I’ve been involved with or helped plan several weddings, some amazing, some stressful, some amazingly stressful. While planning my own, I was totally in my element. Z once told me that in event of the zombie apocalypse, I could be the official planner. Initially, I was offended, but the ability to plan things without getting overwhelmed has proven to be a real asset. Case in point, I never forget my flask.
Besides, blogging and drinking are impractical habits while running from flesh-eating zombies, so official planner is okay. I’ll take it.
To share some insight about my post-apocalyptic skill, I would like to debunk this sentiment: “Planning a wedding is stressful enough. I can’t imagine adding cancer treatment on top of that.”
To put this into perspective, cancer treatment is stressful. Working full time, freelancing on the side, moving three times and keeping a blog while treating cancer? Stressful. Planning a wedding is not. It is a joyful relief, a goal, and an exciting thing to look forward to. If you are planning your own wedding and getting stressed out, you need to cool your jets. Here’s how:
1. Write down what’s most important to you in a ceremony and reception. Number one should always be that you end up married. For me, there are only three other things I care about. Good food, free booze, and a sexy-looking couple. I focused the majority of my attention on obtaining those things. The rest is fluff.
2. If it wasn’t your idea (or your fiance’s), DON’T DO IT. Weddings get out of hand when an anxious bride is trying too hard to please everybody. Stop. It’s your day. You don’t need to do anything but your “important” list. Don’t know that guy? Don’t invite him. Not into cake? Have pie.
3. Think of a budget, double it, and then save your pennies until you have that money in your account. I thought I could pull off a $5000 wedding, blog about it, and then get internet-famous for my creativity and thriftiness. Then we got our catering quote, and there went our budget. Things are a lot more expensive than you think. Don’t have the money? Looks like you need a longer engagement.
4. DO NOT GO INTO A SINGLE DOLLAR OF DEBT OVER YOUR WEDDING. DO YOU HEAR ME? NOT EVEN A DOLLAR. It was important to us to pay for the wedding ourselves, and it was even more important to us that we could afford it. We didn’t want to start a life in the red, and having actual money in our savings as we start our marriage gives us a nice feeling of accomplishment. You do not need the added stress of a wedding deficit.
5. Within reason, ask for help. Get your man on board. And your mom. And your creative friend who likes making things. Be grateful and humbled, because they don’t have to do this for you. Buy them things and show them that you appreciate their help.
6. While we’re on the topic of help, STOP TREATING YOUR BRIDESMAIDS LIKE RICH ASS SLAVES. These people are your friends, but if you ask too much of them, they will begin to resent you, and you’ll be able to feel that. This is where the “Bridezilla” factor comes into play. You are not entitled to hundreds of dollars and hours from your girls. If you get that, you are extremely fortunate, so act like it.
I recently talked to a lovely woman who spends an average of $1000 per wedding she’s in. Shoes, hair, showers, bachelorettes. This stuff just adds up. To me, this is bonkers, and it has to stop. If any of your bridal party have to fly, offer to help. If a dress or tux is over $100, offer to pay for shoes or hair.
7. Get started on the little stuff way in advance, and ignore magazine timelines. Do as much as you can handle right away. Right when you get engaged, get to work on your invitations, favors, etc. Trust me, when you don’t have to worry about invitations after reconstructive surgery, or when you can sit back and enjoy the last month of your engagement, you feel so much more confident in your marriage, your wedding, and your life.
TL;DR – Get started right away, stick to your budget, DO NOT GO INTO DEBT OVER YOUR WEDDING, ask for help, stick to your own vision, be nice to your wedding party, and quit acting like an entitled little biotch. Now go forth and be married!