Things I Remember About My Wedding (Before I Finally Shut Up About It)

The number one thing I heard in the weeks leading up to my wedding was how fast the day would fly by. Because I like to be prepared and know what I'm getting into, I made a mental note of this. The day will fly by, I told myself. And then I thought: but wait, how can I stop it from flying by? Which leads me to the number two thing I heard in the weeks leading up to my wedding, which was that I should try---should really, really try---to be present in the moment. Okay, I thought, got it. The day will fly by, but I should try to be present in the moment. I am prepared. I have done my homework. As god is my witness, I will stop this day from flying by!

Internet, you cannot stop your wedding day from flying by. You cannot even really be present in the moment, actually, because the moment just goes too damn fast. Honestly, it's like someone just presses fast forward on the day: the first half goes at a normal pace and then all of a sudden, it's one o'clock, and you're getting your hair done, and people are milling around you getting excited and then BOOM!, it's like someone slipped you a roofie and you wake up ten hours later and the wedding's over and you can hardly remember a thing.

My wedding day is such a blur. I know that I smiled a lot, not just from the pictures that I've seen, but because I remember thinking I just can't stop smiling, I can't stop. I even thought I was going to get in trouble in the church, actually, because I was smiling so much. Honestly, I was beaming like a crazy person from start to finish. I half expected the vicar to stop what he was doing, grab me by the collar, and say "now, are you actually taking this seriously, young lady? Wipe that grin off your face, this is important business!"

The day after the wedding---which is a very strange day indeed, by the way, probably one worthy of its own post; I don't think anyone really tells you how weirdly emotional you're going to feel---I wailed to Sean that I'd failed in my one important task of being present in the moment. "Everyone told me," I sobbed, "to take a moment sometime during the wedding and really look around and notice everything and take it all in. And I forgot to do that."

"But you know what," said Sean, calmly. "Everyone probably forgets to do that. That's why they tell other people to do it, because they never had time to do it themselves."

It's so true, Internet! It just keeps perpetuating itself! One day, some lucky bride really is going to remember to be present in the bloody moment, and the whole vicious cycle will be righted! 

Regardless, there are things I do remember, things that I know happened because I kept a mental stockpile of them in my head to keep me tethered to the fact that yes, that did just actually happen, because hey, did that actually happen? is something we kept asking each for the 24-hour period before we received photographic evidence that it did.

I remember taking a swim the morning of the wedding, diving into the pool and slicing through the water, clearing my head of the fog that had built up after a night of fitful sleep and thinking married today, married today with the rhythm of every kick and stroke. I remember kneeling at the coffee table with both of my brothers as they helped me de-thorn roses and pull leaves off lisianthus, and later, sitting there alone while I made my bouquet, surprised at how therapeutic and calming it was, how I wasn't really nervous or stressed at all, how in just a few hours I'd be carrying this same bunch of flowers down the aisle. 

I remember stepping into my dress, how it took just a few seconds when I'd envisioned it being a long, slow, drawn-out affair, how I unlocked the bedroom door and let the photographer in again, how I called to my mother and sister to help with the button at the top, how I stood there breathing in and out, in and out, in and out, while no-one could find the button and the car was waiting and oh my god, we've got to go.

I remember descending the stairs to see my dad at the bottom, the tiny picture my mother offered me that was always hanging on the wall in my grandmother's old flat, how my dad helped me tie it to the bouquet, how it was the first moment I felt the sudden sharp rush of tears, but held them back anyway.

I remember walking out of the house to the car in the driveway, turning back towards it for a second, and seeing the entire catering staff in their black t-shirts, standing against the garage, watching me, waving. I remember sitting in the back seat of a turquoise 1955 Chevy with my dad, how he'd cut himself shaving and I tore a tissue in my tiny purse in half and dabbed at it for him, how we talked about how it might be cloudy later, how I remembered a few blocks from the church that I still had the label on the bottom of my shoe, so I just turned sideways in the car and my dad peeled it off for me, easier than taking my shoe off and doing it myself.

I remember that we got there and it was somehow a strange surprise to see the photographer, stranger still to see the groomsmen milling around, and the vicar in his robes, how everyone looked at me with a weird sort of reverence. I remember the moments in the ladies' waiting room before the ceremony, and the weird flash of butterflies when it was time, like standing in the wings to go on stage and hearing the audience suddenly hush. I remember standing outside the closed church doors with my dad, listening to the organist inside, and how my dad said "now I'm nervous," and I said "me too."

I remember the moment when the doors opened and everyone stood up and that's when I looked around at everyone, that's when I paused time and froze it right where it was, 3:35pm on Saturday September 5th. And then we started walking and there was Sean with tears in his eyes, and when we said our vows, his voice was loud and strong, and mine got choked up, which was a total surprise to me because I hadn't seen that one coming at all. 

