The Buddhist Guide to a successful wedding celebration.
Buddhism is enjoying an ever increasing popularity in western societies and - in my humble opinion - rightfully so. The ancient wisdoms of Buddhism seem to hold a lot of very plausible and effective answers to contemporary everyday problems that we all face on our ongoing strife for success, love and happiness. I have compiled this guide by applying common principles of Buddhism to the challenges of organizing and celebrating a successful wedding.
1. Don't compete - you don't need to be better than your friends.
When planning your wedding, focus on your particular needs and preferences. A wedding is a very personal event and should not be measured by generic quality criteria, e.g. number of guests, size of wedding venue, size of the cake. If you look closely at what other people did and try to match or better it, you are going down a destructive road that promises little happiness and satisfaction. Aim to plan your wedding according to your personal preferences, ideas and possibilities - that is the only way to get what you want.
2. Less is more - don't overstretch your budget.
During the wedding planning process it is easy to lose sight of the overall budget. It is tempting to pick the most expensive options due to their promise of making your wedding more special. Don't fall victim to the advertisement skills of the wedding industry: stay on your budget and true to your style. The last thing you want is celebrating your wedding with the worry in the back of your mind, how on earth you are going to pay for it. If a "on-budget" wedding is good enough for you, it should be good enough for everybody else.
3. Don't yield to outside pressure - this is your celebration.
Celebrate your wedding like you live your life: as independent as possible from unwanted outside influences! Be vary of getting your wedding financed by somebody, who then wants a strong say in the organisation in return. Instead, have a smaller celebration that you can finance all by yourself. This is your celebration - don't let anybody take that away from you and don't let yourself be influenced by what other people think your wedding should look like. Those "advisers" will most likely not have your best interest at heart, but pursue their own agendas - don't let them!
4. Appreciate all your wedding guests - don't keep a mental ranking.
Don't establish a mental ranking of your guest's importance, e.g. Anna is more important than Jonny, but Jonny must sit closer to me than Sophie, etc. All of your guests made the effort to dress up, turn up, and probably even bring you a present. They did this for you and deserve to be appreciated for it. Try to enjoy your wedding day together with all of them.
5. Don't aim for "the perfect wedding".
Lots of couples try to make their wedding day "perfect - very few succeed in having it. The most common outcome is anger and sadness due to disappointed expectations. Plan your wedding thoughtfully, put as much time and money as you can into it, without making sacrifices and then be happy about the things that turned out well at your wedding. Also, don't obsess over slight mishaps and errors that have occurred during the event. Be reassured that there will be several once in a lifetime moments that you will thoroughly enjoy and cherish for the rest of your lifes - focus on those! In other words, try not to be extreme about your wedding, but realistic without diminishing the good stuff or exaggerating the bad.
6. Stay mentally focused and live in the moment.
Keep your mind focused during your wedding day (with the possible exception of the evening disco party). Don't fall victim to negative sentiments caused by a speech that was not as good as you hoped, your partner not behaving quite the way you wanted or stumbling on your way down the aisle. Keep in mind, you are doing this for the first time and a lot of your relatives, bridesmaids or groomsmen too. Be forgiving, don't obsess over anything and live in the moment. Your wedding will be ever so much more enjoyable!