Tomorrow, the happily attached among us will exchange bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolate. We’ll go out for fancy dinners and drink bottles of champagne. We’ll declare our love for one another in sappy cards and with heart-shaped gifts. And then, blissful, meaningful, non-cliché romance will instantly ensue. Right? Not usually – which is perhaps why Valentine’s Day is the holiday that so many people love to hate.
It’s a lot of pressure. There are all kinds of expectations around it. There’s kind of a pre-written script of how it’s supposed to go. So, for lot of couples, those champagne-fueled, heart-speckled Valentine’s Day celebrations actually end up being far less romantic than the random Tuesday when they ordered Thai food and watched reruns of Grey’s Anatomy with their new girlfriend or the time they drank cheap beer and talked for hours at a dive bar with their wife.
I’m in the early stages of planning my nuptials, and I’ve already learned that a wedding can be a lot like Valentine’s Day – except on speed. There is a tremendous expectation for it to be a special and meaningful day for the couple and all of the trappings of romance are there, but there are a whole lot of unromantic things to deal with as well. Nagging parents, uncomfortable shoes, performance anxiety and pressure to please everyone you’ve ever met all come to mind. If you’re not careful, the true romance – the reason you’re getting married in the first place – can get sucked right out of your wedding really quickly.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve come up with a few ways to add some real romance back into your wedding, so that (for at least a few moments) you’ll remember that this day is not about whether your impossible-to-please aunt likes the scallops, whether the florist shows up on time or whether your friends are enjoying the cocktail and music selections. It’s about the fact that you found a lady who you love so much that you want to spend the rest of your life with her.
Dress to impress (your wife)
There’s a lot of pressure to look perfect on your wedding day. All eyes will be on you, and it’s easy to get carried away with all of the options and trends. But don’t forget about the one person who’s probably most excited to see you – your future wife. If she loves when you wear your hair down, skip the fussy up-do and wear it down. Or, if she thinks you look sexy in pinstripes, add that element into your wedding day look. Your guests will think you look great regardless, but the woman you’re about to marry will be touched that you still care about impressing her.
Sneak away for a few minutes
Everyone wants a piece of the bride on her wedding day, so by the time you talk to every second cousin and college roommate, your wedding could end before you realize that you haven’t spent a minute of quality time with your wife. I read an article in a bridal magazine about a woman who snuck away from her wedding reception to have sex with her new husband – twice. I’m not endorsing mid-wedding sexcapades because I think that’s a tad unrealistic (and kind of tacky), but I do think all couples should plan to spend some period of time alone together on their wedding day. Maybe that means you two ride solo from the ceremony to the reception. Or, you could slip away for 20 minutes at the beginning of your cocktail hour to catch your breath and then make your grand entrance together. However you do it, don’t forget to spend a few minutes alone with the most important person in the room – your new wife.
Say what you really mean
I think one of the easiest ways to amp up the romance and make your ceremony truly meaningful for you and your wife is to write your own vows. Your vows are the perfect chance to tell your wife how much she means to you, the unique things you love about her and why she is the perfect match for you. What could be more romantic than that? Customized vows can be simple or poetic, humorous or sentimental. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it comes from your heart. If you want to write your own vows, but aren’t sure how to get started, reread the column I devoted to the subject a few months ago
Nothing bonds a couple like the little things that only the two of you share – an inside joke, a song that always makes you find each other in a crowded room, the type of flowers she brought you on your first date or the brand of wine you drank the night you fell in love. Incorporate at least one of those special details into your wedding – and don’t let anyone else in on the secret. If she gave you pink Gerber daisies on your first date, put them in your centerpieces. Or, pick up a bottle of the Cabernet she loves and ask your caterer to serve it to just the two of you during dinner. In addition to your first dance, have the DJ play another song that has significance for the two of you later in the evening. Amid all the chaos of your wedding, you’ll both appreciate a small reminder of the journey that led you to this day.
Share the love. How did you make your wedding romantic?