So some of you may have heard…
It’s the third time that’s the charm right?
Well, needless to say, I’ve been just a tad occupied with wedding planning (which is already extremely promising since I never even got to the actual wedding planning stage the other two times I was engaged).
I won’t go into any details just yet but I would like to share some things that I’ve observed during the process thus far and some advice for newly engaged couples.
1. Weddings bring people out from the woodwork. This is both a great thing and a not so great thing depending on the situation. I saw a lot of my family last year but that was because there were two deaths. It was a bittersweet thing. It’s nice to see everyone coming together for a joyous occasion rather than a somber one.
2. I have a new found respect for people who elope. People tell you that you wedding is “all about you”. Seriously if I had a dollar for every time I heard that or read that, I could pay for this wedding with the greatest of ease. The truth is that your wedding isn’t about you at all. It’s about your family and your guests. Your primary goal is to take care of them and make sure that they have a good time in return for them (in many cases) traveling and spending what can easily be a lot of money to be with you on that day and help take part in and celebrate your union. I’m not quite sure I was ready to learn that lesson. If i had to do it over again, I might just elope. Because only then is really about the two of you.
3. I’m either craftier than I realized or I’m way more of a control freak than I realized. Seriously, because I want to do like EVERYTHING myself. I’d even take the pictures myself if I could (where are we with that whole cloning thing? can we speed that up?) Now I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I mean I certainly want to put my creative stamp on things in a major way. This is why I decided to design and make the invitations and other paper goods myself. I also decided I’m doing my own hair and makeup. Among other things. This of course creates much more work for me (as if I didn’t already have enough to do) and probably means that I have problems delegating. Who’d of thunk it?
4. People place way too much emphasis on weddings and not enough on marriage. Someone explain to me the logic of spending 70 grand on a wedding when you don’t even make that in a year. Before taxes. I knew before this that the wedding industry was big time but dayum! First of all, the amount of wedding related mail, email, phone calls and targeted ads I receive is just obscene. The price of everything is jacked way up once you mention the word wedding. Everyone wants to put their stamp on your wedding day. But people don’t seem nearly as enthusiastic about helping you STAY together. A fabulous wedding is nice but on the day after, there is still a spouse, a whole other family and a marriage you have to nurture. Day in and day out. It’s not easy work at all but if people put a fraction of the energy into their actual marriages that they put into their weddings, we might possibly be a lot better off as a society.
5. Sadly, for a woman, even in 2012, getting married is considered her crowning achievement. This one really gets my goat. In the 32 years I’ve been around, I must say…I’ve done some dope shit. I’ve gotten a stellar education, I’m rocking it in my career, I’m a published author, I have a business on the side, I volunteer, I teach, I even started a non profit with some friends of mine. We’re taking little girls to Africa for goodness sake. Through all of these achievements, I’ve gotten a few nods of approval, murmurs of congratulations. But people totally lose their shit when they find out you’re getting married. I mean they practically do cartwheels and throw confetti and whatnot. Now don’t get me wrong, I think my fiance is awesomesauce and I love him to pieces. I agree that my upcoming wedding is awesome and should be celebrated. And please don’t take this to mean that your congratulations and enthusiasm is not appreciated because it is. But getting married is not the end all be all of my life. There is so much more to life. There is so much more to me. The idea that I’ve “arrived” or that only now am I really happy and complete because I’m getting married is laughable to me.
6. Etsy is the absolute devil. Advice to newly engaged couples. Stay away from Etsy! sure you can find one-of-a kind- handmade items but you can also easily blow your entire wedding budget on that one website. Seriously the amount of cute, stylish, all around fly wedding elements and everything else that you can find on Etsy is just mind boggling.
7. Which would make Ebay an angel. A wonderful (read: mostly inexpensive) way to supplement your Etsy wish list. Particularly good for accessories, gifts and favors. If you’re brave enough (or resourceful enough…or stupid enough…depends on how you look at it I guess) you can even get your gown on Ebay.
8. Choose your wedding battles. I can understand how people become bridezillas. Because I’ve seriously lost count of the number of times I’ve had to say “But it’s MY wedding” over the last few months. People, everyone really, try to co-opt your wedding from the very beginning. It’s like they want so badly to live vicariously through you. This is natural and part of the process. Before you blow your top, consider whether the fight with grandma over the length of your veil is really worth it. Choose one or two battles and let the rest go.
9. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. It’s so easy to just disappear inside your wedding planning whirlwind. So easy to let it take over your life completely. You’ve got to fight it. Remember that you still have a life, friends, a relationship. Make a conscious effort to not spend every waking moment thinking about your wedding. Try to have non wedding related conversations with your fiance. It’s just one day and it’ll be over before you know it. So when the day comes, remember to pause and enjoy it as well.
10. Declare your wedding ” major”. Even if you have an unlimited budget (unlikely) it’s best to pick one or two aspects of the wedding day and focus on doing those really well. For me this is obviously the food. I spend most of my wedding planning energy making sure that the menu and all the other food options will be varied and over-the-top scrumptious. This is important to me. I feed people. That’s what I do. I also insisted on an open bar because, well, I love booze. It’s my one constant vice (if we’re even going to call it that). I also wanted to get really fly gifts for the wedding party and an awesome bbq rehearsal dinner. As long as that aspect is the way I want it, I don’t mind skimping on accessories (I opted for the 40 dollar shoes instead of the over 200 dollar shoes because really, who’s going to see them anyway?), nixing the videography (wedding videos…yawn), minimal decor (the venue is so gorgeous in itself that there really isn’t much for me to do anyway)…you get the picture. I was even going to skip the limo but my mother and cousin/maid of honor wouldn’t hear of it. You get the picture though. To some brides, the photography is of the utmost importance, or their gown, or the destination. Whatever it is, pick a couple of elements to really splurge on and cut back on everything else. Otherwise, not only will you go broke. You’ll drive yourself nuts.
Honorable mention. Sorry, but no everyone needs a wedding planner. I know that’s what all the wedding sites say but it’s not an absolute necessity. If you’re a fairly decisive and resourceful woman (with a few decisive and resourceful friends) and you know what you want, really you can get by without one.