I've been an old married lady for just under a week now, and I thought I'd offer some handy-dandy advice for those of you still gearing up to walk down the aisle! So without further adieu, here are my top 10 pieces of advice for brides to be:
10. For the love of God, don't leave everything to the last minute. Just don't!
I am a huge procrastinator, but I regret leaving so much to the last minute. Granted, there are some things you just can't do in advance, like frosting the cake, etc. However, there were plenty of things I could have done in advance but didn't. I was up until nearly 2am doing last-minute wedding things when I should have been in bed. Trust me, when you get down to the wire, you will want to hanging out with your out-of-town guests and not putting the finishing touches on your wedding programs.
9. Eat something. And not just on the wedding day.
The old “make sure you eat something!” advice is pretty tried and true for brides. But, in my experience, this is super important for the days leading up to the wedding, as well. A few days before my wedding, I was so nervous and excited that I lost my appetite completely. And I am a chick who ALWAYS has a big appetite. So have a plan, keep some easy-to-prepare meals at home, enlist friends or your partner to ensure you've had something to eat, or do whatever it takes to make sure you don't go without.
8. Leave time for sleep — work out a sleep schedule, and come up with relaxation techniques so you can sleep when it counts.
Two weeks before my wedding, I couldn't go to sleep at all because I had so many details running through my head. Then, in the last nights before my wedding, I was exhausted enough to sleep but couldn't because I had so much to do! So map out a sleep schedule and stick to it! I almost had a panic attack the night before my wedding. So, If you have any history of anxiety, even if you think you're fine now, it may surface before your wedding. If you have relaxation techniques that have worked in the past, start practicing them and be ready to use them if needed.
7. If you don't have a DJ/band, have a plan and get someone to be the MC.
If possible, assign someone to be your MC and give them instructions in advance. Otherwise, they won't know what to do, you'll be too busy to direct them, and things will get hectic. This applies even if you aren't having a formal wedding with all the expected elements. We didn't do toasts or first dances but we still would have benefited from having a friend be the MC to give the guests some directions or info or just to entertain them now and then. I do regret letting this element slide.
6. You can't do it all. Repeat: You can't do it all.
I am just a wee bit of a control freak, and back when I started planning, I was under the royally screwed up impression that I could do it all. But I couldn't, and you can't either! If you are having a mostly DIY reception like I did (meaning you don't have a lovely banquet staff there to handle everything) then you need to rely on friends and family and give them jobs in advance. As the time ticked down on my wedding, I quickly realized I was spreading myself too thin and began delegating. If people want to help you, accept that help and let them handle some things. No, it might not turn out exactly as it would of if you did it all yourself, but you can give direction. And frankly, seeing the input from other people is part of what will make your wedding amazing.
5. Keep in mind that some people will leave after dinner/cake, and this doesn't mean your wedding is lame.
I had a small wedding, only about 55 guests total. A lot of them left early on, after dinner and dessert, and I felt lame. But it was the older guests/relatives who left, and the young ones and our friends stayed. This is typical of almost every wedding. When you go to a big wedding, it's not as noticeable, but with such a small grouping of guests, having half of them take off seems like a big deal. Just keep this in mind and be excited to spend time with those who are still there!
4. You won't get to spend quality time with each and every guest.
If this was true for me at a wedding of 55 people, I can't imagine what it's like at a wedding of 200. I still feel guilty about not really having the time to chat with some out-of-town family members or even some in-town friends who came. Sadly, I just don't think there's much you can do about this. You'll be excited and nervous and tons of people will be trying to talk to you. You just won't have time to have a meaningful conversation with everyone.
3. If at all possible, have sex that night.
This isn't always realistic, and there's nothing less hot than forcing yourself to do it when you're not in the mood. But I do suggest trying to save a bit of energy at the end of the night for this. I honestly thought I'd be too stressed and tired for some post-wedding marital nooky, but I was wrong. And thank goodness because it was awesome and I was glad to end the night/start the marriage that way! Of course, if you end up passing out instead of doing the deed, don't beat yourself up about it.
2. Don't second guess yourself or the wedding after the fact.
I admit here and now that I am guilty of this and must follow my own advice. I LOVED my wedding and had an amazing time, yet now I am looking back and feeling a little weird about it. Did people have fun? Was it too small? Too weird? Should I have had hard liquor? What could I have done differently? JUST STOP. If you thought it was lovely at the time, then it most definitely was. Just enjoy it for what it was and be happy.
1. Be prepared for a difficult transition out of wedding planning mode, but be excited for your new life.
In the days following the wedding, it was hard to get out of the planning mindset. I'd see something cool in a store window and immediately think, “How can I incorporate that into my wedding?” before realizing the wedding was over. With that said, part of me is actually relieved the wedding is over and that we are back to our regular lives. The wedding is a time of joy and happiness and all that, but it is just one day and then it is over. Your love and the rest of your lives are left — so focus on that, and how to maintain that love and happiness for the duration.
So those are my top 10 pieces of advice — except for the bonus one, the most important one: You are spending months, maybe even years, worrying over what amounts to be a big party; have fun with that. And by all means get detail-obsessed if that is your thing. But truly this day, if it goes right, is about you and your partner. So my last piece of advice is… when the day arrives, forget about those details and the centerpieces and the seating chart and focus on your partner. If you can do this, then all of it, down to the very last detail, will have been worth it.
