Things WILL go wrong, and 7 other things I learned at our wedding

Guest post by Brink Powell

Remember when Brink learned to accept help and decided not to wear make-up to her wedding? That wedding has come and gone, and now we can all learn more from her experiences!

What I learned

I love the “lessons learned” posts on Offbeat Bride, because they're always chock full of good advice. In that spirit, here is what I learned through planning and throwing our Halloween Horror Wedding…

1. Your ideas WILL evolve, change, not work out, and be scrapped — this is OKAY

Our wedding did not end up looking like what we originally envisioned. The core bones of the ideas were mostly present but many ideas and projects either looked totally different than what we'd originally come up with or they got scrapped entirely. And it was great!

2. Communication with everyone is KEY

From the person you're marrying, to family, and vendors… basically anyone involved in your wedding. We had some communication snafus along the way. And, in hindsight, these conversations should have involved everyone, so that we could have ALL been on the same page about everything.

3. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying OR ask for help

A lot of my DIY projects took multiple attempts to get right. I ran into problems with not having the right materials, or the right technique, or I would just get so frustrated I'd throw the damn thing across the room and give up.

When this would happen I would generally turn to my amazing maid of honor, who would usually show up the Saturday following my melt down and fix whatever the problem was in about two seconds. Sometimes you just need a second set of eyes to look at something. Because nine times out of ten I hadn't tried the way my maid of honor suggested, and ten times out of ten her way would work.

4. It is OKAY to do everything yourself, just be realistic

This runs contrary to what a lot of people will tell you, and even runs contrary to a guest post I wrote about asking for help. But even though I'd learned to ask for help, I still didn't. I made 90% of the handmade items for our wedding completely by myself. I did 99% of the researching, comparison shopping, and purchasing of items for the wedding as well. It was one of the most satisfying feelings in the world to look around at both the ceremony AND the reception and think “I did this.”

However, in doing most of everything by myself, I did need to be realistic. Along the way I know there were projects that got scrapped, centerpieces that were re-worked to be easier to complete, and there was a lot of stress and over-working on my part. I'm not advocating doing everything yourself because it WILL consume you. I'm just saying I know it can be done, because I did it.

5. Know what you're willing to pay

We did not have a savings account, nor any account, full of money to spend on the wedding. When we started planning we opened a joint account and transferred $939 into it, and worked on a “pay as we go” strategy. We made monthly contributions to the funds, and bought things as we needed to.

While we never had a set “budget” for the wedding, we did have very strong ideas on what we felt was “too much” money to pay for something, and even those firm ideas really helped keep our costs down.

6. Know when to splurge

My husband's Freddy Kruger glove was more than any other piece of attire for the day. It even cost more than our wedding bands. But he has dreamed of owning that glove since he first saw the movie and it was the lynch pin of his costume. And my bouquet cost more than my dress, and only slightly less than the glove. But it's an extremely sentimental item that I spent hours putting together, and will proudly display in a bell jar for the rest of my life. These splurges were important.

7. Things WILL go wrong — fix what you can, don't stress, move on — no one will notice

Thirteen things did not go according to plan on our wedding day. Some were easily fixable, some were not. I've spoken to my co-workers and some other guests about the snafus, and not one of them noticed any of the things that I felt “went wrong.”

Unless it's something huge and obvious — like a veil getting stuck in a door, or a power outage, or a blizzard — no one will notice the little things. It's not worth taking away from your happiness to stress over them.

8. Do what makes YOU happy

Just like people, weddings come in all shapes and sizes. There is no right or wrong way to throw a wedding. Ours initially made some people uncomfortable because, due to society and tradition, people have come to expect certain things of a wedding. While ours had most of the elements of a traditional wedding it looked extremely different and I think had a different tone than most.

Any time you do something different, or stray off the beaten path, you'll encounter some raised eyebrows and side eyes. Don't let that discourage you. Don't let familial expectations, or financial contributions, or what's on TLC dictate your day. Have the wedding that you and your partner want.

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Comments on Things WILL go wrong, and 7 other things I learned at our wedding

  1. Whoooo <3 Brink! I agree. All the things that we cut, all the snafus that popped up… I was able to keep my chill on because of the things I read here and chats with Tribesmaids. It all made sense in pratice. And you just have to be bold, be you, and have faith that when push comes to shove, everything will fall in to place, and if not then it didn't matter as much as you thought.

  2. We did that with the money too, and my husbands outfit was easily the most expensive. we got him a set of real chainmail and it cost almost 4x what I paid for my dress (and more than both wedding bands put together, but those are a close second). he loves it, so I say it was money well spent.

    • I am pretty sure our photographer was the single most expensive thing…
      She cost us twice what we paid to get the cabins for the whole weekend….
      But she is the best around and also one of the cheapest professionals.
      She’s the embodiment of offbeat, and a small business mom too. Aside from that we had some props come out to be pretty pricey that I had been hoping to make ourselves, which we ended up needing to buy instead. Everything was worth it.

      • we did actually pay more for the photographer than his chainmail, I was referring to worn items. the food was the most expensive thing, followed by the photographer, then the venue. (the photographer is a friend of my Husbands mother, so we got a great deal.)

  3. Yay, Brink! I followed all your DIYing through the tribe, and it was very inspiring. But, I have to say, it definitely helps to ask for help. My husband and I did 99% of the prep ourselves, and it was a little crazy-making!

