Getting Ready For Your Wedding

It’s that time. It’s May, which is usually the time that those of you getting married in the summer or the fall realize that, Holy Hell, this wedding is about to happen, and it’s time to lock down all the little things on your to-do list. I started this post with the intention of reminding you that as you’re scrambling to find a hair or makeup person that you suddenly realized you want to hire, or a florist, or a baker, or a musician, or a day-of coordinator, or the officiant you have yet to nail down, or… you name it, the APW vendor directory is here for you, with its awesome vendors who believe in this site and what it stands for, who believe in you, and who want to bring their magic to your wedding.

But as I was putting this post together, I dug back in the archives to four years ago, to see what I was going through at this particular juncture. I knew I was in the weeds of the details: buying booze, figuring out makeup, figuring out timing and setup. (We’ve got a lot of that covered now in our How To section, because I have straight up tried to create the resources that I wished I had at the time.) But what I found in the archives was actually terror. May, four years ago, I was wondering what our wedding meant, and what marriage meant, and if I could have a wedding that reflected who we were, a wedding that would be a symbol of a marriage that reflects who we are. That post, and the one about my worries around makeup and feminism are good reads (and talk about emotions I’d forgotten). And four years later, living in a little house with a little baby, I was overwhelmed by reading those posts. I realize now that by facing those fears, I was able to answer them.

Our wedding was wonderful, and full of who we were. Our marriage is better. Four years ago I said, “But now, as the invitations go out, and the wedding becomes not just our thing anymore, I’m scared that the power of ‘how things are done’ will overcome ‘how we are doing things.’” That was the right fear. The answer is to keep facing it every day.

So. Your last-minute wedding worries might run a little on the existential side. Or maybe you still need a bouquet. For the former, see above. For the latter: The APW Vendor Directory.


And now, I throw it to those of you in the trenches of wedding planning. What are your joys and fears right this second? What are your logistical hurdles (or hell, your fears about logistics)? Questions and answers in the comments.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Sarah

    Hello! I am one month out from my outdoor wedding that I’m planning from across the country. Logistical hurdles I’m currently facing:

    -Can anyone recommend a portable PA system that actually does the job for an outdoor wedding–for our music down by the lake where there isn’t electricity AND for our reception music where there is power?

    -I had originally wanted more than one kind of cake–a dessert bar of sorts, but I’ve been advised to just choose one kind for simplicity’s sake. Any thoughts on doing this well? Like plating slices and letting people come choose instead of handing them out?

    Need your wedding wisdom!

    • Amy Hawkins

      Tough one — generally there is a tradeoff between power, portability and cost. You need a pretty seriously powerful PA to sound good outdoors because open space basically slurps up all the sound when you have no walls for the sound to bounce off of. A PA that has the kind of power you’ll likely need will be either quite large and unwieldy, OR you can pay a big cost premium to get one that’s both powerful and portable. Unfortunately, it’s nigh impossible to have all three, so what’s your biggest priority of the three?

      As for desserts, you could plate slices of several different types of cake and let people choose. Or you could slice the cakes into smaller-than-normal slices and put out plates and serving utensils so people could get more than one flavor if they chose. We did cupcakes (three flavors), and went with mini sized ones so that people could try more than one flavor if they wanted. Personally I disagree with the advice that multiple flavors is necessarily less simple than one flavor. I don’t think it’s really any more or less simple, so if you want multiple, go for it!

    • Martha

      I am doing cupcakes in three different flavors, all of which are totally different from one another. Still simple (and pretty inexpensive), but offers a little variety without going too crazy.

      • Amber

        We’re also doing cupcakes with a 6″ round on top for cutting. We chose 3 delicious cake flavors and will let people choose for themselves. I kind of hope our guests will trade bites with each other to taste all the flavors because they are all SOOOO yummy!! We too found this route to be less expensive. Still pricey, but not as much as if we’d gotten a tiered cake. It also eliminated the cake cutting fee. We’ll have to provide napkins or paper plates, but that’s easy peasy!

    • KE

      I had a seated dinner and a dessert buffet. After dinner, everybody gathered around the dessert table (cake in the center) to watch us cut the cake. Then the cake was quickly sliced and put out around the cake stand as people went through the buffet. There were plates on each end, and the same kinds of dessert on each side– one table, but a line on each side moving toward the center. It sounds hectic, but the cake cutter moved quickly and it worked well.

      In your scenario, multiple people could work on cutting the cakes while someone makes a toast. Then the cake cutter can keep working and replace plates as they’re picked up.

      The one thing I would’ve done different is to have the table situated so people could walk down both sides, and people could’ve gone through more efficiently.

    • Julia

      Hey! About sound systems: we did a LOT of research on this, including going to music stores and listening to speakers. Our choice came down to complexity vs. simplicity. The only battery-powered rental we could find in our area was a 2-speaker plus sound board combination, for ballpark $120. For $200, we could buy a single portable PA system/speaker that met our needs for multiple instrument inputs. In the end, we decided it was more important to be able to quickly pick up and move our sound system from the ceremony space to the reception space, so we bought the “Pyle-Pro PWMA860I 500W VHF Wireless Portable PA System /Echo W/Ipod Dock”. Haven’t listened to it yet, but it gets great reviews on Amazon, and similar speakers were sufficient when we tested them out.

      Whatever you go with, remember that the great outdoors absorbs sound. Get your speaker up off the ground and at head-level, and you’ll hear it much better. Speaker stands aren’t expensive, and in terms of sound quality, they give you more bang for your buck than slightly higher-quality speakers. Good luck!

      • Angie

        The sound system question is an issue we’re facing right now too. Our ceremony is on a beach on a barrier island off the coast of Charleston SC. We are putting everyone on a bunch of boats to bring them out to the island (fun! but whoa logistics!). Sand+waves+wind+no electricity+175ish people=holy crap how the hell are they going to hear us? The specific system that Julia just mentioned is definitely one we’ve been looking at. Julia, when is your wedding? How many people do you have attending? I’d love to hear some feedback on other people that have faced this issue and how it turned out. I didn’t even think of getting speaker stands, great idea. Thanks!

      • My (sound-engineer) husband says this model might work for basic amplification, but he says it needs to be positioned at above head-height so that the sound will get to people. He also suggests another (rather atypical) solution could be to speak into microphone fed into a transmitter that could transmit the sound on FM radio, for example, and everyone could listen to it on portable radios (or phones with radio capabilities or whatever). :)

        BUT….he does say for that amount of cash you could rent something much better.

    • I know this is way late, but I am behind and am catching up. I asked my sound engineer husband what he thinks. He suggests “either using a gasoline generator and then running a long extension cord from that to the sound system or using a batteries with some kind of inverter to generate AC power (like they do in RV or boats) if the noise of a generator is unacceptable. The battery option would not last very long at high power output, but could probably work for speech and quiet music.” He says you could rent a generator from a place where you could rent tools or jackhammers. The sound gear could be rented from a lighting and sound rental place.

