Since the holiday season is now winding down, I’m sure there are plenty of women out there sporting a shiny, new engagement ring. In recognition of engagement season, I am sharing some advice from my own wedding-planning experience a few years ago.
As a quirky, slightly non-traditional bride with anxiety, I had my fair share of meltdowns while I was planning my wedding back in 2012. Some things were legitimate concerns – what if I get sick? What if my venue burns to the ground? What if the caterer forgets to show up? But of all the insane disasters I conjured up in my mind, there were a few things I majorly stressed out about that, in the grand scheme of things, really did not make or break the day. I’m sharing them with current brides-to-be so you can focus on more important (and more fun) aspects of your wedding.
- What Your Guests Will Wear
While our wedding wasn’t overly formal, I swore up and down that if I spotted someone wearing jeans or something equally casual to our wedding, I would freak out and kick them out. Well, guess what? One person wore jeans to my wedding. And someone else also wore a camo baseball cap. I spotted the faux-paus when we first arrived at the reception, had a quick thought of, “wow, really?” . . . then moved on with the night. It didn’t effect anything else about the day or my experience, and I didn’t think anymore about it beyond those two micro seconds when it was in my line of vision.
The exception to this, of course, would be if your venue has a strict dress code or if the bride and groom request guests wear a certain shade to match a color scheme, but IMHO, I think the latter is taking things a bit far. Even if you have some grand vision of every guest swathed in gold, your day will not be ruined if a handful of people don’t obey this request. I promise that you will have so much else occupying your mind!
Our budget was relatively small, so it didn’t take long for me to realize that a party bus or limo was out of the question. We had cars, of course, and so did our parents and members of our bridal party, but thirteen people would not fit in an SUV or even a minivan. I knew that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the bridal party and our parents got to where they needed to be in a fleet of everyday vehicles instead of a blinged out stretch limo, but I was more concerned with the logistics of that than the appearance. I knew none of our guests would care how we arrived to the ceremony or reception, but I feared that with more than two vehicles going from ceremony site to picture site to reception, someone would inevitably get lost, separated from the group, or God forbid in some terrible accident. But none of those things happened. I rode to my wedding in the back of my bridesmaid’s Nissan Versa with three of my best friends. My sister, mother-in-law, and parents rode in their Subaru, and my husband drove his groomsmen in his Equinox. We all made it to each place on time in one piece pretty much effortlessly.
Looking back, this was probably my biggest stressor that ended up amounting to absolutely nothing – in a good way!
When I first started planning our wedding, I was adamant that I didn’t want to give food or candy away as favors. I insisted that our guests have a gift they could use in the future and keep as a memento of our special day.
Coasters, bottle openers, keychains, hand sanitizer – the creative list of “usable” wedding favors is endless. And it is also expensive. Even if an item only cost $2, with a guest list of about three hundred people, we were looking at spending six hundred dollars on favors!
Then I realized that of all the weddings I had been to in the past, I could not for the life of me remember the favors I was given. In a perfect world, usable favors are a nice “thank you” gesture for your guests, and can be a cute detail to tie in your theme, but no one is going to put said favor in their china cabinet.
So I did exactly what I said I didn’t want to do, and gave away candy. I stuffed a handful of gummy penguins into a cute bag with a pretty ribbon and attached a label with a quick story of how J and I met and why penguins represent us as a couple. Done!
- Plates/serving ware
Obviously if you’re getting married at a castle or a five-star hotel, you don’t want to set your tables with cheap plastic utensils that are going to break when cutting into filet. But don’t splurge on expensive silverware or china. And don’t even bother with decorative chargers. Sure, they look nice at a table setting, but can you conjure up any specific image of a place setting for any wedding that you’ve attended?
And don’t give “appearing cheap or tacky” a second thought. Again, I ask you – think of the last few weddings you’ve attended. Do you remember what kind of plate you ate of off? No. And your guests won’t either.
There are so many middle-of-the-road alternatives for “real” silverware and dishes. The internet is full of them! Google and have fun! Do NOT stress about this detail.
- Sky-High Heels
Most women like the concept of heels – they’re sexy, they improve your posture, and they make your legs look great. But actually walking around in the damned things all day is a different story. Your toes pinch, your heels rub, and your feet start to go numb after standing at the altar for only a few minutes. Unless you are a rare species like one mother/daughter duo I know who are more comfortable in heels than out (hats off to both of you), forgo the uncomfortable contraptions and prioritize your comfort!
On my wedding day, I wore blinged-out sandals with a soft, padded insole (see pic below!) and my feet Did. Not. Hurt. At. All.
Think about it – you’re going to be standing, walking, and dancing for at least six to eight hours. If you’ve ever worked a job where you stand all day in flats or even tennis shoes, you know how badly your feet ache at the end of a shift. So why torture yourself by wearing heels on a day that’s supposed to be so much fun?
And unless you have a tea-length dress, no one is going to see your shoes anyway!
Still not convinced? Wear those “must have” heels for your ceremony but have a pair of flip flops, flats, sandals, or even slippers in your wedding day bag. Even if you have a quick ceremony, you’ll be looking to ditch those heels eventually. Trust me.
- I hope this helps all you brides-to-be out there! Enjoy your day and stress as little as possible!