The Wedding Misconceptions

10.04.2012

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.



36 comments:

  1. FYI: I just emailed this to my friends. None of us are married or engaged yet, so it's good to get ahead of the game, ya know

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    1. ALWAYS. I feel it's now my personal mission to let people know what it's like. Mostly, because I had no way of knowing until now, and because it wasn't what I expected - in a good way. Basically, I believe in an inexpensive wedding to a great man that is just as nerdy as you are.

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  2. Again Fran..incredible. Your day must have been just beautiful. :)

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    1. It so was, but I love real life just as much - you know?

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  3. you're hysterical and wonderful all at once. Congratulations!

    and amen on that "I always thought I'd be the thinnest for my wedding..." and it's totally ok. :)

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    1. Oh amen for real. It is what it is at this point :) And thank you!

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  4. I underestimated the importance of a wedding planner as well - she thought of things I would have never thought of and asked all of the right questions in the planning process. Also, I was so totally relaxed the day of the wedding that I could be in the moment because I knew she was taking care of everything!

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    1. It's so true! I wasn't running around in a frenzy - Betsy made me feel really cared for and it came so naturally to her.

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  5. Fran, this is awesome! The wedding was awesome! It was fun, and God-glorifying, and exemplified you and Bryan so well. This needs to be well-read by many.

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    1. No, Josh. You're awesome! We're so glad you were there to celebrate with us. And especially that God was glorified.

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  6. for someone who is planning a wedding- this was amazing. I guess I can let go of the cheetahs...
    :) hysterical and all good things to know.

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    1. Enjoy the wedding planning! (Still make time for date nights!) and the wedding day. Every moment of it. I hope it's so wonderful. I'll be jealous if you have any exotic animals standing beside you.

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  7. A wedding planner saved my life and some serious cash in the process.
    Like you, I had a lot of "i would nevers" including I would never wear a dress that wasn't strapless. My dress ended up having these beautiful jeweled straps and had one of my bridesmaids not forced it on me, I would never have even pick it out! It's funny how someone of those things you thought you would or wouldn't do get thrown out the window
    --Erinn

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    1. So true! My dress was pretty much everything I promised I wouldn't wear. I didn't want strapless, anything satiny, or bejeweled. And it was all those things. So weird, but a good surprise nevertheless!

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  8. This is awesome - our invitations cost more than our postage, too! Crazy how fast things can add up but you're right, keep your head level and keep people around you who support and love you...but also can bring you down to earth when you get a little wedding cray-cray ;)
    We didn't do a first look, either - I was the one who didn't want to ;) Our guests were fine as well.
    We didn't have a wedding planner, and I'm ok with it - my Sister was amazing on our day, though. Wouldn't have made it through the day without her.

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    1. A lot of my friends recommended having a friend as the designated coordinator the day of - also a great idea! Just as a go to person so you're not given anything to worry about besides getting yourself ready. Hey - you guys are almost to your four month mark! Congrats :)

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  9. we had a family friend do day-of coordinating and it was the best decision everrr. I can only imagine how much better a real planner would be.

    and hell yeah for doing it for less than $10k! We did too and I personally loved my wedding and your wedding a whole bunch, so those expensive weddings can suck it. Thrifty brides unite!

    I'm glad you wore your hair down. It was super pretty. I always play with my hair, so I didn't wanna, plus is was 95 degrees out, so it woulda been a crazy bushel of curls, but I compromised with the half and half. and I threw the flower crown on at the last minute because I knew Ben loved it. so cheers for being ourselves on our wedding days.

    and yes, I like that we're in similar seasons as well :)

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    1. Your hair was beautiful! Especially that you have curly enough hair that when it gets wet it looks just as pretty as when you took the time to do it. My hair has lost a lot of curl over the year, but I still refuse to cut it just yet. And I loved your flower crown!

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  10. oh, and you talk about your wedding all damn day, girl. anyone who doesn't wanna hear it can click the red x up there.

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  11. Remember how they said his name in the movie? Ian Meeler. Ha! Lurv that movie.

    Wedding planners rock. Especially for people like me. I was all over the place with several loose ends. Several. She tied them all neatly together. It was amazing. Enough said.

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    1. Ian Meeeler.
      Bun--kkddt cekk?
      I need to watch that movie right now.
      Yes! Tied neatly together with a golden bow.

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  12. ohh FRAN! I just adore this post...first off, I too thought that I would have my perfect body with my sculpted up do but I was a curvy bride with flowing locks...wouldn't have changed it! By the way you looked GORGEOUS. =) keep telling us about the wedding!

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    1. Thank you, Kate! I am glad it resonated with others as well. I felt like a failure about it for a while - but I realized that's not what it was about at the end of the day. And sometimes, you just can't let yourself go there :) Thank you for your kind words.

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  13. what an awesome post. my friend has been planning her wedding and it comes together on Saturday. I have to say it has been the most stressful things ever and I learnt a lot to put into practice if ever get married. I live in Cyprus, so while you laugh at my big fat Greek wedding, spare a thought for me, an English girl actually living through those weddings! :)

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    1. Baaahhh you are in Greece about to be a part of an actual Greek wedding?! I cannot wait to see the photos! And hear the story. I hope there is a story about it!

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  14. Great post! I'm feeling very much like Toula at this point, so I'm glad there is a light at the end of the tunnel (even if it's really long, twisted maze of crap!). :) Congratulations on your marriage!

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    1. Hahaha girrrl just stay strong. There will be a light. Probably not who you'd expected but so much better. If that makes sense - that's how it seemed to be for me. God has really good plans for your life - I'm sure of it :)

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  15. I swear I could write this myself. Especially the part about being thin and glamorous.. well at the end of the day.. I ended up being about 7 months pregnant lol! Also we spent WAY WAY WAY less on our wedding then everyone thought and I just loved it.

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    1. Hahah nice! So you totally understand. Not as you had expected it to be when you'd thought of it - but just as sweet if not sweeter. And you have a little baby! Eeee!

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  16. I love this so much, but you already know that. Thanks for being so honest with us, you're such a gem. I'm totally sending this entry to my sisters.

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  17. Thanks for writing this out. Your wedding looked SO amazing and you looked beautiful!

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  18. I LOVE this! Especially the part about not being the thinnest and most glamourous. I always thought I'd magically look like a stick on my wedding day, and I didn't. And that's perfectly fine. And I wore my hair down too...best decision I ever made :)

    I wish I had hired a wedding planner. Our caterer kind of turned into our planner and ran up costs and ruined our reception. Sigh. I'm looking forward to a vow renewal ;)

    Ian Millers DO exist. I am also proof.

    "He don't eat no meat? That's ok. I make lamb."

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    1. Hahahah the lamb quote.

      It actually felt really liberating to just enjoy that it was a great day but not the end all to be all of our entire life. I think I was able to be more present because of that. Does that make sense?

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    2. Totally! That's a great perspective. You're absolutely right :)

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  20. Oh dearie, I JUST got engaged, as in 4 days ago, and though we told everyone 2014, the questions just keep rolling in. I was starting to get kinda freaked out and overwhelmed already -especially about the guest list- but this was a fabulous fabulous post. Thank you.

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