deep breaths.

I take a deep breath of mountain air, knowing well-enough that the inhale can guide me through the next few moments. Anxiety is a constant companion of mine, sitting on the edge of every nerve and interaction. Am I appearing gracious? Do I seem genuine? People keep taking pictures, how do I look? Smile, smile!

I dodge my own insecurities just long enough to soak in the love, to appreciate the moment and sit still with the emotions. I want to absorb every millisecond of the energy in this room–the outpouring of kindness and sincerity, the beauty of friendship and the power of words filling every inch of this room. We are taking over this room with love.

I’ve always been known to enjoy being the center of attention–all eyes on me and I’m jumping with joy. Despite this well known Michelle fact, this whole bridal process has not been an easy one for me. Our society puts a lot of pressure on the bride. Too many opinions and decisons and you’re a bridezilla. Too relaxed and easygoing, and you don’t care. How does one enjoy the process when you’re juggling venue contracts, hounding people for RSVPs, and also trying to smile on top of it all? Also, how the hell do people find time to write thank-you cards?

I have made this joke many times at this point, but I do feel that this is what it feels like to lose your mind.

I have found solace with other young brides. Lots of nodding heads and understanding smiles. A friend of mine text me the other day telling me that when she was planning her wedding, she turned to her fiance (now husband) and asked “I’m not usually like this, right?”. I laughed out loud and took another cleansing breath.

Sometimes we need reminders that we’re not alone. And nope, not just those of us who are planning a wedding. I have been blown away by the abundance of grace and caring that my loved ones have shared with me, especially those who have been down this path before. It has made me realize that too often we think of ourseleves as islands, and that the experiences we are going through are too unique and internalized to share with others.

What would happen if we allowed our insecurities to be vulnerable to those we trust? I’ve stopped telling people I’ve got it all under control and have admitted that I’m slowly being stretched beyond my emotional limit. And you know what has happened?

People have stepped up.

Two of my best friends planned a crafting party with our other girlfriends to finish all our wedding crafts. My mom got quotes on snack food for the reception. My sister whisked me away to a hotel room for an evening where we didn’t talk about the wedding. My good friend/wedding coordinator went to lunch with me where ALL we talked about was the wedding (trust me, I need both of these situations). I’ve received text messages checking in, telling me I’m loved, and everything in-between.

And all I can think about (besides how immensely fortunate I am to have this kind of love in my life) is…what if I was this vulnerable in my every day life?

I am consistently blown away by the people in my life, and if this wedding process has taught me anything, it is that I need to lean on this network more often. I pride myself on being independent, but there’s beauty in letting others nurture you. When you let others take care of you, it prepares you to take care of them in return when they need it.

So here I am, reflecting on the past few months and the gifts I’ve received before I’ve even taken one step down the aisle. And in one month, as I walk towards the love of my life, that network will be there yet again–lifting Craig and I up, cheering us on, letting us lean on them and say “Hey, we were lucky enough to find each other. But we’re gonna need y’all too.”

And with that we’ll all take a collective breath, enjoying that crisp mountain air, and we will all be there for each other. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing, guys.



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