Elisabeth: What Worked, And What Didn’t


A final debrief of the urban clambake

by Elisabeth Snell, Contributing Editor

Elisabeth: What Worked, And What Didnt | A Practical Wedding

Tonight, we are precisely three months past our wedding. While I do a final edit on this piece, K is shoving sunscreen and Bananagrams and our passports into her suitcase, because tomorrow we leave on our post-wedding tropical getaway. (K found us a house on the border of Panama and Costa Rica that is ten minutes from the beach and backs up onto a sloth preserve, COME ON!) We’re heading to a part of the world neither of us has ever been to, ready to round out a year that has been packed to the very brim and bring in a new one.

It’s taken me three months to be able to write in any coherent way about our legally binding clambake. And I still struggle to articulate the way I felt throughout the weekend, how I was both completely present while feeling like I was hovering above myself, watching the extraordinary go by. (Perhaps the best example of this is how I could recite to you what our priest said during her short, powerful homily, but as soon as we left the church I turned to K and said, “Wait, did we kiss?” K assured me that we did kiss, several times, in fact, with great gusto.) At three months, I have just about enough distance from the event to look back on what we hoped would happen, what didn’t happen, and what we didn’t know would happen. The moment you start telling people you’re getting married, the wedding planning advice starts rolling in, so I’ll try to make this not so much advice as the final debrief about what worked and what didn’t for the two of us.

What did work: Getting ready together

On the morning of our wedding, K woke up before the alarm, like she always does, and I woke up at the Morning Edition theme song. One of us said something like, “Dude, we’re getting married today,” and then we got up and I started padding around in my decrepit fuzzy slippers and K started making coffee and practicing bowties. All in all, a pretty normal morning, except for this one special, lovely weekend surrounding us. We had what felt like hours of time together, reading the paper, getting pretty and handsome, eating scrambled eggs, grinning at each other. It was the perfect way to center ourselves for what was coming next. Originally I planned to get ready with my closest friends, and I do still love that idea, but it would have felt foreign to get ready without K, who weighs in on all my daily outfits and recites the checklist I need to get out the door in the morning. (Anyway, our friends were all booked getting our reception area ready or practicing songs or getting roasted chickens or driving a canoe back to the city.)

What didn’t work: A total lather about hair and makeup

Towards the end of wedding planning, I freaked out about my hair and makeup. I rarely wear anything more than a ponytail and lip gloss and tinted moisturizer, and don’t know how to do much more than that. Because my gender identity is lazy-femme. Which normally is fine, but I started panicking about how we were going to get a batch of amazing photographs and I should look my very best in them. I have a few friends who would have happily done this for me, and who would have been way more excited about it than I was, but they were all already dispatched to set up the reception area. So instead, I didn’t think about it, and didn’t think about it, and then was surprised at how much hair and makeup costs, and everyone was already booked, and then I found a lovely person who was a terrific stylist except we weren’t really a match. What I really wanted was a slightly-gussied-up version of how I always look, and she was accustomed to fancier brides. There was a moment that morning where we actually had to take out the updo and start over. It ultimately worked out fine, but I could have avoided long-term and short-term stress by just practicing (look at this smoky eye!). That, and really believing that the joy I felt that entire day was going to come through in the photos—regardless of how my hair looked.

What did work: disaster preparedness Prep

K, who is a disaster preparedness and response professional, always says that “disaster preparedness begins at home!” (And this is apparently why we have eighty rolls of toilet paper shoved in the hall closet at any given moment.) In disaster response, when you’re planning a complicated rebuilding project like blitz-building five houses in one week with three busfulls of well-meaning, easily distracted college students, it’s good to spend some time talking through worst-case scenarios. What will you do if it rains every day, if two of the job sites aren’t ready and there’s no electricity? She calls this prepwork Fright Night. And we Fright Night-ed the ever-living daylights out of our wedding. We talked through every last scenario (rain, complicated families, slow subway trains, toast drop-outs). This meant that we had more than enough time for, say, an updo redo. Walking through our wedding weekend a hundred times over was totally worth it for the security and peace of mind and complete lack of running around that morning.

