We finally did it — we’re married!
It’s true. I’m finally Mrs. Dawson. It’s been a whirlwind. We survived. I survived. People always say, “Wouldn’t you love to do it all over again, if you could?” and honestly my answer is no. No way. Zero intention whatsoever of doing this again.
Not because of Brandon, of course, but because this was an unnecessarily stressful process.
The planning, the execution, the expected and unexpected changes we had to deal with — I’d be lying if I said our wedding was nothing but moments of bliss. Shit went wrong. That’s the reality. But that’s how it goes, right? So there’s a lot that we can learn from this experience, and that’s precisely what I plan to do. We’ll learn, we’ll grow stronger, and we’ll take those lessons into our marriage as we move forward together.
But in the meantime, I want to answer your questions. You were all so generous in taking the time to ask me all sorts of things, and I want to share my experiences with you. So let’s do it!
Were you nervous for your wedding?
On the day of the wedding, I was giddy beyond belief. Pure joy. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so happy as I did that day. Brandon and I did not do the traditional wedding thing where you stay in separate rooms the night before the ceremony, so we both woke up on the day filled with such a sense of excitement. We got to share that moment, and that’s something that I’ll really treasure. And, personally, I needed that time. It was just the two of us. We had a busy day ahead of us, so that was special.
Honestly, my biggest piece of advice for anyone planning their wedding is to do whatever you can to remove unnecessary distractions. There are going to be plenty of moments where you’re just sort of present for the process vs. being fully “present,” you know?
You’ll want time to slow down. This is one of the details that was a big intention for me — how do I not make this day a blur? How do I soak it all in and really enjoy it to the fullest? I decided that the last thing I was going to do was drink alcohol that night.
I’m typically not much of a drinker anyhow, so I decided to go crazy the Friday before our wedding — like eight shots of tequila on the dance floor crazy! — and I had the best time. It was so fun to celebrate with our family and friends that night, and then, when it came to the wedding itself I made the conscious decision to be as present as possible. I’m so glad I did.
Have you adjusted to the word husband yet?
I really have adjusted to it already, but for a really long time now I’ve viewed Brandon as much more than a fiance or even a boyfriend prior to our getting engaged.
We’re married, we’re business partners, but most importantly, we’re best friends.
What has changed since you got married?
What’s changed? I guess what has changed is that, in an even more significant way than ever before, we’re in this together. Now, we’ve always been 100% locked into each other, but this change — our being legally married — is that it really sets the tone for everyone else around us.
Our being married tells everyone around us that Brandon and I are in alignment. That we’re committed to each other. That this is real. He and I have always known it. But this tells everyone else in a different way.
Brandon and I have a 25-year age difference. That’s not an issue for us, but in the past, I’ve been nervous and sometimes even insecure about the way that people might perceive our relationship. I don’t really have those insecurities any longer. So I guess this is just as much a transition for others as it is for us. We know how strong our relationship is, and this is just one way in which we are showing that to the world.
But, that said, I do feel different. There’s, like, a new weight to our relationship, a new set of responsibilities, because we really are truly committed to each other. I’m really proud of us as a couple, and I’m so glad we made this decision.
Why did you marry Brandon?
Why did I marry him? Because I trust him implicitly. There’s no one who has had a greater impact on the trajectory of my life than he has. He truly inspires me. He pushes me, and, in the best way, he won’t tolerate my excuses for why I feel I can’t do something.
He doesn’t allow me to think that I’m not worthy of things. And he’s a great friend to me. I always kinda struggled forming the sort of friendships that I wanted when I was younger, and the way that he and I are able to be together, to be friends and to support each other, there’s just nothing else like it in my life.
He’s my best friend. We can be doing anything anywhere in any part of the world together and just have the best time. I know that he’s going to be the person I’m with forever.
What was the most surreal wedding moment for you?
Being in Cabo, looking around, and seeing Brandon and I surrounded by the most incredible people — truly supportive people who want Brandon and I to have a successful life together.
You might think that it’s a given that the people at your wedding would represent those sentiments, but over the course of the last several years, I’ve had to let a lot of people go. The people who weren’t supportive of me, or weren’t pushing me to be my best self.
I really did want to get married until I got to a place within myself where I knew I was becoming the person I wanted to be, and I knew that we were finally ready because I could see that Brandon and I had built a strong community of people who wanted what was best for us.
Making the decision to cut people out of your life, people who have been a part of your life for a long, long time, is never easy, but I’m focused on quality over quantity. I guess it’s just surreal to finally be in that place where I’ve evolved as a person, we’ve evolved as a couple, and we’re a part of something that will help us be who and what we want to be.
How did you determine your wedding budget?
Ooh. This is a juicy one. You see, initially, when we mapped out what we wanted to our wedding to be and saw the estimated budget, we were like, “Absolutely fucking not. No way. Ridiculous.” I’m not really one of those “wedding girls.” You could hardly call me a bridezilla. It’s just not my thing.
But once we saw images of the venue and other details, we just couldn’t say no. We were sold on it. I mean, initially, we were just going to elope. Honestly, that’s my advice to folks out there: Don’t spend a ton of money on your wedding. Spend money on a ten-year anniversary. Spend the money after you’ve actually created the wealth. And be really intentional about what you want to spend money on.
For instance, it was really important to us to have a big house where everyone could spend time together. It was a place where people could connect, and that really mattered to me. It wasn’t just about having a spectacular event.
Honestly, the least fun part was the actual wedding. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but getting to spend time with our loved ones was the central purpose to me. And that’s what everyone needs to do for themselves: prioritize what matters most for these sorts of events. Don’t surround yourself with people who are going to stress you out and don’t support you. Don’t force yourself to have a traditional wedding structure if it’s not going to give you the sort of day you’re looking forward to having. Just don’t do it. It’s your day. Make it your day, you know?
And if you’re looking for a stronger relationship with your partner, then you need to download our Alignment Guide. Get clear on your shared mission. Define your 10 year picture. Establish your shared values. Go to CardoneVenture/Alignment to get your copy!