I Was Nervous About Our Wedding, but the Day Just Flew By – The Good Men Project

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My now wife (feels strange to say that) and I spent the past 22 months and all of our savings on our wedding ceremony and initiation of our marriage. While I am personally against huge ceremonies like this and am a very utility-minded person in terms of what to spend money on, it was necessary to accommodate both of our respective cultures and have the people we loved there.

There were countless hours, lots of disagreements between family, and soul-wrenching decisions ranking friends and deciding who to invite and not to invite. A few people texted me on the day telling me the reasons they couldn’t make it to the wedding. Some were for transportation issues, which were understandable.

But I did scan the reception area periodically to realize a few other friends didn’t make it, no showed the wedding, and gave no reason whatsoever for not being able to make it. I tried not to be resentful about it, but I did think “well, that’s $250 we spent on someone to be there down the drain.” My wife and I will probably get over it in a week or so, but it does hurt to think about not only the financial waste of money but the people that could have come to replace the people who no-showed the wedding.

The day before the wedding had a rehearsal dinner and a plethora of errands for me and my groomsmen to run. I actually did not spend too much time with my wife before the wedding since you’re not supposed to see the bride before the wedding. I spent most of the time with my groomsmen lifting things, moving things, and performing traditionally male activities.

One thing I was nervous about for every wedding activity we needed to attend, from the rehearsal to the rehearsal dinner, was being on time. I showed up to both the rehearsal for the wedding and the rehearsal dinner 15 minutes early, and stressed about my groomsmen being on time or early as well. This happened to be a completely unfounded source of stress: my group being 15 minutes early to everything ended up leaving us waiting for at least 20 minutes for the next group of people to show up.

Regardless, I could only control what was within my locus of control, and for all the final wedding preparations, I wanted my groomsmen and I to be reliable, on time, and to simply hold up our end of the bargain. They prepared most of the decorations and flowers at the rehearsal dinner and put snacks at every table.

It was the first time in a long time I really needed to rely on my best male friends, and I was happy they didn’t let me down in terms of punctuality, reliability, and helpfulness. I knew it wasn’t an easy weekend for them to prepare for in a lot of respects: the wedding demanded a lot of their time, money, and effort, and they showed up for us in a huge way and represented well.

It was one reminder among many that weekend that, yes, I have a wonderful wife and wonderful in-laws, but we also have a strong network and support system of friends we can rely on and who are willing to make tons of sacrifices to support us.

My biggest sources of stress were messing up vows and messing up on the dance floor. This boiled down to the previous feeling of wanting to hold up my end of the bargain and, well, not be a liability at my own wedding that was incredibly expensive and planned for years. I must say that on the actual wedding day, both fears were largely unfounded.

I memorized my vows instead of reading them, and although there were more “ums” and verbal hesitations than I wanted, I delivered the message I wanted to give. I had my best man read a poem at the ceremony that I didn’t realize would take over five minutes to read, so I felt bad making him look bad, but I did love the poem and appreciate its incorporation into the ceremony.

One thing I did struggle with in the ceremony was eye contact. It’s an Asian culture thing, for sure, but I’m sure a lack of eye contact with my wife will mess up the pictures. I tend to look down when in deep thought, which I was during the profound sermon (that I had some input on) and poem. But I ended up rectifying my lack of eye contact towards the end of the ceremony.

During the first dance with my wife, the DJ played the wrong song. We ended up starting way too fast as a result. It was a different version of the instrumental of “Nobody Gets Me” by SZA, which was much slower and something we needed to adapt to, but we did. The DJ had network issues during the wedding since it was a venue somewhat in the middle of nowhere, but we were also told our venue had a reputation for being a poor network venue and were frustrated they didn’t download our playlist in advance.

The vast majority of the actual wedding day was moving from activity to activity, picture to picture. We had several entrances to incorporate our respective cultures at the reception, and I will say that until the last hour of the wedding, we had to pose for pictures non-stop. We really didn’t get a break the whole day, and I checked my watch periodically throughout the day and realized something.

The day was just flying by. The day we poured so much of ourselves into was just zooming by so fast since we were so busy and so occupied. We didn’t drink much. We barely had time to eat at all since everyone wanted pictures, and when we did, we realized the food was not the same as what we had tasted. It may have been some massive miscommunication with our caterer — we told them X amount of people were gluten-free and Y amount of people were vegan. They ended up making the entire menu gluten-free and vegan, which isn’t bad, but the biggest complaint we heard for feedback was about the rice being undercooked and other food-related grievances, which we agreed with.

I also notice that we picked up on every minor thing that went wrong with the operation and execution of the wedding since we planned it and were the bride and groom, but most other people didn’t. It overall went very well and seamlessly, and we were grateful.

At 9 p.m., my wife and I could finally let loose and dance. That went by incredibly fast as well, but we enjoyed ourselves very much, led the line dances, and showed off the moves we spent months practicing. I was personally very proud because prior to wedding planning, I was a horrible dancer and embarrassed myself in every video taken of me. I could enjoy myself but had no rhythm. My wife was very proud I transcended the level of horrible to the realm of mediocre as a dancer, and I was very proud as well.

We had to vacate the premises an hour later and prepare everything to leave, and we had an after-party of sorts at the hotel. We could let loose there as well and finally talk to people and not take a ton of pictures (since the photographers were just there at the wedding), and we just toasted and conversed with people for a few hours before going to our bridal suite.

I’m sure all our grievances with our no-shows, our DJ, and our caterer will subside with time, and my wife and I are happily enjoying our honeymoon and finally not the centers of attention in a massive event and ceremony. But I will say all my fears of messing up and embarrassing myself in front of 200 people didn’t manifest — and even if they did, it was my day and people would just laugh it off and forget about it anyway.

A lot of people told us “it’s your day, just relax and have fun,” and while that was true and we did have a lot of fun, we were still center stage and needed for many activities. I will say I cried on multiple occasions, including seeing my wife in her dress, during speeches from the maid of honor, best man, and my parents. I complained plenty about the costs of this wedding and how much I was shelling out from my savings, but I will now admit it was all worth it and more at the end of the day, and so many of our wedding guests were incredibly generous with gifts that I feel bad, now, complaining so much about money.

I said before that a whole lifetime of marriage is much more important than just one wedding. That is true, but it’s also true that the day went beautifully, wonderfully, and it seemed like everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves. I wish we relished the moment more instead of being worried about various logistical and operational parts of the wedding, but I only look back on the day fondly, from all the kind words of friends and family to the parts of the wedding where I was finally able to spend time with my wife.

I don’t want to sound cliche about one ceremony and one day, but there was no better way to kick off a lifetime together. Now, it’s all about our future as husband and wife.

This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.


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