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Wedding Undergraduate Lauren, Part I


Yesterday I promised the very first of APW intern Lauren’s wedding planning posts, and here we go. It’s so funny to me, seeing this post here, because it seems so full circle. Remember back when I was planning our wedding and I was bouncing between being a smart-ass, and a being frenetic-rage-case, and being a no-bullsh*t-sensible person? Well, here we are, two years (but it feels like two decades later), and we’re back. So, I’m pleased to give you the first ever smart-ass-frenetic-sane wedding undergraduate post from Lauren. Because if we’re honest, wedding planning is a bit of a mixed bag:

Last Friday, at work, I was browsing the internet for cake toppers. Cake Toppers. Whoever would have thought I would be actually, seriously, frustratingly trying to find cake toppers? I really had never cared before, and now suddenly I do. And I am really disappointed with the lack of awesome cake toppers, and the huge number of mother f*cking CREEPY cake toppers. You may be thinking, “really? two little figurines on top of a cake, Lauren, how bad can it get?”. Oh, so bad. So very very bad.

Wedding Undergraduate Lauren, Part I | A Practical Wedding

Like this. What the f*ck is this? Someone is actually selling this on etsy with the intention that someone else will find it and go “WORMS! Honey they have WORMS! Can you believe it? I’ve been searching everywhere! Thank you Etsy shop, THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY WEDDING DREAMS COME TRUE!”. It’s actually titled “worms in love”. What?! No, wedding world. NO. Someone needs to put a stop to this immediately.

So then I’m like, “Oh my god, I can’t find a wedding topper Kamel and I both love, that represents us fully and completely (Both, simultaneously), what am I going to do? The wedding is… in fact… RUINED.” So then, as I most often do during a crisis, I posted on The Facebooks that cake toppers were creepy, and lots of people agreed, and then I asked the masses “well then what am I supposed to do? JUST NOT HAVE A WEDDING CAKE TOPPER?”. And when I typed those words I realized, yes. Because who is going to give a sh*t about the topper? Let’s just have a really delicious cake (no fondant) and eat it, and not decorate it with miniature representations of Kamel and I. Yes, lets.

This next part has nothing to do with toppers. I know you’re wondering how could I not have MORE to say on the subject, with more phrases in CAPS, but this next awkward bit is about … engagement photos. On Saturday Kamel and I had engagement photos from a friend of his at work (whose website I will link to once I have something to actually show you, right now it’s all a mystery). I was initially excited, we had two pretty sweet and unique locations (sorry, no iconic GG bridge shots) and I had planned a few outfits for both of us. We were first going to head to Stinson Beach where it would be warm and they have giant rocks to use as props. Prop Rocks ….. haha, get it? Yes. Ok. I was going to wear a pretty color-blocked dress and barefeet and Kamel was going to look dashing in a button down shirt and his grey shorts. Then we would head back toward SF and take shots at Fort Point (an old brick building right underneath the GG Bridge that used to be barracks and held a bunch of cannons. We were going to wear jeans and t-shirts for this one, knowing it would be chillier.

We did these locations, but the first obstacle was the cold. The weekend before it was 80 degrees in the city and 95 everywhere else. This weekend it was 55 everywhere, period. So, no dress and no outfit change. Instead it was hoodies and jeans the whole time, which is so San Francisco, and so us, and will probably turn out great. It was the engagement photos themselves that were weird. How do I explain this? We are affectionate people. We cuddle. We link elbows when we walk, or link fingers. I kiss Kamel goodbye and hello. But we are not big into PDA in general. I think I have maybe sat on his lap 3 times ever, and never once in public. We don’t go in for the lingering hug at the mall, on the street, anywhere other people are. We are much more likely to be making fun of each other, and then I might pat him on the back.

Engagement photos were 3+ hours of longing looks, hand holding, shoulder leaning, kisses on foreheads and cheeks and “wait, don’t actually kiss, hold the moment RIGHT BEFORE you kiss”, yeah right. So, not only was I uncomfortable, I was totally stressed the entire time that the pictures would look super dumb. We weren’t getting tons of direction, so we did our best to make it up as we went a long…but lord knows how well that’s going to go. When we got back I went straight to bed for a nap. Engagement photos are just plain awkward.

So far wedding planning is just not what the magazines make it out to be. Ok, that was an obvious statement, but here’s the thing, maybe weddings are kind of like giving birth. Everyone tells you it sucks and you chuckle with them as they retell their horror stories and you nod your head like “oh, yeah, for sure,” but you kind of have this hope on the inside that “but for me it will be different, I bet she was just a p*ssy (no vaginal birth pun intended), or didn’t do it right, or maybe she is just too uptight, has a low pain tolerance, whatever.” And YOU (of course) won’t be uptight, you’ll be able to grit your teeth and muscle through it, you’ll only care about the important things the whole time, duh, so you’re sure that, for you, it will be so way better.

Except it’s really, really not.

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  • Shelly

    I totally hear you on the engagement picture thing. It was… awkward and forced. But I’m so glad we did them. I looked at our pictures afterward and was all “hmm, I like it better when I smile at you with my teeth.” And then at our wedding (last week!) I’m happy to say that I didn’t give a d*mn about taking much instruction from our photographer. It sounds totally sappy, but I felt like they just melted into the background and there was just us and the way that we are together.

    I’m so happy you are on board, Lauren!

    • Sept Bride

      Eck. I found the whole engagement picture taking thing to be SO. AWKWARD. My husband and I kept cracking up because, really? You want us to kiss, AGAIN? And then look longing across our joined hands? Really??? But, you know what? Our e-pics freaking rock!* The pictures of us cracking us are awesome. So are the ones where we succeeded in being all kissy-faced with straight faces. So. It was awkward. Terribly. But it was also incredibly worth it.

      *Having an absolutely AMAZING photographer helps, too. Just got our wedding photos today and O.M.G. !!! Perfection. Any Bay Area ladies that need a great photog, just let me know. I can’t sing her praises enough.

      • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

        Oh, the engagement photo session. The joy. I worried so much because we’re not comfortable kissing in front of anyone, let alone on camera, much less with my brother-in-law as the photographer. Thankfully, my brother-in-law did not force us into any unnatural poses, he pretty much let us be. The photos are pretty cool & he made us a guest book with our engagement photos. It was worth it in the end.

        • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

          Lol, our photographer was an ex-boyfriend of mine. Granted, from when I was 15, but it did feel a bit strange at moments… but he gave us a great deal ;)

  • Natalya

    LOL!!! Those are soooo creepy! We went with vintage 1930s cake toppers found on ebay but you’re right, the more important bit is how tasty the cake will be. Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed this post!

  • Amanda

    Yeaah, cake toppers can be very strange ! We had our old playmobil’s and an airplane model, cause we met in an airplane.
    All the ones made for it were sooo over the top.
    And for the pictures yeah, it was a bit awkward to pose, but we liked the final result. Also, the best photos were the ones where we just “let go” and started having fun and not caring that the photographer was there.
    Good luck with the planning !

    • Amanda

      Also, for the cake, we made sure it was about the flavor and not about what it looks . We have such sweet teeth that it was fun going to different bakeries and tasting what they had !

    • Mel

      After searching the entire internets and finding no cake topper that I liked that was affordable, finding many that were downright offensive, and after abandoning my plan to make my own out of craft-store birds, we decided to ask the florist to make a little poof of pretty flowers to set up there on the cake. DONE! (and for the record, I thought the worms in the picture were sausage. Holy creative kielbasa! But I am from Milwaukee, so there you go.)

