Our wedding went off without a hitch… well, ONE hitch: we got hitched. (Sorry for that joke.)
All our friends and family celebrated with us last Saturday—there were drinks, toasts, laughs, cries, presents, delicious eats, funny cakes, cold nights, warm shoulders. I will certainly delve into the details of our celebrations later. But I want this post to be helpful. The reality is, wedding weekend or no wedding weekend, brides are human. Bridesmaids are humans. Mothers-of-brides are human. We all ACT like humans no matter what, no flip switches just because someone’s saying I DO. (Groom definitely included.)
20 tips (from experience) for keeping calm during your wedding weekend
1. Remember grace
You will feel very selfish around the time of your wedding. This will affect you in two ways: 1. you will feel entitled to getting “stressed out” and taking it out on others 2. you will feel guilty about being so selfish and stressed and taking it out on others. It’s not entirely your fault; everyone around you will say “of COURSE you are stressed out, you are the BRIDE” but listen, ladies: you don’t have to be. Take a walk, a hike, go for a drive, take a shower. Think about a phenomenal woman whom you admire, maybe your great-grandmother who always wore red lipstick and a smile no matter what, maybe your fourth grade teacher who you vomited on and she still comforted you and held you after, maybe your little niece who dances across living rooms, maybe Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Whoever it is, go be by yourself and think about how she would handle this situation. Would she freak out and stomp her feet, or would she reach for a glass of water, smile, and with confidence and grace say, “bring it on!”?
2. Savor these moments; you only get them once
There will be a moment when you get so exhausted right before your rehearsal dinner and you will say “I just want this part to be over with.” But guess what? All parts of your wedding weekend are woven and connected into one big memory after the fact. If you rush through one part seeking the next, you will miss out. Ask those around you to take things slow with you, and try your best to savor each moment instead of looking forward to the big day. Life is all one big day, anyway, right?
3. Get sleep
You will be tempted to stay up late with the girls on the nights leading up to your wedding. Don’t. Sleep is the most essential nutrient we can give our bodies to help us handle stress and keep us looking young and fresh. I’m going to tell you right now I wish I would have slept more during my weekend. It was just so hard to not stay up and chat with my out-of-town bridesmaids.
4. Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage.
5. Hungover? Here’s the bridal beauty cure.
2 ibuprofen, 1 English muffin with half an avocado and one egg, 1 large ice water with two dashes of cayenne pepper & one whole lemon squeezed, cucumber for your eyelids (or a anti-puffing agent), 1 dose of vitamin B liquid vitamin, 30 minute walk or run, 15 minute hot shower…
but also: TRY NOT TO BE HUNGOVER! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A HAPPY PERSON WITH A HANGOVER! Avoid your hangover by sticking to ONE type of alcohol (like wine or champagne), not taking shots, actually eating something, and drinking plenty of water.
6. Eliminate what you don’t need to carry into the bridal “getting ready” zone
Emergency kit, schemergency kit. I think it’s crazy that there were so many things I thought I needed in the bridal chamber. Here’s what I actually needed: scissors, make-up wipes, hairspray, perfume, a huge turkey sandwich, mouthwash (after I ate my huge turkey sandwich), deodorant, hand wipes like Wet Ones, and a glass of champagne. My hair and makeup were already done, and my dress was ready to wear. The bridesmaids brought what they needed. Everything else could have stayed at home and made for easier clean-up.
7. Expect the Unexpected and ROLL WITH IT
Three nights before the wedding one of my bridesmaids had her dress stolen out of her car, one of Peyton’s groomsmen couldn’t make it into town, both of our cars needed to be serviced, something went wrong with the guest list for the rehearsal dinner, etc. etc. etc. I can’t even tell you how many little things didn’t go as planned. Guess what: NOBODY NOTICED! I hardly even noticed. Everything that seems like a big deal isn’t. The wedding will happen, you will get married, and everyone will have a good time no matter what.
8. DON’T GO TANNING IN A NEW BED WITH NEW BULBS THE DAY-OF
It’s called sun rash and it hurts. And it’s usually on your chest and back. Opt for less time in the bed or no bed at all on the day-of. Also steer clear of spray-tans at all costs. They are as unpredictable as the weather in New Orleans.
9. You will wake up with zits on the day-of
Yep. Ones you’ve never seen before in your life. Ones that come from stress, travel, and partying. Deal with it. That’s what concealer is for.
