6 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Our Wedding
Weddings are expensive. No, really.
Admittedly, in setting our wedding budget I did what I do with most things that seem big and overwhelming - minimal research and a shot in the dark.
My number was based on my understanding of how the world works, which was my first mistake. Weddings are not the real world. Weddings are a fairytale where spending $2,000 on flowers is like, nothing.
Setting an accurate budget early on is hard. Vendors won’t give you quotes until you discuss your vision with them and at that point, you’re so invested in the planning process that the budgeting phase is over.
Do your best, set a number, and then set aside roughly 30% more than you think you’re going to spend. If you stay on budget, great - you’re starting your life as newlyweds with a nice nest egg.
If not, well, then you have a cushion.
I know 30% sounds like a crazy amount, but when you’re spending as much as you’re going to be spending on a wedding, you’re not going to nix the flowers or the bar because things started to cost more than expected.
Honing in on a theme early on will save you so much time and effort.
I had a fuzzy idea of what I wanted our wedding to look like in my head. It was loosely guiding the decisions I was making, but when it came to trying to explain to vendors, my bridesmaids and even Topher what I was envisioning, I was lost. I was using generic words like “hipster” and “boho” and “natural” and I didn’t know what I meant by them. My stepmom was conjuring up images of mason jars and burlap and my future sister in law had zeroed in on a jumpsuit to wear and I seemed to be the only person who could see my vision.
As I stumbled over explaining it to my best friend, she suddenly pulled out of seemingly thin air, “you mean like Midsummer Night’s Dream?”
She had nailed it.
Midsummer Night’s Dream…without the fairies.
Once I had the words to describe my vision, everything fell into place. That was six weeks before the wedding.
The tables were perfect. The florist nailed it, especially my bouquet.
Having that vision articulated made things run so much more smoothly. I wish I had taken the time to figure it out when I first started planning.
Your friends will surprise you.
In a good way.
I had heard over and over again about the crazy weddings bring out in some people.
But what I was completely unprepared for was the outpouring of love and support we received from our friends.
Don’t get me wrong, we had the select few people that disappointed us, but in retrospect, I shouldn’t have had high expectations for those people. The people who are always flakey, are always selfish, always have their own issues going on are not going to be the people that magically step up when you get engaged. Even if, traditionally, those are the people who are supposed to.
Our bridesmaids and groomsmen were so crazy amazing. I’m the kind of person who hates asking for help, and prefers to do things on my own, so I had no experience asking my friends for support. I was blown away with how sweet and supportive and willing to roll up their sleeves they were. They spent tedious hours hand stenciling signs and video-chatted about flowers and drove hours for dress fittings over and over again and no-questions-asked made gallons of peach tea the night before the wedding and folded hundreds of paper cranes.
They made me feel so loved.
4. Planning a wedding becomes a full time job, if you let it.
We chose to go the DIY route with our wedding to save money (which we did!), but that also means we did everything from create a recipe for a custom cocktail to ordering tablecloths to creating playlists ourselves (the playlists were actually the most time consuming project).
We got married in September, and starting in June, we ate, slept and breathed wedding planning. Everyday I’d get home from work and immediately open the spreadsheets, jet off to an appointment or get out the crafting supplies. It was exhausting.
5. The wedding is all that you can think about, but it’s not even crossing other people’s minds.
Family gathering after family gathering I’d rant on the way home to Topher about how nobody had brought up our upcoming wedding in conversation.
We had, in depth, discussed the dogs’ gastrointestinal distress, but nobody bothered to ask us how the wedding planning was going.
It was all I was thinking about, but our friends and family had their own things going on and weren’t hyper-focused on the wedding.
Looking back, I wish somebody (OK, Topher told me this multiple times, I just wish I would have listened!) had told me two things:
It’s OK to talk about yourself. To insert yourself in the conversation. You don’t have to wait for someone to ask to talk about yourself.
No one is going to care about your wedding as much as you do. Plain and simple. Even your partner probably doesn’t care about the little details as much as you. That’s a fact, and that’s something you’re just going to have to deal with. But remember it when your friends get married. Ask about the little things, because they are exploding to tell you.
6. the post-wedding blues are real.
Out of every wedding related article and blog I read, every person I talked to, only one was real with me and told me to expect the post wedding blues.
They hit hard.
The day after the wedding, the magic slowly started fading and by that evening, we were both in tears.
We had spent so many months planning, every moment of the last weeks so focused on the day. We had spent so many hours with our friends and family. The day was absolutely magical.
But then, it was over.
We already lived together. We were taking a delayed honeymoon in a few months.
The biggest day of our lives happened, and then life just returned to normal.
It was shocking.
Plan for that. Make sure you’ve got fun and distracting things planned in the weeks after your wedding to ease the transition. Throw yourself into a project, go on a trip.
And give yourself permission to be sad. It might seem silly, but let yourself grieve. It’s okay not to be overjoyed now that you’re married. Let yourself cry, let yourself go to yoga, let yourself binge Netflix and eat ice cream.
It will pass.