My wedding was perfect, but it was nothing like I expected.
Everyone told me, “nothing can prepare you for what you will feel on your wedding day”. And honestly, I didn’t believe them. I had been planning my wedding since I was twelve, TWELVE! What more could I possibly know?
But as the day unfolded I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, at every turn.
The week before the wedding, I had barely slept. I had just moved all of my belongings to San Francisco and Jonathan was starting his first week of his residency. I have a hard time falling asleep when he’s not next to me, but this was brutal.
But the night before my wedding, I slept like a baby. My bridesmaids and I left the rehearsal dinner after party a bit early to bond and settle into each other. They gave me gifts and we talked about boys, summer plans and old memories-you know, just a regular slumber party sans pillow fight. It was perfect.
On my wedding day, breakfast, hair, makeup and pictures went (mostly) on schedule, as my planner, Amanda and parents managed the arrival of all the vendors and tended to details. My inner control freak felt a little guilty that everyone was out running around pulling all the last minute details together, while I lounged around and was “tended to”. But I had to realize that my only job was to be calm and centered and mentally prepare myself for the big leap.
As we got closer and closer to the “big moment”, time starting slipping through my hands and before I knew it, it was go time.
One of the hardest parts of the wedding, was not being able to see my bridesmaids process. The processional is my favorite part of weddings and we went to great care to choose the perfect acoustic-rock band, and personal songs to process to. But alas, I had to miss all of it! I wasn’t anticipating that.
When it was my turn, I felt like I was in a cloud. Not so much floating, as not really there. It was crazy to stand at the doorway to my back porch watching 275 heads to turn to look at me. This was my moment, and I was either going to miss it, or live it.
A few thoughts popped into my head that were taking me towards “missing it”
– I can’t see through my veil
– What if I trip on my dress
– Do I look fat in my dress?
– Am I going to cry?
– Are my heels going to get stuck in the grass?
But thanks to my developed meditation practice I’ve learned that those thoughts are just there to distract me from my potential. I witnessed them buzz through at lighting speed and fade away into the background.
Instead, I stood on the porch and heard my brother’s wise words in my head, “Be where you are.”
And here I was, standing in my own fairytale, having EVERYTHING I always wanted and I just floated with laser sharp alertness.
The ceremony was this insane outpouring of love. Sometimes I have issues with PDA and showing affection, but all my shyness went out the window. We just gawked and cried through the whole thing. And when it was time to seal our covenant with a kiss, we did NOT hold back.
After Jonathan smashed the glass, we stood under our Chuppah for almost a minute, just looking into the eyes, most of which were teary, of our most treasured friends and family. That was by far, the coolest moment of the whole night, seeing everyone we loved, all in one place just overwhelmed with joy that Jonathan and I had found each other.
In fact, what shocked me the most was how vocal people were about how in love we were, almost like they were surprised. And in the coming weeks some of my friends made drastic changes in their love lives. Two of my friends broke up with their boyfriends, and one couple went into therapy. They told us we inspired them to have a love that was better, deeper and more passionate. To have that sort of affect on someone, to have a love that is truly inspirational is so humbling, especially given where Jonathan and I were just a few years short years ago.
After the ceremony, Jonathan and I spent 5 minutes alone to soak it all in. It’s so easy to get swept up in the whole evening, and we were so happy we had that time to connect and ground ourselves.
Everything was going swimmingly until it was time to be introduced. As my Dad introduced us as Dr. and Mrs. Sarah and Jonathan Brajtbord, the band, though instructed to play mellow classy music, went into full-on bad-Bar-Mitzvah-mode.
And I had my first Bridezilla moment of my entire engagement. I was pissed.
I wouldn’t let Jonathan go on stage to that awful music, I didn’t want to parade around, wiggling to bad techno! I scowled at the band, glared at my wedding planner and luckily they cut into our first dance early.
When I sat down at our table after our dance, I was looking forward to listening to Frank Sinatra (as planned) and chatting with my bridesmaids, but the band started a Lady Gaga mash-up. Everyone was on the dance floor and I was scowling at the table. Not my best moment. I snapped at my planner that the band needed to be reigned in (I later apologized) and stewed.
“What the f*ck was going on with me!?” I thought. I took a deep breath, looked at Jonathan and he just said, “look at how much fun everyone is having.” That brought me back. No one else knew “the plan” and the reality was that my grandmother started a congo line and the energy the Gaga mash-up created was epic.
When I look back, I realize that finding something to nit-pick was a way to bring me back down to earth. I just felt so high, and sometimes the easiest way (though not the best) is to complain. Once I breathed in and accepted that all of this was truly amazing, and I allowed myself to take in the full abundance of it all, I relaxed.
During dinner I had half a glass of Champagne, and not another drop of alcohol for the rest of the night. But I felt so wasted the entire time. I was amazed that when I truly allowed the pure bliss, excitement and happiness of the moment, you can feel drunk as a skunk without the slurring and hangover. Just knowing that I was capable of such a natural high was a huge lesson for me.
After dinner, I reached to Jonathan to drag him on the dance floor, but he pulled me down and said, “Sarah, have you seen the flowers?” I HADN’T! I had been sitting with a gorgeous bouquet right in front of my face and didn’t even notice them. I also didn’t notice the mismatched china, the herb garnishes, the individual menus, the s’mores being roasted on bonfires around the property.
All of these details that I have spent 13 years day dreaming about, and 18 months planning, I honestly didn’t give a shit about. I thought to myself, what was it all for then? The time, the money the heartache?
Up until then, I thought the only reason to have a pretty wedding was to get it in a magazine.
But when I looked around and saw how much fun everyone was having, I realized that all the details made my guests feel special. The beer in the canoe and the homemade purple cow cookies gave people a window into our lives. Many of my guests, came up and told me, “I just feel so lucky to be here, thank for doing all of this”, “I feel so at home, like I could just move in!” and “This is so intimate, I can’t believe there are 275 people here!?”. So even though I didn’t get to roast a marshmallow or drink the lavender lemonade, I’m glad the sum of all the parts equaled a personal and warm experience.
At 9pm I made a choice, I could attempt to have an intimate conversation with every guest (I had gotten around to 75% at cocktails) and experience every activity and detail I had planned… or I could dance.
I danced from 9pm until 4am. Straight.
My hair looked awful, my makeup sweated off and my feet were killing me, but I just dance all night long. It was amazing. Best.Decision.ever.
At 4am, it was time for my friends to depart, and what was once a joyous wedding turned into a heart wrenching goodbye party as we were moving to San Francisco and our best friends, who we saw on a weekly basis for 5 years, were staying in New York.
When Jonathan and I got into our vintage limo to take us to our hotel in Boston, I cried the whole way home. And not just tears, full out sobs. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought I was supposed to be happy?? My physical meltdown scared me.
Was I ruining the night? Did I not appreciate the wedding?
But what was happening was just this outpouring of emotion, both ecstatically happy to be married to Jonathan and devastatingly crushed that it was all over. Thirteen years in the making, and I was driving away from it. Luckily, Jonathan just let me cry until there were no tears left.
We stayed up till 6am, talking about the wedding and polishing off 2 pieces (each) of wedding cake. When we woke up on sunday, we pack our bags and boarded a plane for our new life in San Francisco.
Photos by :e:. Best.photographer.ever.
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.