My time as a bride was so amazing - I took it all in, made the most of it and enjoyed every second.
(well mostly, as any bride knows it is a little stressful)
My time as a wife is even better.
Dear Future Brides,
Embrace the planning
It might be a little hectic now but you've waited a long time to be a bride - enjoy the planning steps, that is a huge part of it. When you don't feel like stuffing another invitation or doing another DIY project, remember this is just one phase of your life that only comes once. Enjoy it while you're doing it. It will probably be less overwhelming and stressful if you are happy while you tackle you're never ending to do list.
Use calendars. Use to do lists. Use as many as possible. There are SO many things to remember, dates to remember, tasks to ask people to do to remember, etc. I had a master list for our entire engagement and then a list for each month and as something came to me, I'd just jot it down on that month's list and not worry about it until the first of the month when I reviewed the list. It help keep me organized. And sane.
There's more to life than the wedding
Just because you're getting married and it's the most important time to date of your life, doesn't mean everyone cares as much as you do. Don't get me wrong, everyone is super supportive and interested in what's going on but I liked to always make sure to return the question and ask what's going on in their lives, what's new, etc. Now family is another story - talk their ears off! Ha, kidding! sort of. My family was so great with the wedding process and never got bored of talking about it.
Date nights without wedding talk. It's nice to continue enjoying each other without the wedding talk, make sure not to forget that.
Stick to your opinions
The day you become a bride, everyone is going to have an opinion on what you need to have, how to decorate, what food to serve, songs to pick, etc. Definitely listen to the opinions of the people closest to you that you value their opinion, but don't let other people's opinions get to you. It's YOUR big day, do it your way and don't worry about a thing.
Go with your first instinct
If there's something you can't stop thinking about - just go with that choice and do it. You can probably change it later on but it'll be easier for you if you just commit from the start.
There is a perfect wedding day. Without the perfection
With so much going on, something is bound to go not exactly as you expect it to. Most likely, nobody as all is going to notice what you're unhappy with. Just prepare for something to not go off exactly as planned. If it's something that really bothers you take a couple minutes, a deep breath and a big sip of champagne, get over it and move on to enjoy your big day. Nothing can bring you down - you're marrying your best friend. There are some things you just have no control of. Don't let one little thing cause the day not to be perfect. It's your day - it will be perfect for you.
Leave the wedding week open
Once you hit the wedding month - it's hopefully time to enjoy - but especially the wedding week - do not schedule a lot. You'll most likely have a final dress fitting, beauty appointments, a venue walk through, etc. But the little things like welcome bags, DIY projects, centerpieces, any unnecessary appointments - schedule at least two weeks before. The week before our wedding was probably the calmest week in the planning process - we went away to the lake for the holiday weekend, had a date night out, family dinner, welcomed our friends into town a night early and e n j o y e d the excitement and anticipation. If I could pick any tip to especially pay attention to, it would be this one.
That day. The day. Your big day.
Plan the ceremony to start 10 minutes later than what's on your invitation. Not to mention getting both the male and female bridal parties to the church but all the guests have to arrive to! I've learned that some guests are definitely going to take the start time on the invitation as the time to arrive to the church or venue. Giving yourself a couple extra minutes will help you stay on track. For example - the invitation says the ceremony starts at 3pm - have it set up with the vendors, bridal party, etc. that you, the bride, will walk down the aisle at 3:10 - this will definitely help stay on track.
Don't let it pass you by. You'll probably go crazy with the amount of people that tell you "the day is a blur" but it really is! The best thing we did was sit down at our sweetheart table for less than five minutes and just sat, sipped a drink and w a t c h e d our family and friends having so much fun. It always sticks out in my mind when I remember the day as well as a couple other times we took to just catch our breath. (someone actually walked up to our table and said why aren't you dancing, it's your day -- little did they know how much we were enjoying ourselves).
Definitely get a pair of flip flops the same height as your heels - nobody can see your feet at the reception and you're going to want to be comfortable dancing. Make sure to get the same height as your heels so your dress doesn't drag.
Don't expect to have a pep in your step the next day
A wedding dress is a heavy dress to wear. A big bouquet of flowers are heavy to hold. High heels are going to hurt your feel. You'll probably be running on little sleep. Your throat might hurt from all the talking (I lost my voice!). Don't expect to wake up the day after your wedding feeling like a million bucks. If your leaving immediately for your honeymoon, maybe don't plan anything your first day away - if you have a day to spare, definitely enjoy that extra day at home. We had all our friends and family still in town over for a low key BBQ.
Being a wife is better than being a bride
After the huge excitement of the wedding, it might be a slight let down that all the activity is over. That won't last long (if at all) because being a wife is so much better than being a bride. It's the best. And besides - you can have your new husband refer to you as his bride for the rest of your life, I love that.