The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

What parts of weddings do you like most? Alex and I will be celebrating our eighth anniversary (!!) next week, so we’ve been reminiscing about our wedding — the morning jitters, our first dance, the funny toasts. Curious to hear from others, I asked 10 couples to share favorite moments from their own big days…

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“I adored my wedding. There is very little I would change. Most of all, I loved dancing all night with my new husband. But I do wish I had relaxed about the whole up-in-the-chair thing. At many Jewish weddings, guests get two chairs and use them to hoist the bride and groom into the air, and bob them up and down. The anticipation (of nausea, broken bones, being too heavy) was way worse than the actuality. By the way, notice in the photo how Stan, the Episcopalian, could not have been more psyched!” — Nora (and Stan)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“A couple months before our wedding, we decided to get legally married at the courthouse by ourselves. It was so private and intimate. We went alone, and Stef’s brother was our witness. It was cold and pouring rain. Afterward, we went to the Odeon for Champagne and shrimp cocktail at 11 a.m. It was one of the best days I’ll ever have. It was perfect.” — Mckenzie (and Stef)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“It goes without saying that two people in their sixties embarking on a third marriage for each were met with some skepticism from family and friends, especially when it became apparent that we were having a BIG celebration. Many questioned the wisdom of spending time and money on a third wedding! However, we both agreed that at our stage in life, not only were we ecstatic to have rediscovered each other, but we were painfully aware that the times that we were reuniting with friends and family were more often than not for sad occasions, like illness or funerals. We had close to 200 guests and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!” — Gay (and Mark)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“Before our wedding, a lovely woman taught us the foxtrot. We were sweating with nervousness trying to learn it those few weeks, but it was so much fun! We also hired a Bollywood dance instructor to do a 30-minute lesson for our guests. It was the most fun that I’d had in forever — and awesome to see everyone from little kids to my father-in-law shaking those limbs.” — Helen (and Suman)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“My husband’s 91-year-old grandfather married us. We wrote him a loose script which he peppered with his wise words and a few racy jokes (at 91, you’re allowed). Watching Mac guide his grandfather when he stumbled with the I Dos was the most endearing thing I’ve ever witnessed. It felt human and raw. It was not perfect but at the same time it could not have been more so.” — Megan (and Mac)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“We chose a first dance song — When I Get My Hands On You from The New Basement Tapes — that no one knew but everyone loved. After the wedding, people kept asking for the name and artist, and we still hear from guests saying they heard it and thought of us. The song felt like our personal wedding soundtrack, instead of something you hear all the time.” — Lizzy (and Josh)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“I grew up in Illinois, and I was happy that our wedding incorporated my small town. The local firemen make their signature lemonade shake-ups. We served BBQ and corn dogs. More or less, I created my own personal fair, which just so happens to be one of my favorite things.”— Anna (and Carlos) of wedding dress fame!

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“I’ll never forget my father’s speech. He’s a musician, so instead of speaking, he wrote and performed an original song. He said if he sang the words, he wouldn’t cry — but once he started singing, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. Also, later that night, my dad’s rock band put on an unforgettable concert between DJ sets (which was actually just my dad’s barber operating an iPod). The entertainment was a true highlight.” — Nicki (and Roni)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“We got married at City Hall in New York, but had a small ceremony a couple years later in my husband’s hometown in Ireland. The ceremony was held in my in-laws’ backyard. The morning was sunny, the grass was green, there were aunts, uncles, cousins and puppies — and lots of tea. I wore a traditional Korean dress. My father-in-law cooked his signature chicken dish; my mother made lasagna. I just loved the simplicity of that morning.” — Re Jin (and John)

The (Surprising) Best Part of My Wedding

“My fiancé and I chose a couple things to focus on (food, music, etc.) and stuck with those, even if it meant sacrificing others. We wanted to be married at a magical restaurant we both love. Because we had a limited budget, it meant we could invite only a few friends each, plus our families. It was tough to not have everyone there, but after dinner, we hosted the rest of our friends at a nearby beer hall, and that was its own great thing. So, in the end, we had the best of all worlds.” — Colby (and Laura)

What do you love most about weddings? If you’re married, what were your own favorite moments? Any advice you’d give?

P.S. 15 wedding dos and don’ts, and did you have sex on your wedding night?

(Nora’s photos by Hal Horowitz. Lizzy’s photo by Mel Barlow. Gay’s photo by Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times. Anna’s photos by Christa Donald Photography. Nicki’s photo by Our Labor of Love. Colby’s photo by Khaki Bedford Photography. Other photos courtesy of the couples.)