All Things Are Ready will help you plan a wedding in 3 months. But a wedding ceremony in 60 seconds? That takes help from the videographer. Oh, and a fast photographer. Look at him move!
“It’s a funny habit—to watch newlyweds exchange cake wondering what I can decipher about their relationship—but one that has been sadly accurate over the years.”
Read more: How I Predict Divorce Based on the Wedding Cake by Kevin Thompson
“You can’t possibly understand the reality of marriage — the joy, the commitment, the love, the anger, the pain, the hope, the fulfillment, the excitements, the banalities, the journey, the sacrifices, the rewards, the journey — until you’re in it…”
“How many people have been scared away from the altar because of this phantom notion of “readiness”? How many marriages destroyed because, confused and struggling, one or both partners suddenly decided that they were “never ready” to be married?”
“…Perhaps the problem isn’t that we consider our “readiness” before we get married; it’s that we consider it wrongly….”
– Matt Walsh
Read more at The Matt Walsh Blog.
All Things Are Ready: A Bride’s Complete Christian Wedding Planner is now available in PDF eBook form, in addition to the 3-ring bound print edition.
To order the eBook and download it instantly, from anywhere in the world, visit www.doorposts.com.
This planner contains 370 pages of helpful notes, charts, checklists, devotional readings, and more — all from the perspective of an experienced wedding coordinator and pastor’s wife.
With the PDF edition, you can take the whole planner with you on your tablet or phone, plus you can print out chapters and worksheets from the planner as you need them. The digital edition also makes it easy to search the book and find answers to your questions.
Here’s what recent Amazon.com reviewers are saying about All Things Are Ready:
“I have been using this book to help a friend plan her wedding and have found it incredibly helpful! Amy explains in a calm and practical manner exactly what needs to happen between engagement and wedding. She walks you step by step through unfamiliar and emotionally charged territories. In each chapter she carefully lays out what is involved with each part of a wedding (invitations, reception, photography…) and helps you think through what would be the best fit for your wedding. The Christian emphasis is such a fresh change from the often self-fulfilling message of most wedding planners.” Sara B.
“This planner has been incredibly helpful to me as I plan my wedding. I love all of the checklists and her straight forward way of explaining things. My favorite thing, though, is that it has devotional type sections for the bride at the end of each chapter. This has helped me to keep the right perspective as I seek to glorify God not only in our marriage, but in the wedding planning, as well.” – Emily W.
“…it is wonderful to have all the little detail-y stuff you would NEVER THINK OF laid out in one place… Thanks to Amy’s book, and an amazing group of family and friends, I had the smoothest and happiest wedding day I could imagine. I was able to pray with my family, enjoy my almost-husbands company and not worry about a THING because it was all taken care of.” – Sara
The glory of a wedding is two people becoming one in Christ. A new family. New identities taken as new names are bestowed – Husband and Wife.
Even now, before you are named Wife, you have taken on a new name, identity, and work. Your name now is Bride. The question is, how will you wear this name? Will you be the Bride who is making herself ready for the Bridegroom (Rev. 19:7-8, Esther 2:12-13)? Or will a self-seeking attitude bring confusion and disorder to your wedding planning (James 3:16)?
The Bride is usually considered the center of the wedding preparations. This means you will receive much of the attention, glory, and blessings. It also means you set the tone. Just as a woman creates the atmosphere of a home for good or ill (Proverbs 12:4, 14:1, 18:22, 19:13-14, 21:9, 19, 25:24, 27:15, 31:10), the Bride creates the tone of an engagement. How you think, act, speak, and work during the next weeks and months will determine whether your engagement is a time of joy and anticipation or stress and frustration. How will you wear the name of Bride?
Consider the weeks that lay before you as an opportunity. What can you do during your time as “Bride” to be a blessing? There are many people surrounding you during engagement who you can bless with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Consider your husband-to-be, mother, mother-in-law, father, maid-of-honor, bridesmaids, friends, your groom’s friends, the list could go on. For many of these participants, your attitude toward them will determine their experience of your wedding.
One way to bless those around you is to share your joy. Most couples will naturally be pretty wrapped up in only each other during their engagement. It will bless your friends and family, however, if you take time to bring them into your plans, conversations, and activities. Give liberally of your time and attention. Enjoy their excitement over your happiness. Your friends and family will want to be a part of what is going on with you and be reassured that they still have a place in your life. Take time to notice what is happening in their lives. Be careful not to fall out of all other relationships as you focus on your relationship with your fiancé.
