Guess what? This week marks a month that I've been a real married person! And I've realized a few things about how I feel about the day being over. Like any bride, groom, family member or friend knows, there's so much buildup to one single day. I actually thought I was going to be more sad that the planning and buildup was over. But I realized the end of planning was a surprising relief -- and starting our life together and getting settled into what it actually means to be "married" was more exciting than anything.
I'm not sure if every bride would agree, but I think the biggest adjustment and source of nostalgia is getting used to not being the topic of conversation. Yes, it sounds selfish, but it's true. Even though I definitely got tired of wedding talk over the whole year of planning, it was always hovering over us. There was always something to talk about with my close circle (do you want to see a picture of my cake topper? You don't care? Well, I'm showing you anyway). And it's what everyone in my life asked about. After it was over, there were the few lingering questions of "How does it feel to be married!?" or "How did your pictures come out?" or "Was it everything you hoped it would be?" But after a month, I can slowly feel people moving on. And that's okay...really. It's just a strange, somewhat freeing, somewhat nostalgia-inducing feeling.
On that note, I have a few other tips. Maybe they're insightful, maybe they aren't. They probably won't appeal to every couple's style, but they worked for us!
Don't not do something because you're planning a wedding. Believe me, it's easy to let a wedding consume your life. While I had my fair share of moments where it ruled every ounce of my brain, we tried our best not to skip things or avoid doing something we would normally want to do. I mean, we went to an annual beer fest with our friends the day before my bridal shower, and my bridal party came along, too. (FYI, that pretty much shows I had the coolest friends and bridal party ever who were expert multi-taskers at having fun)
Don't let Internet discussion boards or opinionated people sway you too much. For example, I knew my bridal party would be super excited about matching shirts that said "bride tribe" as we got ready the day of the wedding. Not every bridal party would, though, and once I started overthinking it and getting too deep into Internet discussion boards about people saying they were a selfish gift, I almost didn't get them. No matter how you feel about the "bride tribe" shirts, the point is: you ultimately know your bridal party, fiance, parents, guests, etc. better than anyone. So go with your gut.
Buy everything you can off Etsy. 1. Everything creative and original and crafty you could ever want is on there. 2. You'll support actual artists. 3. It will make you giddy when you receive packages in the mail every. single. day. If you're into the DIY route or just want to add personal touches to your day, I would urge you to consider becoming a fellow Etsy addict (at your own risk). Here are links to some of the amazing vendors I worked with on Etsy, and I didn't have a bad experience with one of them:
Hair clips- Went up in price since I got them, but they're so intricate and beautiful.
Wedding invites- Super affordable and well-designed. The vendor is incredibly responsive and easy to work with!
Woods slices- Affordable, real wood that we used as seating "cards" and made coasters out of them.
Bridal party gift bags- I admit, an unnecessary purchase, but so much better looking than anything I could have wrapped.
Jewelry made with my handwriting- I ordered 3 pieces of jewelry from this shop, and I was so obsessed with how they came out.
Cake topper- An undeniable feeling of fall.
Bride Tribe tanks- Comfy and cute!
Tie clip for dad- Last minute purchase, but he wore it all day :)
Mother of the bride handkerchief- For all the crying she did, this was a nice touch.
Jewelry for myself- Mainly an excuse to wear by bud, Kacey's, jewelry, but I convinced myself it was for all the events leading up to the wedding.
Try not to consume every conversation with wedding talk. Even though I am writing a blog post specifically about weddings, it really doesn't have to be the focus of every conversation. I tried and failed at this, but trust me, there will be certain people you can tell are getting sick of hearing about it. Try to talk like a normal person when you can.
Build in more time than you think for everything leading up to the ceremony that day. We were just a little frantic and rushed that morning which led to some good memories (such as a handwritten "do not enter" sign on the bridal quarters door). I would have definitely planned our pictures out a bit more and tried to build in a little more time for relaxation. It all happened so fast! And yes, everyone warned me about that, so maybe there's just no way around it.
Figure out which traditions-- if any--are important to you, and don't let friends or family pressure you to do differently. Luckily, weddings are getting a lot more modern so there are tons of options and room for creativity. In terms of "non-traditions," we decided not to do a receiving line, I didn't wear a veil, my husband's sister was our best "man," I had two maid of honors, we had older flower girls, etc. But everything was authentic to us, and as far as I know, nobody seemed to mind. And if they did, it was our day and it was exactly how we wanted it. That's all that matters.
Turn any decision or task you have to complete into a fun event. It makes the whole process so much more exciting, and everyone wants to help or be a part of things. We had a wine tasting night to decide on the wine we were going to buy for the wedding, and turned the food tasting at our caterer's restaurant into a small party with our family. We also had a craft night to make all the centerpieces, and went on plenty of shopping trips with my bridal party to get accessories for all the events. At the same time, don't be afraid to pick things you just want to complete with the two of you.
Let people help. I think we did pretty well with this, but I still know I could have been less possessive over certain projects and let people help a bit more. We had so many offers for help, which I still remember and appreciate to this day! Everyone wants to be a part of your day and make your life easier, so don't be afraid to take them up on it when you can.
Laugh about the things that get messed up. Like you hear from every person who has planned a wedding, something WILL go "wrong" that day. I was actually excited to see what ours would be, since I've heard so many funny disaster stories from weddings. I think imperfection is always going to be more memorable and authentic than something that went according to plan. For us, it was so many little things -- a bird getting trapped in the barn overnight and having a few "accidents" on the tablecloths, wind and rain sprinkles during the ceremony (good luck?), having to run out and buy more champagne glasses, etc.-- but I can't help but smile thinking about them. Let everything happen naturally, and just see where things take you. It'll most likely be hilarious.
Don't feel pressured into saying it was the best day ever. This sounds depressing, but it's not! Your day will be AMAZING, and maybe it really will be the best day of your life. For me, it will definitely go down as one of my all-time favorite days, and I wouldn't have changed a thing. But I like to think that it's a day that marked the start of so many best, potentially better, days to come with my new hubby. How's that for romantic?
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!