    • We had a massive amount of help the day we set up! If the two of us had tried to do all that ourselves … I shudder to think what would’ve happened! But as far as all the prep work, building things, buying things, etc. That was all us … but mostly me … it was exhausting and stressful but also really rewarding and satisfying.

  4. Thanks for these! I’m currently doing 99% of the research and decisions right now (I suspect this will change as we get closer to the date), and I’m excited for that sense of “I made this happen!”. Event planning can be fun, if you stay flexible and give yourself time.
    (but just in case, I’ll be asking my brothers to keep open cider handy for me, if things start to spiral out of control. Lubrication to the point of tipsy ought to keep me on the right side of fuckit, when stuff starts going wrong)

  5. Great ideas and advice! However, I am confused about your splurge part? Now did you make the glove for your husband or your bouquet or both? Sorry, was a little confused! Also, if you did not make it where is it from and how were you able to budget in such an essential yet costly expense?

    • Good point. I know when I was getting my Freddy glove I got it from a company called Nightmare Gloves. It was pretty expensive, and I found the glove to be of a rather lackluster quality. (Plus, the time between making the order and receiving the glove was SO LONG. I’m not sure how your experience was, but I would have been super nervous, if I actually had a deadline for when it had to be done). But knowing how much mine cost, and if you had only $939 in an account, the rest of your wedding must have been done pretty well budgeted. Plus, I see that the man in the photo (which I assume is a picture of you and your husband) is wearing a well made and accurate Freddy sweater. From my experience, I found that those sweaters are hard to find, and when they can be found, they cost a pretty penny. With such a small budget, how did you manage to splurge on those and still afford a reception? If you made it work, I applaud your budgeting and money-saving skills. I could only hope to have budgeting skills like that when I get further into my wedding planning.

      • I think there may be a little confusion here. Our initial deposit in the wedding account was $939. Over the course of the next year we made monthly contributions to it. In the end we were able to save and spend just under $7,500. We also had assistance from our families and friends. The wedding ended up costing just under $15k. We paid for 50% ourselves, my parents paid for 41%, his parents for 7%, and our bridal party for 2% (their outfits).
        We also got his glove from Nightmare Gloves and it was … a NIGHTMARE! He ordered it in January and was assured it would arrive before Halloween. It did, but it took a lot of messages on our part and ended up arriving on October 29th. Only two days to go! He loves the glove, it fits great, and looks awesome. (Yes, that is a picture of us!) However, I would never do business with them again because getting that glove was the most stressful part of our whole wedding planning experience. I actually went out the weekend before and bought a “back up” glove for $60 at FYE which I thankfully got to return. But, as I say in the post, it was the lynch pin of his costume!
        Thank you for noticing the Freddy Sweater is accurate! That was really important to him. I’m not sure of the name but there is a woman in … I want to say Holland, that will make any of the Freddy sweaters from any of the movies. His parnts purchased both the sweater and glove for us but if they hadn’t been able to we would have cut out some decorations or something in order to afford them because they MADE his costume. 🙂

        • Wow. That’s pretty cheap! You must not have had much at the ceremony or reception. It’s pretty nice of your family and especially your husband’s family to pitch in to help financially. Though I do have to say, it seems kind of rude and ungrateful to work out percentages. Personally, I would just be happy that others were willing to spend their money on an event that I was throwing. For me, since I am having a non-traditional wedding, I plan on paying for everything myself. Since, traditionally my parents would pay for the ceremony/reception, my soon-to-be in-laws would pay for the rehearsal dinner, and the bridesmaids/groomsman would pay for their stuff. The way I see it, it’s my show, I’m the cause of it, so they aren’t obligated to pay for anything, they burden of the finances falls on my (and my fiancé’s) shoulders. The only people that will have to pay for their own stuff are the guests (I can’t buy all their stuff). Though I don’t want them to spend too much on their outfits either (I imagine some of the costumes could have been pretty expensive). But, that’s just my opinion, everyone’s is different.

          • We actually were able to have quite a bit at both the ceremony and reception for that price, which is part of what made it so awesome to see the final numbers! We made most of the decor ourselves and there was not one area left untouched by our theme. We had a full spread of appetizers, an open bar, a buffet dinner with multiple entree choices, DJ, photographer, videographer, etc. I’m not sure why you would equate not spending a lot of money with not being able to have much?
            The reason I worked out percentages was because I wanted to see how much my husband and I were able to pay for ourselves and was so psyched to see that it was half! It gave me a huge confidence boost in our saving and spending strategies. We’re very grateful and appreciative of all the help, both financial and otherwise, that our families gave us with our wedding. Our wedding was very non-traditional but whether it was or not we started out with the notion that we would be paying for it ourselves. We would have been happy taking on the full cost, but our families offered and wanted to help us so we accepted.
            It’s funny that you mention the cost of the costumes. We actually had a lot of guests tell us that they spent way less on their outfits for our wedding than they would have on cocktail attire for a more traditional wedding. What was super awesome was seeing how many people assembled their own costumes out of items they already had!

    • The glove for my husband was purchased from a company called Nightmare Gloves and was purchased by his parents. I purchased all the supplies for my bouquet, out of my own money not the wedding fund, and assembled it myself.
      I’m sorry if this part was confusing. The point I was trying to make is that I learned that some items were important enough to spend way more on than I would normally. We could have gotten a Freddy Krueger glove from a party store for $25 but my husband wanted a professional one. It of course helped that his parents offered to pay for it, but even if they hadn’t we would have found the money for it even if it meant cutting from other areas.

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