I asked “Any advice?” while nibbling on smoked salmon and sipping Mum’s Rose Sparkling Wine with my bridesmaids. We’d finished hauling and arranging the tables, my hair was still up in curlers, and we were all enjoying a down moment before it was time to tackle the process of getting gorgeous.
“Any advice for me?” I asked, ready to listen to my best girlfriends and my sister, the women who are such an important part of my life.
We snacked and laughed and discussed. The consensus? Be present. It all happens so fast, they said. Try your best to enjoy each moment of today.
Take a minute to peek out at the gathering of friends and family at the ceremony and be grateful for their presence. Look at their happiness, feel their support, soak up their love. Take deep breaths and look at the man you’re marrying. Really look at him. Try to capture the feeling of excitement and nerves and anticipation. When you kiss, kiss. When you dance, dance. When you hug, hug. Be there, be present.
And knowing me, they added– Do not stress out about what’s happening next, or who you’re not talking to, or why that table doesn’t have any red wine. Just be present to the amazing moment. And then the next one. And then the next.
Soak it up.
I loved this advice. My whole life has been topsy turvy for the last few months: planning the wedding, remodeling the cabin, figuring out how to work (coaching circles! gutsy girl workshops! life coaching!) and play and live on the road, and feeling a deep sense of needing to refuel. I’ve been planning, deliberating, making lists, working my butt off and pushing. Lots of pushing.
And finally, the ladies nearest and dearest to me (including my momma!) told me to stop. To breathe. To be in the present. To enjoy myself.
I hadn’t forgotten, but I had been putting aside the small delights in order to “Get Things Done”. But a wedding, a marriage, a life really… It isn’t about getting things done.
It’s about soaking up the moment, the absolute deliciousness of each tiny slice of life. It’s about choosing joy and doing good.
So I listened. And I put their advice into practice.
My memory of our wedding is full of mental snapshots of small moments: The Big Man looking at me for the first time in my dress, hearing Jake and Chuck play Fields of Gold for the processional, smiling at my grandfather as I walked down the aisle hand in hand with my new husband, our volunteer wedding coordinator fiercely protecting my special alone moment, climbing up the trestle with my bridesmaids to get “the shot”, dancing with my dad decked out in his tux and sneakers, watching Sammy carry an entire bottle of whiskey to his table, reminiscing with my high school pals as classic Pearl Jam songs played, singing songs I barely knew at the bonfire, calling the Big Man my husband for the first time…
It was an evening of moments.
Thus, a reminder to all (including myself!)– Soak it up. Consciously choosing to be joyful and present is possible, even when life feels crazy. It’s something I’m going to practice and explore these next two weeks, as we pack up our entire life in Seattle and hit the road.