  • Jen

    I so need this today. On Friday we will be two weeks away from our wedding day and I am feeling the pressure. Money is wearing thin and so is my patience. In the next two weeks my FI is graduating law school, standing up in his best friend’s wedding and we are moving his belonging across three states and moving my furniture out of the apt and replacing it with his. Then… we are getting married. I just need some advice on how to stay calm in the middle of the storm. Basically I offered to handle the bulk of planning for the last few weeks (while he was finishing exams) but now that he is finished I still feel like the weight of planning is heaviest on my shoulders. How do I get him to refocus on wedding planning without sucking all the joy out of his (much deserved) graduation celebration? And how do I keep my cool when we have different ideas about how much time two weeks is? (Him: SO much time! Me: no time at all)

    • Laura

      I don’t know if this is your situation at all, but in the weeks up to the wedding I often felt overwhelmed that there was “SO MUCH to do” when really there were “some things to do”. I think some of it was just my own emotional stuff about taking a big life step. I tried (sometimes successfully) to remember that all the important things (partner, venue, dress, food) were taken care of, and everything else would get taken care of and if it didn’t, it wasn’t essential. That being said, I think it’s totally legitimate to talk to your FI and say that you’re drowning in details and would like his help to feel a little less frantic about time.

      • Leila

        I am so here right now. I’m about a month out, but the leftovers of the to-do list (and my mothers constant questions that only concern the things we HAVEN’T done) are driving me crazy.

        This is awesome advice: “I tried (sometimes successfully) to remember that all the important things (partner, venue, dress, food) were taken care of, and everything else would get taken care of and if it didn’t, it wasn’t essential.”

        I have been telling people this constantly, but there is still part of me that is not listening!

        • Katy

          I SO know what you mean about the mom who only asks questions about what HASN’T been done yet! My mom is the exact same way… But I know that she means well, even if it feels like she is nagging or being negative. Luckily, my future MIL is the exact opposite, and is determined to make everything work! So nice to have a balance of both :)

          Good luck with your upcoming weddings ladies!! I’m sure they’ll be wonderful :) (Mine is not til August…)

        • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

          I’m 10 days out- and this is what I tell my self. Actually, it’s more like ‘F*uck it if the cute little labels for the different food dishes don’t happen’ and similar details…

    • I got married a little over a week ago (yay!) and well remember that last two weeks’ feeling and just how much it felt like there was to do. I felt really overwhelmed by it, and the best advice I got was to delegate. One of my bridesmaids sent me an email titled “delegate that shit,” and when I finally got desperate enough, I started doing it. And then wish I’d done it much earlier. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I felt like I should do as much as possible and not burden people – turns out, people want to help. So ask your friends and family as well as your fiance for help. The people who offer to help will be happy to have a task assigned to them. And you’ll feel so much better. And I think you can do the same for your fiance – it definitely helped us when I started telling my (then) fiance specific things he could do for me: call that vendor, pick up that thing.

      But most importantly, just remember that it will all get done and if it doesn’t, who cares! You’ve got the guy and probably someone to marry you by now. That’s really all you need. The details will work themselves out as needed, and the really important stuff will not be lost in the madness. Congratulations and good luck!

      • Mira

        Agreed. (I just got married on Sunday!)

        I was terrible at doing this ahead of time, and I finally got good at it the day before the wedding (only because my aunt and sister in law got pushy. “change into something comfortable and give me those to alphabetize. eat this dove bar. drink this water.” People are wonderful, and if you’re bad at it, it’s seriously never too late to let them delegate for you!

    • I finally sent my now-husband an email with the subject Raj’s Wedding To-Do List. Even having designated tasks to him on our shared Google Docs to do list wasn’t as effective as having those several things in one place for him. He did get everything done, even if it wasn’t on my timeline at all. (For example, the songs to be played for our processional and recessional were on my computer, which had started to randomly freeze. He didn’t get around to downloading them onto his computer until the afternoon of our wedding. WHY?!?! Still, they played when they needed to and it was fine.)

      For myself, a lot of my overwhelmedness in the weeks just before the wedding came down to worrying that I was forgetting things I was supposed to be doing. The to do lists and getting really, excessively organized helped to calm that worry. Once my girlfriends stated to arrive in town, they started taking over most of the tasks that needed to be done in the last few days, which helped a lot.

  • I am still a year out from the trenches, but the first round of my stationary *just* showed up in the mail from VistaPrint, and I am full of squee at seeing my hard work in InDesign (and head-banging frustration in Illustrator) turned into snazzy printed products. I feel a tiny bit silly that I have these things so far ahead of when I need to mail anything, but the price was right.

    Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to head to RI this weekend for another friends’ wedding, and have been getting to hear little bits of their week-of prep. (And my fiance, their best man, has been staying with them for the past few weeks, so he is getting a real inside look. I think that may be a good thing, though I am probably going to have to help him unlearn more WIC ideas after this.)

    And best wishes in advance to anyone else who is getting married this weekend. (And congrats to all of you who are probably about to graduate, as well.)

    • As a complete stationery/paper goods nerd, I so appreciate your comment! Looking at invitation and postcard designs was my first order of business after getting engaged. I created our save-the-date postcards in Photoshop and ordered them through Vistaprint, and I was so happy with the quality. Plus, I had the smug satisfaction of telling everyone I designed them myself. (And my sister’s, too! All these hours playing around with blogging graphics have finally paid off!)

      • I don’t draw (I mean I can, but I don’t like it and am way out of practice) but I’m a photographer and a bit of a typography geek, so I used those elements for the design. Downloaded a nice font (“Solstice” as in, “our wedding is on the..”) and am using that for most things, except where it would be difficult to read. And since I didn’t want to pick “wedding colors” I am giving everything its own color. At the same time, I’ve got a document going with swatches of each, so that I can see if they are going to look good with the other things I’ve used. Nothing needs to match, but I don’t want to clash either.

        Very helpful resource for color design:

    • Amber

      We made our own invitations. Found a great template on Etsy that included EVERYTHING, the save the date, invitation, info cards, program, thank you note, etc. My fiance knows how to use Photoshop and we were able to customize the design a bit more that way, changing the font and stuff. We started on this project EARLY in the planning process. Especially since I’m finishing up grad school while also planning our wedding. I’m really glad we started so early because it was a big project (i.e. hand cutting pocketfolds with an exacto knife and ruler…), that took a lot of time. We just sent our invitations out at the beginning of the month and have been getting such a positive response from our guests. I am so glad that we chose to make our own. Saved a bunch of money, they’re much more personal, and are so pretty!! Don’t feel weird about taking care of your invites ahead of time. If you know what you want and the price is right, I say go for it! It’s another thing check off the to do list. I figure the more that gets planned ahead the better, and will hopefully reduce the amount of stress in the weeks leading up to our wedding at the end of August.

    • Katherine

      Ummm, we’re a year & a half away from our wedding, and I’ve already got the “Save the Date”, invites and even the “Thank You” cards done, LOL. Found an amazing vendor on Etsy who helped out with everything, and it was worth every penny. And now I get to drool over them until they’re ready to send out :-)

      • Emilie

        What vendor?

