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preparing for marriage

benefits-of-having-a-honeymoon-right-away

The stretch of Canggu Beach in Bali was falling asleep as the warm air of monsoon dissipated. But at a villa where the neighborhood ends, the day was just about to start for two people.

It was the first evening of forever for Michael and I.

While our guests were just getting comfortable to finally take off their shoes for another hour of dancing, my new husband was already wrapping up his grooves. He winked at me. It was his signal to me to get ready to sneak out.

We wove through the crowd of dear family and friends while giving tight hugs and quick kisses to those we bumped into along the way.

 

If this photo could talk, it'll say "Let's sneak out!" And so we actually did...

 

We were sneaking out of our own wedding we planned for eight months. We were leaving a fun party where my favorite 90s music was playing.

Because we were more excited about spending the night together finally!

And then there we were, in our room not very far from the 100+ guests who all flew to the island just to be with us. And we had no plans of seeing any of them again the next day.

You might think it was pretty rude.

Well, I suppose we could have done it better.

We could have announced to everyone that we will be signing off from the party to finally have sex. But that would have been so awkward.

Or we could have stayed until everyone else was gone. But that meant waiting for them until check-out time the next day. Many of our guests stayed at the same villa where we were going to spend our first day as a husband and wife. We didn’t want to wait that long.

We literally didn’t come out of our room the next day until everyone was gone. Being very social people, we knew we would be tempted to chat away with anyone we’d see, and even say “yes” to an activity they might be thinking about. But we were on a mission. To just focus on each other.

Frankly, we were not worried about what our guests were going to think. Our guests knew us very well and they knew how excited we had been about finally spending a night together. And because we had made sure that everyone was sorted out logistically, we felt we had done our part in hosting.

Four years after that night, Michael and I still think that we made a good decision to have our honeymoon right away.

 

Photo by David Nunez on Unsplash

 

And here are the three benefits of having your honeymoon after your wedding day.

 

1.  You get to establish foundations for your marriage right away.

The first days of marriage is very crucial in establishing strong foundations for the years to come. It’s the time when you consummate your marriage through sex.

So if we’ll call those first days of marriage as the “honeymoon”, then it makes sense to get on with it right after the wedding day. And it’s also important to dedicate a number of days for it that’s satisfying for both you and your new husband.  

For many couples, the idea of a honeymoon is a big exotic trip. And because of the financial demands of such a trip, it’s usually scheduled much later after the wedding day.

Trips such as that are good for marriages. They add to the excitement in the relationship. It also allows couples to learn about each other in a different context, and and builds fond memories.

But I would call that trip something else. “Our first newlywed trip” or something.

The honeymoon that we are talking about, the crucial immediate first days after the wedding day, should not be put on hold. A honeymoon can then be in the same city where you already live, in the same city as your wedding venue, or even in your marital home. On this blog post I share why a long and complicated travel journey may not always be the best option after the wedding day.

 

2.  You communicate with each other that the marriage takes priority.

Cindy, not her real name, shared with me how devastated she felt the few days following her wedding day.

She and her then-fiancé-now-husband waited until marriage to have sex. Her whole engagement period, she was just looking forward to being intimate with her groom after the wedding day.

Their wedding day was attended by guests flying in from overseas. They had not seen many of these people in a long time. So her groom thought it was a good idea to spend the next few days after the wedding with them.

They did not communicate well about this plan beforehand. Cindy felt her groom was prioritising their family and friends. Meanwhile, Cindy’s groom thought her attitude during the entire week with their dear family and friends was very unwelcoming and ungrateful.

The couple have sorted out this disagreement and has learned that communication is key. Also, they’ve learned that everything else just takes second priority after marriage. And sometimes, they will have to make tough decisions that other people wouldn’t really like or understand.

When I asked Cindy if she would have felt better had they communicated about the plan of spending their immediate post-wedding week with family and friends, her answer was interesting. She shared that had she and her partner talk about their expectations around the day after their wedding, her husband would have supported her preference. Because, as it turned out, he also wanted to spend his time with just Cindy and no one else right after the wedding day!

