A Real Bride Shares Her Beautifully Imperfect Wedding

Even when things don't go as planned, your nuptials will be a celebration of love.

A Real Bride Shares Her Beautifully Imperfect Wedding

Photo: Courtesy of Alison Bonn

As a writer and assistant editor for Inside Weddings magazine, I often read statements from featured brides and grooms who exclaim how perfect their weddings were. With glowing words and jovial memories they reflect on what was one of the best days of their lives, and claim that if they could go back and relive the occasion, they would absolutely not change a single thing. So, you can imagine that expectations for my own wedding last spring were pretty high. You can also imagine how stunned I was (and still am!) to have to admit that my wedding day was far from flawless. For example, our cake was a huge disappointment. The design looked nothing like what we had requested from our dessertier, and I cringe every time I see photographs of the confection. Also, none of our guests saw the little chiffon bags that were dangling from each ceremony chair, so nobody showered us with rose petals as I had imagined they would when Joe and I walked past as husband and wife. It’s not as if there’ll be another occasion in life where I... I mean, we can be showered in rose petals! The biggest disappointment? I was sick! I caught a cold – a bad one – from one of our wedding vendors three days before I got married. I’ve heard that brides often take ill the day after their weddings, crashing from all the stress once the adrenaline wears off. But before? Unthinkable. So was I disappointed? Yes, of course. Was my wedding day a complete letdown? Absolutely not. Quite the contrary: If anything, the hurdles – and how they were handled – were confirmation that my amazing husband and I had done everything just right.

LESSON ONE: Beauty is More Than Skin Deep If you had seen my groom and me the morning of our Big Day, you would never have believed we were two people about to be married. I had been up all night coughing and sneezing, keeping him awake as well. We were both absolutely exhausted and my nose was pinker than my bridesmaids’ dresses. However, everyone pulled together to make me look like a proper bride. My fabulous matron of honor was armed with cough suppressants and decongestants. (Non-drowsy, of course! I didn’t want to channel Molly Ringwald’s overly medicated sister in Sixteen Candles.) My makeup artist bumped the spray of her airbrushing gun to full force to camouflage the indigo veins beneath my eyes (which were hardly what I had planned on using as my “something blue”). I even hid an emergency tissue in the cleavage of my dress, which I pulled out during the ceremony to wipe my runny nose. People assumed I was just emotional, and most guests never knew I was actually quite ill. I knew, unfortunately. Looking back, however, what I remember most is not how badly I felt, but rather the sincere love and concern my soon-to-be husband showed for me. His support gave me strength and I felt all the more blessed knowing I was about to become his wife.

LESSON TWO: Let Them Eat Cake Although I looked fine on the surface, my illness had knocked the energy right out of me. During the reception, I didn’t get to dance nearly as much as I had planned. But I was thrilled to watch our guests hit the dance floor en masse the instant the pre-dinner music began, and they returned between courses and following the meal. People oooh’d and ahhh’d over our stunning venue, the scrumptious food, and of course, the gratis liquor that flowed from our open bar. They even commented about how delicious the cake was! Our guests’ enjoyment had been the priority governing every decision we made while planning, and I was ecstatic that everyone savored the night to its fullest.

LESSON THREE: All You Need is Love From the moment we began planning our nuptials, May 7, 2011 was always about one thing: love. The love between my groom and me, and our love for our family and friends who joined us to celebrate our union. What I didn’t initially realize was how that love would be returned to us tenfold. From the unforgettable speeches delivered by my father, matron of honor, and two brother-in-laws, to the flurry of sincere congratulations from our attendees, I could not have been more touched. It truly is a once-in-a-life time experience to have all the people from various phases and areas of your lives mingling and eating and laughing together. Cold or no cold, this love was palpable in the air that day, and because of this, our guests still remark that our wedding was one of the best they have ever attended. The overwhelming feedback we receive is what an absolutely perfect day it was. Though it’s been said before, my advice to brides is that no matter how carefully you design your wedding day, things may not go as planned. As someone who actually experienced this first hand, let me assure you: it’s okay. In the end, you will still be married to the love of your life, surrounded by those who matter most to you in this world. Your wedding day, just like your marriage, will go on, in sickness and in health. Of course, you may want to dose up on some extra Vitamin C beforehand… just in case!