Wedding Observations

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I know some of these observations are probably a big “DUH” for most people, but not having experienced the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into weddings until now, I was totally in the dark. I was a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding but I wasn’t involved in any of the planning or nitty-gritty. I just had my own drama with the bridesmaid dress! I was the maid of honor in my best friend Rachel’s wedding but she had a very short engagement (one month!) and did most of the planning on her own. She also lucked out in that it was a small wedding and most of it could be DIY.

The internet is full of wedding stuff! From planning guides to DIY obsession websites, to real life stories…you can find anything. This was an interesting article: The Eight Truths About Weddings (That No One Ever Tells You). Also, if you’re planning a wedding, DO NOT google wedding horror stories. You’ll give yourself nightmares.

So now for a few of my observations, and there might be a few rants in there.

Observations

1. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the planning. Having a guide book in conjunction with an iPhone app reminder for planning was a lifesaver. The app was cool because I plugged in our date and it figured out my timeline for everything. No work for me! The only downside of the app was that apparently I am perpetually about a month behind on all planning. Who in their right mind has the venue and dress on day 2 of being engaged?!

2. You know all those picture perfect people on wedding websites and Pinterest? I’m pretty sure they are all models and the whole thing is staged. There is NO WAY a normal wedding looks that flawless. These people look perfect and once I realized that, I stopped expecting my own wedding to look perfectly!

Rants

1. Boy is it impossible to get a straight answer/quote from anyone. I found this to be the most frustrating part of the wedding planning process. I understand that vendors can’t be 100% correct but an estimate should be pretty close. And not thousands of dollars off, you know?

Where I found this the most was reviewing caterers. None of the websites had estimates of cost on their sample menus. The range was absurd, too. It could be from $25-50 per person. The variables were so abstract I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Not only that, the ones that DID include costs for all the services were really overwhelming. And again, no bottom line. I’m a bottom line kind of person.

2. Weddings are definitely a business. I already kind of knew this but finally witnesses the up-selling that goes on, I just had to shake my head. The wedding industry wants you to go broke on things you just DO NOT NEED.

One of the things I crossed off the list immediately was favors. No offense, but I cannot remember a single wedding where the favors were something I wanted/needed/or even took home. My brother’s wedding was beautiful but most people didn’t even know that there were favors so they were stuck with a 100 leftover favors after the wedding. Waste of money!

3. Is anyone else feeling like they are being blackmailed or harassed by a loan shark while planning a wedding? What makes me the most mental about this whole thing is the ridiculousness of it all. Seriously. The same flowers I like are suddenly 3x more expensive when I utter the word “wedding.” The caterers want to charge $10/bottle for corking fees?? This wine probably cost me $10!  It really does feel like highway robbery when faced with the astounding costs of things that NORMALLY wouldn’t be that expensive. I’d be lying if there weren’t a few times during the planning that I thought, We should have eloped in Vegas…

Lessons Learned Along the Way

1. I am positive that this wedding is here to teach me how to be PATIENT. I am so not patient. About anything. In fact, I am probably the most impatient person ever. But I have to wait on a lot of people to make decisions and to get back to me and I’m slowly learning that it’s okay if it takes a few days, or a week….

2. This kind of goes along the lines of being patient: WAITING. This is probably the most important thing I’ve forced myself to do. The initial excitement of the engagement, wanting to get started right away on planning, too much time on Etsy and Pinterest…there have been several times where I was tempted to start ordering things. I AM SO GLAD I WAITED. Wait wait wait. Seriously. The first few months of planning everything is fun and it’s easy to get overly excited and not think things through. Or make frivolous choices.

3. What Michael and I want is what is important, not what we “should” do. A lot of people were shocked (or concerned) that we weren’t having a wedding cake. I’ve never had a wedding cake that tasted good. I think they are beautiful but unnecessary and way too expensive. For years we’ve been talking about doing Krispie Kreme donuts, brownies or cupcakes. I know cupcakes are the new fad, but basically I want anything BUT wedding cake! Whenever people balk that I’m not having wedding cake, I want to say, “Don’t worry. There will be dessert. You know me! Have I ever passed up dessert?!”