What didn’t work: Turning into my own personal Sherpa

As helpful as Fright Night-ing was, however, it also spawned this totally bonkers list of what I brought on my very own person to my very own wedding: hand sanitizer, Colgate Wisps, Epi Pen, Metrocards, emergency migraine medicine, safety pins, mints, two Kind bars, two kinds of Rescue Remedy, ibuprofen, a pantyliner, more mints, an umbrella, a pashmina. At one point, I was seriously considering including a hard-boiled egg for K. Why? I don’t know?? The only thing I can think of is that in the early stages of wedding planning, we looked at a very remote, magical summer camp, where we were going to have to bring in everything, and I somehow forgot that we switched our venue to New York City. Where there is a Duane Reade on every corner. Where, if your button flies off, your priest can just dash across the park to the dry cleaners, who will sew it back on your coat in less than a minute. (True story!) There is no reason to bring a freaking hard-boiled egg with you on your wedding day. Pack light, because there’s going to be at least one if not a dozen people who would be thrilled to carry all of that stuff to the church for you.

What did work: Thinking beyond a white dress

When I was looking for a wedding dress, everyone suggested I try some actual white wedding dresses on, and no one believed me when I said I didn’t want to try any on because I didn’t want to wear white. I thought about it, I really did, and I could just find no part of me that was excited to wear a white wedding dress. I look shitty in white. I look radiant, however, in navy blue, and after several shopping editions, came home to a gigantic Modcloth order, and the last dress of the bunch was my navy, vaguely nautical, swirly, floaty, vintage-ish, affordable cocktail dress that beamed back at me and said, “I am what you should wear to an afternoon urban clambake.” I loved it from the moment I put it on. I loved it the entire day. I loved that a few weeks later, a friend of mine bought it to wear as a bridesmaid in another wedding. That dress will look perfect on everyone. May the love continue.

What didn’t work: Forgetting to take any intentional pictures with friends

K and I worked hard to create a celebration that was as much about friends as about family (especially K, because she has a very small family), which is why we were both so disappointed when we realized that we hadn’t made posed shots with friends a priority in the way that we’d done with family pictures. We had a short, harried, pre-wedding photo session with our families, and it would have been so easy to ask our friends to participate (they were already there). And probably more fun. There’s some wonderful candids, but it would be so nice to have posed shots.

What did work: Making Time For Toasts

One of the best moments of our wedding was hearing our friends and family lovingly roast us. K’s people talked about her loving pushiness and mine talked about my steamrolling enthusiasm, and many people talked about how glad they were to see this match. And I felt so seen, so witnessed by their words. There is something very powerful about hearing your people publicly honor you.

What did work: Postponing The Getaway

So as I mentioned, we are three months past the wedding now. And only now are we getting away for any extended time off. As it turns out, I am so glad for the pause between celebrations (even though initially it was because of work schedules). Right after the wedding, we found a ridiculously cheap little red upstate farmhouse off airbnb, and sat around for a few days just telling each other how much fun we’d had, seeing movies in the little town cinema in the middle of the day, and sampling farm stands. It was the perfect, low-key, quiet time we needed. I wasn’t in the right mindset to head off for a longer trip. I needed sleep and about a hundred hours of blankly staring out at the meadows to start processing what we’d just experienced, and a tropical beach would have been wasted on us.

Tomorrow, though, I plan to appreciate every last grain of sand.

Photo by Elizabeth Leitzell

Elisabeth Snell

Elisabeth is an MPH working in public health in New York City. Her old okcupid profile said she’s really good at: fixing socially awkward situations at parties, return trips to Ikea, whipping up excellent mac and cheese on camping trips, leaping into the ocean, being chronically late, and having Friday night adventures all over Brooklyn. In September 2013, she married her introverted, punctual K.

read the comment policy before you post

  • Tania

    “There is no reason to bring a freaking hard-boiled egg with you on your wedding day.”

    Best wedding advice ever.

  • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

    Elisabeth, I so feel you on postponing the big trip. After our November wedding, we went away for three days to a bed-and-breakfast in the mountains about two hours from our house — and it was the best decision. As you mention, I was totally not in the headspace to run off on a huge, expensive, possibly international vacation. I just wasn’t. Instead we ate leisurely dinners, drove around, talked about the wedding constantly, reviewed all the Facebook pictures friends posted, saw movies, shopped and just did whatever . . . and it was glorious. We probably got the must pushback about not taking a “big” honeymoon during the planning process, but it didn’t matter — we knew what was right for us.

