What I Really Felt the Morning of my Wedding
Written by Lindsay Ropella
Most little girls dream of their wedding day growing up. They plan where they will get married, what flowers they will have, what their beautiful princess dress will look like, and of course, what it will feel like to have their hero, their Daddy, walk them down the aisle. As these girls get older they plan who will be a part of the coveted wedding party, and who won’t make the cut anymore. They think about the man they will marry, they think about the home they will live in as newlyweds, and even start thinking about their future families.
As the wedding becomes more of a reality for these girls, as they become brides, they start to plan the smaller details of their wedding day. Things start to get real – and stressful, and emotional, and fun, and scary. As we all know, Pinterest has really changed the way weddings today are planned. It gives us endless centerpiece ideas, DIY projects, and even ideas for showers and bachelorette parties. Pinterest even shows us an endless stream of pictures of brides and their ‘maids sitting around the morning of the wedding in a beautiful room, wearing beautiful robes, drinking bubbly champagne and smiling.
In my opinion, Pinterest can be amazingly helpful but it also can be a bit dangerous. As a collection of all the best wedding decorations and photographs from multiple weddings and multiple locations, I think Pinterest can sometimes set unrealistic expectations for brides. It makes them spend time and money and stress and worry on something that isn’t really possible or probable. It makes them feel like if their wedding isn’t gorgeous and perfect and “Pinterest worthy” that it will be a failure.
Today I want to share with you one way in which my wedding wasn’t “Pinterest perfect” and how it forever altered the course of the rest of my life (please add your own favorite sarcastic emphasis here).
On the morning of my wedding I woke up at about 7:00am after a whopping 3 hours of pitiful sleep. Let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure I was
drenched in sweat a bit clammy that morning as I thought about the day ahead of me. Was I nervous about the man I was marrying? Of course not. We had been together since we were 13 years-old…when you did the point-and-whisper “that’s my boyfriend over there” across the schoolyard. I was nervous however about the wedding itself. I am not the type of person who likes to be put in the spotlight and for the next 12 or so hours, that is exactly what was going to happen. I was also nervous about the weeks and months following the wedding. What would married life really be like? What would living on my own be like? Sure, I had lived in an apartment in college during the school year, but in reality I still really lived with my parents, at home under their protection. For the past 22 years they had provided for me emotionally and financially, and I was not naive enough to think that that wasn’t all about to change.
The morning of my wedding I woke up in my mom’s bed (let’s just use this as a moment of cleansing honesty – yup I was being a big baby). About 5 minutes after I woke up my mom came into the room with a few daintily wrapped boxes in her hands – I think she had gotten less sleep than I had. She came over with a big, nervous smile on her face and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Happy wedding day!” she said to me as I started to sit up. A meek, “thanks” was all I could squeak out under all the emotions I was feeling. She handed me the first box. I opened it and was greeted by a brand new bottle of perfume. “Oh Mom, thanks!” was my response. As I started to open the second box, I got a little shaky. I knew what this moment meant to my mom and I. You see, my mom and I are very close. I have always considered her my best friend and we did almost everything together. I knew that from this day forward, although we would still see each other and be close, it was going to be very different.
As I peeled back the wrapping of the second box, a bit of white cloth met my eye. I pulled out a beautiful handkerchief with gorgeous embroidery and a special message inscribed just for me. As this point the waterworks started. I was a sobbing wreck. I was trying to hold to together but it was a complete failure. I just sat there and hugged my mom – I knew nothing I could say could express how I was really feeling. After a few minutes I was able to pull it together and start getting ready.
