Your wedding day will be one of the most special and significant events of your life. So many choices have been made: dates, attendants, caterers, colors, flowers, the dress, invitations and more. All you have to do now is show up. That’s the easy part, right? Of course you’ll be there, or at least your physical body will be, but will you truly show up? Will you be fully present to experience the wonder of this commitment you are making? Will you be able to enjoy this amazing event that has taken months to prepare for (and for which there no return policy)?
Your friends and family will descend upon you to celebrate the impending union. From the rehearsal dinner, toasts and getting ready to the “I do’s,” the kiss and the reception, it will all flash in front of you in the blink of an eye. You and your partner will be rushed here and there for the grand entrance, first dance and final sendoff. You’ll be pushed and pulled to pose for pics, speak to your guests and cut the cake. Before you know it, it’s over. But by being present, you can ensure the pictures in your memory will be even more marvelous that the ones you’ll see in a few weeks. Here are three things to keep in mind:
Sure, you have to do the grand entrance and the first dance, cut the cake, etc. After that, have a designated spot and stay put. Make a list of five people you plan on leaving your spot to go and visit and do so, purposefully. I am sure there are some folks who are special to you, like your friend who traveled from Europe or your great-grandmother. If your wedding has more than 200 people, it will be impossible to visit with them all, at least in a meaningful way. Have them come to you.
Discuss your intentions with your partner and wedding planner. Let them know that you want to “check in” on a regular basis, whether this be a reminder by your attendant who brings you drinks or someone in the wedding party. Have them give you a gentle reminder every time they do so. “Hey, take a moment.” Let this be your queue to take a deep breath. Then use your senses to get present: taste your drink or food, smell the scents that fill the air, visually scan the room, acknowledging in your mind the weight of this moment. Catch your partner’s eyes, in silence, and inhale this moment.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed or have lost contact with the moment, breathe. Our breath is always present, and noticing it can have a grounding effect on our nervous system. The breath can act as an anchor, pulling us back to the moment when that little voice in our heads takes us away from “right now.” You know the one. The voice that speaks about the future too much, judges a situation, yourself or others. The voice that speaks in “shoulds” and “what ifs.” If you notice your mind is taking you for a ride, stop, notice, breathe and come back. This moment is one of the most precious in your life, so show up for it.
Corey Porche, MS, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor who also holds a master’s degree in Interpersonal Communication. He is a co-owner of Camelia House Counseling and Educational Services. The primary focus of his practice is working with couples through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 337-501-9869 or visit www.cameliahouse.com.