Unsolicited Wedding Advice to My Sisters

09ToddNicholsPhotographySo, a lot has been happening in my little corner of the world. I’d love to jump into all the details but there’s a bit too much to share tonight. For now, I’m sticking with the BIG news … both of my sisters are getting married!

Yup, yup. My middle sis is getting married later this month and my youngest sister just got engaged! It’s so exciting, I can’t hardly stand it!

Since my own wedding anniversary was just a couple of days ago, I can’t help but reminisce on the details of our wedding, the fun of trying on dresses, and my spouse’s sweet speech at the reception.

But, while the wedding details are all so fun to look back on, I’ve realized that our one ‘big day’ is nothing compared to the years we’ve shared since. When I think back on the hustle and bustle of planning our wedding, I see a lot of mistakes I made and feel I should give my sisters some of the advice I learned (whether they want it or not).

1. You only need three things to get married: Each other, an Officiant and a Wedding License. While it’s easy to get caught up in the details of centerpieces, floral arrangements and menus, none of it is necessary. Seriously, you’re not even required to exchange rings if you don’t want to. You aren’t required to do anything other than say, “I Do!” in front of some kind of authority. What am I getting at? When you’re crying over your dress alterations, sending your invitations back for the fourth time, or feeling as though your choice in cake flavor is somehow a major life decision with serious implications … STOP. Know you’ve already done the important work by following you heart (and saying yes!) and let the rest of the details fall into place.

2. Cold feet is a real thing. Right before you get married (or in the months leading up to it), you’ll likely get scared. Like, really really scared. The fear that settles in might cause you to think that maybe you’re making a mistake. But, I don’t think that’s the case. Think about it – how often have you made a really great, life-altering decision without your heart fluttering?? Exciting news and big changes always make our tummies flip-flop or give us goosebumps. When you experience love for others (kiddos, good friends, puppies), those emotions tickle our insides and leave us acting silly. So, when something really and truly inspires you, your soul will get a little shaken. Think of cold feet and pre-wedding jitters as your soul confirming that this is THE ONE. And, it’s just taking a moment to settle itself by cutting off circulation to your toes. (Who needs toes?)

3. It’s your celebration – you and him. Some people will say, “It’s all about the bride.” Some people will feel entitled to comment on guest lists, costs, and other details. But, in most of today’s wedding planning scenarios, those details are most likely no one’s business. And, it’s not just about the bride – it’s about both of you. The rules of who pays, who hosts and who is in charge of the big day have been thrown out the window. And, while I’d never suggest being disrespectful to others, I will say it’s impossible to please everyone (so don’t get too caught up in trying to do so). The good news: it’s not impossible to be sure that you two are happy and feel comfortable in your decision-making. Be gracious – but go with your gut. Be mindful of etiquette – but do what feels right in your heart. And be sure to say thank you for any help you get!!

4. EAT. Every bride I have ever met has said, “I’m not sure what the food tasted like at my wedding.” I’m guilty as well – pretty sure I had a bite and a half of my meal before we walked the room to greet guests, dance, take photos, etc. But, as you’re aware, it’s a BIG DAY. And you need nutrition – for body and soul. Stopping for a few brief minutes (no matter how many butterflies are flitting about inside) and talking just one-on-one with your hubby (yep, HUBBY – you’re hitched now) while you both carb-up or protein-load will prepare you for the celebration ahead. TRUST ME … Your dress won’t pop open. People aren’t watching you chew. And talking with your new spouse like you’re the only two in the room while you nibble will be a moment you’ll never forget.

5. Your wedding day is not the happiest day of your life. Your wedding day is the first of all of the happiest days of your life. While I’m not saying every day of the years ahead will all be easy, blissful or extraordinary (because they will not), time shared with your spouse will only get better and better. Don’t expect your wedding to be perfect or rely on that day as an indication of how your marriage will be. Because, although the wedding is about one day, your marriage is not. Your marriage is about your history which is likely imperfect. And it’s all about your future which holds endless possibility. If it rains on your wedding day or if you see him before the ceremony, don’t fret. Perfection is impossible and regardless of how the day turns out, your marriage will be what you two make of it.

Best wishes, sistas! I am so proud of both of you and can’t wait to see you say, “I DO!”

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