The nightmares started four months out. My first nightmare was very detailed, and I can still remember it to this day because it was so traumatizing. Our wedding day had arrived, and my wedding dress wasn’t finished. I was forced to wear overalls—just the top of the overalls though, and to bring the look together, I wore a ball gown/hoop skirt bottom.
*Side note: I was pretty surprised at how easily I found a picture of the overall top. I didn’t know overall tops even existed. This one is actually pretty cute.
As the nightmare continued, we discovered that we had forgotten to hire a photographer. This pushed dream-me over the edge. Oh, and let’s not forget that next door to our ceremony, they were filming an action movie involving soldiers and ninjas which eventually turned into real life, and bullets were flying everywhere. We were forced to take cover “backstage,” —that’s what we called it in the dream—and there my wedding dress was, but it was pink and poofy like the one from Sixteen Candles—kinda like this one.
I threw a fit, and I was kicking and throwing anything I could find. I told my husband that we had to get married again, and I cried so much that I actually woke myself up. Can you say B-R-I-D-E-Z-I-L-L-A?
Throughout the entire wedding planning process, I was terrified I would turn into a “Bridezilla”. Urban Dictionary defines “Bridezilla” (yes I’m sourcing Urban Dictionary here) as “a new breed of soon-to-wed women who abuse the idea that weddings are their ‘day.’ They terrorize their bridal party and family members, make greedy demands, and break all rules of etiquette to insure that they are the single most important person on the planet from the time they are engaged to the time they are married.” I did everything I could to be the exact opposite of a Bridezilla. I tried to be as laid back as possible (almost too laid back). I let my bridesmaids and flower girls choose their own dresses, and I showered them with gifts of thanks. I let guests bring plus-ones and kiddos (within reason). I let my husband pick the music. I didn’t even know what my wedding dress would look like until after it was altered, but I let my seamstress do her thing. I let our photographer and videographer have free creative reign. I let our wedding planner take care of all of the details. Chances are you probably hired these professionals—key word: professional—based on their portfolio. You must have liked their work—work they did on their own, before ever meeting you, without your help. If you just let them do their job,—a job you hired them to do—you will be very happy you did.
After a year of planning, our day came and went so fast that there was no time to think or stress about anything the day of. I didn’t have time to get upset about this or that or who couldn’t make it or who had to leave early or what music was playing. I don’t even remember the song I chose to walk down the aisle (it was actually a song we heard while watching the most recent Power Rangers movie). There was really only happiness, excitement, and joy. Plus, the best part (well, second best part)—there was finally nothing else left to plan! The absolute BEST part (obviously) was marrying Andrew.
I'm about to impart some wisdom here. Some people who RSVP “yes” to your wedding will not show up the day of. Do not get upset! Because what can you do at that point? And truthfully, why does it matter? You’re getting married!!! People have their own lives to tend to just like you do. DO NOT make your guests feel guilty for not being able to attend or for leaving early. They probably feel bad enough already. If you’re going to get upset about those things then don’t invite anyone at all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I once was invited to a wedding and was told I couldn’t bring my then-boyfriend (and now-husband). The biggest reason a couple says no to plus-ones is because financially, it adds up quickly. I understood where she was coming from, and I actually had a really hard time deciding what to do when she told me Andrew wasn’t invited. At that point, Andrew and I were serious, and even though I didn’t have a ring on my finger, we knew we would one day get married. We did EVERYTHING together (when we could, anyways—our work schedules were very different at the time; you can read more about that here). I didn’t want to drive 2.5 hours by myself and attend a wedding without him, but I didn’t want to hurt the bride’s feelings by not going either. The bride specified that plus-ones needed to be either spouses or fiancés, and there would be security at the door (!) checking people in. If your name wasn’t on the list, you would be turned away. I thought this was absolutely crazy (if you aren't allowing plus-ones for financial reasons, you probably shouldn't be spending money on security either), but it wasn't my wedding. Side note: it's your wedding; you can do whatever you want. I respected her wishes and planned to go alone, stay for the ceremony, and leave afterwards. Andrew said he’d make the 2.5-hour trip with me, and we’d make a weekend out of it even if he wasn’t invited to the wedding. We made plans to see our friends while in town and celebrate our 6-month anniversary (yes, we celebrated our 6-month; we celebrate all of the months). Who knew that only a few short months after this, Andrew would be proposing, and we’d begin planning a wedding of our own!
