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Becca & Jason


*Becca, Environmental and Alternative Fuel Consultant & Jason, E-Commerce and Marketing Manager*

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

This week, we wanted to talk about the good parts and hard parts and complicated parts of being a woman. We wanted to talk about feminism, and the pressures of life, and the pressures of wedding planning and building a life together. And as far as I was concerned, there was no better person to speak to this than Becca. Many of you know Becca from her wedding planning writing at A Los Angeles Love. These days, as she figures out what’s next, she’s blogging eloquently and smart as ever at Stumble and Leap. She also happens to be my roommate at Camp Mighty this weekend (it’s going to be an awesome weekend, clearly). So today I’m honored to get to share her deeply wise and profoundly well written letter to her newly engaged self, as well as the story of her wedding, with pictures by APW Sponsor Kelly Prizel. You all should read it, wedding planning or not. It’s that kind of post.

Becca & Jason | A Practical WeddingDear Just-Engaged Becca,

Congratulations! You just got engaged! I can see that you’re a combination of bouncing-off-the-wall happiness mixed with detailed excel budget panics mixed with eff-you-effing-eff-this-wedding-bs rage. In fact, you’ve already hit meltdown territory, and it’s only been two weeks. (Of course, this doesn’t surprise me. You’ve always been an overachiever.) You knew you could do this wedding thing better, cheaper and more fabulously than anyone else in expensive-city Los Angeles. You knew that months of pre-engaged research and your event planning background would make this easy. You knew that you’d bypass those nasty wedding planning fights because you and Jason have an uncanny ability to talk through disagreements instead of fighting.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

Now that a whole two weeks of engagement have disabused you of these notions—here’s a glass of wine and a hug. In fact, here’s a whole bottle of wine, because you’re going to need it. I wish I could offer you sage advice from the other side, but I know now that you’ll have to learn it yourself. The hard way. The very hard way.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

You can repeat APW wisdom on a mental loop (you will) and it will help a great deal (really and truly) but you are still going to fall apart a bit. Okay, a lot. Like right before you finally make peace with your budget when you realize you simply can’t throw a 150 person dinner party in Los Angeles for $15,000 when you don’t have a magical free backyard venue or self-catering abilities or enough time for cost-saving DIY. And that’s okay. And your eventual budget will be okay. You were frugal as heck where you had to be, sensible about the splurges that mattered, and smart about about the I-just-don’t-care-I-will-pay-to-make-it-go-away issues.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

Somewhere along the way you realized this wedding was an investment. You were investing in the oh-so-important time it takes to nurture a new family. You were investing in a Thank You to the people who supported you along the way. You were investing in this single chance to get both of your far-flung families and friends in one place at one time. Squabbling over another $100 wasn’t going to make or break you, but the ongoing arguments probably were. You never loved the total budget tally, but you loved every piece of your wedding day, and so the money you spent was worth it.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

I wish that you could hear this and believe it. Really and truly know it in your soul and not just because you’ve been trying to calm yourself with a wedding zen mantra. Because here’s the thing: your wedding will be worth it. In fact, it will be everything you need it to be. And more.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

While it may be worth it, it won’t ever be easy. There will be fights. There will be breakdown moments, some over important things (having a small intimate wedding versus a large inclusive wedding) and some over unimportant things (stop stressing out about the free ugly chairs. Seriously. Stop it now. They aren’t thaaaaat ugly and no one noticed once they were sitting in them. Period.)

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

But because it was hard, you’ll learn things. Important things. Like that you and Jason fight fairly, and that long walks are the best way to talk through your problems. You’ll learn that you can make it in your relationship, even when things are dark and horrible and you haven’t had a non-crisis or non-wedding conversation in months because you’re both literally working until the wee hours of the morning and still trying to plan a wedding. You’ll learn that you can be lonely in your relationship but that long-term love is built on faith, trust and forcibly stolen moments. You’ll learn that you will each do whatever it takes, including braving Costco with a raging bachelor/bachelorette party hangover the weekend before your wedding, because it needed to get done and because you can always count on each other.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

