While we managed to go from engagement in January to marriage that October without major (emphasis on major) drama, there were plenty of stressful moments. So here are a few lessons I learned on taming your inner bridezilla and host a wedding that both you and your guests will enjoy:
|Remember: this is what |
weddings are all about.
2. Build a larger emergency cushion into your wedding budget than you think you'll need. Then double it, because the moment you say "wedding" I swear vendors triple their prices. I blew my line item budget on our very first wedding purchase: Save the Dates. We ordered adorable square ones forgetting that square letters cost extra postage because they have to be hand sorted by the post office. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are mailing 100 or more invitations it adds up quickly.
3. Speaking of Save the Dates, let go early of your hopes for perfection. I will never forget my first wedding-related trip to the post office. The postal worker took my stack of Save the Dates to be mailed internationally-- which I had painstakingly and lovingly addressed in my very best script -- and slapped on a random assortment of Christmas wreath (it was Spring) and President Lincoln stamps...crookedly. A little piece of me died right then and there, but in hindsight I think it's funny. I can only imagine my horrified facial expression.
|Ranunculus and a cream dress|
and the world didn't end
0.500 now on my list, so I compromised with pale pink shoes. Two days before our wedding the florist called to tell me the shipment of anemones they had received for my bouquet was of poor quality and they needed to use my second choice: white ranunculus. So from my list of must-haves I scored 1 out of 3. But my dress and bouquet were still amazing and, most importantly, the lack of pink dress and anemones did not affect my ability to get married. When you find yourself going into meltdown mode over flowers or table linens or seating charts (and this WILL happen) you've lost sight of the point of your wedding. Take a deep breath and refocus your energy on the positive.
5. Extend the party. As nearly all our guests were out-of-towners, many of whom we only see every few years, we hosted a variety of events that gave us an opportunity to spend quality time with everyone. We had a happy hour at the hotel bar two days before the wedding, brunch in our backyard the day before the wedding, and a party at our house after the rehearsal dinner that ran until 2:00am. These events allowed friends and family from both sides to spend time with us and each other and provided some priceless memories.
| Doing our photos before the ceremony gave us quiet time |
together before launching into the festivities.
I've heard from so many friends that their wedding was a blur, that they never had a chance to eat, and that the only quality time they had with their new spouse all day was their first dance. This is unacceptable and avoidable. Spreading out social interaction over several events rather than cramming it all into the reception meant we could relax and enjoy our wedding.
6. Have a sense of humor. Guest lists will cause arguments. Price tags will cause tears. Things will go wrong, but that's all part of the process.
One of my favorite wedding-weekend memories is of our rehearsal dinner when-- midway through an evening of hugging 70 people-- I became acutely aware I had never put deodorant on that morning. Fortunately, my brother was my man of honor and he came to the rescue with deodorant that I applied on the spot, in front of our entire table, because that's just who I am. My husband's brother later told me that was the moment he knew I was the perfect addition to the family.
It doesn't get any better than that.