4. Go with my gut. There were a lot of vendors I corresponded with and some of them just gave me a bad vibe. I’m glad I went with my gut. If I’m spending a lot of money for a big event, I don’t want to hire someone who is unreliable for flaky. For example: one caterer I contacted was so disorganized I finally just said no thanks. She tried to email me menus as an attached four times and they were only attached twice. One of the times she attached the wrong invoice. Then there were two different people responding to my emails, but no email signature, no explanation as to who they were, the email address wasn’t from a professional site (it was like “butterflykisses@msn.com” or something weird). The whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way! Seriously, if someone can’t handle emails, how can they coordinate an event for more than 100 people!??!

Finally

Despite the sticker shock and the occasional frustrations, I’m still enjoying the process. I love being engaged. It’s a fun time and I think the longer we take to make decisions on things, the better. After the initial excitement of things, most of the frivolous stuff seems unnecessary and easy to say “no” to.

We have plenty of time for planning and I’m not too worried. I think things will just fall together as they should.

QUESTION: What are your wedding rants/observations/lessons learned? Any words of wisdom?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

20 thoughts on “Wedding Observations”

  1. On the big day, the things that get whacky won’t matter. The only thing that is important by that time is that you and Michael are legally married at the end of the day, which is my advice to keep in mind as you go through this process.

    After 14 years I’m not certain what kind of cake we had, and we didn’t even attempt to keep the top. Our favors were the bubble bottles for the guests to blow as we left. I did get a steal on my flowers, because the florist gave me a special color of rose for the same price of any other color rose. I asked to be sure because I knew they were expensive, but she assured me there was no extra charge. My wedding was very small – no attendants, 40 guests.

    I love the idea of a different dessert other than one big cake! I’m looking forward to hearing what you guys decide on.

    1. At the end of the day it won’t matter, really. You are right. I am less OCD about details than I thought I would be like. Like I don’t care about the bridesmaid’s hair or shoes…whatever they want to do and feel comfortable is fine. They don’t have to match. The flowers don’t need to match. I don’t care about a lot of the stuff!

  2. Who in their right mind has the venue and dress on day 2 of being engaged?!

    Me 🙂 well I had the venue 2 days after, the dress the week after. We are having a fairly short engagement (10 months) and the venue I wanted for the date I needed was already booked, so I had to act fast. The shop I went to had the dress I wanted so I just got it.

    Things I’ve learned
    – people will care about things you just don’t care about. I’m not getting my knickers in a knot over bridesmaid shoes and they are all finding it difficult to accept that I don’t care and they should wear what’s comfy for them.
    – people will have opinions. We are doing a first look because our ceremony is right before sunset and we will only have a few minutes of light after the ceremony for photos. I keep getting told that I’m doing it wrong, he isn’t supposed to see me until i walk down the aisle. Eh, tough, my marriage will still be legal.
    – people will complain, but it’s your wedding and as long as your guests are hosted properly (food and drink provided, no gap, weather appropriate venue, etc) then you shouldn’t feel bad about your decisions.
    – spend money on the things that matter to you, not other people. Photography and venue take up most of our budget because theyre most important. My shoes cost $12 second hand because theyre under a dresss so who cares.

    Oh, do wedding brownies. Or maybe a dessert bar with mini cupcakes, brownies, donuts. Etc?

  3. Lisa! I am so happy for you and Michael! I am looking forward to hearing about your wedding planning/marriage adventures!

