The Wedding

“I’ll never be a bride again…now I’m just someone’s wife.” -Monica Geller-Bing

Actually, I’m okay with that.  It’s over now and I’m glad.

The week of the wedding I was feeling pretty good.  Nothing left to do but let everything happen.  Then the day before the wedding I got my nails done and I HATED them.  And I got shellac nail polish so there was no time to change them because I had to get going for the rehearsal.  I had a major breakdown because obviously nails are the most important part of the day.  Honestly though I’m okay with how upset I was as I was imagining all of my photos with this expensive dress and then some trashy nails.  It all turned out okay because you can’t really see them in any of my photos.

On to the dress rehearsal where everyone was on time and I really appreciated that.  It’s hard to get a big group together but we all made it.  We ran through the rehearsal a few times so everyone was sure of where to be, then it was on to dinner.  We went to Santorini in Greektown in Detroit and it was perfect.  I couldn’t believe it.  They had our reservation AND the food was good!? I couldn’t believe that finally everything was working out.  Secretly to myself I had believed that since everything had been so hard leading up to the wedding that the actual wedding was going to run perfectly.  Things were looking up!  We had a great time and I got excited for how much more fun we were going to have at the wedding.

We go home, I lay down, and BOOM.  Total anxiety hit me.  I don’t know why but I just started experiencing anxiety last year and it’s really fucking awful.  It makes me physically ill and I can’t sleep.  I got about one hour of sleep total before it was time to go get my hair and makeup done.

My bridesmaids, my mom and I all met up at Dean Sadler’s Hair & Makeup Studio where I’ve been getting my hair done for several years.  All of the bridesmaids looked AMAZING.  Rachelle had been having some trouble with her tattoo cover up and he helped her put it on.  In the photos it looks like she never had a tattoo.

After that we all met up in my hotel room to get our dresses on and do photos with my photographer, Jeffrey Lewis Bennett.  Just as I was supposed to start taking photos of my mom zipping me into my dress, my mom yelled out that her hem on her dress had ripped.  Thankfully her mom had dropped off an emergency kit which included safety pins so Laura helped her pin it back up.  My mom stressing out did not help my anxiety very much.

I get into my dress, we take some photos, then Jeffrey leaves to go do photos with the guys.  Judging from the photos of empty alcohol bottles it looks like the guys were having a lot more fun than we were.  Kaydence, my 1 year old flower girl, grabbed someone’s coffee off of one of the tables and dumped it all down the front of her white dress.  Kara, her mom, sprung up and ran her into the bathroom and was somehow able to get it all out.

Everyone tells you the wedding flies by…well GUESS WHAT? The actual time BEFORE the wedding DRAGS ON FOREVER.  Our wedding was at 5pm and it felt like it was never going to get there.  I just wanted to get that part underway so I could start to relax.  Once it was getting close I had to call Joey to see if our officiant had made contact with him because we had to fill out our marriage license beforehand.  Nope, she decided to get there half an hour later than she was supposed to.  Finally she came up and had me fill it out, and then my coordinator came to grab us and I decided to go to the bathroom before leaving.  If you’re wearing a ball gown, you will need someone’s help.  There is no getting around it.  My mom helped me and as I leaned over I felt the back of my dress snap.  The top clasp flew off.

If you’re wondering what I was doing moments before the wedding, three people were attempting to safety pin my dress.  It wasn’t working so I just said screw it and let’s go.  The rest of the day my dress was a little loose in the chest but no wardrobe malfunctions occurred.

Finally it was time to walk down the aisle.  As I was walking up the stairs onto the riser I almost fell because my stupid seamstress didn’t want to take any length off of the dress and it was too long.  I tripped over it all night. Anyway I made it up there, we said our vows, we kissed, and we were married.  THAT part went by in a flash.  Both of our vows were very customized to our relationship and it was really awesome saying and hearing them.  (By the way, people who said to us that one or the others were better…that’s not cool and you totally missed the point.)

We did photos while everyone else had cocktail hour.  All good there.  Jeffrey is my shining star.  He never pissed me off once during our entire wedding experience.

