Dum-Dum-da-Dum. That’s right, wedding season is here and this year I am smack dab in the middle of it, which is kind of weird considering I am already married. So why do I find myself dress shopping, scouting venues and constantly browsing through the wedding aisle at Michaels? Because my three – that’s right, three (3) - closest friends are all getting married within the next year.
First up is Dory, whose wedding is just a few months away and I have yet to get my bridesmaid dress altered for. Next, our very own Alice will say “I do” a few weeks later. And finally, my bestest-ever friend Bridget’s nuptials will take place next spring with yours truly as MOH (for all you wedding virgins, that stands for Maid of Honor). Hopefully you can understand why, with all this wedding overload, I have taken to roaming about the house in my wedding dress.
While some people would find this a bit much, I am actually revelling in it. It turns out that helping others plan their wedding can be even more fun that planning your own. I get all the fun of planning without any of the stress or expense. It’s the best of both worlds. And I have to say that being in a bridal party is not as bad as it is often portrayed to be in movies. I have gone dress shopping quite a few times now and not once has anyone had a crap in the sink (sorry for the spoiler if you have not yet seen Bridesmaids). Yes, there have been some bridezilla moments, but I think all brides should get a free pass on at least a couple of those; committing to have sex with just one person for the rest of your life would make anyone a little cranky.
So to Dory, Alice, Bridget and all the other brides-to-be out there, I want to take this opportunity to offer the following advice from one who has been there and done that:
1. Enjoy every minute: You only get married once (hopefully) so enjoy every bit of the process. I know it can be stressful trying to coordinate flowers and bridesmaids dress colors, and you have every right to feel frustrated when the venue you want is already booked. But on the day, even if your dress rips while giving out hugs in the receiving line (like mine did), I assure you it won’t matter because the act of committing yourself to the one you love will make the day perfect, whether you are wearing a paper bag or a Vera Wang.
I have one friend who was so stressed out about her wedding that she actually began losing her hair – literally. She actually developed a bald spot, which as you can imagine, did not help her stress level any. After visiting the doctor and learning that she was unlikely to lose all her hair as she had been dreading, she began to put things in perspective and was able to calm down and start to enjoy the process more. She came to realize that, in the end, all the little hiccups you come across along the path to your wedding are part of what will make your wedding memorable. So when the hair dresser gets rollers stuck in your hair on the morning of your wedding (like mine did), just sit there and smile and think of what a great story it will make to tell your kids one day.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: This is probably the biggest regret from my own wedding. I was living away from my friends and family for most of the wedding process and because of that, and the fact that I didn’t want to burden others with what I thought of as my responsibility, I tried to do everything myself. Considering that I was the first of my friends to get married and I hadn’t been to any weddings since I was a kid, I am amazed that everything turned out as well as it did. I wish that I had gotten others involved though, if for nothing else but to get more ideas and choices. I had no idea at the time that there were so many options of doing everything. I didn’t know that it was possible to play games at the reception, do cupcakes instead of the traditional cake, change dresses for the reception, etc... Even if you have a specific idea of what your wedding will be, it doesn’t hurt to get out there and see what other options are available – you never know what kinds of great ideas you will come across. And don’t feel bad about asking others for help; if they are anything like me they will jump at the chance. Plus, the more helpers you have, the less chance of you getting so stressed out that you require a wig for your wedding day.
3. That being said, Do what you want: At the end of the day, this day is all about you and your soon-to-be-spouse. While it is great to get ideas from everyone, don’t let anyone guilt you into doing what they want you to do. Whether that involves having strippers at your bachelorette, wearing your mom’s old wedding dress, or having people there that you don’t want, you need to put your foot down. It is amazing how hard it can be to be selfish for just one day, but you have a right to do that.
Believe me, it can be very nerve wracking when the time comes to walk down the aisle. Everyone is staring at you, you are trying not to trip, and you have spent hours memorizing your spouse’s family tree so you don’t insult anyone, but the minute their second cousin, twice removed, comes to say hi your mind goes blank. With all this pressure, don’t you think you deserve to eat what you want that day? So if you have a bitchy-betty telling you what you have to do on your wedding day, you have every right to tell her where she can shove your bouquet.
So basically that last point gives you the right to ignore everything I have said here if you so choose. I promise I won’t be offended. At the end of the day, I just wish that all the brides out there find all the love that they need, all the joy they deserve and all the happiness they can handle. Marriage is not always easy, but it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. The wedding is only the beginning of your journey; I hope you enjoy the ride.