Because I've been married for nine months. Which makes me an expert.
Without further ado, my additions to Roo's "Dear Brides, Don't Do This" list:
Don't feel like you need to have everything. Or that everything has to be expensive. Spend money on what matters to you, and scratch the rest. We didn't have favors at our wedding (curious - did anyone who was there notice?), because we didn't care about them. We sat down at the beginning of the planning process and talked about what we wanted most from our wedding, and that was for everyone to have a blast. We wanted people to leave our wedding saying, "That was SUCH a fun wedding!" Favors do not make people say that. A kickass band makes people say that. So that's where we spent our money. And because of that, we have pictures like this:
Don't be jealous of my sweet dance moves. Or my sexy dancing face. You too, can have that.
I LOVE this picture. Note my father in law over my shoulder looking possessed.
Yeah, we're that fun.
A video is worth the money. So are great pictures, but a video is super worth it. There are some things a video can capture that pictures just can't. I saw my not-very-emotional husband cry for the first time ever during our vows. It was one of the best moments of my entire life, and I can watch it as many times as I want. I can hear my dad's toast, see our faces when we first saw each other, and feel that day every time I watch it. I don't watch it often, but it's amazing how it brings you back to that day when you do. My cousin Megan was the first one to get married. When my other cousins were little, one of their favorite "movies" was Megan's wedding video. That's just a cute side note.
To watch the two minute preview of our wedding video, click here! I can't figure out how to embed it.
Think about what you HATE at other people's weddings... and then DON'T DO THAT STUFF! This should go without saying, but apparently it often doesn't. Things I don't like? Having a huge break between the ceremony and reception with nothing to do. Where all you want to do is take off your dumb dress clothes and your college friends are likely to park it at a bar and drink too much. So we didn't do that. I also don't like when the reception feels like a performance - look here! The bride and groom are doing this! And now this! Look over here! So we skipped a bunch of that stuff. I don't think anyone noticed or cared that I didn't throw a bouquet (except my single friends, who were likely thankful).
If you love this stuff, do it! If you don't, cut it. No one but your mother and token snobby relative (everyone has one, right?) will notice or care.
It's okay if you don't enjoy every single thing about planning your wedding. I think I only enjoyed about 5 of the billions of things we did. It was stressful. And time consuming. I was more interested in getting married than planning a giant party. So when the florist wanted input on flowers, I said, "I like tulips, and I think pink is nice. Oh - I would like the arrangements to be pretty." And that's it. And they were very pretty.
The 20% rule holds true. My godmother told me this was true at all three of her daughter's weddings, and I'll be darned if it wasn't exactly true at mine too. Plan accordingly. And don't be upset when the 20% who doesn't come includes people you care about and the 80% who do come includes random people your parents make you invite that you don't know or care about.
I don't care what Peggy Post says, you do NOT get a year to write thank you notes. This irks me to no end. If people cared enough to travel to your wedding and give you a gift, the least you can do is write a timely (and thoughtful) thank you note. I think you get three months, tops, before you're just a jerk. Don't thank people for coming who didn't come (my in-laws got that note once), or just say "thanks for the gift" leaving people to wonder if you even got it. You're a married adult now - write decent thank you notes.
Everyone knows who you are, even if you don't know them. You will inevitably have to invite your future mother-in-law's random friend you've never met, or your dad's second cousin. You won't know who they are, but they'll know who you are - because you're the one wearing that bride dress. Act like you know them and you're glad they came. If you're really smart, have your maid of honor figure out who all these people are ahead of time so she can whisper it in your ear. You'll feel important, like the president. I assume he has those kinds of people to tell him that stuff.
Enjoy every second of your wedding day, because you only get it once. We had a few opportunities to do this, and I'm so glad we did. During our ceremony, our pastor asked us to turn around and take in the faces of those who loved us and were there supporting us. It was overwhelming and amazing, and I'm tearing up just thinking about it right now. During our reception we stopped to take it all in too, and I'm so glad we did. I can close my eyes and picture it right now, and I can feel exactly how I felt - so happy that I thought I might burst. It also hit me like a ton of bricks that all of these people would never be together in the same room again. Our wedding day didn't feel like it rushed by, and I think it's because we took time to step back and just appreciate everything that was happening around us.
It already feels like planning our wedding was a lifetime ago. Do you have any advice to add to my list? Were you given any advice during your wedding planning process that was particularly helpful?