October 3, 2009, was the best day of my life. I know it’s a cliché to say that your wedding day was the happiest day of your life, but I can assure you there’s nothing tired or boring about being surrounded by the people you love most in the world. From the moment my mom woke me up in the morning—singing “Get Me to the Church on Time” at top volume—to our final dance, every part of my wedding day was exactly as I had hoped it’d be and much, much more.
Now that I’m a wise married woman, I feel I can offer future brides just a few words of advice.
1. Have fun with the planning—even the stressful parts. The last week before my wedding was an absolute whirlwind of final details. My mom and I both took the week off work and ran around completing dozens of errands. We stayed up late, forgot to have dinner, and woke up tired every day. But despite the stress and fatigue, I had a blast. I treasure the time I got to spend with my mom, because everything she did for me she did with love. I’ll never forget it.
2. Be nice to you fiancé. This sounds easy, but it can be difficult as the wedding gets closer and the pressure’s on. As we were driving to the rehearsal dinner—which Randy planned—he said to me, “You know, I’ve had very little contact with Maggiano’s. I hope this goes okay.” It took a lot for me to smile at him and say, “I’m sure it’ll be wonderful.” I was actually thinking, “What? We’ve invited 40 people to dinner and you haven’t had much contact with the restaurant?” The dinner was wonderful, but even if it hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have been worth it to be angry at him. Be nice and I promise, you’ll be happy you were.
3. Don’t trust the Weather Channel. All week, the forecast for our wedding day was dismal. Randy and I wasted time worrying about it, buying golf umbrellas, and cursing fate. When the sun came up on Saturday, I was surprised, relieved, and grateful. I just checked the weather for our honeymoon, and it looks like it’s going to rain in Hawaii. I’ll believe that when I see it.
4. If you have a father and he’s able to walk you down the aisle, treasure that moment. I thought I’d be too nervous and overwhelmed to enjoy the walk down the aisle. When the time came, it was reassuring to be able to lean on my father. It took away any anxiety I had, and I was able to smile, be calm, and enjoy one of the most special moments in my life. If you don’t have a father, choose someone very special to be by your side to give you comfort and help you relax.
5. Take a dance lesson—or at least practice the first dance you’ll do as husband and wife. Our first dance was probably my favorite part of our reception. We were comfortable with each other and comfortable dancing to our song. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly—we definitely had a funny move or two in our dance, but we had fun and I think it showed.
6. Don’t worry about having children present. We have many friends with babies and small children. Some friends brought their babies, and some left them at home. Before the wedding, I was worried that the babies would cry and that the kids would run wild. On the day itself though, the fact that children were there only made the event more special. One of the sweetest things I saw was our friend Chip dancing with his three-month-old daughter. Children may complicate things, but they also add more love to the room. If they misbehaved, I didn’t notice, and I promise that you won’t either.
7. Things will go wrong. I couldn’t find my necklace and had to borrow one from a friend. I didn’t get a photograph with my grandma. The corsages were confused with the boutonnieres. Although you’ll be disappointed when these things happen, try to keep the bigger picture in mind. If you’re pronounced husband and wife, the day is a success.
Planning a Washington wedding has been a fantastic experience. There’s no better place to have a wedding than your hometown, and that’s what Washington has become for my husband and me. Good luck, brides and grooms!
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