        • Katherine

          Her name is Allison Christy, and her store is here:

          Our wedding venue is a small winery, and she had some *really* cute invites that were actually in the shape of a wine bottle, and I fell in love with them immediately.

          And honestly, getting started on things this early in the process makes me feel more relaxed about the whole thing in general. I get to check things off my “to-do” list, and I’m spending a little at a time, so it’s easier on our budget, too :-)

    • The beauty of VistaPrint is, once you order one thing, you get coupons and discounts mailed all. the. time. Handy!

      We are having the most fun designing our paper goods because it always ends up with us acting silly in the computer room or getting frustrated and just writing “Come the f*** to our wedding, okay?” which we momentarily considered sending to just our friends, but some of them have kids…

  • Stephanie

    This could not have come at a better time. Our wedding is 4 months and 2 weeks away, and at lunch I just finalized our cupcake order with the bakery. As I walked out of the bakery, I thought would be relieved to cross something off the massive to-do list, but I really just got bug-eyed at the remainder of the list.

    That word cloud graphic at the top of the post? Yeah, that’s my brain right now.

    My joys right now? (1) The amazing man I’m marrying, and the life that we’ve built — and continue to build — together. (2) How much love I feel coming from all sides — family, friends, co-workers. A large part of me didn’t expect people would be as excited about our wedding as they are, because my fiancé and I have been together for 7 years. But people are incredibly excited, and experiencing their joy just increases my own.

    My fear? That all the planning, the details, the minutiae, will get so overwhelming that they obscure the only thing that matters in the end: the family that we are building together.

    • Evelyn

      You must be a September 2013 bride. Me too! Right there with you, and echoing all your sentiments. Thanks for posting. Gave me a little extra strength to forge thru these next few months. Excitement!

      • Stephanie

        I am! September 21! I keep going back and forth between thinking it’s sooooooo far away, and that OMGTOOSOON!!!

        September brides, represent!

        • Evelyn

          Wedding date twins!!! ::high five:: I know that feeling all too well. Just need to make it thru the summer!

        • My wedding is Sept 21st too… and yes, the to-do list just got REALLY real. My brain is about to pop with details!

      • Samantha

        September 14th here! Represent early fall!

    • I totally get this! My wedding is this weekend, and that has been my brain for months. I also had the same worry about the planning overshadowing what was really important – the marriage.

      The to-do list is totally overwhelming. I separated that big list into months, and each month we only looked at that month’s tasks. “In April, we are doing the April things.” One thing at a time. This made it more manageable for both of us.

      Also, I found that so many people wanted to help. And I felt it was the right thing to do to give them a role. I remember when my best friend got married last summer, I wanted to be a part of the day however they needed me, and I offered many times to help. But they never took me up on it. When people offered to help my fiance and I, I tried to give them some way to be a part of the wedding that played to their strengths so that they could be a part of it, and put a little piece of their hearts into the day, too. Everything from baking the favors, to setting up sound equipment, to addressing the envelopes.

      It still felt like a lot to be the Project Manager of the whole to-do list. So much weight, and a few breakdowns along the way. I am definitely looking forward to being on the other side of the process! Good luck to you!

      • Stephanie

        This weekend — congratulations! I hope your wedding is what you and your fiance need it to be, and I hope you have a wonderful marriage!

  • Jo

    OK, so our party is a little less than 6 months away and I don’t have a venue. Any recommendations on how to find a *cheap* but cool place? It has to be indoors, because fall weather here can be very unpredictable, and that’s making things harder.
    I’d love some help brainstorming unconventional reception venues!

    • Amy Hawkins

      We had ours at a bar/live music venue that we are regulars at. The place is only open in the evenings, so we asked the owner if he ever did parties there in the afternoon.

      He actually DID NOT CHARGE us to have our reception there — we seriously lucked out!! We payed a small fee that went towards paying the bartender and barback and at the end of the reception we just settled up the bar tab and tipped generously. It was awesome on a lot of levels – the bartender was the one we know and love from being regulars there. The booze was well stocked and one less thing for us to have to plan or worry about. It was cheap for us, and the owner got to turn a profit on alcohol sales at a time when he normally wouldn’t have been open. It was a win for everyone and we were so happy about how things turned out!

      So – IF you’re a regular or know the owner at a bar or restaurant that will hold your entire party, and IF you can do something outside of their normal businiss hours so they don’t have to close down for your party, I would highly recommend this option!

      • Jo

        Thanks Amy, that’s a great suggestion.

        Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to have an evening event, for a whole slew of reasons.

        However, I have thought of what you suggest about using a venue outside of their normal business hours. I had originally contacted a great breakfast/lunch joint that we go to regularly and was stoked about using their place, but that was when we had a summer date in mind and would be able to use their outdoor area as overflow space. If we end up with cold weather, it would be too cramped to have everyone indoors there.

        Other than breakfast/lunch joints (which aren’t usually very big), anyone have any ideas about other categories of businesses that might work as a party site and don’t usually operate on Saturday evenings?

        • Amy Hawkins

          Bummer, that does make things trickier. What’s the outdoor area like at your brunch place? Is it possible to tent it and/or add heaters? At our place we relied on a patio as well (in early April, so kind of risky!). I felt safe counting on using that space because the patio is covered and has tent flap thingies that can be rolled down, and they have some outdoor heaters as well. The weather would have had to be extremely cold or stormy to prevent us from using the extra space.

          If that doesn’t work, I second the suggestion for VFWs, community halls, or spaces at a local college. According to my research, all of those are relatively inexpensive options.

          • Jo

            That’s a good idea. I’ll look into whether that’s feasible. I’m concerned that tents and heaters could be expensive tho. Does anyone know anything about that?

          • Catherine B

            Regarding tents and heaters: I think it really depends on the size. Our HUGE tent is $1600 (+ + + for chairs, tables, etc, sigh) Heaters are $275 each to rent.

          • Jo

            Catherine B –
            By “HUGE”, what does that mean? How many people could stand or sit under it? What are standard size tents?

          • Catherine B

            It’s 40″ X 80″ and can fit 24 10-person tables and will fill the whole backyard. (So, huge to me)
            Here’s a calculator to give you a sense:

            I was shocked at how all the little things added up on the rental. I don’t think it’s any cheaper than renting a lovely space, but having it in the backyard does allow us prioritize the things we care about and let everything else go.

          • Jo

            Thanks Catherine! That’s very helpful!

        • Mira

          How many people? I’m in Denver, and although I didn’t get married here, I looked at a lot of interesting venues. For example, if you’re 6 months out, it’s the perfect time to book Chief Hosa lodge, which I’m told is gorgeous and very reasonable (through parks and rec)

          • Mira

            Also, have you looked at the YMCA of the Rockies camps? Estes Park should still be relatively easy, although November at Snow Mtn Ranch is a little dicey, depending on the year

          • Mira

            Oh! And the Victorian Event Center in Golden! SUUUUUPER reasonable, comes with an on-site coordinator, bring your own catering and booze, and I think the capacity is like 200

          • Jo

            Hi Mira! Thanks, so many great suggestions!
            It looks like the Chief Hosa lodge won’t be big enough for us (says max capacity is 125).
            And we’re going to try to stay in Denver if we can for a number of reasons, so Estes Park is out, although I have heard of a friend who had her wedding at one of the YMCA’s and it was beautiful.
            I will look into the Victorian Event Center in Golden, thanks!