We get announced, we cut the cake (delicious) then it’s time to eat.  As we started getting our plates I immediately got angry.   The portions were about half of the size that they were in our food tasting.  Also they looked NOTHING like they did before.  The mushrooms on the ravioli were half the size (though I heard it was delicious) and the eggplant was straight up completely different.  I took a quick look and immediately told Rachelle not to eat hers as she is vegan and I saw there was cheese on our eggplant dishes. It was made VERY clear on several occasions that there would be no cheese and this was to be a vegan meal.  There was no cheese on it in our tasting so I’m not sure what happened.  Rachelle flagged down the coordinator and told her that not only was there cheese on the eggplant but the entire dish was different.  She gave her some bullshit answer about how it was the same ingredients just “dressed up.”  Um, no.  I was there for the tasting girlfriend.  I hated the eggplant the day of the wedding but had loved it at the tasting.  So, I didn’t eat.  They did bring out new dishes without cheese and gave us a refund on all of the eggplants for the mistake.

Then it was time for the first dance.  Joey and I danced to I Wanna Grow Old With You by Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer.  Instead of my DJ doing his job and making sure the version was good to go, he played a version with part of the movie in it so we had to wait until Billy Idol stops talking.  There is a photo where you can see in my face exactly when that is happening because I look SO pissed.  I noticed from the wedding that my face is very expressive.

My dad and I danced to Wonderwall by Oasis, Joey’s mom and Joey danced to Your Song by Elton John, then it was on to party time.  After I had carefully crafted our play list over many hours, my DJ decided he was only going to play SOME of our songs, and NONE of our slow songs.  He played 4 slow songs the entire night and none of them were any of the 6 I had given him.  Six, very important, personal songs to my relationship with Joey did not get played because he decided he was going to do whatever he wanted.  He has a MAJOR control issue.  I learned later that he had been an asshole to our best man as well. Cool.  I made his job so simple…he just didn’t want to be told what to do.  So, in the middle of the night, he played like 5 oldies songs in a row even though I had given him only 1 or 2 to play, and a bunch of people left.  UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH I’m still pissed about it.  I think he has a scathing email coming his way.

We did get a lot of compliments on the music and there were constantly people on the dance floor.  The song of the night was a song that my brother recorded as a joke but it’s the best dance song I have ever heard and everyone got really hyped when it was played.

There were some people who didn’t show up.  Two of them were due to health issues so obviously that’s completely acceptable…the others, I don’t know what the fuck happened but I’m not happy about it.

Overall, it was a good night.  The best man, maid of honor and my dad’s speech were really special and heartfelt.  A wedding really shows how much the people who matter the most in your life really love you.  Everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do and did it with a smile on their face.  It really makes you take a step back and go, wow, these people are really amazing and I love them and they love me.

It’s weird to say that I have a husband, but I’m happy to get to say that it’s Joey.

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The Pinterest Bride

One of the first things my MOH said to me after I told her I was engaged was “I just made a Pinterest!!”  I thought, Shit, now I have to make one.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the direction it has provided me.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Pinterest is, it’s a social media site where you can search for things like recipes, workouts, and decorating, and if you see something you like, you “pin” it to your online board to add to your collection.  The best way I can describe it is a Dream Board with links.  Pinterest hasn’t been around for long so brides today are lucky to have this resource to go to for collective creative brainstorming.

When I first signed up and looked for wedding related images, my searches were very general and therefore I wasn’t getting the kind of results that I wanted.  If you just search “wedding” you’re going to get all different kinds of wedding related items that are probably not what you are really searching for.  Once I started searching for things like “black and white wedding” or “white rose centerpieces” I got more images that helped me put together an idea of what I want my wedding to look like.

Another of the ways I have used Pinterest is for my bridal shower.  I made my bridal shower board available to be pinned on from my bridesmaids, and so they can see what I like and when they pin something that isn’t my style, I just delete the pin!  This is how Rachelle and I decided on my shower invitations and I think it makes it a little easier on everyone to have a clear vision of each others ideas, although some things that we may like may not always be feasible.

Enter:  The Pinterest Bride.  I’ve seen so many boards with hundreds of photos that say “I am definitely doing this at my wedding.” Although I have found Pinterest to be very helpful for putting together ideas, especially for someone who is not especially creative such as myself, I have also noticed that most of the decorating photos are professional photos and many of them are taken at $100,000+ events.  I feel like this raises expectations for the everyday bride, and when their event inevitably doesn’t look as grandiose as the weddings on Pinterest, they will be disappointed.