      • http://twitter.com/dmrkns dev

        They definitely look like sausage, which adds another level of creepy!

        • Caro

          my thought upon seeing that picture was way less pg than worms. It’s only the eyes which make them look like worms. Which is saying something, cause, you know, worms don’t HAVE eyes.

      • Heather

        I see something even grosser than worms and sausage

        • Chantelle

          I know! when I first glanced at the post I had a knee jerk reaction…ewww this topper is wrong on so many levels!

        • tina

          I know!! I saw what you saw. I was worried about this new girl, Lauren, was all about when I scrolled to my unread posts. But alas, she’s as sane as I expected. :)

  • http://cakesandbunting.blogspot.com/ claire

    I love this post! Every time I go insane, I tell my other half that I feel insane and he comes up with wise words like: “why the eff do we need cake toppers??” and my sanity is restored. Your post was immensely restorative of valuable sanity.

  • Mollie

    I thought those worms were two turds. Gross.

    • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

      I thought the same thing – or that it was some kind of sausage propped up for a photo op. Wow…gross!

      And, I love this “maybe weddings are kind of like giving birth.” With the wedding planning being the 9 months of labor – complete with morning sickness, nausea, unexpected joy followed by overwhelming emotions that flood in and out when you least expect them!

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    I was so excited about wedding planning before I got engaged. I road the high for about 2 weeks. Then I suddenly realized this sh*t costs money, and I have none, and my mom is a little crazier than I remember, and so on a so forth. Definitely not the magazine picture of wedding planning. Who gets through wedding planning smoothly? Does anyone?

    I totally agree that everyone thinks they’ll be able to do it better and easier than those that came before. I know I did. Your friends or family members who did it before you and tell you horror stories don’t mean anything until you get into the thick of it yourself. Your birth analogy is spot on.

    • Amanda

      “…my mom is a little crazier than I remember…” — I love this! Love my Mom, she’s one of my best friends, but indeed — she was crazier than I remembered during the planning!

  • Anonymous

    haha, I definitely deluded myself that ‘for me it would be different’. And then one day I somehow found myself sobbing on the streets of our downtown shopping district, while my fiancé looked on, mystified, because I could not find a tie in the exact right shade of green.

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

      I cried about the engraving on our rings*! But then I reminded myself, upset for being “that girl” & thinking that the jewelry store people would think I was crazy, that they’ve probably seen it all and were not even a little surprised.

      *But seriously, they used a different font for each of our rings. I’m still not sure why they thought it wouldn’t matter that our matching wedding bands with the same inscription weren’t written the same.

      There. You see? This is what Lauren is talking about: normal people don’t ever give a passing thought to what FONT is inside a ring! This crazy is unique to wedding planning. (But I bet you all understand, so I feel better about it! ;)

  • Jennifer

    Indeed! I was so sure wedding planning would be no problem – or, well, I knew it would be a pain because there’d be a lot of pieces to pull together, and I anticipated some stress around finances, but I was SURE the stereotypical bridal angst would not be an issue, because my close friends had seemed to get through it all pretty well, and I was even older and wiser, and what 37-year-old spends *hours* thinking about silly things like hair accessories? This one, apparently. (Note, I probably did retain more sanity and perspective than I would have had I been planning a wedding 10-15 years earlier, because I now have more sanity and perspective in general — but we’re not comparing 22-year-old Jennifer to 37-year-old Jennifer; it’s 37-and-planning-a-wedding Jennifer vs. 37-and-not-planning-a-wedding Jennifer, and the latter had some issues.) Also, based on this, I remain sure that we did the right thing for us by not getting engagement photos.

    Good luck with it all, Lauren – I look forward to reading more from you!

    • Jennifer

      (oops, I mean former, not latter — obviously it was the wedding-planning version of myself who had the issues)

  • http://www.ukuleleinrouen.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

    What a lucky thing! My honey and I just got engaged a few weeks ago (!!!!) and are just now thinking about all these things. (Actually, who are we kidding? I was thinking about these things months and months ago, and we even discussed some of them already, but now I get to send him links to things and he sends me links to things and ohthisissomuchfun!) I’m so excited to be along for the ride with Lauren who is a brilliant writer, I must say. So excited to see where this APW team goes on its adventures!

    • http://visforvictory.wordpress.com Tori

      Kinzie!

      Let me be the first member of Team Practical Chicago to wish you all my best about your engagement. This news made my day!

    • http://www.christytylerphotography.blogspot.com Christy

      Oh.My.Goodness Kinzie!!!!!! Congratulations! I’m just now going through the comments and this one jumped out at me! :) Yay you guys!~ :)

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    Oh, Lauren. Woot!
    Loved the giant sausages. There’s no way those are worms, that Etsy person is kind of a fantastic perv. (“Of course they’ll think it’s worms…haha!”)
    I think we’ll avoid the cakes (pies instead) and the engagement pictures (I can just imagine the look if I suggested them…heh!)
    You write wonderfully and I am looking forward to it all!

    • saveroomforpi

      We had pies and it was awesome. Good choice :) (we did also do “cake toppers” in having rubber ducks sitting on a blueberry pie “lake”)

      We did “engagement photos” (at Legoland in Chicago) and although I wasn’t aiming to have “engagement photos” I thought it was important to have a practice session with our photographer/friend in order to know certain idiosyncrasies in how she worked or in how we photographed. It paid off (besides having cool photos from Legoland), although at the wedding I was still very slow to be affectionate in photos with my husband (and the posed leaning in to kiss and finally kissing are not amongst my favorites (as opposed to the “you may kiss” where he dipped me) because I feel weird looking at a photo of me kissing my husband).

    • Shelly

      Yay for pies! We did 4 different flavors, and my fiance had a last minute idea to bring the whipped cream that you get in the spray cans. We cut the pie together, and then each sprayed whipped cream in each other’s mouths. One of the funniest moments of the day, plus you could kinda consider whipped cream to be a “pie topper”

      • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

        My mom is giving my fiance and I a hard time for having pies and not cake to cut. She’s insisting on us getting a small cake to cut, even though we insist the pies will be just fine. I just may have to steal your idea, if that’s OK.

        • Shelly

          Steal away! We got rave reviews on the pies from our guests, and it felt just as wedding-y to cut a pie as a cake.

        • Sept Bride

          What is it with people insisting you need something to cut? I finally got my mother and my MIL over the fact that we were not having a cake. Period. And then our caterer started getting all freaked out that there would be nothing to cut. What?!? Why is this important. We had a selection of mini desserts, all of which were incredibly tasty and there was no cutting involved. I don’t think anyone suffered.

          We did, however, “feed each other” from Bride and Groom 5-Hour Energies at the end of cocktail hour. Awesome. (Especially when I was still at the bar and enjoying the party at 3:00 am.) I hope the pictures from that lovely event will sate the moms and there need for formalized food sharing.

          • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

            Dude, I know. If it’s supposed to represent something, I don’t know what that is. We’ve been telling her we can cut a pie just as well as we can cut a cake, but it’s not registering. I think this is one of my mom’s weird sticking points because she eloped instead of having a traditional wedding. So far she’s been good about not pressuring us to do anything we don’t want EXCEPT for the whole pie/cake thing.