    Hope you have a marvelous trip! Sloths!

    • Ella

      SLOTHS! I concur. Would it be weird to ask Elisabeth to do a post about the sloths, in addition to her and K’s honeymoon? I just love you guys. And also sloths. :)

      • Elisabeth S.

        Oh! Yes. I will indeed write about the sloths! Because what was supposed to be our amazing romantic once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon was actually, um, not at all. One highlight? K waking up with double pinkeye. PINK EYE. NOT ROMANTIC.

        • Emma Klues

          Can we also ask for a link to where you are staying? I think I just found my next vacation deadline.

          • Elisabeth S.

            Ooo, we should have an open thread on honeymoons — how, why, the dual trips, the big trip, so on and so forth — and I’ll give you the whole tale then! Suffice to say, I loved our little getaway post-wedding way more than our big once-in-a-lifetime trip.

        • Meg Keene

          Ha. My Brother in law got HORRIFIC food poisoning in Mexico on their honeymoon. The trip was epic, I mean, they got that???? #Bad

    • clairekfromtheuk

      Same here. We had four days in Cornwall of doing nothing but sleeping, eating and walking the dogs along the South West Coast Path and it was perfect.

      You’re knackered after a wedding plus (if you’re me) there’s a tonne of organisation that *needs* to be done in preparation for a big holiday so why would you want to do that on top of wedding/clambake planning??

      • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

        Completely agree. I’m a generally anxious person who has to cross all Ts and dot all Is, and the idea of planning a huge trip on top of a big-ass wedding was just . . . no. I know my limits, and that was one. Glad to know we weren’t alone!

    • Alyssa M

      I’ve been considering the honeymoon as an excuse to take some ridiculously fantastic trip that we would never spend money on otherwise… but this really rings true to me… perhaps we should stay in the states and find a cute little out of the way place to just relax…

      • KC

        First anniversary! Fifth anniversary! There are things to celebrate. :-)

        Or, as others have noted, if you have enough vacation time you can double-honeymoon – a “relax and decompress and recover” honeymoon immediately after the wedding, and then a more travel-y Fancy Honeymoon after a while.

    • Kayjayoh

      Another person planning to put off the big getaway. We are doing a “minimoon” right after the wedding in a rented cottage in northern WI, bringing some friends along. (Northern Wisconsin is much more fun with a group.) Nothing we haven’t done a million times in some variation or another. Easy to plan, easy to pack, easy to get to.

      We are saving out big trip for months later, when it is cold and miserable and we want to be warm. :)

      • CII

        I think this is a great point made in the article and the comments — if what you want (that’s an if) is to not plan another thing, you can have a small getaway stat and, subsequently, when planning sounds fun again, plan a big getaway. And it’s still okay to call that big getaway your honeymoon.
        We spent two days at our favorite mini-getaway coastal hotel right after the wedding because I could. not. plan. another. thing. We took two bottles of wine left over from the afterparty and a duffel bag packed in ten minutes, hit the coast right in time for sunset, and spent 2 days doing glorious nothing. Now, a few months later, we’re getting ready to cure the winter blues by embarking on a weeklong tropical getaway. Waiting a few months also helped us set a budget / put the wedding $$ we received from guests to use.

    • Meg Keene

      That said… getting away on our honeymoon after the wedding was the best thing we ever did, and the happiest time in our lives (forget the wedding). Waiting would have been emotionally disastrous for us.

      • KC

        The “getting away” part was vital for us. But we “got away”… very close by, and just hid out and hunkered down and enjoyed being married and processed emotions and talked and caught up on sleep and snuggled et al and had No Responsibilities for a week. Way better for us at that point than something where there were externals (museums! islands! whatever) that we would have felt guilty about not “properly appreciating”. But that was us! (and specificially, “wedding planning and prep burned me out so badly it’s not even funny”, me)

        • emilyg25

          Yep, we did the same thing. For us, it was important for us to “get away” for a bit after the wedding because we needed time to decompress. Our wedding was fabulous, but it was emotionally and physically exhausting. Our honeymoon gave us a few days to chill out and feel normal again. Plus, we were super duper in love and just wanted to spend every minute with each other, gazing into each others’ eyes and smooching. (Seriously.) It would have sucked if we had to go back to work or run errands or whatever right after! I know not everyone can take a big trip or a ton of time, but if possible, I highly, highly recommend a day or two to just chill and do nothing. You can stay right in your house!