I jumped in the shower and got dressed and took a moment to relish in the awesome fact that wedding-morning-rituals does NOT include having to do your hair. Once I was ready my mom drove me down the street to the hair salon where all my bridesmaids were getting their hair done that morning. You see – we had difficulty booking all our hair appointments at the same place for the morning of the wedding. On top of that, my mom really wanted her own hairstylist to do her hair that morning, but that salon was closed to the rest of us as it was not typically open Saturday mornings. So after I was dropped off my mother sped off to her own hair appointment down the road. As I met my bridesmaids, one of my bridesmaids, and best friends, presented me with a single red rose – it’s tradition in her family for all the bride’s to get a rose the morning of their wedding. The tears almost started for me again at that moment, but luckily someone cracked a joke and the fun began! I hung around for a little while snapping my own pictures as my girls got their hair done. We talked and had some fun before my mother in law picked me up for our own hair appointments. I’m pretty sure she could tell I was nervous so, bless her heart, she started talking about other things to try and get my mind off the wedding.
My mother in law got her hair done first to leave time for my mom to get to the salon so she could be there while my hair was being done. Our hairstylist was awesome and I was so grateful because I have a well known history for always hating how my hair was done for special occasions, and going home and redoing it myself (thank goodness for trial hair appointments). Time was starting to get tight so as soon as my hair was finished I jumped in the car with my mom and we raced home to where my bridesmaids were waiting for us. As soon as we got home my bridesmaids jumped on my mom to find out whether my hair was a success or not as I talked to my dad outside. I think there was a communal sense of relief when they found out we would not be scrambling to redo my hair all on our own.
The next hour or two consisted of sitting together in my kitchen and family room while we did our own makeup and while
we they ate lunch. At that point my amazing maid-of-honor (and cousin) presented me with my gift from my almost husband. At this point, thank goodness, I choose to smile instead of cry as my makeup was already half done.
Soon it was crunch time – how does the time always seem to get away from you like that? We had to hustle to finish our makeup and get everything into the car and off to the church. Once we got to the church, I’m pretty sure I did anything and everything to avoid getting into my dress (that just made it all too real). Much to my disgruntled bridesmaids’ displeasure, I set up my own ceremony decor, I chatted with the florist and photographers, and took about a million trips to the bathroom just to get a moments peace and quiet and to slow my breathing. Finally, my nervous mother decided we could wait no longer and
strongly gently forced me to get dressed. Well that must have been a sight! My mother lacing me up, my maid of honor placing my veil, and one of my bridemaid’s trying to get me into my shoes all at the same time.
When I was finally ready, I got a moment with my wonderful father who got to see my for the first time in my dress. Gosh, this would have been waterworks city for me if I hadn’t known I was running super late. We got about two minutes for the photographer to shoot some pictures of me and my bridal party (how she got some great shots I will never know) before we were ushered up the stairs to the ceremony space. As I lost one bridesmaid at a time to the long aisle I started to get more and more panicky. My sweet, sweet 7-year-old cousin and ring bearer could tell I was nervous so he started making goofy faces at me. Then he said one of the single most important statements I think I heard all day. “Lindsay, why are you so nervous? It’s just Eric you’re marrying.” Thank goodness for smart and intuitive little children. That did it for me. The nerves left; and as I hugged my ushers, grabbed my Daddy’s arm, and the church doors swung open, I was all smiles as I walked down the aisle toward my future.
I know my story may feel a bit extreme, but it illustrates my purpose to show that, in this instance at least, my wedding was far from “Pinterest perfect.” My bridesmaids can certainly attest to that. I was nervous and clumsy and we had no special toasting or matching robes or pictures of us relaxing and lounging around. But yano what? Looking back I kind of loved my wedding morning – it was full of emotion and sentiment and all the people I love most in this world. I am not forever scarred, I don’t look back on my wedding with disdain, and I don’t regret anything that happened the morning of my wedding. It was unique to me and my story.
It’s OK if every moment of your wedding doesn’t hold up to Pinterest’s standards. Even if everything doesn’t go as perfectly as planned (and odds are it won’t) it still will be special for you, make you laugh, and even provide you with fond memories for the future. If you desire to have a “Pinterest perfect” wedding and that is just how it turns out for you, then I congratulate you wholeheartedly! But if not, just remember that “real life perfect” is pretty great too.