            My fiance and I either are going to procrastinate to the point that it’s too late to get a cake or we’re going to get a cake that’s decorated to look like a pie because we’re such smart a$$es

          • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

            We cut our cake without ever wondering “why?” but it was super awkward because – of course – we’d never cut a cake TOGETHER before and it was all like, well do you hold the knife and I just kinda prettily balance my hand on yours, or is there some way we share the handle space without either of us cutting off a finger?? No one came to our rescue so we ended up just giggling our way through it and then quickly popping the champagne :)

        • saveroomforpi

          We cut a pie – just remember not to stand with your backs to people as you’re cutting (the pie was towards the front of the table and we’d been standing in front of the table for the toasts so we cut with our backs to people).

          • Harmke

            We had a cake. Made by our moms. And a pepper-and-salt set of sheep we had lying around which functioned as caketoppers. And I wasn’t planning on cutting the cake, just didn’t see any reason why WE would do that, dressed as we were.
            But I wanted to eat cake. And nobody was cutting it. They were all just standing around sheepishly waiting for us to cut it.Sigh. So, ok, whatever, we cut it. We cut the whole **** thing and handed out plates to everyone. HA! And I somehow managed to keep my dress white. HA!

    • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

      We’re doing pies and skipping engagement shots too! Glad to know we’re not crazy :)

  • http://take-my-hand-my-whole-life-too.blogspot.com/ Ruby Lu

    loving lauren and I totally understand oh wedding planning is going to be amazing for me what is everyone else bitchin about I’ve got this down arrgh why is wedding planning so tough! Lol
    xxxx

  • http://www.piratemarrieswench.blogspot.com Wench

    Lauren … step AWAY from the cake toppers

    and thank you for making me laugh out loud at myself. I was firm believer in ‘wedding planning will be hard for everyone else but not for me’ oh how wrong I was …….

  • http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

    Maybe just give yourself a break? So much of that wedding stuff wasn’t for us, so we didn’t do it. If it feels inauthentic, it probably is inauthentic, and there’s no place for anything but pure authenticity in your marriage.

    • peanut

      totally. I didn’t even know what an engagement shoot was before people started asking us “OMG WHEN are you getting your engagement photos DONE???!!!!”. We kind of didn’t understand the point (my partner: “sooo… a stranger follows you around for a few hours while you cuddle and kiss and pretend you’re alone?) and skipped them. That’s not to say they aren’t awesome for some people – I’ve seen some amazing photos done for friends – but it wasn’t right for us. That decision set the tone for the rest of our engagement and wedding planning: if we thought it was weird or not “us”, we didn’t do it. And our wedding was awesome.

      • Eliza

        For us it was the other way around – nobody I know knows that engagement shoots are a “thing”! (Possibly because we’re some of the first of our friends to get married?) And when I told them tentatively “you know, sometimes people take ‘engagement’ photos of themselves as well as wedding photos” they all looked at me like I had LOST. MY. MIND. So, uh, we haven’t done them! I kind of wish we could though, just because I’d like the being-photographed-like-that practice, but our photographers live interstate and we can’t really afford to fly them in twice :(

        • http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

          Then find someone else! A talented friend or maybe an art student. If it is something you love, something you want to do, you’ll still get great practice, see what works for you how you feel comfortable ands beautiful… Find someone and take those pictures, because it sounds like you would really enjoy both having the pictures and the experience. Good luck!

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    Ha! Lauren! And I too thought those cake toppers were giant poops. That would have been better, right? Welcome aboard.

    • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

      I totally saw a giant poo, too! Too much time potty training, obviously.

  • Kristen

    Love this post! We did our engagement pictures on the beach in Brooklyn in October…and yeah, it was chilly. I had on a cute dress and tights and was about to take off my fuzzy vest – because who would ever take their engagement pictures in a fuzzy vest and fingerless gloves? – and our photographer was all “NO! It is chilly – this is real life – not a magazine. Keep the vest.” And so I did. And actually the pictures looked fabulous because we looked like ourselves and were comfortable – so I’m sure yours will turn out great too!

  • Mallory

    Bahaha those cake toppers are hilarious!!! Yeah I spent about 30 minutes searching for cake toppers on Etsy and quickly added that to the list of “creepy wedding things we won’t be having at our wedding”. At the moment I’m trying to approach many wedding details as “would I have this at a different kind of party?” If not, I take a much closer look at what I’m purchasing.

    Also, love Love LOVE the giving birth metaphor. I gazed at wedding stuff for years before I got engaged dreaming of making all these magical decisions and now less than 2 months into the engagement I already want to just be married and forget the party, it’s just so much drama!

  • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

    Dude, I hadn’t even THOUGHT about cake toppers until I read this post. And then I had an omgwedon’thaveacaketopper!? moment. But then I chilled out and decided that cake doesn’t need us to be awesome. It already is awesome.

    I have to join the ranks of everyone who thought that the worms looked like poo. Someone should submit that sh*t (no pun intended) to Regretsy.

    I really like the pregnancy analogy. I feel like even the pre-engagement period (when I spent all my time on Style Me Pretty) is also analogous to the pre-pregnancy “we’re trying” period, when you’re all babybabybabyyay and checking baby blogs all the time. And then when pregnancy hits, you’re no longer babybabybabyyay, at least not *all* the time.

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      On the subject of cake toppers, has anyone else seen those cake toppers where the bride is dragging the groom “towards the altar” by his coat jacket?

      I HATE those.

      • Kristen

        I was just going to click Exactly but I didn’t feel like it was enough. I. HATE. those.

        I would actually have those little worms/kielbasas/whatevers on my cake long before I would have a topper that said, “He doesn’t really want to marry me and his life will suck now that I’ve dragged him into my web of misery.” Ugh.

      • Jessica

        I love the ones with the ball and chain too…

  • Jessica

    Lauren, thanks for your fantastic sense of humor. You had me smiling the whole time I was reading your post.

    I totally feel you on the engagement photos thing. I’m not engaged yet, but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted these or will ever want them. I’ll never forget going to the wedding of my first friend to get married. I didn’t know yet about engagement photos, but when I walked in to the reception venue, they had this blown-up photo from their engagement session of the two of them on the beach, in each other’s laps, looking sexily off into the distance as their hair blew in the wind. At the time, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing that I’d ever seen, but now I realize that if they were happy and comfortable with that, more power to them. But, for me, I could just NEVER take myself seriously in a picture like that. The indie blogger engagement photos offer no better alternative, with all of the cutesy, hand-holding in a field of flowers or hand-holding in front of an urban landscape of warehouses. It just seems very unnatural to me. Again, I can see how the process would be fun and that it’s very special to have those pictures. Just SO not for me.

    If I take engagement photos, I would rather have it be something more true to life, like pictures of my boyfriend and I cooking together or playing Trivial Pursuit or something.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      This is such a good idea. We should’ve had our engagement photos done at home. I’m not outdoorsy and couldn’t imagine having photos done at some woodsy location so we ended up doing them in a studio – which turned out fine. But they would have been way more us if we’d been lounging on our own sofa or smooching as we pass each other in the kitchen. Y’know, stuff we actually do, even when we aren’t being photographed.

      ‘At home’ would alleviate a lot of that uncomfortable PDA as well.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      Our engagement pictures include several of us playing Scrabble! They turned out great– although a few of them display my fiercely competitive nature… apparently evident even when posing :)

  • ddayporter

    baha!! you’re funny Lauren. I had the exact same feeling about our engagement photos, we are like you guys in not being much for PDA, so it was Awk. we got a couple of good pictures out of it buuut, it was kind of a disappointment, as far as weddingy funtimes go. I hope your pics turn out well! but don’t worry, it’s not going to be like that at the wedding, you don’t need direction from your photog that day to look absolutely googly-eyed happy.

