Shortly after Celestino takes Beyoncé’s advice and decides to put a ring on it (i.e. my finger), I talk to my soon to be sister in law about the process of tying the knot. As a recent newlywed with a knack for throwing balmy bashes in the comfort of her own sun-kissed, South American backyard, Bea’s advice concerning the direction of our wedding lingers in my head in the way that a hyper-catchy #JBiebs song always manages to do.
When it comes to the utter despair pure bliss of planning the big day, the first decision that many a future bride contends with usually has to do with budget. She might ask herself something along the lines of, “Should I spend an excessive amount of time and money creating a fantastical, if not over-the-top, event in which every last detail is painstakingly mulled over until it’s finally effectuated or do I opt for something more economically savvy and relaxed, so that I can enjoy this experience in its entirety?” If you know me at all (and even if you don’t, perhaps), then you’ve already concluded that I took the first route. My wedding day was joyous, magical, wrought with adoration and gratitude for Celestino, my husband, but the process of getting there was overwhelmingly, exceedingly difficult. Although I never gave much thought to the specifics of an eventual strut down the aisle, I ultimately found myself struggling to reach an onslaught of self-imposed standards of unattainable perfection.
In retrospect, I wonder why I felt so compelled to pull that slew of all nighters, saving photos of orchid arrangements to one of about three hundred individually labeled Pinterest boards. For months leading up to the day, I operated under a thick, low-hanging air of intensive pressure. It was my responsibility, I thought, to provide an outrageously beautiful and entertaining weekend for every last one of our guests. AND, if I didn’t find the wherewithal to whip my body into tip-top shape, get glowy, poreless looking skin – which, by the way, is a feat that can only be achieved through the excessive use of Face Tune — adeptly arched eyebrows, white teeth, lengthy lashes, and Oscar worthy hair and makeup, then I’d angrily berate myself. “Why can’t you just exhibit some measure of self-discipline for once, Brooke? You’re really going to let that juice cleanse remain untouched, sitting in the kitchen cabinet for weeks on end?
I’m not sure why I allowed my wedding day to serve as something that was indicative of how perfectly I could perform. Did I fall prey to the archaic belief that tying the knot is the single most important event in a woman’s life, and that, as such, she mustn’t leave any room for error? Or, was it a result of the fact that I planned everything without the help of my mother, which catalyzed an internal desire to prove that I could handle it all on my own? I would be the girl who didn’t need a warm hug during a stressful moment, or a person to shop for party favors with, or a stupid bridal shower, anyway.
Immediately prior to the start of my wedding weekend — and at the height of my anxiousness — I woke up to a text message from my cousin David. While flying up from Austin, Texas, he snapped a photo of his wife and two small children on the plane. Quietly watching cartoons to help pass the time, both kiddos sported colorful headsets and sat comfortably in their seats. With that, it hit me: regardless of what I had or hadn’t completed, of what would or wouldn’t transpire, all of the people who I love most made special plans to ensure that they would be with me on this day. What’s more, after an admittedly rough decade in the romance department, I was finally about to marry my soulmate, committing myself to him in the presence of God. Upon receiving Dave’s message, and thinking about all of the plane tickets, babysitters, and days off from work that people arranged for, I made a devout resolution to enjoy the weekend no matter what.
My wedding day turned out to be utterly dreamy and magical, but that’s not to say that all of the details came to fruition in exactly the way that I planned. In fact, a number of things went “wrong.” It rained. My dress got dirty. The party favors that I ordered never arrived. But, it was a wildly inexplicable feeling to watch every single person whose played a deeply impactful role in my life come together under the same roof for the purpose of celebrating love. Their light yielded a radiant, adrenaline-packed euphoria that kept us floating on top of the city (literally, sort of?) until 4 am.
At the outset of the planning process, the advice that my sister in law gave me was this: “People will tell you that your wedding is really nothing more than a couple of hours of your life, and ultimately, that’s true. But I had so much fun on that night, and I couldn’t be happier that I planned everything the way that I did. If I could live that one party over and over again every single year, I would.” Given the opportunity to press rewind and to start from scratch, I’d still listen to Bea. I’d forget about practicality (because, let’s be real, I’ve never been great at paying it much respect, anyway) and throw the exact same bash. But I’d also make a conscious effort to recognize that nothing in life is perfect, myself included, and instead of stressing so much over the way that I looked in a dress, I’d only concern myself with ensuring that I had a drink. 😉
[Photos] Fred Marcus Photography
[Dress] Angel Sanchez
[Hair] Andre Davis
[Makeup] Charlotte Tilbury, Maria Riskakis, National Lead Artist