Whether you're counting down to your wedding or all 30 of the nuptials you've been invited to this year, you know there's a lot of pressure riding on that day.
But saying "I do," cutting the cake, and the first dance are just the parts that make up one single (very hyped-up) day. Marriage is — well, for a lot of us — a lifetime.
So what comes after the ceremony and the honeymoon?
We asked women who've already been to there tell us what they wish they knew about marriage before they tied the knot.
Here's what they had to say.
Make your own normal.
"I wish someone reminded me that while there will be lots of people giving advice, you make the rules. Keep your relationship personal and intimate. Make decisions that work for the both of you; not your mom or that random cousin that floods your feed with inspirational quotes and badly-lit selfies. With so much oversharing, it's easy to question your decisions. It pays off to find what's important to the both of you and to make your own rules based on those things. Also, I wish someone had told me to work toward getting a place with two bathrooms. Now that we each have our own, it's better than any wedding gift we received." —Christina, 26
Get to know your in-laws.
"I got married at age 21, so there was a lot I didn't know about marriage. (Basically everything.) What I wish I knew before was that his family would become my family. That sounds obvious, but I think I assumed we would just figure it out. This is going to sound crazy, but I only met his parents twice before our wedding day. At the time, it didn't seem that weird since we were both living away from home and had independent lives from our parents. But after we were married I learned a lot of things about his family that would have made me think twice about marrying him. He later confessed that he tried to make sure I spent as little time with them as possible because he was afraid I might not still love him if I knew them better. Well, I love my husband dearly, but his family causes endless conflict in our marriage. There is no 'working it out' with them." —Marie, 38
Talk it out.
"I wish someone told me how important communication is. In every argument that we've ever had or at any time when I've been fiercely mad at my husband, I never feel as angry after discussing the issue. I never fully understand where he's coming from until we talk it out. I also think it's really important to make time for each other." —Maggie, 31
Don’t worry about the bad days.
"There will be more bad and boring days than good ones. But the good ones make it worth everything. There are arguments, annoyances, and you run out of things to talk about sometimes. You get bored. That's life. But there is nothing more amazing than the moments that you know that this guy's got your back — no matter what. I wish I knew to not worry so much about the bad days. That they are not indicative of a failing or loveless marriage." —Cari, 39
The wedding doesn’t matter.
"Nobody cares about most of what goes on in your actual wedding day — so try not to freak out about the wedding details. Ultimately, none of that really matters." —Kate, 31
It doesn’t change you.
"I thought I was supposed to have this 'ah ha' moment after getting married, but I didn't. My husband and I were together for so long before we got married that our lives pretty much stayed the same. I think some men and women think when you get married you are going to change, but we are still independent and still do things together and go to bed each night saying, 'I love you.' Marriage has only strengthened us." —Katie, 31
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Some marriages end.
"After the divorce, I said I wished someone had explained that two people have to want to be married, not one. So like, it's the sh—tiest contract in the world because if one person bails, that's it. It's over." —Melanie, 44
The pressure is off.
"This is going to sound so incredibly sappy, but I wish I knew how blissful marriage would be once all the pressures of dating and engagement faded away. My husband and I dated for eight and a half years before we got married, and after we hit the three-year mark in our relationship, we were peppered with questions about when we would get engaged, even though we were only 22 and 23 years old. The questions and pressure only intensified with time. My husband refused to give into the pressure, for which I'm so grateful. He knew us well enough to know when we were ready.
"But once we got engaged, we had the pressure of planning a wedding. Even though our engagement was almost two years long, it still feels like such a whirlwind as we both aggressively pursued our careers. Now that we've settled into our lives as a married couple, it's so nice to enjoy the current state of our relationship with no external pressures or expectations. There's something to be said for returning to 'ordinary' after the wedding hype has subsided. The best part about being married is finally reaching a point where you can bask in your relationship without external pressures and questions — until baby questions begin." —Elyse, 28