Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7 Lessons I Learned While Planning Our Wedding

While planning a one-day affair with months of time at hand might seem like a rather easy endeavor, the truth is, wedding planning can become all-consuming task and a serious budget drain. There were many surprises and elements of wedding planning that took me off guard and made me rather disillusioned with the wedding industry and those it attracts. Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart and often requires a thick skin, a 'let it go' attitude and an event coordinator mindset that must be acquired to survive. While my wedding turned out to be a spectacular occasion with many wonderful surprises, it took some serious and intensive planning and major preparation to make it happen.

Here are seven rules to live by if you're planning a wedding now or in the future:

1.) Get a Teammate/Cheerleader
I would not have survived the wedding process without my mom. While my groom (like most men) was less concerned about nitty gritty details regarding the centerpieces and the color of the table runners, there were decisions to be made for every minute and minuscule detail.

2.) Plan for So-So Vendors
Though we ended up with a unbelievably fantastic minister and a very accommodating venue director, I had many problems and issues with other vendors. While the 'artists' of the wedding world (musicians, makeup and hair stylists, florists and photographers) may be talented when it comes to their vocation, many lack the professional and business acumen needed to make for a reliable and reputable professional. Never ever pre-pay the full amount to any wedding vendors (including coordinators, bands, food service, etc). Once you pre-pay, you'll never hear from them again and will be chasing them down harder than a tween at a Justin Bieber sighting. I had many rough days of trying to find a last minute wedding photographer, last minute makeup and hair stylist and a fighting a last minute wedding war with the florist (OK, my mom fought that one). My main problem with most vendors is that they were hard to communicate with and very unresponsive to email, which can be nerve-wracking and trust-squelching. My pre-paid DJ told me on Tuesday before our Friday wedding, that he, "never looks at any of the music suggestions until it's the next wedding in his queue"--wouldn't Friday be the next wedding?!!!? (meanwhile I had sent him a detailed playlist months ahead of time). Also, the original phone number he gave me was peremanently disconnected and I had to find his new cellphone on Facebook. Holy heart attack.

While the DJ turned out great and I ended up with two very impressive last minute 'bargain' photographers and had good fortune with our cellist and videographer, the vendor drama does become overwhelming, at times. I found dealing with the wedding vendors to be the most frustrating and 'ugly' part of the wedding. Many of the vendors, left me disappointed and gobsmacked. I had no control over their attitudes, responsiveness or professionalism.


3.) Quit Your Day Job
While it may seem reasonable to have many other hobbies, travel, work and family and friend activities during the long wedding prep process, it will be difficult. During the pre-wedding marathon I had taken a trip to Tahoe but was so concerned about twisting an ankle, breaking a bone or getting a ball or tree limb to the face, that I was more reserved than usual. Also, while you're going camping, taking a bike ride, running to the supermarket, you'll always be 'listing' all the wedding agenda items left to tackle and accomplish. The wedding will consume your running mental news ticker--like a CNN scroll on repeat.

4.) Bridal Breakdowns
Expect, no, plan on at least 3-4 total Amanda Bynes-worthy meltdowns. I had a meltdown while getting a second spray tan as the first made me appear as though I was trying to look like a browner Beyonce. And though there's nothing wrong with looking like a world famous singer/diva/alpha female...as a pale and pasty white woman, it looked a tad 'trying to hard.' Make sure to have some lighthearted activities and a few bottles of wine ready for those nights when you're ready to throw in the towel and get married at the courthouse.

5.) Lower Your Expectations
Though you may have paid Sarah the cupcake girl $3000 (hypothetical) and expect her to write you emails, give you updates, discuss details and be all-around a thorough and flexible business person, odds are you'll end up disappointed. Change your outlook and don't expect too much from any person involved in your wedding. Remember...it's your wedding, not theirs, so they don't care SO SO much.

6.) Friendship Rescue
Fortunately, I had amazing friends who helped me throughout the wedding process. My band of girls are my sunshine and they gave me light and hope when I felt dark and glum. Relying on friends will make everything better and easier. My girlfriends threw me an amazing engagement party, bachelorette party and attended my bridal shower all with smiles on their faces. There are countless bridal and pre-marriage events but having friends or fantastic future family members to plan, arrange and deal with these soirees is a real lifesaver.

7.) Groom Greatness
Without a stellar husband-to-be, the wedding process would've been all the more grueling and tiring. My groom is such an easygoing, affable and sweet person that wedding planning was more manageable. Planning a wedding can be so arduous that it can strain a relationship, that's why it's necessary to know who you're marrying. True colors are revealed during the monster-creating wedding roller coaster. #bridezilla

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