As I sit on my back deck, enjoying a glass of wine and the beautiful 80 degree San Antonio weather, I ponder the one piece of advice I would give brides. The one take away I have learned from my own wedding as well as those I have helped. What is the one thing I would suggest to all my brides? It is this:

Enjoy this time. No, don’t just enjoy it. Cherish it. Hold on to it like a dear friend whom you know you will never see again. Because you know what? You won’t.

So often I see brides who are so anxious to get to the wedding that they don’t realize what they are leaving behind. I know this because I was one of those brides. I counted down the months, the weeks, the days and hours before the big day. It wasn’t until the night before my rehearsal dinner that it caught up with me. Where did the time go? It seemed to go by so slow, then all of a sudden it was here. As I laid on my makeshift bed on the couch, exiled there by my parents who had taken over my one bedroom apartment, I painstakingly realized that this was my last night in my apartment as a single woman. Clips of Father of the Bride sailed through my head.

” I just kept thinking about how this was my last night in my bed, in my house. Kind of like my last night as a kid. I mean, I’ve lived here since I was five. And I feel like I’m supposed to turn in my key tomorrow.”

It’s the end of innocence, really. The end of a chapter in your life that you can never re-read. Capture this moment. Savor every single minute. Because before you know it, it will be gone forever and your new life as wife, mother, caretaker, what-have-you, will begin.

One other thing I always tell my brides. Before you stampede down that aisle, pause for a couple of seconds. Look at your husband and look around you. Take in the beautiful surroundings and smiles on your loved ones faces. Take a deep breath and know that you are creating a lasting memory of the most monumental moment of your entire life.