I love what you have to say in the last section, Emily. If there is one thing I learned while planning my wedding it was that the day wasn't just about me (and my husband). Our wedding was also about family and togetherness. Too many relationships are hurt during wedding planning, and I encourage brides-to-be to be kind and gracious to others (especially their moms) while preparing for their big day.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, perhaps you’re wistfully daydreaming of all the romantic ways your boyfriend could pop the question. Of course, you’ll say yes, and the two of you will blissfully share the news with your ecstatic friends and family. The biggest adjustment you’ll experience now will be remembering to refer to each other as fiancé, right?
Well, almost. No one tells you that the day you get a ring on your left hand, everyone from your mom and your future mother-in-law to the Facebook friends you haven’t talked to in years will be asking about the wedding details and plans for your life together that your daydreams hadn’t included in such detail.
No one until now, that is. Take it from me, here’s what you’ll be hearing a lot of as a bride-to-be, and how to keep it all in perspective.
1. “I’m in the wedding party, right?”
Somehow, you didn’t expect your college-aged younger brother to care so much about being included—or to bring it up five minutes after you call to tell him your exciting news. This goes for friends, too. If you and your best friend from high school are no longer close, how do you respond when she immediately launches into how she’s going to plan the bachelorette party and introduces herself to your fiancé (whom she’s never met) as your maid of honor?
If you haven’t planned these things yet, don’t let others pressure you into a decision. Respond to any wannabe-bridesmaids that you’re not ready to rush into the details. If the overzealous former friend persists, hint that you’ve been considering a small bridal party. And if your fiancé would rather his close friends be groomsmen, also keep in mind that your siblings, cousins, or close male friends don’t have to stand at the altar to play a meaningful role in the ceremony.
2. “I’m great with weddings! Let me help.”
When it comes from your aunt or one of your mom’s friends, this offer is a sweet gesture. But I’ve also heard it a few times from women I hardly know at all—most memorably from a woman who’d just walked into my future mother-in-law’s shop for the first time.
Obviously, you’re under no obligation to include people in the planning whose names you don’t even know. You and your fiancé have your own taste and thoughts on how you want your wedding to turn out. And when it comes to family and close friends, it’s fun to share the planning process—to an extent. But don’t be afraid to stand up (politely) for your vision of the day when others’ ideas don’t quite fit.
3. “The traditions you set now will stick forever.”
You’re bound to hear this one from well-meaning married friends and co-workers. But when you spend Thanksgiving apart because one of you can’t take enough time off to travel across the country to be with the other’s family, and when his mom complains that your family’s three solid weekends of Christmas parties means she’ll never get to host any future grandchildren for the holiday, you might wonder if it’s true.
Same goes if you’re almost always the one to do dishes after a meal together. Will this be every night from here on out?
But remember—tying the knot doesn’t mean agreeing to a rigid schedule of evenly divided holidays or household chores. You’re establishing your lives together. Things will change, and you’ll learn to roll with them as a team—but isn’t that what you’ve been doing all along?
4. “It’s all about you!”
Yes, you’re the beautiful bride who gets the lacy white dress, but your wedding isn’t just about you. It’s about you, the groom, and the commitment you’re making. It’s about bringing two lives together in love (and that extends to all of your relatives and friends who make comments like these because they care about you).
A wedding isn’t about having it all together, either. Something will inevitably go wrong during the planning process, and probably during the actual day, too. That’s okay. This new chapter in your love story isn’t about “happily ever after” perfection, but rather, knowing whom you want to stand beside, both when you’re at your best with shiny new rings and after the honeymoon is over.
And remember, when wedding planning gets stressful, at least you can look forward to that vacation—just the two of you.