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Open Thread: The Things We (Didn’t) Carry


If only there had been enough time.

by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

Open Thread: The Things We (Didnt) Carry | A Practical Wedding

Two days before our wedding, as my mom’s living room filled with half-finished (okay, really they were half-started) wedding projects, and the amount of time we had to finish said projects dwindled, Michael and I did one of the best things we could do for our wedding: we scrapped most of them. Those table runners we were going to make turquoise and gold? Yeah, no. The votives we were going to spray paint orange? Whoops. It was hard letting go of my beloved projects at first (they were going to look so good). But once the decision was made? Goodbye and good riddance (with maybe just a few tears. DIY grief is real).

Earlier this week, I was talking with a friend about the joy of canceling plans. While I try not to bail on friends and loved ones on the regular, there is the rare occasion where I’m just stretched too thin, too close to the brink, and I have to make the call (cough, send the text) that goes, “I really wanted to do this, but can we reschedule?” It’s uncomfortable, and for a brief moment I feel like the world’s most inconsiderate person. But then comes the wash of relief, as I realize how much more time I have left to do the eight hundred things I probably should have finished already.

Scrapping wedding projects is a little like that, except you get to multiply your level of relief by however many guests you have, or how many tables need decorating. And sure crossing things off your list because you abandoned them might not grant the same level of accomplishment as crossing things off your list because you actually finished them. But at the end of the day? You’ve got exactly the same number of things left to do. And the former takes considerably less time than the latter.

But for all the relief that comes with hacking your to-do list, it’s a little sad that no will ever know about that epic, awesome, totally original idea you had. And also, nobody celebrates with you when you scrap a project that was never going to happen (rude). But dammit, self-preservation warrants celebration (especially when it comes to weddings), and you should be able to celebrate the things you didn’t do just as hard as you celebrate the things you did do.

So while everyone else is asking you how much you’ve gotten done for the wedding, today’s open thread is all about what you haven’t you done (and have no plans to do). The killer project that got left in the dust when you realized it would require not sleeping for your whole engagement. The thing it turned out was easier to just buy.  Today let’s toast to downsizing and pat ourselves on our backs for being smart enough to realize when it’s just not going to happen. (Hopefully further out than two days before your wedding. Don’t be like me.) And while we’re celebrating, I won’t stop you from telling each other how awesome that project would have been, still is, even if it isn’t happening. Because it totally would have been. If only there was enough time…

What was that killer idea that was never meant to be? What is the proverbial “white whale” of wedding planning goals?

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • ART

    Getting married in 11 days (holy crap!) I was going to make lawn games, like ring toss or something. I did make mad libs, but then almost had them reprinted because my fiance thought I left too many blanks (‘this is REALLY long…ANOTHER verb?’) A couple things have happened in the last few days that made me realize that no one, least of all me, will miss the set of adorable games I was going to have for people to play during cocktail hour, or care that my mad libs aren’t perfectly balanced to gently guide players to themed hilarity. They’ll be drinking, it’ll be fine.

    • JSwen

      Ah…. I want/ed to do games too but we are five weeks out and I just don’t know that it will pay off to buy an $80 giant jenga set, a $120 cornhole (bean toss) set, and Cards Against Humanity. Your AdLibs sound cool though!

      • http://underacorktree.blogspot.com Christina Josephine

        I totally hear you on the giant jenga. And on lawn games in general. Early on you think “Lawn games! How adorable! How classic! How simple!” At least I did. But then I learned that giant jenga, corn hole, croquet, etc. would cost about $100 EACH! And then it doesn’t feel as “simple” anymore. This realization reminded me of the time that we drove for hours to see Mt. St. Helens. We get to the observatory and they wanted something like $8 per person as an admission fee. I don’t know if I was just hormonal or something, but I was crushed. Not for me, but for the fact that we live in a world where, say, a family of 4 is asked to cough up $32 just to enjoy the best view of the mountain. I know it costs cold hard cash to operate an observatory, but it just seems fundamentally wrong to charge people $8 to simply LOOK at a mountain, especially because most families go on road trips in the first place because they are relatively affordable vacations. The lawn game thing somehow feels the same way to me. On a gut level, it feels like they shouldn’t cost as much as they do, even though logically I understand that it costs money to manufacture the games, pay for labor costs, etc.

        Whoa. I had no idea I needed to get this off my chest so badly!

        • Kara E

          You crack me up. We’re throwing a backyard engagement party for some friends soon and are borrowing most of the games from neighbors, etc. I figure we’ll buy one just because we’ll get use out of it later since we have a backyard to play in – and maybe it will be incentive to play…

          And yes, Mt. Saint Helens was expensive. I was camping with a girlfriend and thank goodness we had cash. I would have been so sad to get all the way there (50+ miles from the nearest atm, I’m sure) and be turned around.

        • Sarah

          Unfortunately, national parks are not covered with tax dollars alone and a majority of them have to charge a fee.

    • april

      “They’ll be drinking, it’ll be fine.” Yup. Seriously, get all your favorite people together, give them some snacks, some alcohol, and a reason to celebrate, and there is seriously no way people aren’t going to have fun.

    • meeliebee

      I think that’s going to me my new mantra for the next few weeks. “They’ll be drinking, it’ll be fine.” Love!!!

      I’m 18 days out and just bought giant jenga on Etsy – it seems so easy to make, but damn it, I don’t have the time…..or a car….or tools of any sort…

      I asked my dad to make a cornhole set 5 months ago and just found out that he bought one, but will be decorating it I guess. Whatever – as long as we’re able to play I’m happy!

    • Ariel

      I’m also getting married in 11 days (ermagherd) and we also gave up on lawn games! Hooray for drinking!

    • Sarah

      I crowd sourced my lawn games, seems like everyone in the family had one or another and I think people would be confused at my campground wedding and think giant jenga was firewood haha.

    • Belle

      We had lawn games at my wedding 2 weeks ago, but we had made our cornhole board years ago for tailgating, and already had ladder golf and giant Jenga (lawn games are the thing to do at our family gatherings). And honestly, I saw maybe two people play them. And a kid was just knocking down the giant Jenga haha. Not worth the logistics and hauling, indeed people prefer the drinking.

    • Michaela

      Lawn games are the only things my wife-to-be and I managed to actually fully finish in terms of actualizing my Pinterset board! It will certainly give you a sense of the kind of wedding we’re having (now in 10 days) that the only wedding shopping we’ve done has been in Home Depot! My cute paper flowers – I got 1/10 of the way through and cut that project out, Family Guess Who? – nope. It turns out that a lot of this stuff is better on paper than it is in real life.

  • Laura C

    Two months out and we’re doing just about zero in the form of DIY, so there won’t be much we can really jettison. The one thing, which I have promised all along I will drop if need be, is doing the desserts for the rehearsal dinner. As soon as we move I’m going to start making and freezing things ahead, but there’s a couple things I plan for the day before the rehearsal dinner. If I can’t do them, I can’t, and I know exactly where I’ll get a cake to replace them if I have to drop them.

    Looking forward to seeing what others say, to find out what I might not be thinking of that I should be.

  • KH_Tas

    I don’t think we’re self-catering anymore, though I should ring the caterers again, when it’s a sensible hour in this time zone (the one I’m currently awake in isn’t really)

  • vegankitchendiaries

    4 weeks out here (3 til our out-of-Province family arrives and we can’t do much!)… Ladies, I gotta tell you: SCRAP YOUR PLANS FOR JOINING A GYM! Or signing up for a bootcamp. Or running 10k four times a week. Or whatever. I made this decision a couple of weeks ago and I got a serious rush of elation immediately afterwards.

    • Laura C

      Oh, man, see, I am a regular gym-goer who is without a gym for the month of June, so one of the things I am most looking forward to is regaining a gym membership six weeks out from the wedding. I’m not setting any big new fitness goals, for sure, but having that stress relief is something I’m really looking forward to.

      • Stacey H.