    My husband and I just celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary on Tuesday!
    We both agree that we would not change a thing about how out wedding went. When I talk to my married friends about their weddings, they always list things that they wish they hadn’t spent so much money on, or things they wish they had done more simply. I think one of the reasons I have no regrets about our wedding was because we invested money into things that were important to us and were not trying to impress others. We also skipped wedding favors (and no one has ever said anything about this!). You can do all the work to set up your special day, but at some point you will just have to relax and let the ball roll and enjoy your time with Michael. Your wedding day will be one of the fastest days of your life!

    Honestly, planning a wedding was the most fun thing I never want to do again! Enjoy!

    P.S.: I have been reading your blog for years. When I started reading your blog I was over 300lb. I liked seeing that you were able to have a fun and fulfilling life after weight loss. I needed to know that while the weight loss process might be hard, there would be a new normal on the other side! I have recenty hit my own 110lb weight loss. Thank you for your continued inspiration!

    1. Thanks for the comment MaryKate. I am especially proud and excited about your weight loss! That is so fantastic! I love hearing other success stories. It makes me feel good that I could inspire you. How did you go about losing 110 pounds? Did you count calories or do weight watchers or something else?

      1. I tried counting calories to lose weight many times but it never fully took for me because I would get too frustrated. I would be fine during the week when I was in control of packing and preparing my own meals and I had the chance to weight and measure everything. But I would get frustrated by not knowing the calories in my meal when dining out and end up throwing in the towel and eating what I wanted. I did not understand that the occasional indulgence does not lead to weight gain, rather all the small healthy decisions are what make the difference.

        I have been through three phases in my weight loss journey:
        1. The first 10lb I lost by taking up Crossfit. I gained the confidence to try for a better and healthier life but I did not make any diet changes so I only saw the 10lb weight loss.
        2. The next 50lb were lost by focusing on eating only at meal times (no snacking). I didn’t necessarily count my calories but I did measure out high calorie items like nuts, pasta, ice cream, etc. I ate enough that I was full and retaught my body how to recognize fullness.
        3. My current phase (53lb lost and counting) has been due to living a ‘primal’ lifestyle. I learned this from marksdailyapple.com (the only blog besides yours that I read daily). I aim to eat 80% of my meals primal/paleo and have found that I have so much energy, my skin has never been clearer, and I am losing weight without much effort.

        Part of me wishes I had been able to lose the weight all at once like you did, but upon reflection I think I needed the opportunity to have my mind catch up to my body as I lost weight.

        Anyways, I love your blog! Thank you so much for continuously sharing your stories!

        1. My way isn’t necessarily the “right way”. If that worked for you that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your success story and how you lost the way. Keep me posted on your journey! Do you have a blog?

  4. I really enjoy you sharing your journey Lisa. I also think you are a very wise young lady; especially when it comes to not doing favors. Like you, I think they are never really appreciated by guests. It is something that has gotten way too expensive. I also think programs are not needed. Everyone knows how a wedding goes. At the end of the day Michael and you are what matters. It is about making lifetime memories for the two of you. You are going to be a gorgeous bride and Michael a very handsome groom!
    Sounds like you are on the right path, keep listening to YOUR heart. <3

  5. We were married young and had a very simple wedding, on a very tight budget. I don’t regret not spending more or not having fancier things. 🙂

  6. YES on the no-favors thing. They always seem pointless to me, unless they’re candy (hellooo sweet tooth) – if I do wind up bringing favors home, they always wind up in the Goodwill bag I keep at my door.

    My brother will be getting married next spring so I’m eager to see how their plans/experience lines up with yours. I hope they are being sensible but I’m also trying to stay out of it, since it’s none of my business!

    As far as desserts, of course you should do what you want! I have friends who only had pie at their wedding – I privately joked that I’m not sure they are legally married since they didn’t have anything chocolate 😉
    bethh recently posted..Festa di pomodori

    1. Thank you! I agree. I’ve never been to a wedding where I felt like the favor was something I needed or wanted. Not to be rude. But I kind of feel like the meal and entertainment is the “gift” to the guests.

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