This is the third in a series of posts I've written this week offering wedding and marriage checklists full of advice from those of us of a certain age to my twentysomething former student who is getting married in just a few days.
For all of us whose children, grandchildren and former students are becoming brides, I thought it would be fun and helpful to share our wisdom.
We started with:
There I shared a Wedding Checklist: Tips on how to save a marriage before the wedding day
In Part 2:
President Obama offers our bride and groom his marital wisdom.
And now, for Part 3, I pass down my own sacred wedding legacy to my former student:
First and Foremost: Advice for your Feet
- Wear comfy white sneakers under the wedding gown. Nobody will notice but your feet will love you!
Most Crucial Wedding Advice for your Soul:
- Let it All Go: Be Meditative and Relaxed
- Your impulse will be to freak and panic. Don't. Once the ball is rolling there is nothing you can do. It will unfold as it unfolds. Your job as event planner is finished. Let it go. If your mom comes running over to you about to share some mini-disaster about the flowers or your cousin's attitude, Let It Go. Before anybody can tell you anything stressful, make the international Talk to The Hand Sign and recite this mantra: "Today is my wedding day. I am remaining in the moment. Please join me in making this the best day ever, surrounded by positive energy."
- Make sure you take time alone together, mindful, meditative time – not 'Did you hear what your mother said?' time – to treasure each other before the day's deluge.
On 'The Kiss'
- You will be so high on adrenaline and joy you'll hardly remember it. Don't feel pressured to perform the perfect wedding kiss. Mostly it's a little awkward but somehow incredibly romantic and powerful.
- Your wedding day has the potential for being the best day of your life. If it wants to, let it.
- You cannot yet fathom how much love, joy, support, giddiness, community and pride will surround you.
Create a Wedding SWAT Team
- Choose five members of your mother's group of friends to assign crucial tasks that you'll need done but will completely forget about. Someone needs to collect the broken glass after the groom stomps on it. Who grabs your bouquet? Where do you put the gifts and do you need someone to collect cards with checks in them separately?
Regrets? You'll have a few.
- There will be a moment, or several, where you think: "This is an enormous, life-shattering mistake." You may or may not be right.
- You and your groom may have what feels like a defining argument in the 72 hours before your wedding that seems to warrant calling the whole thing off. You may or may not be right.
Bridesmaid BFF's, Frenemies and Family Matters
- Someone close to you will come through for you in an extraordinary and surprising act of kindness or generosity. Make a mental note and remember to take them to lunch and thank them deeply.
- Someone close to you will disappoint you so profoundly your relationship may never recover. Make a mental note.
- There will be a weird, awkward moment with your dad. Just breathe.
- Your mother will say something that really hurts your feelings, meant completely out of love. Just breathe.
- Issues will arise, weird conversations will be had, people will be triggered in odd ways by your success and love. Ignore. This has nothing to do with you. They may have no idea they have said something or done something hurtful. It's unconscious. Let it go.
- Someone will say something completely inappropriate in a toast. Laugh and seek revenge later.
- Make a list of all of the key moments, images, experiences you must have during your wedding. Arrange for them to happen beforehand so you don't forget. If you must have that father-daughter dance, make sure the band knows what song and they invite your father onto the dance floor.
- Is it somebody's birthday or anniversary and you want to honor them? Make sure the band leader or the person in charge of the microphone knows this and knows what to say and when.
- Must-Have Photos: Make a list of photographical and video must-haves and make sure the folks documenting the festivities capture those moments. (Maybe you want a sweet candid of your 97-year-old grandfather or a Rockette kick-line shot with your bridesmaids…whatever pictures you've got in your mind, tell the people you've hired to make them happen. Otherwise you'll completely forget and be looking for them in the post-wedding adrenaline hangover.)
- Must-Have Table-Side Visits: You will hurt a lot of feelings by not doing things you had no idea you were supposed to do on your wedding day. For example, remember to visit EVERY SINGLE TABLE during the reception to say hello and thank you. Ask your parents ahead of time who they want you to make a special effort to visit with and thank during the reception. Otherwise you'll completely forget. And you will never be forgiven.
- Toasts: Ask people if they want to give toasts beforehand and make sure to cue them when it's their time. Decide ahead of time if you want an 'open mic' time for toasts. If so, assign someone to announce it. You don't want people to have prepared toasts and not have a chance to speak because they didn't know when was appropriate.
If You Remember Nothing Else, Remember This:
- Breathe: Every hour, do this: Stop, breathe, look around, smile at somebody, tell yourself to stay present.
- Dance: Dance like nobody's watching.
- Smooch: Steal away a moment in the broom closet after the wedding ceremony to have a real wedding kiss.
- Live: The thing about being lifted up on the chairs is essential. It's the best and worst feeling. It could lead to a complete, spine-crushing disaster you'll regret the rest of your life – or it could be the greatest roller-coaster moment you'll treasure the rest of your life. Kind of like marriage.
Want more wedding and marital wisdom? Read: