Confession: I still look through my wedding pictures a lot.
James made me take down some of the millions that I had spread around our house once we had been married a year, but I still look through them on a more regular basis than I should probably admit. Some would say this is vanity, and maybe it is. But y’all, I loved that day. I hope that it won’t be the happiest day of my life. I hope that someday we will do wild great things, welcome children, hold grandchildren, etc., and that all of these things will contend for the happiest day. But that day in July was pretty wonderful. Everyone told me the day goes too fast for you to enjoy it, but I really and truly did. So many details of that day are etched in my memory, so many perfectly happy moments, so much laughter and joy.
But there are totally things I would change. Not big things, like my dress, or the food, or the venue, or you know, the groom. Yet as I play it over, there are things that I would change to make the day easier, better, or cheaper. Things that I foolishly forgot that caused stress for others, things I thought important that have proved not to be, and things that I would beg anyone getting married to consider. If any of you are in that boat, here’s a list to help you out.
- Just let your wedding party wear what they want. On one hand, I do love that only one bridesmaid paid over a hundred for her dress, and all the girls looked great. But did it matter that all their navy dresses were the exact shade? Probably not. And will I ever get back the years of my life that David’s Bridal took when they discontinued all the styles in the middle of wedding season and we had to track down dresses all across the country one by one? Absolutely not. The men’s suits were no better. Yes, if we had just told them to show up in a gray suit, there would have been multiple shades of gray. Oh, but I still would have been married and stuff.
- Skip the pricey flowers. My flowers were awesome, exquisite, lovely, and perfect. Or so I remember when I look at photos. The flowers never really mattered to me, and having no clear idea of what I wanted before entering the florist, I got swept up in the decision and we ended up spending way too much on an aspect of the wedding that wasn’t super important to me. I loved our florist, and would highly recommend her to anyone who really values the flowers at their wedding, but I probably would have been just as pleased with some bouquets from a grocery store. Don’t get carried away with the elements of the wedding that aren’t important to you. The wedding industry exists because they are important to someone, but that someone doesn’t have to be you.
- Don’t think your wedding needs a ___________________. In that blank you can insert whatever ridiculous thing the Internet is telling you that you need. Options include: special named cocktails, unique photo booths, choreographed wedding party dances, hand-made favors, animals fulfilling rolls typically filled by people, an original thing for people to sign, and the list goes on and on. None of these things are bad, but sometimes we get so set on some random thing (usually so we can have detailed photos of it in an artsy Pinterest collage) that we become unduly obsessed. For me, it was that my wedding needed to have a “graphic identity.” When the invites came and the printer had printed part of the cards purple-blue instead of navy, I collapsed into a pile weeping that he had “compromised the graphic integrity of our wedding.” WHAT THE WHAT? I wanted an entire graphic suite of paper documents that would be coordinated and spread across a piece of distressed wood and strewn with flower petals. Because obviously, all of my guests were going to save every paper item from our wedding, lay it out, and praise my overarching graphic theme. The friend who designed our invites was a true sport and worked everything together, but I still let something so small become so big. Life lesson: If you become a crazy, you will drive other people crazy and cry a lot.
- Reserve tables for your people. Somehow, in the rush of wedding madness and the flurry of last minute rsvps exceeding our table capacity, we didn’t think to reserve any tables for the wedding party and our families. We planned on having no place cards for the majority of the guests, given the laid back garden party atmosphere of our reception, but this oversight meant that I didn’t get to sit with my parents at the reception and that my brother had to oust a table of college friends so some older family members could have a seat. Surely we had some shabby chic chalkboards somewhere that could have said “Reserved for family” and sat against a mason jar in the middle of a table.
- Put someone clearly in charge of the reception.This is tricky. A bad or controlling DJ will kill your party. You will be trapped on the dance floor doing called dances like the Cha-Cha Slide indefinitely. But no one in charge will kill your mother, or at least mine. In my mind, it was going to be spontaneous order. I had a very detailed schedule that I had distributed and our friend who was DJ’ing knew the flow. But I didn’t really communicate that to anyone or pick someone from our bridal party to be master of ceremonies, so basically I had a circle of bridesmaids, friends, and family who had to dash around more than they should have.
But on the whole, I wouldn’t change much, especially not who I ended up marrying.
What about y’all, what would you tell someone to do differently?