Thursday, January 31, 2013

Omnibus Wedding Advice Post

Nathan and I got married a year and a half ago, and I started this blog shortly after our honeymoon. At the time, since I still had the wedding on the brain, I wrote a long ass list of advice I wanted to share with my baby sister. I figured it would be easier to post the advice on my blog, so she could read it at her leisure. This seemed much more civilized than inundating her with a bunch of (unwanted) advice when she gets engaged some day.

I've been slacking on my wedding advice series, and with baby's imminent arrival, I predict the slacking will only get worse. In the interest of getting all my advice into the blogosphere, I'm just going to dump my remaining thoughts into this post. Katherine, when it is time for you to plan your wedding, feel free to ignore all of this advice! I realize you are far more stylish than me and my advice is probably total crap.
  • Remember: it's a wedding INDUSTRY. They want to suck as much money out of you our parents as possible.
  • The wedding magazines will make you feel like you have to have your entire life mapped out in order to throw a successful wedding. This is bullshit. You don't need a signature perfume in order to get married. And you may decide in five years that you don't like the sugar bowl you registered for - that doesn't make you an evil human being.
  • Make sure the items on your registry hit a broad range of price points. Someone may actually want to give you a $5 can opener, and someone else may want to spend $300 on a kitchen gadget.
  • Don't make a ton of changes to your diet the month before your wedding. The day before your wedding? Not a good time to start eating more fiber. The week before your wedding? Not a good time to quit caffeine or smoking or heroin. (FYI, if you ever try heroin, I'll kill you.)
  • It's okay to wear flip-flops under your gown, assuming the dress is long enough. They do not need to be expensive. I spent HOURS searching for the perfect pair of bridal flip-flops online and ended up wearing $5 white wedge flip-flops from Old Navy during the reception. They were the same height as the heels I wore during the ceremony, and no one could see them under my dress. (And if anyone could see them? Eff em.)
  • Your man does not have to help you with the registry.
  • In fact, it is probably best if your man does not help with the registry.
  • You do not have to register for china. Only register for what you actually want.
  • Do not be a drunk bride. 
  • It's the bride's job to have fun at her wedding. The guests cannot enjoy themselves if the bride looks miserable (except for maybe a few drunk assholes). Do your best to make sure everyone enjoys the wedding and then let it go. Someone will have a bad time and seriously, that's out of your control. If you spend the entire day obsessing over that one person, the wedding will be ruined.
  • Get your crazies out before the wedding. Then, you can be calm on the happy day. If you need me to hold your hand while you have a nervous breakdown about the shrimp cocktail, I can do that for you.
  • Everyone appreciates a free pair of dancing flip-flops. Because no matter how many weddings they attend, people will always forget to wear comfortable dancing shoes.