A bride can also be a blessing by practicing the good habits of a godly wife now. Ward off the many temptations incumbent in being a bride by actively choosing to love your groom in your words, actions, thoughts, and priorities. It is very easy as a bride to unintentionally fall into unlovely habits. Avoiding this requires actively pursuing the good habits you wish to have as a wife. Remember to put your groom’s desires before yours in the details of the wedding, seek out ways to include and enjoy his family members in your plans, take time to put aside planning and just focus on giving love and attention to him, and spend time praying and preparing for your coming role as wife. Such positive actions will help keep you from sin and prepare you to be a blessing to your husband when you exchange “Bride” for “Wife.” Habits are hard to break. Use your engagement period to form good habits.
Also keep in mind that your groom may or may not have as much time as you to spend on the wedding. Be gracious and understanding of his time constraints and energy level. Give time to one another that doesn’t involve the wedding. If possible, consider taking one night a week as a date-night during which no wedding plans are discussed. Go out and enjoy one another’s company. Talk about his week at work and your future together. Tell him what you appreciate about him. This may seem obvious; however, as the busyness and stress of the wedding builds, you may find yourself forgetting to do these simple things. As far as is possible with you, do not let the wedding overshadow the marriage. Put your fiancé and your relationship with him first.
Aside from the relationship with your groom, two of the people you can most bless during your time as a Bride are your parents. This can be a particularly difficult transition for parents. While you are excited to start a new life, they are anticipating letting you go and the many changes that will bring.
Typically, Mom will be heavily involved in the wedding plans and trying to spend as much time with you as possible before you marry. Do your best to welcome the extra involvement and be grateful for her help. Be sensitive to your mom’s stress level and gracious as you work through problems with the wedding plans or differences of opinion on wedding decisions.
Most moms will feel particularly blessed by a daughter who makes an effort to spend time together before the wedding. Go on a mother-daughter date. Ask your mom’s advice on your coming marriage. Be creative in finding ways to show your appreciation for all she has done to prepare you to be a wife. Let her know that you want her to be a part of your special day and new life.
Dad is often expected to stay in the background and just write checks. Many dads, however, would love to have their opinions requested and considered. Does he have any ideas or wishes for how his money is spent? His helpful input may extend beyond who you should marry, if only you’d ask him!
Dad also probably has a lot to work through at the thought of giving away his daughter. Continuing to show deference and affection for your father as you prepare to leave his home and leadership will strengthen your relationship and bless him. What thoughtful actions can you take towards your father when you are spending your final weeks as Daddy’s girl? He will appreciate the attention just as much as Mom.
As you walk through this wedding process, make it your mission from the beginning to put on the self-sacrificial mind of Christ in your attitudes and responses to the various situations that will arise during the wedding preparations (Philippians 2:2-16) Hold your plans loosely. Realize that some things just won’t work out. Consider others’ plans, needs, and expectations as you approach various decisions and especially disagreements that may arise. Pause before responding to every situation. Check your attitude. Begin your wedding planning process with a commitment to put on the mind of Christ, who laid down His life for others.
Lastly, enjoy this time! That also may seem a little obvious. Sometimes, though, when we get carried away with the busyness of life we forget to step back and take joy in the process. Enjoy the memories you are making with your mom, your girlfriends, your fiancé, and your families. It may be cliché, but stopping to smell the roses is valuable advice. Planning the wedding may be a bit of a blur, but try and pause once in awhile to enjoy your moments. If nothing else, take lots of pictures so you can look back and enjoy them later!
May you relax, enjoy your wedding planning, and both be a blessing and find blessing in it all.
An excerpt from All Things Are Ready By Amy Hayes, © 2012. Photo credit: JennLynn Images
“I can tell you that this planner will help anyone plan a wedding with less stress and more joy, less money and more beauty.”
- Pam Forster, in her review on the Doorposts of Your House blog
Read the full review here.
“This planner has been incredibly helpful to me as I plan my wedding. I love all of the checklists and her straight forward way of explaining things. My favorite thing, though, is that it has devotional type sections for the bride at the end of each chapter. This has helped me to keep the right perspective as I seek to glorify God not only in our marriage, but in the wedding planning, as well.”
- Emily Walker, Amazon review
If you or someone you know is planning a wedding this year, you’ll want to grab a copy of All Things Are Ready while it’s on sale!
Discounted pricing is good through January 31, 2014.
Take the Plunge and Get Married – WORLD Magazine points out that “The average age of marriage has been rising for everybody, the household of faith included.” Rather than being paralyzed by biblical standards and the importance of marriage, we need to remember that “…after the vetting and matching and endless discussion of goals and beliefs, you just have to join hands and take a leap. As careful as you try to be, the endeavor is riddled with uncertainty, guilt, hurt, and sin, because it’s a union of two sinful individuals who will be vetted by life itself.”
To Have and To…Hold Off On – Some creative ways to save money on your wedding, from Dave Ramsey fans.
When the Doors Open – Blogger Tim Challies says “I know the bride is the star of the show and you don’t want to miss her, but it’s okay to look to the front of the church for just a moment.”
Forty-one days from today, J—, you will celebrate one of the most important days of your life. You and your momma have spent hours and hours thinking about decorations and clothes and food and music. You have a beautiful dress. You’ve sent invitations to lots of people to come and rejoice and feast with you.
The point of that day will be promises — vows that you and S— will make to each other. Your life will never be the same after you make those vows. You haven’t chosen to just tell S— that you love him and would like to hang around with him. Instead you are choosing to stand before a whole bunch of people and tell S— that you are promising to give yourself to him and to love and obey and stick with him, no matter what the future holds. You are committing to be the one who will be there with him.
You’re going to promise to stick with him in good times, but also in the hard times, in times of health and times of sickness, in times of plenty and in times of want. You’re going to be there with him no matter what. You are going to enter that covenant with S—, and many of us who witness your vows will be people who have been bound to you by covenant (as your parents and as your church family) for years.
You’ve both had the privilege of growing up inside the secure hedge of covenants. Your lives have been profoundly affected by people who made promises and then chose to keep those promises.
Encircling all those man-made covenants are God’s never-failing promises – His promise of a Messiah who will save us, and all the other promises that are part of that one big promise. Jesus was God-with-us clear to the point of suffering the punishment for sin in our place. God promised to act. He promised to be God-with-us, and He promised to never leave us. He has never forgotten that promise, and He never will forget.
That’s what our faith is built on – God’s faithfulness to His promises. Read through the Old Testament. Read Hebrews 11 and its recounting of men and women of faith who believed God, who “considered Him faithful who had promised.” Their faith was always based on believing what God said and acting on that belief.
On your wedding day, you are going to promise to be the wife who will always be with S—. In all the years that follow, you will have the opportunity to glorify God and reflect His character by being rock-solid faithful to that promise. There will be times when that promise is hard to keep, when times are tough or mistakes are painful. What you decide to do in those challenging times will determine who you become and what your marriage will be like.
In reading Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage (an excellent book!), he mentioned a magazine article that greatly influenced his life as a young pastor and husband. I tracked that article down online. It was first published in a 1983 issue of Christianity Today, and it’s called “Controlling the Unpredictable – The Power of Promises.”
Keller introduces the article (by Lewis Smedes) by quoting directly from it:
Some people ask who they are and expect their feelings to tell them. But feelings are flickering flames that face after every fitful stimulus. Some people ask who they are and expect their achievements to tell them. But the things we accomplish always leave a core of character unrevealed. Some people ask who they are and expect visions of their ideal self to tell them. But our visions can only tell us what we want to be, not what we are.
Keller then continues,
Who are we? Smedes answers that we are largely who we become through making wide promises and keeping them. For vivid confirmation, Smedes looks to the great playwright Robert Bolt, who wrote A Man for All Season, the story of Sir Thomas More, whose daughter Meg pleaded with him to break the oath he had once made and thereby save his life.
MORE: You want me to swear to the Act of Succession?
MARGARET: God more regards the thoughts of the heart than the words of the mouth. Or so you’ve always told me.
MARGARET: Then say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.
MORE: What is an oath then but words we say to God?
MARGARET: That’s very neat.
MORE: Do you mean it isn’t true?
MARGARET: No, it’s true.
MORE: Then it’s a poor argument to call it ‘neat,’ Meg. When a man takes an oath, Meg, he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then – he needn’t hope to find himself again.
Since promising is the key to identity, it is the very essence of marital love. Why? Because it is our promises that give us a stable identity, and without a stable identity, it is impossible to have a stable relationship.
I’d like to share some selected quotes from that article.
