What crying after the engagement party taught me about wedding planning

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We had an engagement party thrown for us by a wonderful friend. And it was fun. And I was so thankful. And it was filled with love. But the next morning I woke up crying. WTF!? Here's what I realized when I had unpacked those unexpected tears of sadness, and how I'm making sure I don't cry again after our wedding…

1. We spent too much time apart

We both had a blast. We both had wonderful conversations with people we love. But we both had them absolutely separate from each other for 80% of the evening. We didn't get to experience an event about and for us as us.

My wedding day solution: So I'm implementing the invisible handcuffs hack! We may get separated from time-to-time, but we have to remember to come back together. Because, hey, he's my favorite person to hang out with at a party… especially one that's all about us as a couple!

2. You can't spend enough time with everyone

Part of those tears were from guilt about not being able to spend enough time with everyone who came. I feel like I ignored my elderly grandma, my aunt, the host, and that one friend who came by herself. I know I talked to and said hi to almost everyone, but I don't feel like I got to spend enough quality time with anyone. And our wedding is going to have even more people in attendance.

My wedding day solution: At first my solution was to make sure to do a receiving line, or that thing that I hate, where you go from table to table and say hi to everyone. I did that at my first wedding, and it was my least favorite time of the night. I barely got to have any meaningful interactions in that time. I felt like I was both spending too much time at each table and not enough time at each table. And the next morning I woke up feeling the same way I felt the day after the engagement party.

Instead, we're hosting a “day after brunch.” So that if (probably when) I wake up feeling guilty the next morning, I can seek out the people I truly felt like I accidentally ignored and make sure to spend more time with them.

always crying but always trying pin alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Crying pin available here.

3. We should make a registry, even if we don't want to

I didn't expect gifts. In fact, we said “no gifts.” Turns out, people will buy you things anyway, even if you ask them not to. And if people who don't know what you need, you'll get things you don't want. Which is worse than getting things you might want, even though you don't “need” them. If you're like me, this will leave you feeling super guilty.

My wedding day solution: Just fucking register. Do we need a blender? No. Is it a more useful item to receive than the World's Ugliest Picture Frame? 100 times yes. If the people I love are going to insist of spending their money on us, I'm going to make damn sure it's on something we might actually use.

And if you don't know what to register for… luckily Offbeat Bride has some helpful suggestions. Thank you and you're welcome, me and you.

4. Bonus take-away: Floral crowns are the shit

This one didn't cause any tears (because I made good choices!). I just really feel like letting you know that if you've never had a chance to wear a floral crown before, you're missing out. I decided, fuck it, I'm using this as an excuse to rock one of those awesome hipster floral crowns. I forced my friend to make me one. And I wore it all night. And IT WAS AWESOME.

My wedding day solution: Wear a fucking floral crown or something equally as epic.

Anyone else experience pre-wedding tears that lead to lessons about wedding planning?

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Comments on What crying after the engagement party taught me about wedding planning

  1. If you don’t want gifts, you should make a registry for TRAVEL because who doesn’t want that??

  2. Here’s how we handled the quality time thing with people:
    We had a rehearsal lunch with immediate family and bridal party instead of a rehearsal dinner (our rehearsal was the morning before our wedding day). Then we had a welcome reception in the hotel lobby the night before the wedding with appetizers and soft beverages served. The hotel bar was right there, so anyone who wanted booze could pay for it themselves. This was AMAZING. I got to see everyone again, sit down and chat with tons of people, distant family got to catch up and shake off the cobwebs, and our two sides of the family got to meet. Our wedding was out of town for 85-90% of our guests, so I felt obligated to entertain them the night before and this was amazing. We also gave people a list of local restaurants in their welcome bags so they could pick somewhere out to eat a full meal.

    During this welcome reception, we also introduced our random single friends to other people they would like. Then at the wedding, they had people to hang out with. We did a receiving line as well so everyone got at least a “hi thanks for coming”

    We did the day after brunch thing, but most people had to leave early to start traveling back, so we only had a handful of people there. At my sister’s wedding, they had breakfast at the hotel and she got to see a lot of people that way.

    • Oooooh… rehearsal LUNCH is a really good idea. And it would feel less rushed to get that done before dinner/welcome party. Hmmmm. Thanks for that suggestion!

      • It was awesome! We were kind of forced into a morning rehearsal, because our venue had a wedding the night before ours, but it worked out perfectly! I hated the idea of everyone traveling to see me and then not getting to see me!

    • I’ve been considering an informal, unofficial, pre-ceremony receiving line. That is, be out there and helping with set up and saying hi to folks when they arrive. “Hey there! Thanks for coming! Go find a seat, we’ll be starting soon.” I feel like this could (maybe?) also help my anxiety about that “reveal” moment when everyone turns and looks at the bride coming down the aisle – because they will have already seen me because I’m not hidden away. The idea of that many eyes all focused on ME for that one moment is overwhelming…

      Am I crazy? Anyone ever done this? Have any thoughts or tips?

      • Not crazy at all! My sister had her cocktail hour BEFORE the ceremony! She did swap dresses out between cocktail hour and ceremony.

        • That’s true, I did. 🙂 We initially did it because we needed buses to make two trips, but I was so glad with how it turned out. It felt really natural, we were able to greet people as they came in, and I think it just set up a great relaxed vibe.

          You’ll know what’s right for you — and when you figure out what it is, go for it. We did several unusual things, and I wondered how people would react — and no one batted an eye.

          • I’m curious as to what the several other “unusual things” were, if you don’t mind sharing. 🙂

  3. We didn’t have any pre-wedding parties to learn from. I regret that because a lot of these things happened to us. I feel like we spent about 75% of our reception away from each other, I feel like I spent no quality time with anyone at all, and I also feel the major guilt because there were at least five people at our wedding that I didn’t even say hello to because we didn’t do either a receiving line or table visits. None of these things ruined our wedding day or take away from my memories of it but … still. The regret is there.
    Also, be warned, even if you do register people might veer off it. We ended up with about ten gifts that came out of nowhere and about half of them got donated because we don’t need five sets of Halloween coasters … we barely even need ONE set of coasters! Just be prepared and if you end up returning or donating just remind yourself that while the gift itself is gone the sentiment with which is was given isn’t. 🙂

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