How To Compromise When It Comes To Wedding Planning

It was early in the planning process – like way too early, we’re talking maybe a month after he proposed – when I questioned myself on whether or not I was being a “Bridezilla”.



First of all – can we finally banish the whole “Bridezilla” title? A bride is not a malicious creature with fangs and claws who eats people and climbs buildings like a squirrel. This is the equivalent to calling any woman with an opinion “too bossy” or “too loud” – it’s 2020, you should be allowed to have a specific opinion about your own wedding.



Unless your opinion is…. a little bit…. too….. hmm. Okay – unless your opinion makes your level-headed fiancé say – “Seriously. You want to build a deck so that we can get married on the beach and you don’t have to walk in the sand. Seriously?” Any comment that begins and ends with “Seriously. Seriously?” means you might have gone too far. Reign it back. Just a touch.



The deck thing came later. (I mean – I wasn’t actually implying that we should build a deck, I believe my exact words were: “Maybe they can lay down some wood? But, like, maybe the wood could be like, an inch or two off the ground, you know?”) Anywho – that one came after we’d already decided that we would get married in California. Initially we had planned to get married in Chicago, where we met (and live now).

Everything You Thought About Getting Married (And Why It Isn’t True)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it does not argue about kitchen cabinet organization, or how to load the dishwasher “correctly”. It is not proud, it does not grumble about cleaning hair out of the shower drain or throwing out a full carton of expired Almond milk because someone declared that they were going to “start making smoothies for breakfast” and then forgot about it. (That someone was me – and to be fair, I did make one smoothie before I forgot that I wanted this to be “my new thing”, making a smoothie for breakfast every morning. Do you know how annoying it is to clean the blender? EVERY morning?)



Love is patient. It’s about being patient. The Bible verse – old “love is patient, love is kind” – doesn’t really dig into that, it just assumes that you will know how to be patient with someone you love, and that you won’t get all pissy just because they forgot to clean the lint trap out of the dryer. 



The lint trap is a hot button issue in our house. Really, the dryer in general is pretty controversial. I won’t get into the politics of “how often you should clean out the lint trap” or “how many towels you can stuff in there before you’re going to break the dryer”, because I know that not everyone agrees with me (and because I’VE never broken a dryer, so I really wouldn’t know the answer to that, now would I?)

Eleven Things Every Bride Forgets When Posing For Photos

“Are you ready?” My dad asked me thirty seconds before we were about to walk down the aisle. The aisle. The wedding aisle.

Up until this moment, I’d been so confident that I wasn’t going to cry at my own wedding. Not that this should be some badge of honor, I just…. I don’t know, I’m not a crier. At least not an “in front of people” crier, or a “happy tears” crier (what are “happy” tears? I have never once cried tears that felt ‘happy’, most of the time they feel like I had a bad day at work or something crazy happened on Grey’s Anatomy, but those tears never feel happy.)

But today? Oof. I don’t know what it is about that moment right before you walk down the aisle, but it’s a lot. No one could have prepared me for all of the feelings – like ALL of the feelings, they were all bubbling to the surface – that would rush over me in that moment. The excitement! And the nerves! And the reality of “this is it! This is the THING that we’ve been planning and talking about and HERE IT IS!’

I wanted to say something witty in that moment – I don’t know why, it’s just me and my dad, my dad certainly doesn’t care if I’m witty. But I wanted to say something to make the moment more… I don’t know, or maybe less….? I don’t know. I just wanted it to be nice, you know? Not just me standing there uncomfortably trying not to cry.

“Are we ready?” Margo, our wedding coordinator, poked her head into the room. My dad said, “I think so” with a smile and I nodded. Because apparently talking when you’re trying not to cry is hard. “Alright,” Margo said, sounding more like a proud stage mom, “It’s time. Let’s go!”

Don’t Buy Your Wedding Dress Without Knowing The Answers To These Questions

About three months before my wedding is when I started to find new things to stress out about. It wasn’t enough to worry about the seating arrangements and the RSVPs and the wedding coordinator not responding to my emails within 24 hours (“She is getting them, right? Does she still work there? Did she get fired because she doesn’t respond to her client’s emails within 24 hours? Do you think she died?”). It seemed like every morning I woke up with a new (usually irrational) fear:



“What if I forget to do something?” “What if the photographer gets sick? Or the minister? Should I have booked a back-up minister?” “What if I don’t like my hair? What if it RAINS? ON MY HAIR?”



And the scariest (and most irrational) one of all: “What if I don’t like my dress?”



I bought my dress. I picked out my dress. I chose my dress in the middle of a store amongst hundreds of other dresses because I LIKED IT THE MOST. But that was six months ago. What if I liked it then, but I don’t like it anymore?



