Dinosaur in wedding gown

Confession: Wedding Planning Kind of Sucks

February 13, 2013

in body image, family, life changes, love, wedding

In the months before I moved to Australia, my friend Nicole and I became obsessed with the reality show BridezillasI couldn’t turn my eyes away from such extreme bitchiness, craziness and wastefulness. Weddings with $100K pricetags, receptions planned down to the most minute of details, such fuss over trivial embellishments no one would remember.

Flash-forward three years, and I’m getting married in just under eight weeks and Nicole is one of my bridesmaids. I can’t say I’ve been a bridezilla. In a way, I almost wish I was. Those bridezillas seem to know what they want, even if their requests are batshit insane. Me, well I’ve found the whole wedding process to be a buffet of confusing options all predicated on an out-of-control industry designed to drain pockets and make legions of women panic.

What I’ve learned: The wedding industry has a snowball effect where it keeps collecting snowturds with names like “inner envelope” and “table favors” until it is one monster mound of white shit that you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED, EVER, including at your wedding.

There are so many components of a wedding I thought were “mandatory” but that many other brides choose not to do. This sounds like an odd statement: It’s my wedding, I should choose whatever I want, right? Well, there is a tiny part of me that does like to align with etiquette when possible. I mean, Martha Stewart is the shit after all, and I wouldn’t want all her painstaking detail to table arrangements to mean nothing to this middle-class white girl from New Jersey.

But, as I learned, you do not need corsages (though I bought some), flowers for the faux altar of your outdoor wedding, gifts for your guests or additional scraps of murdered tree known as wedding ceremony programs. If your guests don’t know they’ve shown up for a wedding at this point, you have bigger problems than not having a piece of paper detailing how the next 30 minutes will go.

Dinosaur in wedding gown

You can match your flowers anyway you want, have your bridesmaids wear different-colored gowns, have mismatched numbers for the bride’s and groom’s sides of the wedding party, walk down the aisle barefoot, walk down the aisle to “Smack My Bitch Up.” You are going to have to dig around the interwebs or interrogate your married friends to prove this out. But I promise this: For every thing you think you have to do but don’t want to, there will be someone out there who has decided to skip it. And that someone will probably be me.

A companion to this “super size” wedding crap phenomenon is found in all the things you should be doing to your physical being to prepare for your wedding. Like losing weight, even if you don’t need to. Or getting a spray tan, even if you are already sort of olive-toned, at least enough to consistently get pulled aside for “the security wand” at Sydney airport. I looked up possible hairstyles for the big day over the weekend and found that for the past 11 months, I should have been following a “wedding hair treatment plan.” I haven’t had a haircut in about eight months, so I’ll just have to go with a weave at this point.

I know I sound miserable, and I have been at certain points of this wedding planning process. It’s a project that’s gone on for almost a year in tandem with starting a new job and starting an application for permanent residency in Australia. I’m exhausted, and part of me just wants it to be over. Dozens of hours have been spent researching photographers, DJs and venues and shopping for the things that are absolutely mandatory for a wedding, like a dress, all from overseas. But…

The day will be beautiful and great. I just know it. It will go that way because I’m marrying the love of my life in front of most of my dearest family and friends. The effort that’s been put in to make this happen won’t be a regret of mine. But I do owe it to my fellow and future brides to impart my newfound knowledge that there is a lot you do not have to do for your wedding.

Remember: If someone tries to convince you that you need to release doves during your ceremony while a band of Celtic midgets strums the harp, channel one of the chicks from Bridezillas and just defiantly tell them “No.”

Image by theresa21

13 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. iliana

    I’m not sure if I should laugh or put a hand on your shoulder and tell you – it will all be o’right! Now that you vented your frustration, snap at the ‘system’ and have your wedding your way 🙂 Wasn’t it that ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’?

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      I love it. I have definitely decided not to do certain things like have table favors or wedding programs — it’s just too much crap. But people act aghast when you don’t do certain things. It’s so ridiculous.

      Reply
  2. Beth

    Yes! I could not agree with you more. I walked down the aisle/driveway in cowboy boots, but you would have thought I was walking to “Smack My Bitch Up” (which would have been incredible). In the early stages of planning our wedding, I was told what to do by so many people, I finally broke down and turned the entire thing over to Justin. Best decision ever. He didn’t agonize over anything; he got shit done. He didn’t waste our money. And he didn’t care what people thought about it. I am so happy to be married, but I would never in a million years relive the months leading up to our wedding.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Isn’t it crazy how normally sane people in your life become crazy when you’re getting married? I wonder if it’s because some people didn’t have the “wedding of their dreams” (Is there really such a thing?), so they decide to impart their two cents about everything they didn’t get to do. You and your wedding day looked gorgeous and you looked HAPPY, which is the most important thing! I’m so happy Justin was able to take a lot of the burden off you.

      Reply
  3. Heather

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Reading posts from A Practical Wedding and Offbeat Bride have definitely helped when I felt absolutely frustrated by planning. Which I still do. Just mentioned it in my most recent post too.

    And with Beth’s comment, I have to echo that — I am SO looking forward to this process being over, because I wouldn’t want to have to relive some of this again.

    Thanks for the confession, chica.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Heather, I know you feel the pain! I relate to your statement in your blog post about not caring about the extra bits. I lucked out in that our venue is handling the centerpiece flowers, food, cake and little altar for the ceremony. That’s where the decorating stops! Your wedding will be beautiful and I hope you have less stress as the day gets closer.

      Reply
  4. Steph

    OHMIGOD ME TOOO! I love you so much for writing this. I’ve been engaged almost a year now and wedding planning has been super stressful and not very fun for me. Part of it is b/c we’ve had an increasingly shrinking budget, and some crazy family stuff going on, but mostly I think it’s just Not My Thing. And that makes me feel weird and bad because their is this cultural idea that women should love this stuff and magically be really good at it. Looking at wedding blogs just makes me feel guilty. Still, I can’t wait to actually get married in September (and you know, get on with my life).

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Ahh, Steph, people keep asking “How is it planning from overseas?” — you are always traveling, so that must make it extra hard. I’m sorry to hear you have family stuff going on — I hope that eases for you as much as possible. “Get on with me life” is the perfect way to put it. I never like wishing time away, but it is sort of like, come on already, esp. when you get to the year mark of being engaged. Also, if you want to read some unconventional bride posts, check out the Hitched segment of The Frisky: http://www.thefrisky.com/author/andrea-grimes/ She’s a great writer and I’ve been reading her since before I got engaged. She keeps it realz.

      Reply
  5. Libby

    I like your style Fritsky. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy such a super special day and I reckon you’ll nail it. Have a great wedding,

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Thank you Libs! I miss you! I need you in the office to set me straight about this stuff on the regular — I always feel a little calmer when you’re around.

      Reply
  6. Sadhbh

    Hah, yes. We thought we had sneakily side-stepped most of it by being godless heathens getting married on a teeny island that could only fit 30 people (and had no celebrant, hairdresser or make-up people) but it was amazing the amount of stuff that it was assumed we “needed”.

    My favourite was the (normally very sensible and nice) friend who said to me, when I said I hadn’t lost any weight, “Don’t worry, it will fall off with worry before the day and you’ll look great”. Ow.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Ughhh, there’s no need for a comment like that! I understand looking your best, but why does that entail shrinking to the size of a toothpick? That’s awesome you got married the way you wanted to. Really, if you are creative, you can effectively pull off a wedding with minimal “stuff” (and cost).

      Reply
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