To say I wasn't nervous in the days leading up to my wedding would be a massive lie. I was basically falling apart by the morning of the big day, since I hadn't eaten or slept for weeks. While I wasn't anxious about marrying my husband, I was freaking out about the fact that over 150 people were going to be staring at me as I walked down the aisle.
I realised later that none of that mattered. Not the flower arrangements or the place settings or the cake flavour. The only thing that really mattered was that I married my best friend.
I had nightmares about tripping before I reached the alter, or that the band would suck. What if our food was a disaster? What if my first dance with my husband was lame and awkward? There's a ton of pressure on brides on their wedding day, which is one many of us plan for well over a year. We just want it to be perfect. But here's the thing: things won't be perfect. I wish I could go back in time and tell that nervous bride (me!) that even though there will be a few inevitable hiccups, it will still be one of the best days of my life.
Thankfully, I didn't trip down the aisle. And the band and the food were as awesome as I'd hoped. But some things did go wrong. For example, I ended up losing too much weight before my wedding and my dress didn't fit right. And I was so nervous during the ceremony that I caught the giggles and basically laughed my way through our vows.
But I realised later that none of that mattered. Not the flower arrangements or the place settings or the cake flavour. The only thing that really mattered was that I married my best friend, and how lucky was I that so many people had taken time out of their busy lives to be there to support us? No one was judging me for how my dress fit, or that I wasn't crying during our vows. Instead, our friends and family wanted to be there on one of the most important days of our lives because they loved us. And I'm so glad I was able to shake off my nerves and enjoy the night before it was too late, but getting to that point wasn't easy.
The glass of champagne that was waiting for me once my husband and I said "I do" definitely didn't hurt. But in all seriousness, what I'd say to other brides out there is to avoid making the same mistake I did, which is worrying more about what others are thinking than your own experience. Because it wasn't until the day was almost over that I took a moment to consider, well, me.
I recalled the advice a friend shared before my big day. She told me that the most important thing was to eat dinner at my own wedding. Simple, right? Well, she (and a lot of other brides she knew) had been too busy running around greeting every guest at her wedding that she missed the meal she so carefully selected. So, as my new husband and I sat down and tucked into our meal, things shifted. I remembered that this was my moment. This was my wedding, and I was determined to enjoy it.
And if you do get very jittery, it's important not to judge yourself too harshly. Kylie Carlson, CEO of International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning told POPSUGAR that she suggested delegating as many wedding tasks as possible to the professionals (or bridesmaids) so your plate doesn't get too full. She also urges brides to take enough time off from work before the wedding to properly unwind and de-stress. And José Rolón of José Rolón Events says, "If you're feeling anxious, have an intimate slumber party with your best friend, maid of honour, or whoever you feel emotionally connected to. Talk through your fears and what's showing up for you emotionally."
Planning a wedding is stressful! There are so many last-minute details to consider — from arranging the tables to obsessively checking the weather forecast — that it's only natural to want it all to come together perfectly. But just remind yourself that you planned your day well, and now it's time to sit back and enjoy it. Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events echoes this, telling POPSUGAR, "Remember why you're there and what it's about. It's less about the pomp and circumstance and more about being married to your best friend."