The Storm Before the Calm

story, update, weddingVirginia HartComment

thestormbeforethecalm copy

^^^ work station in my parents' loft.

I know the saying is the calm before the storm, but when I think back to our wedding it was really the opposite.

Before I left for Virginia (the Sunday before the wedding), things felt chaotic in New York with a lot of loose ends to tie up. It didn't help that my head noise was competing with that around us. The building next door started a renovation that involved drilling right outside our bedroom. That same week, a plumber had to use some loud contraption to tear apart our kitchen sink one eventful morning, our smoke detector activated at 3AM in a screaming voice (they can talk now?!) notifying us that our batteries needed changed (note to self: store batteries in an easier-to-find location), and a child down the hall was apparently gifted a drum set just to make things fun :)

Prepping for a wedding is a lot of work, no matter how hands-on you are with the details. Inevitably, there are tasks that can't be completed until the very last minute so it's a bit of a scramble there at the end. One thing Patrick and I both discovered was how many times people asked, Are you ready? I found myself unsure how to answer that. Am I ready to marry Patrick? Yes. Have been for years. Am I ready as in, am I excited? YES I MIGHT BURST! Am I ready as in, have I finished everything there is to be done? Don't ask me that ;)

You will also be reminded several times that things will go wrong no matter what. And they will, both before and during the wedding. There will be last minute changes and surprises and little things that happen just to make it all a tad more tricky. I have a vision of us in Virginia that week...we had just left the car repair place as my mom's car had a flat tire. Earlier that day, the elevator in their loft broke down riiiiight when we needed to get all of our wedding things (and 100 welcome bags) downstairs. We had just realized we left my mom's phone at a store 20 minutes away while I received an email that the seating chart needed to change yet again. Meanwhile, my brothers were about to point out that one of the pumpkins I had spray painted for the reception (I had a moment outside of Whole Foods where that seemed like a necessary addition to our to-do list) looked like a boob. Cue delirious giggling. All you can do!

People will also remind you that at some point, you have to let things go and enjoy the moment. It's so true. It can feel pretty overwhelming and stressful leading up to a wedding, but you can't let it deny you the joy of the occasion. To help, I was the obnoxious bride who sent out color-coded itineraries and contact sheets to those involved in our wedding. I know myself and I knew it would allow me to hand over the baton. I didn't want to be the source of information if that makes any sense. I needed to take the wedding planner hat off and put the veil on, so to speak. My phone was still beeping off the hook with texts and emails from friends and vendors and it felt so nice when I finally decided to leave it buried on silent in my purse. I figured my trusty spreadsheets could help answer anything important (or someone on the contact sheet could!) and I could focus on relishing in the fun. And did I ever!

Before I tell you about the best day of my life, I wanted to list 5 helpful tips of advice I received as a bride:

1. Drink extra water that day. (Katie, I think you wrote this in an Instagram comment and I found myself noticing how important that advice was. Thank you!) Your body/mind/emotions go into a different mode that day. You need it.

2. Take care of yourself the week before. Despite taking an Ambien the night before the wedding, I didn't sleep. At all. It felt like I was six-years-old and it was Christmas Eve and I had a feeling Santa was about to drop off the Polly Pocket I had been coveting for months and there was absolutely no way I could turn off my excitement. I remember asking my sister at 6AM, Do I take another Ambien? ("Oh dear, no!") Thankfully, I had really made it a point to take care of myself the days leading up. I was fortunate in that I was home and not working on other things that week so I made it a point to eat well, exercise, and get 8 hours of sleep each night which was huge for me. If I hadn't, I probably would have felt much more sluggish that day. I also didn't drink at our rehearsal dinner which helped!

3. Get a videographer. So much of the day is a blur. I cannot express how thankful I am that we will not only have photographs to cherish for years to come, but videos! Priceless!

4. Take a second after the ceremony (or at some point) to stand with your groom/partner in a hidden place from everyone else for a little time-out to look at one another and squeal and hug and tell each other everything going through your head. Patrick and I chose not to see one another until I walked down the aisle so we had this moment in a stairwell of the church right after the ceremony. It was funny because we forgot Patrick still had a microphone on his jacket (for the videographer!) so he came running in at one point to remove it :) Who knows what he recorded us saying!

5. Take mental photographs. I feel as if I failed at this advice as I remember more feelings from the wedding day than specific images, but I have one very distinct visual memory from our rehearsal dinner we had on The Corner at UVA. My mental photograph was my last dance as a single an alley. Patrick and I had signed up for dance lessons to choreograph a little routine for our first dance and we really wanted to practice one last time so we snuck out of the party and walked into an alley that led to a parking lot. During our second box-step, I had this visual of us - almost as if I was watching from above - all gussied up and twirling about. I suddenly remembered that the first night I met Patrick, we were standing in the very same place and he was rambling about something (wish I could remember what), but I do remember looking at him and thinking, I like him. Flash forward nearly a decade...and I'm having my last single-girl dance right there...with the love of my life...the night before our wedding. I'll never forget it.