Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What I Wish I'd Known Before I Was a Bride

I intended for January to May to be a time where this blog transformed into a wedding blog, where all my experiences as a bride-to-be would be documented for my friends and family to see. The thing about planning a wedding though is that no matter how much help you are getting with the organizing bit, you are still insanely busy. Ergo, this blog had to revisit its dormant state.

Now that we’re back and settled into real life my dress is in the closet, our wedding gifts are finding places in our cupboards and the paperwork and ID’s all show my new name and marital status. Before long I won’t even have to remind myself to sign as E. Horne instead of E. Redd.

With the hustle and bustle behind us I’ve had a chance to reflect. When asked if I would do anything differently with our wedding I’m happy to say no. Scott and I had the most beautiful perfect wedding and drove away from our reception perfectly happy, but if I could go back and give myself advice, this is what I would say.

Figure Out What Is Most Important To You And Your Groom And Don’t Let It Go

Scott and I knew right away that other than the ceremony the thing that mattered most to us was having a great dance (his dance moves are one of my biggest wife brags). After that we wanted to have a chance to enjoy some alone time between the chaos of the ceremony, photos and reception. Another important one for me was wearing flowers in my hair; something I had resolved to do when I was six. This meant a bigger budget for the DJ, a few scheduling allowances, a little more work in certain areas, but those sacrifices were worthwhile because they meant the most to us.

Be Ready To Let Some Ideas Go

No matter how big your wedding, you cannot make all your Pinterest dreams come true. For one thing they probably don’t all go together, or your groom may not like some of them. For us a bigger DJ budget meant smaller budgets elsewhere, and an earlier ceremony meant being busier the night before. You will have to let other less important things go. It will be worth it.

Making Time To Still Date Your Husband-To-Be Is The Most Important Wedding Prep You Can Do

It was so easy to get tunnel vision, to focus all my energy entirely on our wedding day, but I made a goal early on that I would at least not pester Scott with wedding to dos at the dinner table, a promise that was not always easy to keep.

As special as it was, our wedding was just one day leading to an eternity of days together. I was given the advice early on that preparing for the marriage should be a bigger focus than preparing for the wedding. I’m grateful for the nights Scott and I went out to dinner, tried something we’d always meant to do together or just wandered around our neighbourhood catching Pok√©mon. These things kept us sane, and reminded me over and over again that regardless of what happened with invites, dresses and cake, this was about Scott and I starting a life together. As long as I got that part right nothing else really mattered.

Wedding Dress Shopping Is Nothing Like Say Yes To The Dress

After Scott and I got engaged I straightaway made an appointment at a bridal salon. With my sister, niece and maid of honour in tow we went searching for THE DRESS. Two hours in we had narrowed it down to two dresses and then down to one. After sleeping on it I ordered said dress and was giddy with excitement over it. Seriously, I kept saying over and over to Scott “I bought a wedding dress” whenever there was a lull in the conversation all weekend. It was magical, and while the dress was nothing like my original idea, I felt like a bride in it.

Fast-forward three weeks. My dress is late and it turns out that due to miscommunication with the salon my dress cannot be here in time for my seamstress to alter it for my wedding. I get a refund and start again. A different sister, aunt and I go to another salon. We find an almost identical dress but I still end up choosing a completely different look with a new dress I fell in love with. It’s again completely magical, surprising and I feel like a bride in it.

Your wedding dress isn’t your soul mate. There are several dresses that will work for you and make you feel like a bride. I hope every bride has that giddy excited feeling when she finds a dress because it’s amazing and magical, but seriously don’t stress it. There’s no One Dress out there for you. Trust me, I found two.

Make Whatever You Can A Party

One of my favourite pre-wedding memories is the night Scott’s sisters and parents came over to help me make paper cones and table name cards. My father-in-law got everyone slurpees and we sat around my kitchen table visiting while stapling pretty paper and practicing cursive with gold Sharpies. These were tasks I could have easily done by myself but I had so much more fun doing so while getting to know my in-laws better.

