That is what I am finding out about this process - it is a huge learning curve. It's not like you can prepare for being a bride before you actually are a bride. I mean, you can maybe get some ideas, but it's sort of on-the-job training. A one-shot deal.
I tried not to think too much about it before I got engaged- even while I was dating. I don't know, maybe I was superstitious, but I didn't want to jinx myself. I know I didn't want to distract myself with what wasn't reality yet...you know, me being the practical girl, not so much the romantic dreamer, if only due to necessity.
So, like in the dress scenario, I sort of went in there without even having a good idea of what I wanted. I have been looking at dresses since then, and I realized I should have gone in with a better idea of what I wanted. And there it is - the learning curve. What is done is done - David's Bridal is no return/no exchange. And I'm just not up for trying to sell it on Ebay and going through the whole process of finding another dress.
I had a little bit of a meltdown a few weeks ago about the money. I am trying so hard to be economical, but on Long Island, it is just so hard. You just can't do the cake and punch thing here (much to James' disappointment). And everything is so expensive! Even when you are trying to do it cheap. So, it's not just trying to find quality vendors, it's trying to find quality vendors in your budget!
And then, is it OK to go a little over budget, because it feels impossible just to cut those corners? Is the stress worth saving that little bit? Or, should you try to do without those things because it is only a one-day event?
I'm sure there are better ways of doing things, but by the time I figure it out, the planning will be over and done. I'm doing a lot of reading and research, but I still feel a little unprepared to handle every scenario that comes up. And seriously, if I let it, planning this event could become a full-time job. I guess that is where a wedding planner would have been handy - just someone who knows how to do all this stuff. But then, it is back to the budget issue.
I really don't think I am a bridezilla...but it is a significant day. I'm letting go of perfection, but at the same time, I'm not just planning a Saturday afternoon BBQ either. James and I will be a making a covenant. Before God. That's a big deal. And it should be celebrated. With fanfare. It should be one of the biggest and best celebrations I ever have in my life.
Not that I am one to give bride advice, but here are a few lessons I've learned:
1. Stick to your guns - especially when it comes to family advice, especially if you are the one paying. You should feel good about your choices.
2. It is good to bring an older and a younger set of eyes when you try on dresses.
3. Try to think through, as much as you can, what you would really like in a dress, what feels like 'you' - style, material, train length. Even if you don't get your ideal dress, you still can probably find something close to it. And then if you veer from that, at least it is a conscious choice to. (In retrospect, I should have gone to dress shops, tried on dresses and seen what I liked, and then checked the internet to order it more cheaply. Grrrr!)
4. It is OK to cut corners on things that aren't a big deal. For me, the invites, favors, bridesmaid dresses, centerpieces are less of a big deal to me than reception location, ceremony program, dress and photographer. Decide which are priorities and put your money there.
5. You can find out a lot via email and internet. Lots of research and price quotes can be done online. It saves a lot of time in phone calls. For LI, liweddings.com has been pretty helpful for vendors. And theknot.com and brides.com are good for pictures and ideas.
6. Word of mouth is good. Ask people you know who have been married recently who they used and who they would recommend and who gave them deals.
7. Trust God. That has been a lesson for me, too. I didn't think God would approve of me spending this kind of money for a wedding (and believe me, for NY standards, I am definitely the conservative, budget-bride), but I'm realizing that He is a part of our day, too. He cares about this - He brought us together. And it is a big deal. And He will provide, even for this. Not that it is license to spend extravagantly, but, as always, He has my back.
8. Try to have fun and not stress out. Don't let 'the perfect wedding' be your standard. That is maddening. Accept what you have to accept, imperfections and all. And by the way, my dress came in, I tried it on, and I like it now. If I had more time, I think I would have ended up with this dress - or something close to it. Which brings me to my final bit of advice:
9. It all works out in the end.
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