Your wedding is not the time to settle (well, is there ever a time to settle? Topic for a different blog…) Settling happens when we don’t believe we can have what we really want. Most of us have, sadly, gotten used to settling. When we were small children we eventually gave up fighting for what we wanted and figured it was easier just to, well, settle. I am here to tell you, the time for that is over. A wedding is a new beginning, so why not use this life transition to start going after what you really want, and set aside old fears and patterns that get in the way of living your biggest, boldest life?
As a Life-Cycle Celebrant and Wedding Officiant, I help couples make the most of their wedding ceremonies. Over the years I’ve noticed some patterns, some ways of thinking, that a lot of us share, that really do get in the way of having the most moving, heartfelt, awesome weddings we really deserve! So I decided to list four of these limiting beliefs below, and shed some light on how you can shake up old ways of thinking and create a wedding full of connection, presence, and love.
Limiting Belief #1: Thinking you have to do it a particular way
We’ve all been to plenty of weddings, and we’ve probably noticed a lot of patterns – the way people walk down the aisle; the placement of the couple, attendants, and officiant… We even hear some of the same words repeated so often we begin to think they must be required. But really there is very little that a wedding must absolutely include. Usually all that has to happen is you both have to agree to be married and your officiant pronounces you so. That leaves a lot of room for personalization!
You can process down one aisle, two aisles, with your family, on your own, not at all. Honor your heritage with a handfasting, las arras, or breaking the glass. Include your child. Include your grandmother. Stand in a circle of flowers, plant a tree, exchange love letters. Listen to a poem, listen to a song, SING a song! And remember – if you don’t want to do it then don’t! You don’t have to be given away, you don’t have to say traditional vows, and you don’t even have to exchange rings!
Limiting Belief #2: Thinking that “short and sweet” is your only secular option
Lots of couples I talk with don’t belong to a faith community and that’s why they’re looking for someone to officiate their wedding. The secular model people tend to be most familiar with is a short civil ceremony performed by a justice of the peace. This is a great option for lots of people. But it’s not the only choice! Celebrants like myself create original, one-of-a-kind ceremonies that are super-meaningful to you and totally engaging to your guests, just as full and rich as any wedding you’ve seen, and perhaps even more juicy because it celebrates exactly who the two of you are.
Limiting Belief #3: Rushing through the ceremony
Sometimes during the initial consult, one or both members of the couple will say to me something along the lines of “we want it as short as possible, let’s just get it done.” While I appreciate the drive to cut through the ceremony “rigamarole” and get on to the business of being married, I really do recommend taking a slower approach. After all, you hopefully will only do this once. Include words and rituals that tell your story. Savor some moments of silence. Take time to look out at your guests. Say your vows slowly and really feel the promises you’re making. Take the time to notice what you are doing – yes, it is this ceremony that is actually making you married. And that’s pretty cool!
Limiting Belief #4: Letting your fears hijack the process
Plenty of people have some fears about their wedding and I get it. It can be scary to be the center of attention. And it can be even scarier to be the center of attention WHILE expressing your innermost feelings.
But you know what? Performance anxiety need not apply here. Because your wedding is not a performance. Yes, there is a rehearsal, which will help you feel more comfortable with how things will all flow. But the ceremony itself is not a performance and your guests are not an audience. Your wedding is the actual living of life, in all its messy glory! Tears, laughter, mistakes are all welcome. Be authentically you, and when there are no expectations of perfection, there need not be any fear of screwing up.
So, are you ready to dive in to the process, the ritual, the feelings? Reflecting on your life, or your wedding-planning process in particular, what kind of thinking has gotten in your way? What have you done or could you do to retire that old thinking and start anew?