My mom (also my florist) often does this with flower arranging parties, where family and friends of the bride and groom get together to make the centerpieces. I was only at mine for an hour, as I had to pick up my dress that day but this makes what would normally be an exhausting day for her a lot of fun.

Scott and I took this approach with everything from getting our marriage license to registering to our engagement photos. I found celebrating these tasks as once in a lifetime moments instead of treating them solely as things to cross off our to do list made the whole process much more special.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate . . . Then Delegate Some More

I consider myself extremely fortunate that I had more offers to assist with the wedding than I had projects for. My mother operated under the philosophy that Scott and I could focus on the marriage, she would worry about the party. We still had plenty to do of course, but I was grateful that when I was stressed out with wedding and moving and marriage I had two families I could call on. I would never recommend to any bride or groom to do it all themselves. You have more important things to focus on, trust me.

You Cannot Control the Weather, So Just Prepare For Everything and Roll With Whatever You Get

Looking at my reception photos, it’s pretty obvious my back is sunburned. I was surprisingly okay with this. In fact, I thought it was kind of funny.

The week leading up to my wedding I was obsessively watching the weather forecast. Early predictions called for rain on my wedding day and while my ceremony and reception were both indoors, I had my heart set on outdoor wedding photos along the Bow River. That week, as I checked the Weather Network several times a day, I obsessed over every rainy possibility. I cried over it more than once and sent Scott many panicked texts. The response was always the same; it will be fine.

I made sure we would have umbrellas on hand and calmed down quite a bit when the forecast changed to sunny. It was so sunny in fact that the back of my neck turned red while we taking the gorgeous shots by the river. I had been so stressed about rain I had forgotten about the other extreme.

I look at the photos of me twirling on the dance floor sunburned and blissfully happy and have to smile, because the hot weather didn’t matter any more than taking my photos with an umbrella would have. It’s just a funny story now, one I wasted too much worry on.

This Isn’t About You. Think of What Your Groom Will Want

Wedding traditions and the wedding industry primarily focus on the bride. It makes sense, as a general rule women think about these sorts of things more. That was also the case with us. Scott weighed in on colours, cake flavours and table names, on who gave speeches and songs to play or avoid at the reception, but he didn’t sit up late brainstorming. I was grateful for his opinion and his involvement, especially as he would get bored with the topic before me on nearly every occasion.

It wasn’t just in wedding details however that I wanted to consider Scott’s wants and needs. This was his special day as well, the epilogue to our amazing love story Vol. I and I wanted to sweep him off his feet as thoroughly as he had me.

This occurred to me when we started considering our program. It was decided that both our fathers would give a toast. Scott would do his toast to the bride and asked for the shoe game. We would then cut the cake and open the dance floor. It was then that the thought crossed my mind; should I give a toast? Out of my five married siblings, none of the brides have given a toast. I’ve never seen a bride toast the groom, and traditionally the bride makes no speeches. I know my mother was surprised by the idea; it was something I never considered doing, but one thought definitely decided me on this plan.

Scott’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation. He needs to hear those words of praise as much as I need his listening ear and we both need to hear I love you. It wasn’t something I was comfortable with, but I knew it would mean the world to my husband.

The Moments You Love Best Will Surprise You

A guest at our reception told me that in twenty years time I would remember maybe three things from my wedding day. I’m an obsessive journaler so I spent a lot of time documenting all I could remember in the days after, but this thought rings true with something I found in the days after, as I started to reminisce.

The happiest moments of my wedding day, the ones I jotted down right away and still think over and smile are seemingly insignificant. The big moments that we planned so well for; the first dance, the cake cutting, the photo shoot and speeches were all beautiful, but the memory that makes me smile the most was that morning when my mom and I pulled up to the temple where we were getting married. I looked out the van window and saw Scott, my Scott standing by the front door waiting for me. I was so excited I fairly leapt out of the car and ran to him. He looked so handsome, and about as excited as I felt.

The moments that I cherish the most, that made me laugh the hardest or cry for joy are not what I thought they would be.

But more on this  next post. 

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