… that is sitting at the table next to me in Panera while I work with a sleeping babe on my lap.  I overheard your concern that your budget for hair and make-up may be insufficient to meet your needs.  You also expressed some panic at the length of your to-do list, and that you might not be able to get everything done in time.  I looked up from my computer for a moment, and wondered if I should say something, but knowing that it was rude to intrude into a private conversation, I smiled and returned to my work.  I do hope that you won’t mind me sharing a few words of advice here.

My Mom Made That: A Letter to the Bride

The truth is that the dress designer, hair style and cake filling aren’t really going to matter to you in a few years.  No one else will remember either.  The details of wedding that seems so important to you right now, will seem so trivial in the long run.  The commitment and love behind the vows that you will express during your ceremony is the most critical aspect of the entire wedding.   Sadly, they tend to get the least attention during the hours of most brides’ wedding planning.  What will make your wedding memorable is the love and joy expressed in the ceremony.

My Mom Made That: A Letter to the Bride

Besides, it’s really not the most important day of your life.  It is certainly one of the most important days, but its importance is not due to the variety of roses in your bouquet, but the person that you are standing beside. You are going to be standing beside that young man for a long time.  The wedding isn’t the destination, it’s just the starting line.  Time is best spent preparing for your journey together, not focused on what the starting line looks like.

Think about the money you are about to spend on the make-up artist and hair stylist.  Please don’t go into debt for your wedding.  Maybe it would be better to save some of the money for a home that you can live in?  The home where all of the important days of your life can take place.  As I look at the sleeping baby in my lap, I can tell you that my wedding day, albeit wonderful, pales in comparison to the days that my babies were born.  Knowing this, I can’t wait to see what other big days my life has in store for me.  This wedding is not the biggest day of your entire life, even though it might feel that way.  It’s just a party.  It would be somewhat sad if it was all downhill after your wedding day, no?

My Mom Made That: A Letter to the Bride

If you are going to get wrapped up in your wedding, can I make a few suggestions?  The people at your wedding are what make lasting memories. Spend time with the people at your wedding.  These are the people who love you, and who dropped everything to be there to watch you start your journey.  Connect with them in a real, meaningful way.  If you have to choose between catching up with a friend or cutting the cake on schedule, pick your friend.  Even if it’s your great-aunt, pick your great-aunt.  The love and support of those people who will surround you on your special day are more valuable than any reception photo-op.  Their love will carry you far in life, and when you falter or struggle, they are the people who will be there for you.  Love them back.

Yes, I know that I am an opinionated, middle-aged woman who should mind her own business.  Yes, yes, I’m sure you do realize on some level that the marriage is more important than the wedding.  However, I’m on the same journey as you, just a few laps further down the track.  It’s just that I was you.  My mother tried to explain all of this to me when I was first getting married at 23.  I heard her words, but didn’t listen.  And you see, sweet lovely bride sitting next to me right now, I wish I had.