There was a moment during the ceremony, a very clear moment, when I looked down at my parents in the front row, and I was just squeezed with happiness---I can't even explain it, it was like a visceral, physical burst of joy---because there they were, there we all were, and the moment was here.

And afterwards, walking down that tiny aisle---hold hands? no, hold me by the elbow, however we fit---I couldn't stop smiling, still couldn't stop smiling, couldn't stop all night.

I remember the ride back to the house, our Just Married sign fluttering on the bumper, cars all around us on the freeway honking, their drivers pressing against the windscreen with big grins and thumbs up. All the way home people congratulated us from their cars, everyone waving like the joy was contagious. And then at home, walking into the backyard to a shower of confetti, my grandma throwing fistfuls of it, my sister blowing bubbles, rose petals scattered across the lawn, and look, there was everyone, there was everyone we loved.

I remember a perfect moment during dinner, Edith Piaf on the sound system, the sky a pale pink, the lanterns luminous, an attentive waiter topping up my champagne, the pleasant buzz of conversation around us, and everywhere I looked, someone I knew. I remember the speeches, how my dad got to a part where we both choked up simultaneously, how as soon as it happened, Sean grabbed my hand.

I remember the first dance, how we got the twirl exactly right, although it's possible I don't actually remember the first dance after all, and have only seen the video one too many times:

First Dance from Holly on Vimeo.

 I remember the dance floor being packed, the music all being exactly right, doubling over with laughter as one of my brothers did The Worm and then the other retaliated with some strange sort of breakdancing move and then, later, forming a circle around my brother and sister as they debuted a choreographed dance to Baby Got Back (somewhere there are videos of both of those things too.)

I hardly remember cutting the cake, but I remember the night being almost over---eleven already? but how?---and the taxi arriving and Sean and I keeping the driver waiting while we ran around and said our goodbyes, waving, waving, waving as the car pulled out of the driveway. I remember walking through the lobby of the hotel in my big swishy dress, thinking this is weird, I'm walking through a hotel lobby in a wedding dress, the tired clerk behind the desk smiling at us, a bottle of champagne waiting in our room.

And then that was it, the wedding was over, a whole ten months of work dissolved in a single day, which is about as strange a feeling as you can imagine. Because it does go fast, it goes so fast you can't even believe it, and no, you probably won't remember to be present in the moment, you won't remember at all. But at least you'll snatch a few memories here and there.

(All photos by the wonderful and talented Erin Hearts Court, who are quite likely the best photographers in the world, yes, I'm looking at YOU, Ansel Adams, you ain't got nothing on them.)

Oct 01, 2009

Thanks for this Holly. Beautiful writing as always.

Oct 01, 2009

I just want to say how much I've enjoyed *all* the entries about your wedding (pre- and post!) I've even enjoyed the entries you worried might be boring us--firstly, because they really weren't boring, but secondly, because your happiness has been infectious and that makes it really enjoyable to read.

It's incredibly sweet it is that you're sharing so much with us. Yours was one of the loveliest weddings I've ever seen; I love all the personal touches you put into it. It just looked amazing.

And the bit about the other cars honking on the freeway and smiling at you through the windshields? Oh boy, did that make me tear up.

Congratulations again to you both!

Oct 01, 2009

This brought a tear to my eye. I can't wait to see what it is I remember about my own wedding day, seven months from today

Oct 01, 2009

beautiful - the words, the photos, all of it.

Oct 01, 2009

With my own wedding just about a month away, this post really touched me. I have absolutely no idea how the day is going to change me or how I am going to feel. I just know I can't wait!

Oct 01, 2009

OK, it's a given that we cry at weddings, right? But surely this is the first wedding I've never even been to at which I have cried repeatedly. Holly, don't for a moment think we are tired of this, or could ever even get "too much wedding"! Bring on those memories of the day after!!

Oct 01, 2009

I am getting married in ELEVEN DAYS and I've loved reading about your wedding. This post made my cry a little bit.
Thank you for sharing :)

Oct 01, 2009

Awww! What a beautifully written post. I'm chiming in because one thing you mentioned grabbed me and I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one--the rollercoaster of emotions the day after. I remember being estatic and depressed in waves--it was like the worst day after Christmas feeling I'd ever had. One glance at my new husband and I'd snap back out, but it was completely unexpected, that letdown.
On a lighter note, one of my favorite memories of my wedding was my father and I defiantly stepping off on the *left* foot to the despair of the snooty wedding coordinator, who insisted it be the right. Between that and the terrible names we called each other as we walked down the aisle he kept me from gasping and sobbing like a fish out of least till we made it to the alter.
Thanks for reminding me of my memories!

