How a little wedding day mistake helped strengthen my marriage

Guest post by Amber
Wedding Day Mistake
Round Disposable Dinner Plates for Wedding

My favorite aspect of wedding planning, and the inspiration for the whole wedding's vibe, was collecting vintage yellow flower plates from thrift stores around Austin and the hill country. It took months and months to find enough plates and it was super fun. I spent hours coordinating mismatched plates for each table, and even named some of them: “Bold Marigold table,” “Dainty Mix table.”

With a month and a half left until the wedding, I was pretty stressed about certain large projects, including paving our ceremony site, the homemade photo booth that just didn't work, and creating the playlist for the reception. But I was calmed by the fact that my darling plates, with coordinating wildflower centerpieces, were the extent of the decoration needed for our outdoor setting. And I trusted my partner's word that we'd have time to plan the music and fix the photobooth later.

The day of the wedding, my future mother-in-law suggested that we place the plates face down so they wouldn't be landing pads for bird poop and leaves. And I agreed, with the understanding that we'd have enough time to flip them over come reception-time.

Then people started to arrive, and I went out to greet and squuuueeeeze and laugh and feel electric inside! We walked out to the grove to have our ceremony. I was brimming with buzzing energy and joy!

When it was over, we sent everyone to the backyard to start eating while we took a few pictures with the family. When we came to join them, every table was full of beloved people eating beautiful, local, vegetarian food, drinking Texas wines and beers, devouring homemade vegan cupcakes.

And on our table, there were upside down plates.

I froze.

Then I flipped them over, ran to get my dinky camera, and took the one and only picture of flowered plates at my wedding. I set the camera down and proceeded to have an amazing reception, an amazing drunken bonfire, an amazing sleepover that extended to three more days with my amazing friends. FUCK YEAH.

In the excitement, I didn't have much room to think about the fact that the plates were never flipped, and no one, including me, ever saw the whole thing come together.

When I did think about it, I felt petty and pushed it away to think about what an amazing time I had with everyone. But under the surface, I felt it was my partner's fault. If things had been done on time, I would have been in charge and on top of things, not planning the music at the last minute, and I would have been able to ensure that the plates were flipped.

When we returned from the honeymoon, our pictures had come in the mail. There was picture after picture of the backyard, with tables perfectly set in the sunshine, with so many blank-ass upside down plates. I HATED THESE PLATES. I HATED THESE PICTURES.

Fortunately, this year, I've been reading yoga books, and going to yoga therapy and Buddhist yoga classes. I am slowly learning to be aware of my feelings, thoughts, and needs, rather than suppress them in order to be perfect. My yoga therapist also has suggested that my partner learn to “hold space” for me to word-vomit my feelings as I heal from all this stress damage.

So, in accordance to what I have been learning in yoga therapy, I finally allowed myself to really feel this. I brought awareness to it. I did not suppress it, or ridicule myself for it. I was bursting with the feeling. I ran around the house to find my partner. I asked him to hold space for me.

And I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed about my beautiful plates. I told him how I had been resenting his procrastination, and how I had felt like it was to blame for many of my stresses, and for the plates not being turned over. And how I now was realizing that the plates probably wouldn't have been turned over anyway because I would have been too excited to remember, and how every time I use one of the plates, I feel a pang, and on and on and on.

He listened. He held me, and he HEARD me. He told me he felt stupid for not realizing, that I was valid in feeling loss. He said he finally got the link between his procrastination and its impact on me. He told me how proud he was of me for bringing awareness to it and for asking him to hold space. But mostly, he listened.

When I was done, I felt the sting of loss subside. We felt, and made, much love that night.

Now every time we pull out a vintage, yellow flower plate, it is like the gonging of the meditation bell, gently, lovingly, drawing our awareness back to the present. And now when I see these plates, I feel immense abiding love for my partner.

And I smile.

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Comments on How a little wedding day mistake helped strengthen my marriage

  1. This is a beautiful story, and it helps me so, so much! I know exactly what feeling you’re talking about, about that irritating sting and feeling guilty for holding it in. I just love that everything turned out so wonderfully. It gives me hope for my own short-comings, and inspires trust in my f.h. too. <3

    THANK you!

  2. What a wonderful article! Thank you, for making me feel valid and not like some sort of mega-bitch bride! I’m going to try and take some of this and use it in my own relationship

  3. Dude, Amber, after reading this post I just want to give you a *fistbump.*

    Good for you for being honest. Good for you for letting go. 🙂

  4. Amber,
    How beautifully brave of you to come to such a conclusion!!!! And how wonderful of a partner to hold that space for you.

  5. A quick note: we got several comments negatively responding to the word “disaster” in the original title of this post. The author never referred to this situation as a disaster — that was an editorial description, which I acknowledge was an overstatement of the story. I don’t want to misrepresent the author, so I have changed the title to better reflect the situation.

    For those who commented: thanks for your perspectives.

    • Hey Ariel,
      Thanks for addressing this! Even the use of some quotation marks could have helped the word “disaster” to be used in a more appropriate context. Screw-up works too! Also, I’m glad there was no “real” disaster. No one needs that on their wedding day. 🙂

    • Thank you for changing that. I loved the story, but kept wondering what the “disaster” was. Mistake changes the whole feel of the article and really conveys the message better.

