It’s no secret that a huge part of being a bride is learning as you go. Unless you’ve been married before or you are a wedding planner/financial advisor/marriage counselor all rolled into one - chances are, you’re learning as you go.
I certainly did when I was a bride. I learned A LOT. And while I don’t mind learning and discovering new things, I’m not a fan of big surprises. I don’t like surprise parties or unannounced appearances. Things that majorly catch me off guard like that just leave me feeling like a deer in headlights. I just like to know things beforehand!
And if someone had told me these 5 things before my wedding, it would’ve saved me some of those not-so-pleasant, deer-in-headlights moments, had I just known...
1. "It’s not just the happiest time of your life."
Happiness is a huge part of getting married. But it’s definitely not the only part. It is completely normal to feel other emotions that you weren’t expecting, both positive and negative! Whether it’s stress, disappointment, anger, anxiety, fear, nervousness or excitement, romance, joy, peace, serenity, bliss - it’s ALL normal. It’s all real. And it’s so much more than just happiness.
2. "Your social group will change."
This was probably the hardest, and most painful surprises for me that I still have trouble sorting through. My best pal Mehl helped me make sense of it since she experienced this social group shift as well.
She says that when you start seriously dating someone, it’s normal for friends to “give you space” but for some reason, that carries over when you get married as well. Both single and taken friends might feel a sense of intruding. Some people will assume you’re having sex every minute of every day (woohoo! go you!). Some might assume that just because you are physically with someone 24/7, that you’re busy 24/7, even though you’re probably both sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and wondering why nobody talks to you anymore.
Your social group will most likely change. It’s hard. But the good thing about it?
Now that you know why it might change, you can do your part to prevent that by reaching out first and not feeling offended or abandoned when others don’t reach out to you. Plus - you’ll make new friends! Other married friends who are in the same stage of life as you are.
Change can be hard. But it can also be good.
3. "You might miss parts of being single. And that’s ok."
That sounds kinda bad, doesn’t it? But it’s not! I promise. In every season of life that you’ll ever find yourself in, you’ll miss certain parts of other seasons. Does that mean that you don’t like where you are at? Not at all. Does it mean you wish you had stayed in the past season? Nope. It simply means that you can’t have everything at once. You can’t be married and live a completely independent lifestyle. You can’t be married and sing 'All The Single Ladies'. Well, you can. But it’s just not the same. (But you can still sing 'Drunk In Love' if ya know what I mean...)
Different seasons of life will bring you different blessings. You might miss some of them at times. And that's alright.
4. "It’s ok if you don’t like wedding planning. You’ll really like marriage."
Your feelings towards color schemes and to-do lists are not a reflection on your feelings towards your future marriage. Just because you don’t enjoy planning a big event, doesn’t mean you won’t love being married. They are two very different things! Where wedding planning is often centered around big plans, big ideas, big to-do lists, and big costs, marriage is all about the little things. The slow mornings, the love notes, the take-out movie nights, the quiet moments of intimacy.
It’s ok if you don’t love planning your wedding. You’re going to love marriage.
5. "You need to keep your own identity within your marriage."
Have you ever heard people say, “two become one” regarding marriage? Well that always kind of bothered me/creeped me out. I see the importance of understanding the concept of marital unity, but in all reality, when you get married, you’re still two people. It’s not like your bodies and minds suddenly morph together like conjoined twins.
You still have separate interests, friendships, careers, passions, perhaps even beliefs. It is important to hold onto your identity when you get married and not erase essential parts of yourself. It is within that individuality that you can find the best kind of unity - a unity that supports and empowers each other, even within your differences.
And there you have it! Five golden tickets that will hopefully spare you some deer-in-headlights surprises.
Are there any other things that you’ve experienced as an engaged woman thus far that you wish someone would have told you about beforehand?
Let me know in a comment below or on Instagram @thebarebride!
Read more about my experience as a bride in my Open Letter to the Wedding Industry!