Kerry & Craig

Kerry’s wedding graduate post is one where we are so totally on the same page that I feel like she’s living inside my head. She hits on such important and not said often enough truths: being a bride-to-be can suck, you’re only a bride for a few hours, weddings have their own boozy-happy-impossible-to-explain magic, and more. Plus this wedding has Christmas trees, and zebra print and lots of laughter. I’d like to live inside it for the day, if you don’t mind. So read it, and listen. The woman is right, and then some.

When I woke up the morning after our wedding, the first thought that crossed my mind was “I want some bacon and a glass of water.” The second thought was “I’m not a bride anymore. HALLELUJAH!”

Allow me to clarify – being a bride was truly fabulous. It was brilliant and sparkly and overflowing with emotion and love and I’m hoping I’m able to reach out and touch that feeling in my mind whenever I need it in the years to come. But here’s the thing about being a bride – you’re only the bride for a day. Or even half a day. Or even a handful of hours. Before that you are something else entirely – a bride-to-be, and I think a lot of women out there might struggle with that role the way I did.

I know there are wedding undergraduates out there for whom, like me, “Future Bride” is an ambiguous character to be for months on end. Craig and I already lived together, had merged finances (as much as we were ever going to), had the names we would be keeping for the foreseeable future, were learning how to raise a living, breathing (albeit four-legged) thing without killing one another. We wanted to celebrate our commitment with our loved ones via a memorable, boozy bash, but I didn’t realize how universal the event is.

You share it with your world. To me, being a bride-to-be often felt conspicuous, like when you take an uncharacteristic risk with your clothing choice and then feel like everyone on the street is staring at you all day. And, let’s just put it out there that I don’t take a lot of fashion risks.

Throughout our engagement my emotions were really erratic – some days I would be deliciously obsessed with a new detail I’d planned or deal I’d scored and would love planning a wedding – but then some days it felt like work to smile and talk about the same details with every different person I ran into. Occasionally I’d get terribly bored of talking about the wedding, and then I would feel guilty and spoiled for being bored, and then I would panic that I’d regret not appreciating every moment after the wedding. It exhausted me! I cried at my bridal shower and my bachelorette party, and numerous times in my office at work because I just wanted to feel like a non-bride, and have people ask me about my dog or our holiday plans or my empanada recipe, instead of popping their heads in my office to say “Only two month to go!” ” Three weeks to go!” I felt kind of like a failure at being properly psyched – and what did that mean about my relationship, about my femininity, about my ability to appreciate the present while its happening?

Turns out, it doesn’t mean anything –  because, as much as I never would have believed it if every wedding graduate on this blog personally rang my doorbell and told me herself, you will feel like a  bride on your wedding day and you will do everything right, even if sh*t is falling apart around you.

If you are shy, if you are a terribly embarrassing dancer, if you get tongue tied around strangers and are kind of afraid of your extended family, if you get a depressing drizzle when you were counting on fluffy snow (or all of these things, like me!) it won’t matter. It’s like freaking magic is at work – and really it is magic, if you consider love and excitement and music and booze and fancied up friends as magic. Which now I do. Being a bride is infinitely lovelier and easier than being a bride-to-be, so all of you out there who are kind of weirded out by the role the way I was, don’t worry about not “getting into it.” Just do your thing.

Beyond that completely intangible piece of advice there are a few other things I learned along the way:

  • Don’t wear an ironic zebra print robe while you get ready unless you are prepared to look, with zero horrification, at 1,000 digital pictures of you in a zebra print robe.

  • No-chip manicures are a marvel of modern science and worth the cash.
  • Write up checks for your vendors before the event. This way you won’t accidentally overpay them by several hundred dollars because you wrote the check 10 minutes before the end of your reception after having roughly 18 glasses of champagne. (Oops!)

  • When you first see your partner, give them a minute to look at you before you give them a bone-crushing hug. This way they can whisper “you look so beautiful!” into your ear instead of “wait, I didn’t see you I need to see you!”

  • Go on an exclusive you-and-partner honeymoon, even if it’s just to spend a day in the hotel attached to your reception venue. Re-hashing your memories before anyone else has a chance to alter the way they look in your mind is one of the most delicious things you can do together.

  • Write something down on a piece of paper on the day of your wedding about how you are feeling. Pen and paper hold feelings better than anything else including the internet or pictures.

Photos By: Kuehl Studios out of Chicago

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