wedding couple
Elizabeth Fogarty

Hey, are you engaged? Great, I can predict your wedding. Just kidding—kind of. It’s not that all weddings are the same, nor am I clairvoyant (although I’ve been predicting the return of bell bottom jeans for years now). It’s simply that for almost every wedding, a few things are guaranteed to happen—beyond the obvious (aisle walk, first dance, yadda yadda yadda). Why am I telling you all this? Because if you know now, at the beginning of your planning journey, you’re a lot less likely to stress over whether these things will happen or not, and just live your life without losing sleep for the next 9 to 18 months. These things aren’t the end of the world, they happen to almost every marrying couple, and the energy you spend freaking out about preventing them now will not be worth how much you’ll notice them (or not, even) on or near your big day.                                                                    

Keep reading for a glimpse at your future.

You’ll have at least one breakdown.

Either in the days leading up to your wedding, or maybe even on the morning of (sorry!), the nerves will probably reach a critical mass and you’ll very likely breakdown in a mass of tears/anxiety/stress/even anger or a little of all of the above. Even if you’re the chillest of bridechillas, even if you’ve planned every single step so carefully as to not have a stressful breakdown at the last minute, it’ll probably still happen, because your emotions simply cannot be trusted by the time you reach the 48-hour or less countdown from your wedding. You’ll be so excited, so nervous, so overwhelmed with this huge moment you’re about to embark on, everything you’ve been feeling will feel 100 times more intense. Add to that the pressure of all your deadlines coming to an end, all of your plans having to fall into place at once, and, yeah, you’re probably going to lose it for like, an hour. As you’re planning your wedding, don’t make it a goal not to have an emotional breakdown at the end—in fact, plan for one so you’re not blindsided by it. It’s good for you to feel your feelings, and it’s totally, 100 percent normal.

You’ll have either too much or not enough of something.

I got married in 2016 and I’m still trying to use the last of my Liberty print cocktail napkins. You can run all the numbers you want, and make all the spreadsheets you please, but I guarantee you you will have too many or too few of something, be it napkins, canapes, rented items, or whatever. Having too many, of course, is better than too few, but even if you have too few of something, unless it’s something really important like tables (you won’t mess tables up, promise), no one will really notice. So don’t sweat the numbers too much. Yes, it’s important to do correct calculations so you stay on budget, but in the grand scheme of things, $30 extra on napkins is a small price to pay to have too many rather than too few and avoid a napkin drought catastrophe. There is no such thing as “just the right amount” at a wedding, though, so you can give up that dream now. And if something catastrophic does happen—not enough forks!!!—you’ll be surrounded by tons of loving friends and family who will pounce at the opportunity to make it right for you in a flash, so don’t worry.

Not everyone will be on their best behavior.

In the days leading up to your wedding day, and on your big day, most people will treat you and your partner like celebs, catering to your every whim, obsessing over your every emotion, showering you with compliments, and even putting on your literal shoes for you. You can count on that, but there will indubitably be that one person who might say the wrong thing or mess up—blame it on stress, emotional overload, whatever—and that might hit you hard. Don’t let it. Yes, it’s your wedding, and people should be extra good to you, but everyone is still human. Your mom might make a remark that rubs you the wrong way, your brother might be late to the rehearsal, your maid of honor might forget that necklace she was supposed to wear. Someone is going to do something less-than-perfect, because with this many people and emotions in one place, there’s bound to be a slip-up. If you go in expecting perfection, you’ll be let down and that’ll be all the more difficult to get past. Instead, go in expecting that everyone will be human, including you, and there might be some slip-ups, but that doesn’t mean anyone loves you less or wants to ruin your big day. Whatever happens, your wedding will still be amazing, promise!

Something won’t turn out exactly as you imagined it.

This could go either way—you could be delightfully surprised, or upsettingly let down. Weddings involve so much planning and imagining, but so little of what we actually plan comes to life until the big day—which is, unfortunately, far too late to make any major changes. So, your wedding day ends up being full of surprises. Your florals, venue decor, ceremony layout, even wedding party outfit scheme might all surprise you for better or for worse once you see them on that fateful day. You literally can’t possibly know how any of this will look until your wedding happens, but that not-knowing shouldn’t give you anxiety, it should make you excited—more often than not, brides are positively surprised by these things when they see them the first time—so take that knowledge and run with it! If you find out you’re negatively surprised and something has turned out not how you like it, do what you can to make it right with the time you have, then let go. Whatever it is, you won’t remember it when you look back on your wedding day. Take it from someone who’s been there

It’ll fly by. 

Whether you’re planning a traditional six-hour celebration or a several-day, long-weekend blowout, it doesn’t matter: your wedding will feel like it was over in a blink of an eye. It will be likely the busiest day (or days) of your life, packed with so many things to do, people to see and places to be, and before you know it, it’ll be all over. You can prep for months and months ahead of time to be as present as possible, to soak it all in as much as possible, but you can’t slow down your wedding. So, when it happens at warp speed, don’t get stressed and don’t overthink—you can’t possibly try to slow down every moment and if you only focus on that, you’ll miss out on the organic amazingness that is your wedding. And if the next morning you wake up with the wind knocked out of your sails because it’s all over: Don’t fret, that’s what photos are for (and of course, your wedding hashtag!).