Hey, bride babes! Before we get into some tips for staying calm the night before your wedding (plus a few for the morning of), I wanted to properly introduce myself. I am Anna - lifestyle blogger, stylist, blush pink fanatic and, most recently, a newlywed! After dating for 7 years, my husband and I tied the knot in August at the iconic Lake Louise in Canada.
Our dream was to have a destination wedding with about 35 of our closest friends and family. Fun fact: no one we knew, including us, had ever visited Lake Louise until 2 days before our wedding. Of course, this made things a tiny bit more complicated than, you know, having a wedding in our hometown of Baltimore.
A few things were stressful throughout the process of planning our wedding in a different country. For example, the ever-changing exchange rate when signing contracts, or the countless amount of forest fires the week before blowing smoke into our venue area. But throughout the process, I continued to remind myself of our vision and the meaning behind this special day. When things started to feel hectic, I would literally say out loud to anyone listening (which was sometimes only me), "all we need is a marriage license and a commissioner; the rest is simply a bonus". When all is said and done, the only thing that matters is that you are married.
The night before your wedding is generally spent with your bridal party and family rehearsing the ceremony timeline and enjoying a nice meal together afterward. At this point, only hours before you walk down the aisle, most, if not all, of your wedding planning should be complete. Anything that isn't done (aside from your personalized vows, if you're writing them), should be tossed aside. The last thing you want to do is spent the few hours before your wedding stressed out about chair covers, or a particular decor piece being delivered late.
It's likely that you have planned out every detail for the past 12 months, and you've done everything in your power to make sure the day goes smoothly. But, you know what? Life happens and sometimes something gets missed or forgotten and that is okay. When you look back at your wedding day 10 years from now, you're going to remember your partner's face as he/she sees you for the first time in your wedding dress. You're going to remember tears forming in your eyes as you make promises to each other in front of everyone you love. No one looks back on their wedding day 10 years down the road and says, "Those chair covers really should have been light beige instead of cream."
So, my advice for the night before your wedding is to focus on what matters and what will keep you in the moment. Eat some of the great food you chose for your guests to enjoy, have a drink, and maybe plan something fun with your friends to wind down the night.
My husband and I danced at the hotel bar after our welcome party with some of our best friends. We practiced our first dance to the live music playing and talked about how excited we were for the next morning. When it got late, we went back to our hotel room and I did my favorite beauty routine before adding some drops of lavender oil to our pillows and falling asleep.
If you have time before your rehearsal dinner, pack a separate suitcase for all of the items you will need for your wedding day. I printed out a list of what I needed including even the small stuff like a protein bar, water bottle, phone charger, Advil, etc. If you have a specific room you will be getting ready in with your bridesmaids, move your dress to it the day before (or better yet, assign someone to do this for you). It really helped me stay calm when I woke up on the morning of our wedding because everything I needed was already in the right place.
Now, the most important advice I will give you is on the morning of your wedding give yourself at least 30 minutes alone to relax and soak it in. Journal or meditate, even if it's only for a few minutes (I used the free app, Aura). Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for that morning. It will help ground you and keep you in the moment throughout the day.
Remember to drink water and eat something that you actually enjoy for breakfast. Relax in comfy clothes or a cute robe and slippers, and leave your phone behind. If you want to take photos or videos to share later, go ahead. But make sure you're not wrapped up with posting about your day to strangers on the internet while ignoring the ones you chose to stand by you on this day.
Try to stay on schedule as much as you can, but remember that you are the bride and the wedding is not leaving you behind. If your makeup is running 5 minutes late, the whole world will not coming crashing down, I promise.
Have a sense of humor about the day if something goes wrong. We had a cute little mouse hiding in our getting ready room (I told my Mom it made me feel like Cinderella), and our marriage commissioner ran to the bathroom right as I was about to make my grand entrance down the aisle.
Weddings can be stressful, but it is up to you whether you stay calm or not. Things will inevitably go wrong, but you get to choose how you handle it. Remind yourself often of the "why" of this big day and the meaning behind the promises you'll be making to each other. Remember to be grateful for your wedding day, your guests, and your partner. It is a blessing to find someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with.