You're getting married! I'm so happy for you. You're beaming, and everyone can see it.
But along with my words of congratulations, you should know something: I don't care about your wedding.
There. I said it. I really don't care about it.
I don't care what your dress looks like. No opinion as to whether your cocktail hour is outdoors or indoors. Not a shred of a thought about that awesome band you booked, the color of the flowers you chose, or how many entrée options you've selected.
You can gush over the phone to me about the forty-two different invitation designs you are coveting, and while I'll offer my opinion if you need help narrowing your choices, I still really won't care much about them. When I receive mine in the mail, it might even go into the trash once I've sent back my RSVP.
I don't care at all about your wedding -- at least, not when it comes to the surface details. But if you're wondering what I do care about when it comes to your wedding, there are a few things I could tell you about.
I care about how your dress makes you feel. Don't tell me you feel "good." Don't tell me "it's nice." Tell me that when you put it on you feel like break-dancing, or grabbing a microphone and euphorically shouting animalistic noises at strange volumes before stage-diving into your dessert table. Tell me you just know somewhere deep in your bones that when you dig it out of your closet ten years from now you'll want to hold it up to your face and breathe it in, try it on again, then wrap your daughter in it for an impromptu photo session.
I care that you can tell me, before you purchased your dress, you've made sure you can sit down in it. Tell me you're certain you can breathe in it. Tell me someone you took with you to try it on didn't like it, but you paid for it anyway, hoisted it over your shoulder, and scared all the pedestrians on 20th Street who had to look twice to be sure you weren't carrying a body around the streets of New York City, because you, my friend, you loved it -- and you didn't let anyone's opinion stand in your way.
I care about your mother-in-law. I hope she's a lovely woman (like mine), someone you can depend on and trust. Someone you'll grow to love. And clearly she's got to be some kind of wonderful because she produced this person you love so fiercely that you've vowed to wake up next to each morning for the rest of your life. But mainly I care that you are solid enough in your relationship and your priorities to not allow her to meddle or cross important boundaries, if that's ever the case. No one should have a say in your wedding and marriage other than you and your spouse. I also care that you'll try to build a relationship with her, and handle her with grace and deep breaths, because if all goes well then one day you'll be a mother-in-law, too.
While I don't care about your centerpieces, I do hope that you chose them. Not your husband's aunt who's been in the business and "knows" you should choose tulips because they are more "elegant" than the flowers you've had picked out since you were fourteen. I don't care about your husband's aunt and her outdated flowers.
I care about how you might handle any "haters" you encounter. That you'll recognize that some people in your orbit will always be dark, even on the brightest of days, and while it's sad for them, it has nothing to do with you. I care that you'll simply pull up your lacy garter and keep it moving. Because regardless of how many of them you'll pass on your walk down the aisle, the important one is waiting patiently for you at its end.
I care that you don't waste a single second on what so-and-so's date at table twenty thought of your choice in song, or agonizing over hearing what's-her-face complain that her steak was under-cooked and that she's "too cold" where she is sitting. Of course she's too cold -- that's what happens when you're uptight and don't get on the dance floor and let loose every now and then, and really, that's the bigger problem here. A problem which, I'll remind you, is not yours. I care that you can take a deep breath and be grateful that you don't spend your time at large events criticizing and judging things someone else has spent their time and money and heart space on.
I don't care about the hotel you've booked, how comfortable it is, or how far it is from the reception hall. What I do care about is your stay there. I care that your new hubby is kind enough to help you painstakingly remove all one-hundred-forty-two bobby pins out of your hair-sprayed head, because every bride knows this is marriage initiation. I care that, at the end of the day, the only place you'll want to be in the whole wide world is curled up next to him (or her), reveling in the mind-blowing fact that holy crap, the two of you are married. And if all the Barry White, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and champagne in the world can't stop you from immediately face-planting into those expensive pillows and falling into a slumber so deep you could film an Ambien commercial, well then good for you. Wedding planning is a time-, energy-, money-sucking beast, and you need a nap. Go ahead and take it. (Besides, if kids are in your future, this may be one of the last good ones you'll get.)
I care that you know how to let things roll. That you know if your band forgets the words and drops the trumpet and plays the wrong version of the right song, I'm still going to get up out of my chair and dance 'til I can't feel my feet (or my face) while declaring that this was the best band that ever played at any wedding, so long as you are out there on that dance floor shaking it like you've never shaken anything in your life.
Not worrying about what your in-laws are thinking.
Not wondering what's up with your selfish bridesmaid.
Not mulling over any family drama.
Not stressing over details out of your control that carry minimal, if any, significance.
Repeat after me: none of it matters.
What matters is that there are a bunch of people like me who love you and are happy for you. Who genuinely want to see you happy. Who simply don't care about all that other stuff so long as you're having a blast, because a relaxed bride with a full heart is really all it takes to make for a fun wedding. A bride that is, truly and deeply, care-free.
Alessandra Macaluso is author of The Real-Deal Bridal Bible, available on Amazon and Kindle, and the voice behind her lifestyle blog, PunkWife.com. A version of this post first appeared on RealDealBrides.com. Alessandra also writes screenplays and articles, and is a regular contributor for The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. Her original screenplay, "Polar Suburbia", placed as a semi-finalist in the Moondance Film Festival.
Learn more about Alessandra and the projects she is currently working on, here: AlessandraMacaluso.com.