        For some reason I decided to start training to be a fitness instructor halfway through our 6 month engagement.. ohgodwhy?! Counter-intuitively, the classes are helping with bodily stress but definitely not financial stress…

    • Bsquillo

      Hahaha, I had all these grand plans for working out, and then I went to my first dress fitting and the dress fit perfectly. So then I HAD to make sure I stuffed my face with lots of delicious food between now and the wedding to maintain my weight, right? Besides, I’m never going to have Michelle Obama’s arms anyways, so screw it.

    • YetAnotherMegan

      At just under two months out, I had a dress fitting not go well and bought hand weights and a 30 Day Shred DVD. By the one month mark, they were collecting dust and I just bought Spanx instead. I can still work out now that the wedding’s over, just without the panic.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Very agree!

    • Sarah McClelland

      … Or your mom could sign you up for a half marathon 6 weeks before the wedding. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m starting to really train now, but on my time and no gym schedule. I’m thinking the time with Mama might make it worth it even though I hate running…

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Ermaghad! OH NO! Haha, I’ve done 3 or 4 10ks and I’ve alllllways regretted signing up while “training” (and I use that word loosely, I’ve never done much better than an hour). Couldn’t even wrap my brain around a halfie marathon but GO YOU! That’s hugely impressive!

    • Brielle Arnold

      Yeah, I’m at just over two months out and have come to peace with not working out. I had actually bought an elliptical and worked out every day (for like, two weeks) before I decided that I only had time to either work out or work on DIY projects, and my projects won (and I’ve successfully made all my flowers and decorations from crepe paper – whew!).

      I also had my first fitting a few months ago (earlier than I was expecting, but it worked out for the best), and was worried that I’d gained too much weight since buying the dress. I even tried on the dress the day before my fitting in secret to make sure that I wouldn’t end up having a breakdown in front of mom, mom’s friend, and seamstress (also mom’s friend) when I got to the fitting and couldn’t zip up the dress. But lo and behold, the fit was actually perfect. The seamstress was actually amazed at how perfectly the dress fit me in that moment. So it was decided then and there that I would actually be trying to not gain OR lose weight between then and the wedding, and that took a ton of pressure off. Now when I have a salad because I’m trying to “be good” I remember I just HAVE to balance it out with ice cream. Awesome.

  • joanna b.n.

    HA, YES! Mine was unfortunately scrapped only in the week before the wedding, because I kept coming up with ways to simplify it, but our white whale was… a family tree! I have a pretty confusing extended family, and my hubby’s dad is one of 13, so we were going to make a pretty, tree-picture based diagram of not just all the members of our families (with pics of grandparents) but also note the points in our lives that we met all of the non related, friend type guests. Elaborate! It probably even could have been linked with the seating arrangements, and my hope was it would help everyone see how they fit in to the group and who fit where without asking too many awkward questions. And, of course, as push came to shove (wedding license or pretty tree diagram?), it got bumped. And nobody missed it, except maybe me for a minute here and there.

    My saving line to myself is that we will have a kickass 25th anniversary party, and we will do all of these types of things then. :) :)

  • Dom

    4 months away, and I’m still trying to decide if I should make matching shawls as the wedding gifts to my bridesmaids, or just buy them. Pros to DIY: cost, personalization and showing love through time and effort. Cons: making 5 shawls in 4 months, while balancing other projects and being away from the city for every weekend in July.

    So, realistically, I don’t have the time to do it. Which is sad and gives off the DIY grief big time. Lameo to me for not starting them right after the dresses were chosen!

    • ART

      How would you make them (sew, knit, crochet, etc.)? I am a knitter, and decided early on that I was not going to do one stitch of knitting for the wedding because I knew it wouldn’t be fun for me to be knitting on a deadline (I’ve done it before…) and if I scrapped it, I’d feel like it was a failure.

      (On the other hand, I sewed my wedding dress and was NOT someone who sewed before this, so I figured if that failed, it would be like “OH WELL, I TRIED” and I wouldn’t care as much)

  • Jacky Speck

    Oh man. I knew from the beginning that I’m not crafty and would get way too stressed out by multiple DIY projects, so I tried to keep them to a minimum. But I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that I should do *something*, so I tried to make a ceremony backdrop of hanging paper cranes. I got most of the way through it. But got sick of working on it, didn’t think it looked “professional” enough for what I wanted, and started freaking out about the logistics of transporting it. Low-stress has always been my top priority for wedding planning, so that went out the window. I called up my florist and dropped some additional money on a gorgeous floral backdrop, and that was that. Now I have DIY’ed… Hmm, exactly nothing, but am so much happier for it.

  • Kirstin

    20-some days married and am really glad that we never completed the following:

    – Programs – gave those up early. No need for a 15-min ceremony.
    – Escort cards – giant chalkboard worked great
    – Thank you notes that were a picture from the wedding with us holding a thank you banner. Would have had to wait too long to make these happen and I knew I needed to get the thank you notes done right away or I would never do ‘em. Also there are 8 packs for $1 at the Dollar Tree.
    – Hotel welcome bags. Glad I skipped this because people ended up staying in multiple places.

    We did complete a ribbon backdrop that was the biggest pain in my butt. I would have been okay letting that one go though.

    We also had awesome ideas for an “epic Lip Sync battle” a la Jimmy Fallon or a “Careless Whisper” air saxophone duel. Neither happened. And I don’t think we needed em. Although it would have been fun.

  • Sara

    Wedding was almost 5 years ago, but the big project I scrapped was place cards holders. I had this grand scheme of building them out of LEGO then spray painting them gold and purple to match our colors. Then I realized that I’d have to cut slots in the LEGO to fit the card. After deciding against the place card holders, I also ditched place cards, period. Oh, and assigned seats. People just picked wherever they wanted to for the reception, and I think we were all much happier. :)

    Besides, what the hell would I have done with 120 crafted LEGO placecard holders afterward??? :)

  • Peekayla

    Was planning on making my bridesmaids’ gifts (a hot/cold wrap for the lower back for 3 and an apron for the MoH). Then I was going to crochet hats, but I’m not that fast of a crocheter with only 3 months to go. Originally I wanted to make little jams for each couple as favors, but it was too costly to do them for 130 guests. Then I was also going to do a candy bar as the favor, but decided to just get little boxes for the candies and use them as place cards. My mom founds some cute (and hopefully easy!) place card kits via Oriental Trading. If I do them, then we would’ve done only 2 DIY projects – the place cards and we used the invitation kits from Michael’s to print up our own invitations and reply cards.

  • Jessica

    Wedding favors. First we (I) was going to make beer jam using our favorite local beer brand. The tiny jars + hours to make + transportation = too much work, too little payoff. Then we (my mom) were going to make magnets, but we (me) didn’t like the design.
    So, no wedding favors. And no one noticed.

    Did do the welcome bags for the hotel, though. Ordered blue paper bags, ribbon, gummy snacks, juice boxes and trail mix off of Amazon, collected a bunch of free maps of the city the wedding was in, and stamped the bags with a image I got from etsy (our initials & wedding date in the outline of Minnesota). It took about 2 hours at a kitchen table to assemble and I did it with my cousins–plus we got them done about a month ahead of time because they were all non-perishable items.

    • sarah l

      if you don’t have a million other things they need to do, hotel bags are a great project for parents or others to do if they arrive a few days before everyone else like ours did. we just took all the supplies and a sample bag to the hotel and it was awesome.

    • Alyssa M

      Lol, this thread may be having the opposite effect on me that it should, 3 1/2 months out and now I want to add welcome bags to my to-do list…

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

        Not to encourage one more thing on your list, but I enjoyed doing very low-key and very inexpensive welcome bags for out out of town guests. One bag per room, so it wasn’t that many. I like hosting people and I made a little guide to our town and put in a few snacks and colouring books and crayons for the one family that came with kids. Snacks from Costco, bought in bulk and divided in little small baggies. But…no one expected this or anything and I don’t remember people raving about it. I just had fun and it kept me busy in the last two weeks (doing something I could control!) when I felt stressed and alone in a new country…

  • Ellen

    At one point I was going to make diner-mat type things with a word search or crossword puzzle on them for the wedding (which is now 18 days out, holy cow!). But life got in the way and now the energy I thought I’d use on last-minute DIY projects is instead going toward a kitchen renovation. And honestly, the kitchen renovation is making me about a million times happier than placemats would.

