On second thought, allow me to correct the title to - "When the Unexpected Happens on Your Wedding Day".
No matter how long you plan your wedding, even if it’s for the length of over a year, there is always a possibility that something won’t happen as we expect it to. No matter how much you try, you just cannot control everything.
Unexpected things that could happen on a wedding day:
- Heavy rain
- Scorching heat conditions
- Stains or dirt on the crisp white wedding dress
- Schedule runs late
- Not enough time for outdoor photos
- Loss of the wedding rings
- Embarrassing family members
- DIY projects crumble to pieces.
Just reading this list can cause severe anxiety. Even if only of these things actually occurs on the big day – regret, worry, extreme frustration, plenty of tears, anger and even a nervous breakdown could definitely follow.
So, how do we deal? How do we exit this cycle of reaction? How do we find peace and make the right decision when we feel like it’s the end of the world?
The first thing to do is accept.
Without judgment, without wishing for something else.
Acceptance is a conscious choice to drop all forms of resistance to whatever has come at this present moment, and make the most of it. Acceptance isn’t about liking or approving something. It is about letting life flow and unfold without getting in its way. It is about being receptive, rather than being resistant to what is in front of you.
The art of accepting involves:
- Awareness of your thoughts: Be aware of which thoughts arise in your mind.
For example: “If only______, then I could be happy”, “I wish s/he acted differently”, “I should have______”, “Why do I deserve this?”. Identify such thoughts. Don’t ignore them, just acknowledge their existence.
- Awareness of your body: Be aware of the emotions, feelings and sensations in your body. Is there a tightening in your chest? Tense shoulders? Does your stomach turn? Is your jaw clenched?
- Breathing: Breathing is our anchor. When you pay attention to it, you return to the present moment. It has the ability of releasing tension in your body. It can vanquish repetitive swirling thoughts about the past, and release all stress and anxiety caused by thoughts of the near future.
- Letting go: Let go of wishing that things would have been different. It is what it is, or que sera, sera, as the saying goes. The more you resist doing this, the more it will hurt you. This step it not easy at all, and takes a lot of practice.
- Find the right solution: When one is free of anger, disappointment and regret, one tends to make the right decision on how to act. It could involve a drastic action, or it could also be the choice of doing absolutely nothing.
Acceptance can be liberating. It gives you some space to see things clearly and experience the present moment to the fullest. In this way, you can be ready and prepared for a (very possible) scenario that something unexpected would indeed happen on your wedding day. Despite this unforeseen occurrence - you’ll have the ability to find peace within yourself, and the courage to nevertheless continue celebrating this special day, demonstrating your love to your partner, and granting proper attention to your guests.
During my own wedding, the unexpected happened, in the form of a storm that erupted magnificently during our ceremony, which just so happened to be held outdoors.
Yes, when we checked, the forecast didn’t look too good. And yes, we had a plan B to conduct the ceremony indoors, but insisted on having it outside anyway, and had umbrellas prepared, just in case.
As soon as we walked down the aisle, the sky darkened completely, and torrential rain began to pour – like a dramatic scene from a movie, with thunder rumbling loudly and lightning brightening the sky every so often.
Our initial choice was to panic and become utterly depressed about it all.
About it being so different from what we originally imagined our wedding to be. That the umbrellas were blocking the altar from everyone’s sight. That hair and makeup, which both received such careful attention, time and energy, were now drenched. That nothing could be heard because of the downpour. That the cameras were getting wet, and that the photographers were in total shock. That the wind was so strong, the arch was blown clean away. And that the event planner was standing with an umbrella next to Polly at the altar, and is in every single picture.
The second option was to pay attention to all these details, but without judging them. Without categorizing them as either good or bad. Just understanding that they are what they are.
Releasing every wish that it would be anything but what is happening right now, and managing to experience this moment at its fullest. Noticing the frustration and anxiety that were probably rising, but not letting them control us.
The bonus? We managed to enjoy our special moment, in honor of which everyone has gathered. Despite the difficulties, discovering the ability to share this love between us both at the altar, and our love for our families and friends sitting in front of us. Managing to connect with nature and be amazed by its force and beauty. Succeeding in seeing things humorously, and laughing about it later.
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing.