My top 5 “ah-ha!” wedding moments: Shit I’m glad I know now

Guest post by vertigo912
Ashley & Ryan01

Besides the obvious “ah-ha!” moment of “OMG I'm SO glad I found Offbeat Bride,” I wanted to share the top-five realizations I've had while planning this thing. These tidbits may not be for everyone, but if my best friend was getting married, this is what I'd tell her:

1. Get officially married before the big day

We got hitched in our living room by our friend who got ordained online. It was for insurance purposes; I wanted it to be unemotional, so we could save our feelings for the “real” day. But it was intimate and beautiful. We cried. And NO ONE knows except me, hubby, officiant, and now you guys. 😉 For all intents and purposes, our ceremony will still be our wedding — but I'll be able to walk down the aisle a little easier knowing that the sexy guy at the end of the aisle is already my secret husband.

2. Go with a short engagement

Having dealt with (only) six months of the planning stress, I can't imagine having ANOTHER six months or more of sleepless nights, fretting over Save the Dates, invites, colors, photos, details, etc. Sure, we've worked with a truncated timeline, but it means we have to work efficiently. Who doesn't work better with a little fire beneath them?

3. Consider just one attendant, or none at all

Instead, reach out to friends to fill special roles. We didn't want to play “favorites” with friends. In the end, we each chose one long-term friend from highschool to stand with us. Instead of asking my girlfriends to spend money on a bridesmaid dress, I asked them if their gift could simply be to showcase their talents. From baking the wedding cake and decorating the park bridge, to arranging our flowers and DJ-ing our tunes, our friends will make our day special not by standing with us in awkward group photos but by highlighting their awesome talents.

4. Create to-do lists on Google docs

For awhile, I was keeping a running list of to-do items as a draft message in my email. My honey suggested we create a Google doc out of it, and voila! We share just one list with eachother (instead of me emailing myself different drafts). We add tasks to our living document as we think of them. You can have the Google doc open at the same time, editing things as needed. And there's that ever-satisfying “strikethrough” text feature to cross off finished items. Almost as good as a hand-written list.

5. Sometimes you just need to step back and not give a shit

A few weeks into the process, when we were getting overwhelmed, we took a night away at a cheap farmhouse bed and breakfast. Left our laptops at home, turned off our cell phones, and stared into eachother's eyes to the tune of the thunderstorm. Its easy to get swept up in the bustle of planning. But this unplugged getaway helped us remember why we were wasting time picking out old table cloths to cut into napkins or scouring craigslist for reusable wares. In short: be the honeybadger. Honeybadger don't give a shit. (Click on it. You won't regret it.)

What are your own “ah-ha!” moments?

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Comments on My top 5 “ah-ha!” wedding moments: Shit I’m glad I know now

  1. Ah! The honey badger… I will have to save that for when my son is a little older. He’s got a thing for badgers.

    My “aha” moment was when I realized how swept up I’d gotten in the STUFF of my wedding. The morning of the wedding, several things were missing and I realized how attached I’d been to the idea of these things being there even though they were completely non-essential. Sure, they would have been nice. But they didn’t matter, and the stuff that was at our wedding really hasn’t panned out to be those lasting keepsakes I want to display or anything like that. It’s just more crap.

    Another one is: letting attendants pick their clothing can be worse than picking it yourself. Instead of being happy and picking something they liked, everyone was totally worried about what they were wearing and up until the week of the wedding I was still getting calls and emails from people checking if I liked this or that dress. I wish I’d just picked something and been done with it, say, the first month of planning.

    • About the bridesmaids dresses, my sister just had this same experience from the other side. She was maid of honor and the bride told all the bridesmaids to wear whatever they wanted as long as it was short and blush pink. My sister and was super stressed about finding the right dress in just the right shade of blush pink, the right shoes, the right jewelry, etc. She was constantly texting the bride and could never make a decision until she’d heard back. I know one bridesmaid didn’t even get her dress until about two weeks before the wedding and the bride and the bride’s mother were stressing about it.

      I think it would’ve been less stressful for all involved if the bride had said “We’re all going shopping on this day together” or “Pick from these dresses that I like” or “Pick whatever dress you like from this store”.

    • I am rethinking my 5 Bridesmaids. But I already asked them. Am I screwed?

      • If you’re really sure you’ve changed your mind just be honest with them. (I’m sure you get the rest about if it’s a good enough friend… blah blah.) I had four plus two of my husbands party people were girls so I had them to consider and include as well. They were all important and I wouldn’t have taken any of them out, but I really did rely on one person in particular for the big stuff. I wrote all about her below if you want to know how much she did for me.

      • If you’re rethinking them, it’s better to tell them so now than to wait until they’ve spent a bunch of money on a dress/shower/shoes/whatever.

    • I had dress drama with my girls. I wasn’t sure about wanting the same dress for all or not, so I had some girls try on dresses and let me know what the liked. It got crazy. I finally found one dress I liked, that came in the colors I wanted (blue for the girls in the bridal party, black for the girls in the groom’s party), that would look nice on every body type in the bunch, and would be available to my girls who were spread across the country.

    • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding where we were told to get whatever dress we wanted as long as it was a certain color and a certain length. The color was really hard to find and the length was a little difficult as well. Finally the bride ended up saying we should all buy the same dress (at all of the bridesmaids’ urging). We went with a seller on Etsy that had a dress style that she really liked. Long story short we had all kinds of trouble with the seller and the dresses did not arrive on time (at all actually), so about a month before the wedding we all had to go out and find dresses again (thankfully an easier color to find this time around). I spent countless hours looking for a dress for this wedding. This all would have been avoided if we all just bought the same dress in the first place months earlier. It was SOOOOO stressful.

      • I am grateful that my friend picked out our dresses and I will do the same with my girls…but it would be good if brides can keep in mind total cost of a dress. A $350 ball gown is a bit much for your maids in most cases :).

  2. I’d definitely agree with number 1! My husband and I got married for insurance instead of getting engaged and though the less than a week from proposal to wedding had its own mental issues (see my thread in getting weddinged about it) I know that if we were engaged for a year before the wedding I’d be driving myself neurotic with cold feet. Now the ceremony/reception is less about “is-this-the-man-I’m-going-to-be-with-for-the-rest-of-my-life?!” and more about celebrating my marriage to a wonderful man with my friends and family.

  3. Totally agree with #3, #4 and #5! My husband and I each had two attendants (his sister and best friend from college, and for me, my best friends from high school and college).
    We totally rocked the google docs (had four or five going for different to-do lists) — which I HIGHLY recommend for keeping track of guests. Don’t delete that document when you’re done with it; I’ve referred to it about 8,000 times since the wedding for both wedding and non-wedding related things.
    And taking time away from the planning is critical. Have times you talk wedding stuff (for us it was all our dog walks) and times you don’t (say, dinner, or Friday nights, or whatever). We had a year, and that was great, it allowed us to ramp up the planning, and since we were doing so much DIY, to do a lot of it ourselves without feeling too stressed.
    But I’m glad we didn’t get married before our wedding, because sharing that moment with everyone who was there was important to us. As part of the ceremony, we had our parents participate in a sand ceremony, but before the ceremony started, we invited everyone present to add sand to the jar. We also had them all verbally confirm their support for the marriage during the ceremony. I just don’t think it would have been the same without that participation from those we love.

