And there’s certainly nothing wrong with getting married for the sake of being married to the one you love — pomp and ceremony or not.
I worry, however, that the recent trend toward smaller weddings isn’t being driven by those things, but rather out of a misguided sense that weddings are “unnecessary” or “wasteful” displays of frivolity. It’s just one day out of a couple’s life together, the thinking goes. What’s the big deal?
As our society becomes more and more casual, there are fewer and fewer occasions of true, unbridled celebration and joy — those life-defining moments where time stands still: a child’s first steps, the return of a loved one from war, the 100th birthday of a family matriarch.
The joining of a man and his wife, who commit themselves freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully in a lifelong union under God’s blessing, is truly one of those moments.
As a guy, I know I’m not “supposed” to be sentimental about weddings. But mine was awesome, and I don’t mind saying it. The moment I first saw my wife appear in the church doors with her father, my heart melted. It was the single best image I’ve ever beheld.
Our big wedding meant we couldn’t buy a house during our first year of marriage. We drove beater cars. We ate ramen noodles. We didn’t care. We were getting MARRIED, and our friends and family were there, laughing, singing, taking pictures and dancing the night away. It was the greatest day of our lives—and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not encouraging young couples to spend a bunch of money they don’t have. A great wedding can be had on a budget. (We got married in January for that reason.)
But I am encouraging couples to treat their wedding day with the joy, passion and “can’t knock the smile off your face” happiness it deserves. Because it’s not “just another day.” This is the day the Lord has made, and what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder (Matt. 19:6).
Contact Mike Stechschulte at firstname.lastname@example.org.