        • Meg Keene

          We went to England and Scotland, and we really needed that time AWAY AWAY in our own tiny bubble. And, you know away from everyone. We were burned out by prep too, but differently.

          But. Obviously, that kind of away is not always possible. But my point is, if you’re considering, it may well be right for you. Just staying close by would have worked in a pinch, but was not our ideal, as it turned out.

          • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

            Meg, question, sorry this is off topic but I’ve been freaking out and digging up your old stories about your fear of flying. Did you take that SOAR course before your honeymoon?? I didn’t think so, but then how did you manage to fly over the ocean? I’m terrified. Planning on taking that course…was it scary??

          • KC

            Yeah, it was our ideal (because staying home is basically where it’s at for us in terms of recharging, despite all our travels), but different people have different ideal conditions, and “locked in an apartment together for a week without people knowing where we are” was basically the best of all possible worlds for us but would probably have been torture for many. :-)

            I do think that, for introvert-y, easily-overstimulated people, it’s wise to skip going somewhere where you’re not going to feel Terrible and like you’ve potentially Missed Your One Chance if you don’t see everything there is to see, though (we needed to *not* go to Paris or Egypt at that time), so that you can have that processing time without also trying to juggle external tourist stuff. (but, like, a village in Cornwall would be awesome) But that’s a potentially-small subgroup of people; easily-overstimulated people who also have problems with guilt about making the most of trips. :-)

            (I no longer generally have guilt about “making the most” of trips. We are truly making the most of them if we get the most out of them and enjoy them; we are not getting the most out of them if we melt down and hate things all the time. Therefore, it is okay to spend a night “in” and eat yogurt every once in a while, even if there’s a really cool concert going on or a museum we haven’t seen. It’s okay. There is more to do in the world than it is possible to do.)

          • KC

            (I guess: just as people don’t magically become different people for your wedding, for the most part, you don’t magically become different for your honeymoon, except for the processing/catharsis/other-not-normal aspects of it that Meg mentions in this thread. So, if you’re normally an “I love country hopping!” person, even when you’re kinda tired or stressed, then that’s probably good for honeymoon. If you’re a “please can we hide in the hotel?” person, then take that into account with destinations and plans and expectations for what you’ll “get done”. If someone else’s ideal-sounding romantic getaway is bicycling across New England… if you personally loathe bicycling and have spaghetti-noodle calves, that’s probably not a good plan for you, even though it sounds really romantic and fantastic in theory (and for someone else!). Honeymoons, like engagement rings, sometimes take a hit from Status and What Other People Are Impressed By and What Is “Normal” instead of getting to really be a good fit for that particular couple.

            (I do totally agree that the time immediately after the wedding is substantively different for most people than Other Time, though. It’s that first round of processing/acclimating/holding-on-and-letting-go/etc. But you can have a hide-out-honeymoon and then a Fancy Trip We’re Telling People Is The Honeymoon later. :-) )

        • M.

          We are going away the next day to the other coast (as far as we could get with FF miles) for a week of us, beach..and nothing else. As Meg said…it would emotionally disastrous for us any other way. We need to be alone, away from planning, work (especially work, for me), city life.. to just be, and process, and enjoy. I am, at this point, way more excited for the honeymoon than for the wedding!

        • T.

          I kind of wish we had done this. My husband was thrilled with our honeymoon in the US (we’re from Australia) but frankly I didn’t want to leave the hotel room most mornings and as awesome as the museums and galleries and shops were I was too exhausted to deal with it. The worst part is that the idea of any future trips to the US is coloured by that experience. Basically he got his dream honeymoon and I spent a week with sore feet in museums wanting to be at home. Every other trip I’ve loved being out all day every day, and this one I just wasn’t up to it but felt too guilty to stop.

      • Amanda

        Maybe there is a post about this in the archives somewhere, but why did you think it was important to get away right after the wedding? We are still on the fence about whether we should wait or not for the honeymoon. Right now, I’m leaning towards leaving right away but picking a destination that allows for plenty of relaxation but has “stuff’ to do if we decide we want that too.

