The day of, my cousin Andrew informed me: “The two questions people will keep asking you after your wedding are: ‘How’s married life?’ and ‘So, when are you going to have kids?’” Let me preemptively answer these questions so you don’t have to bother asking them:
- Married life is pretty much exactly the same as non-married life. I know that’s a disappointing answer, but it’s true. Scott’s and my relationship hasn’t changed much except that we refer to each other as “husband” and “wife” now, and I like to remind him that he married me whenever I do something stupid. The other difference is that I now get to go around to all my unmarried friends and give them unsolicited relationship advice, as was given to me each time one of my friends got married.
- Scott is insistent that we have eleven kids. No, I don’t know where he got that number from, but until I’m able to negotiate him down a little you shouldn’t hold your breath until we start reproducing. Also, please don’t ask that question.
Now that that’s out of the way, I can start reflecting on my wedding day, which is the main topic of this post. It went by, as so many people say, in a blur and I tried to savor every moment but by the end of the day I was so exhausted that I passed out immediately and woke up greeted by half of my wedding-cakeface on my pillow the next morning. (Speaking of which, my hair and makeup turned out great. Thanks to Brooke and Rachel!) It was a happy day for sure, and I had a great time, and I hope everyone in attendance did too. However, it wasn’t without its moments of drama and stress, and the day before my wedding did include a couple bouts of tears, and even one of vomit. Occupational hazards of being a bride.
The question I keep returning to is: Would I do it differently if I had to do it all over again? (This has been a good exercise for planning my second wedding to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.) I had a somewhat unorthodox wedding that various people believed to be anything from sheer genius to a reprehensible break from tradition. Here are the results of my grand experiment, or in other words, my wedding advice to future brides:
- Weddings are inherently stressful events, and there’s not a lot you can do to change that. There are so many people involved in planning and executing a wedding—lots of moving parts, lots of opinions, lots of clashing personalities. The problem is that EVERY SINGLE person you know is involved in some way, or wants to be involved even if you don’t want them to be. Bottom line, wedding planning is hard—for these reasons and the others listed below—and almost any bride will tell you that. Keep your expectations low in this regard.
- Your wedding is not about you. Your wedding is about your guests. Unless you are a narcissist, you will spend about twice as much time fussing over menus and seating charts and trying to remember which of your cousins is allergic to gluten than you will on yourself. I’ve gotten wedding advice—and life advice, for that matter—to the tune of “Forget what everyone else says, just do whatever you want!” This attitude sounds great in theory but most of us know it’s not that simple. If you care about your guests, you’ll want them to enjoy themselves. If you care about your loved ones, you have to make compromises with your wedding plans just as you do in your relationships with all these people you’ve invited (or been pressured into inviting). Which brings me to my next point…
- Choose your battles wisely. There are certain things that Scott and I put our foot down about. The basketball court in the church was not to be utilized in any way. No wedding party, no reception line, no bouquet toss or garter thingy. Only family and close friends in attendance. I didn’t want to wear a white dress, and Scott wanted to wear a blue suit instead of a tux. Those things were important to us, and for the most part, we got our way. However, as I mentioned before, this day that is meant to celebrate you is not in fact all about you. Scott and I also agreed that there would be no speeches or toasts. But then Scott’s dad approached us and said he’d prepared something and would like to say a few words. Since it seemed important to him, we agreed, and then my dad chimed in, and we ended up including several speeches and it was probably the highlight of the night and I’m so glad we did it. Another lesson: Your way might not always be the best way.
- People care. I was shocked by how much other people cared about my wedding, including people I am not close with. Because of this, it’s almost inevitable that feelings will get hurt. I had a surprising amount of friends not-so-subtly inform me that they were upset they weren’t invited to the wedding. These were people that I didn’t even think would be interested in coming. I belong to the minority of the population that doesn’t like weddings, and through this process I’ve learned why it is that people care so much: It’s their way of showing that they love you and they’re happy for you. That’s the whole point of all this silly pageantry in the first place. If you remember that, it’ll help keep you sane.
- And last but not least…None of this matters. What matters is that you and your spouse get to spend the rest of your lives together. Remember to BREATHE when the inevitable wedding crises hit. Have someone designated to calm you down when things feel like they’re careening out of your control. (I had my trusty un-bridesmaids for this.) And of course…HAVE FUN!!!