  • Michigan Sara

    I gave up on making paper flowers for the bouquets. I had grand plans in my head to make orange tiger lillies for the bridesmaids and a bunch of red kusudama’s for my bouquet. After making a dozen lillies, a handful of kusudamas, and cutting out innumerable little squares, I threw in the towel. The paper I had was too thick, making it hard on my fingers to fold. Plus, it just wasn’t fun anymore.
    The fix: I talked with my mom and she was down with doing the bouquets. Got sunflowers for the girls (which my mom tied into bouquets the day of the wedding) and found out that the market would also tie a pre-made bouquet for me. I found one I loved, and they dealt with it. Total spent on ladies’ flowers: $32.00. (boutennieres and corsages were purchased from a florist)
    The origami flowers didn’t go to waste! A friend was building a large paper flower arch for her wedding and the already-made flowers got donated to the cause.

  • Lindsey d.

    We got most of our projects done – chuppah DH and FIL built, family wedding photos for cake table, more than 30 directional signs to the ceremony and reception, spray painted faux ferns for my bouquet, DIYing bouquets the day before, cross stitch samplers for my two-person bridal party. Most of our projects were a slight customization of something pre-made (like our coozie favors with the logo my BIL created for us). Even the directional signs had stencils to follow.

    However, there was definitely things we ditched, including elaborate terrariums in favor of simple lanterns for centerpieces, individually framed labels for the buffet in favor of one 8×10 sign. If there was more, I can’t remember any of it.

  • Meleyna

    I officially hit 500 of 1000 origami paper cranes last night. I really, really hope I get them done. I have no idea what I’m doing with them decor-wise. But even if I don’t get them strung up and displayed for some fancy photo backdrop or statement piece, the act of folding all of them is enough for me.

    I’d also really like to sew the ring bearer pillow (Hawaiian quilt style), but I’m a little doubtful on that one. Four months left–we’ll see.

    • Danni

      If you don’t string the cranes, you can always fill hurricane vases with them – aisle runners, backdrops, centerpieces. Good luck!

      • meleyna

        WHAT. THAT IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA. I was planning on skipping ceremony decor to save the $ (it’s in a Japanese garden, I figure people can just look around), but that would be such an easy, low cost aisle marker.

        I think you just saved my sanity. God bless APW.

        • ART

          “people can just look around” – i wish i’d kept this in mind more! (we’re on a lake, it’s quite pretty)

          • MC

            This was basically my argument for minimalist decorations in our state park forest lodge (“We’ll be in the woods in the fall! People can look at all the nature!”) buuuut my Fiance and MIL both think we should do more decorations. So I respectfully bowed out of the DIY stuff on that front.

  • JDrives

    Escort cards in wine corks. Here’s how that went:
    10 months out – See cute idea on Pinterest. Immediately want to copy. Purchase X-acto knife and instruct friends and family to save All The Corks.
    6 months out – Move. Get annoyed with All The Corks. Throw them out.
    5.5 months out – Regret previous action and start saving corks like a maniac.
    5 months out – Ugh. Who wants to cut 150 corks and stuff tiny pieces of paper in them and alphabetize them all? And I will probably injure myself. Scrap that. Decide to borrow Meg’s idea for fabric-covered foam core. Feel better.

    • KB

      I also had a scrapped project involving wine corks, but I still have about 500 damn corks around the apartment one year AFTER our wedding! I was going to make this awesome “LOVE” sign I saw on Pinterest, but then I realized I had nowhere to hang it and all the other alternatives seemed lame/weird/not in keeping with the venue. Truth be told, I had my hands full with my other DIY projects – I have to warn EVERY bride, though, that there WILL come a time that (if you load yourself up with them), you will come to absolutely hate one/many of your DIY projects. I still love that I handmade our favors but I had two distinct crying/yelling meltdowns over paste and a hot glue gun that really tested my now-husband’s patience….

      • JDrives

        We also have lots of corks, and whatever we don’t use at the wedding we will probably put in cool-looking glass hurricane vases and display in our home. We’re total wine-o’s so it works for us.

      • ART

        I discovered my very shaky painting hands while lettering some wayfinding signs (I was just filling in an outline, shouldn’t have been that hard). I resisted torching the whole project and wound up buying one of those sets of like 30 different craft brushes…eventually I found one forgiving enough to finish that sign, but that was the last one I made :)

      • Alyssa M

        Oh! If you are looking to get rid of the corks, don’t throw them out. First check if a local teacher exchange may want them, please! It seems odd, but my mother’s a teacher and the teacher supply exchange in her city is always needing random craft things like cork and pinecones.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Hey was there ever a link or how-to for these foam escort card holder thingees?

      • JDrives

        Nope! Meg, pretty please!!!

      • Sarah McClelland

        Get a can of spray adhesive and make an asterisk on the middle of your foam core, then a border. Start putting your fabric down in the middle, and use a gift/credit/whatever card to smooth things as you work toward the edges. Work with light pressure so you don’t damage your surfaces, and let it sit for a few minutes to an hour before you attack seating assignments.

    • Megan

      YES! You just gave me an idea of how to save my DIY project. I bought 200 violin bridges (the little wooden carved pieces that hold the strings up on a violin) to use at placecards but they don’t really stand free. A coworker was about to throw out all this foam core last week and I saved some just in case I needed it for something. Ta da!

      • Heather

        OH I LOVE this idea! I wish I’d thought of it (and been able to add it in, which…. no).

        • Megan

          They just came in the mail a few minutes ago. They’re not as big as I was hoping so I’m not sure if there’s enough space to write a full name….blah. I could also glue two together to hold a name card instead. All is not lost!!

          I have another box of 50 different sized violins and probably about 100 bows to use for other stuff. My fiance worked at a violin shop and collected all the instruments that they were going to throw out! Gotta figure out what to do with those… (We met in orchestra!)

          • ART

            wow, my mind is blown by the idea of 50 violins that were going to be thrown out!

          • Megan

            Yeah, he worked at a place that sells a lot of cheaper mass-produced instruments, so lots of times things just wouldn’t pass quality control. We also got lots of old rentals that weren’t deemed playable anymore. So not a complete waste, luckily.

          • ART

            interesting! I would spray paint those in a heartbeat. but that’s just me :)

    • Alyssa M

      You were actually really right about injuring yourself… :( Pre-engagement I made a welcome mat out of corks cut in half… and I still have the scars… those little bastards are simultaneously tough and slippery… so once you get the knife to actually cut, suddenly it slices through like butter and ends up in your finger.

    • Kara E

      What I did? Thursday, I bought the sheets of punch out cards from Michaels. Friday, I printed out our guest list with table numbers (from the table set up done earlier that day), Saturday morning, my youngest brother alphabetized them all for me. You know? No one noticed that it wasn’t fancy or pretty. And the caterer put them on a pretty table with our guest “cards” to sign.

  • Anne

    I originally had grand plans of creating an interactive timeline wall that started in the 1940’s with the birth of our parents and ended in 2040. We would pre-fill some dates and photos (when we were born, when we met, when we graduated college and grad school, when we got engaged, etc., plus major historical events), then let our guests fill in their own monumental stuff so the whole timeline would be the story of us and our friends and family. Plus, people could fill in predictions for us and everyone else in the 2014-2040 range.

    Since we had our reception in a tent I was thinking we would do this on a long roll of butcher paper which we would somehow affix to the poles on one side of the tent. But… how to do that? What if it rained or was really windy? How were we realistically going to create and transport this huge thing for a destination wedding? And what was going to happen to it after?

    Ultimately we scrapped it before it even got off the ground, but it still makes me feel a little sad because it would have been so cool!

    Something I wish I had scrapped was crafting gifts for the groomsmen. Have you seen those things on Pinterest where you hammer a bajillion nails into a board in the shape of a country or state, then wind string between the nails to fill in the shape? They look awesome, but they take about 5-6 good hours of work to create, depending on how big you make them. I decided to make two different shapes for each person (ie the state of Michigan and the University of Michigan sports team “M” logo) and by the end I hated everything.

