No seriously, try it – search for “wedding values” and the internet thinks you meant vows or venues or something else. But why is examining your wedding values not a task that the wedding industry gives you? Well, we’re going to start now.
First, let’s back up – what the heck would a wedding value even be?
A wedding value would be what it sounds: something you label as important or meaningful when it comes to your marriage party. But this is meant to go beyond having a certain flower or a certain dress or a certain color. These values are meant to be found at the core of your marriage party. They’re meant to shape the very foundation of it in a way that couldn’t feel any more right than it does.
So how do you find your wedding values?
Strip away all of the planning and minute decision making – what is the core purpose for your wedding? If nothing else existed, what do you want to exist at your marriage party? And it sounds complicated, because it kind of is. There’s no right answer. At the core might be your marriage. Your guest experience. Your family’s support. There’s no clear answer, but the key is finding the answer that fits you best as a couple.
How to find your wedding value – your why
I can’t exactly tell you what needs to matter to you at your marriage party. But I can tell you what 10 people decided mattered at theirs, looking back.
“Celebrating with our family and friends!!” – Emily
“Seeing my wife happy with all our family around!” – Lee
“Sharing hand-written vows with Rick, and being able to dance with my father.” – Evelyn
“My best friends comforting us and making sure we had a good night despite the family drama.” – Teesha
“The quiet moments.” – Maija
“Time alone with husband, immediate family members, and bridal party.” – Anna
“It was on the smaller side and everyone there was someone we both loved/cherished and vice versa.” – Kelley
“Every single person in the room was there for us. To celebrate us and our love.” – Chantel
“Getting ready with my ladies! The feeling of being pampered, and sharing that feeling with my friends.” – Michaela
“Making sure it was a great time for everyone, while getting my moments with Anna. Accomplished!” – Rob
These are the things that matter. So what can you do on your marriage party day to make sure your values are supported?
The most important question to ask of every wedding decision: does this align with our values?
It seems simple, but also maybe frivolous, and I can assure you it’s not. What if your marriage party was exactly what you wanted, because you were able to be honest to yourself and your values? Imagine the photographs that would result – they would be the photographs of your dreams. Your memories and every single thing you did was exactly what you wanted, anything from getting pizza for dinner to wearing your favorite color instead of white. There are so many small steps you can take to craft a party that is exactly for you.
Here’s a bonus: these values may even spill over into your marriage.
If spontaneity is one of your wedding values, imagine the difference it makes to take that value into your marriage. You would always be working from a foundation of things that you and partner consider to be the utmost important things in your life.
So with a pen and paper and a partner, sit down and truly consider what matters most at your event. And I created a free guided workbook to help you get there.
You can use the Values Workbook to help narrow down exactly what it is that makes up the heart and soul of your wedding. Make every decision support these pillars. You may just find that you skip a lot of traditions to truly make your celebration one for just you – and that’s what matters most.
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.
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