Since I got married and experienced a wedding day as the bride, I’ve had such a deeper understanding of what my sweet clients are probably feeling as their wedding day gets under way and I wanted to share my absolute best advice for nervous brides. This is the day you’ve spent countless hours pouring over every last detail for, making sure your guests feel loved and accommodated, trying to surprise your future spouse with little things here and there that they might not have expected but you can’t wait to see their reaction for… there are so many precious elements that tie into a wedding day and I get it now.

I mean, I used to actually wonder, “What could they possibly be nervous about?” Let’s all take a moment and laugh at my sweet, blissful naivety/ignorance. What wasn’t there to be jittery about on my wedding day?! Here are a few little speed bumps we encountered…

  • A tropical storm changed track overnight and decided to brew over top of our wedding venue… all day
  • Justin had an allergy attack from our rehearsal dinner at the venue, meaning his eyes were so red and puffy he could barely keep them open… perfect, just the look we were going for
  • We chose to have a mini destination wedding, meaning everyone was traveling a minimum of 3 hours to attend our wedding… no pressure 
  • One of our wedding vendors decided not to show up when their scheduled time came around… and then didn’t show up at all

Before my wedding day arrived, I kept saying, “It’s not WHETHER something will go wrong, it’s WHAT will go wrong!” I knew from being a wedding vendor and attending many wedding days before my own that something was bound to veer a little off course, I just didn’t know what that something would be. Most of it ended up being things I didn’t even think to be nervous about before the wedding day! So what does that mean now that I know what it’s like firsthand to have things go wrong and still be a completely blissful bride who can’t believe she gets to marry the love of her life…?

I find myself giving the same important advice to all of my couples before their wedding days when it naturally comes up in conversation as we’re talking about nerves and excitement and anxiousness and all the things. Brides, it’s totally and completely normal to be nervous. It’s totally and completely normal to be beyond nervous, too. If you’re struggling to sleep at night in the weeks leading up to your wedding, that’s normal. If your to do list has 190 items on it in the weeks leading up to your wedding, that’s normal. If you feel so anxious that you can’t get more than a single chicken nugget down in the days leading up to your wedding, that’s normal. If you forget to eat your entire wedding weekend, that’s normal. Maybe not every single bride experiences this level of nerves, but I did. I was about to marry the guy I had been in love with for nearly 7 years and I just wanted this event that so many of our family and friends were traveling to to be memorable and enjoyable for them and also for us. There was so much planning, little details, checking off boxes like “have so and so bring 3 coolers” and “pack pens for guestbook signing” that you don’t even think about before it’s the month of your wedding and you’re scrambling to get everything in order so that things can run smoothly and everyone can just have fun when the day finally arrives.

It’s okay to be nervous/anxious/a complete basket case and it’s NORMAL. It’s okay to refresh the weather app 52 times the night before your wedding and have a silent panic attack. It’s okay to make a list of 42 things that still need to get done 3 days before your wedding. It’s okay to have a mini-meltdown when your sister lovingly attempts to steam the wrinkles out of your rehearsal dinner dress and sink water spills out from the steamer and all over your dress material five minutes before you’re supposed to leave for your rehearsal. What’s not okay is losing sight of why all of this is happening in the first place.

Thankfully, I didn’t allow my nerves (and all the mishaps/series of unfortunate events) to stop me from having an amazing and memorable wedding day and wedding weekend. Nothing is ever going to be perfect when it comes to such a large scale event with so many variables. It’s wise to know and accept the fact that something is going to go wrong, whether that’s the limo breaking down as it climbs the final hill to the church, the lace trim of your dress ripping after a guest steps on it, or your bartenders not showing up. This is a wedding. This is life. And… dare I say it? This is marriage.

You know the absolute best part of our wedding day? It was when after staring out of the window all morning at the rain pouring down, barely nibbling on my omelette that the cafe took 30 minutes to make (resulting in us already starting the day running behind), getting up to go to the bathroom 8 times in an hour because I was so nervous… after all of that, I got to just see Justin. I couldn’t wait to hug him. Because once I saw him, I was reminded of why I was there… to start the rest of my life with him. Nothing else mattered. I knew this was the attitude I WANTED to have going into our wedding day, but once it all began, it was just so hard to control my emotions and remove myself from the anxiety, which I am so prone to having when anything important is happening. Sweet brides, I totally get it. And I want you to know it’s okay. And sometimes it’s not as simple as that line, “Just remember why you’re here!!!” that your family and friends deliver with a genuine smile on their face. The only moment I was able to fully remember, embrace, and appreciate that truth was the moment I saw Justin.

So if your wedding day is approaching and you find yourself feeling like an absolute nutcase, you’re not alone. I was there. I felt the panic, the sweats, the “more than just jitters” kind of nerves! Our wedding day was beautiful and so joyful and memorable because even though I was so nervous about the logistics of the day… I was never nervous about starting my life with Justin, and that’s all I had wanted for all these years. Before I saw him standing there in his suit, waiting for me at our First Look, it was impossible for me to wrap my mind around the fact that we were actually getting married and my dreams were coming true. As soon as I walked up to him in my wedding dress… everything else melted away and there we were, two high school sweethearts under an oak tree on a beautiful spring day surrounded by our family, our friends, this gorgeous Virginia countryside… and everything was perfect. We had each other. That’s all that mattered.

Does this mean that you won’t have a stressful moment or two after your First Look?! No, not at all! But that’s just what they’ll be: moments. Split seconds of “Did this get done?” or “Isn’t this supposed to happen this way?” but they’ll last for just a moment before disappearing again. The weight of the day feels a lot less heavy after you’ve seen your groom, your sweet, sweet groom who just can’t stop looking at you and can’t stop touching you and can’t stop saying how he can’t wait to spend the rest of his life with you. That is what makes a wedding day beautiful – the two people who are so madly in love with each other that all of the other details fade into the background. You’ll forget the custom napkins, the color of the uplighting, the bride & groom specialty cocktails when you walk back down that aisle hand in hand with the person you’re going to have by your side for the rest of your life. It’s the most amazing, incredible mystery and just a glimpse of the beauty that marriage has in store.

So brides, if you’re feeling like your nerves are stronger than they should be, like you’re falling behind on the timeline or the to do list, like you shouldn’t be “so wrapped up” in the details… it’s okay. Your wedding is important to you, but through it all, you know that your groom is even more important than all of these things. You might not be able to fully comprehend that until the big day arrives, and that’s okay too. Because you’re there for the right reasons… once you see your groom standing there waiting to spend the rest of his life with you, it will all melt away, and it will be just the two of you, in your own universe, frozen in time for just this moment. I can’t wait for you to experience it. Until then, take care of yourself. Take breaks. Take a day off. Take deep breaths. Ask for help and let people help you. It will all be MORE than okay, and you can’t even begin to imagine how incredibly beautiful your wedding day is going to be in so many ways. Hang in there. It will all be more than worth it.

Here we are on our own big day! Nerves gone and just SO happy to be marrying the love of my life!!! Photo by our incredible wedding photographer Katelyn James! :)

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