Secondly, because so many people are pinning photos of “Do It Yourself” decorations that look amazing and are no doubt a bitch to put together, this is going to put some serious pressure on brides who are having a mostly DIY wedding.  I tend to think DIY brides are a little nuts…there is enough to do already when planning a wedding without individually putting together every piece of it.  Please consider that most of those super cute DIY items you’re seeing have not been prepared by the bride but by an event coordinator who pays someone to do it as part of the decor.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE DELETE THE MESSAGE FROM THE PINNER BEFORE YOU.  When you are pinning an item, the message from the last person who pinned the image remains there until you delete it or write your own.  It’s so weird when I see “My daughter Celeste really likes this cake!” when you most definitely do not have kids.  Use the message box to write the reason for pinning the photo or to write a little note to yourself about it.

Pinterest has been the perfect addition for those planning a wedding to gain inspiration, but being inspired does not mean that your event needs to look exactly like the one in the photo.  Remember to keep your expectations realistic.  My advice is to think about what exactly it is that you like about the photos you’ve pinned  and then share them with your floral or event designer and let them take care of the details.  It’s their job to make your vision come to life within your budget, and having photos to see what your style looks like will help them bring your event together perfectly.

My wedding Pinterest board:  http://www.pinterest.com/jessiestacks/wedding-inspiration/

Updates

Imagine my surprise when I log into my Knot account and my upcoming “to do list” had gone from 130 to 75.  WHERE DID ALL OF MY TASKS GO?  I started looking through them and discovered that apparently the website did a complete overhaul of their checklist.  YOU CAN’T JUST DO THAT, KNOT.  I had already gone through and deleted the tasks that were not relevant, so now I am faced with trying to figure out for myself which tasks have been removed??????????????  I’ve only figured out five. 😦  I looked at a few other websites but no other checklist was as detailed.  The greatest thing about The Knot checklist was that it included everything so that you don’t forget the little stuff, and now a lot of the little stuff is gone.  If I forget something the day of the wedding no one is going to want to be around me.

Last week Joey and I registered at Macy’s.  IT WAS SO FUN.  Definitely my favorite part of the wedding preparations thus far.  There was a lot of “What is that?  WE NEED IT.”  We kept each other in check and didn’t put anything on the registry that we won’t use.  Your registry gets auto imported into the Macy’s website so you can go back and change things if you need to update quantities, decide you don’t want something, or you accidentally register for something when your fiance “sees what happens” when you press the button from far away.  We went on a weekday so that the mall wouldn’t be crowded and we didn’t feel rushed.  It took us about two hours.

Our second registry is with Z Gallerie.  I found them when I was looking for something that Jeff Lewis used on Flipping Out because we love his style.  We used this website more for the home decor type items.  Registering online sucks.  It’s not that fun and it takes forever to go through everything.

A couple people have asked if we were going to register at all since we “already have everything.”  I beg to differ.  We moved in together when we were 19 so most of our kitchen stuff is cheapo.  Our dining sets are a hodge podge, our pans are all warped on the bottom, and much to the chagrin of Rachelle and my mom, we don’t own a coffee pot.  We also have completely different taste than we did 8 years ago.  We have updated a couple of things along the way but there are still quite a few things that we need.  You’re basically an idiot when you’re that young and our tastes have become much more modern and refined.

We went over to my parents’ house over the weekend to address Save the Dates.  I thought I wanted to print and my mom thought they should be in cursive.  According to Joey, “cursive is dead.”  We each addressed one and hers looked way better so we did them all in cursive.  Joey was in charge of stuffing and stamping envelopes because if he were involved in writing they would all be returned to sender.

The Guest List

Since when is asking people if you can come to their wedding appropriate?

First there was someone who said “I will definitely be there” whom we weren’t sure if we were inviting.  Then there was “when can we book our room?” from a couple on our “maybe” list.  Lastly there was a couple, whom I have never met, who straight up asked Joey if they could come.  Each of these people have pissed me off in ways you can’t imagine.

Our guest list has been growing instead of shrinking and it’s starting to give me serious anxiety.  I wanted to invite around 130 people and the guest list is now at 175.  I could scream.  The hopes of having a small to medium sized wedding are destroyed.

The guest list has been the most agonizing task for me.  People tell you “It’s your wedding.  Do what makes you happy.”  The people who tell you this are very sweet and they are not immediate family.  Immediate family does not ASK for people they want invited…they give you a list and EXPECT people to be invited.  Some of these people we have zero relationships with.  The rules are so daunting.   Because we invite one member of the family, you have to invite the brother, and of course the brother is married…it goes on and on.