    • Megan

      go blue :) those sound awesome!

    • Brooke

      Wow, I do love the timeline idea though!

  • Helen

    We got married half way around the world in a developing country. Since we had no idea what you could buy there, we opted to take everything we needed with us. We had zero decorations, no flowers, no nothing, as clearly wine took a priority in everyone’s suitcases. Nothing like having no control to make you really relax and enjoy the basics.

  • SarahG

    I am a little over 3 months out and today I definitively scrapped favors. I still had it in my head that we could bake some awesome cookies for 100 people and it would be, you know, no big deal. But my fiance’s depression (a lifelong thing that he manages very well) has been worse this month, just because sometimes it is. And it reminded me that we need to scale this wedding prep shit to our actual life — not to the life of two imaginary people with endless financial, emotional, and temporal resources at their disposal. F the favors. Just f them. Our collective sanity is about a million times more important. In this way, his disability (as I think of his depression) is a weirdly good reality check — no, we can’t do that, and no, we don’t actually need to.

    Though, just between us, those cookies would have been awesome.

    • Ellen

      We, too, decided to F the favors (though for entirely different reasons) and instead made donations to a charity that was important to each of our families. We wrote up little cards that we’ll put on the tables so people know that’s what they’re getting instead of cookies or candy or custom wine stoppers. My mom has already cried happy tears about the donation thing, so it seems like that was a great route for us to take- it might be a good one for you as well.

      Hugs. And maybe you can still bake cookies just for the two of you?

      • SarahG

        Aw, thank you for reminding me that I actually enjoy baking cookies with him for no reason other than to jam them in our own mouths :) One forgets that everything in life during wedding prep need not actually BE wedding prep. And I love the charity idea.

      • JDrives

        F the favors!!!!

    • sarah l

      In addition to people not really noticing favors, they leave them behind. We have 5 dozen pint glasses with our names and date on them that people just forgot to take. on the plus side, we’ll never need to buy glassware again.

      • Cat

        We’re doing a similar but different thing- the favors will be everyone’s glasses for the night that I have been buying from thrift stores this year. Only 40 more to find! And we have a huge miss-matched glass collection already, so any left behind will have a good home :)

    • Kara E

      I was going to make cookies too but was going INSANE! Instead, I found a local candy shop and bought something like 20 lbs of homemade caramel, which my aunts and grandma bagged up the day before the wedding (after I served them all brunch – which they told me not to do but made ME very happy).

  • Annie

    We just dropped the idea of creating a photo book for our guest book. Yes, it would have been cute to gather photos of us from different time periods and have guests sign at a memorable page in the book.

    But Y’ALL. When we finally started working on it we were both annoyed and cranky. It’s totally not our skill set. So we said no thanks and crossed it off the list.

    I’ve never been happier about a plain ole boring guest book. Hooray for simplicity!

    • swarmofbees

      I am still thinking I will do this, 3.5 weeks out. So, yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

    • Outside Bride

      We did the instax version (instant camera, film, scrapbook with blank pages, washi tape, markers, and a teenager to mind the whole thing) and it actually went surprisingly well! We were shocked at how many of our guests made a page, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a boring guest book. Not that it would ever actually be boring – your friends want to tell you they love you, right! But, just an alternative idea if you want to jazz it up without putting in very much effort past a trip to the craft store.

      • BeeAssassin

        This is brilliant. We’re forgoing the photbooth – when did that become de rigeur for weddings, btw? – so this is a great alternative.

        • Kara E

          We had little cards made when we had our invites and stuff printed and asked people to write out their advice and wishes for us. We bought wooden boxes for all the groomsmen and bought one extra to store the cards. I read through them every once in a while and they make me happy.

      • Caitlin_DD

        We’re considering this too. I love it!

    • EAL

      We scrapped the photobook and did Mason jars labeled 1 yr anniversary, 5 yr anniversary and 10 yr anniversary. People put little notes in them. I figured I didn’t need an actual guest book, after all I have the spreadsheet of RSVPs—I know who was there. Looking forward to opening the first jar in a few months.

    • Heather

      I delegated to a bridesmaid who could no longer attend. It was a saving grace- I wanted it and was willing to pay for the printing ($100 ish) but NOT willing to do the work (also not our skill set). Now-husband scanned, uploaded to Google Drive, bridesmaid did the design and uploading to Blurb from several states away. and boom. Done. Love that I scrapped but still got.

    • sarah l

      we made a photo book on shutterfly some similar service (that I’m pretty sure I found a groupon for) using our engagement photos that came with our photography package – i forgot to do this until a week out – uploaded the folder from the engagement session and the website prepopulated a book with the photos. I paid extra for a rush order and the whole thing took 15 minute and we had it in 3 days for not that much money. recommend.

  • swarmofbees

    This one I still mourn occasionally, but eh stress wasn’t worth it. I had an idea for a potluck bouquet – each guest brings a flower, and then we somehow assemble them into a bouquet right before the ceremony. It would have been such a lovely physical manifestation of everyone’s love and support. But. how would you wire little paper flowers to a giant sunflower, or whatever else people brought? Plus, what if someone doesn’t get the memo and feels left out? Too many worries, so will just hold that little idea in my heart.

    • kcaudad

      We actually did that… photographer made one from the engagement picts. Then, we forgot to make a sign about it, and no one actually signed it until the reception when someone finally realized that is what it was for. I think maybe 20 out of 120 guests actually signed it… sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out in reality!

  • april

    Birdcage veil. I actually sort of made one … sort of … but I decided at the last minute (morning of the wedding, while having breakfast with my bridesmaids near the Whole Foods flower department) to scrap it and just pin a giant flower in my hair. I still have mixed feelings about this, but I could never get the veil to actually look how I imagined it should.

    • Emmers

      I bought fabric to make a veil, and then thought “I will look like I made a veil,” so I also scrapped it. Also, the tulle I bought was slightly glittery, so it was leaving gold glitter everywhere.

      • http://kara-tanoue.blogspot.com/ Kara T

        I scrapped my veil too. Ended up wearing a haku lei, which I quite liked.

  • kc

    My only DIY projects are library card escort cards (I’m a librarian…), welcome bags, and favors. I scrapped the idea of doing ribbon wands (just buying bubbles at wal-mart instead) and a “thank you board” which would’ve included pictures of important people in our lives and what we thank them for (raising us, introducing us, etc…). I’m not concerned about the welcome bags because that’s just buy stuff and put it in bags, and the favors should be knocked out with my fiance…but we’ll see! I’ve always been more of a “just buy it if it’s easier” kind of person.

  • kheadster

    For our “brewery theme” wedding, a sh*t ton of beer bottle corks (same shape as champagne corks) were collected by my fiance (now husband) and I over a few years. At first I wanted to incorporate them into the escort cards….which were then demoted to a cork monogram decoration thingy…to nothing at all. They’re still sprinkled throughout our condo in random vases and bowls, maybe I’ll use them in a moment of craft brilliance someday.

    • kcaudad

      I helped my sister make a wall decoration with the old corks they had collected… she just bought at shadow box that was about 1 inch thick between the glass peices. Dumped the corks in between the glass layers (you can get ‘fancy’ by putting them in some type of order or making them all face the same way, etc). Then, close up the shadow box and hang on the wall. We got a few extra shadow boxes so that she can make more as she collects more corks. She now has 3 on her kitchen wall. Makes for a fun wine / beer themed kitchen.

      • kheadster

        That sounds doable!

      • JDrives

        Great idea!

  • KC

    The thing I wanted to do but didn’t end up doing: a giant, on-the-wall butcher paper with Mr. Sketch markers graph of How Everyone Connects. I wanted to provide markers and have everyone put themselves on it and then draw lines in colors to all the other guests they knew/were-related-to/met-at-the-wedding (like: red=related, blue=know-from-work, and then friend, acquaintance, went to school together, boyfriend/girlfriend, just met here, “other: write on the line how you met person”, etc.).

    I think we decided that my more dressy relatives wouldn’t go for it and didn’t even bring it up. But I wouldn’t have had time to organize it anyway, so hey! :-) But it would have been AWESOME.

