Wedding Stories

What I Wish I Had Known When I Planned the Perfect Wedding…


By Laurie Mathena Kordela

One year, eleven months, and 21 days. That’s how long I had to plan my perfect wedding.

But if you’re like me, you didn’t start planning when you got engaged, or at some moment in time when you knew you had found “the one.”

For me it started as a teenager.

Before the days of the World Wide Web, we relied on bridal books – big ones – to show us the latest trends and must-have details. I’d spend long nights with my best friend pouring over those pages and picking out the perfect dress.

By the time I got engaged in 2014, God had invented Pinterest, and I was in bride heaven.

But all my teenage planning could never have prepared me for the real thing. Colors, dresses, tuxes, hair styles, venues, invitations, flowers, centerpieces, the cake, the menu, seating arrangements, table linens, favors, the (dreaded) guest list – and let’s not even start on the budget! Who knew there could be so many details?

For an indecisive, over-analytical, budget-conscious person like me, “overwhelming” would be putting it mildly.

For every decision made, 10 more questions followed. You pick out the wedding invitation, but that’s just the beginning. How should we word it? What font should we use? What type of paper? What color envelope? Speaking of envelopes, have we collected all of the guests’ addresses? How should they be worded? Should we get special wedding stamps? Are we using a separate reception card? What about RSVPs?

And on…and on…and on. Does it ever end?

By the time my wedding day arrived, I had answered these and a thousand other questions about every possible detail, and I had begun to understand why a typically calm woman could turn into the stereotypical bridezilla.

But do you know what? The moment the church doors opened with their woosh, something truly magical happened.

All of those details didn’t just become a blur.

They disappeared.

The grand, yet intimate chapel that was clad in Italian marble, stained glass windows, and golden mosaics—I didn’t see any of it. The sleek navy bridesmaids dresses I had spent so many hours picking out, or the bouquets filled with roses, dahlias, astilbe, and dusty miller – I didn’t see those either.

I’ll tell you what I did see.

I saw my dad, holding me up and holding back tears.

I saw my mother—my matron of honor—ready to take care of my bouquet and my dress the same way

she had selflessly served in so many other ways throughout my life.

I heard the laughter and cheers of my family as I found myself literally skipping down the aisle.

And best of all, I saw my man. My husband to be. My best friend. Waiting for me at the altar, smiling at me through tear-filled eyes.

That same selective vision lasted the rest of the night.

When we made our grand entrance into our charming, historic reception venue, I wasn’t taken by the pillars wrapped in twinkle lights, the six-foot tall curly willow centerpieces with dangling tea lights, or the glass vases overflowing with orchids.

All of it was beautiful – and I have the pictures to prove it.

But I didn’t see any of those details.

I saw the smiling faces of all the people we loved most in the world, surrounding us with their love and support. I felt my new husband’s hand in mine.

And most of all, I felt love.

And at the end of the day, that’s the only detail that matters.

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