You should NEVER ask to come to a wedding, nor should you try to reserve your spot by making it known that you assume you are invited. That is so fucking rude.  The people getting married won’t forget about you.  The guest list is not a one day, finish-in-an-hour task.  It’s something that the couple goes over together, then goes over with their parents, then gets revised, and revised, and revised until it’s time to send Save the Dates.  Forgetting someone is an impossibility. If you are meant to be invited, you will be.  If you are not, don’t be offended.  A TON of factors go into a guest list, including venue limitations, intimate weddings, and the biggest reason of all…budget.  The reception is the most expensive part of the wedding and going beyond a certain number for the guest list is just not an option for a lot of people.  There are people I would like to invite but can’t, and I’m sure it’s that way for most couples.

We are the hosts of the wedding so we technically do not have to invite anyone we don’t want to invite.  People who have their parents paying for the wedding probably get pushed over even more and I feel for them because they will end up in a room full of people who they really don’t care are there or not.  I had always imagined a room full of people who love us and whom we love as much back…but instead there will be people there whom I have never met.  However, I care about the feelings of my family and Joey’s family and so I am trying to make everyone as happy as possible.  We didn’t invite 100% of the people that they wanted invited but we did invite most of them. That’s the thing about weddings…unless you elope, you will never have complete control over the guest list…maybe not even then.  I don’t want to start any family dramas and I REALLY don’t want to hear about it because it’s stressful enough without a guilt trip.

There have been other wedding dramas lately, but I’ll save those for another blog.  Over the holidays I will attempt to stop stressing and appreciate that we have wonderful families and that Joey and I have each other, and I hope that all my fellow brides can do the same.

Attention Guests! Be Courteous With Your Cameras (Video)

A lot of photographers are becoming increasingly concerned with people using their own cameras and phones to get their shots. Flashes going off at the wrong time and especially people who get up in your grill for pictures, ruin the professional ones (you know, the ones you pay a ton of money for…) Many photographers are suggesting that you have an “Unplugged Wedding,” meaning no technology besides what the professional photographer and videographer bring in. Personally I like the candid, funny shots that are sure to come from my goofball friends. In order to get the best photography possible, I am allowing cameras but I am speaking to, ahem, likely offenders* about getting in the way.

*mothers

Get Organized.

Really.  Do it.  If you are organized your wedding will be much easier to plan (and much less stressful) than someone who is all over the place.   I have a few ways I stay organized.

First, I have a binder, tabs and a three hole punch.  I went to Target and bought the most beautiful binder they had.  It makes it more fun if the binder is *jazzy.*  Because my wedding is still about a year out, the only sections I have so far are:

1) Potential shower venues and their menus

-and-

2) Signed Contracts

We already have our venue and photographer booked, and keeping your documents all in one place is very helpful if you need to refer to it.   Do I sound like Monica Geller yet?  It’s because we are the same person.

Second, I have a word document for every company category that we haven’t booked yet.  (Bridal Gown, Floral, Design, DJ)  I look into at least four per category and keep notes on conversations I have with people.  If they were rude, I toss them.  If they don’t care about a potential client, they really won’t care once they get your deposit money.  If they have negative reviews online, I read what the reviews say, and depending on what the problem was, whether or not the vendor responded, and the number of negative reviews, I toss them.  There are SO many vendors in every city that it is impossible to talk to them all, so you have to have a process of weeding them out.

Third, I am signed up on The Knot.  I primarily use it for their timeline, because it lists pretty much everything you need to do and when you should do it.  I am the type of person who likes to do things early and get it done, so I move a lot of the tasks around to fit my schedule.  You can even have it send you an email reminder…for example, my last reminder two weeks ago was to get my Maid of Honor the info on which bridal salons we are going to visit for bridesmaid dress shopping.  We are doing it early because she lives in LA and will be in town in a couple of weeks, so I was able to change that from the suggested timeline that The Knot gave me.

Fourth, I picked a great Maid of Honor.  If you haven’t chosen yours yet, CHOOSE WISELY.  Being friends with someone for a long time or feeling pressure to pick your sister does not mean that that is the best choice for you.  Your MOH will be your right hand woman throughout your entire planning process.  Trust me, you don’t want to eff this one up.  One of my bridesmaids got married last year and her MOH made her experience much harder instead of making it easier.   Unless you want your bridal shower at Denny’s and you want to add coordinating with all of your bridesmaids for every task to your already packed schedule, do yourself a favor and pick the best woman for the job.  If she is truly your best friend, she will cater to your needs (unless you become a crazy Bridezilla, in which case you can kiss any help at all goodbye.)

If you’re close to your wedding and you are feeling overwhelmed with stuff to get done, it’s not too late to get your shit together.   Break it down by category and take your time.   You will thank me later.