This past summer, I enjoyed a fun evening with my three best friends. All of us were each other’s bridesmaids at our weddings. As we consumed lots of scrumptious food and wine, we told many stories and made plenty of jokes, laughing raucously at our wit. Our exuberant talk turned to our past four weddings, including the scenes where we needed each other, the funny moments and the speeches that touched us. I asked my friends if they would ever change anything about their wedding day. I was expecting neutral answers like, “the food” or “the seating plan,” but instead each woman around that table had significant advice. They provided pearls of wedding wisdom that are universal to every woman approaching her wedding.

Take time with those you love
One friend recalled the many tasks of the wedding day. In the morning, the four of us had a strawberry pancake breakfast. We had champagne and got showered for the spa. After three hours at the spa getting our hair and makeup done, a driver picked us up and took us to her parent’s house. We dressed, the photographer arrived and just like that she was getting married. She says, “It sounds so horrible, but I think that I only saw my mother for a total of 25 minutes that day. I should have found time with her. My dad walked me down the aisle, so we had our special moment. But the day was so busy that time alone with my mom and brothers, those closest to me, didn’t happen.” Although it seems like an obvious thing, make sure to take the time with your closest family members and friends and really appreciate them on your special wedding day.

Returning to normal
My other friend comes from a very large family and so does her husband. Their guest list was a cool 350! She remembered noticing that as they drew closer to the big day, their parents and siblings began to act very strange. “We are very lucky to have great families that actually like each other! But they began to get jealous of each other and demanding with me. At first, I was cranky right back! Then, as my husband and I discussed it we realized that the joining of our two families was not only a bit nerve-racking for us, but for our families as well and we had not considered their feelings.”

Parents/ in-laws may be concerned with their new place in your life. They are also concerned about hosting a welcoming and joyous day – and we all know how hard it is to please a particular picky or surly relative. My friend’s wise advice is that members of your family may act out or act strange. This bad behavior is often a result of nerves. Life will return to normal after the excitement dies down.


Finally, my third friend gave this advice: “I think it is crucial to be clear on what you expect. Not what your friends or your family want, but what you and your groom want. It is a template for your marriage.” During her wedding planning she tried to meet everyone’s desires. “It can lead to resentment and regret.”

Weddings are challenging to plan because the bride and groom want to please everyone and give everyone a special role. Discuss each wedding decision with your partner and define what you want on your wedding day. Be realistic. Communicate with your family and party. Let them know that you hope to include them all but that you are in charge. Be clear about your expectations so that others are not let down. This lesson of communication is not only wise for the wedding day, but for building a strong marriage.

The sun began to set. We finished dessert and polished off the wine. The table fell comfortably quiet for a moment as it can with good friends. Each woman was caught up in memories of her wedding day. Then one of our more candid friends quipped, “Now,” she sighed for dramatic effect, “Who’s ready to give honeymoon advice?” We laughed until the sun finished setting.

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