[A Practical Wedding was an invaluable source of sanity and encouragement as I planned my wedding, and since Meg and I both live in the Bay Area, we get to have pizza together and gab about weddings and blogs in person.]

If you’re reading this website, chances are very good that you’ve been called a bride for months and months. But here is a newsflash: you’re not a bride. Not yet, anyway.

For most of us, the liminal state of bride-dom lasts for about ten hours. It’s long enough to put on the dress, say the vows, transform yourself from a single person to part of a brand new family, and then party like it’s going out of style. And then it’s over, and that’s a good thing. So the question is, how do we take those ten hours and experience them to their fullest? How do we get what we need out of this liminal state, and move forward with minimal regrets and a lifetime of memories?

In short: you need to really show up emotionally, let go of all the planning you worked so hard on, and embrace imperfection.

That sounds gauzy and hippy-zen and impossible, right? Well, it’s really none of those things. So, without further ado, here are the things you should know about your wedding day that no one will ever tell you. (Except, um, I’m telling you, so you win.)

Your wedding day might not feel like you expect it to feel.

After reading tons of wedding magazines and zillions of wedding blogs, it’s hard not to have an idea of how your wedding day is going to feel. The thing is, that idea might be dead wrong.

First, I think we all hope our wedding day is going to feel pretty and chic. The one problem with this plan is that you can’t feel pretty, because pretty isn’t an emotion. Trouble! As my husband warned me before the wedding, it’s really important to differentiate between how wedding pictures look and how your wedding day will feel. Our wedding pictures look dreamy and beautiful, and for that I’m grateful. Our wedding ceremony, on the other hand, felt really gritty and raw. The ceremony felt intense, but not necessarily happy. And that was ok. There was plenty of time for joy at the party, and in the weeks of bliss to come.

So on the day itself, do everything you can to resist classifying your wedding day emotions as right or wrong. Maybe like me, your life will change hard and fast, in a moment of gritty intensity. Maybe you’ll ride a wave of joy, but just feel like you threw an awesome party, nothing life changing. Maybe you’ll so overwhelmed that you’ll weep for hours. Maybe it will be something totally different, and even more unexpected. Whatever you feel, let yourself feel it. It may not be at all what you expected, and that may be a blessing.

Your family is crazy, and that’s ok.

I know right? You’re sitting here reading this thinking, “My family isn’t crazy, my family is lovely! And besides, it’s my wedding day so they’ll be on their best behavior.” Well, sort of. Your family probably is lovely (mine is), but you know how everyone acts in high stress situations? You know how your mom freaks out on Christmas Day about having the table set just right, and you have the brother who’s super delightful but slightly socially awkward in large groups, and you have the two uncles that don’t really get along that well after the four whiskies they always insist on having? Yeah. That stuff is going to happen on your wedding day, because weddings are stressful. But here is the thing, it doesn’t have to matter.

Being a bride has certain perks, and one of those perks is being given a free pass to not give a sh*t. If your mom starts freaking out while you’re getting ready, have a sister or a best friend who’s tasked with pulling her aside and telling her to breathe. If your uncles start fighting with each other after their fourth glass of whisky, you have permission to just turn around and walk away.

You’re not going to be able to make everyone happy, and that’s fine. For ten hours of your life, your job is to protect your own experience. Your job is to refuse to get emotionally involved when people get stressed, and to just walk away and let it go. It’s tricky, but it only lasts for a few short hours. Tomorrow you can get totally pissed at your mom when she’s acting a fool, but for today, it’s not your problem.

What happens next is so much richer.

Because planning a wedding is a giddy mix of beautiful things, mixed with a serious dose of pain in the *ss, it’s easy to get focused on This One Day We Spent So Much Time And Money Planning. But that day is not the point. Your marriage is the point. So as your wedding day approaches, remember that this too shall pass. And what you’ll be left with is your marriage, which is infinitely more beautiful than the most stunning wedding dress in the world.

My wedding day? It was one of the great joys of my life. But the happiest day of my life? That was probably a lazy honeymoon day with my husband, drinking whiskey and looking at castles. Or maybe it was just any old lazy Sunday, reading the New York Times, lounging around the house… and oh yeah, not planning a wedding.

So congratulations. Not on this beautiful wedding you planned, but on making it to the other side. Welcome.

Photos by One Love Photo.

81 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Guest Blogger

[Jane loves pretty paper and pretty things, so naturally her blog is one of my favorites. She's also one of the most thoughtful people I've met in Blogland. Jane kindly agreed to guest blog today, and I thought her post was perfect for this first day of December.]

When Kathryn asked me to write a guest blog post for her, I was honored, as I am a big fan and longtime reader of Snippet & Ink.  Soon after, reality set in and I was overcome with a terrible case of writer’s block. Snippet & Ink’s inspiration boards are so lovely that the blog is a visual feast: what could I come up with that could measure up?

