Today is a very special day here on the blog, because it is David’s and my second wedding anniversary today! I took the day off to have a three-day weekend with him so we can celebrate. Today we are planning on going to the Barcade in our town to play some games and then dressing up to go out for dinner tonight. Oh, and drinking champagne, of course.
In honor of our anniversary, this week I’m going to be doing a series on all things love and marriage. Today I’m going to be sharing some of the best wedding day tips we were given as we planned our wedding, as well as some of the lessons I learned on the big day.
The days leading up to getting married feel so long. I remember counting down the days to getting married, feeling September 18 would never come. In some ways, that was a good thing. We DIYed our wedding, so we constantly had things that needed to get done. The week of the wedding, we were putting hours into putting together invitations, making signage, organizing (and then reorganizing) a seating chart, and not sleeping much. But once the wedding day was finally here, it went by in a flash. For 11 months leading up to the wedding, we planned, we painted, we cried, and we laughed. Then it came and went.
That night in our hotel room, we sat there reading cards and notes from our friends and family, unable to believe that we just did this amazing thing. We had just committed our lives together and had an amazing celebration with the people we care about the most. We reflected on the fact that we were so thankful we let ourselves fully enjoy our wedding day rather than stressing about the small details. Here are my most important wedding day tips to make your wedding day just as unforgettable as ours.
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7 Wedding Day Tips to Make your Big Day Unforgettable
1. Breathe, and then breathe some more
Real talk: I was super nervous on our wedding day. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to marry David, but between the dress and the shoes and the people and the public speaking, it’s reasonable to say I was a nervous wreck, and you probably will be too. But that’s okay. Breathing is a simple and effective way of centering yourself. When it feels like your ears are ringing and all you can focus on is how hard your heart is beating, take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing helps your body calm down because it takes you out of fight-or-flight mode. Think about it: When you’re calm, your heart probably isn’t racing and you are probably not holding your breath. By imitating how you act when you’re calm, you are telling your body that everything is okay. Take the time to breathe right before you walk the aisle, when giving your vows, and during speeches. This will help you stay centered and present.
2. Opt for a first look
One of the best decisions we made for our wedding was opting for a first look. This is one of the wedding day tips that came from our photographer. She told us, “Having a first look will not spoil the aisle moment.” And it definitely didn’t. Having a first look allowed us to take in the amazing thing we were about to do together. David and I chose to spend the night before our wedding apart. Seeing him for our first look was the comfort that I needed before the ceremony. Our first look gave us the chance to privately take it all in and just be. Planning a wedding is a LOT. But the first look was when it became real.
3. Be present during your vows
This is what it’s all about, friends: the promises you’ll make to each other. It’s not about the dress, the venue, or the guests. It’s about the two of you, promising to love and care for each other for the rest of your lives. David and I chose to write our own vows. We liked the traditional vows, which we recited first. Then we recited the vows we wrote together. And by together, I mean we both said the same thing. We wrote vows that were personal and meaningful to us– words that we knew were just ours. Our officiant reminded us to take in this moment. Really listen to each other expressing your love for one another. When we did this, it was like we were the only two people in the room. My 16-year old cousin at the time reminded us to remember the way we looked at each other on that day. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you cry or stumble over your words. We weren’t worried about the fact that we were both crying so much, because we were overwhelmed with love for each other.
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4. Have your cake and eat it too
I chose this photo because SEE HOW TINY THAT SLIVER OF CAKE IS? The cake is the best piece of food you’ll eat at your wedding and guess what? Everyone is watching you eat it. And everyone is telling you to smash it in each other’s faces. Well let me tell you, there are two reasons that I wouldn’t let David smash that cake into my face. First of all, I spent an hour on my makeup. Secondly, if I’m going to eat cake, I’m going to eat my whole piece, thank you very much. The cake will go fast. There will be no leftovers because everyone loves wedding cake. Take the time to make your cake cutting a mindful moment. Really savor that bite, and the intimate, trusting moment with your spouse as they feed it to you.
5. Listen to the words of your first dance song
David and I had a really hard time choosing a song for our first dance. We wanted something that wasn’t overdone, and something that represented us and our love for each other. We chose something very nontraditional: “Our House” by Crosby Stills and Nash. The words “life used to be so hard, now everything is easy ’cause of you” resonated with us the most. The song is all about the quiet love in the simple moments of life. Our relationship is not built on extravagant romance. It’s built on the everyday joys that come from being married to your best friend. Before getting married, I loved that song. But now every time I hear it, it brings me back to the moments after promising to love each other forever.
6. Let loose on the dance floor
At this point, you’ve probably been very conscious of looking picture perfect all day. You’ve been through the ringer emotionally, crying, laughing, and feeling anxious. This is your moment to finally let loose. Celebrate your marriage and your new spouse. Shake out all those emotions on the dance floor and just enjoy yourself. Listen, I was never much of a dancer until I started to go to weddings and I realized how fun and therapeutic it is. Again, whatever you’re afraid of looking like on the dance floor– it doesn’t matter. Everyone is there to celebrate with you and your spouse.
7. Take time to sneak away
Once the ceremony starts, you’re not going to get much alone time with your new spouse. In many ways, you’re expected to be a social butterfly, floating around greeting all your family and friends, taking photos, and generally be a good host. That’s all fine and dandy until you realize it’s 9:00 at night and you’ve hardly been able to talk to your spouse at all! Our photographer made sure we had a moment to sneak away, just the two of us, and enjoy some down time. We took this time toward the end of the night, which was perfect because we were finally able to reflect on it all.
We received many other great wedding day tips from our friends and family as well. But these 7 in particular helped us two years later as we reflect on our wedding day and the marriage we were building from day one.
What was some of the best advice you received for your wedding? What has stuck with you? If you’re not married yet, what are your fears or worries?
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