Sunday, December 30, 2012

What I Learned While Planning My Wedding

It has been an unbelievably long time since I last wrote a post for my blog, and to be honest, I haven't even gone anywhere near my blog page in at least five months.  For those of you who don't know, I got married on October 6th to my husband (I still love saying that!) Roland, and with all of the planning beforehand and with my stress levels consistently staying above average while making sure everything got done, I'm sorry to say that the last thing I had time for was to sit down and write about my life.  But here we are now; it's a mere three days until the new year and I'm enjoying the last few days of my break before returning back to work and the day-to-day life and I thought there was no better time than now to sit here, on this cold and snowy evening, and write down a few things. 

I have no idea what these first few posts I send out will be about, since it has been so much time that I feel like there are so many things to catch up on; so please bear with me as I try to get myself back into the groove of writing again.  I do feel that the cliche really is true about losing it if you don't use it; I haven't written like this in MONTHS and I'm definitely feeling a tad rusty. That's why I'm starting off my first post with an easy one:  Things I learned while planning my wedding.  I'm sure those of you who are married will already know most of these things and shake your head and nod your approval during the appropriate times, and for those of you who are not married yet (and especially for those of you thinking of getting married in the not-too-distant future) you might want to pay attention here.  I'm not saying that everything I went through will be the same for you, and in some cases, I hope that we don't have a lot of similarities, but these might just be things for you to keep in mind while you try to plan your perfect day.  :)

1.  Things rarely go exactly according to plan - both in the wedding planning and on the actual day itself.  (Note:  This can be both a positive and/or a negative, depending of course on what the actual plans were)

2.  No matter how good you are at time management, there will never be enough time in the day to get everything done that you want to do, especially in the last few weeks before the wedding.  For myself personally, this meant staying up too late trying to cram everything in which resulted in less sleep which of course then meant dark shadows under my eyes; not exactly the kind of look you want on your wedding day.

3.  Unless you are independently wealthy or have really rich parents or a hefty trust fund, you are going to spend a LOT of money on this wedding. You can budget until the cows come home, but there will always be extra and added expenses that you might not have ever foreseen...even for a small to medium sized wedding.

4.  Looking at and finding THE venue can actually be fun.  A lot of places may look great online or in pictures but could be completely different in person, so it's important to look at as many as you can until you are comfortable that what you have found is the perfect one for you and your bride/groom-to-be.

5.  Sleep will become a thing of the past, particularly in the last two months prior to the wedding.  Being my own wedding planner was definitely a money saver, but it also meant that at any point in time, I had about a million different things on my mind pertaining to the wedding.  This was especially true at night while I was trying to sleep.  No matter how many times I attempted to clear my mind before going to bed, without fail, the minute my head hit the pillow and my eyes closed, the thoughts would start; thoughts about what I had done that day, what I still needed to do, who I needed to call, what I needed to buy and order, etc.  Even when I would finally fall asleep, I would only stay that way for a few hours before waking up again.  I can honestly say that in the last six weeks before the wedding, there was not one night that I actually slept well.  And that is very likely connected to and brings me to....

6.  At some point during your wedding planning, you will feel like you are going bat-shit crazy (that's a technical term).  As I mentioned, I'm sure my time in Loco Town had a lot to do with the fact that I was barely sleeping, and sleep deprivation can make anyone go crazy, let alone a bride-to-be.  So, just try to remember that even though you may in fact feel nuttier than squirrel poop (and at times you actually may be!) it will pass and every bride before and after you will go through the exact same thing (and usually there aren't many people hurt in the process).   ;)

7.  Wedding planning will only confirm how wonderful and supportive your fiance is.  While you are stressed and sleep deprived and at times just downright bitchy (I'm speaking from very personal experience here), having your fiance be there by your side through it all, supporting you, loving you, crying with you and offering an ear for general venting and frustration, is what it all comes down to.  I knew I wanted to marry Roland from the very beginning, but it was during all of the wedding planning when I truly fully appreciated how amazing he is and what he puts up with for my sake.

