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Lessons Learned from Wedding Planning

I got married about a month ago, happily bringing an end to about six months of worrying about getting married. Here are a few things I learned and a few I wish I would have known:

Do It Your Way
There are “about 153,000,000″ results in Google when you search for “wedding-planning.” Take what you want from them. You want an immaculately decorated church wedding with a fairy-lit forest reception? Have a ball. You want to get married on a mountain with only your officiant present? Go for it. All kinds of people, from friends to our cake baker told me, “It’s your day, do what you want,” but I still worried.

We wanted a taco truck / Photo by Michelle Jones

We wanted a taco truck / Photo by Michelle Jones

Stop Worrying
Ha! I didn’t stop worrying until 19 days after the wedding. I worried about the capacity of a reception hall before we booked it (we didn’t even book that space, and when I was worrying about it, we hadn’t done anything to commit to it). I worried the hall would look bare with the minimal decoration skills I planned to apply. I worried we didn’t buy enough cups, that my hair would fall, that there wouldn’t be enough beer… everything. Even while worrying about these things, I knew that if any of them happened, we’d get through it. Still, I woke up in the early morning and lay awake, stressing about these hypothetical situations.

Something Will Go Differently Than Planned
The women at the beauty school where I had my hair done shared this encouraging advice during my “wedding hair” trial: Something will go wrong.

So I tried to think of all the possible situations and solutions (probably contributing to my sleepless mornings).

What if the taco truck doesn’t show? We’ll order pizza.
What if the flowers don’t arrive or aren’t enough? We can buy flowers at a florist. Or Kroger. What if my hair falls? 39 pins couldn’t hold it for two hours! Who cares?!

The flowers arrived and were beautiful.

The flowers arrived and were beautiful.

Of course, the situations I planned for did not come up. Instead, the day before the wedding, we were under a severe weather watch (“THE APOCALYPSE IS COMING!”, but isn’t it always?), and my cell phone stopped working. So I drove to the phone store for a new SIM card under blackening skies, scanning the clouds for the one that was going to turn into a funnel. Thankfully, the tornadoes did not come for us. The phone only worked intermittently for the rest of the weekend, but everyone has a phone, and I was somewhat able to communicate through Twitter (although really, if you’ve been meaning to replace your nearly three-year-old phone for eight months, consider doing so before a bunch of people who will need to call you travel to your city for your wedding).

Seek Advice from Like-Minded Friends
When worrying about all those wedding disasters, voicing my concerns to a friend helped. Whenever I got spazzy, I had several empathetic, but sensible friends and family members who helped keep me sane. Acquaintances and strangers were encouraging, but they also planted nonsense in my head. Those hair salon ladies listened to my worries and shared some reassuring words. But they also contributed to a crisis in confidence about the reception decor (again), resulting in the cancellation of table linens I’d ordered less than 24 hours before (black table cloths would have been fine). Luckily, a friend helped ground me by showing me photo albums of the detailed decor from her wedding, then revealing that no one remarked on these details. This was the same friend who told me as long as I had food, music and drinks, everything would be fine. So know which friends are able to listen and advise without creating more stress for you.

Have a Rehearsal

No matter how small the ceremony — and ours was very small — rehearsing your ceremony is a good idea. Ours went smoothly, but my parents and I clearly needed practice walking together.

We had some issues getting through the door / Photo by Michelle Jones

We had some issues getting through the door / Photo by Michelle Jones

Buy More Bourbon

Especially if your wedding is in Kentucky.

Have Fun

This seems so obvious, but at least one blog I read proved that pressure can ruin the day. Despite all my worrying though, the goal was to get married, then celebrate. That all happened, and this is what I really learned: Gabe and I have loving friends and family who braved tornadoes, airline asininity, stage fright, and a small-scale bridezilla (I got a little grouchy around 3 pm on wedding day) to celebrate with us.

Photo by Michelle Jones

Photo by Michelle Jones

Now excuse me for the next two months. I have some serious “thank you” card writing to do.