Nobody ever prepares you for the madness that is your actual wedding day. Pictures. Family. Food. Gifts. Everyone throws glasses of champagne in your direction along with plates of mini hot dogs and envelopes filled with sweet, sweet wedding presents — and yet all you really want is to enjoy a quiet moment alone with your (finally) husband. Had I realized the craziness that would ensue, I might have just gone to City Hall. Ultimately, what I learned before, during and even after my wedding day was that a wedding actually has very little to do with the bride and groom. It’s about — and in a lot of ways for — everybody else.
If you’ve been following along over the last few months, you’d know that running (as always) was there for me as I prepared for the “big day” to arrive. Without thinking, it enabled me to get into the best physical shape I could so that, come April 5th, I’d be able to rock my white, lacy dress with full confidence. Without thinking, it enabled me to make decisions such as what food to order, what type of venue would be most “us,” how many people to invite and whom. It enabled me to shut out the voices from the peanut gallery — you know, everyone who gives their two cents as though your wedding is being planned in their honor. If you’ve never planned a wedding before, be warned, these people exist.
Carrying me through the most important moments, months and even minutes of my life, running was naturally there for me when I awoke on the morning of my wedding — and not just to rid me of my hangover from the night before (though per usual, it helped with that too). I prepared in advance. In fact, months before my wedding, I asked my best friend of 20 years (20 years!) to train. For what? A short, 3-mile run (though to her, this was practically a marathon).
The thing for me is that I knew that, in order to feel “normal” (whatever that is) and as though the day was like any other on April 5th, I’d need to run, even if just for a few moments to clear my head. I didn’t want to be alone either. I needed someone who could laugh, crack jokes, reminisce. On my wedding morning, that’s exactly what we did. On very little sleep (because I obviously couldn’t drift back to dream land once I opened my eyes — despite it being 6:30am) and with a slight headache (because I obviously couldn’t say no to a celebratory shot and a bottle of wine the night before), we ran. It was slow and it was ugly, but it was exactly what I needed. To my best friend since 2nd grade, thanks for putting up with what could decidedly be the weirdest wedding day request ever made by a bride. Also, I hope your thighs weren’t too sore at the party.
As far as I can remember, I hadn’t been nervous during any of the weeks leading up to my wedding. It was planned as well as a wedding at a bar could be. All of the details were set and in place.
But as much as my morning run calmed me, by the time my hair and makeup were done and my overnight bag packed into my parents car, the jitters began. Maybe it was that I had only eaten half a smoothie and a mini energy bar. Or maybe it’s that the last time I had transported my wedding dress in a car, I unveiled it to find a massive yellow splotch on the bust (it was a flaw in the silk material, but because I was paranoid, this time, I wrapped it in a white sheet — as though that would actually help). Either way, I can only imagine what my reaction would have been to all of the wedding day madness had I not started my day with my usual morning run.
The funny thing about your wedding day is — and correct me if I’m wrong, fellow former brides — I can’t actually remember my wedding. I don’t mean that in the wish I hadn’t drank so much kind of way. I was lucid from start to finish.
Rather, it’s that the evening itself flies by in a flash. One minute you’re putting on your dress and being told to get into a thousand different poses by your photographer, and then next you’re dealing with some last-minute issue, fixing your hair (man, was it windy!), greeting 120394820395 people (most of which you know — some of which you don’t), trying to stuff a mini hot dog in your mouth so you don’t keel over, cutting a cake, dancing to “your” song, and chugging a glass of champagne to make the chaos seem more manageable.
And then, 10 months of planning is over along with the party. Just like that.
On top of that, your toes are numb from wearing 4-inch heels for 7 hours without complaining once. Thank goodness I brought backup in the form of a sparkly silver pair of TOMS. Without them, I think my feet would have simply given up and fallen off.
Almost immediately after the wedding, Noah and I escaped to his family’s home on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for a few days of rest, relaxation, quiet and us. It was the perfect opportunity to quiet our brains, our bodies.
We set up yoga mats inside and stretched.
We walked on the beach.
And, of course, we ran. Not very far and not very long. After all, I literally managed to damage the nerves in my toes by wearing heels and rocking out for so long. But as the feeling came back, and the tingling sensation less painful, we laced up and loved every minute of it, from the nature preserve to the beach…
As I’ve contemplated everything that happened — all of the change that took place (I’m a married woman!) — over the last, ummm week, running has once again been the anchor in my mind, helping to ground me, helping to calm me, and helping to bring me back to this place where life doesn’t center around calls with caterers and run-ins with nameless RSVPs. It’s followed me from one place to the next on my journey, from Manhattan during the planning process to Long Island on my wedding morning to South Carolina in the days that followed.
I am sure of it that running will follow me to Philadelphia, the city I’ll soon call come. That’s right. Reality came really quickly after our mini-moon, as Noah and I hopped on a train from New York City to the City of Brotherly Love to take care of some pre-move business and explore. The chaos continues, but in the midst of it all, I still managed to wake up and do my thing — that is, to run.