I know what you’re thinking: How is my younger sister — someone who has never come even close to becoming a bride — going to offer me wedding advice?
It may sound crazy, but the things I’m going to share don’t involve choosing the right venue or planning the perfect reception.
The advice comes from a place much deeper than that, a place that only someone who has been there from the beginning knows.
To my soon-to-be bride, here are 10 things I want you to know before you say, “I do”:
1. You’re going to be the center of attention.
And you will be, rightfully so. You’re the lady in white, the woman of the hour, the blushing bride.
As much as we’ll appreciate the dapper groom, the fabulous food and the breathtaking venue, I promise you none of it will hold a candle to the moment we see you.
I know this isn’t something you’re used to, and it may seem uncomfortable at first, but I want you to embrace every second of it. This is your day. We’re just the spectators.
2. Your exhaustive planning will pay off.
I know better than anyone how much work you have put into this wedding. Somehow between your crazy work schedule, earning a degree and throwing extravagant dinner parties, you’ve managed to plan every detail of this day, down to the very last centerpiece.
You will never get back the countless hours you’ve spent on Pinterest, the dress fittings or the meetings with the church, but you will see moments you have only dreamed of finally come to life.
Even in the wedding world, hard work pays off. So take it all in, and enjoy the ride.
3. Your MOHs will be by your side every step of the way.
You’re our older sister. You’ve had our backs since birth, and though it may not be as obvious, we’ve always had yours. We want you to be happy, and we’re willing to do what it takes to make sure that happens.
Whether it’s setting up the church, entertaining the guests or trying to convince the groomsman he may not need that last shot of Fireball, we’ll be there.
You’ve done so much for us over these past 20 years, and it’s time we return the favor.
4. You’re going to be asked, “When are the babies coming?” at least once.
They’re at every wedding: the nosy, mildly inappropriate relatives who desperately need a lesson in tactful communication. Though I can’t be sure as to where it will come from, I guarantee you will get the “kids” question at least once.
Whether you want to give them an honest answer or not, know the question comes out of love. They love you, they love the groom and they cannot wait to see the perfect little human beings your love will create.
5. No petty friend drama or family conflict will ruin your day.
This is yet another thing that seems to show up at almost every wedding. Invite a guest list of over 100 people from all different lifestyles and backgrounds, and you’re bound to see some drama.
Don’t let it get to you. Their inability to set aside differences should not affect your ability to continue on with your day.
And don't worry; if they need a friendly reminder on how to behave properly at a wedding, I’ll be happy to offer my assistance.
6. There will be tears, lots and lots of tears.
Any wedding is bursting with emotion, but when you’re the first-born of three daughters being given away to your groom, it’s a whole new game. Your friends will be whimpering, Mom will be a wreck, and even all-mighty Dad will join in on the waterworks.
Feelings will run wild, but make sure you appreciate the pure magic of happy tears. There are few things in life that move someone enough to shed tears of pure joy, but I promise you, for many people, this day will be one of them.
I’ll bring the tissues.
7. Good times will be had by all.
Only the best weddings can double as kickass parties, but there’s not a doubt in my mind yours will be one of them.
I’m not just saying this because I know there will be an open bar at the reception (although it will certainly help), but because the people you’ve surrounded yourself with, and the atmosphere it will create could light up any dance floor.
The music will be hoppin’, the liquor will be flowing and the memories will be cherished for years to come.
8. Everything might not go perfectly. And it will be okay.
I can already feel your muscles tightening as you read this one. It’s the very last thing any bride wants to hear, especially one who prides herself on the art of entertaining.
Even so, I want you to hear it from someone who knows your affinity with perfection. An event as big as a wedding is easy to imagine, but it's nearly impossible to predict. There will be things that come up at the last minute, and adjustments may have to be made.
But, none of it will determine the success of your wedding day. Only you can do that.
Your wedding will be what you make of it.
9. It's going to be one of the most exciting, overwhelming, unforgettable days of your life.
Call it clichéd, but we all know weddings are kind of a big deal. You’re committing yourself to one person for the rest of your life, and you’re doing it in front of 100 of your closest family and friends.
That doesn't happen every day.
Enjoy it. Embrace the nerves, dance the night away and, every once and awhile, stop everything.
Take a moment to appreciate the surroundings, the smells and the smiles you see around you. It’s a pretty magical environment, and if you blink, you just might miss it.
10. Married or not, you will always be my older sister.
Your last name may be changing, but your identity and the role you play in our family isn’t going to budge.
You were, are and always will be my incredible older sister. You're the one who will answer my texts at 3 am, will take care of me when I’m sick and, most importantly, will show me exactly what it feels like to find true love.
Wishing you and your new groom a beautiful new life together.