A wedding day is an important “defining moment” for a couple. It creates a moment in time to celebrate a loving partnership and to honor the promise of a fulfilling and joyful marriage.

In this wedding work that I do, I sometimes hear the expression “a wedding doesn’t really matter, it’s the marriage that counts.”

A wedding day does matter.

Yes, it’s true. Some couples go into over-drive with the wedding planning experience and fail to use the engagement time to deepen a relationship. In this hyper-mode, a couple temporarily “forgets” that they are really planning a marriage and put too much emphasis on the wedding.

A celebration of marriage is one big day of life. For many couples, it is the “best day of life.” For others, there is more focus on planning for the marriage than the wedding. Simply put, there is no right or wrong here but what is right for an engaged couple.

The importance of “the big day” is all about personal preference. Do you want a big and glitzy wedding day? Would you rather invite family and friends over for a casual ceremony and party at a family home? Or elope to a nearby city or plan a destination wedding to a more exotic place with close family and friends.

1) What is really important to us – our wedding, our marriage or both? For some couples, a wedding is hugely important and others would prefer a small wedding with more focus on the planning and creation of the marriage partnership. I’d like to think there is a happy balance – a special day that sweetly celebrates a relationship and a focus around building a marriage that is loving and healthy in all ways.

2) How can you incorporate your values into your wedding day? If you and your sweetheart look at your shared values and what is important to you, you can define the importance of the day that will join you in marriage and plan from there. Three possible shared and/or negotiated values may include the importance of family and friends, money, and perhaps any religious, spiritual or secular elements.

3) What is practical and prudent for us? What is romantic and loving for us? As you take a look at what a wedding day means to you, there is a gentle dance between being practical and pragmatic and romantic and loving. In today’s economic climate, couples are practical and prudent with their wedding dollars and at the same time, are still creating a wedding day (big, mid-size, small or very tiny) that lovingly marks the moment. No matter what your budget, the remarkable thing is that a wedding day can be had for $200 or $20,000 – it’s totally up to an engaged couple!

Annemarie Juhlian is a Wedding Officiant, Minister & Celebrant in Seattle, Washington. She creates personalized wedding ceremonies for couples of all faiths and traditions. Take a peak at Annemarie: https://www.marriedbyannemarie.com or call 425. 922.1325.