Oct 01, 2009

You are so right about this- I got married one week after you did and it went. so. fast. It was wonderful and it flew and I am so glad you enjoyed your beautiful day and WOW was it beautiful! Congrats!

Amy --- Just A Titch
Oct 01, 2009

Just lovely. Your wedding looks/sounds amazing. And that last photo in this post! GORGEOUS. Such a special day.

Oct 01, 2009

Okay, I am going to be the one bride in all eternity who remembers to "be present in the moment". Oh, please God -- Let it Be MEEE!!

Oct 01, 2009

You capture the conundrum that is the wedding day so beautifully. I was married three weeks before you, and just last night I had a vivid wedding dream and woke up in a panic that sounds similar to your post-wedding panic - no, no, it's over, I missed it, how can it be over already, I barely remember a thing! I consciously tried to take the day slowly, to stop and look around, and it still went so quickly. I think there's no way around it, because in the end it's just a day, 24 hours, and then it's over, and all you have are photos and video and a dress you'll never wear again. But it's worth it. So worth it.

Oct 01, 2009

Just beautiful, your photos are absolutely gorgeous. I'm still waiting on our professional photos- hoping they will fill in some gaps in memory.
For now, our wedding day is one happy, hazy, beautiful, giddy blur.

She Likes Purple
Oct 01, 2009

It does fly by and it's nearly impossible to slow it down, but this post -- these beautiful, perfect memories -- sure make it seem like you did a damn good job of being present in the moment. And your endless smiling says the same thing.

Such a beautiful wedding.

How was the honeymoon?

Oct 01, 2009

You were the picture of serenity when we saw you the morning of the wedding. And even though you say you weren't able to be entirely present in the moments as they flew by, you were definitely able to put all the wedding planning aside and enjoy yourself, which is no small accomplishment. Not every bride can do that--let go of a day she's poured her attention into for almost a whole year--and I'm so glad you were able to.

Oct 01, 2009

wow. beautiful words and beautiful photo's. it has been wonderful to follow your journey.

FunnyGal KAT
Oct 01, 2009

Your photos ARE beautiful (but I think the glowing subjects helped, too). I think the moment I was most present at during my wedding day was when I looked around and realized, "Here, right now, is almost everyone we love and who love us. All in one room." It's not likely to ever happen again, so it was neat to experience that.

Erin @ Fierce Beagle
Oct 01, 2009

Oh! I cried the day after my wedding too! My poor husband.

"No, I *am* happy!" [sob, sniff] "Really!"

Patty V
Oct 01, 2009

Ditto to Carroll's comment!!!

Oct 01, 2009

I've enjoyed reading about your wedding (all of it!) so much. Thank you for sharing this with us, everything looks and sounds just as amazing as I imagined.

Oct 01, 2009

Your wedding was incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your special day with us!

Oct 01, 2009

oh that bit about you and your father choking up at the same moment during his speech and sean grabbing your hand? killed me with the sweetness of it. i re-read it about five times.

beautiful photos and beautiful writing about your wedding day.

now for the honeymoon!

Oct 01, 2009

omg. the part about the father - yes! i'm like in tears. ack!

i'm headed to a wedding tonight (a thursday wedding) so this was very fitting to read. although now my eye makeup is ruined.

loved hearing about this (and want to hear more personally.)

Oct 01, 2009

oh, wow...your whole wedding is gorgeous, more impressive that you did nearly the entire thing all by yourselves. if we believed in having a wedding, we'd want it to look like yours. so glad it turned out so perfectly made just for you.

Oct 01, 2009

Oh dude, the day after my wedding was among the weirdest of my life. It's just an ODD DAY. I think the whole thing being over, being married, feeling guilty because all these people did SO much for you and now it's all over and wait wait -- did I thank them properly? I MUST THANK THEM. I sobbed for a lot of that day, and spent a little too long desperately trying to place an international call from my honeymoon so that I could tell my parents YET AGAIN how much I loved and appreciated them, just in case I didn't do it properly on the day. (I did.)

I felt SO GUILTY that all these people -- everyone I loved, as you said -- came, and I didn't get to spend quality time with any of them. And then, on top of everything, I was married.

Oh man. That day was a mess.

Oct 01, 2009

That was the sweetest first dance I ever saw.

Melanie Avila
Oct 01, 2009

So. Beautifull.

The photos. The post. Everything.

Well done. :)

Oct 01, 2009

Oh how I love that picture of you from behind watching the toast.

I have a few little things I remember, the most striking being my dad uttering just before we walked down the aisle, "I'm proud of you." And then he was totally crying. My dad is a major sap!