    • scw

      I love this idea!

  • CH

    DIY flowers. Florist-provided flowers were too expensive for us, so I decided that I could do them. I saw the DIY flower bouquet making post on APW, and I was the only one who needed one (no bridesmaids) and then we could do the centerpieces. Easy peasy!

    The thing is…even DIY flowers require a lot of time and effort and still cost a decent amount of money. And as we got closer to the wedding, I still didn’t have a “vision” in mind for what I wanted my flowers to look like. Every time I went on Pinterest to look at bouquets and centerpieces, I felt a squeeze of anxiety in my stomach.

    So……I had a flowerless wedding and didn’t regret it one bit. (And the only person who noticed was the photographer!)

    • MC

      I love this. I have no desire to deal with flowers the day of the wedding or to pay a bunch for them, and for some reason no matter how many times I tell my MIL that I don’t want flowers, she keeps bringing it up or pinning pretty floral arrangements to the pinterest board she made for our wedding. I am going to buy a dried flower bouquet from the farmer’s market on the morning of the wedding and that is it. Glad to hear that everyone survived your flowerless wedding :)

      • Jennifer

        Cheers to the flowerless wedding! Not doing them because I’m pretty allergic and really don’t want to sneeze my way down the aisle. And yes, while I’ve been told that there are flowers that are less likely to cause me to sneeze, why would I spend a ton on flowers, when the venue is gorgeous without and not having them guarantees me a relatively sneeze free day? Focusing on how I want to feel at my wedding :) Also, not doing paper flowers, because it turns out while real flowers make me sneeze, paper flowers (finding a vendor/or making) would totally stress me out.

        • Brooke

          Yay! I’m going to be an (almost) flowerless bride also. I do want a bouquet. And probably BM bouquets. But that’s it. No bouts or corsages, no floral decorations.

      • Alyssa M

        I SOOO wanted to buy a bouquet from the farmer’s market on the morning of the wedding. But of course our wedding is the day before our weekly Sunday Market… AND my baker said she won’t put flowers on food unless they’re professionally sourced (I guess that’s smart…) So, I ended up with a florist (luckily she turned out to be an awesome person and my favorite vendor).

        So you can totally tell your MIL that random internet stranger is jealous of your floral plans! lol

    • Claire

      Another flowerless wedding here. Not a single bloom anywhere and no decorations to speak of either. But, I sure do remember how my wedding day felt: awesome!

  • Ani

    I totally fell for APW’s super easy table set-up (http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/05/how-to-make-a-simple-colorful-tablescape/), and with the addition of cobalt blue bottles borrowed from an acquaintance, I think it’s going to look great. I even made a mock-up with a brown paper bag and farmer’s market flowers. My mother, however, is still skeptical: “paper?!” She seems to think burlap is somehow better, but does she want to take that job on? I sure don’t, and we are definitely in the ditching rather than adding stage.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I love this look!! The kraft paper looks awesome!

    • Heather

      I’m doing this too!! I think it’ll look so beautiful, it’s my favorite DIY project.

    • meeliebee

      I’m doing it too! I’m having trouble collecting enough bottles and jars for 14 tables that are the right height/size, and I’m running out of time! Like 18 days until my wedding and I’m begging folks to bring me their recycling. It will be pretty no matter what though, because flowers!

      • Maddy

        Have a San Pellegrino mineral water (the flavoured ones) party (perfect sized bottles), raid nanna ‘s house for jam jars and then some $1 glassware from IKEA, hey presto!

    • Alyssa M

      Oh lordy the burlap… it’s the new tulle. I keep explaining to my mother that my partner is neither Southern or a “country boy” and therefore burlap and hay bales are inappropriate to our wedding no matter how many adorable pins she can pin.

      • Ani

        I mean, burlap? It’s perfectly fine but I don’t think it’s inherently superior to paper. Hold fast, you don’t need it!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    We were going to make a photo album with old photos from both our families. I started the process of scanning images 6 months or so in advance, and I was going to design it and print it out to use as a guestbook. It would have been a lovely piece of history. Sadly, our schedules got busy, and it’s really hard to get family members to send you albums full of scanned photos, and it just never happened. Almost 2 years later, I still want to do something similar – maybe a recipe book with family recipes and photos?

    We also wanted to decorate our post-wedding party with pictures of the two of us side by side in different years. That would have been adorable, but it felt really good 2 weeks out to declare that was never happening!

    • april

      The recipe book is a great idea. My husband’s mother did something similar for him and his brothers – it has family recipes and lots of pictures of them making food/eating together. It’s the cutest thing.

  • Brooke

    Honestly, I’m planning on doing almost no DIY. Because I’m planning on having almost no decorations. I worry that’ll be bad, but I keep repeating Meg’s “you won’t remember how your wedding looked, you’ll remember how your wedding felt” over and over. As far as I’m concerned, the church is lovely all on its own and needs no decorations. The reception venue is bright and colorful and visually busy all on its own, and I feel like any decorations I attempt would just get lost anyway. So I’m planning to DIY my veil and maaaaybe DIY the bouquets, which will be the only flowers present at the wedding. Or maybe spring for the extra $100 to get bouquets done professionally. Haven’t decided yet. The centerpieces will be candy bought at Costco dumped into glass jars of some sort (maybe I’ll jump on the mason jar bandwagon, unless there’s a cheaper option). And as far as decorations go, that’s really…it. The venue takes care of linens, so we don’t have to worry about that. I hope it doesn’t look bad. My future mother in law and future grandmother in law are DITing the cakes, but they’re expert bakers with an industrial restaurant kitchen at their disposal.

    • Sarah E

      I’m doing zero in terms of decorations as well. Our venue is an indoor farmers’ market, so it’s already cool to look at, and they already have cafe lights strung over the gathering space where we’ll be. The only decor vision I had- rows and rows of candles on tables at different heights/in bowls/whatever- is immediately out because there’s no open flame at the market. Whatever. The extent of decoration will be any signage that’s necessary (order of ceremony, help yourself to drinks. . .that’s about it), and my best friend will do that because A. she’s an artist and B. I’m traveling to the wedding and refuse to ship them, pack them, or make them immediately before-hand.

      • Brooke

        Me too! We’re getting married in our hometown, 4 states away. So DIY would actually amount to…make our moms do it? Frantically do it when we’re home for the holidays? Do it here and then get it there…how, exactly? It’s easier to just decide from the get-go that DIY is not going to happen. I’m not crafty anyway. And I’m too cheap to pay people for decorations. They’re just not a priority for me. I’ll pay for music. I’ll pay for photography. I won’t pay (much) for decorations.

    • Alyssa M

      On the mason jar bandwagon, a couple of months ago I got half gallon mason jars at michaels for like $3 each. It was way cheaper than any other large glass receptacle I could find!

  • Jennifer

    We were going to do pie and ice cream instead of cake (because I don’t love wedding cake) – but it turns out that our venue puts together a really great desert spread of tea cakes/cookies. So screw the pie, we’ll keep the ice cream, because, it’s ice cream and an August wedding, but sourcing pie when my favorite bakery doesn’t deliver, when we live 3,000 miles from where we are getting married? Just not gonna do it. So, no pie, and no wedding cake for us.

  • BeeAssassin

    To save money and because I thought I’d enjoy it, I decided early on to DIY all the decor for our nice, but bare bones, venue. Now I’ve been possessed by some OCD crafting demon. Thankfully my bridesmaids keep me in check (MOH told me she didn’t want to see my face crumple when she took a stack of meticulously heat-embossed napkins to wipe her face with, so that project was nixed.).

    2.5 months out, the projects that I’m letting go of: DIY papel-picado style banners (I’ve already cut myself twice with the scissors), seating chart infographic (told myself it’d be a good opportunity to use R and Illustrator, HAHAHA), photo collection for above the fireplace (I still really want to do this because there’s a lot of family who’ve passed away that I want to honor, but collecting/scanning/printing the photos is daunting).

