Sitting in a black party van, hands interlocked with my fiancé as we looked out on the rainy Alys Beach streets, all I could think was, “This is most certainly not the best day of my life.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because the man sitting beside me wasn’t the man of my dreams. And it isn’t because my parents didn’t pull out all the stops to make sure the day was filled with my every desire. From the time I woke up on October 26—my wedding day—it seemed like every single thing was going wrong.
First, one of my wonderful bridesmaids walked to my bedside to inform me that in the neighboring bedroom, one of my other wonderful bridesmaids was throwing up. How wonderful. Next, I opened the curtains and saw the worst—rain clouds. Now, I don’t mean to be dramatic but this was, in my mind, a natural disaster. I had long dreamed of a sunny, fall wedding day in my favorite park in my favorite place. That was out the window. Then the flower crowns for my bridesmaids didn’t happen, my dogs were misbehaving for the handler, the cakes were completely wrong, and the list goes on. I’ll spare you all the nitpicky details.
And I know this story should be a shining example of how positivity wins out but I have to say, as I fought through the mishaps and general overwhelming nature of the day, I just kept reminiscing on the better moments I had already experienced with my amazing fiancé: concerts, that one trip to Disney World, afternoons with our puppies, days at the beach.
This brings me to my point: Your wedding day doesn’t define you—not as a person for the colors you chose for your flowers or for the cut of your dress, and not as a couple for the vows you choose or for the choreography of your first dance. That stuff is nice, but in the end it doesn’t matter.
My parents have long told tales of the horrors of their big day. I always thought, “That will never be me.” But following my own wedding day, I’m left realizing that for 24 years I overlooked the point of my parents’ stories.
My father and mother are the two happiest married people I have ever encountered. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they love each other more than seems possible. I have always admired this about them. Their wedding day was made complete with a lackluster photographer, no air-conditioning in June, an overly talkative best man, and even theft at the money dance. But 27 years later, those details just don’t matter.
I know it’s often said that the wedding doesn’t make the marriage, but I feel like that gets lost in the planning process. It becomes all about the chairs, the tablecloths, the lights and “If I don’t get that floral arch I will die.” But this is my PSA to all brides-to-be: It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t. In the end, you will have married the man of your dreams, even if it was with frizzy hair in 90-degree weather with a long-sleeve wedding dress. Just be sure to look for the rainbow because there is so much more to come.