Bryan and I got married on the September 18th that’s confusing, right? Well, we’re still going to Paris to exchange vows, but needed a marriage license to make it official and validated in the U.S. We decided to get hitched early, but our families wanted to come along too, so we had a tiny ceremony with an amazing Judge and a bit of pomp and circumstance. It was nothing that I ever imagined, but it was everything that I wanted…
Which is crazy, because it wasn’t actually what I wanted when I thought about getting married.
I had lots of people sharing advice with me up until the day we got married, but looking back, everyone told me what marriage would be like – not what a wedding would be like. I feel incredibly prepared for marriage. Bryan and I have a solid relationship, and a strong foundation, identical values, good counselors and lots of love to share, but being a bride is the craziest thing ever – I was not prepared for that AT ALL.
Here are some things I learned. If you don’t want to read so much, there’s a nice slideshow at the end of all of the photos taken by my wonderful best friend Katie, and her equally wonderful cousin (pretty much my cousin by association lol) Kimberly.
1. This will be one of the best days of your life.
You’ll wake up glowing, and smiling. You’ll be really happy, you’ll have butterflies in your stomach, and you’ll be so giddy. You’ll be ready to exchange rings, and say vows. You’ll be happy that your friends are there to drink mimosas with, laugh and play music.
1. Having a stylish courthouse wedding is honestly just as good as having a big bash.
I hate being the center of attention. This day meant more to me than I thought it would. I thought it would just be a nice, casual ceremony, and I would feel like Paris would be where I felt emotional, but this is probably THE best way to get married. It’s simple. Bottom line.
3. But it’s not going to make you a magical new couple.
You’re going to feel exactly the same afterwards, except you’ll be someone’s husband or wife. The biggest difference is that you’ve made a commitment to your bond for life in front of the people you love. You made a commitment to never give up on each other and to be each other’s love guardians and heart protectors. Although, it feels pretty nice to be called “wife” or “husband.”
4. No matter what, you’re going to look amazing.
I bought my dress for $20 at Forever 21, wore earrings I’d been gifted from my co-worker for Christmas last year, borrowed my pearls, got my flowers from Whole Foods the day before we got married, and “hired” my best friend to take pictures, and my mother-in-law to do my makeup. I felt beautiful the entire day, and looked amazing no matter what photo was taken, I look lovely (which is REALLY hard for me to say, because I hate photos of myself). There’s some magical photo fairy that lives inside of a camera and knows that you’re getting married, so every picture comes out perfect. That, or you’re just so happy that your happiness is shining through and that’s what makes you beautiful (awwwweee).
5. The whole day is about you and your husband period.
It’s about you, and your love, and celebrating your whole lives with people who support you, and will keep you accountable.
6. But people will make it about them.
And that’s not okay. You just have to take a deep breath. It’s going to make you upset, angry even, but you just find a way to move on, because the day is supposed to be happy and it will be okay. Focusing on what’s going wrong isn’t going to change anything.
7. Not everything will go as planned.
Not everything will go as planned. You might make a decision that no one likes, but you just have to go with the flow, and improvise because everything works out the way it’s supposed to. It seems like the end of the world in one moment, but the next day it doesn’t even matter.
8. So take a minute (or an hour) to just be alone and enjoy each other.
In between the ceremony and dinner, Bryan and I spent about an hour and a half together, just watching TV, relaxing, snapchatting and laughing. We didn’t plan it, but I’m glad we did it. It gave me some time to post a few pics, and to change my last name on facebook and make it official. Having a sweet moment with him that felt normal in a day of heightened chaos, was super sweet, and so us.
9. Because you’re going to be talking and laughing the night away.
You’ll walk around, and talk and thank everyone, and give a million hugs. It’s the best. I loved seeing the friends that have supported Bryan and I since we met. It was so nice to have them in our company. It made us really happy to see them.
10. Have someone you can lean on.
Katie was that person for me, she texted me things throughout the day to keep me calm, she helped me when I got stuck, and she helped me make it through tough moments, even helping me laugh a lot. My Mother-In-Law was also a God-send for me. She is so wise, and so wonderful. One of my favorite moments of the day was when we sat in a park for a minute, and her, Bryan and I held hands and she prayed over us. Moments like that are unforgettable.
11. It goes by SO fast.
The day was a whirlwind, so enjoy every moment. Take in every embrace, every speech, every laugh, all of the joy, and package it up for the future. Give yourself a constant reminder to enjoy what’s good about this day. It’s a memory you’ll have for the rest of your life.