  4. Could not have said it better myself – I agree with all of these whole-heartedly.

  5. I’m pretty sure I used variations on “I don’t give a shit. No really, honey badger don’t give a shiiiiiiiit” about forty-five times the day of my wedding … including when I managed to throw iced mocha in my own face trying to catch the hat that was blowing off my head at the rehearsal. XD I learned to not try to catch a hat with a hand you have a cup in. \o/

    I also learned I can’t do everything myself … which meant my 18 year old sister and her 20 year old friend made my reception playlist. I subsequently learned that if you don’t want things like “The Real Slim Shady” and “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Bye Bye Bye” on your reception playlist, make sure you get the playlist done in time. XD

    • OMG…my sister-in-law did the same thing with her wedding playlist and it was put together by her 19 y/o sister and 14 y/o SIL. We had to dance to “We Will Rock You” and “Fergalicious” and “Can’t Touch This”…

      We are therefore enlisting the help of a very good friend who is also a DJ to put ours together 🙂

  6. My ah-ha moment came when I found Offbeat Bride. I realized that there are ppl in my life who are going to try to tell me what I *have* to do (have to have a DJ, have to wear white, have to get married in a church). But then after seeing all the different kinds of weddings and couples on OBB, I realized I don’t have to do squat except be myself… and write thank-you notes. 🙂

    • Yes, you too can be like the honeybadger, and not give a shit! When people say “but what would auntie xyz think?” or “what if you decide later that you wish you had (insert what meaningless piece of crap they are insisting on)” You can just truck right on thru, knowing that honeybadger don’t give a shit! lolol…this was a great article.

  7. Such a great write-up. We are having a long engagement due to fiance’s work schedule and I’m going to a bit crazy. Similar to Google docs, we are using Dropbox, which is free and AWESOME. You can store any kind of files in Dropbox and access them from your computer, smartphone, iPad, etc. Both our moms also have Dropbox and they can view and alter whatever files we give them permission to. My mom can also put inspiration photos she likes into the Dropbox instead of sending me like 10,000,000 emails a day. A program like Dropbox or Google Docs really is a total planning sanity-saver!

    • Mindy, I love Dropbox! I use mine for inspiration photos and keeping all the contracts/proposals in one place–which really came in handy the other day when I went to a catering tasting and they served me the wrong food! I was able to bring their last proposal up on my phone and show them what I THOUGHT I was going to eat…needless to say, we are not going to hire them.

    • We used a dropbox too… Invaluable as it wasn’t just lists we could view and add to but also all the design elements like cookie jar labels and signs!

  8. I wholeheartedly recommend #4! I’m still planning my wedding, but my fiance and I have TWO shared google docs, each with at least 10-15 tabs each. One is more “business” (budget, contact information of all vendors, etc.), and the other is more “ideas” (for every little thing we think of). It’s SO SO SO helpful!

  9. Very nice post. I pretty much did the opposite of everything on the list and had a great time anyway, so whatever gets you through it with sanity and a little sense of humor!

    My aha moment was reading the Offbeat Bride book and there was something along the lines of “Offbeat Bride is there to be your crazed cheerleader…to assure you your Hindu Circus themed wedding is a great idea because IT IS!” Totally paraphrased there but actually hearing the support of “You ideas are great!” was really an eye-opener. Up until that point I kept thinking “Well this is my idea but my mom/grandma/aunt/cousin/friend will think it’s stupid/silly/sacreligious/weird.”

    Ultimately my advice to brides (or grooms) is have faith in yourself, your partner and your ideas. Somehow you both managed to become responsible adults with rich friendships and someone to love -a big accomplishment- and you did it by being YOU.

  10. A variation on #1 – Get officially married AFTER the big day. Or never. Depends on your belief system and legal needs. Can’t officially give this advice, because our wedding hasn’t happened yet, but I think it is nice to think of this whole thing as a party for our friends and family to celebrate the commitment we’ve already made. We’ll legally make the commitment whenever we get around to it. If we feel like it. Whatevs.

    My ah-ha moment was realizing that other people’s comfort needs to be a major consideration. Once I stopped planning the party that would make ME happy and started planning the party that everyone would enjoy, I was paradoxically happier.

    Google Docs are your friend!

  11. Heck yes! We’re getting married in a courthouse ahead of time, my sister is my MoH, we’re having as short an engagement as possible, I live off of lists anyway, and I can’t count the number of wedding-centric-people I’ve absolutely gobsmacked by seriously just not caring about stuff.

