It’s been 6 months since I got engaged, and I now have about 20 days until my wedding. So, yes, I guess I did this whole wedding planning thing pretty fast indeed. My career is in project management, so you could say I’m naturally inclined to just get.shit.done.
With that said, here’s what I’ve learned while planning my wedding:
- Be clear about what you want.
- You cannot and will not please everyone.
- At some point, you will feel very stressed.
- At some point, you will cry (and I don’t mean happy tears).
- You will spend more money than you want to.
- You cannot do it alone.
What DO You Want?
Listen: I’m old. I am getting married for the first time as an older bride, so I have been to A LOT of weddings by now. And what I’ve discovered is important for me is a beautiful dress and the food. I mean, that’s pretty much been my philosophy of life too: clothes and food, so why should it be different for my wedding?!
I’m also not someone who needs a lot of input from others when I make decisions. I went by myself to David’s Bridal on a Monday night and found my dress in about 20 minutes. I just knew it was the one. It said, “This is Amy’s dress” to me, and I hope it will to everyone else! I had a great salesperson who helped me out and really listened to me, mostly because I was very clear. I’m not one to waffle on what I like. As for the food, I wanted it to be GOOD. And not to break the bank. So, I went with barbeque, and my favorite in the city. Easy, peasy.
Take my advice: figure out what you want, what’s important for you on your big day, and you will be happy! I promise.
It’s NOT the Time to Be a People Pleaser
I decided to have my wedding on Friday night. This became a very controversial choice due to people traveling into town. But, I have the opinion that just because you’re invited, it doesn’t mean you have to come. If you can’t come because you don’t want to take a vacation day or a few hours off to make it to my 6:30pm Friday night wedding, that’s OK. The choice became Friday night because: #1 I wanted a Fall wedding and that was the only date available in the Fall at my venue of choice, and #2 It’s a heck of a lot cheaper.
September is my favorite month and I wanted to get married in September. It’s typically perfect weather here in the Midwest, not too hot, not too cold. And the leaves, the colors – just stunning. That’s what I wanted: a Fall wedding. And my venue was very important to me. I’ve had my eye on this particular place for years, and this is the time they had available. And lastly, my parents are very kindly paying for the venue, and like me, they are old and never thought I’d get married. I want my dad to be able to retire, not to have to keep working just to pay off an expensive wedding for his old daughter.
Trust me, I know the knee-jerk reaction is to try to please everyone as well as yourself. But, you’re never going to be able to, it’s impossible! Hopefully the important people in your life will make it to your wedding, and will happily participate in whatever you’ve got planned – they know who they are – and the others who can’t, well, it’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.
Stress and Tears
Yea, this is gonna happen. Even the most clear-headed, unemotional person like me has had a meltdown or two…or three. Your family is going to piss you off, your friends are going to be weird, you’re going to forget to do something and have to rush to figure it out, plans may have to change, etc.
My poor fiancé has had to listen to me rant and rave quite a few times; my coworkers have listened to a few ridiculous reenactments of stupid conversations/scenarios; my dad has been a great sounding board; I decided a monthly membership to Massage Envy was a good investment – do what you gotta do to relieve that stress!!! Take care of yourself!! May I say: a glass of wine every now and then also helps. J
Even if your wedding is very DIY, I feel pretty confident in saying that you will spend more money than you really want to. I’ve been pretty blissfully unaware my whole life of how much a standard run of the mill wedding item can cost, i.e. flowers, cake, alterations, etc. Not anymore!! Despite my best intentions to be frugal – keg beer and wine, bare minimum flowers, cupcakes instead of cake – my mind is still blown at how much it’s all going to cost me in the end. I totaled up some of the items today, and I just went: NOOOOOOoooooooo. And that’s not even counting all the must-haves like photography, print invitations and postage, nevermind the limo that I finally caved and booked yesterday (mainly because I worry that my out of town groom’s dudes will get lost.)
But, again, it’s all about what you want and what’s important to you. I’m saving money on a lot of other things I’m not doing – no wedding favors (because who really wants or needs those?), no flowers at the chapel, no videographer, minimal decorations at my reception, etc. I like to believe it all balances out and it will make for an amazing day no matter what!!
No Bridezilla is an Island
Once I planned all the big stuff – chapel, reception, dress, food – within 3 weeks of getting engaged, I knew I was going to need help to pull it all off and help me remain sane! I’m leaning on a lot of people to help me pull this off, and the control freak project manager in me is fine with that. I’ve really tried my best not to be a bridezilla or pull the bride card, but I’m sure it has come out or will come out at some point. And I really hate that line everyone always says about it being MY wedding and I’M the BRIDE and I can DO WHAT I WANT. I really try to be reasonable in what I’m asking people to help me with. Everyone has a life and it’s not all about me. When I asked my two best friends to be in my wedding, I prefaced it by saying we are not 22 anymore and you both have children, you are allowed to say no to me. And I really meant it!
The bottom line is, it’s very important to me that my guests and wedding party has fun at every turn and especially at the ceremony and reception! I also want to be able to look back and say, good job girl!
Wish me luck!