Well, you guys, you’re officially reading from someone on the other side. I survived my wedding!
Let me tell you: that was the most stressful, frustrating, terrifying day of my life--until 3:00 that afternoon. Until I took my father’s arm, walked down the aisle with him and stared into my (now) husband’s eyes. Until he smiled at me and whispered, “You look beautiful.” Until he said his vows, promising me that we would always be a team, promising me that we would make it through anything. Until I said my vows, promising to believe in his dreams the way that I’ve believed (and will continue to believe) that every season is the one that the Miami Dolphins will win the Super Bowl. Until I promised to love him the way that he’s loved me these last two years, unconditionally. Unceasingly. Unbelievably.
In the beginning, it seemed like everything was going wrong. It took way longer to do my hair than I thought it would, which pushed back makeup, which pushed back the pictures, which caused a minor freak out on my part, naturally. It was hot, and yes, I was sweating under my dress. We were all running a little bit late getting ready, and I was tired.
And then we got married, and, just as I’ve been predicting these last few months, nothing else mattered. Nothing else even came close to what I felt when we were pronounced husband and wife, when he kissed me for the first time. None of the things that I had been stressing out about all morning mattered. Because it was finally here. We were finally married.
Being on the other side has taught me one thing: none of the things that I was angry over, none of the things that I cried over, none of the things that have been stressing me out for the last year, were ever worth it. My wedding was beautiful. My wedding was perfect to me, perfect to my husband, and perfect to our guests.
But, even with that in mind, I know you’re going to have that wedding day freak out, and I want to give you some advice to make your wedding day as stress-free and perfect for you as it can possibly be:
- Pick the right wedding party. I just found out Monday that the day of the wedding, one of the junior bridesmaids accidentally spilled liquid foundation all over her dress. Why didn’t I know about it last Saturday? Because my incredible bridal party took care of the problem before I ever even found out.
- EAT. BEFORE. THE. CEREMONY. Seriously, everyone said the food at our wedding was amazing, but we won’t ever truly know, because there was ZERO time to sit down and enjoy the meal. While it’s a wonderful feeling to have every single one of two hundred people waiting to tell you how much they love you, having food in your stomach is a pretty great feeling, too.
- Take some time for your other family members. If you’re the bride, you’ll have a special dance with your dad. But I took the time and asked the DJ to play the song that I always danced with my mom and sisters to when I was growing up, so that I got to have one last fun, special dance with them. While “Bop” by Dan Seals might have seemed like a strange choice to our guests, it was worth it to see the smiles on their faces and to have that moment with them.
- DON’T MICROMANAGE. One of the biggest things for me was letting other people decorate our venue. I was terrified that it wouldn’t match the image that I’d had in my head since day one. At one point, I locked my groom in his suite so that I could arrange our fraternity and sorority paraphernalia without him seeing me. In the end, it was great that everyone teamed up to help out, because I definitely wouldn’t have had the time to oversee all of that.
- Laugh. The best advice I can give you is to laugh through the parts that are stressful. Just laugh and hope for the best and remember to enjoy it because it’s all going to be over before you know it, and then the real work, the BEING married begins.
The last thing I want to tell you is this: it’s okay if you don’t feel that different after you get married. My husband and I have basically been acting like we were married since about three months after we started dating. I was worried, the day after the wedding, because I felt the same. But then I realized: it’s not marriage that changes how much you love someone. It’s time. The time that you spend, for the rest of your lives, growing together. Laughing with one another, crying for one another. It’s the moments that you make it through together that cause your love to grow. Marriage is, in all honesty, just a piece of paper and a commitment. In the end, anyone can get married. Would I recommend it? Yes. It hasn’t even been two weeks and I love being married. But to have a successful marriage, to have the marriage that I saw my parents have, that my husband saw his parents have, takes time. It takes those moments where you feel like breaking down. And it takes that moment where you decide not to give up.
Love is so much more than a feeling. It’s a choice, and to have a happy, lasting marriage, you have to choose it every day.