You’ll also learn that you have a true community, and they’ll be there for you in ways that go far beyond hosting showers, bachelorette parties, baking your wedding cake, playing your ceremony music, buying wholesale flowers at 6am, or setting everything up the morning of your wedding. You’ll learn to forgive your mother for being disappointed that your wedding choices don’t match hers because she was your rock and she made magic out of your rehearsal dinner celebration. You’ll learn how close Jason’s family is, and how special it feels to become a true part of that over the course of a wedding weekend.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

And you’ll learn that it’s okay to indulge in fluff. In fact, because tight budgets mean every choice is deliberate and shaped by highly practical constraints, you’ll need fluff. You don’t need a wedding full of it, of course. Nor does fluff need to be expensive. But you absolutely need to indulge in sheer superficial beauty and fluff. Wedding planning will often feel like you’re being crushed by exceedingly practical realities and yet also like you have to simultaneously scream “are you crazy? Who the eff decided we needed party favors at weddings?” Even the ceremonies themselves are a contradictory mix of practical promises and formal agreements that are built on wisps of hope that this particular marriage will last and love where so many others have crumbled.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

After being sensible with so many of your decisions (and yes, sensible includes some expensive choices) you need something entirely impractical. You need those wisps of hope and ephemeral beauty to be part of your day. For you, it’s not going to be about crafting or letterpressed invitations, so you can stop drooling over those now. (Even thought they’re gorgeous. Obviously.) Because for you, it will be about your hair, makeup, and attire.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

It will take you time to understand that you’re not buying into the Pretty Pretty Princess Day wedding cr*p when you obsess a bit about your attire. But you’ll learn that it’s not about being the center of attention or because it’s The Most Photographed Day Of Your Life And You Have To Look Perfect. No. For you, it will be because your attire, hair, and makeup are completely, entirely, selfishly yours in your wedding, after so many compromises along the way. And once you make peace with that, you’ll also have to learn that your wedding day attire isn’t self-definitional. It will simply express who you are on a particular day (30-years-old, a comfortable mix of elegant and earthy, a little bit fierce, and entirely in love) and will fit your particular venue and celebration (outdoor wedding in a hippie community with a casual-ish taco truck fiesta). And for you, the jewelery, your friend-made hairflower, and your friend-made bouquet will be more important than your simple $200 Nordstrom dress, so allow yourself to discover your own meaning, well outside the bridal salon and perfect dress expectations.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

I know you’re probably chafing against this advice. I hated all the “you’ll sees” and elusive promises of wedding zen, but it’s the best I can give you. Even if words could describe it properly, the best part of your wedding will be experiencing the particular way in which the wedding magic unfolds for you.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

I can’t explain how it will feel to fall asleep the night before your wedding with a clenched-hard jaw and gritty commitment to just get through the next day. But, even better, I can’t explain how you will feel light-as-air when you wake up the next morning free from expectation, and how your wedding day will be full of expansive, weightless-yet-weighty, joy. I can’t explain how it will feel to take your first quiet moment with Jason in months, as you share a wedding morning breakfast while overlooking the canyon where you’ll get married. There’s no way to describe how relief and joy mingle when you arrive at your venue and find ten friends and family members already on site at 9am, with coffee, ready to string papel picado from the rafters and set up chairs on the field. Or how it feels to watch the soul of a wedding unfold as your community gathers around to make your wedding happen and come to life, with friendship-love and family-love and romantic-love layering upon each other in the most perfect expression of joy you’ve ever experienced.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

I know you despise cliches, but your wedding will really will be the best day of your life (so far). It became more than your heartfelt hopes about welcoming and building family. Something changed that day. Your family and friends stood with you. For you. They helped create something bigger and became part of your promise. They opened their hearts to you in new ways, because they all know what it means to make this commitment. They know that the promise is solemn and huge, but they can only hint at it with tears of joy in their eyes. “We know,” they say. “And we can see that you know too. Marriage is laced with struggle and pain because life is shot through with overwhelming challenges, but it’s worth it because you have someone to rely on. Someone to love. Someone to laugh with. Someone to make it a little bit better when it’s hard.” They know. And on your wedding day, you will share that wisdom in the flashes of 150 beaming smiles, and you will feel the weight of your promise deep in your soul.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

The wedding is a conversation where we speak in tears and hugs and tipsy joyous dance floor singalongs. When you say yes, your community says yes. That raw, ragged, expression of love opens hearts so wide that something important changes. Your wedding will matter.