    The projects left are: “thank you” tags to attach to favors (almost done! except for hand-writing thank you in 3 languages…), ombre backdrop with punched circle banners and crepe streamers (only 3 more banners to go! …and a 7 foot tall backdrop to transport in a compact Honda.), paper flowers and bouquets (scheduling a paper flower factory day with my sisters and friends), invitations (fiancee’s friend is designing them, I’m printing them off at a local print shop that we used for our save the dates.)

    I REGRET NOTHING (is what I tell myself when i’m bleeding all over the crepe paper).

    • Heather

      If you don’t own a Cricut already, you might want to look into it for the paper flowers… unless you’re doing giant ones, in which case it won’t help. I LOVE paper flowers. I recommend champagne, but only once you’ve gotten a good rhythm going. ;) Paper flower factory day is great… though trial runs and champagne are super helpful.

      • BeeAssassin

        You’re a mind reader! I considered the Cricut or Cameo, but someone I know with an etsy crepe paper shop told me that she’s never had success using them with crepe paper. Your champagne suggestion, however, will be 100% implemented (plus a full taco meal before or after. I have to keep my factory workers satisfied so they come back for another shift.)

    • Ariel

      I got custom stamps from rubberstamps.net in my handwriting for thank you tags on favors. It was something like $7 and took me less than 5 minutes to do them all

      • nikki kovach

        I went there for my Save the Date stamps! Stamped it on a postcard, whole project was less than $50 for 150 Save the Dates!

  • Emmers

    I am loving all of these comments! We are a little less than 5 months out, and haven’t ..uh… finalized the guest list yet, so I’m wondering if we’ll be able to do save the dates. I really love the zen of reading about things people have let go. So if we do let go of save the dates, it will be ok!

    • JSwen

      I don’t think invites need to go out more than two months in advance. You have time for save the dates, if you want to. That said, they aren’t super necessary. :)

    • KC

      Seriously, unless you have mostly people who need a *lot* of advance notice (for flights/vacations/to-avoid-other-weddings-on-the-same-day), save the dates are not at all necessary. You can skip them. It is okay.

      • emmers

        Those people I have already emailed! I may end up skipping them– because I’d like to get invitations done in July, because I’m super busy in August, and then mail them in September– so I’m not sure when save the dates would actually get done. Thanks for the affirmation!

        • Maddy

          Save the dates aren’t even a thing in Australia! You just announce your engagement, and then 8 weeks before send out your invitations to your wedding :)

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

          I emailed save-the-dates (which was an email with all the info in the text and a little “postcard” created in Publisher and sent as an attachment). But I had a lot of out-of-country guests on my side… But I think your email solution that you already did sounds like it did the trick. :)

    • Jen

      I had a small wedding but I never even pondered doing save the dates. Both my then-fiancé and I just called everyone and said “okay this is the date- please put it on your calendar”. Absolutely no one even asked, then or after, about the save the dates :)

  • Heather

    I dropped paper flower bouquets and those fan programs that are so popular right now. Who knew that 25 minutes per flower x 100+ flowers = a ton of time that I don’t have? I took one look at the actual fan program logistics and laughed. Tri-fold is as difficult as I can manage :)

    • Teresa

      I made those paper fan programs. Holy crap, what a pain! I actually managed to numb my fingers in the spots that the scissors touch. Like, no feeling there for WEEKS. I mean, they looked cute, and it was a warm day, so people used them during the ceremony, BUT THEN THEY PUT THEM BACK. I had so many leftover. So yeah, be glad you abandoned the fans!

  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com/ Addie

    I had these amazing plans to knit blankets for all the guests. You know, because we were having a winter wedding. Stupid Pinterest idea. They were going to be beautiful and laid out in wicker baskets at the end of the aisles. Sigh.

    And then my helpful partner pointed out that we were getting married indoors…with central heat…and that each blanket takes about 80 hours of knitting. Oops.

    Now I have moved on to paper flowers which is very time consuming but very much doable.

    • Megan

      That is my dream too. So far I have downsized to the possibility of knitting a chuppah cover.

    • Alyssa M

      Man, pinterest gets me every time… we’re doing blankets for our outdoor fall ceremony… but we’re just cutting up flannel into individual blanket sized sections…

    • Caitlin_DD

      I love a homemade blanket. But my hands are cramping just thinking of knitting (crocheting for me) enough for a guest list.

  • Veronica

    11 days out!! We are officially done MAKING things at this point, so I think that’s a good sign.

    We did a medium amount of DIY-ing. Most went well, and some were literally a pain (like screenprinting welcome bag totes on the floor without a proper press). I scrapped table runners because it took too much thinking and planning and in the end I didn’t care enough. My mom wanted family wedding photos and I couldn’t bear to go down the road of collecting and framing, and figuring out where to display them so I said no. There are a few things left that I am worried about. I anticipate that hanging xmas lights around the pavilion will end up being an issue, but I don’t want to waste money on the lights I already purchased. My sister made our Chuppah which is gorgeous, but I am worried about how quickly/easily we can get it transported and set up, and am hoping it won’t fall over. We waited until the last minute to think about our dessert display (just typing that sounds silly) so we bought 3 crates and the caterer will have to turn it into something pretty. I was going to DIY my hair and makeup, but freaked out and found someone at the last minute. My trial was just OK but it’s too late to change to someone else at this point. I have decided to go with the flow and hope for the best.

  • kcaudad

    When people (sister-in-law, maid of honor, etc) started suggesting DIY projects a few months out from the wedding, I just started asking if they would / could do it… if not, then I guess it’s not happening. Make your our flower bouquets – are YOU going to go to the farmer’s market the AM of the wedding them make 5 bouquets? NO… me either! Table decore – Are YOU going to make 27 DIY centerpeices and cart them to the wedding venue? NO… guess I’ll hire a decore person then… best $$ I ever spent for the wedding! I showed up the day of and she had done all the DIY and decorating for me! Perfection!

  • Amy A.

    The two things that gave me DIY guilt were decorations for our reception site and favors. They were both things that I felt like I should have, but ultimately they weren’t important/meaningful to me and I didn’t do either one. The reception site was a beautiful space with lots of windows overlooking the Mississippi River, and they had pretty strict rules about decorations, so it didn’t need much and once I came to terms with “not decorating” I felt better. We ordered a vase of flowers for each table and as a “favor” gave people extra cake in cute boxes to take home. I’m a really crafty person but I don’t have any regret about minimizing the projects that went into our wedding; we had an 8 month engagement and keeping the to-do list short really helped manage my stress (and 3 months before our wedding we did some fantastic international travel, which I’m glad we made time for!)

    Some things I did do that I loved and that were done simply- made our own escort cards in Word (cute font, pretty color, printed on cardstock at FedEx, cut on their paper cutter, folded in half. DONE), cake toppers from ReadyGoWeddingCo on Etsy (so cute! Got the link from APW) a marriage certificate from Jennifer Raichmann (got the idea from my aunt and uncle’s Quaker wedding 10 years ago, was going to write it myself until I saw the link to her on Rachel Miller’s blog, ordered one instead and it was perfect; thank you Rachel!) and using a fantastic florist instead of DIYing the flowers. Heeded partner’s advice to skip the lawn games and I am glad I did; it was windy and rainy anyway so that would have been a total bust!

  • SunnyinAustralia

    TEN days left. About a month ago I was going to make awesome paper flower backdrop and a diy photobooth but when I consider that I’m already doing my own flowers, invitations, programs and making all the centrepieces and that I have to juggle making them while working full time, I sheepishly called the decorator that my sister recommended (whom I snobbily dismissed earlier in the wedding planning process, because of course I can do ALL the things) now she is taking care of all thing related to decorations for $400. I’m now starting to realise what a good decision that was. Sometimes the effort and stress is not worth it. Cough up the money.

    Ps: we (I kinda insist) scrapped the cake. We are having a high tea wedding with a candy bar and although someone generously offered to pay for us, I really couldn’t justify wasting $350 for a cake that will be uneaten because there would be plenty of sweet desserts served. I’m still feeling a little guilty for scrapping it and nervous about what others will think.

    • ART

      if it helps, the last two (at least?) weddings i’ve been to either didn’t have cake or just had a little token cake with some other dessert, and from what i can tell, no one missed it!

