Watching the Olympics is a good reminder that when done well, people make very difficult things look easy. That's often the truth with beautiful weddings. Brides have spent months of energy, time and stress to make an evening look casual, effortless and gorgeous. I have approximately two months until my wedding. Just writing that down freaks me out. Seriously theknot.com, stop sending me alerts. I know.
I'm not an uptight girl, and can often be heard saying, "Oh well, it will work out." And after many turns as a bridesmaid, I considered myself pretty laid-back about the whole process and immune to any Bridezilla moments. Yeah, well, it gets to the best of us. Mini freak-outs and ranting at my fiancée about the color of the ink when printing a photobooth insert is not a rare occurrence.
Each fiancée must discover on her own that there are skill sets and issues she never knew she would need or encounter during wedding planning. All the things that you're excited about planning, well, that's the fun, easy stuff. A wedding dress? It can be a little stressful, but trying on dresses isn't exactly a foreign concept to most women. A signature cocktail? This is an awesome task. Picking wedding colors? It's called www.theperfectpalette.com, and it's awesome. However, a majority of the tasks are daunting. Had I truly understood the minutiae of wedding planning before the engagement, I would have brushed up on some skills and been more prepared. The secrets I'm sharing here are mentioned in passing, almost like a game of telephone, but take heed, because you'll thank me if you're prepared for it.
Buy A Time Management Book Because You Just Got a Part-Time Job
No one tells you that if you're planning a wedding, even a small, budget-friendly wedding, you just got a new part-time job. You're still expected to work your full time job and whatever other time constraints and commitments you may have, but get ready to add hours to your day spent on wedding blogs, Yelp, theknot.com, and more. Watch your evenings and weekends slip away as you begin researching, calling, making appointments, printing, emailing, pinning, more emailing, scheduling, sending thank-you cards, following up when no one is returning your emails and more. I hope you like working an extra 10-15 hours a week for free!
Get An Ambien Prescription
I used to say that sleep was my superpower (if we mere mortals had superpowers). I can fall asleep easily and quickly, and I sleep soundly -- always have. That is, until the last six months. Now as I doze off to bed, my mind wanders. Next thing I know I'm thinking, "I should really check where I can buy flameless votives in bulk for cheap", or "I should just email the florist to see if he can send the new contract", or "where is a good place to look for hair accessories." Before I know it, it is 3 am and I'm haunting the Internet. My mind perpetually wanders to random small details about the wedding that float in my mind instead of sheep. Complaining to my fiancé about my sleep issues, he casually told me his friend's wife got an Ambien prescription when she was planning her wedding. I think she sounds like a brilliant woman.
Brush Up On Your Photoshop Skills
You'll be surprised the amount of paper products that come with a wedding. Save-the-dates, invitations, reply cards, menus, programs, escort cards, table numbers and any other decorations you may be thinking of (signs, photobooth instructions, descriptions, favors, itineraries, etc.). Before you know it, you will really wish you majored in graphic design instead of English Lit. You can pay someone to do these things for you, but most brides are always looking to save a buck or two. Especially encouraging yet simultaneously frustrating is that every time you visit a wedding blog, some bride will joyfully explain how she just made everything for nothing! The DIY pressure is a little intense. Access to everyone's ideas, instructions, and methods is awesome, but if you or anyone you know is a Photoshop whiz -- become their new best friend. Trust me, you'll appreciate it in the end.
Get An Etsy/Pinterest Addiction
While I've never been addicted to drugs, I'm starting to feel like a Pinterest junkie. Often times when I can't sleep (see #3), scanning through Pinterest in search of affordable and lovely centerpiece options, followed by hair ideas, seems like a good idea. Before my wedding, I thought Etsy was something only my crafty friends did. Since my engagement, I haunt this site like a ghost to its old home. Prepare to scour the site for ideas and affordable options. The hours spent on Etsy.com and Pinterest I believe will be worthwhile on the day, but at 2 am, I just resent their endless pages and my inability to stop clicking.
Prepare For Constant, Spiraling Self-Doubt
Unfortunately your newfound Pinterest-Etsy addiction will come at a cost. Just when you've made a choice and feel confident with your purchase/vendor/idea, you will see four more options you could be doing instead. Variations on colors such as mustard vs. canary or cranberry vs. crimson will be discussed ad nauseam. Stunning photos of garden weddings may have you thinking, "Maybe I should be having a garden wedding" even after you've plunked down a chunk of change for an urban, downtown setting. You'll click on stylemepretty.com or greenweddingshoes.com and think, "Do I need decorative straws at my wedding?" "Maybe I can make those big, pretty, paper poms myself?" You'll spend hours pouring over Martha Stewart Weddings' suggestions. And even if you were never a woman that never cared about an overlay or type of water glass, these details will become long conversations with friends.
No matter what, your wedding will be a beautiful day filled with friends, family and love. Just know, like most of the awesome things in life, it's much harder than it appears.