Becca & Jason | A Practical Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I say that with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart because I know these next 18 months of planning will be hard. But I also know, with fierce conviction and giddy joy, that the challenges along the way will be worth it.

Love,

Newlywed Becca

The Info Photography: Kelly Prizel Photography / Venue: Topanga Community Club / Catering: Border Grill Taco Truck / Coordinator: Sweet Emilia Jane / DJ: The Flashdance / Invitations: Up Up CreativeDress, Wrap: Nordstrom Wedding Shop / Hair Flower: TruLu Couture / Suit: Jason’s closet (originally from Theory) / Tie: Tie Obsessed / Flowers: Los Angeles Flower District / Ketubah: Fresh Ketubah Design

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  • Liz

    This post came at just the right time. As a newly engaged person stressing out about the ugly free chairs at our venue, thank you for your words of encouragement and practicality.

    • kayakgirl73

      Don’t worry about the chairs. My mantra regarding my venues chairs was one less vendor to deal with, i.e. no rentals needed.

      • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

        I went with the free, ugly venue chairs too & trust me, not one soul noticed. Including me at the reception!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    Wow. This must be the most beautiful wedding graduate post I have ever read and that is saying something… because this place is full of wisdom.
    You just put in words exactly how it feels. Being lighter than air, being surrounded by love and community on the day and it feeling bigger than anything, because it is, in fact, the start of something huge. Everybody helping to put it together, and the day being better than you imagined. And all those details you talk about. For me, the dress and hair and makeup were also important and it was ok. And this as well “when you don’t have a magical free backyard venue or self-catering abilities or enough time for cost-saving DIY.”.
    Anyway, I think I would have to quote this whole post for emphasis.
    Congratulations.

    • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

      And just how beautifully does she write? SO beautifully.

  • http://intrepidbrytani.wordpress.com Brytani

    Hell yes. I would send you long-distance high fives, but I recently found that it makes me look like a frat boy. You know what? Scratch that. We wedding graduates need to get our frat on. *Victory high five*

    • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

      Feminist sorority high five right back at you (if we can reclaim wife, we can reclaim the sorority too, right?)

  • Chris Bergstrom

    Beautiful! Especially here:

    “Somewhere along the way you realized this wedding was an investment. You were investing in the oh-so-important time it takes to nurture a new family. You were investing in a Thank You to the people who supported you along the way. You were investing in this single chance to get both of your far-flung families and friends in one place at one time. Squabbling over another $100 wasn’t going to make or break you, but the ongoing arguments probably were. You never loved the total budget tally, but you loved every piece of your wedding day, and so the money you spent was worth it.”

    Even 7 weeks after our wedding, I feel ambivalent about it, and half that ambivalence is about the money we spent. It was within what we could afford, and we made choices to keep it small, but still I wish it could have been less, and I thought it would be less. I’m a broke grad student and it hurts to think about that much money, gone.

    BUT we made the choices that we thought were right for us and our family, and we did a pretty good job of it. This paragraph made me feel like I am going to come out the other side of this ambivalence and see our wedding for the tender and beautiful day that it was.

    Thank you.

    • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

      I really think the wedding budget discussions, shaming, and expectations can be toxic… especially when they can be so wildly unrealistic for the costs of throwing an event. We initially had such an optimistic, hopeful goal, but we ended up spending the upper limit of our available budget. I was disappointed with myself for a long time, as if I’d somehow failed myself for not achieving some absurdly impossible benchmark. But when I focused on the result of the expenses and the reasons I loved my wedding, the diminished pocketbook woes faded. Good luck making your peace.

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

        My meltdown was over stamps. The stamps for postcards were hideous polar bears. We had a vintage San Francisco thing going on (this was our first attempt at wedding). Tony suggested getting custom stamps through Zazzle. I focused on the total Wedding Budget and how the stamps put us Over Budget. He looked at me, asked, “Will they make you happy?” Yes, happier than effing polar bears. “How much do they cost?” “$40.” And then he rolled his eyes at me and pointed out that we could pay that out of pocket. It was something we would never feel. I bought the pretty stamps for our save-the-dates.

        (Also, nobody noticed the pretty stamps, so there’s that lesson, too.)

        • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

          I had my own stupid moment about stamps. I bought the limited edition giant modern art stamps that I fell in love with… 6 months before we’d even chosen invitations. After such emotional ANGUISH, I bought them. And then we ended up with square invitations that necessitated adding ugly industrialist single cent stamps that nearly made me cry.

          No one noticed the ugly stamps either. Or the art stamps I loved. Oh wedding brain. It gets the best of us.

  • http://www.wedding-for-two.com Ellie

    I feel like it’s so hard to explain why the details matter when it comes to weddings – it’s not that they actually matter in terms of, “if we don’t have hand folded origami swans at every place setting, the wedding will be a disaster!” They matter in other ways – and Becca totally nailed it.

    Also, amen to not loving the total budget tally, but loving every piece of the day and therefore it being worth it. I get a little sick when I think about how much we spent, but when I break the wedding into individual parts of a whole, I’m very okay with what we spent, and I loved every bit of our wedding so it was so worth it.

    • meg

      Well, they matter and they don’t matter all at once, right? We perceive the world in details, so they matter that way. But the way we’re sold details in the wedding world is, um, bullshit (technical term!). Because details are really… details. They are not the point. Though some will end up mattering.

      BUT. The details you don’t have almost never matter.

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

        I think the details matter more in the planning process than on the actual wedding day. I mean, thinking about some pretty things were bright spots in an otherwise difficult engagement. Crafting took my mind of some of my stressors and allowed me to work with my hands.

        Unfortunately as I was far from family and friends, I did not have the experience of creating the details with my community, but I can imagine for those that did and do, the details become very meaningful as symbols of the memories they have from making them with their loved ones.

        • meg

          Which is great. It’s when you start STRESSING about details that you need to know that it won’t matter too much if you burn them (if you want to).

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    “Even the ceremonies themselves are a contradictory mix of practical promises and formal agreements that are built on wisps of hope that this particular marriage will last and love where so many others have crumbled.”

    Writing the ceremony was one of the hardest parts of wedding planning for us. I’ve never seen the reason articulated so well until now, though.

  • Erin

    I really love your comparison of the practical and impractical, yet necessary “fluff.” Witty and so so true. Congrats!

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    “I can’t explain how it will feel to fall asleep the night before your wedding with a clenched-hard jaw and gritty commitment to just get through the next day. But, even better, I can’t explain how you will feel light-as-air when you wake up the next morning free from expectation, and how your wedding day will be full of expansive, weightless-yet-weighty, joy.”

    Yes. This is exactly it, isn’t it? It’s EXACTLY it. Thanks for this- I wish I had been able to read this when I was engaged and planning and going a little crazy.

    • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

      Yeah…that bit made me cry in anticipation of this Friday night.

  • Claire

    Ha. The ugly folding chairs that came free with our party room were the only thing I stressed (a little bit) over. I kept debating whether or not to rent pretty ones, whether they would look cheesy and cheap, ruin the photos. I am so glad I let that ridiculous idea go and saved that unnecessary expense. The free ones worked just fine and none of my peeps would have noticed the difference anyway.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    There’s so much about this post (and Becca!) to love, but this piece touched me:

    “You’ll learn that you can be lonely in your relationship but that long-term love is built on faith, trust and forcibly stolen moments.”

    Because, YES.

    • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

      Yes to forcibly stolen moments… and Becca don’t forget this when you have children. You have to forcibly steal moments. I find that stealing a “do not disturb” sign from a hotel and making your bedroom a NO GO ZONE for kids helps ;)

      • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

        This was my husband’s favorite comment today. I fear the next hotel we visit may be missing a Do Not Disturb after we leave.

        • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

          DUDE… you have to actively cordon off an erotic zone in your life! Truth.

  • carrie

    This could have been written to me. So much of it resonates! I often think of what I would tell my engaged self, but I know I would never listen. But I think it makes the letters to our engaged selves that much more poignant. Beautiful words, beautiful wedding. Congratulations!

  • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

    Favorite wedding grad post ever.

  • Harriet

    Beautiful post. And I love the picture where the two of you have your hands up in the air–the joy/love/fun coming off of that picture looks like a great start to a marriage. :)

  • http://heartfulmouthful.wordpress.com kaitlin

    This might be my favourite wedding graduate post of all time. ALL TIME!

