There is no shortage of wedding advice out there. From bridal magazines, to blogs, to message boards. Getting engaged makes you feel like you are part of some exclusive club that talks about things you never even batted an eyelash at before. Etiquette, colour swatches, floral arrangements, varying shades of white, and the list goes on. It’s really enough to make you want to call off the entire thing before you’ve even started.
But slowly you sift through the information. You realize a lot of it is outdated and steeped in tradition. You grow a backbone and learn to stand up for yourself and what you want your wedding day to be.
If you’re like me you talk to other brides and get their advice. But even with all this advice, all the reading you do, there will still be some things you can only learn through experience. This is why, on the last day of Wedding Week, I am sharing the things I wish someone had told me before my wedding day:
1. The ceremony will be one big blur once you finish walking down the aisle.
Once I saw my husband waiting for me at the altar, I couldn’t focus on anything else. I was so giddy when I finally got up there to stand beside him. We were smiling, cracking jokes and whispering through the entire thing. We actually had a few people come up to us and say how much they enjoyed our ceremony because we were just ourselves and it was so laid back.
I remember after the ceremony telling Mark that his cousin Shannon never came up to do her reading. He assured me she did. I was so caught up in happiness I was completely oblivious to what was going on. I didn’t even notice his cousin come up and say her reading right in front of us.
Standing up in front of everyone and reading my vows was what had me the most nervous before the wedding, but in hindsight it was a breeze. I could only focus on Mark and it was like no one else was even there.
2. You might not eat your meal or drink from the bar.
The wedding day was so busy. Busier than I had anticipated. We had to get pictures taken, attempt to greet all of our guests, have our entrance,get through speeches, have more pictures done, plus cut the cake and have a first dance.
I hardly touched any of my food because it seemed I was always talking to someone or listening to a speech. We also snuck out halfway through dinner for more pictures and again after dinner for more pictures. I never got to try our signature drink. Every time I tried to get to the bar I was stopped by a guest to talk. The only time I did make it up there I did one shot with my cousin. Other than that I drank water the entire night and a little champagne the venue gave Mark and I during dinner.
On top of that, even getting the washroom was hard. From the time I announced to my bridesmaids I had to pee, it took over an hour for us to get from the head table to the washroom (which was a five second walk). Every time we started moving towards the washroom, I would get stopped by someone, or asked a question. Eventually my wise, thirteen year old junior bridesmaid said, “Tracey, if you don’t go now you’ll never go.”
I wish I would have just taken that initiative to say I’ll be right back and had gone to the bar to grab a drink or gone to the washroom when I needed to go instead of being so polite.
3. Your wedding dress is not very comfortable but you don’t want to take it off.
My wedding dress fit like a glove. There’s something about wedding dresses that they just make you look like a million bucks. The dress started off pretty comfortable. It had only a very small train so I didn’t have much issues walking around in it. However, everyone and I mean everyone stood on it. I didn’t really mind since I knew I was only wearing it one day and the bottom was already dirty from walking around on wet grass and dirt patches. It seemed every time I went to move I got jerked back by a foot standing on my dress.
Around dinner time, the weight of the dress and the boning were starting to give me a stomach ache. The upper part of the dress started to feel constricting as I drank water and nibbled on food. When I began dancing and the room became warmer, I started getting really hot and had to periodically lift my dress up to my knees to get some circulation going up there.
By the end I was a hot and sweaty mess, but you know what? I didn’t care. I had the time of my life and I loved dancing around in my princess dress.
4. You won’t be able to talk to everyone.
I thought that since we only had 120 guests I would easily get to speak with them all. To my credit, I mostly did. However, I didn’t realize how long it would take to move to each table and greet each guest. The room was so crowded with people that I completely forgot a few people all together because I didn’t even see them. I still feel bad about that.
5. You might not sleep on your wedding night.
I’m not talking about the hanky panky stuff either. I was so full of energy and excitement when the day was over I literally laid in bed the entire night replaying the whole day. I did not sleep for one second.
A little secret not many people know about our wedding night: When we got back to our hotel room and I could take off my dress and put on some track pants, we ordered a pizza to our room. We sat in our honeymoon suite devouring a large pizza right after our wedding!
6. You feel like you have all the free time in the world after the wedding.
After the wedding, I kept feeling like I needed to be doing something with all my free time. I had a hard time sitting still and just relaxing. I felt the need to plan something, to worry about something. At the same time, I also had a hard time not having something to look forward too. Thankfully, my best friend was getting married a few months after my wedding so that kept me in wedding mode a little bit.
7. You might not get all the pictures you wanted.
I need to preface this one by saying my photographer is a genius and I believe she is one of the best out there. She was phenomenal at making everyone feel comfortable and getting shots that I could have never dreamed up. In the moment of taking pictures, I wish I had made a list for myself of ones I did want. She asked me a number of times if there were any other pictures I needed or wanted and at the time I could not think of any else I had wanted. After the fact, I realized I should have asked more family members to stay behind to get professional photographs. It’s really not that big of a deal to me, but if I did do it again I would have made a list.
8. Even when the wedding is over, it’s still costing you.
After the wedding you have to pay to get your dress cleaned and if you choose, packaged up to be stored. The cleaning alone can cost around $100. On top of that, you have to order and mail out thank you cards to your guests.
9. The memories from that day are priceless.
I never realized how much my wedding day would mean to me. Not just because I got to wear a nice dress and pick out all the decor. It was the overwhelming feeling of love having every single important person there that day. To me, that is what life is about. Celebrating joyous moments with the most people most important to you is something you can’t put a price on.