    AND that cake topper is hilarious. but kind of awesome. I mean what if you are both soil science geeks and you just love worms?? haha. and I have to plug this cake topper yet again because it just KILLS me. we didn’t use it because we had Zach’s grandparents’ topper buuuut I still dream about this set. ok I don’t actually but every time someone mentions cake toppers I sigh wistfully over these, the ones that got away.. http://www.etsy.com/listing/57031109/bride-and-groom-giraffes ;)

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      That cake topper is awesome. If we hadn’t made ours out of clothespins (and, you know, if I had seen that before our wedding) I would have wanted it too! Or maybe the”Squirrels Tying the Nut”…

      • ddayporter

        haha yep! I love pretty much all of her little critter toppers. clothespins sound cool though! :)

  • http://shellynn.wordpress.com Michelle

    I was also going to be different. We set a goal of stress-free wedding planning. It actually went pretty well, minus a few giant hiccups. Obsessive-compulsive better defined those times. Thanks for bringing me back to 18 months ago, Lauren.

    We had decided not to do a cake topper (but I spent hours looking at them online anyway) and then we got a monogrammed wine stopper for the shower that ended up on top of our cheesecake.

  • http://memyselfandbride.blogspot.com/ Jen

    awesome! So glad to have you posting from the wedding undergrad perspective! I followed Meg’s planning while I was planning..but then she got married and moved on to being married and I was all, “BUT I’M STILL LOST!! Don’t be so zen over there is marriage land while I’m still getting eaten alive by planning!”

    Don’t get me wrong – I love how APW has evolved and moved more into reclaiming wife and other bigger issues (especially since I am now there, too) – but damn, its so nice to have someone along for the same crazy ride that you are on while you are on it. So yay, Lauren! :)

  • K

    This was me last week only about centerpiece flowers. Centerpiece flowers that we had already discussed and decided not to do because we purposefully choice a venue with lots of nature already decorating it so we didn’t have to deal with the stress and cost of flowers. But I saw some cute knitted flowers and cute melted organza flowers and cute gathered/rolled satin flowers and somehow my tea-lights-in-jars centerpieces turned into homemade fabric flower centerpieces, which caused my fiance to look at me really confused as I was showing him my trial runs of each and then me loosing it because he didn’t love it and WE HAVE TO HAVE FLOWERS.

    Thankfully I avoided the engagement photo stress. We have a zillion photos, candid and posed, of us already and didn’t need to spend money or time posing for professionals. We much prefer the look of candids with a story behind them and the whole experience would feel awkward and embarrassing., resulting in photos that made me feel that way looking at them. :) However, that’s just us, and I can totally see why people would take them. I question my choice not to do them tons of times and probably will continue to until we’re married.

  • KT

    Oh hallelujah! Thank goodness for this site. It helps me realize that by no means am I the only one having these same feelings. I try to tell friends/co-workers and they just look at me with blank stares like I’ve gone off the deep end.

    Just had engagement photos myself and thought I was going to love the experience. Um, no. First sunny and super hot = sweaty me; then rain and 40 mph winds = wind blown hair and a photographer’s light falling to the ground and crashing completely. And yes, I felt rather awkward 95% of the time too. So many blogs and wed sites have a way of making engagement photos look like they belong in a mag and that’s just the way they should be anymore. Well, not this girl’s. Still haven’t seen all the pics, but I’ve got this rock sitting in my gut whenever I think about it. Oy vey.

    • Kristen

      Where are you located? Seattle? I feel like I was reading your photographer’s blog… One of the ones I’m looking at at least mentioned something about a windy engagement shoot. Was that you?

  • Erin

    Hehehe. This really brought me back. 8 months ago, my then-fiance really wanted bride & groom cake toppers, which (frankly), wigged me out. Little people on the cake? but WE’LL be right there!!??!! I scanned Etsy and was truly disappointed — fiance would not approve of bride & groom cute birdies, and all the people were either potato-shaped, or looked like Lladro figurines – over the top, IMO. And how on earth would I pick a Martha Stewart-inspired cake design that meshed with little plastic people and incorporated the “feel” of our wedding?

    When our venue told us, “Our bakery will take care of it. They can even use plastic people, if you want,” I was so glad to just let them take care of it. This was one of my we-don’t-really-care-let-the-professionals-take-care-of-it sighs of relief. We picked the flavors and that was that. They never called, never asked about colors. So I jumped up and down and clapped my hands and really laughed out loud when the servers wheeled out our cake for us to cut.

    It was white. And pink. And tiered on pillars. There were white plastic swans and enormous frosting flowers, and yes, Plastic Bride and Groom under a plastic and lace heart-shaped arch. It was the 80’s, and we’re not even ironic like that. It was the best tasting wedding cake I’d ever eaten, and no one cared what it looked like :)

    • Katelyn

      My FAVORITE thing to do with cakes (and hairstyles) is to say, “Surprise me.”

      I am NEVER disappointed.

  • Sarah

    Ah, cake toppers (and what in the WORLD are those?!) and engagement photos… two things “near and dear” to my heart.

    My mother was HORRIFIED that we didn’t have a cake topper a week out. So she started throwing them at me, until I finally put my foot down (we weren’t opposed to having one, but the only one we liked was REALLY tall … too tall). She was so insistent on having SOMETHING on top of the cake that she ended up stealing flowers from other arrangements and sticking them in the top tier. I found it hilarious.

    Our engagement photo experience was similar to yours … we’re lovey people, but not ones for longing looks and the like. Plus, he’s a photographer, but has no idea how to “pose”. We had no idea what to do, and the photog gave us NO direction. We had absolutely no idea how they would turn out, or if we would even like them. Turns out, there were a few keepers. Go figure! Awkward experiences all around, though.

  • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

    kielbasa?

  • http://breadandcheeseplease.blogspot.com Charise

    Hahaha, Lauren, you are hilarious. I loved reading this. :)

    I started out with the idea that cake toppers suuuuck. It was one of those things I just wasn’t going to stress about. I just threw a couple leftover flowers on top and called it a day.

    My mom is a photog, and took our engagement pictures. So now imagine all the kissing/touching/lovey-dovey poses and it’s IN FRONT OF YOUR MOM, who is ALSO the one telling you to do those things. That’s awkward. But they turned out great, so I guess it was worth it?!

  • Kendra

    I MADE THOSE CAKE TOPPERS.

    • Kendra

      Haha…Just kidding. Gross.

      • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

        I must admit my heart just jumped into my throat!!! hahaha

    • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

      HAHA! I love this joke.

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    Solidarity Lauren! Not only did we ditch cake toppers, we ditched the whole cake. We had chocolate mousse instead and no one complained. Well, my mom complained. Not because she wanted cake, she wanted a picture of us cutting the cake. She lived.

    And whenever those pictures come back remember that you really only need one good one. Only one. You can put it in the newspaper, on your wedsite, on your save-the-dates, in your scrapbook and any other place you can think of. So don’t freak out if you don’t love every picture. I’ve only been married 3.5 months and our best engagement photo has already been downgraded to a cheap frame in the least-used room in our house.

    • Leona

      We ditched cake too! I’ve never really liked it (sponge-y) and I’ve always thought the whole cake-cutting and face-stuffing tradition is a bit silly. Not to mention, our meal plan with the caterer has three appetizers, two meal options, and three sides. I just can’t imagine someone still being hungry, especially for a lunch reception. Instead, we’re baking our own desserts, putting them in little bags, and leaving them by each place setting so they’re portable if guests are full.
      A lot of people look at us with that, “okaaay, that’s…special” kind of expression when I tell them this. Oh, well.

