Hello! One month ago today we got married! And I’m just now emerging from a fog of exhaustion and jet lag! (At least, I hope I’m emerging. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!)
Since last I blogged, pre-wedding shit hit the fan. Those last few days before the wedding, suddenly we were up all night wrapping gifts, writing cards, and packing everything into neat boxes for the coordinator.
Luckily the shit had time to dry up, turn into a fine powder, and fly away the next time the fan got turned on, and everything went fine.
Leading up to the wedding, the one thing everybody told me was this: Enjoy the moment! Be in the moment! Take it all in!
And let’s be real, that is GOOD advice. Because it’s a really crazy day and (to paraphrase Ferris Bueller) if you don’t stop to enjoy it, it just might pass you by. (And don’t let it pass you by because everybody is SO nice to brides! Like, traffic will stop for your photos. You will feel like a princess — even if that typically makes you want to barf.)
But if you need some further advice (with major grains of salt because my biggest piece of advice is NOT TO GET OVERWHELMED WITH ALL THE ADVICE, because every wedding/bride/groom is a unique snowflake), here are a few thoughts, based on trial and error —
1. THERE IS NO “SOUL MATE” DRESS (AND OTHER DRESS THOUGHTS)
If you were at our wedding you didn’t hear Sam and I talk about “soul mates” because we are both skeptical about super shmoopy love stuff. (I think making super-romantic declarations is jinx! Even at your wedding. I know, I’m weird.) In fact, Sam’s best man declared himself as Sam’s soul mate during his toast, and I loved it.
Similarly, I don’t really believe that any dress, out there in a vacuum, is “the one.” A lot of girls will tell you that it’s not the right dress if you don’t cry when you try it on, or you don’t feel that special spark.
But I am here to tell you that I looked at 150 dresses, of which my dress was number 90-something (I think). I waffled majorly. I shower-sobbed the Friday before my wedding, thinking my dress was too tight and I’d made a mistake. Then, the day of the wedding, I was obsessed with my dress, and declared I’d never take it off. (Spoiler alert: I did.)
Over the next few days I realized that my dress had, like, bruised my hip bones when I sat down in it. I’d roll to my left in bed and feel a deep, crazy pain. (And the dress didn’t even having boning, I think? Just, like… stays at the skirtline? … Who knows.)
Even still, I’m not sure if I should preserve it (goodbye forever, hip destroyer!) or wear it as my Halloween costume for the rest of my life. (If it ever fits again.)
Also, after reading many articles about how to pee in a wedding dress, I only peed once towards the end of the night and didn’t need any pee-aids or trashbags or anything. The dress lifted just fine. (And Sam made the DJ loop Crazy In Love so I could dance to it when I emerged… see, keeper.)
Anyway, in conclusion, a dress only becomes “the one” when you choose it. So whatever you choose, just try to make peace with it! (My married cousins told me that every woman wishes she could get married again just to have another dress, which — TRUE OR NOT — made me feel a little better when it came time to decide. I mean, we all remember the 1980s — whatever you choose might be crazy-weird in ten years!)
2. SOME MISTAKES SUCK, BUT OTHERS MAKE THE WEDDING (AKA MAKE A PLAN, BUT EMBRACE THE CHAOS)
This rule also applies to your honeymoon, btw.
Even with careful planning (by us AND our day-of coordinator) I knew going in that at least a few token things would absolutely go wrong. And let’s face it, perfect weddings are boring. I pretty much go around bragging that I was a bridesmaid in a wedding that involved an UNEXPECTED TORNADO. I mean, how can you top that? (We sure didn’t.)
Let’s face it, a few of the mistakes we made were not so great. For example, we decided not to emphasize the cake-cutting so it wouldn’t interfere too much with dancing, which led to many people missing the cake cutting (including my mom… sorry!), and even cake-eating (including my sister-in-law… sorry Ellie!).
One big thing that I wish I’d known is how crazy things get right before the first look. The morning was going SO smoothly until I spilled salad dressing all over myself (NOT my dress, just my getting-ready comfy clothes) as I was supposed to go into hair & makeup, and it spiraled into not having my venue-bag 100% ready, and leaving a few things behind. So that’s some advice… have that venue-bag packed, ready, and with a designated person ready to take it for you.
But on to a few of my favorite mistakes:
Murphy’s Law, of course — I chipped the wedding-ring-finger of my gel manicure in the shower (a razor was involved), right before our Saturday-morning rehearsal. After the rehearsal I rushed to the salon and it was actually a super-easy fix, and I ended up having a leisurely lunch with my parents and sister, who happened to be across the street waiting for my sister’s mani/pedi appointment.
The day of the wedding, Sam and I both sent our phones ahead of us to the venue, then realized after the first look (and after the wedding party had gone ahead without us) that we… couldn’t Uber to the venue without our phones! Luckily our photographers had the smarts to ask how we were getting to the venue, and took us with them! It was reminiscent of our super-fun engagement shoot, and made me feel very relaxed.
After a series of unfortunate events with the veil (very slightly stained veil, backup veil was backordered, veil didn’t show up in time, had to use backup veil, almost left veil at hotel, almost forgot to put veil on), my bridesmaids very lovingly clipped the veil into my hair, and I looked in the mirror and hated it. Everybody veto’d it, with great relish. (And I will still have a few lovely photos in it! Haha.)
The funny thing is, at first I’d INSISTED on no veil… and in the end, that was clearly what was best. After so much thinking, veil-hunting, veil-stressing, etc. Oh well! (But I’d also insisted no train on my dress, and ended up loving my modest train… who knows!)
Yeah, I would sub-advice this veil story with — make sure you look in the mirror now and then! After lots of discussion and decision-making prior to the day, my hairpins and the veil situation end up being a go-with-the-flow situation. (I’d bought two different styles of hair decoration, and made a last-minute switch to the more subtle ones.)
This is not a mistake, but I will remember it always — we Uber’d back to the hotel after the wedding ended, and our driver was named Hamlet. I very enthusiastically informed him that he was driving a bride and groom home (we were still in full wardrobe). After 5-10 minutes of silence during our ride, Hamlet very casually said, “So… you guys just get married?”
We didn’t expect to have leftover cake, but then we did and we happily took it… and left it in our hotel fridge. Sam had to do a cake rescue!
Oh, and the BREAKING GLASS we ordered special from Amazon was rejected by our Cantor for being unbreakably thick (get it together, breaking glass shop!), and instead Sam stomped on a backup twinkle light, happily provided by our venue.
3. DON’T LIVE WITH REGRETS (UNLESS THE REGRET IS GOING TO BE MAJOR DEBT)
This is kind of a tricky one, but basically the idea is that if it’s not something that’s going to break your bank, it can be worth it to ask for what you want.
The whole wedding-planning process, I waffled about whether or not to have a chuppah — would it be too religious for an interfaith wedding? Would it look right in our venue? The day we had to sign our final, final floral contract, I finally decided to go for it. I had this feeling in the back of my mind that I’d always regret not having a chuppah.
Now I can’t believe I ever had doubts, because it was bonkers beautiful and also served as a tribute to my deceased grandfathers (we used both their prayer shawls as decoration).
I also waffled a lot about doing a photobooth or not (I typically love them, but Sam doesn’t), and we all agreed it ended up being one of the BEST parts of the night. The photos doubled as a souvenir and the guestbook was like a super-fun yearbook. It was really crazy to see all the cozy photos of people who didn’t previously know each other (especially the ones who looked like TWINS). And after looking at SO many photobooth websites, I loved the one we ended up choosing.
Along those lines, try to choose the vendors who really resonate with you, or whose work really resonates with you. Remember if you’re meeting with vendors a year+ out, they might not always be 100% responsive because your wedding is not bearing down on them. But they WILL be ready and excited to work for you when the time is right — like, a month or two out from your wedding.
One thing that I always read as a bridal “regret” is not hiring a videographer. A lot of people skip videography because it’s too expensive or they think it’s redundant, but I think most brides don’t understand that even if you’re “in the moment” at the wedding, you spend a lot of time NOT at the wedding — hiding before the ceremony, taking photos during cocktail hour, etc. So I’m personally glad we had various mediums capturing all the moments that I couldn’t see. (And our videographer was a chill and pleasant dude.)
And of course, there will always be people who can’t attend the wedding (whether you don’t have the budget/space to invite everybody, or you have some older relatives, or travel didn’t work out, etc.), and it’s nice to know we can share the memories! (To make it less bride-centric for a second.)
Also, don’t sweat things that are truly not a big deal to you. One example for us was linens. We had very few linens at our wedding (only the necessary ones on cocktail-esque tables), and we chose them without much ado. (At first I got a little crazy on the napkins, but by the end I was just like — let’s use their everyday napkins! We’ll highlight the venue!) (You will find towards the end of planning that suddenly there are lots of details you don’t care about as much as you thought you did!)
But lastly and most importantly — try not to let regrets eat away at your memory of the wedding. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, you will have a few (again — sorry about the cake, Mom!). But overall, try to let the day stay as magical in your head as it felt at the time, before you had time to catalogue the SNAFUs.
4. THE GETTING-MARRIED PROCESS IS A GREAT TEAMWORK EXERCISE (IF YOU’RE INTO THAT)
Sam and I planned our wedding together, and while there were a lot of moments of mutual ARGGHHH (see: figuring out room blocks, figuring out the registry, figuring out which songs to use, etc etc), at the end there was a great feeling of — WE DID THIS TOGETHER!
Similarly, if you’re the type of couple that likes that teamwork feeling, I recommend a honeymoon that’s a mix of relaxation (YOU WILL NEED TO SLEEP!) and adventure. When your connecting train between Salzburg and Venice doesn’t exist and you have to throw your backpacks under a bus, and one of you grabs the giant can of Paprika Pringles (me, obvs) and the other grabs a giant water bottle to wash down the Pringles (Sam), you will feel once again like an awesome team.
As the photo above helps illustrate, if you don’t usually wear bridal-level makeup, you have to get used to having a NORMAL PERSON’S FACE again in photos. I recommend flooding your Facebook with blotchy travel pictures so people remember you’re a human and don’t RECOIL the first time they see you, post-wedding.
Also — if you have been too post-wedding-excited to sleep and you need to pack for a Euro-trip, just listen to everything Rick Steves has to say and you’ll be fine.
END OF PSEUDO-ADVICE, even though I’m sure there are plenty of other tidbits and anecdotes (and if you’re a bride-to-be I’m still not sick of talking about weddings, much to Sam’s horror!).
I just realized there’s no way to glom the honeymoon onto this without making it a MONSTER POST, but I would love to discuss the trip (and the FOOD) a little further, of course. Next time, perhaps. (Spoiler alert: I’m obsessed with Tuscany.) (Second spoiler alert: Red wine is NOT my friend.)
But anyway, as I said on Instagram today, as wonderful as the wedding was, I’m happy to be post-honeymoon (although I’ll miss the food FOREVER) and be in the post-wedding, just-being-married-people phase of life.
Also, you may notice that after many years of wondering if The Daily Binge would survive the centuries, I’m giving up my domain name (you’ll notice “wordpress” back in the URL) and “rebranding” toward making this my personal website. I’m not going to disappear this site, but it may look different or have a different name. Probably my name dot com. So… don’t panic.
That’s not part of the “advice,” but it’s always good advice.