Spending last week in Mexico, at the resort where Doug and I were married got me thinking a lot about my own wedding day. I got to stay in a room just like the one I got ready in, walk past the places where Doug and I took photos together, stand on the spot where we exchanged vows, and visit ( and dance at!) the site of our reception. It was very magical and brought back a flood of happy memories.
The actual day of your wedding can go by in a blur. I have had friends tell me that they barely remember the details of their wedding day. One even asked me, “was my wedding fun? I have no idea.” I had the complete opposite experience with my own wedding. After months and months of planning I was able to truly step back, be fully present in the moment and enjoy every second of it. The wonderful and slightly sad part about a wedding is that it is likely the only time in your life where all of your most beloved people will be in the same place at once. It is an incredible feeling to be surrounded by that much love, and it would be a shame not to fully enjoy it.
These are some of the things that helped me truly experience each and every moment of my wedding day; I hope they do the same for you!
The morning of my wedding was stormy and threatening rain. Not good for an entirely outdoor wedding by the beach. In order to calm my nerves and focus my energy for the day ahead I started with a wonderful private yoga class with my sister in law. We worked a lot on heart opening poses, which were very appropriate for the day. We also worked up a good sweat, which got my blood flowing, and truly woke me up. After our yoga class I treated myself to a massage. A really good massage will help with any wedding day stress you may have physically, mentally and emotionally. I highly recommend it.
While on most mornings my usual breakfast is a green juice or two, the morning of my wedding I knew I needed something a little more substantial. Between hair and makeup, photographs, the ceremony, and cocktail hour I knew it would be many hours before I had a chance to eat. I ordered half an avocado from room service and used the cinnamon and stevia I had brought with me to make this Avocado Pudding. The healthy, plant based fat of the avocado gave me the satiety I needed without making me feel too full and bloated. I had to fit into my wedding dress after all!
A Quiet Space
Wedding days can be very busy and chaotic. Knowing that I wanted to stay calm, centered and focused all day I made sure to create some quiet, alone time for myself before the festivities. Before I started getting my hair and makeup done I took a long, hot shower and then just sat for a few minutes alone to think and reflect on the day ahead. In the room where I had my hair and makeup done there was just me, my mother, my sister, and my hair and makeup artist (who is a dear friend). Although I adore my friends I had my bridesmaids get ready in a separate room of our villa in order to keep things serene where I was. They were close enough that they could pop by and visit, but having them in a separate room allowed them to drink champagne and party while I got myself together. I realize this is not for everyone. Some people thrive in chaos, with lots of people around. It’s about knowing yourself and what works best for you. If getting dressed with ten women around you make you feel calm and happy then that is what you should do!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Even though the task of using the ladies room in a wedding dress is daunting, I didn’t let that keep me from staying very hydrated. It was hot in Mexico and even more so in a long wedding dress. I made sure to drink plenty of water in the hours before the ceremony, knowing that once you start to feel thirsty it is too late- you are already dehydrated. I also had some coconut water (fresh from the source) which is incredible in aiding hydration. Having to take a friend to the bathroom with me to hold my dress ( hint- when in a wedding dress face forward and lift the dress up… do not attempt to sit normally) was a small price to pay for not passing out from dehydration during the ceremony.
A Moment To Reflect
After our ceremony Doug and I took a few moments alone to reflect on the HUGE thing we had just done. It was important for us to have some time just the two of us to celebrate our marriage and the commitment we had just made. Taking a few minutes before we joined our cocktail hour also allowed me to bustle my dress, fix my hair, touch up my makeup and give my feet a break. If you do choose to take a moment to yourselves ( you should) I also suggest having a plate of hors d’oeuvres sent to you. By the time you get to cocktail hour it may be winding down and you might not be able to sample all the delicious food you chose!
Have a Secret Word
During the chaos of a wedding celebration it can be hard to take it all in. Doug and I came up with a secret word that just the two of us knew. Whenever one of us said that word to each other it meant we were asking to stop, breath, take it all in and enjoy the moment. We both employed our secret word a few times over the course of the evening in order to help the other be more present. A secret word could also be used when one of you is feeling overwhelmed and needs a “time out” from the party.
So many people complain about not getting to eat dinner at their own wedding. Going from table to table and greeting your guests can take a lot of time and usually the bride and groom do not get to enjoy the food they picked at their tasting. Because ours was a destination wedding and we had seen and greeted everyone several times already, Doug and I were able to sit down and enjoy our entire meal. I realize that this is not the case for everyone, and that the reception is the first time most couples will be seeing their guests. However, even if it is just for ten minutes I highly suggest taking the time to sit down and eat something. Not only will it help fuel you for the rest of the evening but it allows you to fully experience your wedding- not just be a spectator.
Take it Easy with the Booze
I made a rule for myself before our wedding. No drinking for me until the cake was cut! Between the heat, limited amount of food, and adrenaline I knew that just one drink could quickly make me tipsy. Nothing is worse than a drunk bride. Nothing. However once the cake was cut I knew that the formalities of the evening were over and I could let loose. Even then I was very very careful to limit my alcoholic drinks and to drink lots of water. Being drunk or even very tipsy at my wedding would have kept me from really being there and fully enjoying it. Also, being spared the hangover my guests were suffering at brunch the next morning was great! Ok, I had a tiny hangover, just a tiny one.
I hope these tips help you fully experience your wedding day, each and every moment of it. I know I love looking at my album and remembering every detail, which may not have been the case if I had not made a huge effort to be truly present!