  • Erin

    As someone who’s been engaged for just over 3 days now (and secretly been reading APW for longer than I like to admit), this post really struck a chord with me. We’ve said we won’t start “planning” until after the holidays, but even then our anticipated date of spring 2013 seems so far away but so close all at the same time. Becca really touched on everything that I’m concerned about, especially pulling off an inexpensive wedding in an expensive city (Boston). Thank you for this and I’m sure I’ll be bookmarking it to come back to often during my planning to reassure myself that this “investment” is absolutely worth it.

    Also, I totally want a taco truck at my reception now – that looks amazing!

    • Laurel

      Congratulations!

      p.s. No matter when the date is it will always seem far away but close at the same time!

    • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

      Is this Erin in Boston from book club on Saturday? If so, does this mean that you got engaged after book club?!?!

      • Erin

        No, I was not at the book club on Saturday – though maybe I’ll have to plan on being at the next one cuz it seems like it was an amazing time and a great discussion!

  • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

    Holy Shit, Yes! (to each and every bit of this post that could NOT have come at a more perfect time…that time, for me, being 5 days before my wedding)

    But really, this…exactly.

    “You’ll learn that you can be lonely in your relationship but that long-term love is built on faith, trust and forcibly stolen moments. You’ll learn that you will each do whatever it takes, including braving Costco with a raging bachelor/bachelorette party hangover the weekend before your wedding, because it needed to get done and because you can always count on each other.”

    • carrie

      Five days!! This week will likely be the most insane but the most wonderful at the same time. I had never been so annoyed with my then-fiance than I was two days before our wedding, which cracks me up now. So hold on for the ride, it’s worth it. And congratulations!!!

      • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

        Or four, since we’re getting married on Saturday and it’s already Tuesday. Time flies when you’re losing your mind!

        :D

  • erin

    THANK YOU. Needed this so much right now! Such simple honesty…

  • K

    “You were investing in this single chance to get both of your far-flung families and friends in one place at one time.”

    Yes. I knew this before our wedding and knew how important it was for me, as a bride living away from my small family , some of my best and longest friends, and knowing I had soon-to-be relatives that I wouldn’t meet until the day before the wedding. Remembering now how they all were up until 5 am after the wedding, long after my husband and I called it a night, is such a precious memory to me. Especially because I had NO idea how quickly It would be that I would be drawn into my new family, and how truly fleeting and special that moment was. It can never happen again because some of those people are already gone. I can’t thank myself enough and feel grateful enough that we had that time!

    • K

      Also:
      Marriage is laced with struggle and pain because life is shot through with overwhelming challenges, but it’s worth it because you have someone to rely on. Someone to love. Someone to laugh with. Someone to make it a little bit better when it’s hard.” They know.

      Yes. Yes. Yes. Exactly.

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  • http://annaandtheringlondon.blogspot.com/ anna and the ring

    I think you learn that you want to married to that one person.

    Beautiful and wise aren’t you!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    “You’ll learn that you will each do whatever it takes…because it needed to get done and because you can always count on each other.”

    One of the things I love about being married is that feeling of conquering tasks as a team….

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

    Wise & beautiful- truly touched my heart!

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    Thank you for this post. I live in – and am getting married in – downtown Chicago. Like LA, it’s an expensive place, and I sometimes feel guilty about the amount of money we’re spending on the wedding, even though we are spending the money very practically and not buying All The Things. I like the way you think of your wedding as an investment in your community. I’d been trying to figure out why I’m OK spending the amount we’re spending on our wedding and you’ve finally articulated it, so thank you for that.

    Also, we have a splendidly gorgeous venue that comes with free ugly chairs, too. Why do venues buy ugly chairs? Don’t they know it stresses us out?!? Occupy The Ugly Chairs!

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

      They probably do it so that they can upsell us the non-ugly chairs. Hang in there. Chairs really, really aren’t noticeable.

      And if you need any cheap Chicago recs, feel free to contact me. I had a cheap Chicago wedding that I’m still amazed we pulled off.

  • pixie_moxie

    You look so awesomely HAPPY in all of these pictures! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your wise words that captured many parts of my wedding experience as well.

  • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

    Becca,

    Thank you for this. I so needed to see this post four days before our wedding when I’m feeling stressed and near tears and couldn’t sleep at all last night because I was having wedding nightmares.

    I just hope I feel the same release you felt on Saturday and am able to be fully and joyously present.

    • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

      Oh Ruchi! I know how long you’ve been planning and I also know how indescribably horrendous the last week can be. So many hugs. So many wedding joy wishes. Once there was nothing left on my to-do list except Get Married (or I decided to ignore the to-do list items that I just didn’t care about anymore) I found that I couldn’t do anything but finally be present. I hope you get the same. I strongly suspect you will.

    • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

      11/12/11 is our date, too.

      I agree that this came post at the most opportune time for me. I trust that the release will be there…let go and let it happen.

      The planning is just a means to an end, and the end is amazing because it’s actually the beginning of something else entirely. Mantra.

  • http://youngsandinlove.blogspot.com valery

    Ahh! This is so awesome. As someone who followed along Becca’s journey on her blog, (and bookmarked TONS of her posts for wisdom), this post is far and away my favorite.

    Especially love this: “The wedding is a conversation where we speak in tears and hugs and tipsy joyous dance floor singalongs.” Yes, yes, yes!

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

    Like Becca I needed to learn a lot of lessons the hard way through wedding planning. Man it was a really tough 15 months, and like Becca I’d like to give my early engaged self a big hug and maybe a case of wine. Because I certainly needed it. But some of those lessons can only be learned by roughing it — going into the belly of the beast and coming out the other side wiser, braver and stronger individually and as a couple. And like Becca, it was all worth it for us in the end.

    • meg

      And you need to write your grad post, no? (cough)

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    “You were frugal as heck where you had to be, sensible about the splurges that mattered, and smart about about the I-just-don’t-care-I-will-pay-to-make-it-go-away issues.”

    YES. That line about the budget rings so true for me as we’re planning our “this is what we choose to spend budget wedding.” It’s so difficult to make the choices about what is and isn’t important to fit a self-imposed budget. It’s balancing the “What? You mean we shouldn’t sacrifice our dream to have the house paid off by the wedding to have pretty chairs?” with the “I really love this dress and don’t want to effing make my cake so I’m spending the dollars because it’s just easier.” YES. Just Yes.

    And YES to the whole post. Becca, this is amazing. So amazing, I printed it out. It’s going to be tacked above my desk at home. Just as a reminder.

  • http://www.spottytypewriter.com/ Kerry

    Becca,

    So here’s where all your happy little thoughts about your wedding have been hiding! I loved reading about the planning process on your old blog, and I enjoyed the posts afterward about particular details, and I’m happy to have your new blog that chronicles where you go from here…but here is the meat, the whole, the birds’ eye/hidsight/ far enough for perspective stuff. The truth. Beautiful.

  • Kathryn

    I LOVE the part about how you will look expressing who you are on that particular day. I’ve found my dress (pretty sure), and it was such a feeling of relief (“Oh! I’m not going to look like crap! I feel pretty in this dress!”)… but then there are a hundred other doubts because it’s The Dress, and somehow that seems to make it an unreasonable reflection of self. And mine is not simple and elegant, it’s a fun party dress, and I try so hard to be simple and elegant. Tomorrow I show the dress to my mom, which for 100 other reasons is stressful, so wish me luck! And thanks so much for the reminder that the dress isn’t self-definitional. Because, let’s be honest, a piece of clothing is never going to be able to encompass who a person is.

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

      Good luck. If you feel good in it, that is the most important thing. Hang on to it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

      • Kathryn

        Thank you! I’ll remember!

  • http://onwardfulltilt.blogspot.com Caitlin

    This might just be my favorite wedding grad post ever. Amazingly said. Thank you Becca.

  • Megan

    Thank you. I really, really needed this and am bookmarking it for all my other freakouts about ugly chairs/not wanting wedding favours/gritting my teeth about getting through the day. Thank you.

  • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

    This:

    “For you, it will be because your attire, hair, and makeup are completely, entirely, selfishly yours in your wedding, after so many compromises along the way. And once you make peace with that, you’ll also have to learn that your wedding day attire isn’t self-definitional. It will simply express who you are on a particular day…”

    So much of your post was packed with wisdom, but this struck a chord with me. Because there were so many compromises, or times when we just gave way entirely beneath the pressure of “how things should be done.” But dammit, I was wearing an updo. And grey tuxes are fabulous. And NO MOTHER, there will not be pantyhose.