  6. My self and my husband to be spent 1 hour on our wedding morning making buttonholes for all the males of both families (12 in total) , it was a large red rose, lying on an ivy leaf and in the front a beautiful Glorissa Lily. So imagine my horror when I noticed in all the wedding photographs that all of his side of the family had their button holes on backwards, turning the lily into a squashed straggly mess – i blame my sister in law as she put them all on backwards as that was the way she thought they should be. why ! o why! and why didn’t anyone cop why are we squashing the lily and having the ivy leaf to the front !

    2 years later I’m still annoyed when I see the pictures – no-one else noticed but it made me angry.

    my sister in law said sorry and last Christmas I was responsible for the exact same buttonholes at her own wedding – they were perfect, even though I was a bit jealous.

    On the positive, I had a great wedding day and wish all the brides and brides to be the same happiness,

    Link to a Glorissa Lily in case people are unfamiliar with it

    • I HEAR you! Your feelings are valid! These kinds of things seem so small to other people, that it becomes really hard to allow yourself to be honest about how much it mattered to you. But pain is painful, no matter how irrational or silly it seems “objectively.” Ignoring pain turns it into suffering, and bringing awareness to pain allows it to dissipate. Kudos for bringing up your buttonhole pain! (PS: The lily is beautiful! <3)

  7. Congrats on your wedding, sorry about the plates. You can never have a redo on the reception, but maybe you can bring out the flower plates for your 10 year anniversary. Or maybe if a friend of yours gets married you can offer the plates. Giving to others can sometimes be better than having something yourself. The plates were a good idea, they can still shine. You just need to think of another fitting occasion for them.

  8. And the bonus silver lining: no bird poop on the plates. That would have been a disaster.
    Props to you for admitting your feelings and to your partner who took the time to listen. I love this example and I intend to use it as a relationship builder.

  9. Wow, THANK YOU OBB for featuring this and for a GREAT editing job that made this story much better and clearer!! Thanks to all of you for your kind comments as well!! It’s so wonderful to read! And regarding Anne’s comment, I have kept a mismatched set of plates for our everyday dishes, and I plan to offer the rest up to local OBBs in swap, along with all the other dishes and weddingness :).

  10. I found that having them flipped upside down gave the guests a little extra surprise on finding out what designe on thier plate they got! Who knows, someone may have traded thier plate with thier neighboor becuase they liked thier design better? 😀 Food for thought, Cute misadventure idea that I may have to steal.

    • I like that idea, kind of like a surprise. A new take on the muglies idea perhaps? Take home your plate?

  11. Wow, as a semi-perfectionist who bottles things up, I totally identify with this. But you know what? I bet that at your 50th wedding anniversary, you will show off those reception photos, tell the story to everyone who was there, and then laugh about it.

    Still, it pains me and I wasn’t even there. All those glorious vintage plates! Wasted! Lol…

  12. I bought those EXACT plates at a thrift store in Michigan! My mom is fighting me tooth and nail about wanting to keep them for herself after the wedding… I’ll be keeping them 🙂

  13. Love it. *I* made a big mistake at my own wedding in 2008 that I didn’t even realize until last summer. We’re of Scottish heritage and one of the traditions is that his mother places a tartan sash on me during the ceremony to welcome me into their clan. Well, I just happened to glance at a picture from our wedding on our bookshelf and our cake topper on the other side (one of those cake toppers made to look like the couple, which I gave explicit instructions for the sash to be on the correct shoulder) and realized my sash was on the wrong shoulder! Now, some would say this is a huge cultural snafu! But nothing can be done about it and unfortunately I wore the sash all night so every single picture of me shows it on the wrong shoulder. The way I was standing during the ceremony and the way his mom pinned it, it must’ve just happened that way/was the natural occurrence of things. Just have to accept it.

  14. There is always triumph over adversity -and quite a few here have shed their opinions and experiences.

    Whilst every wedding cannot always be perfect, we must sometimes put aside that which bothers us and remember the single most important fact of any wedding – it is the day you marry the love of your life.

    What is perfectly illustrated here is that each of you have overcome that single adversity which of your wedding day

  15. Side note: I found a plate just like the one pictured on the right buried in the garden of my first-ever house. It actually matched my kitchen at the time and I thought it was a cool memento so I washed it up and saved it. A couple months later I found another in my breakroom at work – left behind by a previous employee. I took it home with me. I have to say there is something completely magical about those plates. What are the odds of finding them like that? I wonder and marvel at them every time I use one. It makes me think that there is some purpose to everything.
    It made me smile that the plates had a purpose for you too. Perhaps they are just magical plates. 🙂

  16. This is a very feel good story, but delegation of things to do at a wedding the day of is also crucial. Your a bride, you have a vision. A day of person would have been fabulous but even if that wasn’t in your budget, have family friend , the caterer, anyone help you. It’s truly important that details like that are not left to the bride and groom themselves. I realize sometimes it not affordable to hire a “Day Of” but for what you would pay ($500-$800), depending on day,time,season….you would have looked back at your wedding with a different feeling. ….but of course….good for you for how you handled it….

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