This morning, Lynn (who wrote a beautiful post about being a Motherless Bride last fall), talked about the emotional realities, and her complex feelings about her wedding day. Now, she’s back, to talk about the logistical realities—what she learned, and what she wants to pass on. She talks about the reality of DIY (I’m now slightly desperate to have her knit me a sweater, which is clearly not supposed to be my takeaway from this post), and no-nonsense tips on everything from ordering food to facials to hairstyles. Seriously people, this is good stuff. So without further ado, I bring you Lynn:
The planning started with a list of things I knew for certain that I DIDN’T care about; my astrologer* says that is the Capricorn Moon in me, but what does she know? *We live in Eugene, Oregon where saying things like “my astrologer” or “my medical marijuana supplier” or “my tarot card reading revealed” are standard (and completely valid) references.
Primarily these “didn’t wants” revolved around clothing. I didn’t care about having a wedding dress or matching bridesmaid get ups or warehouse tuxes. I pictured all of us (bride, groom, maids and men) comfortably wrapped in warm hand knit sweaters, perfect for the fall and completely reusable in everyday ways. I pictured October. I pictured this exact cake. I pictured 75% of the decorations able to be thrown right back out into the forest floor where they came from.
I wouldn’t call myself a crafter, but I am creative, and if I picture something I can make it happen. In October 2009 I started knitting. I needed four sweaters in one year. Now, luckily both Maids and Justin are small…very small (and if you are or know a knitter you know the drastic difference between knitting a sweater for a size small guy vs. a size XL guy). By April 2010 I was still knitting (and suffering from tight shoulders and neck aches) and by August 2010 I was calling in last minute knitting support otherwise we would be walking down the aisle sleeveless.
Who’s idea was THAT…knitting sweaters.
Thinking back, we all would have been JUST as lovely with hand crafted scarves and I would have saved hours, days, weeks, MONTHS of time that I could have used on things like, say, cleaning the toilet (which was so disgusting we needed a haz-mat suit just to enter the bathroom by the end) or actually having time to snuggle, god forbid have sex, with my guy. How many times he heard, “Scoot over, I don’t have room to knit!” and, “Don’t talk to me, I’ll lose count!” I’ll never know. And, about a month out from the event I decided that I needed a big party dress ANYWAY (‘cause when would I, a realistic burger&brew girl at heart, ever have occasion to wear one again). Don’t get me wrong, we all LOVED our sweaters, and every one of us will actually get to wear them again and again and again…but a little perspective would have been helpful in the beginning.
Perspective like, you already have a TON of DIY projects to pull off, should you really add another? But in all my wedding undergraduate wisdom, DIY = Cheaper (which I found out later is a big bunch of bullsh*t some of the time). After I chastised myself for spending way too much for ribbon (to make these totally adorable ribbon wands) I realized that DIY does NOT equal cheaper but what it DOES equal is amazing quality time for weeks on end with your best friends, fun giggles with your groom and surprising connections with people you THOUGHT were only casual acquaintances (until they put time and energy into your event that would put the Energizer Bunny to shame). WAY more important than money any day.
And while we are on the subject…money. You have it sometimes, sometimes you don’t, but either way you are ALWAYS going to worry about it. If you’re lucky, one of you is the “oh I just MUST have those designer shoes” and one of you is the “can’t we just hook up our IPod” types; because in the end you have just enough of everything. We set clear expectations on what we would NOT compromise on (wedding photography and yarn quality) and what we were willing to forgo (wedding videographer and rehearsal dinner). But even with our clear expectations, we still argued (and cried) about money.
Things I am glad I thought of, and want to make sure I share.
Focused on the whole “gathering” aspects of the wedding? Looking forward to spending time with friends and family who are out of town? Negotiate with your photographer to spend one or two hours at your rehearsal dinner. We asked if we could “move” two hours of the wedding day time commitment to the night before for the same cost. This resulted in more opportunities for those lovely candid family shots and I actually like MORE of them than the reception shots.
Spending a lot of time “setting the mood” of the event with the right ambiance? Have a certain type of music taste? Check out “top wedding songs” lists…you will be surprised how many of those songs you actually really hate. Cross off everything you absolutely do not want to hear and create a “do not play” list for your DJ. This saved us from the Electric Slide and the Macarena which are truly STILL played at weddings nationwide.
Actual tips I wish I had known BEFORE I started planning. (All I can say is TRUST ME, you won’t want to, and everything your hearing and thinking and feeling is telling you I am wrong…but TRUST ME!)
TIP #1 – For God’s sake, drastically under order cake. What is the worst that can happen, someone doesn’t get a piece of cake? Trust me, they are not there for the cake. We had 55 guests, our cake “served 40” and we STILL had cake left over! (And it was TOP NOTCH cake).
TIP #2 – Drastically under order food. What is the worst that can happen, someone doesn’t get seconds on the bacon/cheddar scones? Trust me, they are not there for the food. We had a buffet-type brunchy finger-foodie spread. We had way too much food! Like, kid-you-not, three large coolers worth of leftovers.
TIP #3 – Negotiate with your wedding photographer for a free or heavily reduced rate on a “day after” shoot “in case of rain” clause. We loved our rustic farm setting and were hoping for numerous shots of us around the farm…the rain had other ideas. Having a lovely indoor/outdoor event in a gorgeous setting? Hoping for jaw-dropping shots of bride/groom and or wedding party outside?
TIP #4 – Don’t spend a ton of money on 6 months of fancy facials. You know what actually worked (and what I wish I had known in my teens) cover your pillow with a clean towel every night. Seriously…clean towel, EVERY night…it has done more for my skin than steams and extractions and steeply priced cleansers…SERISOUSLY!
TIP #5 – Planning on an awesome modern side chignon hair style? Hug 5 or 6 people and remember what side your “meet cheeks” on and make sure the hair style and/or fastener is on THE OPPOSITE. Otherwise you will be doing one of two things…squishing your lovely updo or forcing everyone to hug counter-intuitively.
Photos By: Anne Nunn Photography