Do weddings have to be stressful, overwhelming, and damn expensive?! Two years ago, I would've probably said yes. I was certain I was doing everything to make wedding planning go as smoothly as possible by taking over a year to plan it, trying to make cuts to our budget, doing lots of DIY, etc. Now, I look back and realize that I may have made some things more complicated than they should have been at times. But in the end, I don't regret a thing about my wedding (nor all the things that came with planning it) - this is just a heads up so you're not as shocked as I was! ;) So without further ado and as promised, here are 5 things I'm glad I did to prep for the big day, and others...well, that I think I could've done without. (Just my two cents and not meant to sound preachy or stir any feathers!)
- Expect perfection. This is a big one. At one point I found myself guilty of this, and now I realize it wasn't worth the stress. So here it is: There is no such thing as a perfect wedding. Things will happen. Not everything will go your way. I know that more than one thing didn't go as planned on our wedding day, but we survived. And you will too.
- Commit yourself to overly-complicated, time consuming DIY projects. This. So much this. I can't tell you how many countless hours and sleepless nights I spent obsessing over the color of this and the design of that, and how many times I forced myself to start something all. over. again just because it didn't meet my perfectionist-artist criteria (I'm working on that). It can get expensive, frustrating, and stressful, and suddenly a hobby you once enjoyed can become your worst enemy. Plus, to be honest, your guests will not care about these tiny details as much as you do, so no need to try too hard to impress them. :)
- Obsess over the tiniest details. Sure, those hand-scripted-with-gold-sharpie escort cards are beautiful, but do you have the time and patience to make hundreds or even just fifty of them when you want to hand-script the entire wedding program on a large mirror, too? Know what I mean? (By the way - those gold sharpies are the bane of my existence. They run out quick and before you know it you're spending more than you expected just to replace them...Don't say I didn't warn ya.)
- Feel obligated to keep with tradition. I'm not going to lie - at first, I did not want to wear a veil on my wedding day. But it meant a lot to my mom that I did, and after considering her opinion, I warmed up to the idea. When I tried a veil on for the first time, I cried! I felt that a cathedral veil completed my bridal look, so I decided it was something I couldn't go without. But there are many other traditional things I nixed from our day, like the bouquet toss, garter toss, traditional wedding vows and processional music, and even the wedding cake! And you know what? It's okay. I don't regret it at all. So my personal opinion on the matter? It's your groom's and your special day, so go with your vision and prioritize the things that really matter to the both of you that you can't do without.
- Feel obligated to invite people you or your S.O. aren't close with. The size of your guest list will impact the size of the cost of your wedding. It's a simple concept, but it's easy to forget with the excitement of being newly engaged and wanting to throw the raddest party in town! I think it's quite common to get carried away when thinking of who to invite to your wedding. Coworkers, acquaintances, a friend's latest hookup...no, you do not have to invite them. However, a guest list can become a very tricky and tedious thing if you and your S.O don't agree on who should or shouldn't be invited. To avoid arguments about this, I suggest sitting down together as early in the engagement as possible (in fact, make it that and budget talk priorities before discussing other wedding related details) and establish your guest list guidelines. To make it simple, Adam and I first figured out how many people our budget allowed us to invite (make sure to check with your venue about a maximum or minimum guest count). We made our own separate lists of people we wanted to invite from our side, dividing them up by priority (and no, this isn't mean...just practical). Then, we merged our lists together and divided them up into an A list and B list. Close family, friends, and their significant others made the A list, while co-workers, old friends we'd fallen out of touch with through the years, and new friendships made the B list.
- Budget for dress alterations. This gets its own bolded bullet point because it bit me in the ass. Hard. I had no idea how expensive alternations alone could become. You add one little change, then suddenly you want the straps lowered, now you want a bow sown in...you get the idea. It adds up. And it ain't cheap.
- Actually stick to your budget. If you don't, well...don't say I didn't warn you. I'm sure we all know what happens when we break budgets. All I'm going to say is, don't go into your marriage with financial problems and ridiculous amounts of debt from your wedding day. Just don't. Like someone once said, "Ain't nobody got time fo' 'dat."
- Stay true to yourself. Are you a Harry Potter geek but are afraid of what your guests will think if your cake is designed to look like a Quidditch pitch? Don't be! First off all, there's a good chance they're too busy having a blast at your wedding to care. Second, your guests are people who know and love you for who you are, including your HP obsession, so why would they be surprised if your colors are inspired by your house of choice or your wedding screams "Expecto Patronus"?! Third - anyone will tell you that there is no "Pinterest-perfect" wedding out there that can trump a unique, authentic one!
- Relax and enjoy yourself! This one is huge. Why? "Well, isn't it obvious, Erica? I'm obviously going to enjoy myself." Yeah, and I hope you do, truly! But why do I say this? Because I planned my entire wedding. by. my. self. And I don't know about you, but when the one day you've been meticulously planning for over a year is about to unfold before your very eyes, it's hard to accept that you have to give up complete control to the unpredictable and unknown. So instead of fretting about the fact that the song the DJ just played during dinner was not on the song list that took you 6 hours to compile (disclaimer: this did not happen, our DJ was on point, shout out to DJ Asher - you're great), eat your damn meal. Enjoy it. Savor every single bite. Because 1. your parents may eat your leftovers (thanks Mom and Dad - and yes, that did happen), and 2. this day won't happen again, and oh my gosh, do these potatoes taste delicious.
- Remember the real reason behind the wedding. Don't forget why you're making vows to your groom/bride, nor what that wedding band newly placed on your finger represents. Don't forget this very valuable 'Why' if it starts raining during your outdoor ceremony, or if your slideshow video froze midway through, or if one of your bridesmaids and you have a falling out and she is no longer part of the wedding party. Yeah, things happen, but no, they won't have any effect on your day unless you let them. Nothing can happen at your wedding that can change how blessed you are to have found the one your soul loves. Remember that your wedding day is just the first of a lifetime of special days, even better than those passed.
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