    This is a great post, and you should feel good. 😀

  12. My man and I are so damn good at being honey badgers (lol) we actually have trouble caring enough to pull the thing together. Neither of us give a shit about linens or if there should be a fountain in the pool, but we team up to at least create enough anti-mehtter to reign in the MIL. We’re good at 3 too, using lots of friend assistance. The rest isn’t our style. I like my sketchbook list (it doesn’t feel so scary) and our time line is good for our meh ness.

  13. I did all of these things while planning my wedding too. Yes, it all helped 🙂

  14. I did 4 out of 5 things— and it is great. I don’t understand how people spend more than six months planning… it’s crazy!. I can’t do 5 though. My fiance/husband absolutely can.

  15. My A-HA moment was when I realized that if I didn’t want people bitching about my wedding choices, I shouldn’t tell them SHIT.
    Don’t want flak about how you didn’t invite your cousin you hate? Don’t tell anyone. Love your aqua blue mini dress but worried your grandma will freak? Shut up about it. Did you follow the above advice and go get married on your own because you realize your wedding actually has nothing to do with you (we did this and almost canceled the wedding because it was so AWESOME)? Keep it a secret!
    Your life will be so much easier for it.

    • TJ,

      This reminds me of the axiom by which I taught my children about what should be private. This was when they were teens and “overshared” all the time. I told them “the easiest way to keep people out of your business is NOT TO TELL it to them!” As adults they live and die by this rule, teaching it to their significant others and friends as best they can. Makes me damn proud, but it probably shouldn’t, because it’s not that I’m a genius, it’s just that it is so true.

    • AGREE!! I learned that if I don’t want to hear feedback on what I think is a kickass idea, then don’t say a word.

  16. I’d disagree with #2. We’ve had an 18 month engagement but it’s been almost completely non-stressful and I think part of that is because for most of it we could plan what we felt like when we felt like and drop it completely when we didn’t without worrying about what needed doing. Then when it got to the point where things did need to be done most of it already was.

    It also meant we didn’t have to conciously apply #5 because we were only planning when we wanted to.

    Completely agree with #4 though. Having everything written down and accessable is incredibly useful. A printer comes in handy for sharing files with less computer literate people too.

    I think my ‘ah-ha’ moment is still when I found Offbeat Bride and learned that the rest of the internet massively exagerated how people will feel about a personalised or DIY wedding. Especially a DI-Everyone wedding. We had more volunteers than we knew what to do with and I was still paranoid about asking for help because I’d read so many times that no one wants to ‘work’ at/for your wedding. It was fantastic to realise this could work and I can’t wait to see the result of everyones amazing contributions.

    • I’m also in the long-engagement camp. Our engagement is about a year and a half, and it’s given us time to really think about what we want to do instead of freaking out and feeling like we have to get everything done now-now-now. It’s pretty leisurely! Plus it gave us time to research before we committed to anything since neither of us have exactly spent a lot of time with the inner workings of the wedding industry.

