The “just don’ts,” self care, and discussion board reminders we all need during wedding planning

Guest post by The Fried Bride
Wedding planning reminders -- The "just don'ts," self care, and discussion board reminders we all need during wedding planning
Will guests think you're weird and give you this card? GOOD. Embrace it, fellow weirdo!

I woke up around 6:00am, basically nude, hair smelling of vomit, with the vague notion that I was missing something shiny and expensive.


Thus begins the odyssey of marriage. We were engaged. It didn't exactly go according to plan for my handsome, wonderful, not-logistically-inclined fiancé — but he pulled it off, and was patient with the results. I went back to work that Monday, desk covered in snappy memes about the wedding planning journey to come. But I didn't know. I. Did. Not. Know.

Having had an account on The Knot since I was 13, when the internet was just a place of pretty, floofy things with which I could pretend to plan my virtual future, I thought I had cultivated a good notion of what planning my actual wedding would be like. Sure, a little more involved than the average person would expect, but there are so many tools and people to help, and people to do it every day. No big deal.

Like the Megabus bathroom I got locked in after my engagement, wedding planning turned from deceptively easy in-and-out adventure, to getting sealed in a small airless space that just smelled like poo.

I'm not writing this to depress you, or to scare you, or say that you shouldn't have an awesome party for your family and friends to celebrate your nuptials. On the contrary — I just want to give you one more tool to help you plan that big day.

Here are my top five wedding planning reminders…

Wedding planning reminders -- The "just don'ts," self care, and discussion board reminders we all need during wedding planning
This pin just gets me

1: The “Just fucking don'ts”

Like the Megabus bathroom I got locked in after my engagement, wedding planning turned from deceptively easy in-and-out adventure, to getting sealed in a small airless space that just smelled like poo.

You, The Bride (or The Groom) have all the power. BOOM. No couple, no wedding. What you want is the only thing you need to get — and your judgment and taste is just fine. There will be so many people, guests or no, who will use all the good intention in the world to guide you to this day. Tell them to fuck off — immediately. Preferably with more grace, perhaps with a, “Gosh. You're right. There's a lot to this. I'd rather not talk about this anymore at work/church/school/urinal/bus/grocery store, as I need to focus on other things.”

Here is a short list of things people told me I couldn't do, which I promptly did… with much success:

“You can't invite people to the wedding and not the reception.”

Why? Why not? They can say no. The church holds 300 people, the reception venue less than half that, and they know. Not everyone wants to sit through a four-hour reception. Truly, inviting more of my friends just means more of them know they are welcome in my life as I undertake this new life-altering journey.

Now, here are the things I was told I should do, and promptly didn't…

“The parents need to match the wedding party.”
I experienced this myself, but was also saddened to hear a pending-groom mention their fiance was pressuring his father to wear a tux, when his means and lifestyle didn't necessarily accommodate such choices. My own father being in a wheelchair, and my parents less affluent, I said to the parents, “Here are the colors, no tuxes needed! Does it work for you?” And lo! They rejoiced! The parents were most comfortable and present in the attire of their choosing.

“Invite us for dress shopping!”
Do you typically shop for clothes in a group? If so, feel free to continue this bonding trend. If you do not, go with your gut. If people are having to tell you, “It doesn't matter what I think, how do you feel?” the chances of you taking THEIR feelings and opinions into account is much higher. You do you. Confidence is the most beautiful thing a bride can wear and if you derive that solely from other people, you are in for a rather hellish wedding planning process.

“You must have a flower girl or ring bearer.”
Have you met kids in real life? Do they react well to being forced into a particular outfit and performing a rehearsed walk in front of what seems to them a few hundred staring strangers? Sure, little cousin Molly might be a ham for the camera, but what about her parents who might have their own particular drama? It's not uncommon for Mama and Papa to issue certain dress code and dressing room requirements like their ushering J.Lo on a farewell tour. Opt out. Just let the kids have fun. If they want to do it that day, great, but if not, just let them be.

