Our wedding day was a stripped down affair. Tanya captured its beauty in the perfect way but if you visit my Pinterest boards or reference the quotations we amassed over the period of our engagement, there is a difference between the wedding we envisioned and the celebration that fell into our laps and taught us a thing or two about life as we know it.

After initially writing the blog post hereunder, and now, uploading it, we’ve looked at our wedding photos at least a million times. I learn something new from them every time, but here is one of the first things that popped into my mind when we looked back at our wedding day through the eyes of our photographer.

To be honest, Shad and I were feeling a bit down that day, an emotion which is often described as the final stage of wedding planning AKA is it over yet!? Seeing our wedding from our photographer’s point of view gave us a different perspective and allowed us to bask in the glow of our day – a glow that still existed despite any of our preconceived notions. We enjoyed our wedding night in peace and happiness.

*I think there’s this misconception that the wedding night is a deeply romantic, highly isolated event. We forget that it occurs directly after the largest and most stressful party you will ever coordinate. The morning after was spent recuperating from our wedding. Thanks, Fast 8 and Mugg & Bean.

One of the things every engaged couple will hear at least 1 000 times, is what matters and what does not matter on their wedding day. A side note to well-meaning wedding guests everywhere, this is not comforting, this is not helpful, this is not exciting, this is not on any budget bride or groom’s list of 10 things I wish someone told me today. Please, no. To my bridechillas and groomzillas, they do have a point, you know. But I figure we all learn these things at our own pace, which is when they are most receptive to the ear and meaningful to the heart. And so as I think of the photos that will eventually be printed and bound in a beautiful coffee table book, the ones my children (aw) will point to, and ask about, I retreat into a fluffy cloud of sweetness.

If I were to search for meaning, other than the obvious biblical and communal blessing of our marriage, I find meaning in faces… In the faces of:

So many of our friends and family, happy and smiling. Like I said, biggest party yet, and as a host, you want to make sure everyone is taken care of. People can genuinely be terrible during wedding planning, but at the end of the day, you love them and want them to have a good time! Accomplished, methinks!

Our guests spending quality time with God during praise and worship. So many hands raised and eyes lifted bliss! Unusually so (I’m quite aware that most of our relations share our faith), it impacted me deeply to know that we’re surrounded by people who have a personal relationship with the Lord. I think at times we get so busy judging one another and questioning what it means when we say we are Christian anyway, that we miss that purity of heart which is inside each of us. Thanks, Johnny, Charlton, Anzio and dear husband for providing the sound of worship.

My friend Melissa’s daughter Cadence, who was but a baba then, and now surprises us all by growing too fast!

My cab driver, who insisted on a photo, and every passer-by who stopped to say congratulations and impart a few words of wisdom, albeit drunken wisdom! Haha. These days it is hard to tell when people are genuinely happy for you so the randoms were appreciated.

The strangers who attended our ceremony and showed up for cake! The church where we wed is a tourist attraction, and so people were in and out. At first, this was annoying, but now, seeing the faces of people we don’t know, listening intently and celebrating with us – I’m touched. One such person left a note in our guestbook saying that there is a reason for everything! Whenever I hear this saying going forward, I will be reminded of the road that brought us here.

My bridesmaids, mainly my maid of honour, tearing up and emotional while we said our vows aka spoke from the depths of our hearts with no preparation whatsoever. Shadley and I were mostly laughing, so someone had to cry! Honestly though, if you ever wonder if people care, watch them on your wedding day.

My husband playing his beloved drums! We planned to lead worship together with our friends, but at the last moment, I decided against it. I usually get super nervous before singing, and combined with wedding jitters, I figured I could do without it. He did so well though and I am super blessed to be married to someone who so clearly, has been put on earth to lift up the name of the Lord.

And then lastly, in my own face. Man, I can lie about how I feel but my face will have none of that! If you look closely at our photos, you see my mood unfold, like a flower, first closed and withdrawn, then opening up and finally reaching its full bloom.

Dear bride, please allow yourself to experience the full spectrum of emotions on your wedding day. It’s okay to be sad, upset or overwhelmed. I know this sounds and feels wrong and foreign, but we do not have an off and on switch. Planning was intense for me, right until the end, and so I let that work itself out of my body naturally and supernaturally (thank you Jesus) instead of pretending to be happy when I was not. Of course, I feel terrible that I was a bit down in the dumps at some points, like, who plans that, but I love watching how I transform throughout the day.

I am sure that as we take a closer look, I will see more faces, at which time I will revel in the lessons they teach me and hop around here some time to update my findings.

Now tell me, where do you find meaning?

Author: ashleigh

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  • Hi Ashleigh! I absolutely loved reading this!! I got goosebumps, I don’t even know how many times.. It was so beautifully written! And being a newlywed myself, I couldn’t help but relate to all your emotions!! Thank you for sharing this.. There IS a reason for everything, and I’m so glad I stumbled across this beautiful story!!

    • Hi Beaudene! Words cannot describe how blessed I am by your comment! It’s the first one on the blog and it really means so much to me. Congratulations on your marriage, I am sure we will have much to talk about! Thank you for subscribing as well, I appreciate you!