        • Meg Keene

          Oh, I feel so strongly about this that it’s in the BOOK. The wedding was intense, good and bad. Getting away right after for our honeymoon was both the best two weeks of our lives to date, but also sort of what formed the beginning of our marriage. We needed to get away, just the two of us, to process what had happened and be in a bubble together.

          My opinion (based on lots of conversations of people that put off their “honeymoon” as well as my experience) is: if you put off your honeymoon, what you get is actually a nice vacation. The honeymoon thing is a limited time offer. It’s this only once emotional moment that happens right after the wedding, as you process it together, stare at your rings, think about your new roles in each others lives. If you’re lucky, you’ll get many nice vacations together. But once the honeymoon ship has sailed, it’s gone. You can use that time however you want: cabin away, locked in your apartment, on a trip around the world. You can not do anything and reward yourselves with a nice vacation afterwards. But that honeymoon bubble lasts for about two weeks or so, max.

          Obviously many people disagree, but after years of doing this and talking to people, that’s my pretty firm opinion on the subject.

          • Amanda

            Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Processing everything together without any outside opinions sounds just wonderful. I have the book, but haven’t read it in a few months so I’ll definitely go back and re-read that section!

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        I’m glad you said that. Because I was just thinking “oh no, we’re going to Italy!” and then my best friend is getting married in Tulum so we are flying to Italy, then Mexico, then back to LA. A month of tripping. So yay, we can still go to Italy.

        • Meg Keene

          Moral of my story: Go to fucking Italy :)

          I mean. If it’s an option. It’s pretty much always a good plan, but you might get a little extra magic in honeymoon land. IMPORTANT NOTE: I had a full scale sobbing meltdown on day three. I’ve heard many other people say the same thing. I’m just glad I wasn’t… at work… you know? So, not perfection, but that’s part of why we needed time away, whatever that might look like for you.

        • Meg Keene

          Your comment is not showing up. BUT. I took SOAR after my honeymoon, my flight anxiety got way worse then. The course was a life saver, you should take it.

          I find international flights way easier though. You fly higher, the plane is bigger, it’s smoother. Takeoff is weird (plane is so big) but over all easier.

          • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

            thank you!! im definitely taking it before we go. the over-the-ocean thing terrifies me. definitely taking the course!

    • 39bride

      We ended up with a “Minimoon” purely because that was all we could afford (4 days at a local island). But it ended up being perfect for us and we have wonderful memories of it. Someday when we’ve saved up a ton of money, we’ll spend it on an amazing international trip when we can focus on the experience and not the “OMG, we just got married and everything has changed” feeling along not noticing anything/one in the world other than each other.

    • outside bride

      We were thinking we’d do our first international trip (walking a coast in GB by hopping between B&Bs and pubs) for our honeymoon, but, well, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re just not motivated enough to plan an international vacation and a wedding at the same time. So, we’re planning on just backpacking in a nearby National Park. Advantages are all we need is a permit and we’ll have 58 miles to be really alone to decompress. But I am still looking forward to the GB trip as the real honeymoon – I’ve never “backpacked” without sleeping on the ground or eating dirt before, and it sounds quite fantastic!

  • emilyg25

    Yes to pretty much all of this. I packed a giant “Oh Shit Kit” and didn’t use ANY of it. But I’m a big planner and like to be prepared for anything. (My parents still joke about the vanload of crap I insisted to taking to college.) We took our honeymoon right after the wedding, but intentionally planned something chill and fairly close to home. That way, we didn’t feel the need to do all the things. It was relaxing and lovely.

    The hair and makeup thing is also so true!

    • APracticalLaura

      An “Oh shit kit?” Amazing!

  • http://www.mcintoshandburke.com/ Hannah McIntosh Burke

    And may I say that the navy dress is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com/ Deva C.

    I love the dress – I’ve loved it since I first saw the pictures from your wedding! I agree about the posed pictures with friends. We have friends who came to our wedding that we only see every three or four years and I wish I had planned pictures with them, or just a big group picture of all of the friends with us, together.
    I giggled about the hard-cooked egg because I was there, but with granola bars and capri suns.

    • Sarah

      Yes, we wanted a lot of good action shots and weren’t as concerned with our posed shots. That said, our photographer recommended we corral a family member/cousin (not someone like a parent or other VIP) to have a list of the shots we wanted.

