Dear Summer Brides,
You’re probably spending too many hours and too many dollars on things like hair, and those precious little baskets to leave in your reserved block of hotel rooms, and personalized party favors, and centerpieces. These are things no one will remember, unless they are planning their own wedding soon, and in which case they’ll probably rip off from you in friendly good will.
You’ll agonize over the perfect sexy-yet-functional undergarments, only to hurriedly unclasp and peel them down because you can’t breathe after finishing your entire plate at the wedding dinner, and you don’t want to have gas during the best man’s toast.
You’ll love your wedding cake. You might love it so much that you and your husband will refuse to freeze it and will spend the entire honeymoon eating it out of the flimsy, plastic container.
You’ll type in countless searches on unique walk-down-the-aisle music, only to decide on Canon in D because, well, it’s so dang classic.
You’ll stuff your honeymoon suitcase to the brim. You’ll only wear half of it’s contents, half of the time.
You’ll only think present tense, which means things like going back to work and overdraft fees and having enough money to pay rent that’s due on the 1st seem inconsequential. Let me assure you. They are not.
In fact, dear friend, let me play oracle and talk to you from the future. Let me tell you about the perfect getaway that gets planned for your first anniversary. How good it feels to make it through that first, challenging, finally married year.
Let me tell you how you’ll find a favorite restaurant, and might spend your third, fifth, sixth, and ninth anniversaries ordering the same appetizer, which continues to remain on the menu. How you secretly hope they’ll never take it off.
Let me gently tell you about the other anniversaries. Pregnant ones. Not pregnant ones. Post-pregnant ones. Anniversaries where you don’t quite feel up to the hype, or perhaps don’t have much to celebrate. When you catch him looking at you like Aphrodite, believe him. If he doesn’t, be the one to look at him. Marriage needs give and take.
Let me tell you that on your eleventh anniversary, (yes, it’s still possible to be married eleven years), your husband may schedule a tonsillectomy four days before the sacred anniversary date, and you won’t care a whit. Or that you might spend your anniversary on your in-law’s brown corduroy couch, surrounded by family, celebrating by sharing a half-melted Dairy Queen chocolate malt. And that you might possibly pack said family back in the van for the night, turn around for the diaper bag, and sprain your ankle on a three inch concrete step.
Let me tell you that your love is stronger than any of these things.
Or possibly, that it is stronger because of these things.
Let me tell you that right now, I know you picture your husband-to-be as the STAR of your world. As he should be. Because you are his, and he is yours, and your galaxies are about to collide in brilliance and glory and love has WON, dang it. Your love has WON.
But let me also tell you that while two stars on their own are nice, they don’t make much of a constellation.
That you will need other stars.
That you will be glad you decided to stay closer to family and friends if you have the chance to go anywhere for graduate school, or work. That the seedling friendships you fostered through high school and college can, if they are maintained, grow into one heck of a broad-leafed, oak-strong relationship. The kind that will give up sacred summer Saturday plans to bring you an ankle wrap and make your kids lunch.
Let me assure you that family is always worth fighting for, but not fighting over. Yours, his, and the one you build together.
That you should always live within driving distance of at least one set of grandparents. And that both are even better.
Dear bride-to-be, don’t forget that while you’re about to become a twosome, the world still needs the very unique personality of you. And that in order to make your marriage do more than float, you’re going to have to agree to paddle. Sometimes upstream. Sometimes alone. Always with the same destination in mind. I pray you’ll make it there together.
Which is something I’ve been able to do for the past eleven years with my best friend, and have never regretted a stroke yet.
Grace and good wishes, dear one.
Bring on the bride.