On Saturday, Anthony and I celebrated our five year anniversary. As it often happens with memories, part of me feels our wedding day was only yesterday. One moment I was slipping on my lace appliqued dress, watching Anthony wait on the altar as I slowly made my way toward him, entering our reception to our band’s cover of Hot for Teacher, and cutting our five-tiered cake with Anthony’s hand wrapped around mine.
And in the next moment, I was sitting on my couch on Saturday wondering where all the time had gone in the past five years.
The other part of me, however, feels that that day was ages ago, another time in another life. It seems so much has changed since then. And so much has of course. Although five years probably seems like so few to couples who have been married for 10, 30, or 50 + years, enough time has passed that I can look back at my wedding day with a new perspective. Sometimes, I wish I could share that perspective with my young, blushing-bride self; I’d certainly have plenty to tell her.
Here are five wedding day tips for you, twenty-something, tan and naive Kimberly, one for every year that’s passed since.
- You will never look this pretty ever again. Never. – Oh, it’s sad but true, dear. Enjoy every moment. Don’t be terribly vain about it but the day will move much more quickly than you can imagine, so find a mirror and take a look. A good one. Maybe try to memorize your reflection a little. You will have pictures, but they’re not the same. And you don’t want your only flesh and blood memory of how you looked that day to be the split second you glanced into the mirrored wall before you entered the reception. Because this is it, lady: the prettiest day of your life and it will be over before you can say “Hello, gorgeous.”
- Stop taking pictures. – Did you seriously make a list of almost 50 shots that the photographer must take before the reception even begins? I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that your last name was Kardashian. Kimberly, you are wasting your time. You are wasting the time you could be using to enjoy your day. You do not need an individual picture with every bridesmaid. You do not need a picture with your oldest sister’s children, a separate picture with your second oldest sister’s children, and another with your cousins’ children. Just take a picture with all of them at once for goodness sake! Throw in some parent and sibling shots, a couple with the bridal party, and a few of you and Anthony and you’re good.
Now, once your reception actually begins, your photographer may attempt to get extra pictures while everyone else enjoys the food and music you chose so carefully. He’ll want shots of just you and Anthony standing outside the hall or holding hands while surveying the Venetian hour. Do not do this. Stand your ground. Do not take any time away from your enjoyment of the night to take pictures. 90% of your photos will be tucked away in a drawer. You only have four hours to enjoy your wedding. Soak up every minute.
- No one cares about the details but you. – I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the only person who will care about whether you have orange, yellow, and pink roses in your centerpieces or just keep them monochromatic is you. I’m not saying no one will notice all the little details. I’m sure the women at least will take note of the “Did You Know?” page of the ceremony program and the steel drum band at the cocktail hour, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually care about them.
You know who will genuinely care? Other young woman who are planning their own weddings. They will pay attention to every little thing from the lime green orchids in your bridesmaids’ hair to the song you chose for your last dance. In truth, though, they’ll only care so much so that they can develop a to-do and to-don’t list for their weddings, but at least they’ll be paying attention.
I am not just telling you this to hurt your feelings. I am telling you because you should know that the only people you need to please when you plan this wedding are you and Anthony. Do what you like; choose what you love. Don’t be ruled by what you think your guests will find beautiful. This day is about you, not them.
- Go to your cocktail hour. – I know you want to be traditional. I know you think it’s much more exciting to be announced into your reception if you haven’t already greeted all of your guests, but you’re going to miss your wedding. Your guests will be swinging and spinning on the dance floor while you visit every single table to say hello. Just go to the cocktail hour, mingle with everyone there and then have a blast at your wedding. Dance to all the songs you so meticulously circled on that sheet. Dance, dance, dance!
- The wedding is only one day. Then, you’re married. – The wedding is the fun part. The wedding is dresses, make-up, flowers, and music. The wedding is a party. And as I made clear in the above points, you should savor every moment of that party.
Once it’s over, though, your marriage will start. And it won’t always be easy. You must learn to compromise. You may think you’ve been compromising with Anthony all along, but let’s be honest. You really haven’t. You will have to do things you don’t feel like doing, watch movies you’re not really interested in, and help clean up messes you didn’t make, both literal and figurative. And he will do the same.
Rest assured, though, that you made a good choice, Kim. You picked a good one. And the two of you make a great team. You make some good parents too. Trying times are ahead, but you’ll hold on to each other every step of the way. Together, you will make it.
Alas, I cannot drive a DeLorean back in time and impart this wisdom onto my younger self. However, I thought maybe this post could help some other enthusiastic but less experienced brides-to-be. Feel free to learn from my mistakes, ladies. Feel free to ignore them. It is your day after all.