Why I Won’t Tell You It’s the “Happiest Day of Your Life”: The WIC Part 3

Category: From the Cat Perch | Published on: November 11, 2015

I rant a lot. Want more? Check out my posts about the Wedding Industrial Complex.

If you're shopping for wedding vendors, there's a 138% chance that at least one has told you that your wedding will be the happiest day of your life. Or worse: that it will only be the happiest day of your life if you hire them. It's a threat veiled in a promise that business in the Wedding Industrial Complex love to throw at unsuspecting couples. When a vendor can't sell you on value or talent, they'll try to knock you off balance.

I'm here to tell you: your wedding will not be the happiest day of your life. (Probably. I hope so, actually.)


There's a lot of happy things in the world.

Births. Adoptions. Getting your dream job. Winning the lottery. Finding $20 on the street. There's lots out there to be happy about. Sure, you want to be happy about your wedding, but that doesn't mean you can't be happier.

Your wedding will not be the happiest day of your life. (Probably. I hope so, actually.)

People have terrible long-term memory. If you ask someone off the street what the happiest day of their life was, they'll probably answer with the most recent really happy day they had. Because that's what happens over time—our memories get fuzzy and faded. Memories from months, years, or decades ago get harder to recall.

If your wedding when you were 25 is still the happiest day of your life when you're 96, then that must have been a rough 71 years. (Either that or you have short term memory loss like in the movie 50 First Dates.)

In some ways, it's as much as blessing as a curse, because:

Things will go wrong.

My wedding was three years ago. I barely remember most of it. I do remember that I got almost no sleep the night before. We were late showing up to the venue, so we were late taking group photos—late enough that guests were showing up and watching us being photographed! We didn't practice the timing of our entrances and it didn't line up with the music (though it did garner a laugh!). I spent so much time talking to guests that I never got a plate of food, and our plan to have plates in tupperware to take to the hotel didn't work out. They got left at the venue. Oops. Even better: We forgot to confirm our B&B reservation, and when we showed up at 10pm, no one was there! We had to scramble last minute to a hotel. Worst of all? As we were heading out in the morning to catch our cruise, I realized I didn't know where my passport was.* I had a major panic attack and almost couldn't go! We got lucky at the terminal and they let us board with my ID.

Say it again with me: "Things will go wrong." And it's okay.

I loved my wedding. I got to see my friends and my family. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful state park and I have lots of beautiful pictures to remember the best parts.

Your wedding won't be perfect, either, even if you plan for years. You can't control everything, and trying to is just going to stress you out more.

Make your wedding happy and your marriage "the happiest."

For your wedding, have fun. Be happy. Do epic things you'll still remember at 96. While you're planning your wedding, don't forget to build a marriage that makes every day "the happiest day of your life."

Question: What are you most afraid of going wrong at your wedding?

*I found the passport while unpacking from the honeymoon. It was hiding in my suitcase. The entire time...

— Ashleigh

See other posts about: WIC, go wrong, happiest, happy, mistake, priorities, wedding planning, why I don't

11 thoughts on Why I Won't Tell You It's the "Happiest Day of Your Life": The WIC Part 3

  • Haha I love how you’d packed your passport (of course you had!)

    Our wedding was hit by a weather bomb, we lost power at the venue so even the toilet wouldn’t flush (tank water) and my hubby had to arrange a generator. I was down the road, drinking champagne getting ready, blissfully unaware! It was supposed to be a beach wedding but being NZ, we had a plan B to get married inside.

    It turned out to be the most beautiful intimate ceremony with lots of tears and laughs and we actually had a lovely time, it was the best day of my life… right up until the day I gave birth to our son 😉

    • It’s great that you had a back-up plan! I highly recommend them; you never know what could happen.

      Here’s to having more best days of your life!

  • Wedding stories are some of the best (and worst). I know that I had my fair share of catastrophes at my first wedding. (Hint: never plan the bachelor party the night before the actual wedding!) When I got married the second time, we decided that it would be just me & her, our two dogs, the officiant and a photographer. So I guess we totally avoided the “Wedding Industrial Complex” the second time around. What a great post. This should be required reading for every bride and groom to-be.

    • Thank you! I think it’s common for second weddings to be a lot more relaxed; once you’ve done the big wedding, it doesn’t seem as important.

  • LOL that is so true! For my wedding we went the most hassle free route we could – a destination wedding. So friends and family weren’t there to see it, but we got pictures 😉 We just figured, our wedding day is OUR day so we spent it together, somewhere gorgeous, where everything was handled for us and there was minimal chance of anything going wrong. All we had to do was choose the location of the ceremony, colors and cake!

    Woke up at the location, got married at the location, and didn’t need to travel afterwards.

    It wasn’t cheap, which is part of the deal, but it really did help with making it as perfect of a day as possible!

    For us. Because it was OUR day 🙂

    Now, getting there on the other hand… things definitely do go wrong, and I’m glad it wasn’t an indicator of how the wedding was going to be lol. But it added memories for sure!

    And as long as you make it through the those incidences together, it only adds to the strength of your relationship 🙂

    • Good for you! There’s a lot of family pressure to do things the most complicated, big wedding possible. I admire people who can stick to their guns :).

  • I really appreciate this Ashleigh. I’m a mid-30’s girl who isn’t attached to the idea of marriage at all, and I’ve always thought it strange when people say that their wedding was the best day of their lives. (Kind of like when people say high school was the best time of their lives – what?!). It sounds like you made the best of your “special day” despite the mishaps and now have some great stories to tell out of the imperfections 🙂 This post reminds me of the saying that’s says something about having a happy marriage, not just a happy wedding. Thanks for the honest perspective! <3

    • I’m definitely a believer in the happy marriage over the happy wedding! I loved our day, and the stories became funny with a little bit of time, but it’s just a day. I wasn’t much of a wedding person either, and most of the pomp and circumstance of our wedding was for the benefit of family. I think I became a wedding professional so I could change it from the inside out! 🙂

  • Great subject, Ashleigh!

    You are so right, weddings can be a time of enormous stress. I have friends who are very shy and HATE being the centre of attention, and HATED all the fuss. And family politics rears it’s ugly head too. Hard to enjoy with so much pressure and expectation.

    Sometimes though, its the things that go wrong that make it memorable!

    Thanks – Jane

  • I love how real and honest you are in this post. This past weekend my brother-in-law got married. So much drama, so much stress. They couldn’t wait for it all to be over.

    I know for some it’s nothing by clouds and rainbows, but – as with anything important, there’s some stress and strife involved in getting what we want most!

    Great job!

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