Oh wait, maybe it WAS the best day of my life

Hey, here’s some great news! No matter what happens on your wedding day – whether it pours with rain, or the cake collapses, at the last-minute you hear that a VIP guest can’t make it , or even if it all goes perfectly – no matter WHAT happens, the way you store the memories of your day is less like a video recording, and more like…  chinese whispers. It’s a common misconception that our memories play back like a recording., that whatever happened is burned into our brain cells and will never change.
The truth is that memories are built and rebuilt each time from whatever information is currently available. [For a really interesting way to test this theory, see this post at you are not so smart.wordpress.com ]

What does that mean for you? Why oh why is it such great news? Simply this: No matter what actually happens on your wedding day, all that matters is how you CHOOSE to remember it. You have the choice of remembering only that it poured with rain, your shoes were ruined, the church leaked, and it was horrible. Or, you could choose to remember how sweet and funny it was when your Mum loaned you her shoes, and wore the old ratty sneakers she keeps in the boot of the car instead, that your favourite photo is of your new spouse  holding the umbrella over both of you under the leaky roof, that you’ve never seen so many gallant men all in one place, and that you laughed all day long.  Both versions are the truth. But only one of them is the truth worth storing away in your memory treasure box, and to get out and look at over the coming years.

That also means it matters who you listen to – To keep those golden memories shiny, there will be times when you have to say, politely, but firmly “You know what, Aunt Sal, I don’t remember it that way at all.” That’s not to say that you have to be all Pollyanna “Oh, it was magical, every moment!” Eeuw! Not at all. In fact, as you go through your life, some of the most treasured memories are going to be the times when things DIDN’T go according to plan. The wedding anniversary/family reunion when my Nan tripped and fell on her way out the door, before she even got to the party is probably more precious to me than it would have been if the stars of the show had been there, not at A&E. The conversations I had with family I hadn’t seen in years suddenly went deeper than the standard “So what have you been doing for the past 10 years…”

What’s my point? It’s simply this: You can’t control what happens. So stop trying so hard to achieve perfection. It almost certainly won’t happen – not the way you’re imagining it will, anyway. What you can control, is how you react to the things that happen, the wonderful AND the terrible, as well as the way you choose to remember them, as disasters, or merely as disappointments.  As someone remarked recently [when a bride tumbled from the horse she was supposed to be riding up the aisle] “This is going to make a great story to tell their kids!”

There may be moments during your wedding, [and definitely in your married life] when it’s going to take all the grace and courage you can muster to hold your head high, and celebrate anyway. There will be times when you cry, and they’re not ‘happy tears’. But if the person you’re marrying really is The One, and they are unshakably on your side, and that’s the person you get to go home with at the end of the day, and every day afterwards – then you’ll be fine.

So relax and get back to enjoying planning your day!


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