The gifts have been unwrapped, the cards opened, the veil put away, and the dress dropped off at the cleaners. The honeymoon has come and gone, a blissful week spent amongst coconut trees and rainforests in Costa Rica. Reality has set back in after more than a year of wedding planning, and I'm not suffering from those "post-wedding blues" that everyone talks about.
Don't get me wrong -- our wedding was the most amazing day, surrounded by loving family and friends, set to the soundtrack of slammin' '90s hits all night long. I wouldn't trade a second of it for anything else. But I won't lie to you. The morning after our wedding, I woke up with this incredible lightness. Was it because I just married the love of my life? Yes. Was it also because the biggest stressor of my life for the past year and a half was now over and I could go back to real life? Yes, yes, yes, a million times, yes. As my husband and I drove away from the bed and breakfast we stayed at in our small hometown, I couldn't help but think with insatiable giddiness, it's over. Thank God. And then right after that, oh my goodness. I just had a year-long panic attack over a mere 12 hours. TWELVE HOURS. Dear lord.
I'm an anxious person by nature. I hardly ever sleep a full night without waking up like five times, I'm prone to panic, and big changes freak me out. Throw something like planning a wedding on top of all that, and you're looking at a full-blown basket case by the time the shindig rolled around. I can recount actual nightmares I have had about mundane things like rental chairs not showing up, or ordering pizza for the reception because the food was missing (actually, pizza might have been pretty cool, but dream Alex wasn't having it) or worse, no one dancing and just glumly sitting at their tables. One morning, the week of the wedding, I completely missed my train stop on the way to work, my head somewhere up in the wedding clouds. I was sure I was going slightly insane. You can call my mother and she will attest to this. The poor woman fielded many a panicked wedding call, mostly about things on the below list. (Sorry, mom. I love you!)
1. Stop worrying so much about the damn weather.
In the three weeks leading up to my outdoor wedding, I became an expert in online weather sites, ranging from Accuweather to WeatherSpark to The Weather Channel to WeatherBug... I could keep going. I reached a point where I was spending a solid 30 minutes at a time weather sleuthing, jumping seamlessly from site to site and map to map. I suffered so much angst when it was forecasted approximately 15 days out that there would be a 70 percent chance of rain (depending on which site that I was looking at) on the day of the wedding. Because you know, 15 days out is a completely accurate amount of time to forecast the weather. (Hint: It's not. Please don't take that forecast seriously.) Checking the weather became so second nature that I was still watching weather reports and checking weather apps the morning of the wedding when the sun was streaming through my windows. You know, just in case.
2. You are the only person who will notice if one thing goes wrong.
Luckily for us, nothing really "went wrong" during the day. There were a few minor hiccups that only my husband and I noticed. For example, I spent so much time in the months before worrying over the outdoor sound system so that both my cousin could play our ceremony music and our officiant could have a microphone to use. I found a small, portable, battery-powered guitar amp, specifically with a mic input so that my cousin could play his guitar, and we could plug a mic in for our officiant to be heard. I was standing across from my husband and after getting over the shock of, you know, walking down the aisle, this thought flashed (very quickly) through my head:
....Where's the microphone? Can people hear? Oh, well. Can't fix it now.
The microphone my cousin brought didn't end up working, and there had been no time to get a new one. The ceremony went on as is, our officiant's voice booming without a mic. The whole ceremony was still beautiful. Moral of the story: just calm down. It's all going to be fine.
3. Don't care about what other people will think of your wedding.
I come from an Italian background where one Sunday dinner feeds you and your entire extended family, plus the neighbors and whoever else you feel like, for a week because all you do is just eat all. day. long. There's a reason that stereotypes exist about Italian weddings. Our wedding was the antithesis to your typical Italian grandeur -- I spent more time than I should have worried about what my extended family would think about my small-ish, outdoor, non-religious (read: not Catholic) ceremony with a reception at our local brewery where we had cocktail food and a taco bar. I'm not really sure why I focused so much energy on the judgements of everyone else when at the end of the day, I knew that my husband and I LOVED the wedding that we had planned. That really should have been good enough for me -- it would have saved me a lot of needless anxiety.
Everything about our wedding was perfect to me. I loved watching my 10-year-old sister dance with my husband, I loved spending time with both of our families, and I loved the fact that I both laughed and cried when we said our vows. It was a beautiful, magical day -- and I never, ever, ever want to do it again.