Good luck, everyone!
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Comments on My top 10 wedding lessons
L.O.V.E. #2! “JUST STOP.”
Needed that! Ours was a small, mostly diy wedding, self-MC’d-lots of things were “us” and not traditional…but after all our guests left the next day, we had a lot of second-guesses (I was sooo worried that I’d had too much to drink and that I danced too much and didn’t spend more time with the guests) until my mother in law brought us back to earth and said she’d gotten the most compliments on how laidback, comfortable and love-filled the whole thing was. 🙂
Re #6: Amen. It took me a really, *really* long time to understand that when my closest friends and family offered to help, I SHOULD LET THEM. Learning to delegate was really, really hard for me, because I've always been the "if you want something done right, do it yourself" type, and also of the "I don't want to burden others" type. But letting others take charge of tasks and ideas made everything so much better. It's just all about trusting the right people.
Re #3: The next morning is just as good as the actual night-of. I was SO DAMN TIRED after our wedding that I fell asleep on the sofa with my shoes on… but the following morning, we woke up at 7:30 and got out of bed at 11:45. 😉
go you! 😉
Thanks for a very nicely written article, it's always nice to read the bride's perspective.
thanks so much for this article! now i don't feel so alone!
As a girl whose favorite pastimes are eating and having sex, this advice is invaluable.
Oh yay, they posted this!! I promise to do #10 – I still have a year to go, but I'm a procrastinator type too, and well aware of it. No excuses for me!
Great point with number 4, I've been feeling really bad that I didn't make it over to talk to some extended family or the old college roommate on his side…..people come to your party, you should at least spend some time acknowledging their effort to be there, right? But it's kind of impossible, and that's okay. Everyone knows it's impossible, I've never once left a wedding thinking "Hmmph, they could have at least chatted with me a few minutes!" because I understand all the obligation and time crunch the happy couple is feeling.
I'm just beginning to work on the thank you cards, and am spending a little more time personalizing messages to those folks I never made it to chat with. No more guilt for me and I'm sure they'll appreciate the card a little more than the generic type thank you.
After reading OBT for over a year, and cannily cribbing bits and pieces of everyone else's creativity, I was starting to feel like my own wedding was going to be boring. I mean some folks have incredible planning skills, or innate talents they work in, or amazing gobs of money, etc. But I started listening to my guests as they gushed over how "us" the wedding was how much fun they had and I realized….they were right. What might seem blase to readers here, like red sparkly bridal chuck taylors, princess bride ceremony language or silly props for photo fun, is offbeat and a blast to folks tired of going to the same old weddings. We had a blast, our guests enjoyed themselves, and who cares if the hall forgot to make enough vegetarian lasagna after all? Turns out, nobody cares at all.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. T-minus 84 days under my fantastic wedding party weekend, and I needed every one of those pieces of advice and the comments that have followed. As for right this minute, need to stop procrastinating delegating….
Fabulous advice, thank you for sharing Cassie. All brides should read this.
Ive printed this off to stash away in my wedding planner book, now if I could find the right dressmaker, I could at least start planning my day for real.
I'm in the midst of having to change the venue for my wedding with only 35 days to go! Thanks for the good advice and calming words.
Thanks for the advice, my wedding is in 10 days and I will keep all these points in mind!
Great advice, I wish all brides would read this!
Great article with lots of wonderful advice. Toni, I’m taking a cue from you and printing this out right now to put in my planner. Our wedding is 2 years away and I don’t want to forget this valuable advice.
THANK YOU!! I have been sitting here for the past 2 weeks thinking, why didn't I do that. Why didn't I take those pictures I had planned. Did everyone have a good time. Hell I don't even know if I liked my hair and makeup. What I do know is I was happy and so madly in love and left there feeling like it was the best party I have ever thrown so why I am stressing about it.
Nice to feel you are not alone in your wedding and post wedding thoughts. Wonderful article.
lots of great advice here! specifically #6 and #2– with so many great ideas and resources out there, its hard to look at stuff and not think "I should have done X!" or "why didn't I do Y! I *LOVE* Y!" focus on your day and how amazing it was– not what could have been 🙂
#8 is so true. You gotta relax and get some sleep. Not getting enough rest can cause you to stress out over the little things that don't matter.
I wish I could do something about #6, but I don't have any family or more than one or two friends. Luckily we are only have a reception and no one is going to be at the ceremony. But It's very much a downer to hear everyone say how they had all these friends and family to help out.
this was a great article to read, especially since I am also having about 55 people (mostly family), no dancing or music, very simple get together, etc. I could really relate and I appreciate the advice
These are excellent tips–and from the mouth of someone who knows. Thanks for sharing.
Very helpful. Great job
oh, the eating rule! i definitely forgot to follow that one. leading up to the big day i was so stressed from not taking the time off of work i should have (can that be rule #11?) to plan that i ended up losing juuuuust enough weight that when the wedding day came… my dress was too big and i walked down the aisle with safety pins inside my dress.
Good suggestions! I will take note of all of them! 🙂
Great Advise. Re: No. 3, We were sick and tired of everyone telling us it would not happen so we made a point of ensuring we had sex that night. It was not amazing by any stretch but we did it !
This was helpful today. In the midst of my insanity, I cannot figure out if i want to scream, cry, or have an orgasm. I will try to take this to heart for the next 74 days.
Very usefull tips. My favourite tip is No.3
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