You would think – purchasing a dress that costs the same amount as a Louis Vuitton handbag – that I would be over the moon, head over heels, in LOVE with the idea of wearing that dress. But instead I was filled with anxiety. I’d chosen a dress that fell into the “strapless” category – which basically felt like a tube top in wedding dress form, but I’d seen photos of so many other brides with a similar body type to mine ROCKING these strapless gowns (AKA: slender with no boobs) and decided that I wanted to be one of those brides – so I bought a strapless dress. And from that moment on, I panicked about “arm fat” and how I didn’t want to look like I was “spilling out of it”.



Speaking as a fairly level-headed bride (for the most part), I knew that I had other – more important – things to worry about, but honestly: “arm fat” was higher on my list than the RSVPs. Even when I bought the dress, instead of asking the consultant about things like customization and fittings, I was saying things like “Do you think I would need to start doing arm work-outs?”

the first 10 things you need to do right after you get engaged

Getting engaged is fun. Getting married is fun too, but getting engaged feels like gaining access into an exclusive club. Now you can finally start trying on wedding dresses instead of just pinning your favorite “Wedding Inspo” on Pinterest. You can show off your ring in the obligatory “We’re engaged!!” post on social media, and tell everyone about how you were SO SURPRISED! (even if you weren’t, it’s okay, no one really knows the truth except for you.) You can finally start saying things like “my fiancé” instead of “my boyfriend”, and “our wedding” instead of “my wedding” – because now there’s actually a groom. Yay for grooms! Yay for getting engaged!



Of course, it can also be a little overwhelming. Just slightly. After Kyle proposed, and after I said “yes”, and after we immediately popped the champagne that was waiting for us…. something happened. Not anything bad, just… a lull. The excitement was less intense once we’d gotten back into the car to head home. We just got engaged!



….now what?



What do we do now?



“We should call people!” I said eagerly. “Tell everyone!”



“Yes!” He agreed. “Let’s call your parents, and then we’ll call mine!”



So we called my parents, and then we called his. And then we called his sister, and his grandma, and our closest friends, and they all wanted to know about things like “when’s the wedding?” and “where do you think you’ll get married?” and “do you want a big wedding or a small wedding?”



I didn’t know. I mean, Kyle didn’t know either – and we both kept saying things like “uh… I don’t know, we haven’t talked about that yet!” Were we supposed to have answers to these questions? Already? I had no idea. We just got engaged! I was still buzzing from the champagne!



In case you, like me, are overwhelmed and wondering what you’re “supposed” to be doing right after you’ve said “yes!” – below is a list of the first 10 things you should do right after getting engaged. You may not have your colors picked out yet, but if you can manage these things over the first few weeks, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Seven ways to use your mother’s wedding dress on your big day – without actually wearing it

My parents were married during the “Princess Diana Wedding” era, and apparently every bride with a rock on her finger dreamed of being a princess that year. The ivory silk taffeta, the antique lace, and an iconic twenty-five foot train that felt like a fundamental in becoming the Princess of Wales.



She was becoming a literal princess. Who doesn’t want to feel like a princess on their wedding day?



My mom’s dress (as she has described it over the years) was “really lacy” and “had a big, long train”. It was very regal. Which is exactly what you wanted if you were getting married in 1982. But since Kyle and I were planning our wedding in 2019, the puffed sleeves and the taffeta of my mother’s wedding dress didn’t really go with my vibe.



Fortunately she wasn’t pushy. While she did offer, it was quickly followed by “We got married in the eighties, remember, so puffy sleeves were very in“.



Enough said.



Wanting to incorporate your mother’s gown into your wedding can be a lovely, time-honored tradition, but it isn’t always feasible. Maybe you’re not the same size, maybe the fabric has yellowed, or maybe it has a twenty-five foot train that you don’t want to have to lug around on your wedding day. Regardless there are other ways to have it incorporated. (Keep in mind that all of these require chopping up the dress in some fashion or another – make sure Mom is cool with that.)

hair up or hair down? | the great wedding debate

“Bridal hair” is its own thing. It’s romantic hair, which is funny because there is essentially nothing romantic about hair. I’ve always felt like my hair has two speeds – down “and kind of sexy”, or up “and kind of chic and sporty”. (Also up “because it’s dry shampoo day”. Usually the latter.)



When I first started looking at hairstyles for our big day, everything I could find (especially anything with a veil) was an up-do. Even the “down” versions were more of a “side swept ponytail” kind of vibe. I couldn’t find any bride wearing a veil who kept her hair down in loose, flowing waves. Because that was what I wanted – loose, flowing waves. I wanted my hair to be sexy. (But, like, in a classic, romantic sort of way.)



Wherever you are in the process – whether you’re determined to wear your hair in a sleek bun, or debating on whether or not it’s “okay” to wear your hair down and straight, remember that this is ultimately your day. Wear your hair however you feel prettiest – because the only way to do it wrong is if you end up hating how your hair looks on your wedding day.