        • Aubry

          Depending where you are have you looked into dance studios? There are some really beautiful ones, and with different rooms for your different things. Almost always closed on Saturday nights! I happen to run one, so we are haveing our “afterparty” to the morning wedding there probably.

          • Jo

            Fabulous idea, Aubry, thanks, I’ll look around!

        • Rebecca

          The Denver Zoo is also available evenings after business hours if fall = September….

          Looks like The Lobby in LoDo might be an option- they do a full restaurant buyout for up to 250 for cocktail style. Rock Bottom Brewery can do up to 175 cocktail style with just a food and beverage minimum, plus you get three pool tables, if that’s your thing.

          You can actually search open table for private dining options and it shows you the venue capacity for a whole slew of options, and a lot of them also have fairly transparent pricing- might be a decent resource (see above for example)

          • Jo

            Rebecca, those are some great ideas, I’ll check them out!

        • Casey

          How about the Savoy Events Center? I’m new in town and haven’t been there, so I don’t know anything about the capacity. I’m also not actually getting married here in Denver.

    • Emmy

      It depends on how big your wedding is. The advice about restaurants or performance venues is good. Have you checked fire halls/VFWs/community centers in your area? A local college or university?

      • Jo

        Those are good suggestions. I’ll look into them.
        As far as I can tell from a quick google search, the local fire stations here (Denver) don’t seem to have community gathering spaces. Is that a regional thing or am I just not looking in the right place?

        • Carmen Miranda

          I second the idea of looking at universities. I am having my reception at a very fancy room in my alma mater and the rental fee is very low compared to other sites, and it is nice that they are used to holding events, so they may even have recommendations on vendors! I found out that they do rent the rooms to external parties, I think most universities probably do, so it does not need to be your alma mater. I considered a high school, but they don’t allow alcohol, so that was out of the question. ;-)

        • mira

          One more idea

          If you want to do wash park pavillion but need an indoor location for backup, try volunteers for outdoor colorado. They dont do many weddings, but they were willing to rent their space out to us for very little. Not sure about capacity, but its a great organization and they have offices with a large room right in the middle of wash park.

    • JEM

      Where are you looking? There are APWers everywhere that might know of hidden, secret, awesome spots!

      • Jo

        We’re in Denver, Colorado. I’ve been very bummed that the APW Venue board is pretty much empty for options here!

        • Hi Jo! I’m in Denver, too.

          As far as breakfast/lunch restaurants go, there’s a Lucile’s (amazing amazing southern breakfast) at Santa Fe and Littleton Blvd that is really spacious, the building used to be a reception hall, actually. So if they would be willing to rent the space to you I think that would be a good place to start. I’m going to keep thinking about this, I’m sure I’ll come up with others.

          • Amber

            I used to live in Denver and I want to move back if I can!! A friend of mine is a photographer there (Sarah Roshan) and she’s part of this company: Not sure if this is quite what you have in mind, but they might be a good resource. Also, the Highlands Masonic Center could be nice. I’m not sure of the rental cost, but I went to an event there once and it was a pretty neat place. There’s also the Lumber Baron Inn and Gardens. I used to do Dinner Theatre there with the owners. They’re great! And and it’s a really unique, beautiful venue. I hope this helps! Good luck!!!

        • Depending on your date and what is still available… Denver Parks and Rec rents their park facilities for crazy cheap. Both the City Park Pavillion and the Wash Park Boathouse have indoor spaces. The Assistance League in Denver has a rental facility in Congress Park.
          I’m pretty sure DFD proper doesn’t do rentals, the firehouse by the Coliseum us prolly the best to check – I believe it’s the biggest.
          Some spots on Auraria Campus rent pretty cheap, some places in Greenwood Village are reasonable.
          Japoix hosted our APW book party a year or so ago. The owner, Lawrence Yee is very nice and helpful.
          Not sure what your budget is or dates, but the Clocktower is toast cray awesome. Also, an APW sponsor Modeous Photography is fabu!
          Second the Lumber Baron. It is very charming. The Curtis Hotel is also a really fun option.

          • Also the Colorado Historical Society has cheap venues ! And one right on Broadway!

        • If you want to go a bit out, look into Red Rocks Amphitheater. They have a restaurant area and plenty of indoor space for the reception and ceremony if you needed. We ended up having our wedding outdoors at the venue in September so it also depends on what part of ‘fall’ you’re getting married. Remember, it’s the state of 300 plus days of sunshine. You might luck out yet.

        • Amy Elizabeth

          If you are still looking for a photographer, go with Kristy all the way! I met her at Meg’s book tour stop in Denver and she is AWESOME!

    • Rebecca

      How many people? Numbers make a big difference- small groups fit easily into restarants, etc- big groups take some more creativity. General area of the country helps too…

      • Jo

        We’re looking at probably around 150 people, so yeah, we certainly need to be creative. I want it to be flexible in case more people can come, so no sit-down dinner or assigned seating, so I think that should mean we don’t need as large of a place.

    • Have you checked with local museums? We had our reception at our local art museum and it was quite affordable (Everything, including catering and alcohol for 100 people, for under 5K). The space was beautiful, and we got to support one of our favorite places. When we were looking around, we found several galleries, historical museums, and other such places that held events (for way cheaper than more traditional venues).

      • Jo

        That’s a great idea, Kara.

      • Added benefit of using a space like a museum: your rental money goes to help support a place that you love.

      • I photographed a wedding at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art last summer and while I don’t know the exact cost the couple did say it was very reasonable. And the museum staff were really excited about hosting the wedding.

      • Amber

        The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has an AWESOME atrium for receptions and parties. Huge windows with views of city park, the Denver skyline, and the mountains off in the distance!!

    • Copper

      Even though you’re set on having it indoors, check with your local park service. I know in my area there are some historic homes and other structures that are located on park land that are available for events, and people don’t generally look for them because it’s part of the “parks department” which sounds like it means “outside.”

      • Totally. One of the Madison parks has a beautiful old synagogue building that can be rented for events: everything from weddings to contra dances happens there, and it is a very affordable space. Getting dates is a bit tricky, but if you know to look, it can work. I’ll bet most cities have great little spaces like that.

    • We’re going with a restaurant. We know the food will be good, it already looks pretty (so we’re not dealing with decorations at all) and it’s a little non-traditional! Wins all around in our book. Compared to everything else we looked into, it was less than a traditional wedding venue, but we’re also having it on a Sunday night to help with the cost.

    • Jashshea

      Check out museums. And art galleries.

      • Kathy

        Yep, I second the art galleries and the museums, especially Denver’s Natural History Museum. The atrium would be an amazing place to get married. Also, the tea house in Boulder might be a possibility. As would be Chataqua Park in Boulder. They have an indoor area you could use. I used to live right around the corner from Red Rocks and the suggestion for that venue is spot-on. I’m not sure how many they can hold indoors but you’d have indoor and outdoor options with them that would help you maximize for weather and also give people an incredible “Colorado” experience. Good luck!

