One year ago this week, we were dropping our save the dates in the mail, which was the first really big step in making our wedding, still in what felt like the baby stages of planning, a reality. Six months ago, I went and had my hair done, my bridesmaids did my makeup, and my mother and (Edit after posting) Maid-of-Honor laced me into my wedding gown - a dress I never wanted to take off. That afternoon, Allen and I exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony, surrounded by friends and family.
Not long after our wedding, I sat down and thought about what I would tell the newly-engaged me, way back in March of 2012 as we bought our rings and started planning, well, all of the wedding things. This letter is what came of those thoughts. Today, as we mark six months of married life, I thought it would be fun to share.
Dear Newly-Engaged Self,
Congratulations! It's been several years coming, and you knew very early in your relationship that this was the man you wanted to marry. Take a few minutes or days or weeks, even, to savor this time. Once you start planning things can become hectic. Enjoy being engaged (once your hands stop shaking about buying the ring)!
Over the next fourteen months of your engagement, a lot will happen. There are decisions to be made and then remade. There will be times when you get frustrated about the process and the expectations of the WIC as you plan and put together your wedding. Don't get sucked too far into Pinterest. The approach you are taking: to pin only the projects you think you can do and that fit your theme will work, but it doesn't hurt to pin other inspiration, as well. You are on a tight budget, but it doesn't mean you can't dream big.
You will fight with your fiance a little more than usual. According to several books, this is normal. It is also frustrating. Instead of getting wrapped up in the details you find most frustrating, let them go. The cupcakes you are getting in place of cake tiers will be delicious - everyone will gush about them. You will need more macaroni and cheese than mashed potatoes, and you will find that saving for the wedding in place of buying a season ticket package at the ballpark becomes one of the best decisions you will make for 2013.
When it looks like things are starting to fall apart and when your cat needs surgery on April Fools' Day, take a few deep breaths. It will be okay. Your cat will be fine, once he can get out of the cone. He will be very playful and like a whole new cat, though it will take until June for his fur to grow back. The new venue will be just about perfect, and your outdoor wedding in May will not be too cold or hot or too wet or humid. The invitations you get from Etsy will be perfect. Your dance playlist will be enticing, though your group of folks aren't dancers - your mother and brothers and father will tear up the dance floor, and your sister will knock your socks off.
Don't worry too much about the compromises. Your wedding day will be a Mary Poppins kind of day: practically perfect in every way. The ceremony will make you weepy and giggly and when everyone stands up at the end to shout "Mazel Tov" as your new husband stomps the wine glass, you'll look at each other and grin because you did it. You somehow managed to pull off getting married on a shoestring budget. He is your Mister and you are his Mrs and while nothing will change (except your last name), it will sometimes feel different.
Later, when you look back on your wedding day, all of the details you worried about will be a distant memory, and you'll remember how your day felt: like being in a bubble of love and happiness. For weeks after the wedding you'll hear many great things about the ceremony, which your dear friend and preacher blew out of the water. His speech about love is something you'll print and tuck in your scrapbook to look over again and again, and will, though unplanned, tie in perfectly with the father-daughter dance that will surprise even you. Rainbow Connection will be the most danced-to song of your wedding; when the voice-over you planned with your father asks your friends and family to come out and surround you and your new husband with love on the dance floor you'll be overwhelmed with love and support. In the weeks and months following the wedding, those moments will be the ones you savor most and the ones you'll keep close to your heart.
So newly-engaged self, what I want to say to you is that it will be okay, whatever happens. You will be married and you won't want to take your dress off at the end of the night, and that is okay. It's okay if you cry at your wedding and okay if you don't (and totally okay if you giggle). It's okay if you switch your gorgeous red shoes for flat sandals before your first dance, and okay if you keep them on. It's okay if only a handful of people dance when you open the dance floor, even if you're unleashing "Dynamite" early and "Twist and Shout" later. Whatever happens on your wedding day, you will be surrounded by people who love you, support you and your marriage, and everyone who needs to be there will be there. So, go, plan your wedding, and remember what your preacher will tell you ask you plan the ceremony: you are there to celebrate your love, and celebrate your love you will.
Your Future Self.
**Photos in this post are a combination of ones taken by our photographer, Sarah Warda Photography, along with guest photos. All rights are reserved.