OK, LAST words on the wedding and then I put it to bed for good
So, one of the features I’ve always lurved on my favorite wedding blog Weddingbee is when the brides do their post-game analysis of all the things that worked and didn’t work about their weddings. So helpful! I figured this would be a great way to end the wedding rewind, AND I think it will be therapeutic for me to whine about a bunch of dumb stuff that annoyed me, things that are truly too dumb and bratty to actually complain to real humans about. Even though I do plan to vent mildly, please know that I consider us EXTREMELY lucky and blessed to have had a wonderful wedding experience with many loving friends and family, and lucky that we had good jobs and gracious parents that supplied the resources for it. So, with that disclaimer out of the way…
Keeping it Simple. Low maintenance was my top, #1 priority from the very beginning. I wanted our venue to be a one-stop-shop for all wedding events and sleeping rooms, in a location that minimized travel for our guests as much as possible. Hershey delivered huge on the first part, and wasn’t more than 2 hours away for most of our guests. And only about 20 minutes for my family- score! We made a bunch more decisions all contributing to the goal of making the entire event worry-free for EVERYONE. No running around town going to the salon for us chicks, no battling with google maps for our guests, no stressing out over DDers or taxis. Just total fun and relaxation And I understand everyone has different circumstances and doesn’t have these options open, and of COURSE you can have a crap-ton of fun even when you have to travel and whatever, but it was best for our wedding and those involved. Namely my mother, who disappears on random shopping adventures if given unsupervised access to a vehicle. And for me, who achieves sanity through maintaining control and minimizing variables. Chicks, consider your mental health when planning these things!!
Cutting Corners. A lot of people remarked what a “Nice Wedding” we had, when in reality, we had a seemingly “nice” wedding that was really a budget wedding with a pretty hat on. You know, like “lipstick on a pig.” Or Krab Dip. Did I just liken our wedding to swine and an imitation seafood topping? Anyway. Chicks, suggestion #2- there is a LOT of room to save money on stuff your guests will never notice. Our photographers only shot for 4 hours; I got the cheapest invitations EVER (but had them hand calligraphied so they seemed nicer than they were); we skipped a pro videographer and recorded everything with our own camcorder (thus ending up with hilarious home-video-esque reception footage); I wore an $188 dress and the bridesmaids’ were $79; we had 10,000 rose petals shipped in from a wholesaler and incubated them ourselves in my parents’ and aunt’s fridge for 2 days (instead of paying the florist’s RIDICULOUS quote for them); and we skipped a honeymoon and mini-mooned in Las Vegas (do you know how cheap it is to go to Las Vegas?!).
DIYing. When I used to work in a procurement department (I feel smart saying that but trust me, it was way over my head), we spoke a lot about the Make Vs. Buy concept and what made the best financial sense. Brideys, in the wedding world, roll up those sleeves because your answer to that is MAKE, beyotches. Not crafty or creative? I didn’t think I was either (probably because my aforementioned professional work was slowly atrophying my left brain, cell by cell). But, spend enough time lurking around the right wedding and wedding inspiration blogs, and you’ll awaken your inner artsy goddess. Most of the stuff that made it into The Knot, plus a ton of other miscellaneous projects, were created on a LOW dollar budget using a hodgepodge of crap from Michael’s, JoAnn’s, and Wal-Mart. Just invest the time and patience (a lot of things took a few tries to look right). Also, a fleet of female friends and relatives you can indenture as your crafting serfs helps as well. And actually, I just (finally) finished up printing our wedding album via blurb.com, a savings of nearly a thousand dollars from the photography studio’s album.
