This is us

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“YOU HAVE FULL, UNHINDERED PERMISSION TO CRAFT A WEDDING DAY THAT FILLS YOUR SOUL WITH REFRESHING WAVES OF FREEDOM.”

Dawn was breaking over the mountains, the ocean was gently greeting the shore next to our modest camp site, and my husband was strategically adding logs to fuel the fire that would fuel the coffee that would fuel our bones. We sat there that sweet morning, surrounded by trees and coastal Maine views, sipping our brews slowly and accepting the gift that Mother Earth offers to ‘just be’. And in that moment, I remember my heart whispering three words—“This is us.”

Throughout our lifetimes, we all experience moments that feel inexplicably true to who we are. These moments could be filled with magical levels of serendipitous bliss or even imperfect simplicities that make you feel right at home. But what makes all of these once-in-a-while experiences so special is the sense of freedom that they bring. In that place, at that time, with those people, you are free. And that, my friend, is exactly how you should feel when you arrive at your wedding. Unfortunately, the dreamy, uninhibited wedding day of freedom is not a story that we hear often. Tales of predominantly wedding day stress, anxiety and disappointment echo in the world around us.

Couples are showing up to their own Pinterest-perfect weddings and feeling painfully out of place because they are surrounded by things, faces and environments that are not true to who they are. In a digital age with unlimited bridal inspiration at your fingertips, it’s easy to spend all of your time planning your dream day by looking solely to outside sources for guidance. And with all of the gorgeous gowns, magazine-worthy place settings and clever wedding favours out there, how could you not go a little Pinterest crazy? Oh yes. I get it. I’ve been there. But the moment you replace the inner-inspiration of who you are with inspiration from the internet—no matter how beautiful it might be—is the moment you sacrifice the intrinsic value of your individuality and the sacredness of your unique love story. Don’t you know that who you are, quirks and all, is worthy of being seen?

Don’t you see that the things that make your love story a one-of-a-kind masterpiece are worthy of being celebrated?

Don’t you understand that not even a flawless Pinterest board brought-to-life could outshine a wedding day that was intentionally crafted to display and honour your hearts?

It was a brisk autumn day that I got married. The train of my gown dragged through the leaves and dirt as I made my way to the ceremony, tucked into the towering trees of a forest that was worthy to hold the start of our love story. The evening sun danced through the branches and filled our cathedral of earth with warmth and light and ease. Twenty of our dearest friends and family sat in a semicircle of wooden folding chairs, facing an altar of open space, held between two parallel trees.

There were no extravagant decorations or elaborate designs. A few framed quotes, lace curtains and a lantern-lined aisle were enough. And as I arrived, the music sang out of the portable speaker into the wilderness that surrounded us, and from the depths of my soul I heard it once more, “This. This. This is us.” While planning our wedding, my life partner and I chose to look inward first. We designed a day that would feel like us, and then, and only then, did we look to outside sources for ideas that would support our story. We opted to honour our life values of peace, intimacy, and naturalness rather than pine for a narrative of glamour and luxury that might look ideal on the outside but never truly feel like ours. We chose to forgo comparison and trust that while our story may not look or feel like anyone else’s, it is those very reasons that we chose it. A love that is ours. A wedding day that is ours.

You have permission to plan a wedding day that is nothing like anyone else’s and everything like your own. You have permission to hold vast amounts of space for your values, desires and dreams, even if they aren’t trendy or conventional. You have permission to honour the very individuality that made your partner fall in love with you and made you fall in love with them. You have full, unhindered permission to craft a wedding day that fills your soul with refreshing waves of freedom. And when the moment arrives for you to stand upon the holy ground where you and your partner will unite souls forevermore, my hope for you is that you’ll feel the freedom in your bones. You’ll know your heart is at home. And from the depths of who you are, you’ll hear the whisper, “This is us.”

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