Eight questions to ask at every venue walk-through

Personally I think the challenge of finding the “right” venue is the number one stressor of wedding planning. Some people could argue it’s finding the “right” dress or the “right” caterer – but the truth is, you need to find your venue before you worry about nailing down anything else. Photographer, florist -hell, even the dress should come after the venue because that venue is going to set the tone of your wedding. You don’t want to show up in a ball gown to get married in a barn. (Don’t say you’d “never get married in a barn”. You never know what could happen. We thought we were going to get married on a beach, turns out we got married at a vineyard. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. BOOK THE VENUE FIRST.)



Searching online can be daunting. There are churches and country clubs and wineries and barns and “wait… you know, the backyard of this Airbnb actually looks kind of cool….I never really considered a backyard wedding, but maybe we should check it out?”



YOU NEVER KNOW.



But it’s important to have a list of questions prepared when you’re ready to tour. There are things that you may not think about as they’re going over all of the catering options and your twinkly lights exit, but knowing whether or not you can bring in your own cake, or if additional insurance is required, are important questions to ask to ensure there are no surprises.

How to get started writing your own vows

“I’ve got a few jokes in there,” Kyle warned me about a week before our wedding. Well, not so much ‘warned me’ as ‘bragged to me’. He seemed pretty proud of himself. “You’re definitely going to laugh.”



‘Definitely’. I was ‘definitely’ going to laugh. Great. Over the past three days I’d been struggling to write something heartfelt and meaningful that wasn’t TOO mushy (then again, wedding vows are supposed to be a little mushy, right?) Meanwhile, Ellen Degeneres over here had apparently been prepping for his comedy special.



“What did you write?” I asked him.



“It’s pretty funny,” I swear, if he put something in there about that time I caught the stove on fire and he had to “save the day”….



I, on the other hand, was taking my vow writing very seriously. Granted I wasn’t done yet, but I’d been writing and deleting paragraphs about our first date; how I’d felt about him from the first conversation we’d had over drinks. The way I felt safe with him, and how he’d been a source of comfort to me for the past three years.



Meanwhile, he probably wrote something about how he thinks it’s “cute” that I snore.

Eight resolutions to strengthen your relationship this year

Let’s not pretend that I am someone who should be giving relationship advice. At least once a week my husband and I have the “where does this go?” argument in the kitchen. Kyle and I have different ideas about what “organization” means. For example, I’m a fan of the phrase “organized chaos” – Kyle, on the other hand, is not. Everything must have its own spot. And the spot must “make sense”.



You can see how this would cause problems. While I’m not a couples counselor, a marriage therapist, or a relationship wizard – I’m the first to tell someone that “every couple argues”, because that’s what I’ve read on the Internet, and to imagine a couple that doesn’t argue sounds a little bit creepy. You mean they agree on everything? EVERYTHING? All of the time? Even when it comes to loading the dishwasher?



We are not that couple – the couple who agrees on everything. I have my way of loading the dishwasher and Kyle has his (even though his way takes twice as long, and he thinks by doing it my – more efficient – way the dishes “aren’t getting as clean”). To each their own. The goal here is continue growing, and to grow together as a couple.



We just got married this past October, and – to be honest – I would be surprised if we aren’t still arguing about the dishes and the house and having the “where does this go?” conversation when we’re in our sixties, but if we can continue building and strengthening our relationship over the next thirty years – I think we’ll be in pretty good shape when it comes to “the big stuff” (because let’s be realistic here – there will always be ‘big stuff’, even if it’s not happening all of the time).

Can You Have a bridal shower if you plan to elope?

One of our first wedding related “arguments” happened when we were deciding whether or not we should have a bridal shower. I was on the side of “No, we’re not inviting anyone to the wedding so why should we send them an invitation that says ‘please buy us a present even though you’re not invited to the ceremony'” and Kyle was on the side of “My mom wants to throw us a bridal shower, so just let her?”



“What would we even register for?” I asked him. “We’re almost thirty years old and have been living on our own together for three years. We already have everything that most couples register for, we don’t need a bridal shower.”



He wasn’t buying it. “What’s the big deal?” He asked. “So we’ll get some new stuff. We can upgrade our old stuff.”



“But we’re not inviting most of these people to the wedding. How tacky is it asking someone to buy us a panini maker when we’re not inviting them to the wedding?”



Eloping can be a tricky thing. Not to say that we totally eloped – often times when I think of “eloping”, I imagine two people romantically running off into the night to secretly get hitched by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas. But these days, “eloping” (according to Martha Stewart) can also mean “having a very small wedding that isn’t a secret and includes the couples closest friends and family” (AKA: what we did. Surprisingly there was still a ton of planning to do.)

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