The outpouring of advice from former brides as been so wonderful lately. As I lay in bed last night with my heart racing over the fact that in six short weeks I will be a wife, I took solace in the reassuring words offered by my amazing friends. Today’s installment comes from Clink, aka, that chick who used to blog. (Hehe, love you, lady.) It’s a long one, but definitely worth reading.

Wedding Advice for Molly, With Love from Clink

1. When people said “things will go wrong; you’ll just have to go with the flow! Don’t stress!” I (from my horse, upon which I sat very high) thought “pshaw [ed. note: yes, pshaw], what could possibly go wrong? Everything is under control! I am a casting producer! I produce actual shows, for television. Clearly I can produce a wedding.” And then, of course, things went wrong: the priest turned out to be a bit of a bi-polar psycho, the organist played all the wrong music, the groom and groomsmen forgot to put on their boutonnières before the ceremony, there was confusion over a table assignment, there was (as you well noticed) an ICE SCULPTURE at the raw bar, the band played some 70’s music when I specifically asked them not to, did I mention the slightly psycho priest?

So, what I mean to say is that even though it seems highly unlikely given all the blood, sweat, tears and martinis you have poured into planning your wedding, there are a few details that will not go according to plan. And you – the one in the white dress, the one everyone is focusing on – will have no choice but to, yes, go with the flow. Boutonnieres can be applied after the ceremony, people will still dance to 70’s music and scathing letters dripping with pure, unadulterated hatred can always be written to slightly psycho priests (and also, the archdiocese). At the end of the day, it all works out. Just like that fairytale crap that the 5,000 bridal magazines now inhabiting the back of my closet (want some? PLEASE?) tell you.

2. I mentioned this before, but Listerine strips in the pocket of the groom (because, clearly, you have no place to carry them) are essential. You will be talking. A lot. Especially during the receiving line or table visits. When you talk a lot, your (your = not you specifically, everyone) breath can get stinky and thanking Aunt Diane for coming all the way from Wichita with your hand covering your mouth is just going to look awkward.

3. In the words of whomever that crossover country music star was: “If you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaance!” But seriously, dance. You will not regret it. Dance with your husband. Dance with your mom and your sister. Dance with your bridesmaids. Dance with your friend Clink who loves you. While I tried to say hello to everyone, my general philosophy was “if someone wants to talk to me, they can talk to me on the dance floor.” Which is exactly what you did. And then we got to talk (RED FLIP FLOPS) AND dance. Win-win.

4. Choose your bridesmaids wisely. I know it’s a bit late for that and I’m sure you already made perfect choices. To be honest, the bridesmaids helped set the tone for my wedding. Every time I looked up, they were breaking it down in their adorable chocolate brown dresses on the dance floor. They were the ones who wiped sweat from my brow during pre-ceremony photos and touched up my lipstick and pulled me away from Aunt Diane because they knew I’d rather be dancing and made sure I had water when I needed it. And not because they thought they were my indentured servants for the night; chocolate brown dresses or not, they wanted to help. Because they are good people. Because I chose wisely.

5. The pre-ceremony pictures were worth it. I see both sides of the (sometimes very heated) argument and I would’ve been fine seeing M for the first time when I walked down the aisle. Instead, we ran into each other’s arms at Columbus Circle (photo op!) while tourists clapped and took pictures (“Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, oooh look! That’s one of a total stranger’s wedding! Yeah, New York was awesome”). It was a magical moment and I guess that’s my point – it’s a magical moment whether you see each other before or while walking down the aisle. You will not be robbed of that magical moment either way. Plus, taking photos before ensures that you and the bridal party are totally fresh. If you do choose to see Michael for the first time while walking down the aisle, make sure to try and focus on him. There will be people smiling and waving and taking photos and your dad will probably be muttering something funny and dad-ish on the way so it’s easy to lose sight of the most important thing: the man you’re about to marry, who is waiting for you just a few feet away.

6. Sometimes you’re just too damn tired to have sex on your wedding night. And that’s okay.

7. Try to eat at least a bite of everything. Before my wedding, I was adamant that I would not be one of those brides who went through the entire wedding without consuming a bite of food. I thought brides who “didn’t have a chance to eat!” were just anorexics in disguise. Little did I know. My stomach was in knots – good knots, butterfly-y knots – the entire time and food was the last on a very long list of priorities. I had a few bites of appetizers in the bridal suite before the cocktail hour, a bite of my sea bass entrée and the requisite bite of cake during the cake cutting. Now when people tell me that the food is the best they’ve ever had at a wedding, I feel both happy because yay, well-fed guests and also jealous because I barely got to have any of it.

8. Steal a moment with Michael. And trust me, it’s not going to be easy because, um, everyone wants a piece of you two (as they well should). I managed to steal two moments with M – once in our bridal suite (but that was mostly us just shoving food in our mouths) and then once on the rooftop, where the photographer had grabbed us to take a photo with the sunset in the background. We stayed up there a few extra minutes just to tell each other that we loved each other and to marvel at the fact that we were married, and everyone that we loved and cared for was celebrating that in the room below. I will cherish that moment forever.

9. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t get to spend as much time with everyone as you might like. I was consumed with guilt on the flight to Hawaii because I barely got to spend time with everyone. But I guess that’s the point – when there are 180 people present, you only get to spend a little time with everyone (the alternative being a lot of time with only a few people, which is clearly not what a wedding is about). Your guests understand and they will love you regardless.

10. Get all of your emotions out during the rehearsal dinner. As I told you, I was a MESS during the rehearsal dinner due to the speeches I gave (to my bridesmaids, to my parents, to M). I was literally sobbing and I ruined all of my make-up and thus looked like I had two black eyes but it was just so overwhelming for me to put into words what all of those people mean to me. It actually worked in my favor, however, because I was able to keep it (mostly) together during the wedding. I was a bit emotionally spent and now I finally understand why some guys masturbate before a big date (omigod I did not just write that omigod yes I did).

11. Borrow my Polaroid cameras for the guest book! Of course I would never force you to do this but I can honestly say that the photos accompanying the notes were the best part. Polaroid cameras are always fun (instant gratification!) and it gives your guests something to do if the band is playing 70’s music.

12. Have a card box. I don’t know if this is a given or not, but most people will be giving you cards and unless you had pockets sewn into your wedding dress, you will not have anywhere to put them. A card box solves that problem (and if it is placed in an obvious area, most people won’t bother handing the cards to you).

13. Right before the wedding, there will be drama. I can’t predict what it will be, but you will face some sort of curveball. For me, it was one of my friends calling two days before the wedding to inform me that she couldn’t attend because she could not get out of work. She has known about my wedding date since June of 2007, when I booked my venue, so it wasn’t like she didn’t have advance notice. It felt like someone punched me in my gut – she is not some periphery friend who I was on the fence about inviting; this was someone who I was extremely close to and even considered asking to be a bridesmaid. I had a good cry (angry tears, mostly), let M talk me out of it, updated our guest count with the venue and then I moved on. Which – like I said about things going wrong – is the only choice you have. You can’t let it eat you up. Any emotional fall out can be dealt with after the honeymoon.

14. It is impossible to enjoy your honeymoon in the age of Facebook. Because there you’ll be, snuggled up to your husband (!) in the terminal of LAX waiting for your delayed flight to Honolulu and you will not be able to resist the siren song of a T-Mobile Hotspot for only $9.95 so that you can SEE THE PHOTOS. It is all about the photos. (The wait for the professional photos is nothing short of excruciating.) Trust me, just pay the $9.95. You will have the rest of your life to snuggle with your husband (I hate the word snuggle but it is the most appropriate here.)

15. Make sure you look and feel like you. This is important for the hair & make up trial. You want to look like nothing more than a beautiful, bride-y version of yourself. I say this only because at my first hair trial, I did the half-up, half-down thing because the stylist talked me into it. She said too much of my hair down would be sweaty in July and it should be off of my face, blah blah blah. Well, I didn’t end up using that stylist. I went to another, who did my hair mostly down (like I asked), said she would “spray the shit out of it” so that it stayed in place and who cares if it got a little sweaty underneath? And she was right. My hair was fine. The sweat even helped the curls a little bit, as gross as that sounds. I’m not a girl who ever wears her hair up and I am now thrilled to have photos in which I look like myself, only bride-ier.

16. Speaking of, you. will. look beautiful. Even if you aren’t at the weight you hoped you’d be at. Even if your arms don’t look like Jackie’s from Work Out on Bravo. Even if you feel a little bloated (like I did.) There’s a little thing called the Bridal Glow and lo, it is glorious. It is the happiest day of your life and every single photo – from the candids to the posed to the ones taken with a freaking camera phone – will reflect that. I spent far too much time before the wedding agonizing about my appearance. On the actual day, once I got past hair and make up, it was one of the last things on my mind. The first? Marrying someone amazing. Also, dancing.

17. Tell your bridesmaids, mother, sister, etc, that if anything goes wrong at the wedding? Unless the venue is on fire, you don’t want to know about it. It is their job to protect you from Uncle Dan’s complaints about how loud the band is or the fact that only half of your favors arrived. Whatever it is, it’s probably not something you can do much about so they should just handle it the best they can and let you enjoy dancing to the Motown Medley.

18. Enjoy every moment because it goes by fast. This is a cliché piece of advice but it is cliché because it is true.

19. Also cliché but true? It will be one of the best days of your entire life.

20. Marriage is awesome. Like being engaged, but more…sparkly. Yes, sparkly. Shut up. It’s not a visible change, it’s just a slight shift. You always knew you’d be connected forever and now you are. And you have the beautiful bands, sweet exhaustion from dancing and the time of your life with family and friends to prove it.

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