I married my husband one year ago today. In a little Catholic chapel in the middle of the Texas Hill Country, surrounded by the people we love most in this world. And while I couldn’t have imagined a more glorious wedding weekend for both of us, I refuse to acknowledge September 19, 2015 as the best day of my life.
Growing up, like many girls before me, I dreamt of my wedding day. Of what it would feel like to be escorted down the aisle by my father, to be the one wearing the beautiful white ball gown. The weddings I went to as a kid fueled my romantic hopes for the future, and being as drawn to beauty as I always was, I could never take my eyes off of the bride. As I grew a little older, I would find myself wondering what kind of dress I’d look best in, which season I’d like to get married, or what city would provide the prettiest backdrop. Pretty normal stuff for a young woman in the 21st century, no?
But when Scott and I got engaged in January 2015, I promised myself (and him) that I would be the type of bride who focused more on the sacrament of marriage and the meaning of our wedding vows than on the decorative details of our big day. And for a while, I was. I didn’t let myself get swept away by the stress of planning a wedding (in large part due to my saint of a mother, who took the most tedious tasks upon herself), nor did I dwell on every little decision that needed to be made. Instead, I directed my efforts toward finding the right church for us, corresponding with our amazing priests (both of whom I grew close to during this time), completing our marriage prep process, and connecting with my future husband on a daily basis.
But only a few months out—after my dress had come in, our guests had RSVP’d, and shit was getting real—it seemed like the only thing I could think about was the fast-approaching September 19th. What I would look like with my hair and makeup done, if my family and friends would have a good time, whether my dad and I had practiced our dance steps enough times to commit them to memory. Nothing was more important to me than making it to our big day and having it all go perfectly as planned.
As much as I didn’t want to be that bride, it seemed as if the culmination of my entire life would come down to one moment: the moment I said “I do.”
And honestly, who can blame me? As women, we grow up with larger-than-life expectations of our wedding day. From a very young age, we’re programmed by the movies we watch, the books we read, and the culture we live in to believe that the day we get married should be the fairytale ending we’ve always dreamed of, and that every aspect of it should be absolutely flawless.
Congratulations, you’ve found your person and made it official. Enjoy the beauty and romance and strategically planned celebration while it lasts, because it’s pretty much all downhill from here. Right?
No, no, no.
As a former bride and a very happy wife, I’m here to tell you that while your wedding day will always hold a very special place in your heart, it will not be the best day of your life. Walking down the aisle in a white dress will not be the most beautiful you ever look or feel again. The memories made in that 24-hour period will not be the happiest you ever cherish. Saying “I do” will not be the most fulfilling moment you ever experience.
Because to say that it will be—or that it was—is to say that your wedding day is the be-all and end-all of your time on this Earth. And that everything that comes afterwards will most likely pale in comparison. (Right.)
Not sure about you, but I don’t believe for one second that my best years will have transpired as a confused and insecure twenty-something-year-old with the rest of her life still in front of her.
My wedding day was absolutely perfect, by the way. Not because everything went exactly according to plan, or because I was able to throw together the most Pinterest-worthy of weddings. But because the love I felt between Scott and me, and all of the wonderful people who were there to support us, overflowed into every second of our day.
While I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments in the beginning of our marriage that I looked back at our wedding album longingly and wished I could relive the whole weekend, I no longer catch myself thinking those nostalgic thoughts. Why would I? Everything that made our wedding day so special—our family, friends, my beloved—are with me still, continuing to bring joy to my life in so many ways. And when I realized that, I began to understand that life can only get better from here.
Fairytales usually end with a wedding, sure, but real life weddings are not the end of anything. They are only the beginning of more beautiful moments, more cherished memories, and more fulfilling days than you can even imagine.
Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography.