Where were you on April 29, 2011? Like two million people worldwide, I spent some of my day glued to the television watching the breath-taking moment when an ordinary girl became a princess. The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was probably the most hotly-anticipated event of 2011 on a global scale, and it did not disappoint.
Like many of you, I had a glass of champagne in hand and a smattering of friends and loved ones around me, enjoying the celebratory atmosphere. Like you, I watched the dignitaries and celebrities arrive at Westminster Abbey in central London and like you, I recoiled in horror upon seeing Princes Beatrice's horn-type headwear and smiled when William told Catherine, his wife to be, how beautiful she looked.
The difference? While most viewers sat transfixed as Kate walked down the aisle in her stunning Sarah Burton gown, I was darting between rehearsals and make-up, getting ready to do the same a few hours later. That's right, when in April 2010, my then-fiancé and I booked our April 29, 2011 wedding, we had no idea that our wedding date would become the most celebrated wedding day of a generation. In addition, little did we realize that the engagement of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would turn this most significant of occasions into a caricature of itself! Truly, while it's unusual enough that we shared a date, it was laughable that we were booked to be married at the "Royal Windsor Racecourse" in a room called the Royal Suite. This turn of events gave our wedding a humorous edge that we could not have foreseen, and, due to continuous media focus on the countdown to the day, actually influenced our experience as a couple (See www.royalweddingcountdown.wordpress.com for more information).
On that special day a year ago however, it was, what I hope it was for Will and Kate, all about the promise we were making to each other. That promise to love, honour and cherish and that pledge that we were making in front of a room of invited loved ones (in our case... approximately 10 percent of the audience in the Abbey).
One year on, we too are excited about celebrating our wedding anniversary, and as I'm sure is the case with most newlyweds, can hardly believe that a year has whizzed by so quickly. It has been an incredible beginning of a life long journey although like many brides, I experienced a brief touch of the post-wedding blues after the big day, brought on by the absence of wedding planning that had become such an integral part of my routine for so long.
So, inspired by some of the events of the royal couple's first year of marriage, here are three tips for newlyweds who want to move swiftly from the post-wedding blues to post-wedding productivity!
1. Be private:
While William and Kate madness has been persistent since the engagement announcement and it seems like they have often been in the media, they have been great at recognising that although they are the most public of figures, personal (no paparazzi, thank you) time is also essential for a newlywed couple. They have balanced a hectic schedule of official engagements with private time in their Anglesey home. For us mere mortals, this is a good lesson. My dad described it eloquently in a toast on our wedding day when he said that my husband and I were now family... and they were all relatives. While we always have their support when needed, he stressed the importance of our commitment to focus on ourselves as a couple, advice to be cherished.
2. Take on a project:
In January 2012, Kate accepted roles with four charities: Action on Addiction, National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia's Children's Hospices and The Art Room. She also volunteers for the Scout Association and has visited charities close to her husband's heart, such as Centrepoint.
While this wasn't a post-wedding blues-busting strategy on her part, it is one of the most important tips for newlyweds who miss the planning buzz. Get involved... plan something! My first year has seen me settle into a new job, start building my career coaching for newlyweds initiative and work with The Amos Bursary, a London-based educational charity. All of this was happening before we got married, but it was important to get back into the swing of things as planning something will give you renewed focus and perspective, and your efforts can make an important contribution to others.
3. Celebrate good times, c'mon!
Kool and the Gang first recommended it the year before Kate was born (1981) and the advice still rings true today. Celebrate good times as often as you can. From Kate's 30th birthday, to Mike and Zara's royal wedding, to their first North American tour, to spending time with their new dog Lupo -- it's really important that couples keep celebrating the big (and the small) things in their lives. In our first year of marriage we celebrated everything from my surprise 30th birthday weekend in Barcelona to the arrival of my husband's new business cards. Our theory is that if we celebrate the great achievements and the little victories, we will continue to be grateful for our blessings both as individuals and as a couple.
So this Sunday, when the world's news and entertainment channels are showing clips from the fairytale wedding of William and Kate, I hope you will join us in raising a glass in congratulating them and all other newlyweds, reaching -- and celebrating -- the big and small milestones in marriage. Cheers!
Gina Visram is a UK-based career development coach and upcoming author of "Happily Ever After for Grown Ups". You can follow her on Twitter @bridemotivation and go to www.post-wedding.com to download preview chapters of the book.