  • Anna

    Fantastic! I want to “exactly” every paragraph of your post, Lauren! And honestly, I thought those worms were made out of ring bologna! (Anyone know what I’m talking about?)

    I don’t know if anyone is outdoorsy, but I found a few cute “outdoorsy couple” cake toppers at peak62.com (deer hunters, snowboarders, mountain bikers, fishermen/women, backpackers and hikers). We ordered the “hikers” for ourselves.

    Thanks for this. I’m planning now as well, (our engagement photo session is in three weeks) and it’s refreshing and hilarious to hear about the frustrations from someone as articulate and funny as you.

    Anna

  • Hilary

    We got a normal old cake topper from the dollar store or something as a gag Christmas gift the year of our wedding. Jokes on them b/c we used. Free and a funny story? I’m down. In addition, the cake people dropped it and broke off the bottom and so they washed it (hopefully) and then just stuck it in the cake and iced around the bottom so literally our gifted cake top was rising out of the top layer of icing.

  • http://www.jenepting.com Jen

    Oh mannnnn. Are you telling me that it WILL be as bad as everyone says? I, too, have this magical belief that people are just DOING IT WRONG.

    Hilarious post. :)

    • meg

      Some parts will be, some parts won’t be. Trying to throw a wedding on a huge budget that was apparently a SUPER SMALL budget (thanks Bay Area), was effing stressful. But in general, I was pretty zen… most days.

      • Eliza

        Five months into our nine month engagement, I’m finding that the stuff that is truly difficult and “bad”? Is stuff that probably would have come up during our relationship anyway. It’s just that it’s coming up in the context of engagement rather than some other context. (Examples: fights with my mother, boundary issues with my family, wondering about support from my friends and its substantial non-existence, etc…) Apart from finding the right venue. That was a bitch. But everything else? Really just seems to be the things that are complicated about life, making themselves known (and even more complicated) now that a wedding is involved. APW helped me prepare for that to happen, though :D

        • meg

          Exactly.

    • Marina

      I definitely don’t think it has to be “bad”. I do think weddings bring out things, especially in our relationships with partner and friends and families, that it’s easy to gloss over other times. Like, my mom and I needed to rehash things that had gone down when I was a teenager, which I had blissfully been ignoring up until that point. And my wedding was a point where cultural and social and logistical big deals all collided and we had to have it out right then.

      There’s also the part where even if you aren’t crazy, the people around you are totally going to be crazy, and that’s just a hassle. ;)

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    Ok, I’m starting to feel a little weird here because six months into wedding planning with eight months to go I have yet to feel like this, but because I haven’t and because so many others have, I keep wondering, ‘Is my time coming? Is my freak-out moment just around the corner?’ I’ve never really had any great expectations for planning a wedding because I don’t much enjoy planning things anyway, but planning hasn’t been anything like what all my newlywed friends made it out to be (ie, the giving-birth analogy)

    I guess what I’m wondering is did anyone make it through their planning without anything more than the occasional mild stressful moment, or is my time coming?

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      i guess it depends. it’s one of those things where, “the wedding doesn’t need to be the big stress-fest that everyone makes it out to be” at the same time as, “BUT if you hit a moment of stress, it doesn’t make you a wedding-failure” sort of thing.

      i had my only detail-oriented freakout moment the day of the wedding. we got through 6 months of planning without a single “cake topper moment.” i melted down over the table numbers/seating cards on the day of the wedding- for what i will still stubbornly argue was a damn good reason.

      so it happens. but for some people, it doesn’t happen all the time.

      • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

        That actually sounds like something I would do anyway. :)

    • meg

      Yup, Liz is right.

      I was generally pretty Zen. But I had my days of being pissed at the ways the wedding industry would make me freak out. Remember my planning y’all? And how you made fun of me for my sanity? Or is that too long ago to remember?

      For me, the stressful bits were the friends and family bits. Family expectations, starting to form your own family, moments where a friend did something so sh*tty and unexpected we realized they didn’t love us…. the BIG stuff. There wasn’t much of that, but I beat myself up when I was stressed by it, when in retrospect, DUH. Those moments were stressful because of the huge life transition going on, not because of the wedding. I don’t think I ever had a detail freak out. And YES, in the end the good far outweighed the bad, and we got a chance to learn from the bad on something pretty low-stakes (in the end).

      And the bottom line is, everyone’s story is different. I try to encourage the sane here, but I also think it’s important to speak honestly and funnily about the hard bits, because then people go, “Phew, I’m normal,” and can relax. But NOT stressing out is also way normal (and has been addressed in a million other posts) and there is no reason to expect a freak out.

  • http://www.chilingwang.com Chi

    That cake topper is quite interesting indeed. I wonder if the seller has had any success. I too think it looks more like turds in love, but I also subscribe to the “different strokes for different folks” philosophy.

    I really enjoyed reading the part in the end where you admit to thinking that you would be less crazy than everyone who has gone before you. I have similar hopes for yet to be engaged self. But the more I read here, the more I ponder the City Hall on a random Tuesday route.

    Good luck!

  • Anonanimal

    So, you’re forwarding those cake toppers to Regretsy, yes? Becuase if you don’t, I will. ;) Thanks for the giggle. I certainly needed it!

  • http://knitsmcgee.blogspot.com Shayna

    We had the piping design on our cake go onto the top. It looked amazing. No cake topper. I was pleased, because I too spent ages looking for a cake topper that was awesome, but not nearly as zany as replacing our heads with horses and squirrels. No dice. So I pouted, and then I said “F*ck this.” and came up with a new, much better idea.

    Also, those “worms” are definitely giant turds. If I had made that, I would just be waiting for the moment when I could call my husband to say “Someone just bought giant poops to put on their wedding cake! And they’re giving me money to do it! AAHAHHAHAHAHHH!!”

  • Kassy

    I totally get the feeling of “for me it will be different” and then the heart-sinking revelation that it won’t be. I’ve been officially engaged for a week now (but I’ve been an APW reader for at least a year, maybe more), and I was so excited at first because I’ve finally found the relationship that is RIGHT, and we’re 30 years old and know what we want, and we won’t let anyone pressure us into anything, and even my mom was supportive when I first told her. And then people started commenting that “Isn’t this a little sudden?” (not really, I’ve known him for ten years) and my mom told me that my wedding colors don’t go together and red shoes “don’t say bride” and it seemed to her that what we really wanted was a party, not a wedding.

    Here I am, happier than I’ve ever been my entire life because I’ve finally found this person who gets me, who listens to me, who takes care of me and allows me to take care of him, and we have this fantastic, honest, and caring relationship, and it seems like getting married is not only a good idea, but the ONLY idea. Of course we’re getting married! How could we not be? And then comes the criticism.

    So yeah. Only a week in, and being engaged is a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

      Kassy, congrats! And if you want red shoes, I totally say go for it! I wore red shoes (kinda a 1940s “character shoes” vibe) and we ended up finding Converse in the same shade of red for him. My mom thought my shoes weren’t wedding-y and did NOT like the idea of Converse, so we tried not to talk about it much before the wedding. Turns out, on the day of, everybody was so happy for us that not a negative word was said about the shoes, and in fact, it seems everyone kind of got a kick out of the shoes in a “those crazy kids, you gotta love ‘em!” sort of way. And we LOVED wearing our red shoes

    • Susan

      I’m tired of hearing that things “don’t say bride!” I’m getting married in one month and am having trouble figuring out my hair (it’s short), veil (I wear glasses so I’m not interested in more stuff on my face) and jewelry (I don’t wear a lot). I feel pressured by my mom and aunt to have the veil, the bling, and everything else.

