Monday, June 16, 2008

'Tis the Season

Ah, spring.

As soon as the snow melts, I'm reminded of the approaching wedding season. Traditionally, once April ends, the wedding invitations start rolling in. I recently celebrated my second wedding anniversary, and our May long-weekend wedding in 2006 was perfect. No fear of poor attendance due to snow storms, no embarrassment and discomfort from excessive perspiration due to summer humidity.

And again, this spring did not disappoint. Not only did I receive an invitation to the sure-to-be-beautiful wedding of a good friend, but I got some very exciting news in the past few days: my little sister is getting married! Yay! And, also very exciting, she has asked me to stand in the wedding. For most 29-year-olds, this might be cause to groan at the thought of adding yet another hideous taffeta dress to the back of the coat closet for eternity, but not me. Believe it or not, I've never stood in a wedding before, and I'm pumped.

As a bridesmaid, you get to wear a pretty dress and carry flowers, only instead of paying for 200 meals and still going hungry for fear of spilling something on your gown, you get a stress-free, cost-free meal and a night of dancing. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Since I've been in her shoes and might have a few words of wisdom, I'll be helping plan certain parts of my sister's wedding, as required. Most brides know what they want and won't settle for anything less than what they feel is important. God bless them, every one. Unfortunately, as any post-wedding bride will tell you, what you think will be important often isn't, and the things you overlook can sometimes be the most important things of all.

Take decorations, for example. I wasn't satisfied until I had wrapped thousands of tiny chocolates in delicate foil (the color of which matched the bridesmaid dresses, of course), and had placed these chocolates on each table in little glass bowls filled with perfectly coordinated flower petals. Wrap your brain around the manpower involved in that little detail. A detail which, as should have been expected, fell on blind eyes - people grabbed the chocolates, drove them into their open gob, and threw the foil wrapper over their shoulder without a second thought. Being an excited bride, I put way too much thought and labor into that one project, thinking foolishly that people would pick up the candies and admire the workmanship. Who was I kidding.

So if I may, I'd like to offer a few tips to the ladies who are tirelessly planning their all-important wedding.

First and foremost, don't skimp or make any sacrifices when it comes to your pictures. I know it's expensive, but it's by far the best investment you'll make. Trust me, the day will fly by so fast, you won't even remember it the following afternoon, and all you'll have left are the images to remind you. Make a video if you can. If you can't afford a professional, get one or two reliable friends to take along their camcorder. I watch mine often, to remember the music, the nervous laughter, and the look on the groom's face when I walked down the aisle. (That's my favorite part, and it will probably be yours, too.) The opportunity to look back on that day is truly priceless.

Don't sweat the small stuff. The little details you're worrying so much about will go unnoticed to 99% of the guests, so don't worry if the small glasses of tomato juice clash with the centerpieces; you're the only one who cares. If the ring bearer drops the pillow and starts to cry, big deal; you'll laugh about it the week after. If your curls are falling out on the way to the church, if you can't find your best lipstick, if you got a dot of mascara on your dress, don't burst into tears; as long as your groom shows up, the little things don't matter. Everyone thinks you and your wedding are gorgeous. The people who don't just suck and shouldn't be there anyway.

Further to that, enjoy your day. Laugh with your friends and chat with people you don't see very often. Have a plate of food and a piece of your cake - you likely paid through the nose for it, so you might as well reap the benefits. Kick off your uncomfortable shoes so you can dance the night away. Try to steal a moment alone with the person you just married. Don't let your wedding ruin your Wedding Day. With any luck, you'll only do it once, so have a great time.

Here's to all the brides and grooms, and may you have an awesome wedding.