Last Saturday, I got married. Have you ever gotten married? It was
so lovely. And it smelled wonderful.
First of all, my husband is the coolest dude in the world. Secondly,
being surrounded by fresh flowers—and I mean surrounded—is so
underrated. You’ve got to try it.
Drink it in.
And thirdly, remember that that bottom layer of cake might be Styrofoam
to make the cake a bit taller,
so don’t try to cut it. People will giggle. At
My wedding was beautiful and
, but the reason I am telling you all about it is because if there ever were a time that the world
puts some mighty pressure on your self-esteem, it’s when you’re a bride.
and I were engaged for a little over a year. After the first few months
of planning, I got so frustrated with the "wedding industry" that I
vowed we would only purchase decorations
necessities that were not made specifically for weddings. They really
try to get you. I mean, flip-flops with the word “bride” on them?
I think t
he reason it’s tempting is because
your first reaction is probably something like,
this is the only day in my life I’ll be able to wear those!
They must have made them for me!
But that’s not true, friends. I saw a pair of those flip-flops in Target … and then I saw a
pair at Wal-Mart! Betrayal! There must be other
girls out there getting married, too. Darn it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I believe
did a pretty swell job of
avoiding the wedding
and keeping it simple
, using a big dose of Aaron-and-Maria creativity
Aaron’s humble prodding, I
’m sad to say I
totally lost it when it came to my own decoration.
months before the wedding, I went absolutely berserk in the personal
hygiene aisle at Target. (I regularly say that if I ever win a million
dollars, that’s where I’m spending it. It wouldn’t take me long,
either. I could do it in 10 minutes. I could. I’ll call you and you
can time me.) I bought teeth-whitening strips, expensive shampoo and conditioning treatments, self-tanner, special
exfoliating body wash, night cream, day cream, afternoon cream
(kidding) … you name it, I bought it. I decided if there ever were a time
to want to look your best, this should be it
and the ridiculous amount of money I was spending was still righteous because it is my day!
what transpired over the next three months was something everyone else
in the world could’ve seen coming but that I, naturally, did not.
Instead of all of those products making me feel beautiful and lovely,
made me more and more stressed out
(yet, I admit, adequately moisturized).
My brain said:
Am I doing enough? Did I apply this night cream correctly? Will my skin look good enough for my hair?
Will everyone notice my smaller pores?
Through it all,
continued to gently remind me that our wedding was about a promise, not
about a reflection in the mirror or the pictures we frame later on.
And I continued to do sit-ups.
a metaphor that is for our struggle with our self-esteem. There could be something so big and so blessed going on—a
wedding, a relationship, a new life chapter, a spiritual journey—and
our way of caring about it most passionately is to concern ourselves
with how we look doing it
. Or how everyone else thinks
Instead of looking at our wedding as a big step and such a gigantic,
undeserved blessing, I looked at it as the ultimate test in my own
self-hygiene. I do believe part of that is a societal thing; all the
stress the world puts on wedding planning obviously stretches to the
bride’s appearance as well. But as a daughter of the flesh-blind God,
it’s my job to keep level-headed abo
all that nonsense. I wish I could tell you I did.
But to finish the metaphor, let me tell you how my wedding panned out. The night before, I ate a huge plate of fettuccine
at the rehearsal dinner.
I have to tell you
, it may have been the best half hour of my life.
And there were, like, crushed bits of oregano on it and this amazing parmesan cheese blend. …
Anyway, the next morning I panicked a bit because I felt bloated and a
little mad that I had gone slightly pasta-crazy. But as the morning
wore on, I curled my hair, put on a dress and hugged my crying dad. And
when I walked down the aisle to my tender-hearted, brown-eyed
brother in Christ
my self-consciousness took the train to Albuquerque. I’m not kidding;
and I’m not kidding when I say it is no small miracle. In my mind that
only Aaron, my
parents, our merciful God who somehow still finds me worthy to love and
my promise. It was so beautiful and full of tears and
and beef tenderloin and
vanilla candles. And no “bride”
planned for months to look my best, and in one of the biggest moments of my life, I couldn’t have cared less.
If you struggle like me, we are constantly trying to live up to some expectation; whether it’s looking
on your wedding
day, wearing the
to a party or not saying the wrong thing in a group of "cool" people.
But at the end of the day, what
we are doing will always matter so much more than how we look doing it.
My track record makes no promises, but I’m really hoping to learn from
know that what I remember about our wedding is not going to be the
whiteness factor of my teeth or whether my skin was properly
exfoliated. It’s the same for all of us: You’ll remember
and truly be affected by
things about your life
—the times where you and God are working it together
; not the trivial
, self-interested times
all try to
save time and not even
in the first place, what do you say?
(Disclaimer: if you enjoy “bride” flip-flops, do forgive my callousness.)
Maria is a recent college graduate from Ohio who just got married and moved to Arizona because she likes an adventure. She loves to write, run and sing and she is amazed every day by the love God has for her, even when she doesn’t comb her hair.