It’s June 1st, and that means it’s officially wedding season! It seems like every time I log in to Facebook or Instagram I see a shiny new ring on a manicured hand or a smiling girl in a pretty white dress. It’s such an exciting time, and if you’re currently a bride-to-be, your head is probably swimming with all of the things that will make your big day perfect.
Now, I know all of you future brides out there aren’t asking me for advice, but if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to give you a few things to think about before you make the transition from fiancee to wife. After all, I’ve been there! And while I’ve only gotten married once (and hope to keep it that way), experience does count for something. So, without further ado, here are my seven pieces of totally unsolicited advice for brides-to-be.
1. Don’t hype it up to be the best day of your life
Your wedding day will be special, no matter what goes wrong (and something will go wrong), but it’s not going to be the best day of your life, and you shouldn’t want it to be. First of all, it’s kind of a stressful day, and if you go the traditional route, you’ll be spending a pretty significant part of the day away from the person you’re marrying. I like to think that my wedding day was the start of the best days of my life instead, because as cheesy as it sounds, every day that I get to spend being married to the love of my life is a “best” day. Oh, and think about this: if your wedding day is the best day of your life, aren’t you kind of setting your whole marriage up for failure, since nothing will ever live up to it?
2. Being married is so much more fun than getting married
Getting married is a little nerve-wracking. There are a ton of people around (which isn’t great for people like me and my husband, who aren’t fans of being the center of attention), and there’s just so much going on. You have to make sure that your dress looks perfect, that you don’t trip down the aisle, and that you don’t stumble over saying your vows. Being married, on the other hand, is fun. Even when things get hard (and they will get hard), you will have someone by your side who has committed to get through it all with you. Navigating life with your partner-in-crime is awesome, and this is coming from someone whose three year marriage has experienced pet death, two job losses, two small businesses, and a pretty serious house flood. If you marry the right person, at the end of the day, you’ll still be having fun.
3. Wedding day mishaps will probably become some of the best inside jokes of your marriage, so don’t stress about them
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that something will go wrong at your wedding, but as long as it’s not something completely horrible, it’ll probably be one of the things that you and your spouse look back on with laughter. At our wedding, no one reminded me to spit my gum out, so when we watched our wedding video for the first time, we couldn’t stop laughing at my spearmint green gum that I was nervously chewing during the whole ceremony. Also, during our vows, when TJ was supposed to say “I do”, he mistakenly said “I will”, so we like to joke about when he’ll actually decide to start upholding his vows. If you have a good attitude about things going wrong, it’ll take a bit of the stress out of the day.
4. Take a minute to soak it all in, together, after the ceremony
One of the best things I read before getting married was to have a few private minutes together right after the ceremony. So, after we said “I do” (and “I will”), we walked back down the aisle together and had about 3 minutes by ourselves in a room at our venue where we kind of just had a “Wow, we did it! We’re really married!” moment. It was nice to have a few minutes to soak it in together before joining all our friends and family for the fun of the reception, and when I think back to our wedding, it’s a moment that’s really special to me.
5. Keep it realistic, money-wise
Even if you have an unlimited amount of money to use, or you have very generous parents, don’t blow a bunch of money on what amounts to a few hours of your life. Budget-friendly weddings are just special as extravagant weddings, because at the end of the day, the focus should be on the marriage. And if you’ve really just got money burning a hole in your pocket, spend it on your honeymoon!
6. Drop the “it’s my day” mentality
Yes, it is your (and your future spouse’s!) day, but unless you’re eloping, “your day” also involves a lot of other people. Try to always remember to be respectful and and thankful for the time, thought, and money that other people are putting into making “your day” happen. Nobody likes a bridezilla, and that’s the last thing you want people to remember about you after the wedding is done and you’re back to real life.
And finally, my most important piece of advice…
7. Care about your marriage as much as you cared about wedding planning
Marriage takes work, and successful ones don’t just happen. The amount of time, thought, and detail you put into planning your wedding should transfer over to your marriage too. And this isn’t just a bride thing – your spouse should put that effort in as well. Yes, your wedding day is important, but always, always remember that your marriage is what comes next, and it is far more important than the dress you wore, how your cake tasted, and what flowers you chose.
If you’re a bride-to-be, congratulations! You’re in for the best adventure of your life.
What advice would you give to brides-to-be? Anything I got wrong or forgot to mention?