      Let me do what makes me feel like myself! I’ll be the woman at the front of the church. I’m pretty sure that screams “bride!”

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      What worked with my mom was telling her that things were “blog-chic” when she thought they were lame. I would even email her pictures sometimes. It didn’t always work, but it helped. :) If you want red shoes– go for it! I’m pretty sure shoe color is a decision that is TOTALLY your own– no other opinions needed! (I wore blue shoes and loved them. So did everyone who noticed.)

      Many congrats on the engagement!!

    • http://miscetcandmoremisc.blogspot.com Eliza

      Congrats on your engagement!! And welcome to the giant club of supportive-but-critical mom-havers! (…that’s not a real word… anyway…) I have found the “listen to her, and then make whatever decision you want to” tactic works relatively well, but your mileage may well vary. Good luck!

      Also, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting a party, not a wedding. In fact, I think that’s pretty much our wedding motto. Business at the start, HUGE party in the back :D If you get married at it? It’s a wedding! Ta-dah!

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      Congratualations on the engagement Kassy!

      I’m going to echo everyone else who says wear the red shoes! I’m wearing pink shoes myself. Personally I find “bridal” shoes to be boooooring.

    • Nicole

      I just wanted to let you know that one of the only things I have purchased for my wedding so far (I’m about a year out) is awesome, kick-ass red high heels. I love them.

      Don’t let anyone take away the red shoes, or anything else you really want for that matter!!! Congratulations on your engagement!

  • Kashia

    Oh man Lauren, I just had this experience, only about veils.

    At first I thought, okay so, no veil for me. They are formal (and our wedding isn’t) and I’m not sure that I like the way they look, and knowing me I will find a way to rip it or get paint on it or have it fly into my mouth halfway through the ceremony etc. (I’m really clumsy, no joke, I have a big scar on my arm from walking into a brick wall…the wall was big, and red, and decidedly immobile…).

    Then I went dress shopping with my mum and at one of the shops the woman asked if I wanted to try on a veil with my dress. “Umm okay…?” I volunteered thinking that it was going to look funny and then my mum and I could have a good laugh about it later. But since this was a cute little place and the owner has good taste, it was a cute little birdcage veil. So fun, so sassy… Oddly enough I kind of liked it. And then my mum LOVED it. So all of a sudden we were looking for these birdcage veils and I was obsessed. And then… oh and then…. the Boy looked over my shoulder while I was searching for more online and said “Ugh what the H*ll is that? I hate veils, and I’m so glad you aren’t going to wear one!” Needless to say this lead to an uncomfortable conversation in which I got SUPER defensive of the veils….and then….you know, after the fact, I remembered that I don’t actually give a sh*t about veils, and there are lots of other fun, cute, sassy things I could wear in my hair that day. So much for never being one of those women who freaks out about the small details…

  • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

    Thanks everyone for the awesome responses!! It definitely is a unique and ridiculous journey. And an amazing one to go on with my future husband. Oh the fighting er I mean DISCUSSING AND GROWING we’ve done. :)

  • http://www.junefirst2011.blogspot.com Erika

    This was a breath of fresh air on this website.

    More Lauren please.

    • meg

      In the meantime, you can go back and read my planning posts. There are more than a year of them, and they sound… kind of like this.

  • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

    I went through this phase with cake toppers, too. Even the people toppers seem to have an overwhelming number of offensive “joke” toppers compared to your standard but nice toppers (still haven’t actually found the “nice”) yet. I thought I had dodged that particularly bullet by choosing cupcakes, until my six-year-old announced that I need to find little bride and groom cupcake picks. Because there’s not enough wedding flotsam stored in our garage yet.

  • april

    We didn’t have a cake topper because – sorry y’all – I think they’re kind of silly and I don’t really get what they’re for. That’s not to say they are ALL pointless – heavens no.(i.e. having your parents or even your grandparents cake topper? Now THAT would be lovely).

    On our wedding day, hubby’s aunt & uncle were horrified we had no cake topper and told us it was a “shame” we missed this detail. It bothered them so much, that a month later, we received a ceramic figurine of a very traditional, very caucasian wedding couple for our anniversary cake. We died laughing. Because – well, it was hilarious. That and I’m not caucasian. Anyhoo…I digress… I say less cake toppers and more – well CAKE. Who cares what occupies the top space?

    I can’t wait to see Lauren’s engagement pix! I bet they’re going to be super adorable (even if it was uncomfortable for them during the photo session).

  • Sept Bride

    Lauren – you have me cracking up at my desk. Thank you! I am looking forward to more of this…

  • http://www.projectsubrosa.com/ Cate Subrosa

    I like you, Lauren.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    Now you’ve made me really not want to have a baby for many years… at least until I can forget about how wedding planning felt! Because I thought “oh, my wedding is small and simple” and “all those crazy stressful things are going to be purposefully left out” and did that happen? Hell no. And now you’ve just burst my bubble that “having a baby probably doesn’t really hurt that bad” and “I probably will have to scream for show so I can get some sympathy”… And now, I’m rethinking that. Well, I’m sure my husband will probably be happy. I like to tease him (already) with my baby crazy tendencies, but he doesn’t find it quite as amusing as I do. :)

    • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

      I’m totally confused by this. Having done both twice (babies and now weddings), I can with all honesty confirm that having a baby is absolutely, nothing, whatsoever like planning a wedding. There are lots of reasons not to have a baby yet (at all), but similarity to wedding planning is not one of them.

      • meg

        I remain unconvinced they are so different. Both are huge life transitions, both involve family stress. I suspect there are similarities.

        • Alyssa

          I can tell you, and it might only be me, but thus far pre-conception is remarkably like pre-engagement.

          • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

            PRECONCEPTION.

            (don’t get my hopes up)

          • Alyssa

            Liz – Until you pop out that baby and promise me you don’t want to die AND did not poop on yourself, my baby factory is completely hypothetical.

          • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

            the poop-on-self is my worst fear. by far.

          • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

            Trust me… the people in there don’t even notice it, if (and/or when) it happens. I promise. I’ve been one of them. Think about what these people do for a living! And (not that I’ve ever experienced it) I bet you wouldn’t even notice either. There will be a BABY there. Nothing else matters.

            Gah- I may have just re-instated my baby fever. By talking about this. That’s kind of odd, no?

        • Mary

          I’m going to defer to the opinions of Sarah and others who have actually HAD babies as to whether wedding plannings and pregnancies are similar…I would imagine that, just as many have been saying that wedding planning is a lot different/more difficult/whatever than you imagined it to be, that having a baby likely has some unexpected parts to it to!

          • meg

            Well, I have heard plenty of my girlfriends with babies say they were similar in many ways. Plenty of my wedding blogging girlfriends have drawn really articulate comparisons (with plenty of contrasts as well, duh). The pooping, clearly is one of the many ways they are dissimilar.

      • Christina

        I would imagine that the difficult parts of wedding planning for some will be very similar to difficult parts of having a baby. For example, I didn’t have issues dealing with ‘details’ in the wedding planning – I had issues with family members fighting over being the most a part of the wedding planning –and –family members’ feelings getting hurt over little things that weren’t little things because it had to do with a big deal. I have no doubt that when we have a baby, it will be exactly the same.

    • Sarah

      Oh Caitlin, you make me giggle. I’m going to keep you and Lauren. =)

  • Christina

    one word: REGRETSY.

  • Kristen

    Lauren-
    I’m 3000% certain I’m going to like you.

