From the moment you get engaged, people start offering their advice. They suggest venues, the best time of year to get married, who you should invite, and the things for which you should register. Being on the receiving end of so many unsolicited words of wisdom can feel overwhelming, but be open to it - because one of my friends gave me the best piece of advice for our wedding day.
I’d always envisioned myself getting married, but the idea of a wedding, with all eyes on me, (and my future husband) was terrifying. I’d never enjoyed being the center of attention, and as much as I like hosting parties, I’m not good with big crowds. There were so many parts of the wedding that I was looking forward to–eating and dancing and drinking with people that are special to us, but I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of standing up in front of almost a hundred people and sharing some of my most intimate feelings.
As I was mentioning this to a friend, she gave me some advice that felt perfectly tailored to me. She suggested that as soon as we are pronounced husband and wife, take a few minutes to just be by yourselves.
Though perhaps it sounds obvious, there’s hardly any time for you and your new spouse to be alone on your wedding day. You’re surrounded by friends, family, photographers and caterers from the moment the festivities begin, and there are so many special moments throughout the day but many of them involve people other than your future spouse. I loved getting ready in the morning with my mom and girlfriends, and arriving at the wedding venue and seeing all our family and friends was truly special. As much as I was looking forward to dancing with everyone later than night G and I had barely had a moment together all day. So immediately after our ceremony, we carved out a little time for just the two of us and it felt so indulgent and fun. Our wedding planners set aside a sampling of the passed hors d'oeuvres and two glasses of champagne for us in a private room (your bridesmaids could just as easily do this) so that we could sneak in some food and drinks, and gather ourselves before the rest of the evening.
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You spend so long planning for your wedding day, which makes it go by even faster than you could imagine. And while it might seem counterintuitive to momentarily excuse yourself from the party, it helped me truly savor those first few minutes after getting married, just the two of us. I remember very specific details from our time alone, unlike much of the rest of the night that passed by in a magical blur. I held G’s left hand and marveled at his new, shiny ring (which I love even more in its tarnished form five years later). We toasted to each other and talked about the ceremony and how nervous we’d been standing up in front of the crowd. We were giddy and everything felt new and a little surreal. We managed to eat and drink, which I was so grateful for later in the evening because it’s hard to get a bite of food in when you want to hug everyone you see!
Our brief moments together felt like taking a deep breath and they centered me for the rest of the night, reminding me of why we were here. When we reemerged, the cocktail hour was in full swing and we were able to jump right into the party and start mingling and greeting all our guests. I felt both reenergized and calm, ready to celebrate one of the most special nights of my life.