First of all, I promise to stop talking about our wedding at some point. Today is not that day, but I just wanted you to know that up front.
Even since it happened about a month ago, I'm still struck by how different the experience was than what I'd always imagined it to be. It wasn't a bad different, it was just the reality of life and moving away from the ideas I'd had so much time to create as a single woman.
I didn't think I needed a wedding planner.
I was a fool. A FOOL. There are plenty of people that can do it themselves - I am certainly not one of them. I am not a list maker - I am distracted by gold things and full of ideas that need voices of reason to help me make them happen. Enter Betsy. She made us spreadsheets. She reassured my mother that things would be okay when she was certain she was having stress-induced chest pains. She asked questions to help make ideas happen, and her coordination on that day made the event as seamless as possible. AND SHE MADE OUR FLOWERS HERSELF. Wedding planning is a snowball effect. Everything seems fine and the decisions seem far off until two weeks out when it just seems like when you finish one thing, ten more demands pop up. And then all of your hair starts falling out and you don't have to worry about fixing it on the wedding day. If you can rearrange your budget, hire a wedding coordinator. If you live near me, hire I Do Events.
I always thought I'd be able to invite everyone that we have ever loved.
So many people told us that making the guest list is one of the most stressful things. I don't think it made us as much stressed as it made us sad. It is a tremendous blessing to have lived life in different places and spent time building friendships with amazing people. But families are often pretty big, and at the end of the day when you have a small budget you have to come to the resolve that everyone just can't be there. There are still so many people I think about that I wish I'd been able to invite, but we plan on renewing our vows every year like Heidi Klum and Seal - so everyone will get to attend one of those.
I always thought it took at least $10,000 to plan a decent wedding.
It's not true.
It's just not true.
The minute you are engaged, hold on to that moment of just being able to enjoy it without someone asking you a million questions. The wedding industry is monstrous. The Knot emails will tell you every added expense you need for the big day. I am one of four daughters. My parents were both generous and reasonable in providing a sum of money for us, and Bryan's parents helped us as well - it was plenty and not as much as everyone assured us we'd need. Figure out what is most important to you, and leave as many of your lofty Pinterest dreams behind. You might not have the money to have cheetahs instead of bridesmaids, and that's okay. You can have a beautiful and tasteful wedding on a small budget (our postage cost more than our invitations!) Think outside the box.
I always thought I'd be the thinnest and most glamorous I'd ever been.
I always thought I'd have been working out for months, that I'd have excluded all refined flours and sugars and carbs and the like in order to achieve my goal of bridal perfection. But that didn't happen. In fact, I was probably the heaviest I'd been in a long time. That's an entire post of it's own that I will share another time in the near future. But I will say that Bryan said I took his breath away, and I believed him. I know my friends and my family aren't liars and I believed them when they said I looked beautiful.
I always said I'd never wear my hair down on my wedding day.
I decided at the last minute that I wanted to feel most like myself, so I wore it down. I did it myself, and I have no regrets about it. Maybe you're thinking, "Ugh, it looks so bad when people wear their hair down." To which I would say, "Whew! Good thing it wasn't your wedding." It was sweaty and nappy by the end of the night, and it didn't matter. We were dancing and laughing and my fraggle rock hair was having a great time.
I always thought I'd do a first look.
I have some beautifully talented photographer friends. I know everyone swears by them now. Bryan didn't have very many requests, but he'd always hoped that the first moment he saw me was when I walked down the aisle to him. Who would I be to not let him have the moment he always wanted? We still had moments alone, our photos didn't take that long, we got to mingle with a ton of our guests. No one was malnourished by the time we got to the reception.
I always thought I'd be single forever.
Even if you're boyfriendless for what seems like forever, and your dad starts to wonder if you're secretly a lesbian, it's okay. I always really felt like if my story were similar to any movie character's experience, it would Toula Portakalos. One day she's working at Dancing Zorba's and her dad is asking her when she's going to get married ("you look so old"), and she meets Ian Miller. She takes some computer classes, starts working as a travel agent, and they start dating. It wasn't because of those things though. Ian liked her just as she was. Even though she was clumsy and sometimes neurotic and had a crazy family.
Take heart, friends. It happened to Toula, and it happened to me. Ian Millers do exist.