Deep Thoughts,  Googly Eyes: Make Love Not War

Bad Bride

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?


That Girl

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.

1993 wedding2

2007 mothersday


  • Jamie

    “This shit is forever…”


    Sage advice and I love, love your wedding picture! Oh and I want to hear the goat story. That sounds like a winner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kimarie

    As always, you are awesome with your words. This post even touched me and reminded me that it’s not ALL about the nasty toe nails I find in horrible places, or the dirty underwear left beside the bed ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you!


  • Melina

    Wow that was a great post I have a friend that is getting married in Feb. and I’m going to send her this link. I on the other hand don’t ever plan to get married and if for some crazy reason it did happen, it was probably because we were in Vegas and we said what the hell.

  • Clearlykels

    ha ha ha! I LOVE everything you said, especially the part about being married at the end of the day. That is how I have always felt. My best friend got married two years ago and one of our friends was getting married four months after that. This friend kept asking “what if” questions. “What if it storms in the middle of the ceremony?” “What if your finace’s grandparents don’t arrive in time?” Eventually, my friend just looked at her and said, “As long as we end up married, a tornado could pick up the tent and take it out to sea and I would not care.” Now, that’s my girl!

  • jenevieve

    Wow, Bill is hot! ๐Ÿ™‚ Is that why you never show pictures of him?

    Great advice. My friend is getting married next week and I think I’ll sed this to her!

  • Katrina

    Great advice all around. I would add, “Watch out for your new husband’s fingers when you slam the door of your getaway car.” Let’s just say there were a lot of tears on our wedding day, and they weren’t all from emotion.

    And I think Crazy Uncle Freddie and his ilk were the reason bustles were invented. Nothing gets through a good bustle.

  • Sonya

    Spot on! It was never about the wedding for us. That was just something to get through (mainly for my mother) to get to the main event: marriage. It’s such a crazy day, that it was hard to remember anything about it just days after the event, let alone now!

  • Brooke

    I don’t have a blog, but if I did I would award you the “Perfect Post” award for this one. I got married a couple of years ago and I appreciate that someone I look up to (even though I don’t know you) had the same perspective about her wedding that I did. I’m not from the Tiny Kingdom, but I am from the “Magic City” and many times I’ve been made to feel bad about the fact that I didn’t throw a bouquet, or do so many other traditional things that you “should” do. It rained all day on our wedding day, and so many people told us that they hoped it hadn’t ruined our day (which it didn’t). I have never felt bad about my wedding day (even though I don’t remember so much of the “bad” things that happened, and I thank you for helping to validate my attitude that it’s not about the (size) of the ring, the (magnitude) of the wedding, but the marriage that follows it that matters. And, as always, you made me laugh out loud. Thanks again!

  • KLee

    You and Bill both look about ten years old in your wedding picture! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Are you sure we’re not related, or anything? Because some of the things your family did at your wedding are alarmingly like the things mine did at my wedding.

    Like my uncle who plastered Asian porno all over our getaway car’s windows. *That’s* a lovely shot in the photo album. And, oddly enough, the reason that I think I don’t look at our wedding pictures very often….

  • Reevesfarm

    We eloped, I wore shorts and one Ked..I had a huge cast/splint on the other leg. I sat in a chair in the Justice of the Peace office and my husband stood. I remember thinking, “Oh crap, I can see right up his nose.” He said, “with this WING.”

    We have been married 13 years this week, and it is the ordinary that makes our life so wonderful.

  • Kim

    Anne – How is it possible that you and Bill have not aged in 14 years????? What a beautiful wedding picture…

    And good luck on the whole “book thing”! I think it will be wonderful!

    All the best,

  • Karyn

    Yep – all y’all look like children in that wedding photo. Pod People too; what the hell is in the water where you are that you both look so damn good 14 years later?

    What I love most about this post… besides the mention of a pooping goat… is that you’ve written so truthfully about weddings and marriages being what they are.

    The wedding? One day.
    The marriage? Not so much.

    Well done you. Like, on everything.

    God, you’re my hero.

  • Mamaluv

    You are absolutely right! I have been in the presence of bridezillas and found they can ruin their wedding day without any help. It really is only one (admittedly very special) day of your life and we put way too much emphasis on it.

  • Karin B

    Well, I wanted a very small and intimate wedding, but it still turned out to be too big. My future mother-in-law did not like many of my choices— my simple wedding dress, my simple china pattern, or the dinner reception,because she wanted a champagne social—We had it mostly our way, and we have been married for a long time.

  • Jessica

    My father is a minister and has always said if people spent as much time on their marriage as they did on their wedding they would have a great marriage. He also told me before we went down the aisle if I wanted to back out it would be ok. He didn’t tell my sister however and she divorced 5 years later and said she didn’t want to marry him the day of the wedding. Bill is not how I pictured him. Great one.

  • Aimee

    Amen on everything, 100%!

    Would LOVE to hear the stories of both your wedding and your mother-in-law’s.

    I would only add this piece of advice: eat the day of your wedding, before the wedding. I was so busy with hair appointments and things that I forgot to eat. After cake and driving through the snow to our hotel, I finally had a meal around 9:00 p.m.

  • Melissa

    You guys look wonderful together – both then and now, though I like the now picture best.

    My advice for any bride is the same “always remember the wedding is one day but your marriage is forever”.

    I was a florist for years and too many brides would stop in after their wedding with ‘what now’ looks on their faces. They spent years planning that one day and made no provisions for what came after.

    We, however, eloped 7 years ago- spent about 2 days planning and have enjoyed each day since more than the day before it…well, mostly ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Debbie

    I got married in 1993 as well and had the same “moment” thoughts at my wedding. You gave her great advise! I have loved every minute of being married and I’m glad you wrote about the ordinary days when you look at you husband and think of how lucky you are to be there with him. I think this all the time. Sometimes I think many people lose sight of this(I don’t hear from many other women how happy they are to spend an ordinary day with their spouse.)
    Thanks for the refreshing look at life beyond the wedding day!

  • Shelley

    Love the post. I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone tell me these things; I had to figure them out for myself. Fortunately, come my wedding day, I was able to sit back, be pleased with my choices, and enjoy the day with my husband. Now I get to sit with my children, look at my wedding album, and tell them the great stories from the wedding, such as when we thought my cousin was going to knock over a candelabra and burn the church down. Keep up the good work.

  • Kelly

    Such good advice! Fortunately a lot of the rigid wedding rules are relaxing a bit. I went to a very sweet wedding this weekend that had the following music: Stand By Me (60’s version) while the bridesmaids walked in, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” while the couple lit the Unity Candle, and “How Sweet it is to be loved by You” as the recessional. It was fun! And it helps to hear I’m not the only one who has to sweep toenail clippings off the dining room floor

  • Lillian The Ponderer

    “Being Married is a different story. Thatโ€™s the fun part.” That’s what I keep telling my beloved, it’s just one day. Yes I want to wear a pretty dress and yes I want all our family and loved ones there, and yes it IS a VERY important day but at the end, it is just one day and what I am looking forward to is spending the rest of my life with him, not just that one day. I love your advice, and on behalf of all other brides-to-be “thank you very much”.