    Thank you. :)

  • Hoppy Bunny

    “Marriage is laced with struggle and pain because life is shot through with overwhelming challenges, but it’s worth it because you have someone to rely on.”

    YES!!! Life can be very hard, and we all need somebody. Congrats on your marriage!

  • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

    Such a great post, for so many reasons. A few parts that I particularly loved:
    1. Giving yourself permission to have impractical lovelies that will delight you to your core

    2. Getting the fact that sensible doesn’t always mean “less expensive” and sometimes it is just so worth it to pay somebody to do something that you just can’t/don’t want to do (in my case, DJ the partay and coordinate the day of).

    3. Not beating yourself up over going over budget–and seeing it as an investment because you WERE so thoughtful about it all.

    4. Getting it done because you have to, and being able to count on each other. This was something that the days before and after really drove home to me. I had worked so hard for so many months on details and spreadsheets and logistics and lists with Brian being generally supportive, and kind of involved. But the day before I zoomed in on crates and crates of roses/flowers and was basically unable to do anything else. And suddenly Brian kicked into high gear and just took over so that I could crash. It was awesome and I know now that he really and truly has my back. We do things differently, but he really has my back.

  • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

    Lovely, lovely post. Your writing was my rock, when I was planning, and I know these words here will be someone else’s.

  • http://halfpintwords.wordpress.com Christen

    Oh, wow. Becca just encapsulated much of what I’ve been coming to terms with over our wedding. A combination of this and Verhext’s letter to her wedding, with a dash of Morgan’s wedding planning while grieving and being a motherless bride? All wrapped in a budget-destination package.

    Becca, you’re brilliant. And wise. Thank you for being so much so that it just made my morning a little better, and made me feel a little more at ease.

    • meg

      Ohhh! We’ve been needing someone to write a budget destination post!!!

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for this! Your description of your wedding is everything I want/hope for ours. Early on in our engagement (we got engaged in August) we decided we wanted a wedding to bring our families and communities together. We’re also working with trying to swing 150 people on a $10,000 to $15,000 budget that just seems to keep expanding. That, and dealing with all of the f-ing details are driving us to want to just run away. Your story has inspired me to keep going, because hopefully all the stress and budgetary expansion will be worth it in hindsight.

  • http://www.little-white-dress.com Alexandra

    This post just made my day. I’m glad I am reading this as someone who is just starting to plan. The fact that wedding planning and an engagement can teach you so much and you saying all the struggle is worth it fills my heart with excitement. I’m so excited to get married, but I must remember the journey is important too and remind myself to enjoy it all. Beautiful post and beautiful pictures. Congratulations!

  • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

    What amazes me is how *you* this post was. Crazy as it seems, really being honest with yourself and who you are is way harder than it should be. But Becca, you nailed it. And I love you for it.

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    Becca, I LOVE what you said about the wedding being an investment and a thank you to your community. Spot on advice and much-needed in a culture that tells brides and grooms to hunker down and not let anyone else have a say in their celebration because then it just won’t be youuuuuuu.

  • Erin H

    Oh Becca, you made me cry. About a year and a half ago I emailed you to find out where you did your did your pre-marital counseling, and you told me, and we did it too! Though we weren’t Jewish and at the time not even engaged, which made for funny introductory conversations. We’re still not Jewish, but we’re engaged now! That counseling was the first step in feeling like a family unit and I’m so glad we did it.

    So many of my Los Angeles wedding planning lessons are learned from you (cough “you simply can’t throw a 150 person dinner party in Los Angeles for $15,000 when you don’t have a magical free backyard venue or self-catering abilities or enough time for cost-saving DIY” cough). Clearly from the post above, I will have many more to learn, or think that I’ve learned, and then REALLY learn them when they blow up in my face. Ends up, just because you know full well ahead of time that wedding planning *might be difficult*, it’s still a surprise when it is.

    This post feels like the end of an era, a passing of the baton, to all of the newly engaged out there who now get to feel all these feelings for ourselves. Thankfully with the benefit of APW wisdom on our side.