I offer a favorite quote from James M. Barrie: “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

Kathryn, may the memories you shared on your wedding day be the foundation for a lifetime of roses. All my best to you and Ryan.

3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Guest Blogger

[Leila and I are both California girls who fell in love with Wisconsin boys, and she's been a dear friend to me as we both planned our own weddings the past year. Usually she's sharing her thoughts and inspiration over at Inspired By This, but today she's here with a lovely guest post!]

If any of you have visited my blog or website, stopped by my office or can guess what color my home is then you know that GREEN is my absolute favorite color. I don’t discriminate when it comes to Green: Lime, Chartreuse, Emerald, Mint, Olive… they all get me oh so excited!

{Elizabeth Messina}

However, green has more than surface beauty. It symbolizes living and thriving, it is growth, abundance and forward motion. We see it daily at traffic lights signaling people to move ahead, on a vine bearing new fruit, and in tiny stems pushing their way upward from the earth.

{Sunday Suppers}

Every Winter, the weather strips the trees of their leaves and the fields of their grasses, but we always know Spring will evoke life once again.  Green is everywhere: Symbolizing life is fresh and new and full of beginnings!

{Jose Villa}

As you plan your wedding, look for what inspires you! Is it a texture? A picture? A season? or a Color? If you love Green like I do then this post is for you!

May You Be Inspired!

{Leo Patrone}

A note to Kathryn: Kathryn I am so happy for you. Congrats on getting married! It’s been a wonderful time sharing in the wedding planning process together as we both prepared for our own weddings. I am moved that you asked me to be a part of this memorable journey and honored to call you a friend. The best of life is yet to come. Cherish it always.

xo
Leila

10 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Guest Blogger

[Kate's blog, Wit + Delight, is aptly named as Kate is always posting delightful fashion and design finds. And since she's a recent bride herself, you'll find some wonderfully chic wedding inspiration on her blog, too. So glad she stopped by to guest blog today!]

Hello Snippet and Ink readers! Today I have pulled some different looks for a variety of wedding-related occasions to suit different styles and budgets. Whether you choose a non-traditional wedding gown, a flirty frock for your bachelorette party, or a sophisticated number for your bridal shower, you just might consider wearing one of these dresses again, really.

- Kate from Wit + Delight

A Dress for Every Occasion

City Hall: one, two, three, four

The Romantic: one, two, three, four

The Fashionista: one, two, three, four

The Non-Traditionalist: one, two, three, four

7 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Guest Blogger

[Karey is an everyday story teller, and never fails to make me smile. Mary inspires me daily with her photos, both original and curated. Together they're the t.ruffle girls, and I'm so happy they agreed to do a guest post while I'm away!]

The night my husband and I met for the very first time, he asked me to marry him. I answered “Sure!Because I felt quite sure I could spend the rest of my life listening to him talk to me. He had this accent that I couldn’t quite place. It was a blend of East coast, Midwest, a year studying in Europe, and thug Italian. It was devastatingly cool. Still is.

A few years later, we eloped to Nantucket; my dad had died the summer before, and neither of us could imagine such a day without him.

I wore a J. Crew dress long before they sold wedding attire. We remembered all our documentation, but forgot rings and the shoes over which I’d obsessed for months. Too bad, because they were perfection.

I forgot my something old and something blue, but my boy assured me that the blue of my eyes would do nicely. And the old would be what we’d grow together.

In the end, I can tell you none of the details mattered. There was no letterpress, no photo booth, no first dance jitters, no calligraphied place cards, no bouquets, and no color scheme except the blue of the sea and the green of the lawn at the Wauwinet. And, yet, there was so much more.

The night before we wed, my husband-to-be picked the perfect spot for our vows. They were simple; I promised to make him laugh every day and he promised to want to talk to me every day, and we both promised to choose each other for the rest of our lives.

Three lovely daughters and years and years later, I still count that day as one of our most perfect, clutter-free moments. It was me and him on the edge of an island, promising to try our best to live our best. Together and forever.

This morning, I shook him awake thirty minutes early. “It snowed last night!” I whispered excitedly. He jumped out of bed and looked out the window with the glee of a ten-year old kid. Then realized I’d been teasing him.

“After all these years, I still fall for you.” He said, shaking his head and laughing.

Okay. In all honesty, that wasn’t his exact quote. It ended more like “…I still fall for your bull*#@!” But I knew what he meant. And it still thrills me to make that boy laugh.

(Visit us – Mary Swenson and Karey Mackin – at our sweet Etsy shop. You might want to buy a calendar or one of our gorgeous posters. That would make us very happy. It would also make you very happy. We promise.)

PHOTO CREDITS
Top row, left to right: Simple bouquet from Jose Villa / silver wedding bands from Precious Jewelry Designs / white car from Jose Villa
Bottom row, left to right: Champagne picnic basket from In This Instance / bride and groom from Orchard Cove Photography via Style Me Pretty / cupcake pair from Paul Barbera

7 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Guest Blogger