The One Piece of Advice No One Gave Me on My Wedding Day

(Image credit: Joseph Mason Studios)

For practically as long as I was engaged, people were telling me that I needed to be sure to eat on my wedding day.

“There’s going to be so much going on and you’re going to be totally overwhelmed as soon as things are underway,” they said. “Stock up on snacks for the morning. And be sure you have someone bringing you something to eat during the wedding itself, because you’re going to forget.”

I was heartened by the assurances of the day-of wedding coordinator whose services were included as part of the price we paid to secure our refurbished barn venue in a Philadelphia suburb. After our official food tasting six months prior to our actual wedding date, the coordinator informed me that there would be a staffer specifically assigned to the task of ferrying cocktail hour treats to me wherever I was on the day of. And the salmon, asparagus, and smashed potatoes that I’d chosen for my entree were so delicious that I left the tasting fully confident that I would sit my butt at that sweetheart table and eat a full dinner at my reception, no matter what.

I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. Hard to find time to eat at your own wedding? Please. I had a plan — not to mention a super-helpful member of the catering team who I felt confident would take care of me.

My family and bridal party had my back, too, and on the morning of the big day, I watched as big trays of bagels, fruit, veggies, cold cuts, and cheese were carried into the hotel room where we’d established our hair and makeup headquarters. With some encouragement, I picked at small plates of food as much as any anxious bride would in those final hours leading up to “I do.” I felt silently triumphant. The people had spoken, and I had listened. I had eaten on my wedding day!

Do you know what the people hadn’t spoken about, though?

Drinking water.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

I Forgot to Drink Water on My Wedding Day

For all the sage wisdom I received from past brides who’d arrived at the altar or afterparty totally famished, apparently, not a single one had arrived feeling a little parched.

In my normal, non-wedding day life, I’m the kind of person who is rarely seen without her trusty S’well bottle. I have fully bought into the hype about the health benefits of drinking tons of water throughout the day, and my average daily water intake is probably somewhere between 200 and 250 ounces. I had my water bottle with me while I was getting ready in the bridal suite, but in all the excitement — and, quite frankly, all the highly intentional snacking — I doubt I drank more than 25 ounces.

At no point during the ceremony or reception did I feel actively thirsty (except for Champagne, obviously). I was too busy swooning over my new husband, hugging long-missed friends, dancing, and gladly accepting the snacks — and cocktail straws — proffered to me to realize how little water I’d had to drink.

It was only at the end of the night, when I realized that I’d handily avoided the much-hyped and highly dreaded moment of selecting a bridesmaid to help me maneuver my dress in the restroom. At first, this felt like a win! My sisters had been politely passing the hypothetical job between them for several months, and I was happy not to have missed a second of the party for something as biologically basic as, well, peeing.

How I Rehydrated

But when my new husband and I got back to the hotel and I began to work out the math — at that point, it had been almost 11 hours since I’d made a last-call bathroom run before putting on my dress — I couldn’t find my water bottle fast enough. It took three more hours, an afterparty, a few more Beyoncé numbers performed on the dance floor, a veritable bucket of French fries, and no less than six highball glasses of ice water for my body to finally feel like it was functioning properly again.

For the record, I consumed those and French fries and the vast majority of that water while sitting alone at a table in the corner of our post-reception afterparty because, at that moment, there was literally nothing more important to me than both eating and drinking.

Brides, hear me when I tell you that you must go absolutely out of your way to drink plenty of water on your wedding day. The lovely, generous people around you are going to be their loveliest, most generous selves about showering you with food as much as possible — and you will definitely thank them for it — but don’t forget to hydrate! It’s probably the most boring, least glamorous day-of wedding advice you’ve gotten yet, which is likely why we don’t hear it enough. Who wants to be the one to give boring advice? I will volunteer as tribute here, because dehydration is no joke.

Given how little water I drank, how much rosé I admittedly consumed, and how much dancing I did on the day of my wedding, I feel genuinely lucky that I wasn’t feeling more intense symptoms of dehydration by the end of it, especially since this all happened in the middle of the summer. In terms of staying hydrated, a wedding is pretty much the ultimate case of the odds being stacked against you, so every time someone advises you to remember to eat, I recommend making a mental note about drinking water, too.

Ask one of your bridesmaids or your brother to be on water bottle duty, or see if your catering team can bring an extra glass or two of water to your dinner table so that it becomes painfully obvious that you need to take a sip. Plenty of water (and a healthy amount of food, too!) will make for a happy, dancing bride.

Trust me — the awkwardness of that dress-maneuvering moment with your sister in the restroom will be well worth it.

What was the best piece of wedding-day advice you’ve gotten or given?

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