    • http://stumbleandleap.com Becca

      Oh my gosh! So happy the pre-marital (and pre-engaged) counseling worked out! And as for everything else, I’m so happy my writing resonated. I found Los Angeles wedding planning so particularly hard, and the more practical or affordable resources so few and far between. LA is hard but the payoff can be great. Enjoy the journey and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Wonderfully beautiful. Wouldn’t it be great if we really could send letters like this back to ourselves? I think the main thing I’d want to tell myself no matter when I was writing to myself is to relax. But I’d never believe future me. So maybe it’s better not to try to figure out the whole time travel thing right now.

  • http://hitchdied.com Robin HitchDied

    Becca, I just adore you. This is such an incredible, wise, fun-to-read post from top to bottom. Let’s just say that my expectations were VERY HIGH, and you exceeded them.

    And this: “You’ll learn that you can be lonely in your relationship but that long-term love is built on faith, trust and forcibly stolen moments.” was something I really needed to read today.

    • meg

      When are we getting YOUR WEDDING GRAD POST, hummmm?????

  • Tre

    Wow, Becca, and thank you for the wisdom, ladies. I’ve transitioned after becoming officially engaged to having a tough time letting go of the details. I grapple with every decision because ‘you’re only doing this once’ and ‘it has to be YOU’ and all these societal statements that create so much pressure. It’s great to take a deep breath and sink into a community where I can be reminded that no matter how much I obsess, we can create beautiful photos with the emotion we bring to the day, and my ‘cheap’ dress is just right– which in the world of future husbands, weddings, and marriages is more important than perfect (according to my core values, anyway).

  • –Lisa

    “Somewhere along the way you realized this wedding was an investment. You were investing in the oh-so-important time it takes to nurture a new family. You were investing in a Thank You to the people who supported you along the way. You were investing in this single chance to get both of your far-flung families and friends in one place at one time. Squabbling over another $100 wasn’t going to make or break you, but the ongoing arguments probably were. You never loved the total budget tally, but you loved every piece of your wedding day, and so the money you spent was worth it.”

    I am getting married in a week and a half. I just found it that it might rain on my beach no-backup-plan wedding. I spent $100 on umbrellas today. I really needed to hear this today; thanks.

  • HH

    Wow. I just read this and felt like some of it was being screamed at me, because some of it is EXACTLY what I needed to hear (and share with my FH, since he is the one who hates the ugly free chairs and is adamant about changing them) only one month into being engaged.

    Also -and perhaps I should be commenting directly on your “new” blog- I needed to read everything on there, and I will need to read it all again and again tomorrow and the next day.

    To all those commenting that Becca said exactly what you needed to hear- Go. Read. http://stumbleandleap.com. Right. Now.

    I don’t always go read other people’s personal blogs, being new to the blog world and getting caught up in APW archives and things…. but… wow. Just…. wow.

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your words and thoughts and feelings and everything.

    Really. Thank you.

  • Meghann

    This moved me to tears! I have found myself so worried about my wedding day because I’m afraid that I’m going to be overwhelmed and exhausted from all of the attention and all of the details. Hearing your description of your wedding day was so beautiful, and it was exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Maggie

    I was hoping there’d be a wedding grad post, before you officially closed this chapter… and of course, you delivered in a beautiful and wise way, as always.

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

    I have been pondering what to write to you all day, and I wanted to say (like I do every chance I get), thank you, Becca. I could not have survived the nearly 2 years of planning my own wedding, and then canceling my wedding and replanning it, without you and your wisdom.

    I don’t have much of substance to add to the comments here, except to say that the wisdom of this post is also in knowing that you told yourself (and the rest of us) these things all along, as you discovered them along your journey. Thank you for sharing such an important part of yourself.

  • secret reader

    officially added to the pre-engaged bookmark file! thanks for all of this!

  • http://anotherringcoming.wordpress.com Another Emma

    Thankyou, Becca. So many chords struck and such a sense of overall peace at the end of it all – which is really what I’m aiming for, with 4 weeks to go!

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  • iames

    Just stumbled across this from who knows where, but I just wanted to say thank you thank you thank you for posting this. This made me cry because it’s everything I’ve been struggling with, and it’s what I needed to hear to keep going (as so many other brides below me have said).