Weddings have gotten out of control and as a woman who never dreamed about the perfect wedding, I feel for those of you who are more interested in your life partner than having the perfect place setting. When I married my husband thirteen years ago, the bridezilla phenomenon was just getting off the ground and I watched women I thought I knew exhaust their fiancé with cake samples, bridal magazines and toddler style meltdowns over finding the perfect dress. To me, it was obnoxious. Very few couples considered the aftermath of their perfect day, you know the part that will hopefully last the longest, the being married for a few decades part. That reality was buried under layers of taffeta, limo rides and thousands of dollars’ worth of white roses.
I’m no expert, but I don’t think that planning the perfect wedding day equates to having the perfect marriage. Mostly because no marriage is perfect and your wedding day is but a toenail clipping in your life together. Here are my seven tips on reigning in the ridiculous wedding chaos and having a celebration that everyone can enjoy.
1. Don’t spend the most money you can on your wedding, try to spend the least. We had a budget of $3,000 for our big day, most of it from our own very dry pockets, and we had more fun making our invitations and negotiating flower prices than we would have had if we were able to spend willy nilly. We planned our wedding on the day that was the least expensive at our location and I bought my wedding shoes from Payless. No one ever saw them. Go cheap and save the big bucks for a two week trek through the Pacific Northwest.
2. Don’t look at bridal magazines. Like most magazines, these glossy paper relics are geared toward selling you crap that you can’t afford and that you really don’t need. What you do need are basics so instead of vying for a Kardashian style cake that everyone is serving at their wedding, ask your significant other what kind of cake they love and order that. Five years into your union, no one will give two shits about the ten tiered cake you served at your wedding.
3. Let the people in your line pick out their own shoes and possibly their own outfit. No one thinks it’s funny that your bridesmaids look like they are starring in a bad remake of Sixteen Candles. You don’t need to shame the people in your line in order to be the belle of the ball, instead shout out the color you want them to wear and let them pick the dress, shoes and tie that they feel most comfortable in. These are the people who may one day be willing to watch your kids or house sit for you, best not to burn that bridge on your wedding day.
4. Don’t serve a full meal, serve a full bar. There is nothing worse, in my mind, than being forced to sit next to the brides’ half cousin twice removed during an awkward three hour sit down dinner. Give the people what they want, finger food and cocktails. Lots of cocktails. Then when guests run into your obnoxious father-in-law they can make a quick exchange and sprint to the other side of the room for a fresh drink or a pig in a blanket.
5. Keep your fiancé involved, unless they really don’t care, then let them do that. Whether it’s the bride or the groom who is cracked out on planning the big day, invite your future spouse to make some decisions. Unless they are like my husband and genuinely don’t care. There is no reason to force the other person to pick colors, choose centerpieces or interview the photographer. If they have put their trust in you, run with it. If neither of you care nor have time to care, it’s time to hit up the courthouse and plan a week in Hawaii.
6. You don’t owe anyone in your family anything. “But my parent’s always wanted me to have a church wedding in our small town that is three states away from where we live?” Well, your parent’s probably need a dose of reality and unfortunately you are the one who needs to give it to them. Your wedding day is about you and your significant other, not your weird cousin who wants her daughter to be your flower girl and not your overbearing grandmother who is refusing to attend unless you wear her unflattering wedding gown from 1903. It’s not your problem. Kindly let everyone in your family know that while you love them very much, they can keep their unwarranted advice to themselves. If you can’t move forward due to family issues might I suggest a little thing called eloping? Vegas is waiting.
7. Plan your marriage, not your wedding. Have I mentioned that your wedding is only one day out of the 18,250 days you could have with your spouse? Plan the other 18,249 days first and then find a fun photographer, mail out your invites and rent a dress or tux that makes you feel amazing. (Yes, I said rent.)
Your wedding day will not define your marriage, but planning for your future will. After my fiancé said that he didn’t care what we did for the wedding cake, he informed me years later that he hated the cake that I picked for us. Thirteen years later, that ugly cake didn’t make or break our marriage. We laugh about it regularly and no one gives a hoot that we bought it from a donut shop.
Mandy Brasher has been married to her partner in crime for thirteen years and together they have two kids. She graduated from The Utah College of Massage Therapy and spent two years studying writing at Utah State University. She is currently working with her husband at their online apparel business, blogging daily and writing a book. After working as a licensed massage therapist in Las Vegas, she moved back to Utah to start a family and find a new career. Since then she has changed diapers, potty trained, worked as a barista and organized events for a non-profit. Mandy loves to travel, cook, do yoga and read. Follow her sass mouth and unexpected adventures.