    • Restaurants! At first, I thought that option would be too small because we were looking at a 200 person wedding, but some bigger restaurants can hold large groups and will rent the entire place. We found a restaurant that was beautiful, rented out for our exclusive use, and the “rent” was just a food and beverage minimum, so we didn’t actually have a venue fee at all. It turned out they did lots of weddings and were really well equipped to handle our party – they even had a lot of flexibility in final numbers. So it was the perfect choice for us, but something I only thought to look for (at about 7 months out) after realizing more traditional venues were just too much money for us. Good luck with it!

      • Jo

        Hi! I guess I’d been assuming that restaurants wouldn’t want to rent out for a Saturday night or would expect to get compensated completely for whatever they’d make having the restaurant open.

        • I think they do generally expect to make what they’d make by being open, but a lot of times, that’s easy to do with a wedding group. Of course, it depends on how big of a wedding you’re having – because we had a pretty good-sized guest number, we had no problem hitting the restaurant’s food and drink minimum. And the owner of “our” restaurant told us that he actually prefers renting out for weddings because then he knows exactly what to expect and exactly how much he’ll make, so if it’s at least as much as he’d make anyway, he’d rather do a wedding. So much so that we were able to rent out a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo! So you never know!

    • Try an Elks, Knights of Columbus, Lion’s Club, Women’s club or Veteran’s Hall. They might not be super cool, but they’re affordable. In my area the Knights and Elks both have the option of having them do your catering or bringing in food.

      My other suggestion is a trendy restaurant. They’re often pretty affordable for party functions.

    • We had our first date a cozy tea shop in town and although they don’t really “do” weddings they are for us. It’s going to be on a day they’re normally closed so it’s not super expensive. Think about places you frequent or are special to your relationship are there any of them you can see yourself getting married in? Ask the owner if it’s an option. I also looked at renting a room at my undergrad university it was super affordable but would’ve had to use university catering.

    • Jo

      Wow! I’m so thrilled for all of your responses! So many great suggestions for me to look into over the next few days. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, APW! What a wonderful community, seriously.

      • Kelsey

        We’re doing our civil union in Denver in September 2014 (we just got engaged three weeks ago!) and I was just tearing my hair out trying to find venues this week- thank you all so much for the amazing suggestions, and thank YOU Jo for putting the question out there. Yay APW!! Best wishes and good luck to all of you!

    • Hannah Smith

      I found my venue by looking at photographer blogs. That way you see where real people actually get married rather than the ridiculously expensive places google delivers.

  • The word cloud is so my brain right now. We’re at t-11 days. Eleven. Days. I’m currently putting together packing lists, packing, trying to remember to sleep, eat, and to enjoy my TV shows and not let wedding stuff eat my life. Last week during Grey’s I stamped and cut out and hole-punched tags for our favor bags (because I want favors. personal choice).

    I’m worried that I’ll end up having to stage-manage my own wedding.

    • APW Lurker

      Virtual fist bump for wedding tasking and watching Greys

      • Virtual fist-bump indeed! This Thursday? Baking MORE MUSTACHE COOKIES. Because you can never have enough mustache sugar cookies.

        • I hate to thwart your plans, but it looks like this Thursday will require lots of yelling at the TV. Please be careful, no one likes a smoking mustache cookie. (The over-brown ones are just guys with dark hair.)

          • Not a lot of yelling.. I will have to be diligent about adhearing to the triple-beep of the oven timer!!

    • Catherine B

      My brain too. I am so looking forward to having something else on my mind. I feel so obsessed and one-tracked. 18 days!!!

      Also: no need to defend your favors! I’m sure they’ll be lovely.

      I’m worried about the stage managing too. We have someone assigned, and I will do my best to turn it all over, but I’m the one who has been dealing with these vendors and contracts and envisioning it all for 16 months.

      Thank you for this thread APW. And for making me feel less alone!

      • We have folks assigned, too, but yes to having dealt with the vendors and contracts for the past year-plus!

        ETA: I am sorry for being pre-emptively defensive about the favors. They’re yummy. I just need to stop eating them.

        • Catherine B

          Mustache cookies! So fun! And yummy. I am eating ALL the sweets right now, self medicating with sugar.

    • Martha

      Deva! What up girl!!!!! These next 11 days are going to be nuts!I am going to same thing – making all of my packing lists, getting my weekend itineraries straightened out, and hole-punching favor bags! VIRTUAL HIGH FIVE!

      I am worried that I am going to have a hard time the morning of just letting go – I’m going to try the APW advice I read once (either the book or the blog, don’t remember which) to pick a time or moment to “let go.”

      • Martha! VIRTUAL HIGH FIVE! I’m getting all things in order as best as I can. I hope to let go the night before, but if I can’t my plan is to take five with some mimosas after we get back from getting our hair done the morning of. Beause at that point? What happens will happen. We’ll be married at the end of the day, and it’ll all be good, right? :-)

        • Martha

          Sounds like a good plan!!!! Once I get past the early morning decorating and to the salon I should be good to go. Here’s hoping the weather in PA will be good!

    • Ashley

      I am at 11 days too, and I’m trying really hard not to hate everyone and everything, including my fiance. It has been such a painful painful process, and now that it has become “real” and people have cut down being awful monsters, I’m just supposed to be like “Oh yeah, no big deal how you have been the WORST for literally a year and a half riiiight up until yesterday!”

      There’s actually too much to detail on where I would need some help, but can I just say at this point I would LOVE to have the problem of my wedding not being what I want because my parents or in-laws are paying. In-laws are doing nothing, parents paid for invites, and the rest is me. Not fiance and me. Me.

      OH! And my wedding dress that was supposed to be done last Friday, will now be done by THIS Friday the seamstress swears, and it doesn’t look as high quality as it should for the price of the alterations. And I’m leaving New York on Wednesday to fly to CA. I was going to ship my dress in advance, and that’s not looking like an option. I just hate everything.

      Hate hate EVERYTHING.

      • KateM

        I left home the Tuesday before my wedding, snapish, grumpy, stressed and not a happy camper. However, as soon as I got to my parents, I was able to start relaxing and was able to see that my nerves were actually the cause of a lot, it was my way of not dealing with the coming change.
        I think you are in the hardest phase, the time when you feel like you can still fix or change things and everything hasn’t yet pulled totally together and you are running out of time. It will get better in a day or two, when you really kind of just have to say “eff it” I can’t do anything about it anyway. Take some space away from everyone, an hour or two of solitude, and deliberately put the list out of your mind. There are a lot of people you love who are coming to be with you to celebrate what you mean to them and how happy they are that you have found your partner. Focus on them, not the fairweather friends. It is worth it. I promise. Everyone will tell you that you look beautiful, even if the dress isn’t perfect, and they will mean it. Believe them. Hang it there, it will get better.

        • Ashley

          Crying at work now, but already was from stress after I realized my fiance had been grouping the RSVP list instead of listing individuals, so we literally doubled in size and are now over the count we gave the caterers.

