First comes the wedding. Then comes the marriage.

Hey Hannah!

I am two months out from my wedding and I wanted to see if you had any advice for self-care and creating balance amidst the craziness. I never like to hyper focus my efforts on one thing, so I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the wedding things because life keeps going outside of that! My fiance and I also just bought a house in January so we have been in the process of making it a home. Things have been busy!!!

Basically, I want to know how you would go about savoring these big and exciting moments while also making space for myself and my normal, everyday life things? I know the wedding stuff will be over before I know it and will never happen again, but I can’t help but think that there is more to life in these final 60-ish days of our engagement besides wedding planning spreadsheets and minute details that likely nobody will notice when the day comes. I always like to be working on making myself the best possible version I can be, so I don’t want to lose that just because I have a lot going on. 

Thank you for listening to my ramblings!

Best,

H.


Sweet H,

Here is a list of things I remember about my wedding day:
>
1. The look on Lane’s face as I walked towards him. 
2. A swarm of my favorite people crowded around a burger truck outside. 
3. The way the room felt during the ceremony: we got married in an old library and I just remember the room being drenched– absolutely drenched– in the presence of God. It’s a hard thing to explain but it’s a feeling you cannot shake. 
4. Wishing I could sit with every guest and talk for two hours. 
5. Ditching the heels for Adidas sneakers before my dress was even on. I bought these beautiful Nine West heels and they never even made it out of the box. 
>
I remember the little details. I remember what the letter board signs said. I remember the wildest dance floor that I had ever experienced in my life. I am not kidding you, this thing was wild. I remember the countless hours Lane and I spent leading up to the wedding day writing handwritten notes to every guest in attendance. I wanted everyone to feel chosen. Hand picked. Letters have a way of doing that for people. I remember sending out a Starbucks gift card to all the wedding guests the week before the wedding and people emailing us back selfies with lattes.
>
A lot of the big details are a blur for me. Some are captured in photos. I don’t remember a thing I said to Lane during the ceremony, only that I cried quietly in the business area of the hotel that morning as I wrote my vows (yea, I waited until the last minute).
>
I remember the way we exited the venue. How everyone dunked their palms into buckets and pulled out a handful of fake snow. I remember Lane and I running hand-in-hand as people threw the snow on us. It was magical. It was one of those rare days where everyone gathers in one place to celebrate love.
>
>
Savor the little things, H. As the days crawl closer (or maybe they are running at this point), savor the tiny things between the two of you. Make space to laugh. Talk about things outside of the wedding planning. Remember: the wedding is just the beginning. It’s a single day. What follows after the wedding is the thing that takes the real work.
>
It’s easy to get swept up in seating arrangements and the color of tablecloths but there is something more serious, more important at stake here. You are getting married. You are making a covenant in front of people. You are choosing a hard pathway, a pathway that ends 50% of the time in our culture. I remember telling myself as I planned, “Don’t think for a second this is about a dress or a cake. This is about a partner.”
>
See your future partner above the party. Plan the marriage as you plan the wedding because that plan is going to matter very soon.
>
Lean into building the strongest foundation for your future marriage. This is the part more people should write about. People love to write about the extravagant details of a wedding. I think we need more commentary on the extravagant details of marriage because they do exist.
>
I’m not a marriage expert so I won’t pretend to be. But I do know this: the wedding sealed us, bound us together, but it is every day after that wedding which makes us who we are as a couple. We are defined by our love. We are defined by how we handle conflict, how we resolve the arguments. We are defined by whether we stay or run, whether we keep promises or keep secrets.
>
When the day is over, all that is left is a dried up bouquet and the vows. Invest in the vows daily. I believe this is incredibly essential within a world that tells us, “Do what feels right.” I think we have feelings for a reason but if I listened to those feelings of mine all the time then our fights would never be resolved, I’d always get my way, and we wouldn’t grow closer in love.
>
Vow to choose one another daily. Say to one another, “In this crazy world where it feels impossible to choose a coffee option off a board at Starbucks or choose a laundry detergent from the cleaning aisle at Target, we are choosing. Hallelujah, we are choosing!”
>
>
One last note: What I remember most about that day is that the dance floor was filled with every person in my life that I loved and cherished. All in one place. Never to happen again. I remember going up the grand staircase in the middle of the party and just watching everyone down below. I remember my brother and cousins lifting Lane into the air during the crowd surfing and me thinking, “Wow, this is the best feeling in the world. How, in moments like this one, do I ever doubt God?”
>
I think the very best thing you can invest your time and energy into before the wedding, during the wedding, and after the wedding is the same: people. Other people. The people who helped you build your love story brick by brick. The people who will be sitting in the chairs. The people who are lifting you up to heaven right now without you even realizing it.
>
Yes, people will have their eyes on you that day. But be sure to look around at everyone gathering with you on that day. These are your people. These are the ones who choose your love story. Some of these people will be pillars in your story. Some won’t stay forever. Whatever the outcome, these people matter.
>
I am learning if I spend every single day seeking to make people feel loved, chosen and special then I can never lose. I can never really say a day is wasted.
>
Invest in yourself. Invest in him. Invest in the future marriage. Invest in the people. I don’t know much but I know these are the things that matter.
>
Have some sweet advice for H? Please write a comment below. I know she will be reading and it’s beautiful when we can use a forum like this one to connect with one another.