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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Taming Bridezilla

Last January my partner proposed to me. I found out later that when he told my mother he wanted to marry me the first thing she said was "you know she has a strong personality, right?" Thanks mum. She wasn't wrong through. I am impatient, demanding, and prone to stressing over details. The potential for a bridezilla breakdown during wedding planning was real.

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.
1. Let go of the idea that, as the bride, the wedding is all about you you you. Your wedding is about the union of you and your partner and you are inviting your friends and family to celebrate this union, not yourself. Leave the megalomania for your birthday and focus on being a good partner and a gracious host instead.

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.

4. Keep your eye on the prize. From a very young age I was more concerned with getting my PhD than getting married so I didn't really have a "wedding vision," but I did have three must-haves: an outdoor ceremony, a pale pink dress, and a bouquet with white anemones.

Ranunculus and a cream dress
and the world didn't end
We secured an outdoor ceremony space (check!) but the dress I fell in love with was cream. I was batting
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.
On our wedding day we took the majority of our photos before the wedding and used the cocktail hour between the ceremony and dinner to mingle. By the time dinner rolled around we had spent quality time with every one of our guests and were able to sit and eat all three courses guilt free.

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.

1 comment:

  1. You have shared a nice post here! Last spring, I arranged my brother's wedding at one of best NYC wedding venues. We ordered a nice cake, some colorful bouquets and nice presents. He and his wife were very happy with my arrangements.