Oct 01, 2009

"Nice capture" everyone says on flickr.

So, "nice capture," Holly.

And "nice capture" to Erin Hearts Court for their amazing work. So many lovely moments beautifully wrought.

Oct 02, 2009

I'm verclempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. Holly Burns made the most beautiful bride ever...inside and out. There.

I've so enjoyed your wedding series. I'll miss it terribly. It has made me long for things that I never had and may never be, which is probably why I'm trying not to sob right now.

You have a million more incredible moments before you. And you'll record them for posterity here for you and the world to share and remember and enjoy. I count myself blessed to have discovered you.

Thank you.

Oct 02, 2009

I love how, when Sean pulls you in to him for a kiss during the dance, you kept the rest of your body moving in the dance pattern. That's some good dance training, right there.

Jenna Jean
Oct 02, 2009

All of these pictures are so gorgeous, especially the car one. It looks straight out of a romantic movie, especially with the sparklers.

Oct 02, 2009

Your dress is even more beautiful when you can see it move on the video.

I agree that it is impossible to live in the moment when it is going by at warped speed. 13 years later I still think that my wedding day was the BEST DAY EVER! I married the man of my dreams and was in a cocoon of love. It was powerful.

Heather B.
Oct 02, 2009

I'm watching your first dance and crying. Thought you'd like to know.


Operation Pink Herring
Oct 02, 2009

I just couldn't shake the feeling that none of it was real on the morning of the wedding. I was trying to be present, but I just could not comprehend that after all the planning and the preparation and anxious waiting, it was HERE. MY wedding. Not a friend's, not my brother's, MINE.

It's so weird and wonderful. You captured it beautifully, and I think I've said this a million times already, but your pictures and YOU look so unbelievably lovely. I mean, I knew everything was going to be gorgeous... but it's different actually SEEING how great everything was.

Congratulations a thousand times over to you guys.

Oct 02, 2009

Holly & Sean - thank you so much for sharing your amazing day with the internet. It was great being able to share this journey with you - thank you for sharing your day with us.

Oct 03, 2009

Looove your dress!! Who designed it?

Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 03, 2009

Amanda, it's made by Casablanca. The style is 1816. Thanks!

Oct 03, 2009

I'm pretty sure one's wedding is what first arriving in Heaven is like - everyone you love, greeting you with huge smiles.

PS - The photo of the two of you in the back of the car, kissing? AMAZING.

Oct 07, 2009

That made me cry!

Oct 07, 2009

I have LOVED reading all of your posts. Your writing is funny, beautiful and can definitely choke me up! Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts with the world!

Larly Sandoz
Oct 08, 2009

My romantic wedding day was flying by too - but by staying at the magnificent Frensh Castle Hattonchâtel Château for 3 days made it into a very nice and relaxing wedding, where we had time to have a good time with all our wedding guests.

Nov 17, 2009

well I kinda LOVE your wedding dress since I wore the same one! =)
I purchased mine at and got it for a steal of $750!!!!!
you look beautiful in it =)

kim at allconsuming
May 07, 2010

I think I could watch that first dance over and over until it was definitely deemed 'creepy'. Just gloriously beautiful.

Jun 09, 2011

Ultram islgy Cialis %(((

Aug 08, 2011

You were an absolutely stunning bride - LOVE your dress Holly! I LOVE the picture of you two with the sparkler!

Sep 29, 2011

I am going to be the one bride in all eternity who remembers to "be present in the moment". Oh, please God -- Let it Be MEEE!! search engine optimization

Oct 13, 2011

thank you for sharing I just got married 6 days ago and it flew by so fast, I had 2 shots of tequila very early on in the day to calm my nerves my wedding was at 345pm it was a beautiful day at the harbor. I remember the ceremony giving a thank you speech right after, thank God because after that everything is a blur and the next thing I know it was over and almost everyone was gone. I just remember smiling and dancing the whole entire time but very little of the rest I even asked my husband about who gave the toast and he didnt remember and he purposely did not drink at all so he can take in the moment he thought it was the band but I found out later it was my son who gave the toast. Now I know how mesmorized I was at my wedding because I was simply very happy with everything and I was going to enjoy my wedding. Everyone I spoke to who had attended said it was the best wedding they have ever been to it was wonderful. With that being said I'll stop beating myself up for not remember alot of the moments.

May 31, 2013

SO glad I found this... we were married a week ago - and I'm going coo koo that I can't remember things - and I too BARELY had a drink all day! It just FLEW by - and I am so glad to see this is normal... I know I was there, and, having fun - but it seems like a dream... Emotional few days to follow - and absolute exhaustion... again... glad it is normal!

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