          I really appreciate your comment, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. My “fiance” is technically my husband, since we eloped last year after it was such a painful process wedding planning, and here i am over a year later with an embarrassing amount of money gone sitting here fully miserable.

          I want so bad to just be happy and enjoy this, because after all of this stress and pain-it will just be over. i’m supposed to be on crack down time with my diet, but if i’m going to push through this-especially at work- i need some gummy bears or sweet potato fries.

          and wine.

          • Stephanie

            Sweet potato fries and wine can cure all ills!

            Well, no, they can’t wrangle your RSVP list, but they can make the wrangling a little less stressful.

          • One of my best days was the day I decided to say fuuuuuck the diet and just eat what I needed to eat to get through the immense stress and change of a wedding. Because I mean, really – it’s some major b.s. that we’re made to think that that we’ll be more able to and deserving of enjoying our wedding days if we look a certain way. I’m sure you already look stunning. Also, the love you feel for your spouse – that’s what will show on your wedding day – more than the dress or makeup or anything – and it will make you so radiant. So go eat some dang sweet potato fries and gummy bears and ENJOY them!

            You deserve to enjoy this process however you can. It is hard and stressful, but Katem is right that what will really matter in the end is all the people there to celebrate you and your husband and shower you guys with love.

            I spent an hour the day before my wedding weeping because I was so overwhelmed by everything and my eyeball wouldn’t stop spasming (from stress). But then once I cried it out – and had a margarita – I just let it aaaaalll go. And I felt so much better. So cry all you need to, but then also do your best to just let it go and enjoy it. Because this is for you and your fiance – of course it matters to everyone else who is there too and you deserve to be as happy in it as you want to be. Give yourself permission to let go and enjoy. And just know, it will definitely get better!

  • APW Lurker

    Wedding is according to the countdown 81 days away

    Every time I try to work on my APW timeline I get heart palpitations because there are so many details I need to add and things that need to be remembered. We are planning long distance and will only be in the city where the wedding is for 3 days and I’m just not sure how much I can get done in those 3 days without going insane. The venue has a DOC but then it’s like well what exactly will she help with? How much responsibility will she take? How can I delegate all of these tasks among my family and friends without turning into bridezilla!!!?? I think that is the hardest hurdle for me asking people to help.

    On a happier note we are already getting rsvps back and there are old college friends who I never thought would make the trip coming out to our wedding!

    • mimi

      81 days here too! If people offer to help, take them up on it! That’s what I’m working on right now!

    • Definitely take up people on any offers of help. It makes such a difference, even if they’re just doing simple tasks for you. Also, I will just say that looking at timelines gave me heart palpitations every time (my wedding just happened), in part because I was constantly behind on them, and you know what? Totally didn’t matter in the end! It all got done, and fairly reasonably at that. So remember that timelines are just general guidelines. And that folks are there to help, and if they offer, then they will be happy to do tasks for you. I had a hard time getting used to that idea, but once I did, it was so lovely to have the help and to see how much people cared and enjoyed being part of the process.

    • Sam

      81 Days too!

      I currently have a friend taking up slack by finishing the design of my invitations. It’s hard to believe that she really wants to put time into it, but I just keep saying thank you and try not to worry about it.

      The timeline is my biggest worry right now. I have a insanely complicated day with 3 bands and just don’t know how to handle a lot of it, what to set aside time for, how much time and how to not confuse everyone.

      Also, despite the myriad of projects I left behind for the sake of my sanity, it doesn’t seem to have been enough b/c I am worried about all of them!

      • Megan

        88 days! August love!

    • Abilene

      Hooray for 81 days! I wanted to chime in on your DOC doubts. Our venue also had a DOC and I was very skeptical. She kept saying, “It’s my job to take care of everything, so all you have to do on your wedding day is focus on your hair and makeup.” Of course I didn’t believe her. But sure enough, I gloriously did NOTHING that day and she rushed around doing it all, even fluffing my dress when I paused to go up the makeshift aisle. True, they won’t help you with pre-wedding prep, but when it comes to setting up, cleaning up and avoiding mini-crises like broken microphones and unexpected guests, they DEFINITELY have your back!

    • Vita Trefusis

      81 days too!!! so good to read what everyone else is dealing with.

      I ordered my shoes online 5 minutes ago, one of the more fun tasks… (check em out)

      But I am feeling overwhelmed, mostly because I travel a lot for work (including a major trip two weeks before the wedding!) and my family is not around to help (we live in different countries). But my future mother in law has is already working on decor (bunting and rosettes) and I’ve got some pretty detailed lists and timelines that I look at several times per day.

      I’m definitely counting on friends for help, and also debating whether I should give in an hire a day-of-coordinator (my helpful but sometimes overwhelmed fiance thinks it’s unnecessary for a small wedding…). What do you think?

      • Ooh, I like those shoes. I’m just over a year out, but I have my shoes already. I certainly understand their importance.

        You certainly sound organized and it’s great that you have help. I’m trying to plan from out of state, with friends scattered everywhere. Honestly, I’d echo the advice that everyone is giving and accept the help that’s being offered. When it comes to hiring a DOC though, is it something you feel comfortable asking a friend or family member to do? How would the cost factor into your budget? You shouldn’t be in charge on the wedding day, but if you don’t know anyone else that you can trust to do it, and it fits your budget, then I’d say go for it. If you have someone in mind that could do it, talk to them. You never know what they might say.

  • Kelly

    I am just under four months out and only 10 days from my shower – this is getting super, duper real, super duper fast. Add to that that I’ll be living away on-site for work at my new job all summer, and we’ll only be seeing each other on weekends as available and I won’t exactly be able to bop around doing all the little things. I just feel like fiance and I have been happily plodding along planning for 8 months and now all of a sudden everyone else is getting excited and seems to care immensely about where we’re at, and the idea of having to sit in a room full of ladies and talk about the wedding is getting overwhelming…

    I’m just trying to stay grounded in the fact that the to-do list is getting shorter, nothing is insurmountable, and that there are people who can help if things get bad.

  • Emily

    2 months to go and all I can think about is, “Can this happen already?” I’m so ready to just BE MARRIED. Big decisions are planned, little things still need to be done but I am confident it will all come together. Mainly, I’m just ready to get the party started so I can call him my HUSBAND and I can be his WIFE and we can continue doing what we’ve been happily and lovingly doing for the past 6 years.

    Besides saying our vows and the actual ceremony, I’m most excited about our loved ones being in one place together celebrating LOVE. Can’t wait for that!

    • Kelly

      Yes! I am so over planning, I just want to get married already! I want to get through our ceremony and party with all of my favorite people in the world. The waiting is getting annoying!

    • Mary

      Oh my goodness yes. It’s weird, because I’m the type that started “planning” my wedding way before I even had a guy to marry. But now that I’ve found him? I don’t really care about decorations and cake. I just want it to get here already!