  • kireina

    “Let’s just have a really delicious cake (no fondant)…”

    Amen. I hate fondant, and bakeries are trying to kill me over my no fondant rule. Oh well. Thanks, Lauren! Looking forward to more of your wedding plan adventures/meltdowns!

  • Claire

    My advice is this: if you don’t know what you’ll do with the item (like a cake topper) AFTER the wedding, reconsider. Our wedding cake topper love birds are in a box in my kitchen. Not exactly being see or well-used. It was only $20 or so, which means it wasn’t a huge loss, but it adds up.

    You can, in theory, apply this to much of the wedding planning items (i.e. it could serve as an argument to let the girls pick their own bridesmaid dresses, men their suits, etc., if you have bridal party).

    Which is not to say I was sane enough to do any of the above … but it’s something to think about if you’re losing your sanity.

    Also, I’m so glad my husband didn’t want engagement photos and that our photographer didn’t offer it in a package … outside of a signed print and a photo here and there around the house, I’m not really sure what I would do with an album’s worth of portraits of us. Very interesting to hear about the experiences you’ve had though–I was always wondering if it would be awkward.

    • Sarah

      This is such practical advice. We tried to do as much of this as possible. Though I do admit to ordering a few “extra” of things here and there so I could put them in a box for future kids to look though and play with.

      My dad dug out their cake toppers when I was little and they became neighborhood toys. Then again, my mom wasn’t too pleased with that. ::winks::

  • Emily

    I am going to have nightmares about that cake topper. I’m so glad to have you on board Lauren. My wedding is a month after yours, so I am looking forward to your posts.

  • Jess

    Oh Lauren, you are funny. Like Meg is funny…
    Jon (FH) was sleeping in this morning, and I’m sitting here in quiet hysterics over those crazy cake-toppers, until he finally wakes up and I show him and he says, in a chipper voice ‘Wow. Those really remind me of the time we were gang-raped in Africa. They’re so us!’…..
    This (unfortunately?) will not be the last time I let his sense of humor speak for us in a public forum.

    I’m still in the middle of this labor of love, trying to decide if I should just blog about it, given that I’m kind of wanting to write you all a novel about my ‘engagement photo’ experience…. but we’ll try to keep it short and sweet for now.

    We are planning our to have our wedding in a west coast town about two hours outside of the city we live in. Our parents have been incredibly supportive, but there are still the requisite well-meaning friends who, in one breath, tell us that we should do exactly what we want for our wedding but that if we have the wedding out of the city,
    no-one will come. Right. At any rate, due to illness, and moving, and crazy work and broke-ass bank accounts, we only managed to find two days all summer to actually spend on site, you know, finding places to hold our wedding. If anyone else is planning from a distance, maybe you are with me on this. Two days = just enough time to find a beautiful ceremony site, have a wonderful meal, wake up the next morning and go to find the reception site and then have THE BIGGEST FIGHT EVER with fiance (with his parents present), in a place that has only ever been happy for us. So there we are, yelling in public and me crying and him storming off…. and under parental guidance, finally hugging on the side of the road and deciding that yes, we do still want to get married. But it’s a damn good thing that we have another year to plan this ‘labor of love’ (as Lauren so wisely calls it).
    After that, we drove until we found a secluded little beach, pulled a bottle of wine out of the back of the car and drank until our tears dried and we were building little boats and helping them set sail, and poking giant dead jelly fish with sticks. And that’s when Jon’s dad decided he should take our engagement photo’s for us. Except he didn’t call them that. I should mention here that we aren’t having a professional photographer as my brother is an emerging artist and will be taking care of photo’s as a gift for us. In the end though, all it took was Jon’s wonderful parents, a bottle of wine, resolving the SCARIEST argument ever to make these funny, scruffy, PERFECT photo’s that I will always cherish.

    And yesterday I found a beautiful vintage dress for $350 dollars… And I wanted to tell you all, because we need to share our victories too (as Meg teaches us). Labor of love, maybe? But I’m pretty sure it will be worth it.

  • Rachel

    I’m dying. This is hysterical. One of the odder parts for me is that I was the opposite: I didn’t care about cake toppers and just had my maid of honor make on out of Sculpty Clay, and they were adorable though everyone wanted to know why there were cows on top of the cake, to which I said “because they’re cute” although there’s actually a much deeper story. And engagement pictures? That was like “HALLELUJAH” for me and Dan, because we’re too cute for most people, but that was our chance to be normal.” Although it was definitely weird being watched incessantly. Most def weird.

    Way to go, Lauren! I love it!

  • Steph

    I actually know quite a few weirdos (myself included), AKA science nerds, who would think that worm cake topper is adorable!

    But, I do agree…you don’t need a cake topper. ;)

  • http://homegrownwedding.wordpress.com Liz

    All I can say is AMEN! Sister, you speak my mind.

    Our engagement pictures weren’t awkward until after, when apparently everyone in our small town saw us being all lovey and followed around by what looked like paparazzi.

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

    Welcome Lauren!

    I’m a wedding planner & I was 100% positive that my wedding planning experience would be different. I had seen it all & I refused to get upset if the ink on the invitations doesn’t perfectly match the bridesmaid dresses. And I didn’t. But, wow, there were so many other things- family mostly & obsessing about finding the perfect shoes until I remembered nobody would see them- that I never dreamed of that have made the planning less than ideal at times. Then again, there have been some pretty amazing moments that I want to lock away in my heart forever.

    I look forward to the rest of your wedding planning journey!!

  • Heather

    Is it just me or does the “worm” cake topper look like something entirely different and entirely more disgusting?

    • Kerry

      Heather, it’s not just you…and I’m glad someone else has the perverted frame of mind that I do. :)

  • Amanda

    Here’s a thought for those going crazy over cake toppers, etc. – have a friend/relative make it for you. My husband’s (very artistic) grandfather made our cake topper out of tin, and depicted the two of us kissing. He even painted the tux & gown similar to what we wore on our wedding day. We plan to display it in a shadow box somewhere in our home so that we can enjoy it. When we originally asked him to make the topper, we let him have artistic license – and we couldn’t have been happier with the result.

    If the item doesn’t hold traditional or emotional significance (yet), in my opinion it was easier to ask others to construct/purchase something they liked.

  • Kerry

    This is one amazing post! Thank you for the sarcasm and inappropriate language (and no, I’m not being sarcastic). Sometimes we all need some classic “f*ck” comments…it certainly made my Tuesday a little brighter.

  • BEX

    I thought those things were poo too. Lauren, you’re funny. And you rock. Wedding planning was WAY more stress than I thought it was going to be (and not even just because of all the details, but it brought up A LOT of emotional stuff I was unprepared for). There were many days when I wished we could just get it over with already. But in the end, I don’t regret any of it (even the emotional stuff, which I’m still working through) because our day was pure magic. Yours will be too…even without a cake topper.

  • Alyssa

    Look at the awesome support system! This doesn’t mean that you won’t spaz out during yoru planning, but now you know where to go when you do…

    I’ve already offered up enough advice to you, and these ladies are much smarter than me. Though I will say, I think you do need the poop worms as your cake topper.

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      I think the poop worms are kind of a must now…. maybe I’ll order them just for fun and then put them on the grooms cake. Hahaha! Watch it be in my grad post in one of the photos! hahahaha

  • http://beckymochaface.blogspot.com Becky Mochaface

    I didn’t plan on a traditional cake topper. Rather I wanted flowers to top my cake. Unfortunately, though I had mentioned it to my florist, it was forgotten the day of. We’re standing there just as the toasts were starting before we cut the cake and do the obligatory shove cake down each other’s pie holes, when I realize, the top of my cake is empty. No flowers. My beautiful cake was topless.

