My husband and I just celebrated our 18th anniversary. That’s right, our marriage is old enough to be an adult. We got married in the year 2000, which makes the number of our anniversary easy to remember. Whatever year it is, that’s how long we’ve been hitched. We got a married on a holiday, which also makes it easy to remember. And since that holiday is April Fool’s Day, we can wiggle out of forgetting by just shouting “April Fool’s” and pretending it was an intentional gag, not an actual oversight. It comes in handy.
Most people are incredulous to learn we picked April Fool’s Day to get married; but it made perfect sense to us. After all, only fools fall in love, right? And there are few ingredients as crucial to the success of any marriage as a sense of humor. Both men and women regularly list a sense of humor as a top characteristic they look for in a lifelong partner, so why wouldn’t you keep it front and center on your big day?
We took every chance to keep our guests on their toes at our wedding. We intentionally printed the inside of our programs upside down. When they announced our entry at the reception, one of our groomsmen carried another in romantically. Our wedding party had their own fun that day pretending details were going awry, which weren’t. It was all in good fun and helped people see that not everything needed to go perfectly for us all to enjoy ourselves. I think that’s solid advice no matter what day you choose to wed.
We also bucked tradition in other ways. Did you know that grooms have historically stood on the bride’s right in order to keep their sword-wielding hand free? Since weddings often involved whole communities “back in olden times”, it was a prime day for enemies to attack. As the majority of people are right-handed, keeping the groom’s right hand exposed allowed him easy access to his weapon to defend his new bride. Alas, my groom is not right-handed. (Yes, we often explain that in an Inigo Montoya accent.) So we kept the traditional “bridal party on the left, groom’s party on the right” approach to the ceremony, but the two of us faced the congregation, with our minister’s back to our guests. This allowed everyone a better view of our faces during the ceremony, and – more importantly – allowed my south paw hubby to be ready to defend from impending attacks with his left hand.
We also had a “groomsmaid”. My husband has a dear female friend that certainly deserved a spot in the wedding party, but it made more sense to have her on his side. We picked a pattern for bridesmaid dresses and a fabric we liked in a beautiful lilac color. Each bridesmaid took the pattern and fabric we provided and had it made in her hometown, to ensure a great fit. We sent our groomsmaid the same pattern and fabric, but in black to match the guys. Sure, it’s different, but it was so very “us”.
Humor at a wedding is critical, just as it will be throughout your many years together. Few guests will remember the serious moments that are like every other wedding they’ve attended. They’ll remember the flower girl who forgot to throw the flowers, the ring bearer who picked his nose, the way one of you bumbled your vows, or that one cousin who danced like no one was watching. I was so excited about the “man and wife” part coming up in our ceremony that I literally giggled with excitement. 18 years later, people still remember that I laughed at my own wedding.
We had an epic cake smash. This was a smash followed by premeditated grinding motion. If you don’t have it up your nose and in your eyebrows, you just haven’t committed sufficiently. Will it ruin your hair? Maybe. Will it ruin your make-up? Definitely. But it’s a moment of fun you’ll remember the rest of your lives. It sends a message to your new spouse and to your guests that you understand life gets messy, and you opt for the adventure anyway. It sets a more relaxed atmosphere for the rest of your reception and makes for great pictures. I genuinely can’t think of a decent argument against a cake smash. It’s silly and fabulous and you should do it.
When you take advantage of little ways to add humor to your wedding, you’ll be surprised at how much stress it takes off the other details of the day. A hundred little things could go wrong; but if people (including you) have fun, the mistakes won’t matter. The memorable moments of laughter and unexpected delights will be what people hold onto decades later.
After 18 years of marriage….