Ok, so I don't have a daughter. We don't know if the bun that's cooking is a boy bun or a girl bun, but it doesn't matter. Even if I never have a daughter, I'll probably one day have a daughter in law. And I'll try to remember that even if we get along better than any mother and daughter in law in the history of the world, there's always going to be a line as to how much advice I can give her before she starts complaining to my son about how I won't stop putting my nose in her business and could he please talk to me and tell me to knock it off already.
So here's what I'm thinking. D and I have our 3rd anniversary coming up on February 2. It feels like we've been married for much longer than that, and I truly mean that in the best way possible. And I've been thinking about our wedding and how amazing it was and how I was such a naive fool about so many things. And that got me to thinking about what I'd do differently. And then I thought I'd write a blog post about it, so one day, when my son is getting ready to get married, I can casually drop into conversation about how I once wrote a blog and wow, what a brilliant idea, why don't you check it out, future daughter in law? And I'll conveniently have this post all pulled up and ready to go. (Note to daughter in law: Obviously my brilliant plan is now completely foiled because you're reading this, so just humor me, ok?)
So, my future daughter (and/or daughter in law), here are some things I wish I would have known when I was getting married, as well as some things that I think are helpful for a young bride to know.
- If someone buys you some nice pots and pans that are anything better than cheap, do not return them. Even if you still need so many things for the house and you could return the pots and pans to get cheaper pots and pans and some other stuff you need, don't do it. Trust me. Good pots and pans are so easy to take for granted. In fact, what I'm going to do for you is save the pots and pans that D and I currently own so that you can cook with them and see what a difference there is between nice pots and pans and crappy pots and pans. (Did you ever think it would be possible to say the phrase "pots and pans" so often in just a few sentences?) Trust me, keep the nice pots and pans.
- Same thing as above, except for bed sheets. Nice bed sheets are a true luxury, and unless you are starting out with all your financial ducks in a row and have plenty of excess money, you will probably not be buying yourself nice sheets for at least 10 years (possibly longer). If you find yourself needing sheets within the first 10 years of marriage, you'll end up at Target and you'll be like, "What?!? $70 for sheets? No thanks, I'll go with the jersey sheets that feel just like a nice t-shirt for $20." (On a related note, those jersey sheets suck. Yeah, they are soft, but they stretch out like mad and I don't recommend that you purchase them unless you like waking up to find that you are laying on your bare mattress because the stupid sheet stretched out so much that the corner popped off in the middle of the night.)
- Don't stress about the little details of wedding planning. For about 2 months when I was planning my wedding, I was obsessed with the idea of getting colored contacts because I wanted my eyes to look super blue in my pictures. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that my insurance wouldn't cover them because I'd already gotten glasses that year. Now that I look back on that, I realize how ridiculous it was to want to alter the color of my eyes for a day. And how everyone would be coming up to me and commenting on how my eyes look frighteningly blue, instead of commenting on how gorgeous my dress was.
- Speaking of my dress, I can't imagine it ever looking old or out-dated, but chances are that by the time you are getting married, it will be both. This will likely be partially due to the fact that I am cheap and still can't bring myself to get it preserved, but it's on my list of goals for the next 5 years, so hopefully it will get done eventually. But I promise, I'll never pressure you to wear it. If you want to, I'd be thrilled and honored, but I would never dream of trying to deprive you of the joy of trying on wedding dresses and finding the one that seems as though it was made for you. All I ask is that you let me come along once or twice. I promise not to be annoying or overbearing. I just love wedding dresses!
- I know I said don't stress the small stuff. But the big stuff (i.e. reception venue and photographer) is worth sweating. Don't settle for less than what you want. If you'd like to hear a story emphasizing this, just ask D (your dad/future father in law) about our wedding cake and what I thought about it. Seriously, ask him. Don't ask me, because even now, 3 years later, I still get whipped into a tizzy just thinking about it and how it wasn't AT ALL what I asked for and how the heck could the bakery even screw it up when I brought a freaking picture for the love of pete and we spent 45 minutes talking about the details and how they are lucky that it tasted so damn good because if it hadn't I probably would have gone bridezilla on their butts. I hope that in the roughly 23+ years it will be until your wedding that I've gotten over it, but you never know.
- Take a honeymoon. I don't care how broke you are, make this one of your top priorities. It doesn't have to be a big, elaborate trip - it can be anything. But just do it. I promise you, if you're thinking you're not going to take a honeymoon right now, whatever reasons are currently holding you back will only get worse and harder to overcome after you get married. Money and time only get harder to come by after you've tied the knot. And some new reasons are likely to present themselves once you do get married (like babies, for instance). And let me tell you, those new reasons are a lot harder to work around than the reasons you currently have.
But, if you really, truly can't take a trip right now because you can't get enough time off work or you honestly don't have the money, then at the very least, please put down a non-refundable deposit on a trip that is booked for sometime in the next year. Because if you just get married and say you're going to take a trip for your 1-year anniversary but don't take actual steps to book that trip, you probably won't do it. But really, there is nothing that can compare to taking a vacation immediately after your big day as a freshly married couple. It's awesome and special and amazing. So please, just do it. I don't know where D and I are financially as you're reading this, but I believe in this so passionately that you could probably wrangle at least a little bit of money out of us for the trip. Unless you're our daughter and we're footing the bill for the rest of the wedding. In that case, you're on your own.
- Marry a man who cooks. If you fail on this front, then know how to cook or prepare at least 10 meals that can be passed off as dinners before you get married. You won't regret it. And if you already know how to do this, where did you learn it from? Because it sure as heck wasn't from from me. And if you're marrying my son, he probably doesn't know how to cook since I'm his mother, so you're going to have to take the reigns in the kitchen.
- No matter how long you're married before you have children, savor each moment that is just you and your husband. Children are wonderful blessings and you will never regret having them. But the special time where it is just you and your husband is something you won't ever get back. So enjoy it and learn from it and love each other with all that you've got. Because let me tell you, kids are the biggest game changer you could possibly imagine.
- Don't argue too much over the guest list. Don't let it get out of control, but choose your battles. If it's really important to your future husband that his best friend from junior high whom he hasn't spoken to in 12 years is there, maybe just give him a pass and let him invite the guy. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't a big deal to tack on two more names to the list. And if your husband is anything like D, you might want to save your vetoes for more important things like what silverware to register for. Because he might surprise you and have deep, abiding opinions about such things that differ from your own.
- And above all else, if you ever find yourself thinking, "I just can't wait for this whole thing to be over" at any point in the planning process, take a step back and regroup. NOTHING (not one, single detail - except maybe the church and the priest) about your wedding day is so important that you should stress so much that you're wishing the day would just come and go. All that matters is that you are going to marry the man that you love. That is it. Because truly, in the grand scheme of things, it really is just one day, and whatever is causing you panic or anxiety will probably matter very minimally on the actual day. Never let it get away from the true importance of the day - your MARRIAGE. Not your wedding. Your wedding is important, but your marriage is infinitely more-so. And if you're to the point where you're thinking how happy you'll be once the day is all over, there's a good chance that you've lost sight of that. So do everything in your power to get back to that center.
I hope this was helpful! I'm super pumped for the wedding. I love weddings. And if I am ever getting too overbearing and involved in the process, just let me know and I'll try to contain myself. Just know that I really do mean well. You can be 97% sure that anything I'm doing that is annoying is not on purpose and is not meant to piss you off.
Love, Mom (or future mom)