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Karen + James: 19 Years

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January 4, 2021

In our Wedding Rewind series, these couples, at 10+ years of marriage, can provide a wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspective to our clients as they begin wedding planning of their own. What do they remember most about their big day? What do they wish that they could have done differently? And what advice would they give to those just beginning this journey? We’ll ask these questions, and more, of both partners to see how their answers compare!

Karen + James – 19 Years of Marriage

Where and when did you get married?

Karen: We got married in 2001, at St. Joseph’s Church in Middletown, NY, and our reception was held at Anthony’s Pier Nine in New Windsor, NY.

James: All of those facts are true. 🙂

How long had you known your spouse and how long was your engagement at the time of your wedding?

Karen: We met in college and got engaged at the water town and fountain, which is the signature feature of our campus, since we met there. We were engaged for a little over a year and a half.  

James: We had known each other for almost four years when we got married. We were engaged for about a year and a half. Our engagement was about as long as we had dated.  

Are there any trends that you’ve noticed when attending weddings today that you wish had been popular when you got married?

Karen: I feel like weddings today are more personalized. We felt like we had a checklist and we followed it. All of our options were much more limited. For example, when we got married all of the bridesmaid dresses needed to match – same style and color. Now, it’s really cool that you get to see bridesmaids with different dresses and styles. Things are much more customized and couples have more options now, which is very exciting. People can really make their weddings unique.  

James: I agree with my wife (husbands, take note). I wish I had known that a groom’s cake was a thing… a groom’s cake! I think couples feel better able nowadays to break with tradition.

Are there any currently popular wedding trends that you dislike or don’t understand?

Karen: No, not that I can think of.

James:  There aren’t, the weddings that we have attended recently have been lovely.

What’s your biggest regret when looking back on your wedding day?

Karen: I wish we had more pictures. We got married before digital photography, so photographers didn’t take as many pictures. But there is not such thing as too many pictures. It is one of the most special days of your life, and I wish that we had more pictures of everyone there. I wish I had made a list ahead of time to make sure that we got pictures together with individual family members and friends, especially for loved ones who are no longer with us.  

James: I do regret leaving for our honeymoon at the crack of dawn the next day. In retrospect, I wish we had taken a day or two afterwards to relax and reflect and enjoy the wedding, rather than rushing to the airport.

What single moment from your wedding day will stick with you forever as your very favorite?

Karen: I loved looking at James at the church and squeezing his hand after I walked down the aisle. We were apart all morning and happy to be back together. I knew this was going to be the best day of my life, and I felt so much better being with him and so excited that we were starting our lives together.

James: I remember dancing with Karen at the reception. Not our first dance, but just doing my awkward, happy dancing, smiling and laughing together, and knowing that I had married my best friend. All while doing my best to enjoy those happiest of moments.

What’s the key to a long and happy marriage?

Karen: You have to laugh everyday. And it’s really important to have that Yin and Yang aspect. One person gets worked up, and the other calms them – and vice versa. One person is calm, and the other gets them excited about things. It’s fun to grow with someone over the years and to have adventures with them.

James: I think you have to want to always be a better person for your spouse and not be afraid of change. For example, if we were getting married now, our wedding itself would look much different, but I’d want to marry Karen all over again. You have to be able and willing to change over time and take on new risks and adventures. And having the right spouse to do that with makes it worth it.

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