Somewhere a father is telling himself, “I wish my daughter would pack up, leave home, and never come back; God knows she has driven us crazy.” But he remembers a promise he made when she was baptized, and he sticks with her in hurting love.
Somewhere a woman is telling herself, “I want to get out of this marriage and start over with someone who really loves me; God knows the clod I married has given me reason for cashing him in.” But she remembers a promise she made when she married him and she sticks with him in hopeful love.
Somewhere a minister is telling himself, “I want to chuck this job and get into something with a better payoff; God knows my congregation has given me second-degree burnout.” But he remembers the promise he made when he was ordained, and he sticks with the church in pastoral love.
Some people still make promises and keep those they make. When they do, they help make life around them more stably human. Promise keeping is a powerful means of grace in a time when people hardly depend on each other to remember and live by their word.
Some people still have ships they will not abandon, even when the ship seems to be sinking.
Some people still have causes they will not desert, even though the cause seems lost.
Some people have loved ones they will not forsake, even though they are a pain in the neck.
But why? Why make any promises at all? And if you do make them, why keep them?
…The only way to overcome the unpredictability of your future is the power of promising. If forgiving is the only remedy for your painful past, promising is the only remedy for your uncertain future.
“…When we make a promise we take it on our feeble wills to keep a future rendezvous with someone in circumstances we cannot possibly predict. We take it on ourselves to create our future with someone else no matter what fate or destiny may have in store.
Smedes also quotes from Chesterton who said, “The person who makes a vow, makes an appointment with himself at some distant time or place.”
We are free to make those appointments, and we are committing to give up our freedom in the future in order to keep them. When we say our wedding vows, we are, by our own free choice, choosing to set limits on our own future so that we will be free to be with someone in whatever trials and joys God brings into their lives.
Quoting from Smedes again:
But it is not only that I know myself in the mirror of my promises. My people, the ones who belong to me, who depend on me, also know me by the promises I have made. What I promise is what I am and will be to them. Only if they really know what I am can they live with me in trust. They know me in the important way, not by reading my analyst’s notes, but by knowing my power to keep promises.
I know you to be faithful to your word, J—. When you said you would be out in the office to work, you were there. If you were committed to babysitting next door, you didn’t consider yourself free to change your plans when our girls tempted you with other more exciting plans. S— will be a stronger man, and a man who is free to grow, in the security of your faithfulness, in your commitment to keep your vows to him. Like the heart of the Proverbs 31 woman, the heart of your husband will be able to safely trust in you.
One more quote from the article:
…I have been captivated by a two-directional power of grace in our living. As I search the pages of redemptive history for the moral essence of God’s character, what comes to me is this: God is, par excellence, in the character he reveals, the One who creates for us a new past and a new future by forgiving and promising. And as I read the pages of human experience, I think I see here and there mere men and women sharing in God’s life to this creative extent: they create a new past for themselves by forgiving people who have hurt them and they create a future for others by making promises to people who need them.
We’re saved by grace – a grace that made promises and keeps them. God loved us and saved us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Our relationship with Him is based on His character, not ours.
That same grace also gives us the strength to keep our marriage vows. We can promise to love our spouse in the future because what he does should make no difference in our commitment to him. Our promise is based on our character as it is in Christ, not on our spouse’s character. It’s based on our commitment and the strength God gives us to keep it, not on circumstances or people. We can keep our promises because God keeps His promises, and He’s promised to be with us and to give us the grace to obey Him.
We can serve even in the times when we don’t think we’re getting our fair share out of a relationship, and when we’re serving someone who cannot or will not serve in return. We can love without expecting anything in return. That’s what Jesus has done for us. We can be ministers of that same kind of grace in the lives of others.
I praise God for His work in your life, J—, and for His character that I see reflected in you. He is the one who has grown you into the godly woman that you now are.
My prayer is that you will have great joy in your life as Mrs. S— C—-, joy in sharing your life with S— and being loved and cared for by him, but even greater joy in reflecting God’s character as you lay down your life for S— and remain the one who will stand with him, whatever life may bring you.
(Photo by Jenn Lynn Images)
If you’re planning a wedding this year and thinking about having floating lanterns, here are some good places to get them:
You can get 10 lanterns for $14.45 on Amazon.com right now.
Also, this limited-time Groupon deal on floating lanterns will help you stretch your dollars. The 60% discount gets you 20 safe and biodegradable floating lanterns from www.skylantern.com for only $40 (normally $100 value). See the coupon here!
(Photo by Peter Mahar Photography)