7 Years After 'I Do'... part 1

A Wedding is One day; A Marriage is a Lifetime.

Seven years ago today, 30th of November 2002, we took our vows.
J and I became husband and wife on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with a solemn and intimate celebration of our union. Of course the dinner party was just as memorable, complete with it's own bloopers and minor glitches!

While planning the wedding, I came across that first line above, or should I say, gained a nugget of wisdom.  It is so true in every sense.  As with most soon-to-wed couples, especially future brides, we get lost in the madness that goes with planning our perfect march down the aisle. Some would become their "bridezilla" alter-egos, or unwittingly discover their "monsters-in-law", and other crazy incarnations borne out of obsessive planning for 'The Big Day'. And through all the flurry of things, we tend to forget what really matters the most, and why we are having a wedding in the first place.

Reality check: Marriage needs more than just a perfect wedding plan.

Here I am, all dressed up and still busy preparing for my big day...

Let me backtrack...

For that fateful day, I single-handedly planned and orchestrated the proceedings (yes -- single-handed, one, me, myself, solo, crazy huh?) -- from booking, budget-planning, to program script and direction. I can still remember quite vividly how one of my attendants, who co-emceed the event, retorted in jest: "My God, it's her wedding and she's still ordering us what to do!".

Well, future hubby did help decide on the menu and his three-piece suit, and gave me the all-important budget (wink, wink)! Down the road, my mom, sis-in-law, and a handful of well-meaning friends offered their help, I gladly accepted of course, which made our day more heartfelt and personal. But about 90% of the details I had full control of.  Lucky, maybe. Stressed, yes. O.C., most definitely. Needless to say, having gone through the process from top to bottom gave me the confidence to finally decide on becoming a part-time wedding planner.

So what's up after 7 years?
Though some may consider me a 'wedding expert', don't expect any hard-core advise or lecture here, especially on marriage.  Instead, I thought I'd share some random things I've learned over the seven years of married life, and a decade of planning weddings. This serves as a shout-out for soon-to-wed couples, newlyweds, and the rest of you singles out there who still believe in marriage, bad days included.

Here are my two cents on weddings and marriage (in no particular order):

7 Random Things I Learned From Planning A Wedding

1. Set a budget and work with it
Unless money grows in your backyard, try to work within your means. Be creative, practical and realistic. It's bad enough that you go way over budget, but starting off your marriage deep in debt is far worse. I was a little under budget and it went a long way as pocket money for our honeymoon. :-)

2. Communicate, compromise and commit
Say what you want and 'say it now or forever hold your piece' -- from money matters to the confetti. Be honest and open. Talk and argue, it's natural -- that is a preview into your marriage you know. Resolve the conflicts as they come. And no finger-pointing!

3. Mind your details
It's really all in the details. From your monogrammed invites, poignant speeches, hand-written 'Thank You' notes, a bespoke bridal shoes, or heirloom jewelry, these are what will make your day memorable, unique and more personal no matter how simple the event. So put some thought even in the tiniest of elements.

4. There's no such thing as a "flawless" day, so learn to live with it
Murphy's Law. Expect that there will always be something that will not go as planned, even from the most organized. Having professionals on hand will help make your day go smoothly and hopefully you won't even notice those strays along the way. Unfortunately for me, as the planner and director, I did notice! But we're happy, and the guests had a wonderful time, that's all that matters.

5. The rings and photos are what's left
After everything, the wedding rings are the only lasting items left, as with the photos that hold the memories. These are my top two priority items. Same goes for the food, which the guests will remember.

6. Be emotionally, financially, spiritually, psychologically and physically prepared
Check on all five and you're good to go. For me, this should be 'all or nothing'.

7. Plan a wedding that you want, not what you see from others or what others want for you
It's your wedding, it's your marriage, it's your choice. Plan on what will make you happy for your special day. I've seen weddings that did not represent the couple --  it becomes their parents' or in-laws' event, not theirs. Go back to #2 & #3 and own your day. I am just blessed that I did get the wedding I wanted.
With this ring, I thee wed...

Happy 7th anniversary J! Cheers to more years of marital bliss (and kinks)!

Read part 2:
7 Years After 'I Do'... part 2:  7 Random Things I've Learned In 7 Years of Married Life

After January 15 next year, I will hang my wedding planner hat as I explore other worthy endeavors. I am honored and grateful to each of my wedded couples who entrusted their most important day with me. I treasure the experience and the friendship. I will feature some of them here soon.

I received several compliments about this post, and how I looked that day. So I am thanking each of my supplier-partners who helped make our day, and me, beautiful.  I am re-posting this to give credit to them:

Gowns - designed by me in collaboration with Mia Urquico of MICO, 3/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Ortigas Center
Hair & Make-up - Peddy Acebo (message him at his Facebook profile), mobile: +63917-6279120
Flowers - Larry Natividad of Wedding Library, 5/F SM Megamall B, Ortigas Center
Reception - Mandarin Oriental Manila, Makati City
Church - Santuario de San Jose, East Greenhills, San Juan - Tel. (632) 7252044
Photo/Video - StudioTech by Jaime Tee

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