8.  It's a cliche, but it's true; weddings will bring out the absolute worst or best in people.  It's not uncommon for the people you thought to be the most helpful in planning to fall by the wayside, all while the people you expected little to nothing from step up in ways you never thought imaginable.  You will definitely be surprised, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad. 

9.  There will be at least one person who it will seem like is just trying to do nothing but make you miserable while you are trying to get ready for your special day.  I sincerely hope that this is just something that I had to go through and that the rest of you reading this are not surrounded by such incredibly selfish people, but I feel it's important to alert you to this possibility.  I'm not at all surprised at how this particular person in my life acted and treated me, since this person is just incredibly unhappy in their own life and feels the need to bring that same unhappiness down on others where they can, but it was still disheartening to have to go through it during what was supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life. 

10.  When you are the bride, planning a wedding without your mom is REALLY difficult.  I knew it was going to be hard and I tried to prepare myself as best as I could for certain situations, but it wasn't easy.  Preparing for a wedding is a classic mother daughter activity, and one that I'm sure almost every mother and daughter looks forward to sharing together.  I know my mom was with me in spirit and I felt her with me that whole day, but of course it doesn't compare to having her there with me, both on the wedding day and all of the days planning and leading up to the wedding.

11.  It's very important to surround yourself with good friends and family and make sure you have as many girl nights, game nights, or just sitting around the house laughing and having fun nights as you can.  This may be something you incorporate into your daily life already, but it is doubly important while you are planning a wedding because it does help keep you sane and your stress levels lowered. 

12.  Keeping active and working out can be a lifesaver.  I know most brides are all about fitness and looking perfect in their wedding dress, and although that most certainly is important, the other great thing about making sure you make fitness time for yourself is because it does help clear your mind and keep you calm.  Even if it's just taking the dog for a long walk, it's time that is spent outside in the fresh air with your muscles moving and your adrenaline and endorphins pumping; it lowers your stress, makes you feel better about yourself, and all while helping you get wedding-dress-ready!

13.  On the actual day of your wedding, it is very likely that something (hopefully minor) will go wrong.  The best advice I was given prior to my wedding was that even if something went wrong during the actual ceremony or during any of the traditional wedding events, the only people likely to know exactly what went wrong, are the bride and groom; no one else will know.  I am so glad that I was told this ahead of time as our DJ (who was incredibly unprofessional and lacking in so many ways) managed to royally screw up Roland and my first dance song (he neglected to let us know that he never found the version of the song we wanted that I had told him about with plenty of time in advance to the wedding).  As upset as Roland and I both were, we realized after the fact that no one else (aside from a couple people in our wedding party) knew what had even happened and just thought that the way things went was the way things were supposed to go.  Roland and I tried our best to laugh it off and even though it didn't happen until the night was almost over, we did at least get to dance to our song. 

14.  Despite everything I just mentioned about our problem with the DJ and our first song, one of the best moments of the wedding day is during your first dance as husband and wife.  At that point, the ceremony is over (which is the hard part), the pictures have been taken, your guests are all happily snacking and drinking while watching you and taking tons of pictures, and yet as you dance together (hopefully to the song of your choice lol) it's like you are the only two people in the world.  Being someone who has been overweight my whole life, I do tend to get nervous at times when all eyes are on me; it's an insecurity due to being self-conscious about how I look and what I'm doing, and yet I can honestly say that while I was dancing with Roland for the first time, he was the only person in the whole room who had my attention.  For the first time in my life, I wasn't worried about what I looked like, if my dress flattered my body shape, if my cheeks were too rosy, if my arms or other body parts looked too fat, and that was all because I could only see Roland and how amazingly happy and handsome he looked.

15.  Everyone will tell you that your wedding day will be over in the blink of an eye...and they are not kidding!  It's like  Christmas; so many months and so much money and energy spent planning for this one major day, and it feels like it's over before it even begins.  Make sure that at a few points during your wedding, you take the time to just look around and take stock in everything you have done to get you to that point; take a breath and watch your wedding party dance together, see your parents and your groom's parents happily chatting and enjoying each others company, and feel your new husband's hand in yours as you listen to the speeches, cut the cake, and dance over and over again together throughout the night. 

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