About two months out from my wedding, someone who had married a few years before asked me how I was doing. “I’m…. tired.” I said. She said with great sympathy, “I remember this part. It’s very physical. The stuff stored everywhere, the exhaustion from running errands.” And it was. There were boxes of booze piled under our kitchen table, where we would try to eat. There were boxes of vases piled in corners, programs stacked on desks. The list of chores we had to do on weekends was near endless. The wedding wasn’t theoretical anymore; instead it was a massive list of tasks, and a huge pile of STUFF. Stuff we couldn’t get away from.
The Internet and wedding magazines pitch weddings as a pretty and inspirational project. We collect Pinterest images like it’s our job (in my case… it is my job). We talk about what style dresses we’d like our bridesmaids to wear. We ponder super stylish craft projects.
But nobody tells you that the real work of wedding planning has nothing to do with Pinterest boards. It has to do with figuring out who’s going to haul the beer to the wedding site, and who’s going to set up the huppah, and who’s going to bring the gifts home. Weddings are a whole lot of hauling, and it’s a whole lot of stuff.
Lucky for you, APW has free wedding planning spreadsheets, including a packing list (What are you bringing to the venue? What are you bringing home? Who’s in charge?). And while you should use that spreadsheet (USE THE FREE SPREADSHEETS, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE), it’s also the right time of year to share tips and tricks, since many of you are living under that same physical burden that I was five years ago.
How did it work out for us? Well, we couldn’t afford a day-of-coordinator, but we did ask our friend Kate (now APW’s copy editor) to stage-manage our wedding for us. We handed her a detailed pack list, I numbered boxes and listed what was inside each one. We rented a small cargo van (so necessary if you don’t have a fleet of pickup trucks at your disposal). I personally loaded everything into the van the day before the wedding, checking things off the list one by one. Kate handled set up at the site. Then, (bless her, forever) she struck everything at the end of the night, drove it to our apartment, and carefully lined our windowsills with flowers and piled presents on our coffee table, to be opened the next day.
And I still don’t remember who finally offered to bring the beer to the rehearsal picnic, but I do remember it was a giant pain in my ass.
If you’ve executed a wedding, how did you get things there and back… again? What worked and what didn’t? If you’re in the trenches with beer boxes stacked up to your eyeballs, what are your plans? What are the sticking points? What do you need advice on?