 

3.  You can really focus on each other with undivided attention.

It takes a while for our brain to switch off from the previous task that we were focused on. So when you go back to work straight after the wedding, when you finally have your honeymoon, your brain will take a while to switch back to a honeymoon mode.

See, you’ll just be focused on the wedding and your fiancé the days before the wedding. You can take advantage of that mental focus for the following days to just serve your new spouse.

Here are the other plus points of the week following your wedding day: People are usually conscious about not disturbing newlyweds the immediate days after their wedding. And with the popularity of marriage leaves, most companies would entitle you to it the same period as your wedding day. So why not take advantage of the privileges of the post-wedding week?

Here’s a caveat though: You can only really have an undisturbed honeymoon right after the wedding if you plan your post-wedding logistics well.

Who will pack-up all your personal items at the ceremony and the reception? Who will send off your guests on your behalf? Who will settle the balances with the vendors after the party’s over?

It’s possible to have a plan for these things so you can be 100% focused on your spouse! Here’s a blog post where I identify the post-wedding things you need to plan ahead, and ways to delegate them.

 

Photo by Mahkeo from Unsplash.

 

Others might suggest, “Marriage is hard stuff. So it’s better to get back to the “real life” right away so we don’t get wrapped up in a bubble of the honeymoon phase.” It’s true, marriage is hard stuff. And all couples will inevitably have to go through various trying phases in marriage.

There is a verse in the old testament that talks about taking a year off after the wedding day. Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Christians are no longer bound by this in the new covenant, but there is indeed wisdom in this principle. And if we dig the wisdom here, then we can apply it to our the first few days or weeks of marriage - when the honeymoon takes place. This blog post talks more about it.

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about this blog post! Would love to hear from you.

 

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prepare-for-any-weather

Outdoor weddings have undoubtedly become more and more popular. I’ve been seeing more and more couples taking their wedding party to the backyard, the courtyard, the beach, or wherever else a clear sky can be seen.

We had ours in a garden nestled under tropical trees overlooking the beach. The sun was high up in the afternoon, and everyone without sunglasses squinted throughout our ceremony. My face had collected sweat by the time my groom and I were permitted to kiss, and I didn’t feel as pretty as when I walked down the aisle. We were glad it was a sunny day, but I wouldn’t lie about hoping that it wasn’t THAT hot.

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
While I was indeed “walking on sunshine” on our wedding day, I couldn’t say I had nary a care for the sweltering hot temperature that day. (Photo by Iwan Photography in Bali)

 

If I was slightly unsettled even with clearly good weather on our wedding day, how much more would it be for couples whose outdoor weddings got rained on?

Here’s a post where I wrote about what four of my married female friends felt when the sky sent showers on their wedding day.

Knowing that the weather is out of our control, how can couples prepare for the least-liked weather conditions?

There are logistical steps that you can take to have a Plan B so that you and your guests don’t end up getting soaked in the rain and waking up the next day with a flu. Check out my post on 25 Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Wedding.

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
Dust and Carla were able to push through with their garden ceremony amidst the drizzle. Come dinner time, rained cats and dogs and everyone couldn’t step out of the venue. Click the photo to read about their story. (Photo by Oak St. Studios)

 

We all know that a Plan B is a Plan B because it’s not Plan A, our preferred plan. And for a bride and groom, that really sucks.

So how can you prepare yourselves mentally, emotionally, and more importantly, spiritually for any kind of disappointment that bad weather could bring on your wedding day?

Here are 5 steps you can take to prepare for any weather you wake up and sleep to, on the day you say “I do”:

 

1. Think about how you can showcase God’s creativity through your wedding.

I believe that God allows us to bring out our creativity on our wedding day. After all, He’s like a Father who’d like to see His children use their talents. We ought to create excellent things because our God is excellent.

Now, think of how you can make your wedding look just that - excellent. Oh, for sure your ideas abound! The good news is that we all want our wedding day to be superb, and that’s not a difficult thing to do.

Next, think about what a poorly executed wedding would look like. It obviously doesn’t showcase God’s creativity. List down the elements of such a wedding so you can really imagine them with your fiancé.