      • SunnyinAustralia

        Thank you! I’m just fighting the mindset that a wedding cake is something we GOTTA have or our wedding is doomed (still trying to convince my fiance) you are getting married in 11 days? That’s a day after us, congrats! You’re (we’re) almost there!!

      • Keren

        Ditto on this. Including my own wedding. It was weird/hard for me to let go of the idea this was An Important Thing To Have too, but at the end of the day, when was the last time you actually had room/time to fit cake in after dinner? There’s dancing to be done people!!

    • Ragnhild

      10 days out too! I didnt want to pay a lot for a cake, and hoped I could found someone that would help out. Finally I got a connection that could do it, but she suddenly emailed and cancelled on me. I decided we dont need a “wedding cake”, since our tradition includes at least 10 other cakes/desserts (!)

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Not DIY projects, but we scrapped having 2 additional ceremonies – a civil ceremony the government would consider are “real wedding,” which we were considering for religious/political reasons, and a super-short Jewish ceremony at our reception after our church ceremony. We just ran out of time and energy for the civil ceremony, and we couldn’t find an officiant for the Jewish ceremony.

  • http://rachelhisakowright.com Rachel

    Since starting the process in November, a lot of my plans have been transformed by limited money and time into (in my opinion) much better ideas. For instance, the 200 thrifted mismatched vintage china plates with various adorable patterns and hand-sewn napkins turned into sturdy recycled paper plates and paper napkins. We’ll be eating BBQ. Whatever.

    • ART

      we’re doing BBQ on paper plates, too :)

    • scw

      paper plates here, too! but pizza, not bbq.

  • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

    The one thing that didn’t make it to our wedding was Eric’s custom temporary tattoo. A friend designed it…it looked like this (http://tattly.com/products/laura) but had different names and the nickname Eric calls me was the last one. It would go on his forearm so you could see it when he rolled up his sleeves at our reception. I got temporary tattoo paper and printed the tatt MULTIPLE times but the ink. Would. Not. Set. I drove to Austin with the still-wet tattoo on my lap but it never dried. I wish I had started it earlier so we could have just done it as a custom order from Tattly (http://tattly.com/pages/custom). So sad about this…we were so excited for it!

    • MC

      Oh! That would have been SO awesome. One of the only DIY-ish projects we are doing is getting temporary tats of our cat’s face (in lieu of him actually being at the wedding, which… can’t exactly happen). We are obsessed with him, so any leftovers we have we will definitely use in our non-wedding life. This is making me realize that we need to get on this ASAP so it actually gets done!

      • scw

        I love this! I need a roundup of creative ways to include your cat in your wedding.

        • MC

          I would DIE for this roundup.

  • Erin

    We were going to have a talented friend help us make an animated Save the Date video. It was going to be hilarious and adorable and feature clips of party scenes from The Great Gatsby as a dramatic interpretation of our forthcoming reception. I wrote the script in my head during a bout of insomnia and miraculously remembered every word in the morning and typed it up. But the talented friend was busy, then FH was busy, and then my dad started fretting about the older generation not understanding how to click on a YouTube link in an email (“The neighbor’s girl and her fiance posed with horses and made postcards! It was adorable! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST DO THE HORSE THING????” ) Then I started fretting people weren’t saving the date and we compromised with glittery Gatsby-esque magnets that match our invites. I really like them and have gotten tons of compliments .
    ..but the video was going to have a Leo cameo!!!

    • scw

      come on, erin, just do the horse thing! lol lol

  • Amy March

    Not wedding related, but 11 months ago I started a quilting project. I still haven’t bought the thread. Hopefully this baby quilt will be done in time for my grand babies in 40 years.

    • Ariel

      I’ve been “working” on a quilt for almost three years!

      • Valerie Day

        Ha. I started a quilt something like 14 years ago. Hand quilted. Over a hundred hours in it I think, still not done. It was supposed to be my marriage quilt. My idea of marriage has changed a lot since then and I’m not sure I’ll ever finish the quilt but I can’t just toss it. What to do.

        • Caitlin_DD

          There is always the option of paying someone to finish the quilting for you. Ironically I think a lot of diehard quilters actually hate that step and either outsource it or have a lovely wallhanging instead ;)

  • Teresa

    About a month before our wedding, I got a bug up my butt about table numbers. THEY HAD TO BE ADORABLE. Freaking Pinterest! I was going to do the table numbers with picture of us at that age, but then I remembered how awkward I was from age 8-12. Then I tried designing them in the same font as our invites…couldn’t get it to work right. Then, pages from an old book. Finally, I called then venue and asked if they had table numbers, they said yes, I said GREAT. They were perfectly cute and I didn’t have to make anything. I made my mom craft the centerpieces, since she is the one who wanted them. I made paper fans and got frustrated after they made my fingers go numb for weeks and finally asked my family for help. They came out cute, but if I had to do it again, I’d have thrown money at that project! No one noticed the decorations anyway–too busy having cocktails on the deck overlooking the water, eating and dancing!

  • BeeAssassin

    One thing I wanted to add, is a DIY project that I *thought* we would have to cut, that we ended up (so far at least) not cutting because my family and friends insisted on helping out: a cookie bar. One of my sisters is an amazing baker, but I was concerned about all the logistics involved with her baking 500 cookies *and* being one of the bridesmaids, and almost called it off. Instead, my sister strategized which dough recipes could keep/freeze, and several friends have volunteered to bake off a few batches the day before the wedding. Even if we do end up having to cancel the cookie bar, my friends and family have really made me smile by trying to make this happen.

    • meleyna

      Jealous! I wanted to do this so, so badly for favors (like candy bar but cookies) but I don’t think it’s happening.

      • BeeAssassin

        If it helps you feel better about it not happening, part of why I wanted to cancel was because I literally watched two friends’ relationship deteriorate due to a cookie bar debacle. Bride to be asked other friend S., a great baker, to bake hundreds of cookies. S. did so, had a breakdown the day before the wedding (hundreds of cookies + 1 oven = NOOOO). S. showed up at the wedding with the cookies. Bride sort of said a cursory thank you and waved S to the cookie bar to set up the cookies. Bride forgot to include S.in a thank you speech at the reception. They no longer speak. It was quite painful to watch this unfold.

  • K.

    Snow cones for the ceremony. The damned snow cones. We were going to buy a snow-cone machine, flavors, all of it. Every now and then I’m sad that it won’t happen, but mostly relieved that we aren’t trying to figure out how to deal with it logistically.

  • Katie*

    Four days away! FH procrastinated on his To Do list, then snapped a muscle in his leg, so he’s still working on the playlist but I dumped the map-making off on my map-making friend. He’ll probably be in a walking boot on Saturday, but if that’s the worst thing that happens, I think we’re in good shape!

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

      I hope that he feels better by the wedding. Good luck!

  • Karen

    My fiancé wanted to home-brew all the beer for the wedding. In the time that I’ve known him, he’s made one bottle of beer and one bottle of apple cider. We’re probably having 200+ people. Fortunately, he realized it himself. :-)

  • Keren

    During a particularly stressful planning session, my new wife and I decided to scrap the whole lot – guest list, 5-course dinner, 45-set fairy light installment and monogrammed linen napkins – and spontaneously move the whole affair to a beautiful beach in Sri Lanka. Best move we ever made. We ended up with a menu based on what was pulled out of the ocean that morning, decorations that grew themselves on giant frangipani trees and my iphone plugged into a stereo. We didn’t know what the table-settings looked like until we sat down to eat and our 2yr old ring-bearer nephew turned up in his own bow-tie-and-nappy outfit. And you know what? With no centerpieces or bouquets to capture, all our photographers’ time was spent on recording grinning faces and parents-in-law sneaking off for mid-wedding swims – I actually can’t express how much I don’t regret those abandoned “wedding plan #1″ projects.