  17. So interesting to read your comments – I totally agree with #4. Google docs checklists are awesome, and a good way to collaborate on planning across distance. We shared our Google docs with my parents and they added stuff we wouldn’t have thought of. IF ONLY I had kept using the planning docs up till the last minute. Ooops.
    We had a long engagement and I sort of agree with you on that, but on the other hand agree with Danikat. the year + 1/2 of planning was tiresome, but it contributed to our ability to do 5. There were some intense periods and some when we didn’t plan at all.
    Because we were way in advance we did get the pick of venues and scored BIG on that. Snipes Farm Retreat is so awesome and since we needed to get married in early June (academic schedules) we had to book it a year in advance. Also, we were able to buy stuff for much less money because it was out of season – like sandals I bought which would normally have been $250 in summer, but were $160 in January.
    My big A-ha moments were:
    – Give Mom a Break and she will be more fun: My Mom, bless her, is like me – a total stress freak. I knew she might have a melt down, so I booked a massage for her right in the middle of the wedding day so that all she had to do was show up and get her hair done right before the ceremony. It totally worked.
    – Limit family time in the days before the wedding. My Mom had originally planned a family dinner at her house two days before the wedding (the night before the rehearsal because folks would be arriving from out of town) my husband asked that we not do this because it would be too much. He was so right. I had dinner out with my Dad, his brother and his brother’s partner with two of my best friends who were in from out of town the night before. It was so relaxing and fun. The groom hung out with his mom and sister. Nice. My Mom made dinner for her sisters and my brother, his wife and their kid. She said it was so much easier than if she had tried to cook for 20 people that night.
    Bridesmaids & Groomsmen are there for a reason & wedding work can be a bonding experience. Sorry to disagree with you, Vertigo912. I loved, loved having bridesmaids. I had my sister-in-law as maid of honor, and four others: two best friends from highschool, 1 from college and on and 1 from grad school+ years. They did the flowers with me at the rehearsal & one gave a reading. During the rehearsal prep I was having a problem with messages and dealing with folks on the phone while the groom was asking me to do stuff to and my friend from highschool said, “let me take your phone.” Life saver. She also gave a great toast. Because my husband didn’t want to be outnumbered, he recruited groomsmen who were an army of workers for the whole wedding – they cooked and prepped the bbq, bought the beer, and cleaned up, saving my parents from having to do it all. Also, my parents friends offered their help and we took it. They were great!

    On the day of the wedding when I was totally freaking out, my fantastic bridesmaids wrote place cards with me just like I asked them to. They laid out the guest-book, place-cards, favors and did the card box after the guests had started arriving (early). My sister-in-law dealt with the boutonniere crisis. I would have been a total mess without them. I should have asked them to come even earlier than I did and it would have been less stressful for all of us. Also, I have always wanted these friends from different parts of my life to really meet and hang out. Having their help throughout meant that it finally happened. Now we are all planning on going on a girls weekend some time.

    FINAL AHA Moment:
    Stay in a hotel if you can, and have your guests there too. Or at least come up with a common after/before hours meeting place that people can go to if they want, like a coffee shop or bar. We had a sort of “destination wedding” because we chose to get married in my home-town, where we don’t live and few of our current friends do, but which was close enough for my husband’s southern friends and family. As a result, we had tons of people all staying in the same hotel and were able to have a lot of random and unplanned social time in the morning and after hours when we really got to talk to our friends. Since this doesn’t happen at the wedding, is was really nice to have it. I know that a hotel could be expensive depending on where you live, but having some place where people can congregate not in the formal event context is really great. I had a spontaneous hour with my husband’s birth mother on the morning of the wedding when I went to get my nails done. great!

  18. Awesome advice!

    I’m so glad that the guy and I are going with a short engagement (5 months). My cousin decided on a 2 year engagement and oh my gosh, the stress and worrying that long would kill me.

    I’ll try out google docs. Never thought of using that. =)

    • 100% agreed. I might marry the honey badger as well as my boyfriend. That’s how much I love the honey badger ^^

  19. Ah Ha! I incredibly agree with these things. Maybe not number one. Not sure about that yet. But all the rest of them I am already doing and this makes me feel better about the fact that I’m doing them THIS WAY! Thanks for publishing this.

  20. My only regret is missing pictures with key people… Make that list, then let those on that list know they may not leave without taking that photo… My only regret.

  21. My “ah-ha!” moment was that I’m actually a pretty shy person, and that most of my planning anxiety was coming from the thought of having to put on a show for a bunch of people, some of whom I didn’t know very well. I’m not a show type person (my ah-ha moment actually came from seeing other peoples’ big fancy wedding pictures and thinking, my God, I am NOT like that), and I didn’t want our wedding turning into some kind of production instead of a wedding. So a week ago we decided we’d “fancy elope” on our planned wedding date– invest in a small wedding package at a beautiful B & B, and have a simple family only ceremony with a cake and champagne reception.

    Unfortunately 3 days ago our engagement ended. But it was still a good “ah-ha!” moment and it would have been stunning.

