After a fairy-tale wedding in Paris on August 26, 2022, Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev have been enjoying life as newlyweds. In the nearly six months since the Total Bellas star and the Dancing With the Stars pro said “I do,” they’ve learned a lot about their relationship and themselves. In an exclusive interview with Brides on January 24, 2023, the couple talked about their marriage, sharing what they've learned since trading vows and what they wish they knew beforehand. The professional wrestler—who appeared on the cover of our Wedding Fashion Issue in October—tells us that the biggest change she's experienced since tying the knot is that she’s had to adjust to operating as a team of two instead of functioning solo. Making the transition has helped her better understand how to make a marriage work. “The most surprising thing about marriage is that you have no choice but to compromise,” she reveals. “It’s been a very new thing for me. I tend to get my way a lot, so compromise because you have nowhere to run now. We are legally bonded for life.”
Getting married is a huge life change, which is why the WWE Divas Champion advises being patient with your partner and the process instead of rushing or forcing it. “Give your fiancé grace and give yourself grace because bringing two backgrounds together as one can be very difficult, especially because we’re all raised so differently, whether it’s beliefs, our parents, our environment, our culture,” she says. “So, give yourself grace and your partner grace and your relationship grace. Know that Rome was not built in a day, so a really amazing marriage won’t be either, but you want to have a great foundation.”
Married life has also prompted Bella to begin a journey of self-discovery. Being part of a committed union has helped the host of game show Barmageddon become more aware of her strengths and positive characteristics. “What I’ve learned about myself is even though I’m a very strong-headed woman, and I stand firm in my beliefs and my morals, I did not realize I had a patience to me where I can be reasonable and understanding building a life with him,” she admits.
Although becoming a married couple has been filled with life lessons, there are a few things Bella wish she knew about her wedding in hindsight. For one, she wasn’t aware just how emotional the vow exchange would be. Her professional dancer husband agrees, noting that writing his promises was a challenging process. “You sometimes take it for granted when you’re writing your vows because you have so many things you want to say, and then, when the moment hits, it’s actually very challenging to do,” he explains, “I wish I knew the preparation that goes into it.” To that, his wife responds, “You put too much pressure on yourself for it. What you spoke from the heart was beautiful.” Chigvintsev adds that he did try to memorize his vows instead of reading them straight from the paper in order to make the ceremony feel more authentic and heartfelt.
Wrapping up the conversation, The Bellas Podcast co-host shares an important piece of advice for brides-to-be. “Don’t forget to get a really cute hanger for your dresses because when you see the photos back, and it’s just a plastic hanger, that’s no bueno,” she recommends.
The happy couple will be taking fans inside their big day on their new television show, Nikki Bella Says I Do, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on E! The four-part series will follow the duo during their wedding planning process, giving a behind-the-scenes look at dress shopping, venue hunting, bachelorette parties, and more.