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

 

This time, ask yourselves these questions:

• If the flowers that you’ve been wanting to use for your wedding fail to bloom on THE day, are you failing God?

• If the sun dries up the lake where you wanted to get married in, are you failing God?

• If it rains on your wedding day, and you have to bring all your guests indoors for their safety, are you failing God?

The answer is definitely no because these things are obviously out of your control. So if you have anything on your “poorly-executed-wedding-be-like” list along those lines, scrap them.

When we end up feeling bad about not getting something we want, is it because we are just too insistent on what we want?

The exercise above is one way to help us check our intentions when we make certain decision for our wedding (or in life!). I know you will be planning excellently for the things that you can control, so be easy on yourself! God is already pleased at the intent and the effort you’ve put into planning!

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
John and Rachelle were all set for a beach wedding reception but it rained. Moving indoors didn’t stop them from delivering great entertainment to their guests - filled with lots of impromptu singing! (Photo by TJ Medrana Photography)

 

2. Use your wedding funds wisely.

Anything unplanned that happens on your wedding becomes too painful to handle when we put in too much of our resources in it.

If an outdoor wedding gets rained on, and you have to revert to Plan B, then the effort, time, and money you put in for your venue and all your outdoor decors no longer give you the full return on investment. And this hurts couples badly. Sometimes we can overlook the cost of effort and time, but not easily money. Why? Because we tend to be more attached to our money, and we earn it through effort and time after all!

So what’s the antidote? Decide wisely where you put your wedding fund into.

When you take a biblical perspective on spending your wedding money, you make wiser decisions. What does spending look like in the Bible? That which will honor and celebrate Him. There are tons of Biblical scriptures on it. Here’s a list of some of them.

An example of how a couple could be spending their wedding fund with God in mind is this:

Lillian and Thomas chose a beach wedding to complement their water-loving personalities (God likes how we embrace our uniqueness.), to showcase the beauty of the natural scenery (God created them after all!), and to share the Gospel during the ceremony even to passers-by (Wow, that’s letting go of any privacy on their wedding day!).

But if you’re telling me, “Hmm, we’re not choosing our venue for all those reasons, just that it’s really pretty and it suits us!” Then that’s totally fine too!

You can now then check your choice against your budgets.

If your choice of venue stretches your budget beyond what you can afford, especially that you will need to spend also on any rainy-day logistics (like tentage or renting an alternative venue--read my post about that here), then it might not be the best choice.

I’d be careful about “praying for that venue that is 40% beyond our budget because God grants the desires of our hearts!” Yes, He grants the desires of our hearts, but only if they are the desires of His heart too! And I don’t think He wishes any of us to begin married life at a deficit. More on the topic of Weddings & Money here.

In the end, whether it’s a church venue, a palace, a garden, or the slope of a volcano where you are getting married, God is okay with any venue, as long as you are choosing it for Him and using the resources that He has given you wisely. And when you choose Him, of course you are also choosing to make it safe for your guests!

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
Eric and Kelly had such an elegant, welcoming and God-honouring wedding that didn’t break the bank. (Photo by 9 Frames Photography)

 

3. Pray and ask God about your choice of venue and setup.

You’ve heard this before: “Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

When it’s time for you and your fiancé to choose your wedding venue and setup, first, pray about it. Remember, praying is seeking God’s desire for you. And as you both pray for what He desires for you both, He’ll work in amazing ways to speak to your hearts, and make them want what He wants for you.

Then dive into the Word. Communicating with God is a two-way action. Just praying without seeking for His instructions is like talking to your counsellor without giving your listening ears to know what they think. Getting into the Word is also a way to affirm if what you are desiring is what God desires for you both.

 

 

Which part of the Bible do you go to when you’re in the middle of making a big decision? And I’d consider picking a wedding venue as a big decision. It will define most of your other wedding decisions!

I don’t have a prescription on which scripture would help you exactly, because there are tons. I suggest you read this article on How Do I Study a Specific Topic in the Bible. It will suggest to you using a concordance. When you search for topics using an online concordance like Bible Study Tools, I suggest looking up some of these words to study scriptures about them: “decisions,” “plans,” “wisdom,” or “hospitality.” As for why I included the word “hospitality”, read my fourth point below. As you pray with your partner, write down the words that come to mind that you’d want to study.