      • Oh my goodness, this is me! I still have random inspiration boards/plans for 3 different weddings I created during our early dating years. None of these correspond at all to our actual wedding. Instead of obsessing about cake decorations and bridesmaid dresses, I’ve decided to have nicely decorated ordinary cake from a local bakery and the girls can wear what they want (knee-length and muted colors). I never thought I’d have a “un-coordinated” wedding, but I honestly don’t care anymore! I’m just ready to have it happen!

        • Stella

          Oops tried to exactly this and reported it by mistake! So sorry!

          • At least I know you feel the same way, Stella :)

    • This absolutely happened to me at the 2 month mark. I was just DONE with all the planning, and yet had those two busiest planning months to go.

      I can’t help much because I didn’t really overcome it so much as muddle through it. But I do have words of encouragement… you can do it! You’re almost there!

  • Worries:

    – What should we do about the Tent decision? Our wedding is on July 24th, outdoors on one of the southern Gulf islands in BC. A rental is around $1200, for it to be transported by ferry over, set up, etc. If it doesn’t rain, I’m out just over a grand. If it doesn’t rain and we haven’t rented… we were thinking we could rig up some tarps, but that seems scary. Someone please decide.

    – I was sick last year and skinnier and I don’t think my wedding dress fits anymore. But I don’t know, ’cause it’s down South and I’m up North. Maybe I should buy a new one. Hmm.

    – Oh gosh, I thought I had more. I think I do. I know I’m nervous, or anxious, or is it excited? But I don’t know.
    That’s all for now.

    (When I’m stressed, I just plan my honeymoon. It’s my favorite.)

    • Catherine B

      When do you have to decide? I think some companies allow you to reserve one and decide that week? We ended up getting a big tent, just for piece of mind. There’s a value to be placed on not having to panic too much when the 25 day extended forecast predicts heavy rain (which it currently is…eh)

      • morningglory

        Where are you getting a 25 day extended forecast?!

        • Catherine B
          • Lauren

            Only two more weeks until it will predict the weather on my wedding day… oh noooooo…

          • Colleen

            Guess we’ll be playing a lot of cards in doors at my camp wedding :-/

          • I wonder how accurate a 25-day extended forecast can be?

            Man, science. <3 Even if the accuracy is a little off, the fact that we live in a world where such a thing exists.

          • Catherine B

            I think not accurate at all. I don’t even trust the 5 day forecasts. It’s just fun that it’s finally close enough to be on it!

          • Meghan

            Argh! I know you told me not to, but I couldn’t help myself… We are 25 days out, and people keep remarking on how calm I seem, but “rain becoming steadier” did not help. Thanks, Accuweather. But that’s not really REAL, right? It can’t be… Wishing you all sunny days (unless of course you’d prefer rain, and then I wish you that)!

          • Catherine B

            Sunny days to you too! It’s not real; I’m pretty sure it’s just up there for people like us to obsess over.

          • Mira

            okay, this predicted rain for a full two weeks before our wedding on Sunday…and it was gorgeous. it’s pretty much like a weather horoscope

    • Emmy

      I can’t decide your tent issue for you,. but we’re in the same boat! We’re getting married in August in Pennsylvania. We rented the largest pop-up tent you can reserve. It’s too small to hold all our guests, but it’s way cheaper than the big tent. And we only need to set it up if we have to (unlike the bigger ones, that they set up for you). Ideal? No. Am I totally comfortable with it? Oh hell no. But we’re hoping for the best.

    • Laura C

      I’m no help on the decision but I remember my best friend making this decision. She had to decide by maybe 48 hours out, and she decided not to get the tent. The morning of the wedding I was sitting in the salon with her, looked out the window, saw it raining, tried desperately to keep her facing away from the windows. Luckily, it stopped in time.

    • Kathy

      Just get one. Pale people and old folk love a tent on a sunny day. Everyone loves a tent on a rainy day. Then don’t worry about it anymore!

    • Sarah

      I have a strategy for those things that seem a ridiculous amount of money (like most wedding-related things). I imagine things going wrong and asking myself, if it went wrong, would I pay x amount of money to buy my way out of the situation? If the answer is yes then go for it. If it’s no, then don’t bother.

      For example, my Dad offered to help my fiance cut down a tree in his yard because it was going to be so much money to pay someone to do it. I could see it all going wrong and asked my fiance, if the tree breaks and smashes into the neighbour’s house or through the roof, or if one of you fell and broke something, would you pay that money to get yourself out of that situation? Yes? Then let’s just pay someone to take it down.

      Another example, I’m making the cake myself. If it all goes to hell, would I pay the $500 to have one made? No, so I won’t bother.

      I’m looking at tent rental as well and I know that the day of, if it was a choice between paying for a tent or having to move everything indoors, I would pay for the tent. It could be beautiful and sunny that day but we’re still having a tent.

    • fermi

      Spend the money, get the tent. I live in the desert South West and it hardly ever rains, but it can get chilly at night (mid september) and though the chances of it raining are nil, I’m getting one anyways!

    • Jessica B

      Would it be impractical to buy a few dozen giant golf umbrellas? That would be practical if just the ceremony was outdoors, but if the whole shindig is outdoors I’d err on the side of a tent.

      If you’re going to buy another dress, maybe buy one that you’d wear again. That way if your dress does fit, you have a cute new outfit! I believe there was a post that had lower priced short dresses if you’re into that sort of thing.

    • Stella

      ooof, I would totally hire the tent, on the one hand, a grand’s a fair bit of money — on the other hand – ripping up tarps????

    • Personally, I’d hire the tent. Because if I think about the two scenarios: would I rather have to pay a grand to have an unneeded tent? or would I rather have it rain on everyone? And for me, I’d rather have a wasted tent. Especially if it’s ceremony and reception.

      We had an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception, and the ceremony location didn’t allow tents or anything else (government property), so we just rolled the dice. I got married in Santa Barbara were it rains less than one day a month at that time of year. Guess what it did on our wedding day?!! Rained. But luckily after everything was done – so it all worked out! So you can also roll the dice, but you know… it helped me stay calm that day to at least know the reception was inside.

    • Caroline

      How often does it rain that time of year? I don’t think we’ll get a tent because frankly, it doesn’t really rain in August where we are getting married.

    • Alden

      I was going back and forth for my September wedding about renting a tent, and what my parents and I decided was to all buy one pop-up tent from Costco. They are 18×18 and we are going to leave them in the packaging until the wedding and then return them if we don’t end up needing them. This works for us because we also have a covered porch and a house to hold guests as well. I could not handle spending the money to rent a tent that was big enough to hold everyone.

      That solution may not work for you but it was a total lightbulb moment for me when my Dad thought of it!

      And I’m with you on the honeymoon planning, I look at pictures of tropical beaches when I can’t handle more budgeting details…

    • Aubry

      I am getting married in Vancouver next year, late July! We are not getting a tent for the wedding because bottom line – we cannot afford it. It’s a risk, but it is ALMOST always nice and sunny by late July. Last year, the worst spring I can remember in years, was an exception in being crummy till about the 26th. If it rains, we will cram into the family sitting room (or half of us will, its not that big) but we will have to make due. The bad part of this part of the world is that it is pretty uncertain till August.