    But rather than freak out and ruin what was two beautiful speeches, I shrugged my shoulders turned around and snuggled into my husband’s side to listen. There wasn’t anything I could have done about it. And here’s the kicker, no one noticed. Everyone thought it was supposed to be that way. Even my mother didn’t notice.

    And the reason why I was able to let it roll off my back, is because I had reached wedding zen. That point sometime a couple weeks before when I said f*ck it. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, great.

    It’s fantastic that you’ve reached that point with the cake topper already. Planning won’t be so bad. At least most of the time. ;-)

  • http://southernbeth.blogspot.com beth

    Those have to be some of the creepiest cake toppers, ever. Someone had to have asked for that, right? Like, who would just stumble on that and think, perfect! Weddings are weird.

  • CM

    I agree with the sentiments about the cake toppers and the engagement photos, but is all the profanity really necessary? I don’t think it serves a valid stylistic function here. It’s just crude.

    Feel free to call me a prude :)

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      oh yeah, I swear a lot. It’s just one of my things. I initially wrote it for my blog, which is adult content (except no porn!! WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?). Meg is A LOT more put together and adult than I am. :)

      • meg

        No. I curse all the time. I just star it out for firewall purposes. So, prude ;)

  • Sarah

    We’ve been married over a year now… but this post brought me right back into my pre-wedding self. It’s like I wrote this post myself, only I wrote it two years ago and across the country.

  • Alexandra

    Hah! We’ve had a long relationship & engagement, but now that we’ve decided that we want to get married about a year from now, the pressure is ON to find a venue. We have one we like, but I’m still kind of wanting to have a weekend campout wedding!

    Engagement photos: my sweetie’s cousin is a young photog [with experience] and is throwing in an engagement shoot for all his couples that are booking now. And we are fairly-outdoorsy/nature-loving people, so I think it’ll be pretty rad. And I think it helps that we’ve known him for years. ;)

    IDK about cake toppers! Was considering cute salt & pepper shakers if we have them, or just putting some flowers on top. ;)

  • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

    I had no idea about the Regretsy!! hahaha SO AWESOME.

  • Jenn

    LOVE. Plain and simple, just love the sh*t out of this post.

    One, for swearing on a wedding-related blog. Swearing on a wedding-centric blog, no less. Because due to some inherent magic of the wedding world, being up to your armpits in tulle, fondant and favors magically negates one’s desire to swear. Or increases it tenfold…

    Two, for saying anything remotely contrary to what the world (aka mom) expects you to say. For making me feel that NOT gushing over wedding colors, NOT forking over my life savings on place settings and NOT shedding a single tear when I tried on my wedding dress for the first time is, well, normal. Sane, even.

    And three, for not apologizing for any of it. No sorry, not “maybe it’s just me.” No apologetic anything. For unabashedly embracing and accepting your reaction as is, and sharing it in a way that allows other would-be-brides to somehow feel free to do the same.

    Looking forward to (much) more of the same!

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      You just knocked my motherf*cking socks off.

    • meg

      Um, Lauren is awesome. But have you read the rest of this blog? It’s all like this, with the swearing and the going against gender stereotypes and… well… this.

  • Dana

    Definitely agree with the girls who said that looked like on giant poop! haha

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    Oh Lauren, we’re going to be friends. (We had cheesecakes instead of wedding cakes and used Phoenix and Cyclops X-Men figurines we already owned for our toppers. Hey, how many brides can say they licked cake off a superhero’s feet? ;))

  • http://averyhappyaccident.blogspot.com Alice

    I actually accidentally found an great cake topper on etsy (from dandelionland) even before I’d started looking…you can see the finished result here … http://averyhappyaccident.blogspot.com/2010/10/cake-toppers.html
    (our dog Soqueta is represented too!)
    And since it was custom and the seller is super detailed oriented, it really helped me (made me) work out all the details of what we were wearing about six months ahead of time, which is honestly a huge relief now that the wedding date is getting closer. My one problem is that… I don’t really want a wedding cake… I’m an avid cupcake and pie baker but I think I’m going to be obligated to have a cake of some sort just to use the cake toppers!!!

    As for the difference between having a baby and planning a wedding… my friend, who is not married, just had a baby and she recently told me that she doesn’t know how I can handle all the stress of planning a wedding… I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And I honestly still don’t. Having a baby has to be a billion times more stressful… a wedding is one day , a baby is a lifetime

  • http://luckyme23.blogspot.com Jessica

    So I didn’t read this post yesterday, because I was scared someone at work would walk by and see that picture and report me to HR. I can’t imagine explaining how this is actually a crazy cake topper that I read about on my most favorite wedding blog. I didn’t realize at the beginning how much of my freak-outs would be related to worrying that I’m getting ripped off. I know part of that has to do with the amount of $ everything costs and the other part that it’s a “once in a lifetime” choice that I won’t be making again (no do-overs). The stuff that had already been pre-determined like our wedding venue, caterer, bridal party were easy decisions, but things that I had no opinion about like the dress, photographer, rentals, invites, have turned into total nightmares. I’m constantly worried that I could have picked a better fitting dress, a cheaper seamstress or a fancier photog and that the people I have hired will somehow find a way to screw me over. I’m really looking forward to more Zen and less stress, but I don’t know where’s the end of the tunnel.

  • http://fairlytypical.wordpress.com Jen

    THANK YOU FOR READING MY MIND AND WRITING IT DOWN!!

    1. Wedding planning is not the experience the WIC tricks you into believing it will be. I am in the process of planning my wedding and it is driving me INSANE. From one detail to another – the feeling that if I don’t get every little thing right people will be judging me, but how can I do this I don’t think we have a style or even person styles who the hell are we(??), my photos will be bad, my wedding tacky, and the world will fall apart oh my goodness!

    2. Engagement photos = totally awks. We took some in May and it was everything you just described. Awkward affection that we don’t really do in public. Lack of direction, nervousness. All of those things. In the end we got some really lovely photos but in quite a few the awkward feelings totally show.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

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  • http://leahandmark.com Leah

    Haha, ohhh the cake topper saga – I’m sure many of us can relate to your dilemma. In the end, we also said f*ck it and weren’t going to have anything, but then our friend who knows I’m a bit of a pyro gave us some sparkly candles that we stuck on top and lit…and blew them out. Happy Birthday to our Marriage! Isn’t that what a wedding is?

    As for the engagement photos, don’t feel bad for feeling awkward. For most people, it IS awkward. Very much so. And hopefully your photos end up looking fantastic, even though you felt uncomfortable the whole time. But really, it’s the photographer’s job to put you at ease and make it a fun time for everyone. My husband and I took our own engagement photos – but this was before we were photographers ourselves. If you end up not liking yours and still want some cute photos, you can buy a cheapo tripod online or at Target and do the whole self-timer thing. It makes for fun photos as one of you inevitably has to run around in the front of the camera. And you’re usually more comfortable because it’s just the two of you, and you can take as many as you want!

    Looking forward to many more posts from you – Yay for Interns!!

  • Emily

    I just sent this to my fiancé to prepare him for what engagement photos will be like. Thanks for the post :)

  • Kelsey

    It’s entirely likely that no one will ever read this comment, but…
    Up until I read the “worms in love” part, I thought that cake topper was made of polkas kielbasa. Like, the stuff you eat with sour kraut. I’m still undecided about which one is weirder…