  22. Was going to go with #1 if my grandmothers health took a turn for the worse after her surgery. Fortunately, she’s well enough that we’ll be seeing her in September for the big day.
    Lots of friends gave us flack for having a long engagement (engaged in January 2013, wedding is September 2014), but I’m so glad we stuck with it. I’ve had so much time to save, plan, enjoy, and then have my days of being the honey badger and not worry if I don’t have enough time to not be giving a shit! It’s also allowed us to do a lot of DIY, which has in turn helped our budget a lot.
    My ah-ha moment is every moment I get to plan our wedding, every craft we get to do, every item we check off the to do list. I can’t believe I’m marrying my best friend and this is going to be exactly the day we’ve dreamt of.

  23. I think it’s #3 and #5 for me. Looking back, I wouldn’t have “gotten rid of” any of my attendants, but my best friend was really the one person who I constantly went to when I needed support. Here’s where #5 comes into play. My best friend, who also performed our ceremony, selected and purchased my bouquet. I didn’t see it until just hours before the wedding. I had been worrying about everything and just couldn’t worry about anything else and was going to simply purchase white carnations and tie them together with ribbon myself. My friend told me, “You and Sean (hubs) are the center of the day and your bouquet is like the centerpiece of you,” and to make it something special. I explained how I felt and she made the offer.
    What she picked for my bouquet was so beautiful! (I’m honestly getting a little misty thinking back.) She picked lime (wedding color) spider mums, white roses, and the most amazing blue/purple/teal or orchids (we used shades of blue in the wedding as well). It was perfectly what I wanted but never what I would have thought to even consider.

    One other bit, in general, just surround yourself with love. She picked the most perfect bouquet because she is an amazing best friend who really knows me and wants me to be happy. The closest we came to ever, barely being snippy with each other about wedding things was when she told me I had to have an opinion about what she was going to wear. I let her pick her dress and probably would have said yes to anything, for fear of being bridezilla, but she pressed me for my honest opinion because she wanted whatever I wanted. Every time I came out of a dressing room in a potential bridal gown and quickly asked, “What do you think?” Her first response was always, “What do YOU think?” She gave me honest opinions too, though. The dress I finally chose wasn’t her favorite but the fact that she didn’t like it and I did was what made me sure I loved it. If her opinion didn’t change my mind nothing would.

    So yeah, #3. (But with all my other attendants too.)

  24. Getting married in a small city hall ceremony before the big “ceremony” was such a good call. Totally took the pressure off and let us get used to the idea – so we could actually enjoy the wedding itself.

  25. GOOGLE DOCS! I can’t praise it enough. We’ve been long-distance for years, and we are doing the first full year of wedding planning apart (currently 32 hours’ driving distance, with our wedding city in the middle). We had already been keeping a personal to-do list on GDocs for short- and long-term plans, so when we got engaged it was only natural to expand on it.

    We now have an entire shared wedding folder with lots of brainstorming documents (see an image you like? don’t rely on links, just paste it in, and link if the source page is useful) for different aspects of the weekend, from venues to vows to the guest list. We don’t need to look through these very often, but when we need to refer to something, it’s easy to find.

    The BEST thing we have going is a multi-worksheet spreadsheet with tabs for each discrete purchase/vendor choice, which allows us to compartmentalize and concentrate on tasks in order. So, e.g., for venues, when we were in the early stages we had venues across, and down, all the contact information, amenities, and (if we got more serious about them) cost breakdowns, with sections for notes and descriptions. We took two trips to StL to shop locations, and having everything we needed to reach our venues on one page was incredibly helpful! As we narrowed it down we could easily rearrange and highlight our choices. Once we secure our venues we can move on to the next tabs: hotels, caterer (depending whether we land an exclusive catering place), florist, photographer, another tab for the rehearsal dinner, you name it. If in the process we decide we really need another line for x consideration, or a whole new worksheet to accommodate something new like shuttle services, done. And it’s automatically saved with no chance of a chaos-wreaking hardware malfunction. What would we ever do without the internet?

