Jen and Matt got married a year ago on a grand schooner in Casco Bay, Maine. I had the great honor of officiating their wedding, which was a relaxed, family-oriented, fun affair. I thought it would be fun for a newlywed couple to give us their advice after one year of marriage. I think they have some excellent advice, don't you?
Your names: Matt Jones and Jen Pepper
How many years have you been married? 1 year
When and where did you get married? June 16, 2012 – On Casco Bay aboard The Frances (sailboat).
What did you like most about your wedding?
Matt: Having the wedding on a boat. It allowed us to avoid the more traditional aspects of a wedding. We walked to the boat together and didn't have the ceremony until an hour into the sail. That allowed us to interact with our guests and each other rather than being hidden away from each other and waiting until the reception to talk to everyone.
Jen: I really loved how it didn't feel over the top and grand. To me it felt like a family reunion, where of course everyone wore something a bit nicer than jean shorts. We were all able to catch up and chat on the sail around the harbor before the ceremony began. I think that was my favorite part of the day. While of course our guests were all there to celebrate our marriage, it didn't feel as if all eyes were on us, everyone got to mingle and relax, and most of all we weren't nervous about saying our vows. The entire day was low key and filled with love.
What would you have done differently about your wedding?
Matt: Honestly, nothing. The whole thing was fantastic and really exactly what we wanted.
Jen: I can honestly say nothing. There were a few hiccups with some place cards and I didn't think about how I was going to get our parents flowers from the hotel to the sail boat - but really the day was great.
What changed after you got married?
Matt: We had already lived together for several years so there wasn't much that could be very different. I think we both knew who we were and what we expected of each other long before we ever got engaged.
Jen: I want to say nothing changed, but I guess that isn't true. While I always knew that Matt had my back and cared for me deeply, somewhere in Augusta, Maine there is a piece of paper that proves it. It's comforting to know that he really is there for me forever and that we are true partners. There is a sense of security that has only been made stinger since we said our vows.
What surprised you the most about being married?
Matt: Going in I had some preconceived notions that, in our situation, getting married would have very little impact on our relationship. After all, we were already happily living together and making plans for the future. But I do think that it strengthened our relationship in some subtle ways that make it easier to deal with bigger life decisions.
Jen: Probably that not a lot changed. I didn't expect anything to change really - but I'm happy to report that we still have as much fun as we did before were were married. We didn't become an uber serious couple once there was a ring on our fingers. We still make up songs about nothing, over quote ridiculous tv shows and just enjoy being around each other.
What do you like most about being married?
Matt: Not having to deal with a wedding ;-). But seriously, it has been feeling like we can move forward with all our plans for the future with both of us ready and willing.
Jen: I like calling him my husband. It has quite a ring to it.
What advice do you have for engaged couples or newlyweds?
1. Living together for a number of years was really great for us. Sure it meant there wasn't a dramatic difference before and after the wedding but it also meant we both knew what we were in for.
2. Your budget was probably just a guess anyway, so don't assume you're going to hit it.
3. Have some sort of project that you want to work on right after you get married / get back from your honeymoon to avoid going stir crazy.
Jen: Have fun. Marriage doesn't change people, and if one of you has some grand idea that once you are married things will be different, that once there is a ring your partner will change their ways or treat you differently, I don't think that is how it is meant to work. Love them now for who they are and love them just the same once you say I do.
If you could change one thing about your marriage, what would it be?
Matt: Nothing, I think (hope) we both went into the marriage with our eyes wide open so it has been nothing but great.
Jen: Sometimes we both can be a bit of a push over. Neither one of us will push the other to do something if they don't want to do it. While it's nice to never feel forced to do something you don't want to do, occasionally we need a kick in the pants to get the ball rolling.
Would you ever consider renewing your vows?
Matt: No, but then we haven't been married for that long.
Jen: Possibly. If we ever felt like we were growing apart, but right now we both know how much we care about each other.