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Tidbits of advice from a bride/Part I: The day before

September 14, 2011

I know I said I didn’t want to make this blog about me, me, me but I think passing along the wisdom I gained from planning my own wedding and carrying it through is my right as a now former bride, don’t you agree? Oh, I’m so glad you agree! Let’s dive right into the day before, shall we?

A picture’s worth a thousand words

The Friday before the wedding was, by far, the most stressful day in all my six months of planning. This picture makes me laugh because it so perfectly captures what I was feeling that day. That morning we wrangled six people out of our apartment, along with all the wedding decorations, my dress, and numerous suitcases and bags. We drove to the barn and immediately went to work. At one point my mom broke down in tears. I believe my words to her were: We’re on a schedule. We don’t have time for crying. And I meant it.

The decorating went well although attempting to convey the vision I had been carrying around in my head for six months to, oh, I don’t know, TEN different people was overwhelming to say the least. While I was trying to finish my own projects, I had people coming up to me asking what they needed to do next. I obviously couldn’t do it all on my own so I needed them to ask questions and I needed to quickly show them where to place things but It was madness. I was starting projects, getting interrupted, forgetting what I was doing before I had been interrupted, frantically trying to finish on time but never once knowing what time it actually was…

And then my maid of honor gently reminded me that we had to be at the nail salon in five minutes–when we still had about 30 minutes of decorating to finish. We pushed the appointment back but that meant the entire schedule for the day was off. Lesson No. 1: Always, always build in extra time. You WILL need it. I ended up cancelling my blow dry at the hair salon–which I was fine with–but that meant I needed extra time at the hotel to get ready. Unfortunately, when we got to the hotel, with NO extra time to spare, they took much too long figuring out what should have already been figured out. Lesson No. 2: Always, always build in extra time for OTHER people’s mistakes/tardiness/general confusion. So I was left rushing, rushing, rushing to get ready for our rehearsal and dinner. I had 40 minutes when I needed, comfortably, 90.

Are you feeling stressed reading this yet?

When I finally raced out of the room and into the lobby, greeting, for the first time, my wedding party, I was too frazzled to take in the moment and soak up everyone’s faces. We were late to the rehearsal which meant we’d be late to dinner. And we had reservations. Lesson No. 3: The schedule is important but not as important as the people you’re surrounded by and the meaning of the event.

I’m not sure I ever fully calmed down that night. I had some down time with my bridesmaids–my best friends in the world–in the hotel before we went to bed but I’m pretty sure the adrenaline was still working its way out of my body. It didn’t help that the fire alarm went off in the hotel at 2:00am that morning and lasted for a good half hour. True story, folks. Lesson No. 4: Sh!* happens that you can’t control.

So, my downfall of the day was not building enough time into the schedule but you know what? I think I handled it pretty well. I felt frantic most of the day and came veeerry close to having a panic attack in Panera {thank you, Panera workers, for making our lunch at inhuman speed} but I didn’t! I didn’t panic when we were late to the nail appointment or when I had to cancel my blow out. I didn’t panic when the hotel messed up our rooms or when everyone was waiting on me to start the rehearsal. And although I didn’t have much time to relax and ponder the immensity of what would happen the next day, I still managed to spend time with family and friends, make a speech at the rehearsal dinner, and achieve everything on the timeline. Lesson No. 5: Don’t panic.

Look, my dear brides-to-be, the point I’m trying to make here is NOT that things won’t go exactly as planned. You already know that. I actually think what’s more important is not letting yourself feel regret when you look back on the things that didn’t go as planned. Because, believe me, that is EASY to do. Sure, I wish Friday was less stressful, and maybe it would have been if I had hired a full-time planner, but it is what it is. Lesson No. 6: Things won’t go as planned. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to prepare yourself for this. So, after it’s all done, don’t let yourself feel bad about it. Move on, focus on the good stuff, and give yourself a HUGE pat on the back.



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