    • Hi!!! I’m just starting from my wedding planning process and the way you’ve described your organization seems super helpful! Is that spreadsheet something you’d be willing to share? Even if you wipe the private notes and whatnots from it and just share the basis I’d be so so grateful. Discovering OBB has already lowered my blood pressure to discover other ways to think about what a wedding can be instead of what it HAS to be. Thanks!!!

  26. I’ve been engaged for almost 2 years now and it hasn’t been stressful because we only recently got into more concrete planning. For a long time we just got ideas, which was fun.

  27. Sooooooooooooo many people have been preaching the gospel of getting married ahead of time to me and while I appreciate the advice, making it legal in front of my friends is one of the few things I won’t budge on. This may backfire on me since I’ve been married before and he hasn’t, but we’re not doing photos before and we’re doing it for real in front of all our friends. I’ve already made a commitment to him when I added him to my bank account and insurance, and he made a huge commitment when he quit his job to take care of our household affairs. Ultimately, it might take stress off to do it before, but my biggest regret from my first time around was from doing exactly that, so YMMV.

    Other than that, absolutely love Honey Badger reference. We agreed that as long as we leave [moderately] drunk and married, then it has been a success. All we care about is getting married in front of our friends and then having a bigass party with them. Everything else is gravy and if impedes #1 or #2 (mostly #1, since that reflects home much time we’ve had to sit and enjoy the day), then it’s not worth it. Let them eat cake!

  28. I don’t think having an extended engagement necessarily has to translate into I am working on the wedding everything else second I’m engaged. sometimes you have a long engagement so you can wait to think about the wedding.

  29. AHA!Moment: People want to help. Let them, as long as it’s not crucial to (one of) you that it be done a certain way. You don’t have to personally do every little single thing attached to your wedding. I remember reading somewhere on the Tribe (maybe?) that even our fearless leader Ariel didn’t know what her reception venue would look like because she left the decorations in capable hands, and she was thrilled with the results.

    My advice: Pull an Elsa– Let It Go (selectively). 🙂

  30. AHA!Moment: When I realized I was freaking out over stuff that didn’t matter. To much time reading the wedding blogs (not this one – but another that shall remain unnamed) had me half convinced I was evil for not having an open bar, and wanting to wear jeans on my wedding day. Thankfully I regrouped, and stuck with what I wanted to do!

  31. Although there are a lot of stuff I agree with, one thing I have disagree with a little is the length of engagement. My fiancée and I have agreed that we’re going to wait a couple of years before getting married, for two main reasons. Number one, we’re both still pretty young and finding our feet in respective careers. Waiting gives us time to settle and time to save. Also we’re only planning on doing this once, so we have longer to enjoy being engaged and longer to enjoy the wedding planning. I’d rather wait and find things we truly want than have to settle for stuff that’s available on the date we’ve picked 🙂

    PS love the honey badger

  32. My partner and I got “married” more than a year before our actual wedding date (after already being together for 9 years). We were travelling and decided to make it official, before the Gods of Beauty and Nature, while we were in the Plitvice Natural Park in Croatia. Google it, you’ll get why we were so inspired. He surprised me with the most amazing ephemeral ring made out of a leaf while standing in front of a huge waterfall. So now that we are planning an official wedding with all our friends and family and an officiant, we feel like the pressure is somehow off for the two of us because we know that we have had our special sacred moment already, so nothing can really spoil the moment. And this time we get to have an open bar!

  33. I agree on the get legally married first to get the groom’s immigration paperwork on its way. We did that with a friend who is allowed to legally marry people. We signed all the paperwork and he brought it in for us during the week. With a small silly Klingon ceremony and immediate family only. It was fun. Religious ceremony in two weeks and glad the the immigration paperwork is all in the government’s hands. I couldn’t deal with all that and the wedding planning.

  34. OMG this is literally exactly what we are doing! Already got married, only a few friends and family knew… 5 months of total time spent planning… one attendant each… and I am organizing everything with my (secret) Husband and Mom through Google Docs!

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