  • Tuppet

    Personalised schedules for each member of the bridal party and anyone else who had specific duties, including both sets of parents, siblings and musicians. I had the spreadsheet ready with each person’s timetable mapped out, the template ready to mail merge – yep, that’s right, mail merge – and it was 11pm the night before the wedding. You know what? Even if I printed them then and there no one would have even looked at them. Sent a simplified version to my husband so he could tell his parents what time dinner would start and went to bed.

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

      Ah, I had forgotten that I abandoned detailed to-do lists and timelines. That bit me a bit in the behind though. Though nothing really bad happened or anything, but things could have gone smoother. Next time around this will not be the thing that gets cut from the to-do list….it’ll be something else. :)

  • Valerie Day

    In our wedding I was the starter. I ran the errands and was constantly working on something and my wife was the “finisher” who took over the projects she liked the best, and helped with the final perfectionist flourishes. She also helped me decide what to keep. We’d throw around ideas but when I’d start getting overwhelmed or when I’d bring it up later she’d say “Oh, we’re not doing that” and I would be like “oh thank goodness.” We also used the word “winnow” from the Modern Family wedding this season. Good to let things go and give each other veto power. Best thing I learned through our wedding process was truly how much better we are together. We did a lot of DIT from 250 feet of bunting flags to self-catering. My favorite projects were the ones that were thoughtful for other people. We make 9 sock monkeys and kid bags for our young guests and had so much fun when they tied them around their necks and danced with us. People thought we were ridiculous but it was the most fun to sew sock monkeys. I had a really hard time asking for help, but so appreciated the ways people showed up for us.

    • Alyssa M

      I planned (sort of am still planning) 250 feet of bunting flags… only… I don’t really have anyone to DIT it with… and I’m starting to think that’s what I’m dropping…

  • anonymous

    i had to let go of the whole wedding. we’re not getting married anymore. it was going to be awesome, and stress free, and everything i had done so far i was happy and proud about. but it’s not happening anymore. some days i can’t even breathe. some days i think it’s all lost and we will never be the same again. some days i tell myself it’s just a very bad moment in our lives and we’ll come out of it stronger and invincible.
    i had to let go of my ring. of the family gold from the in-laws we were going to have our bands made from. of my beautiful dress that i felt so happy in, and of the wonderful shoes that seemed to be made just for me and for my dress. of the handmade favors. of the few deposits we had paid. of the perfect, absolutely perfect date that held so much meaning, and that won’t come again later.
    everything that was phisically in my possession sits in a box, waiting for their destiny to become more clear.
    i’m not getting married anymore. i still don’t know how i’ll let go of all this pain. i’m so, so scared.

    • Mum

      I’m really sorry. :(

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

      Oh, I am so very very sorry. I am sending you positive thoughts and hugs, if you like hugs. I am not sure if you are still in the relationship with your partner, but if you have also had to let go of the relationship, I suggest the book How to Survive the Loss of a Love. It got me through those nightmarish first weeks and months after the loss of a marriage I had to let go of. It is written with one theme on a page or two…I was able to process reading a couple of pages every day, even when my brain was in a complete fog. That book was so helpful to me in my healing process.

      Grieving takes time. Your body and soul are focusing their energy on healing. Please reach out to your friends and/or family, and let them care for youand help carry you through this. I know that it may not feel like it, but it will get better and you will come out on the other side one day. And until then, one day and sometimes one hour or one moment at a time. (hugs)

  • Hannah

    I am not a crafty person, but I really like pretty things and I really don’t have much money to work with. So we are DIY-ing the things we can’t live without, but can’t afford to pay a professional to do. For us that means flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages only; no floral decor), invitations and MAYBE centerpieces…or maybe we just won’t have centerpieces at all. That depends on how quickly I run out of free time and willpower (: There will be no other DIY projects in an attempt to Save Our Sanity. Personally, I had an “F the favors” policy from before we even started planning this wedding. Unfortunately, my mother and fiance are currently the only ones on board with the Save Our Sanity project, but I’m not worried. I’m stealing an idea from you brilliant APW readers and telling the next person who suggests a crazy complicated DIY project that they are welcome to take on the project themselves, but my plate is already full!

  • c

    Things I made: Escort cards tied to small black bags filled with homemade Batman logo chocolates and custom dice (the dice were purchased) and the table numbers (framed photos of meaningful addresses). I also threw some vase filler in the vases.

    Things M made: Programs and designed the custom dice.

    Things other people made: My dad made our wine box.

    Things I did not make: Necronomicon cover for the guest book. I did about half the work then decided I’d maybe finish it for a scrapbook or something similar later (we used a different book for the guestbook). I had told myself it’s ok that it was possibly disturbing because nobody would see it because it would be open but then I realized nobody would see it and decided to just not worry about it.

    I’m happy I knew myself well enough to just buy things (I’m good at finding deals) or just not do them.

  • Sarah

    16 days out with a huge to do list so we will see what gets scrapped. I have a “must have list” and a “if there’s time list” and chances are the majority of “if there’s time” will be scrapped. Sorry ceremony arch and bunting for the church awnings, I probably won’t need you!

  • Amanda L

    Oh yes…. this brings back sweet memories. Of deciding NOT to do ribbon wands. I mean, our aisle was SHORT and by the time everyone stood up and got the wands out, we’d be done recessing. No more looking for the right size dowels and trying to decide how to attach ribbons.

    Also, my brooch bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets. I spent hours upon hours upon hours stringing individual beads onto wire. But I could NOT get the BMs bouquets to look right. So we scrapped that, went with carnations, and threw a few of the beads into the center of the flowers. So gorgeous. My bouquet involved more money and the terrifying act of mailing my beautiful brooches away, but having a professional connect the dots ended up being such a stress-reliever. Pick your battles, ladies!!

  • Eh

    I don’t even remember what I had planned that we ended up not doing. We cut a lot early on in the planning because my now-husband was working two jobs (or working one job and going to school full-time) for most of our engagement. Then right before we got married he was promoted which resulted in him working a lot more (but at least it was only at one job). I was the one doing most of the planning and running around so we decided that I didn’t need the extra stress. I remember we cut favours because I only wanted to give favours if they were meaningful and would be useful. I was going to make preserves for everyone but that required way too much effort so it was nixed (along with it favours). We didn’t have many decorations but the ones we did have were meaningful – mostly pictures of us growing up and our grandparents/parents/siblings wedding pictures (these have been repurposed in our house). The one thing that my husband did do which was a hug hit was he made a slideshow of pictures of us growing up for before the ceremony. His mother loved it. They were testing it during the rehearsal and she made us all stop for a few minutes and watch it. She was pretty upset that she showed up late for the ceremony (delaying our ceremony) and didn’t get to see it so we gave her a copy.

    Anyways my point is that my memories from our wedding are about the things that we did do and not the things we didn’t do.

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

    “But dammit, self-preservation warrants celebration…”
    So true, and in so many different life situations.

  • nikki kovach

    I scrapped the entire idea of having a theme, or colors. I couldn’t commit to any. I don’t have any projects on the horizon and it makes me a little sad, but I just couldn’t nail down an image that I loved enough.

  • Leah

    I had a mental deadline for when I was going to scrap various ideas (both things I could make and items I could purchase) based on not having enough time to execute. The one thing I really did want to do, and ran out of time for, was making those adorable little yarn balls — when you wrap glue-soaked yarn around a balloon. I still think it would be cute, but we didn’t miss them, and I’m glad I didn’t have to make 100 for filling out all those tables.

    • Alyssa M

      oh jeeez… 100 of those would be hard.

  • Brielle Arnold

    I wouldn’t say I’ve totally scrapped my idea for making giant paper flowers, but have come to accept that it probably won’t happen at this point. I bought the giant role of butcher paper and everything and was just dying over all the pictures on Pinterest of beautiful, innumerable giant paper flowers decorating an archway or hung everywhere from trees. But so far, all the other projects have just taken precedence and I really haven’t been able to wrap my mind around what it would take to make them in earnest. I have successfully made all the bouquets, boutonnieres, wooden planter centerpieces, random flowers in vases, aisle decorations, etc…out of paper, but I’m thinking the giant ones just aren’t happening. Oh well. Since I already have the paper, maybe I’ll find some other excuse to make them somewhere down the line.