2: Self-Care is essential

Schedule time for wedding planning. The rest of your time each day should have nothing to do with wedding planning. You should avoid your email, Pinterest, etc. and vendors should give you at least 24 hours of space for a response. Be alone now and then. It is deceptive to think that peace will come after you've planned out your wedding from altar to lights out. There will always be another detail, another problem you can fix, and it will still be there tomorrow.

3: Be careful what you sign up for

David's Bridal is the wedding world equivalent of The-Student-Loan-Company-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. They will find you, wherever you go. They do share your information with vendors who will constantly email you about having “won” a prize, or being “eligible” for all kinds of freebies from makeovers to honeymoon. Newsflash: Everybody “wins.” The minute you enter one of those “FREE GOWN GIVEAWAY” promotions, you have just signed over your email address and phone number to a horde of vendors that will spam you even past the day you say “I Do.”

4: Discussion boards (can be) the devil

It seems harmless, right? Posting a question for other couples and recent newlyweds to answer. Like with the dress shopping concerns, take caution. Do you typically rely on the advice of others, or majority opinion in order to make your regular decisions? If not, limit any public questions to specifics. Discussion boards and forums can be a great tool for researching specifics, particularly asking questions about a certain venue, vendor, or asking for suggestions about the wedding/honeymoon locale.

However, use extreme caution when using it for: venting, delicate family etiquette concerns, seeking validation in your already-made decisions. If you've read this far, you understand what an anxiety ridden process a wedding has the potential to be. When you are anxious, who do you find most helpful: a group of other anxious people, or do you seek professional help? If you're concerned about seating options, consult your caterer — they've seen it all. If you're worried about your processional, ask your officiant. You're paying your vendors as much for their experience as for their service/product, and I guarantee they can shed light on whatever issue concerns you. And if not, consider that it is perhaps not worth the amount of consideration you are investing.

5: Talk to your partner

This is probably the most important item that I can stress. A lot of emphasis is put on “The Bride's Prerogative.” Your wedding ceremony is the beginning of your marriage — above all, it should be personalized to the couple as it sets the tone for your new family. Consider together what you love about each other, what you as a family want to share with your relatives and community. While you don't need to make every decision together, talk it through up front and as you go along about the various style and schedule elements of the event. There's nothing worse than sharing details about the wedding and then having your partner back up and say, “Wait? When did we decide that?” A shared Google Drive can be your best friend, and there are many other online tools out there that allow you to ensure you are on the same page from concepts to contracts. If you've hired a wedding planner, make sure they communicate with both of you.

Too much? Remember that above all: you will be okay, you are not alone, and meditate on it. You are utterly and completely in charge of this situation. Your “big” day is only as big a deal as you'd like. Be flexible, be free, just be and be together.

Remember, Love wins.

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Comments on The “just don’ts,” self care, and discussion board reminders we all need during wedding planning

  1. “You can’t invite people to the wedding and not the reception.”

    This is VERY regional and/or cultural. Some places do open weddings, where the word is put out that you’re getting married and anyone is welcome to the church, and ‘invite only’ receptions.

    People can ‘know’ things are happening but knowing doesn’t stop hurt feelings. And my feelings would be hurt knowing that I wasn’t good enough to make the cut to the reception. You usually pay per person for the reception but not for the ceremony.

    • It really is interesting how much it varies geographically. I found it so strange when I first started seeing stuff about American weddings how much people baulked at inviting people to the reception only because of the cost. In the UK, it’s much more common than in the US to invite people to receptions but not ceremonies, because a lot of ceremony venues were licensed when local communities were smaller: tiny churches in villages, little registry offices squeezed onto the side of the town hall, converted drawing rooms in country houses, unused dining rooms in hotels… It’s pretty common to invite people to the end of the reception only; the wedding breakfast is for the people who came to the ceremony, but the drinking and dancing and cake is for the whole community.

  2. YES YES YES!!! To all of these things!!! Every point in this piece is exactly why I created AstroWed. Thank you for shouting the truth from high and low. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

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