Wedding celebrations are a flurry of activity. It’s easy to forget small details, like placing the orchids in the cake icing, slipping your “something blue” ribbon into your bouquet, and–oh yes–your fiancé! That good sport in the corner who’s been gamely nodding through your grandpa’s old fishing stories is the same person who’s just made a lifelong promise to cherish you, so don’t let yourself get waylaid by your father-in-law’s old bowling stories. Go over there and show your spouse some love; don’t let your wedding day slip by without it!
In Jewish wedding tradition, the newly-married bride and groom leave the pomp and circumstance of their wedding celebration to enjoy a few moments alone together in the seclusion of what’s called a yichud room. They often enjoy a small, quiet meal together and are able to reflect on the enormity of their decision to spend their lives together before they emerge and rejoin their guests as host and hostess.
This tradition doesn’t have to accompany a Jewish wedding, however. Couples in every cultural tradition often share the same complaint: “The wedding was a blur! We hardly had time to talk to one another! We were too busy greeting and thanking our guests!” By taking a quiet moment after the wedding ceremony, you can be alone with your new spouse before you plunge into the frenzy of hosting a wedding reception with all of your gathered friends and family demanding your attention.
Look into each other’s eyes and take a deep breath. Take the chance to say anything that’s on your mind, from “You looked so beautiful walking down the aisle” to “If my uncle Morty says one more thing about our choice of venue, I’m kicking him out.” Have a little giggle, a little cry, a little kissing, or just a silent, long hug. Remember, this day is about the two of you!
If going into a private room seems a little too reminiscent of the high school party game “seven minutes in heaven,” you don’t have to do something so formal. You can arrange a time to give your full attention to your fiancé in view of everyone else. A sweetheart table (where the bride and groom sit at a table for two during the reception dinner) is a great way to achieve a little one-on-one time without seeming like you’re abandoning your guests.
The hard part of hosting a wedding–especially a large wedding–is perfecting the balancing act of being a gracious host while saving enough personal energy to appreciate the enormity of your wedding day. Many brides and grooms say they barely tasted the food or remembered the conversations they had with their guests, since the day passed in such a busy blur. If you feel your big day slipping away before you’ve had the chance to fully connect with your new spouse, it’s time to call a halt to hosting for a while. The best way to do this is to enlist your guests’ help.
Instead of trying to wade through a sea of eager friends and relatives who are all trying to congratulate you, turn their attention into something a little more helpful. Ask the people around you if they can locate your new spouse in the crowd and help you get over there. If you turn it into a fun game, your guests will be happy to help (after all, transporting you across a reception hall is a more memorable and personal interaction than yet another 30-second round of congratulations). Ask some friends if they wouldn’t mind forming a little procession–the folks in the front can announce your presence, while the folks around you can make sure you have enough space to get by. Make sure to smile and include everyone you pass so they don’t feel left out. They’re welcome to hop into the procession to get you over to your new spouse, too! You’ll find yourselves together in no time. (Just don’t be surprised if your gathered guests start chanting for a newlywed kiss now that you’ve achieved your goal.)
However you want to make time for your fiancé, whether it’s with a playful procession or a thoughtful moment alone, just make sure your wedding day doesn’t pass without a meaningful, memorable interaction. After all, your wedding day shouldn’t just be a blur of faces and handshakes–you’ll want to remember, above all, that it was the day you married the love of your life.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.