An Open Letter To Brides (or, Things That Went Wrong At My Wedding)

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Dear Brides-to-be,

If you are reading this I assume (or hope) that you have found the man of your dreams and that you have made the amazing decision to commit yourself to him for the rest of your life. Congratulations! I admire you – both for finding him in the first place and for having the courage and heart to still believe in the breathtaking beauty of marriage.

Maybe you’ve recently got engaged and you’re in your first flurry of wedding magazines (huge waste of money, but every bride deserves to buy a couple), or maybe you’ve been planning for a while. Whichever the case, I hope that you’ve managed to find a happy medium between over-relaxed and bridezilla. But just in case you haven’t, this letter is for you. 

It’s time for me to make a confession. In the fourteen months my now husband and I were engaged I was seriously stressed, and it just got worse and worse as the date of our wedding approached. I would not call myself a bridezilla because I don’t think I was particularly demanding, except on myself. But I did worry – about the decor, the guest list, the dress, the honeymoon and pretty much anything it’s possible to associate with weddings. As much as people told me to relax and enjoy the experience I just couldn’t. The week before the wedding I desperately wished I could postpone it so I could have another six months to plan. Even after the wedding was over I’d occasionally find myself retrospectively worrying that ‘it wasn’t good enough’.

Looking back, I can see now that the reason the whole experience was so stressful for me was because I had made the sad but common mistake of confusing a wedding with a marriage. I had concentrated all my efforts on making sure that everything went perfectly on the day which, of course, was never going to happen, and had lost sight of why we were doing this in the first place. I was trading in the eternal beauty of marriage for a cheap magazine fiction of the ‘perfect wedding’.

So to save you from making the same mistake, here’s the truth. If, like I was, you are striving for the perfect wedding, I have bad news.

It won’t happen, because they don’t exist. Films aren’t real, photo shoots are staged and magazines edit out the imperfect. People are messy and flawed, and as long as that is the case no social occasion – no matter how significant it is in our own lives – is going to live up to the standards of perfection that fiction has set.

Things will go wrong at your wedding. Guests will moan that they are hungry (because they always do). Someone will drink too much and offend someone else. Somewhere the decor will go slightly haywire. Maybe it’ll rain. Or maybe you’ll get stuck in traffic. However carefully you plan, at some point something, insignificant or not, is going to deviate from the course and refuse to live up to what you had in mind.

But that’s ok. And I’m telling you this today because I wish that someone had told me that when I was where you are now. Maybe you already know all this and are wondering why I am bothering stating something so obvious. But since the truth evidently wasn’t obvious to me I’m sharing this with you just in case it helps you enjoy the day you become a wife just a little bit more.

So for the sake of other brides, and maybe to purge it from my system, here’s a list of some of the things that went wrong at my wedding:

  • My dress was too big – as in, it clearly did not fit
  • I was really late and literally did my eyeliner as we were running out the house
  • The cake got squished and a bright spark at the venue decided to display it on the damaged side
  • My nail varnish melted (yes, apparently that’s possible)
  • Everybody forgot to hand out the buttonholes
  • It was really hot during the ceremony and I got super sweaty (classy)
  • Something went wrong with the order of the ceremony and it was awkward
  • I forgot to take out the ugly hair grip I’d used whilst doing my makeup until halfway through the ceremony
  • I had a massive argument with someone the day before and we were both really stressed out about it
  • Multiple hugs, the wind and the heat meant that my hair was completely wild by the early afternoon
  • The wedding singer forgot the words during our first dance so he just doo-doo da’d it
  • I had a stomachache and had to take painkillers all evening
  • My four inch heels (my husband is ten inches taller than me) made my feet feel like they were going to fall off

And this is my favourite one:

  • I cried so hard walking down the aisle that snot flew out my nose. I still wonder if anyone noticed.

There are others I could share but I think you get the idea.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that you are going to have a bad day, or that you shouldn’t have high expectations. I just want you to know that whatever goes wrong won’t really matter, so don’t let it affect how you feel before or on the day. Whatever happens, you are going to get married to the man of your dreams, in front of all your favourite people, and then you will get to spend the rest of your life with him. That’s the most important thing, and it’s really the only important thing.

You’re getting married! I’m so excited for you and I know it’s going to be incredible. But after three years of marriage I can tell you that the best thing about getting married is not the ceremony, the venue, the dancing or the dress.

The best thing about getting married is being married. And in an imperfect world, that’s a perfect promise.

Claire

P.S. I loved my wedding. We kissed on the beach, pulled funny faces, laughed at my dad’s jokes, cried at shared memories and danced all night. I fall more in love with my husband every day. And despite any small details that didn’t go as planned, I don’t regret a single thing about my wedding except the pressure I put on myself. So have an amazing day, and please don’t make my mistake.

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What are your thoughts about weddings? Do you have any good advice for brides? Or can you beat my ‘snot down the aisle’ incident? Please share by leaving a comment below so we can all see it! And if you like what you read, please follow my blog using the link on the home page. You can also contact me here and check out my Instagram and Pinterest for lifestyle inspiration.

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6 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Brides (or, Things That Went Wrong At My Wedding)

  1. Great blog!!

    At our wedding the top two tiers (there were only three anyway) fell on the floor – we just wiped the carpet hair off and only me and the guests that saw knew lol! Also the d.j played the wrong song for our first dance! We just carried on as didn’t wanna make him look bad and just had a laugh at the time with each other – even now that’s one of my best memories of our day as nobody but Jon or I knew it was wrong so was a secret joke between us! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for your thoughts and for sharing what went wrong at your wedding! I love that you managed to rescue the cake and that first dance mixup definitely makes for a great story for the two of you 🙂

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  2. Thanks for your candid article. I don’t suppose anyone noticed the snot down the aisle. It made me smile reading about it. When I got married it started raining as guests showered us with pink and blue confettis outside the church and within minutes I was wearing a spotty pink and blue dress and I had to go and get changed!

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  3. I’ve never heard “marriage vs wedding” but that’s genius. It’s good to hear you enjoyed it even if it wasn’t 100% perfect, even though it sounds pretty perfect to me. Also don’t worry, I’m sure only everyone saw the snot lol

    Like

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