Friday, November 21, 2008

Sage Words: Part 3

Today’s sage word is an excerpt from a post that Nicole (from Prom to Altar) wrote as a Wedding Graduate on Meg’s A Practical Wedding blog. I only included the beginning of the post, but you can read the rest of what Nicole had to say here. Enjoy!
This is the story of a wedding cake, and about how weddings aren’t about stuff—they really aren’t.

Patrick and I did two things when we began planning our wedding: we set a budget, and we prioritized the things that budget would be spent on. Top priorities included having our large families and closest friends present, good photography, a good DJ, and a pretty location (not mind-blowing or amazing, but pretty). All the rest we decided we didn’t care so much about, and/or knew we could do with very little money.

When we got to the question of the cake- very low on our list of priorities- we discussed a few ideas—cupcakes (more expensive than cakes! Who knew?), having a friend make it (not many people jumped at that high-pressure, no do-overs job), buying a bunch of small cakes (turns out that adds up), or nixing the cake altogether (that didn’t go over very well). We decided to hire a baker, but only if we could find one within the budget.

We came across a woman who baked wedding cakes out of her house for a very reasonable price and went to meet her on a dreary March day. The meeting was great—she had many photos of cakes she’d done, she provided references, and she seemed to understand the (very simple) design we described. She explained the mechanics to us, we discussed logistics, and we put down a deposit.

Fast forward to our wedding day. When we arrived at the reception venue, Patrick and I went to look at the room while our guests were enjoying cocktail hour outside. The room looked beautiful (and gasp! we didn’t even hire a lighting designer!). I had totally forgotten about our cake until that moment, and got excited when I spotted it from way across the room. “Oooo our cake!” I started over towards it. “Um, honey, there’s bit of a problem with the cake,” Patrick very gently said. I noticed at that point that all activity in the room had halted-- the waitstaff, the DJ, our photographers, they were all watching as I approached the cake. When I arrived beside the tower of confection I immediately saw the “bit of a problem”. The bottom tier was cracked, and the whole thing was off kilter. It looked like an earthquake had hit, and there were no survivors. It was not pretty. Not at all.

“Ohhh…. well, alright, whatever!” I laughed. I had just married the love of my life-- I was so happy, in such a good mood, that nothing was going to get to me. The cake could have been in a heap on the floor and I wouldn’t have cared (well, I may have sent someone out to buy a dozen pies in that case). Besides, the cake remained way way down on our list of priorities—that hadn’t changed.

We shifted the timeline around and cut our cake first so it could be removed from view (and away from the danger of completely collapsing on a small child) as soon as possible. Our DJ made a cute joke about being able to have dessert first on your wedding day, our photographers were able to capture the cutting in a way that hid the cake’s defects, and the day went on. The cake was a catastrophe (although it did taste good). And it didn’t matter one bit.

Our wedding day was beautiful.
Our wedding day was incredibly fun.
And the cake was a total disaster.
It just didn’t matter.
That’s the secret that the books and magazines won’t tell you.

So this is my lesson to you. No matter how many books are written about perfect wedding cakes/flowers/dresses, regardless of Martha Stewart articles that argue otherwise, and no matter how many blog posts focus on the minutia, the ‘stuff’ doesn’t matter. The flowers, the cake, the dress, the jewelry, even the venue- all that stuff that gets so much attention while you’re planning actually gets the least amount attention on your wedding day. Your joy, your guests’ happiness, the way you two look at each other—those all have starring roles.

There is something about reading about wedding details that didn’t quite go off without a hitch that reinforces the whole idea of getting married. Nicole, I don’t think I could have said it better myself. And it was a sweet consolation that at least the cake tasted good…which is why I’m totally getting mine from Publix.

This was my last scheduled Sage Words post in this series. I know…time flies so quickly! Don’t fret, I’ll be on the look out for more sage words, and when inspiration hits, you’ll be the first to know. See you tomorrow! ♥


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