If you’re like me and you feel bad asking people to do things for you, forget it for one weekend and just know that it’s actually not that big of a deal. Just say, “you’re in charge of my phone,” to your bff, and “please make sure to tell me when the getaway car is here” to your mom, and “can you make me a plate of food please,” to your brother. They’ll do it. It’s actually OK. You can return the favor for them some other time.
11. Avoid those who stress you out
This could be anyone in your family or in your groom’s family. If there’s a person who unnecessarily and/or irrationally stresses you out every time you see them, inform those close to you that you will need their help avoiding them. This does NOT MEAN being rude and cold to that person, but, just gracefully keeping conversation short and light and keeping busy with other guests.
12. Be positive around (most) everyone
At all times, even if you feel a tinge of nerves or get upset over something that goes wrong, radiate positive vibes around your guests and family. In other words: DON’T LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT. In private, at home, after the night is over, you can rant and cuss and cry to your maid of honor or Mom if necessary, but save it ’til after the party, or you will be embarrassed later. You just don’t want to ruin someone’s time, or give people something bad to talk about.
13. You aren’t obligated to do anything
I tossed my Gucci heels to the side the night before the wedding and declared I was going to wear brown boots that I’ve worn since I was 18 with my wedding dress. I had to do it, otherwise I was sure I’d topple over in the heels and be taken to the E.R. I was nervous about what everyone would think. But guess what? Everyone LOVED the idea! The bride has NO obligations to stick to the norm on her wedding day. Remember that. Wear a top hat down the aisle if you wanna.
14. Get your future hubby out of the hen-house
Even though you love him, get the groom occupied with other activities during the days leading up to your wedding. This will keep you from feeling like you have to be composed around him, and help him do his day-to-day things like brush his teeth and put on pants. OK, I’m joking. But you will be amazed how less stressed you’ll feel if your husband is elsewhere, dealing with his side of the wedding, and letting you do twenty five push ups and wear zit cream in peace. Peyton and I didn’t spend the night together before the big day. I think nowadays this is kept in practice more for the sanity of the bride than blind tradition. You don’t want a stress-induced argument between the sheets right before the wedding day.
15. Put all important things in one place
We had a “going to the chapel” bag. It was hilariously huge. It didn’t need to be so huge, but as long as everything (rings, marriage license) is on one place you will feel less stressed the morning-of.
16. Eat your oatmeal
Start the wedding day with a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal with berries, nut butter, and almond milk made my morning. I ate a huge serving, knowing that it would be a long day. Oatmeal is what I would recommend because it has easily digestible protein and my stomach was a mess with nerves. Avoid sugar and caffeine if you can. Also, secret tip: don’t put your dress on until you’ve gone to the bathroom bathroom, if you know what I mean.
17. Make time with your man
A sweet phone-call or a walk around by yourselves during these big events can seriously help calm you down and keep you level. Chances are all your groom wants to do is have a good time. Chances are he’s a lot better at having a good time right now than you feel like you are. Follow his lead. You will have to sometimes. He will have to follow your lead sometimes.
18. Don’t over think your friends’ attire, speeches, or behavior
Yeah, some groomsmen will get drunk and do dumb things. Yeah, some bridesmaids will show up to the rehearsal in a backless gown that shows a bit of their thong. Yeah, someone’s going to make a speech that makes you look like you were a heathen, man-eater, and whiskey drinker in high school (was I? Maybe the whiskey part.) but don’t sweat it. Would you get onto Meredith for wearing that dress on girls’ night? No. So don’t do it tonight. You should love your friends for just being who they are and sharing this special event with you.
19. It actually doesn’t matter what things look like
The flowers, the bridesmaid dresses, the suits, the “color scheme,” the lighting, the backdrop in the photo, the sky, your face. Things are inevitably going to be beautiful because it’s a wedding. Things will be nice, look nice, etc. But don’t get too crazy about things “going” with the “theme” and all that jazz. No such thing. Doesn’t ever matter. Get over it.
20. Remember what this day is about.
It’s not about what the cake tastes like or if it rains on the silk tablecloths mid-reception. It’s not about the band being dressed appropriately or the fact that the lady who runs the chapel is a mean woman who tells you to stop eating a huge turkey sandwich and get into your dress (true story here). It’s about MARRYING your man. It’s about LOVING him after. This will help put everything else into perspective.
Happily wed today,