  • You don't have to pick a short song for your first dance. After a certain point, the DJ can fade out the song or invite other couples to the floor. If you adopt the second strategy, make sure several couples are prepared to ambush the dance floor at the right moment. Nathan and I are happy to do this for you.
  • You will obsess over something stupid. For me, it was finding the right pair of sexy espadrilles for the honeymoon. After hours of stupid obsessing, I found the right sandals ... and never wore them. But that's okay. It's okay to be stupid about something.
  • You don't have to toss the bouquet. Think about your female guests. Are there a bunch of young unmarried women in their 20s who are happy to fight for the bouquet? Or are there a bunch of unmarried women in their 30s and 40s who are humiliated by the concept?
  • It's okay if the groom is not excited about the wedding planning. His level of interest in the stationary has no bearing whatsoever on your future happiness as a couple. Nathan was interested in the alcohol and honeymoon and ... yeah, that's really it.
  • Be yourself. I hated the idea of having everyone looking at me as Dad escorted me up the aisle. So instead of traditional wedding processional music, I had the DJ play the Star Wars theme song and that made me sooooo happy.
  • But you don't have to personalize every detail. Remember those stupid trivia cards I made? Yeah, so glad I threw those out.
  • Unless the guest list is very, very small, you will not have time to chat with all your guests. That's okay. Just try your best to visit with the guests who traveled.
  • If it's in the budget, I highly recommend a sweets table. Wedding guests love unlimited access to sugar.
  • Boutonniere: don't make your man wear a pink flower unless he wants to.
  • You can't control the weather. If there's a possibility of rain, just make sure there is a covered area for the reception. The ceremony will work itself out.
  • Make sure you designate someone to help with group photos. Your wedding photographer does not have a freaking clue who your Aunt Pam or Uncle Al are.
  • Also, make sure someone is in charge of policing the area that is being used for wedding portraits. It's really unfortunate when the bride has to wave her bouquet in the air and scream, "Aunt Claire! Move out of the way!!!" (Not that I'm speaking from experience.)
  • Your brother can be a bridesmaid.
  • Your wedding cake can be small. Just have a sheet cake in the kitchen that can be sliced up for the guests.
  • You will not look good in every photo. People will post really unflattering shots of you on Facebook. Get over it.
  • If any of your guests are bringing babies or small children, make sure they are seated at a table with an easy escape route.
  • Children are cute, but you don't have to invite everyone's child. My rule was the kid was invited if her parents had traveled from another state or if she was a relative.
  • Have your man look at photos of wedding rings online before you go shopping for his band. He's a guy. He's never thought about jewelry. Ever. His head will explode at the possibilities. He will need a very large slice of pie after this ordeal is over.
  • People don't drink red wine at summer weddings. We bought waaaay too much red wine. Our guests drank beer, white wine and whatever liquor was available.
  • Set aside a few moments with your groom after the ceremony. He's your husband now! You deserve some time together. Have someone bring you a few appetizers while you decompress - you'll be hungry. In that same vein, sweetheart tables are AWESOME.
  • Practice the first kiss.
  • A low key rehearsal dinner can be really fun. Think margaritas and nachos.
  • If you host a day-after brunch, it does not have to be formal. We just had bagels and donuts. Nathan still talks about the donuts. He really enjoyed getting to pick out six dozen donuts at once. I bought the orange juice in advance because no one wants to worry about orange juice the morning after their wedding.
  • Get as much as possible done in advance so you can spend time with friends and family in the 48 hours before your happy day.
  • You do not have to honeymoon in an exotic land. It is very relaxing to honeymoon in an English-speaking destination. Maui = perfect.
  • Do not get a massage the week before your wedding. You don't want to end up with some freak injury.
  • You don't have to attend formal cake tastings. Especially if there's a bakery you already love that does wedding cakes.
  • You don't have to take formal dance lessons. There is nothing wrong with the awkward adolescent sway.
  • Are you actually still reading this?
  • After the major decisions have been made (venue, color scheme, band vs. DJ), stop looking at wedding blogs and magazines. You don't want to question your judgment and drive yourself crazy.
  • Everyone has an opinion. You don't have to follow all the advice you receive. You just have to do what works for you and your groom.
  • You might see your calligrapher in her underpants. It will be kind of traumatizing. This is not really advice, but I just wanted to get that warning out there.
  • You can spend the night before your wedding at your home. You don't have to stay at a fancy hotel. I myself stayed at home because this was calmer. I didn't have to worry about packing all my toiletries.
  • It's okay if the groom sees your dress before the wedding. Trust me, he still won't have any idea what you are going to look like in the dress (unless you are marrying a tailor or fashion designer).
There was no way I could hide
this bad boy from Nathan.
  • You don't have to write your vows. Because if you do, someone's will be better. Do you want to feel crappy that you half-assed your vows while your groom wrote a sonnet for the ages?
  • People will start asking about babies during the rehearsal dinner. Prepare yourself with a vague but friendly response, e.g. "Oh, you'll just have to wait and see [giggle]." 
  • I used this book to get in shape for my wedding dress. Loved it! It's okay to tear off the cover of the book if it shames you (I did).
  • There will be changes to the guest list the week before the wedding. That's okay. We had one table with six chairs and only two guests! Nathan and I were worried for those guests, but they loved it. They had left their young kids at home and were thrilled to enjoy a fancy date night.
  • If you can start the ceremony at 5 p.m., that means you can have a leisurely morning and you won't be frantic as you get dressed.
  • Make sure you are in a committed relationship with your deodorant. Have an entire extra tube on stand-by in case the company that makes your deodorant goes out of business and there is a worldwide shortage.
  • Prepare a wedding day kit with things like floss and tampons. Even if your period is not due for two weeks, you need to be prepared - stranger things have happened!
  • It's okay to have a small wedding party. In fact, this can cut down on the headaches.
Whew! I think that's enough wedding advice, don't you agree? If you read this entire post, congratulations: you are really lame; yes, it's time to make some new friends or get a hobby.