We made the trip, and I went to the ceremony alone. At that time, I was newly sober (only a few months), and on top of being there solo, EVERYONE there was drinking so I was a little out of my element. I left before the reception began and texted the bride later to tell her how happy I was for her and how beautiful she looked. I didn’t hear a response back, but I truthfully didn’t expect one being it was her wedding night. A month passed without hearing anything from her until one day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, and I saw an article she had shared titled “Wedding Etiquette Rules Every Grown-Ass Adult Should Know” with this caption:
“All of this! Yes, yes you should tell the couple you can’t go anymore! They are spending money for you to be there and it’s a lot of money. 2) don’t bring someone if they were not invited. Bc now they have to pay for that someone last min and that’s always fun too try to do the day of.not to mention there was probably a reason they couldn’t have you invite someone. Not bc they were trying to be mean. Just saying. 3) if you have to leave early fine, but let them know your going to skip the meal bc they just paid that money for you to eat it and again… It wasn’t cheap.”
*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any of the grammatical errors above.
It all made sense why I hadn’t heard from her. She was upset because someone who RSVP’d “yes” didn’t show up, and someone brought a plus-one even though their plus-one wasn’t invited; and then SOMEONE (aka me) left early. You know what? I get it—weddings are expensive, and she was upset because she had to pay extra for the inconvenience. If this happens to you, don't panic, and don't blame your guests. Here's a suggestion—the money that you originally spent on the people who left early and the people who didn’t show up can now be used to cover the uninvited plus-ones. Voilà! Crisis averted.
It’s funny looking back now that I have planned a wedding myself. Had I decided to not go to her wedding, the bride probably would not have cared one way or another. I should have simply told her I couldn’t make it and saved myself (and her) the trouble. I now know from experience, the bride truly just wants a "yes" or "no" answer, and she wants it as fast as possible. She has to arrange the seating chart, update vendors on guest count, put down deposits, pay remaining balances, etc. If you can’t make it for whatever reason, it truly isn’t a big deal, but it’s courteous to let them know either way—I have two cousins who (still to this day) have yet to RSVP one way or another. Personally, I’d rather someone RSVP “yes” and end up not coming than someone saying “no” and showing up. I’d rather have more food than not enough, and I’d rather have more seats available than necessary. That's just my personal preference. However, everyone is different, and someone else may rather it the other way around.
Looking back on our wedding day, there isn’t much that could have upset me (unless we were without a photographer/videographer or there was a soldier/ninja shootout happening next door). Well, I take that back—I would have been truly stressed if something happened to my dress—like it was suddenly pink or poufy or had gone missing or I had to wear an overall top with a ball gown skirt or I had spilled something on it or if someone showed up wearing the same thing (don’t wear white to someone else’s wedding—please, just don’t). Now, that would have been a nightmare. Oh my goodness! Or even worse—if someone would have proposed to their significant other at our wedding (I’ve seen videos of this happening!). Thankfully, none of those things happened.
We used that particular wedding experience to help us when we started planning our wedding. We planned, and we planned A LOT. We welcomed plus-ones within reason (and we definitely didn’t have security). We planned for people to not show up, and we prepared for those who might show up last-minute. Your wedding day goes by so fast that you won’t have time to worry about things that happen last minute, and you won't want to. You're too busy celebrating what is important—you’re getting married! Be in the moment, and try not to sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the day, and soak in every second because it flies by.
I will say this—it is important to be present, live in the moment, and enjoy the day. However, it is equally important to be grateful. You are marrying the love of your life surrounded by your closest family and friends. How special is that? Be thankful for people that helped to organize your day. Be thankful for your vendors and the people behind-the-scenes working to make your day as perfect as possible. Be thankful for the people that showed up to celebrate you. Be thankful for the people that didn’t show up but celebrated from a far. Be thankful for the people who stayed for the ceremony and had to leave before the reception. Be thankful for the people who missed the ceremony and showed up to celebrate you at the reception. Be thankful for the gifts you received, and be thankful for the people who sent them. Send out thank you notes no matter how late. Be thankful for the people who support your marriage, and forget the ones who don’t (literally, forget them; delete them from your life). Most importantly, be thankful for your spouse. Without your special person, there would be no wedding.
In the big scheme of things, your wedding day is just that—your wedding. It is not to be confused with your marriage. Your wedding is a one-day celebration, but your marriage is for a lifetime. Don't forget that. I often say that our wedding day was the best day ever. Don't get me wrong—we had a blast! However, I am well aware that the best is truly yet to come. There should be more to your marriage than just your wedding. Worry less about the actual wedding, and spend more time celebrating your relationship and cultivating your marriage. You will be happier for it!