Ignoring Convention. The other thing I learned is that a wedding is as much or as little stress as you make it to be. Again, spending time in the online “community” you see girls just going completely wackadoo over wedding stuff. I feared the worst, only to find the entire thing to be FUN and delightful from start to finish. Well, mostly I now feel bridal zen is achieved through letting go of all the crap you think you “have” to be freaking out over. We enjoyed a leisurely engagement and didn’t get around to even setting a date until 5 months in. When people asked about it, I said “I don’t know! We’ll get to it!” I wore crap $45 shoes, and failed to shave my legs or repair my scuffed pedicure on the day of. Because I was wearing a long dress and no one would notice these things. No biggie. I realized a few days before, “Hey I forgot to do that borrowed and blue stuff! Ha!” I didn’t care. The sun rose on our wedding day.
Closing Our Eyes and Splurging. As many corners as we cut, and as much as we had wonderful and gracious help from family, the two of us still spent a lot on the wedding (though did so in a responsible, non-credit way!). Once in a while I feel a twinge of despair when I think about what that could have meant for my student debt, or our future home, or our rapidly aging (but beloved!) vehicle. But I don’t linger there for long because I remember what a beautiful, special, memorable day we were able to share with our family and friends, and we will never have regrets over that!
Idiot String Quartet! Gah! I guess everyone has that one problem child vendor and this was ours. They came recommended from the venue and they seemed really professional and organized, so I booked them without too much thought. Whoopsie! Probably not the best idea on something that I cared REALLY strongly about so I’ll take half the blame. Anyway, it took weeks and multiple follow up emails to get the lead woman to respond to the few questions I had along the way. Including questions like, “Can you confirm you got the check I sent you?” WTF! I was really obsessed with the song I walked in to and had it perfectly timed- the piece was in two really pretty movements, the first just a single violin and the second a GORGEOUS pick-up with the rest of the strings, so it worked great to have the first movement as I walked down the stairs and the second as I did my main walk down the aisle. I painstakingly tracked down the sheet music, (it is an obscure piece but I finally found some random woman in Georgia who transcribed it), and took a look. Thanks to the tiny bit of knowledge leftover from my illustrious middle school band days, I could read the music and tell it called for a REPEAT of the first movement. So when I sent it to the evil quartet leader woman, I told her there wasn’t time for a repeat and to go straight to the second movement. I even gave her the original mp3 which plays it exactly like that. Maybe you can tell where this is going, but those idiots completely fouled up my entrance by repeating the first part. GERR! NOT the end of the world, but the piece just did not pack a punch with only that single violin and not the beautiful dramatic part. Jerks! And just for the record here it is on You Tube complete with cheesy nature scenes.
Our 248 Minute First Dance. Oh geez. The ONE logistical oversight from our event was that I forgot to tell the band to play a verse or two and then CUT THE SONG OFF. We didn’t care to pay for dance lessons (see: cutting corners/ignoring convention), though I did bring home a “You Can Waltz!” DVD from the library, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to make that work in a 700 SF apartment. So we did the amateur “sway” which can REALLY make 3 minutes feel like a long time when you have 115 sets of eyeballs boring into you. Hee. This is more of a comical memory than a serious ”bad” I guess
The Dress That Got Away. I did love my simple, plain Jane dress and it was the only thing out of the many I tried on that felt like “me,” and that I could see myself enjoying wearing that night. But, I never could stop thinking about my original “dream” dress. Yes, it’s way popular and over-worn, it wouldn’t have looked good on my figure anyway, and it retails for $5,000, but sometimes I still wonder if I should have just splurged and bought a used one. I told myself all along that a happy bride radiates beauty no matter what she wears (which I firmly believe), and that it was ridiculous to spend so much on something you’d wear once (which is just something those of us on a budget tell ourselves to feel better, isn’t it? ) So although I did love my sweet little dress, my advice to betrothed brideys on the fence would be GO FOR IT and get that sucker you want!
Forgetting a Few Little Things. Really dumb stuff like forgetting to take a screen shot of our wedding website before it expired, never getting a photo of our beautifully calligraphied invitations, and a couple other missed photo ops like the bouquet toss, and the favors, and our pretty candle-lined stairs at the ceremony. MY HEART WILL GO ON but just in case this helps anyone else remember
PHEW! Well, that will do it for the Becker Wedding Extravaganza 2010. Le Fin- for real this time!