When you make decisions based on what God wants for you, then it should be easier to heal from disappointments when your plans don’t prosper. What happens if your wedding day still gets a weather that you don’t prefer after you’ve prayed, heard from God and obeyed God when you both decided on a venue? You get full assurance that it’s the weather that God wants for a bigger purpose!

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
Ina’s dream of an outdoor wedding was rained on, which led her to learn more about her now husband. Click on the image to read her story. (Photo by Icebox Imaging)

 

On the note of prayer and studying the word: This whole period of wedding planning is a great opportunity to exercise your praying muscles and develop Bible study habits. You and your fiancé will be making TONS of decisions together. While your decisions would seem to only be relevant to a one-day event, they have long-term effect. So I really believe that this is a period when you really have to prioritise even more your time with the Lord. You will be busy planning the wedding, but prioritising your time with God will realign you with the real purpose of this season. How I wish I heard about this when I was in your place!

 

4. Think of the wedding venue that you choose as your home on your wedding day.

Your wedding venue, every area of it, is your home on that special day. If anything, it’s your first home together as a married couple! You are welcoming your most loved people to that place that you meticulously prepared for their coming.

This said, won’t the way you design the wedding venue similar to how you would get your home ready if you were to invite them to your actual marital home? You’ll probably even pour out more resources on your wedding day than any other occasion you would host in the future. What a great act of hospitality!

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day

 

One picture of hospitality in the Bible is found on 1 Peter 4:9 which says, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” The next verse goes on to say that, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

In the first point, I talked about how God is pleased with you when you use your talents to plan, organise, and design the venue on your wedding day. The verse above affirms that!

Then I talked about spending your wedding funds wisely on point # 2. And this verse also encourages us to be faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms! I believe that you having money to spend on your wedding is just by God’s grace! Isn’t that cool?

So in the case of your wedding venue and setup, what you need to prioritise is how to make people feel comfortable in the space, how you can make them feel accommodated through your logistics and programme, and how you can do that while using your skills and talent within what you can afford. All of these already showcase excellent hospitality!

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
One of the things we enjoyed the most during our wedding was sitting with our guests. Mike and I enjoyed hosting people for meals in our homes as single people. Fast forward to marriage, we have been doing together what we started on our wedding day! (Photo by Iwan Photography in Bali.)

 

5. Remember that God is the God of all weather.

Undoubtedly, more couples prefer a clear sky and just the right amount of sun compared to rain on their wedding day, given the type of venues being booked nowadays. Even couples who choose to do their event indoors definitely find it more convenient to have a rain-free weather, as going to the venue on a rainy day can be a hassle for the guests (think long dresses getting wet upon getting off the car!).

So I assume that there are more soon-to-be wed couples PRAYING for sun than those praying for rain.

I turned to a friend to seek a counsel on whether or not it’s biblical to pray for good weather. She said, “Yes. It is biblical to pray for anything including good weather for special occasions. But remember that God’s answer is always ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’”

That shouldn’t be a surprise to us, but somehow, it still surprises us and hurts us when bad weather meets us.

 

How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day
“This is the day (rain or shine) that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. *Italics are mine.

 

When we pray for something and God answers it, it is for His glory. If He says “no” and it rains when you prayed for a sun shiny day, that’s also for His glory. It may be difficult to accept because it’s not what we want, but that’s really the deal and is what glorifies God ultimately.

When it rains on your wedding day, God is not punishing you. Firstly, no one punishes someone using something that’s good. Rain is good because He created it. Secondly, God is not in a punishing mode when a certain weather that we don’t prefer shows up at the wedding and marriage that we’ve submitted to Him. He has a story for it that we may not understand immediately, and that’s another reason to pray--so that God reveals to you what His purpose is for the weather that He’ll bring on your wedding day.

 

So, gorgeous bride, take comfort that you can have a beautiful wedding, no matter what the weather becomes. You can also take inspiration from this post.

 

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How to Prepare for Any Weather On Your Wedding Day

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how-long-engagement

If you didn’t need to plan the wedding, when would you have wanted to get married?

I bet your answer is, “NOW!”

Truth be told - getting married means having to plan a wedding, which takes time, resources, and effort even for the simplest of weddings.

Well, here’s some news: the engagement period is not only all about wedding preparations. Thankfully, married friends talked to Mike and I about the things worth considering when we were still deciding on how long our engagement should be.

 

1.  How long is the marriage preparation course?

We took a course to understand what the bible says about marriage and how we should prepare for it. Our church offers it once a year. Perfect timing, classes started a month after we got engaged and went on for six weeks.

If you both believe that you should be getting married sooner than the next available class schedule at your church, then try looking at other churches. While there are many benefits to attending one at your church (e.g. journeying through it with people you know), you wouldn’t want to be held off by schedules.

 

2.  How much time do you need to prepare for a wedding that honors God, your witnesses and your soon-to-be spouse?

Being engaged means you’ve gotten to know each other enough to agree to marry.

Theoretically, you should be ready to get married right at the moment you said “yes.”

Then there are also other things that we can’t help but also consider. Take the venue, for example. Is it God you’re honouring if you two wait solely because your dream venue is only available in a year’s time?

Stretching your engagement to give yourselves enough time to incorporate all the components of a fairytale wedding is not God’s priority for you.

Work expands to the amount of time you give it. So if you give yourselves one year to plan a wedding, it’ll be one year’s worth of work. I’m not in any way advertising quick, sloppy, and rushed-looking weddings, but we’ve also attended beautiful weddings planned in just a few months.

 

3.  How long can you stay pure in this relationship?

Being engaged brings you closer to marriage. And what I mean by that is, you are still NOT married. Yet emotions are so fired up at this stage.

Temptations will surround you. Choosing to stay pure is one of the most hated commitments you can make as a Christian, because it challenges your own flesh’s desires and the world’s perception of sex.

I personally struggled with that commitment I made many times during our dating and engagement period. I was like that kid who hated herself for agreeing to eat vegetables, only to later be so thankful that she actually did. 

You’d want to keep your engagement short enough to avoid temptations, but long enough to settle other God-honouring considerations before marriage.

 

Mike and I had committed to waiting until marriage for sex. Temptations grew stronger during our engagement period! It wasn't easy but definitely one of the best decisions we made. The engagement period is a good time to re-establish your boundaries.

 

4.  How much time will my guests need in order to prepare for it?

Your wedding guests will be your witnesses when you make that vow to God and to your groom. That’s why a guest list is more than just a social obligation.

So while you don’t really have to wait until a young relative finds his job so he can buy a ticket to fly to your destination wedding, it makes sense to consider a respectful time for them to logistically prepare to come.

Giving your guests enough time to prepare for the wedding is being considerate. Don't make your guests scramble for time to arrange their vacation leaves, flight tickets, babysitting plans, etc. because you've given them such short notice. It will only communicate to them that you are not really serious about having them at your wedding.

There are, however, some exceptions to this. For example, some couples have had to unexpectedly stretch their engagement longer due to sudden death, illness, or crisis in the family. But again, it's best to decide based on what is most honouring to God through your relationships.

 

5.  How much time do you need before serving God as one?

Some thoughts to consider:

  • “Are we delaying our service to God as a married couple with the length of engagement we’re considering?”
  • “What preparations do we really need to be able to serve God as husband and wife?”

I don’t have a prescription as to how long that should take. All I know is that one of the best pieces of advice Mike and I received before getting married was that we can never be perfectly ready for marriage.

You will never be fully ready to serve God. All you need to serve Him is He Himself in your life. And when you do get married, all you need to serve him together is still Him.

Be excited by the prospect of serving God together as a married couple. Imagine being able to serve God through new family members and friends. I know this to be a fact because God has doubled the size of our ministry opportunity when our friends and families merged.

However long you decide to be engaged for, don’t forget to enjoy the season. It’s a joyful period in your relationship that will just get better through time.

Reading this after you’ve already decided on a wedding date? Share with me in the comment section below what your considerations were. I’d love to hear your insights!

 

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