Well, dear reader, I’ve done it: I got married. And it was a process. So for one last time, in two installments, I’m plumbing the depths of my personal bridal experience in hopes that it might assist other brides or grooms “destined” to tread this same fraught path.
For first-timers, wedding days feel a little like a first pregnancy. There’s all this uncertainty, anxiety, reading up, and planning… And everyone doing it has never done it before, so we’re super freaked out. But ultimately, giving birth is a medical event and the beginning of a life, and a wedding is pretty much just a big party, so it should be way more fun. However, of everything I’ve been told about tying the knot, one resonant statement has proven a universal truth: Weddings are stressful.
It doesn’t matter how well you’ve planned. Whether it’s 40 people or 200. Whether it’s in your cousin’s backyard or an opulent, inclusive resort. It’s one day where you’re trying to get more than two people in a room, so it’s inherently a logistical nightmare. Then add in a whole lot of emotional, familial baggage and a horrific earring incident…
The stakes are high—ideally, you only get married once—so even if you’re not a bridezilla obsessed with everything going perfectly, there’s still a lot of pressure. Multiple times during the days before our wedding, my husband and I found ourselves asking—why does anyone do this?
Now a wedding of any shape or form is taxing. But a destination wedding is even more so. It all comes down to the lack of control. You’ll never get it all right: you can’t control the weather, other people’s behavior, global pandemics, and any other number of random factors that impact a one-day event. But at least when you live in the same region as your venue, you might be able to do some more fact-finding or have an easier time with backup plans. Adding travel to a remote location makes it all way more daunting.
Having survived—and thrived!—in a destination wedding of my own just a handful of days ago, I wanted to share my top “do’s and don’ts” for those who might be planning their own day soon. Ya know—the stuff I wish I’d let go of or considered sooner, in hopes it reaches one of you. To build some suspense, I’ll be back with that next week.
Until then, I wanted to leave you with the biggest lesson: let go of that image in your mind of what your wedding should be and allow your wedding to be what it is. If you’re focused on what’s wrong or lacking, you’ll miss out on what actually matters: the moments of connection, of building new, lifelong memories, of being surrounded by friends and family, and of celebrating love—and beach tennis (more about this—and how Rihanna and Beethoven can mix next week). Rain or shine, smooth sailing or rough, the day is yours, and the little things that go wrong just add to the charm and the story. Like marriage, you’ll just have to accept it for better or worse—and the more you mentally prepare for that, the happier you’ll be.
See you next week for the definitive list!