      • Elisabeth S.

        ooooo, that is a great tip I should have included, actually! Assign someone to be a photo-wrangler! We had a friend be the photo-wrangler and it made our lives so much easier. She stood next to the photographer and barked out names, and all we had to do was smile.

    • Elisabeth S.

      EVERYONE NEEDS CAPRI SUNS on their wedding day!

  • Katherine

    It’s nice to hear other people talk about being overly prepared…for everything. I’m not traditionally girly in most ways, and I think my husband was a little shocked the first time he saw me pack. I also do NOT understand those tiny purses that most women seem to carry to fancy events. Yes, my huge purse tends to sit at my chair all night, but at least I have my stuff if I need it. :)

    Also, another honeymoon option, which worked for us, was to have two days at home before our honeymoon. (Many relatives & friends come to town for the wedding, and it seemed wrong to leave until they’d gone.) Those two days served as decompression time, which allowed us to really enjoy the sights on our honeymoon to Iceland.

    • Jen

      Hooray for Iceland, I’ll be getting married there, see my comment above!

  • Kayjayoh

    Elisabeth, thank you for sharing these thoughts, especially the sherpa part. I can totally see myself doing that!

  • macrain

    I am already in a lather about hair and makeup! It’s such a personal thing with the potential of having you look nothing like yourself. (While I’m at it- anyone know hair and makeup folks they like in the Charlotte, NC area?) I love your dress and I love how it made you feel. I hope I feel the same on my wedding day!

    • jashshea

      I really like my hair/makeup artist in CLT (who’s the fairest), but it depends on what you’re looking for. I had no issue with not looking like my everyday self and wanted to be glammed up quite a bit (false eyelashes, lots of eye makeup).

      Kymm was delightful and super easy to work with. I was super happy with her.

      Good luck!

      • macrain

        Thanks for the rec! Coming from another APW lady it means a lot. :)

  • Emmers

    This makes me want to have toasts, which I didn’t think I wanted because I didn’t want to make people bored: “I felt so seen, so witnessed by their words. There is something very powerful about hearing your people publicly honor you.”

    And thanks also for the input about wanting posed friends shots. I would really value this, and I also wouldn’t think to ask the photographer about it.

    • Elisabeth S.

      You know, from what I can tell (that is, what people have told me and the pictures of people laughing their heads off), no one was bored by the toasts! I should have written that we didn’t have an open mike, though. We carefully managed them — we asked those that we wanted to speak/those that clearly wanted to speak/wouldn’t feel panicky or dread it. We had a placeholder slot for my mom, who liked the IDEA of talking but really didn’t want to upon the day of (I knew that would happen, and was totally fine with it). My sister was dying to roast me, my brother requested that he not say a word. That’s pretty much what I could have predicted from their personalities at age three. So yes — may your toasts be sweet and your photographs of friends be many!

      • ML

        Yes, I totally agree with both these points. You articulated so well why toasts were important to me. My mom’s toast is the voiceover for part of our wedding video and I know I will treasure hearing her voice and wisdom in the future. I can’t think of another time she would address my partner and I in this same way.

        Same regrets about not having posed friend pictures. I realized after we got our pictures back I never even got a face-on photo with my friend who officiated. I wish I had thought to ask for that, and I’m glad you’ve put that advice out there for future brides!

  • Moe

    I was a wedding day sherpa. In addition to all of my wedding weekend attire I had to also pack up ALL OF THE WEDDING DECOR that had turned our tiny apartment into a warehouse. Each box of decor was sealed with a packing list so that anyone opening the box could instantly tell you what was inside. It took a really long time to do all that organizing but it was so worth it because I didn’t have to micromanage the cew who helped decorate.
    Yet even with all of that careful planning and preparation I still managed to forget a pair of shoes to wear when I wasn’t in my wedding dress. Booze. Because having a drink at 9am on your wedding day really does help. My bridesmaids saved the day in both of those instances. I didn’t have a stain remover pen handy when pollen from my bouquet landed on my dress. Thank you DOC for having one!
    Listen brides: YOU CAN NOT PREPARE FOR EVERY POSSIBLE SCENARIO. …and that’s ok.

    • http://thevanillabride.blogspot.com/ Sonarisa

      I’m totally going to be a wedding day sherpa- and after this post I think I’m trying to refine my list of things to have with me (I usually carry a large purse/knapsack day to day, so not having EVERYTHING on my person is really hard to imagine…) What things were really useful?

