People generally write in to ask me parenting questions, and I am full of nifty solutions like sprinkling baby powder on your eight-year-old’s butt to induce sleep. I was surprised to receive the following email on a different topic altogether:
I am getting married in 33 days. Any advice on getting through that day?
I’m ashamed to say that That Girl wrote me at the beginning of May, and it has taken me this long to come up with any constructive counsel whatsoever. Seriously, That Girl, I’ll be a much more valuable resource after the wedding when your husband cuts his toenails in the kitchen rather than the bathroom and you want to correct this deficiency in a loving manner.
But because you asked for wedding advice, I’ll do my best to provide some.
It took me a while to remember our wedding day, and I had to consult Bill on this question. We scoured the house and finally located our wedding album. That brought back some of the dramatic stories that accompanied the wedding, such as “My Grandmother The Racist” and “The Night The Lights Went Out In Alabama” and “I Thought It Was My Wedding But Really It Was My Mother’s Big Party And I Was Merely A Bit Player.”
My mother-in-law, the other Mrs. Glamore, has the best story of all: “A Goat Came To My Wedding After Being Fed Copious Amounts Of Ex-Lax And It’s Still Not Very Funny Forty-Four Years Later, But I Managed To Take The High Road And Give The Perpetrator’s Children Very Nice Wedding Presents When They Got Married.”
But I digress. After refreshing our memory of that day fourteen years ago, here are our thoughts.
1. Take A Long Term View
I was never one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding day all her life, but I know the bridezillas are out there. Please don’t be one. Remember that the point is to get married, and unless whoever is administering the vows croaks in the middle of the ceremony and there’s no one to take over, you’ll end up hitched. Everything else is fodder for a good story one day.
Thirty minutes before our ceremony, it started to storm. The lights in the church went out. They came back on just before the ceremony started, but flickered throughout. The service was punctuated by thunder and lightening, so it felt like God himself was emphasizing the words of the vows.
This did nothing to ease Bill’s nerves. Bill says he saw me coming down the aisle in a white dress and thought, “Man, this shit is forever.” That’s his sole memory of the wedding itself. His face and body language reflected his thoughts. He was pale, stiff and sweating, and that didn’t inspire much confidence in me as I walked, shivering, up the aisle. Fortunately, the ardor of subsequent years has more than made up for the lack of a romantic, touching moment at the altar.
Your wedding day is one of thousands you’ll spend together, so don’t try to make it be everything.
2. Don’t Forget A Few Supplies
Bring comfy shoes to change into for dancing if your wedding shoes hurt. We had no idea the entire reception would get up and do the Electric Slide. Thank God we were prepared.
You can never have too many safety pins and bobby pins. And don’t forget your deodorant. I’ve recently discovered Secret Clinical which costs a fortune but works better than any I’ve ever tried, and I have sampled them all. Fork over your six dollars and consider it a bargain.
3. Resist The Urge To Take Posed Photos Of Every Possible Permutation of Family Members And The Wedding Party
We never look at our wedding album. Make sure you get one good picture of the two of you in your wedding finery and stick it in your house somewhere and then get on with the business of being married.
However, I am a fan of providing disposable cameras for your friends to take pictures with during the ceremony and reception. Have them turn them in as they leave, then send them off to Kodak Gallery and they can develop them into digital prints. You can get great candid shots this way.
4. Pick a Moment To Remember
When you aren’t freaking out, take a look around and form a memory of a moment. I remember seeing all my bridesmaids wearing black dresses standing at the altar as I came down the aisle. Each held a different type of flower, and it looked pretty bad-ass. That’s my moment.
5. Hang With Your Honey
There may be long lost relatives and crazy people you had to invite to your wedding to be polite. That doesn’t mean you have to entertain them. Give your bridesmaids a code word that means “Get Crazy Uncle Freddie the hell away from me before he pinches me on the ass one more time!” and make sure they check in with you frequently. Dance with your new husband. Kiss.
And that’s it. Really, Bill and I are talented at many things, but we weren’t great at the process of getting married. Being Married is a different story. That’s the fun part.
My wish for you, That Girl, and all the brides-to-be, is that one day you’ll wake up next to your husband and you’ll spend the day doing ordinary things. Maybe you’ll run errands together and get that leaf blower you’ve been needing, write a few thank you notes, cook dinner. Maybe you’ll rent a movie. Then you’ll brush your teeth, and he’ll rinse the toothpaste fuzz off his mouth with water before wiping his face on the towel. You’ll get into bed and you’ll realize that nothing special happened, but it was a lovely day– one you spent hanging out with the person you love the most in the world, and you’ll feel lucky and thankful and overwhelmed.
That feeling is the best part about getting married.