With the wedding behind me, I thought I might take a moment to share some of what I have learned about this whole “wedding” business. My husband proposed last July, and the plan was that we weren’t getting married until next year. Then we thought about it again, realized we didn’t want or need to wait, and moved it up to this year.
Right away, I made the decision that this would not be the “Year of the Wedding.” You know what I mean … it’s all you talk about, think about, ad nauseum from the time he pops the question to just before the organ starts playing. You subscribe to all the bride mags, go to bridal shows, and visit every dress shop in a 50-mile radius every weekend, trying on every dress. You make yourself nuts with the decision-making to the point that you look forward to the big day only because it means an end to the whole mess. I was determined that was not gonna be me.
I think I succeeded fairly well, since my groom was not been driven insane, and was gasp excited about the wedding. (Well, there were those two days where he thought I had decided on pink tuxes for the guys, but we cleared that up.) Several people would ask how I was handling all the stress of wedding planning. To be truthful, there was virtually no stress. For anyone involved. At all.
This is how you can have the same experience:
Know your weaknesses when it comes to this kind of stuff, and get a handle on that first. If you know that you have issues being organized, get your most organized friend or relative to sit down with you and make a list. (There are tons of Web sites that offer guidelines about what’s supposed to happen, and when). Get a calendar out, and mark down what needs to happen by what date. My biggest problem is that I get overwhelmed when I have too many options. I knew this would make dress shopping impossible, so the first thing I did was find out what the church requirements were. As you can imagine, that narrowed the field substantially.
Do your “window” shopping on the internet (pun was unavoidable). It may take the romance out of it for some of you, but believe me when I say that this alleviates a hell of a lot of the chaos that comes with wedding planning. It also enables you to shop at fifteen stores in one day, without having to burn any gas. You can even do it in your pajamas if you want. I found my wedding dress in about two hours online. I went to about fifty sites, and found the dress I wanted along with one other for comparison.
I went to the local store, tried on the second choice knowing I wanted the other one. I was right. I tried on two dresses and made my decision in ten minutes. I also shopped for and bought my wedding jewelry, bridesmaids’ gifts, bridesmaids’ dresses, napkins, invitations, and cake topper online. If you’re worried that it won’t be as you expected, most of these places have very customer-friendly return policies. Just order it early so that you have time to send it back if necessary.
Figure out which aspect is the most important to you, and get that lined up first. Adjust your budget accordingly. If you just have to have your wedding at this one perfect spot, call and book it. Get your deposit taken care of. If it’s the dress, find it first thing. That way, you won’t be freaking out later when you realize that the dress you’ve chosen after months of looking doesn’t fit into your budget, and you’ve already bought everything else.
Forget the concept of “the ONE Perfect Dress.” There are millions of dresses out there; hundreds of them will look good on you. If you plan to try them all before you decide, you’ll never get married, since designers come out with a new one every week. Figure out what style flatters your body type and stick with that. Make it easy on yourself.
Be kind to your bridesmaids. Find a dress style that flatters everyone, or pick a color and let the girls choose their own style. Don’t expect those of us that have curves to wear a mermaid dress—that’s not fair. Please consider also that 6-inch spike heels are torture if you are going to spend all day in them and some of us are scared of heights. I picked out four options of the bridesmaids dresses online and emailed the girls. They responded with their choices, and thankfully, everybody agreed on one. I then went to the nearest store that carried them to see a swatch of the material to make sure it was the color I wanted. Then I called the store that had the lowest price on the dress, and I gave them all the info over the phone. There are Web sites all over that offer a sizing guide for each dress designer, so you can be measured at your convenience and know the size you need. The girls made one trip to the dress shop to get pinned for the alterations, and one trip back to pick them up.
Budget your time. Instead of going crazy trying to do fifty things in one hour, go to your calendar and see what needs to be finished by the end of the week. Split it up evenly per day. Once you meet your quota, STOP. If you don’t have to do it all at once, don’t.
Be flexible. Realize that no matter how bad you want it, Prince probably will not be able to make a guest appearance at your reception. Be prepared to have your vision of the “perfect” wedding altered. Consider the ideas of others. If you are completely rigid about the whole thing, you’ll find yourself stressed to the point of insanity trying to make it all happen. Not to mention, if you’re too forceful and demanding, you may end up having to handle the planning yourself.
Don’t become totally centered on the wedding, and don’t expect others to, either. You aren’t the first person to get married, nor will you be the last. Don’t get hung up on the misconception that a bride is entitled to have whatever she wants because it’s “her” day. When you’re wearing the veil and the dress, all eyes will be on you; that’s about all the attention you’re entitled to. It’s your wedding day, not your wedding year.
Ultimately, worry more about the cake and less about the frosting; be more worried that you picked the right spouse and less that you picked the right dress.
Your wedding is not the most important day of your life; your funeral is, because that’s when people know what kind of person you are. Just think—you don’t even get to choose what you wear.