      • Moe

        In my weddng day purse I carried oil blotting papers, a mirror, my phone and the hotel room key. Good thing I had that little purse because it was filled with cash and checks by the time the evening was over.

        My friend who is in parks & rec and does events for a living has an emergency kit in her car, I borrowed some of her ideas and packed items like sharpie markers, masking tape, a glue sticks and a glue gun, and a spare can of gold spray paint with all the decor. I don’t know if any of it was used or where it went. (be prepared to maybe lose stuff)

        In my luggage for the weekend I had all of my wedding garments, for that I made a packing list. Because I didn’t want to be left without my corset to wear. An outfit for the rehearsal that I barely had time to change into. I should have just dressed up cute for the entire day and reapplied my lipstick.
        I wore shabby clothes for setting up the decor and wore running shoes. The only other shoes I had were the ones I wore on my wedding day. A bridesmaid went out and bought me cute slippers to wear.

        I remembered a Pinterest bride who regretted not wearing a cute robe while getting ready because she was wearing pjs in her photos. So if it’s important to you, wear a cute robe or something on the morning of while you’re getting ready. I had a pretty white robe and underwear that said “bride” (not pictured) :D

      • Elisabeth S.

        Depends on where you’re getting married, I think. It turns out, all I really needed was a metrocard. And K carried a money clip. Really, that was it. We could’ve gotten by with that, but of course I didn’t believe it, but when I think about it now — we took the train from Brooklyn to the city, then walked to the church, and all our friends were waiting there, and they could have had any damn thing I needed – migraine meds, lipstick, breath mints, a hard boiled egg!

  • Jen

    Oh good, I’m so glad someone else feels the same way I do about hair and make-up. I never do anything with my hair (it’s bobbed), but panic about my fringe constantly, and I’m not at all comfortable with make up. It’s the only panic I’m having. I’m getting married abroad, you see, in a reasonably remote location, and I’m not comfortable booking an hair and make up person without a trial first (speaking from hideous bridesmaid experience!). Can anyone recommend a good (UK, London) based place to go to test out make up and get a good consultation, and does anyone know of a similar place where you can get lessons on how to do hair?

    • http://thevanillabride.blogspot.com/ Sonarisa

      I have no idea where in London you should go for make up and hair, but if you’re looking for lessons on how to do hair- there are some fantastic how-to videos online. I actually learned the updo for my wedding on Pinterest- after spending a few afternoons in front of a mirror just trying different hairstyles I found out that I was kind of ok at doing my own hair. So if no one else can send you information, at least there’s a plan C.

  • Sarah E

    Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth! And have a blast in Costa RIca. I absolutely love that country- I would go back in a heartbeat. The food is amazing, the culture is welcoming, and the jungle and beaches are fantastic. The most disappointing thing will be when you get home and your pineapple is no longer as fresh.

  • SusieDoozie

    This is such a re-assuring post to read TWO DAYS before our wedding! Thank you! I will remember to leave the eggs at home and make sure we get pictures with friends. One idea we had was to have our photographer attend our laid back early rehearsal dinner so we can get more fun, casual pictures with friends, and non-cranky children. we can’t honeymoon right away (grad school) but I’m looking forward to at least having next Monday off and planning a fabulous honeymoon/graduation/new job celebration in May!

    • Elisabeth S.

      You’re going to have the best May celebration. Congrats! Report back on how things go! So excited!

    • Mallory2

      Congratulations! Best wishes to you and your spouse! Cheering you on!

  • mackenzie

    I feel the same way about friend photos. We got married just a week or two before you, and when I looked back at the photos, I thought, “How could I not have had a photo with all of my friends? “How did we forget to get a photo with him and all of his friends?” I was (blindly) convinced that I had thought of every last thing, and then…nope. Not that!

  • Sarah Brown

    I am laughing at the hardboiled egg, that sounds like me only I’d pack the bag and then forget it at home.
    If anyone is curious about Elisabeth’s dress but wants to wear white, modcloth started carrying it in white now too (as well as other colors!). I love it and seriously considered it for my own wedding.

  • Lily

    great recap and very useful! you look fab in that dress. I want one. congrats again and enjoy your honeymoon!!!