You’ve been planning your wedding for months now. Maybe for years.
You found a venue and a vendor team. You created a design and figured out all the details and logistics.
And now, all your hard work, time, effort, blood, sweat, and yes, maybe even some tears, has come up to this point.
To your wedding day.
You’ve made it!
But, before you breathe that sigh of relief, you can’t help but wonder…
What happens in those last days before your wedding?
Is it all smooth sailing?
Are you nervous about all the things you may have forgotten?
Is there some lurking disaster just around the corner?
What should you expect? What do you need to prepare for?
And what is it really like?
While the experience is a little different for everyone, we’ve got a fellow bride to help you, Stephanie!
In this 10th installment of a wedding planner turned bride’s journey (and the final one), we’re talking about the wedding day, the days leading up to it and even a little wedding in hindsight.
For the whole story and all tips and info from Stephanie and Kirk’s wedding planning journey, you’ll want to follow along below:
Engagement ring shopping online (part 2)
How to start planning your wedding (part 3)
How to create your wedding budget (part 4)
Wedding dress shopping (part 5)
Finding the wedding venue (part 6)
Hiring wedding vendors (part 7)
Wedding logistics (part 8)
Wedding design, details and decor (part 9)
So, let’s pick up the story where we left off…
Planning a wedding usually takes months, in some cases even years.
The process can be long and occasionally onerous (especially if you’re planning during a pandemic).
After a while, it can feel like you’re in a perpetual state of planning with nary an end in sight.
But as the wedding finally draws near, a temporal shift happens.
Time picks up speed, gaining momentum and moving faster until quite suddenly, it’s here!
As for the week leading up the wedding and the big day itself…time flies so quickly, it’s all a blur!
In my final guest post as a wedding planner turned bride, I’m rehashing that blur of days leading up to my wedding.
I’m going to share the good, the bad, and any tidbits of advice that I’ve gained in hindsight.
THE WEEK OF THE WEDDING
Leading up to the wedding, Kirk and I made an earnest attempt to wrap up loose ends, so we didn’t have to do too much the week before.
We knew our family would be flying in, and those days would be busy spending time with them.
Overall, I think we did a decent job!
The week before our wedding, many of the items on our to-do list had satisfying check marks next to them.
Almost everything was on track and on schedule… except for my vows.
I had every intention to start my vows a month before the wedding.
But as things came up, I ended up bumping them down my to-do list… again and again… until it was suddenly the weekend before our wedding.
While the vows didn’t end up being difficult to write, the stress of having to do them ate away at me.
As I was falling asleep that weekend before the wedding, a bout of unanticipated anxiety bubbled up.
Anxiety over the vows and over the other things that Kirk and I still had to do.
My panicky feelings didn’t care that there was a plan. It didn’t matter that there was more than enough time to handle everything, including the vows.
This anxiety made it hard to sleep that night, and I only ended up getting 2 or 3 hours of rest.
Thankfully, the night of sleeplessness was only a one-off that week. But even then, I had a hard time recovering from the sleep deficit from that night.
And unfortunately, I really felt that exhaustion on the evening of my wedding.
My energy was good during the day, but by the time I sat down at dinner, I was wiped out.
I swear I have never been so tired in my life.
All I wanted to do was lie down at the table.
I ended up feeling better after eating and drinking a little. But, UGH! It was really rough for 30 minutes or so.
In hindsight, I’m not sure if anything could have staved off my night of sleeplessness. Perhaps the stress and anxiety were inevitable, even if I had finished my vows early.
But if I could give any advice to other couples, it would be to treat that week before the wedding like you would the wedding day itself, as a time to savor.
I know many couples use that week as a time to finish a lot of wedding-related tasks. And sometimes that can’t be helped.
But if you can, try to get as much as possible done before then.
Because even for me, a bride who works as a wedding planner, the stress before a wedding was surprising.
It’s not your normal, everyday stress – don’t underestimate it!
Tackling your to-do list weeks before the wedding instead of days before it will give you so much more room to breathe and avoid anxiety sneak attacks.
And it gives you the ability to enjoy the time leading up to your wedding.
THE WEDDING DAY
Despite briefly feeling like a zombie the evening of my wedding, the whole day was honestly really lovely.
And there’s very little I would change.
There was a flurry of activity in the morning. But I had my sister to help in finishing little things like ordering food and steaming wrinkles out of our clothes.
*PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help, ideally in advance! Take some of the burden off of your plate by asking the people around you if they can pitch in. Delegating tasks will make it easier for you to relax instead of running around getting things done.
By the time we were ready for hair and makeup, I was feeling surprisingly calm. Even though I was still copying my vows into my vow book, lol.
But really, the best part of the day for me was being able to let go and live in the moment.
To be able to enjoy the company of my new husband and of both our families.
I’m usually detail-oriented to the point that it borders on neurotic. (It can be a bit much sometimes, but it’s usually an asset as a wedding planner.)
On my wedding day, however, I knew how fast the day flies by.
I really wanted to focus my energy on reveling in every moment with the people around me instead of worrying if everything was perfect.
It’s not that I suddenly stopped caring about details, but more that I was confident we had done the work to set ourselves up for success.
We put together a schedule, communicated with vendors, and prepared everything so we’d be able to sit back and just enjoy the day.
*PRO TIP: Whether or not you have a wedding planner or coordinator, if you’ve planned things well, you should be able to relax and enjoy your wedding day. And Passport to Joy can help you with this!
So I mentioned the good and the bad. So, let’s talk about the bad…
The worst part of the day would definitely have to be wearing a formal dress and heels for 8+ hours after a year of sweatpants and comfy clothes.
If I had to do it over, I’d probably plan for a clothing change.
I realized when I was exhausted at dinner that being comfortable matters more to me now after a year of pandemic-living than it did previously.
But, that’s it! Not so bad, huh?
It truly was a great day that I will remember forever.
And yours will be great too!
After the culmination of so many months of planning (and many blog posts), it’s now over in the blink of an eye!
It really was a blur.
But at the end of it all, it’s all about savoring as much as possible in all the moments that make up that blur.
Enjoying the fruits of your labor is what makes all that planning and hard work worth it!
I hope you enjoyed following me on my journey as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.
Good luck on planning your wedding, especially during these unpredictable pandemic times. And let us know if there’s anything we can do to help!
Many thanks to Stephanie for sharing her wedding planning journey. I hope it’s helpful for you as you go through the process yourself.
And don’t forget we can help! Not just via the blog, but through the entire process. Become a Passport to Joy member today!