Those aren’t my relatives in the image above, but they easily could be. When I actually have more of my wedding pictures, I’ll try to find one that illustrates the dichotomy between my overwhelmingly large immediate family and the Beard’s itty-bitty one. Having a large stand-alone family, or a combined family so big that its density subtly changes earth’s gravity, can be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, relatives can really fill up those church pews, ensuring that your wedding is well-attended. On the other, if any of them have traveled a great distance to attend said wedding or have not seen you in some time, their desire for “face time” may override their sensitivity.
I mentioned yesterday that given the chance to relive my nuptials, I would do a few things differently with regards to my wedding celebration. The first would be to let everyone know in advance that private time is as necessary to newlywed happiness as champagne and cake.
Both the Beard and I have friends and family hailing from a diverse cross section of geographical locations, and all of these people inevitably wanted to share their happiness with us in person. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. We certainly felt loved as we hauled ourselves from dinners to breakfasts to cocktails, etc. But through it all, we kept decrying the fact that we had had but a few scant moments to enjoy one another’s company after saying, “I do.”
My advice is this: If you know you want alone time with your new spouse, let everyone attending your wedding know this. Be gentle, but be firm — and don’t let anyone guilt you into losing your resolve. If you’re not sure how much alone time you’re going to want, weigh the pros and cons of free food versus the exhaustion that will hit you after you’ve breakfasted with one set of loved ones, grabbed a quick lunch with another more faraway set, and then driven more than an hour to meet up with yet more family for a traditional clam bake.
The Beard and I learned this the hard way, after having a bit of a shared meltdown on the road between family obligations. We’d just planned and executed an entire wedding ourselves, and were not given much of a chance to wind down afterward. In fact, we were afforded quality time to ourselves on only two separate occasions, during our character lunch at Disney’s Crystal Palace and while packing our belongings to leave for home.
Let me be very clear that this was our choice. We regard family as important, and we made a sacrifice to prove it. Heck, we’ll have the rest of our lives to think up excuses to avoid family (just kidding, mom!). But before you make the same sacrifice, take a few quick seconds to mull over some ways you could fit some alone time into your busy schedule of post-nuptial family visits. A few minutes spent gazing into your new spouse’s eyes with no one there to interrupt will do wonders for your wellbeing!