When you get engaged, people with various years of marital experience under their belts are quick to flood you with advice alongside their well wishes.
“Do a destination wedding!”
“Make sure to hire a wedding planner!”
“Definitely do a first look!”
I heard so many pieces of wedding insight, both useful and irrelevant, that my head was swimming before my ring was even sized correctly.
Now that my fiance and I are less than 60 days out from our wedding, I’ve learned so much from actually going through the planning process. I’ve also realized that while I got lots of advice about planning a wedding, there were things my married friends, family members, and acquaintances (as well as total strangers) didn’t tell me that I wish they had.
(1) You may not feel like a bride all the time
Before I got engaged, I had this idea that becoming a bride would transform me into a different person. I would waltz through the whole year in a dreamy haze.
In reality, it’s been an amazing and special time, but normal life has also continued. Work gets stressful, people cut me off in traffic, and our cat throws up on the stairs. Being a bride is awesome, but the daily annoyances and tedious parts of life don’t disappear. Sorry.
(2) You decide what details are important to you
When I first started wedding planning, I kept asking married people about standard protocol. Then I realized it’s our wedding and we should make it feel like it.
My fiance and I didn’t really care about wedding colors. We picked a color for the bridal party’s attire and moved on. We love cookie cake, so that’s what the guests are eating for dessert. Wedding koozies are overdone, so we’re handing out popcorn as our favor, because it’s our favorite late-night snack when we’re hosting a party.
If something is or isn’t important to you, perfect. Ignore wedding traditions and others’ opinions.
(3) You may not have a magic dress-finding moment
I watched a lot of “Say Yes to the Dress” growing up and always imagined the second my wedding dress hit my body, I would cry and fall to the floor in joy.
In reality, I methodically analyzed each dress’s pros and cons as I tried it on.
It’s OK if you don’t feel some otherworldly wedding spirit overcome you when you find “The One.” In fact, you should think about whether a dress is itching you in weird places.
Also, you will get sweaty trying on wedding dresses. No one tells you that. Bring extra deodorant.
(4) You will become a spreadsheet person
I don’t care if you haven’t opened Excel since you were forced to take a computer class to fulfill a requirement during freshman year of college, you will become a spreadsheet person when you’re planning your wedding. A color-coded spreadsheet person, nonetheless.
(5) People will notice less than you think they do
Think about the weddings you’ve been to. What did their cake look like? What about their centerpieces? No clue, right?
Every aspect of your wedding feels so important, making it easy to spend tons of money. But here’s a happy/maybe slightly sad truth: people won’t remember much from your wedding. They will remember the venue and whether the music was good, but when it comes to other details, they don’t care that much. Only stress about what you really care about, and don’t go broke paying for the other stuff.
(6) Your bachelorette party doesn’t have to include your 10 best friends taking over Nashville
If your Instagram is anything like mine, it’s filled with shots of long lines of girls in matching tank tops celebrating a bride over the course of an extravagant long weekend. In reality, asking someone to be in your wedding is essentially requesting that they hand over roughly $2,000 and four of their vacation days.
Getting a massive posse from every stage of your life together isn’t always as feasible as social media would have it appear.
If your bachelorette party is more like three of your closest friends renting a beach house somewhere, that still “counts.” Don’t gauge how loved you are based on how many tank tops are or are not ordered for the weekend. Also, if you don’t want tank tops, that’s cool too.
(7) People will show up for you differently than you expected
Shout-out to years of TV shows and movies for setting the expectation that your closest friends and family members will hit “pause” on their own lives to help you plan a wedding.
Spoiler alert: your people may show up for you differently than you expected. Your sister’s son may get sick the day of your bridal shower and now she can’t come. Your maid of honor may not be as into helping you navigate the family dynamics of your seating chart as you had hoped.
Instead of feeling disappointed by this, appreciate the support you are getting. And if there are things you really need from your inner circle, let them know. No one gets extra credit for guessing how to make you happy.