      Also, look up sizing charts for your dress brand online if you can find them, and take your new measurements. You can get a better idea how far off you are that way, and if it is a size or two I’m sure alterations can fix it!

  • Mary

    Hardest thing right now? Finding the motivation to do all those little things! We’re both currently looking for jobs. After a year of grad school, he decided it wasn’t for him, and I’m in an Americorps position that ends the day before our July wedding. It’s hard to get excited about planning a wedding when we don’t know where we’ll be living or if we’ll have jobs when we come back from the honeymoon. I’m really in generally good spirits about the whole thing – I know something will work out – but picking out a color for the table runners seems somehow…less important. And yet, all of those things still need to be done.

    • Marcela

      I’m right there with you! The wedding is in 18 days and I could not possibly care less. I’m so focused on my job search right now that I keep putting off meeting with the caterers and finalizing the guest count. This is problematic because we ended up with fewer RSVPs than expected and if I don’t get the new numbers to them I will be paying for almost ten extra people! Also trying to schedule a hair trial with my stylist is proving more difficult than expected…

    • Yay for AmeriCorps. I’m hoping I’ll find a job for after my term (ends in July as well) and I’m trying to start planning the wedding at the same time. Really hoping I find a position soon so I don’t have to worry about both at the same time. We’ll see if that works out. Good luck!

  • One More Sara

    Has anyone used Bridesign Flowers? They are an online florist that mail you pre-made bouquets, bouts, etc. As far as flowers go, I want real ones, but don’t really have any other strong opinions about them. (We are already doing non-floral centerpieces, so we are only having personal flowers for ourselves, bridal party and parents.) Bridesign has pretty good reviews on weddingwire, but I’m a little nervous to pull the trigger without hearing about a firsthand experience. (I already got a quote from them that they could do all the flowers I need for about $500, less than half the price I’ve been quoted by local florists)

    • Karissa

      Have you thought about paper flowers? Awesome, more affordable and they last forever.

    • Joe

      Hi Sara – first, congrats on your wedding! I’ll be completely honest with a full disclosure..I’m the marketing manager for Bridesign. I just started with the company a few months ago and recently got the chance to visit the flower farms in Colombia.

      I was completely blown away at the operation and detail that goes into every single stem of every single order. I still have to sort through the pictures of the farm and the flower specialists who put together the bouquets by hand. I think you’ll have a better appreciation of the flowers after seeing them.

      I wanted to let you (and everyone else!) know about our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Please know that you’ll get the flowers you love and dreamed of in time for your wedding and we have several systems in place to assure this. I know you said you’ve already contacted us but if we didn’t tell you about the guarantee please visit the site and one of the reps will gladly explain it to you.

      We have a great team and I feel extremely lucky to be part of the family. Please check back in and let us know what you decided.

      Sorry about the very long reply but I get excited when talking about our services!! :)

      Best of luck,

  • Jenni

    I got engaged last week after a long bout of pre-engagement (squee!) but now I’m just … terrified to get started. I’ve been reading APW for three years now. I’ve bookmarked hundreds of links. I helped plan a friend’s entire wedding. And yet all the decisions that I’ve thought, “well someday I will choose, but not now” … now that the time is here, I’m just paralyzed. The thought of actually making those choices fills me with dread. I find myself happily looking up venues for my best friend’s wedding, but I don’t even want to glance at all the ones I’ve bookmarked over the years for us.

    I’m so happy and excited to be engaged. Can I just stay that way? What do you mean I have to get married now?!

    • Emmy

      1. Yes, you can just stay that way! For as long as you and your partner damn well please.

      2. Have you read the APW book? Meg has some very excellent advice for planning that makes it all seem so much less crazy and stressful. Especially those early conversations where it seems like you could pretty much do ANYTHING.

      • Amber

        Yes, read the APW book if you haven’t yet! Total life saver!!!

    • I second Emmy- you can be engaged as long as you want. Take your time and enjoy it!

      However, as someone else who looked at wedding planning and lurked around APW during the pre-engagement period, if you do want to get started I’d take some APW advice. Start with the guest list, venue and date. Everything else will be influenced by the guest list, the venue, and the date. After that (and finding someone to marry you on said date) everything is just fluff and (hopefully) fun! Good luck!

      • KE

        Solid advice. At first wedding planning seemed like INFINITE OPTIONS! Then we picked a date (based on church availability and family schedules). Then we made a guest list. Then we thought in very broad strokes– like, we are getting married in springtime, we both have seasonal allergies, the reception must be indoors. And like that, our INFINITE OPTIONS! turned into five possible venues. And after that, every decision narrowed down all the other lists.

      • Caroline

        And really start with talking just about what you want your wedding to be like. Cozy and intimate? Reverent and surrounded by everyone you know? Playful and elegant? Are there things that are really important to you (umm, not really thing things, but like, yes dancing or no dancing or a religious ceremony or a secular ceremony or a bounce house or that it’s really really small or really big or you care a lot about food or flowers or invites or music or cake or photography or clothes or you don’t really give a crap about any of that but you DO care that your best friend walks you down the aisle or whatever.)

    • Yes! You can stay that way for as long as you want! We waited, like, three months to start planning because I just couldn’t handle it at first – even though I was happy to be engaged. But then eventually, we got to a point where we were like, we could do this some. And so then we started, and did it at our own pace. You are free to pick your pace, whatever it is. Plus, it’s fun to just revel in the engagement for awhile.

    • Ali S

      Congratulations!!! Agreed with all of the above advice, totally. I got engaged in December, and had been engaged for approximately 28 hours when I panicked and decided I didn’t want to get married. Thankfully, the fiance didn’t think I was a crazy wackadoo, and I got over that panic after another day. So to balance the panic, we decided we would be engaged for a few months before we even thought about the wedding, and didn’t start planning until March. If you are fine with a bit of a longer engagement (which is all relative anyway), that was a really nice way to ease into it

  • morningglory

    I’m getting married in a week and a half! Yikes! The thing that’s forefront in my mind as far as “getting ready for the wedding” goes is figuring out the day-of details and timeline. And exactly how are we going to do that receiving line? And we’re getting married outside and there isn’t really an aisle, instead we’ll be coming around from behind the farmhouse, so where do we go after “the kiss”? Back around the farmhouse? Maybe. When do I take my veil off? Who will help me do that? Who’s going to buy the balloons to put at the end of the driveway? These little, little details are the things that make me crazy and make we wake up at 4:30 in the morning. I just can’t wait to be married. May 25 can’t come soon enough. And please, please, please let there be good weather. I’m basically obsessing over the 10-day forecast. Much love to anyone else getting married Memorial Day Weekend… Home Stretch!!

    • YES! I am also a May 25th bride! I cannot wait to be married and to get all this done with and to be able to finally finally call my man my HUSBAND without being corrected!

      The little details are exhausting. I am majorly delegating. My future ILs are making signage, my bridesmaids bought a lot of supplies for the cake table, and I am using the APW timeline to break down times for each “event” and then adding commentary. I think you can ask any friend/bridesmaid/mom/even husband to help with the veil if it’s just on a comb. and yes, obsessing over the forecast, too.

    • Beth

      Our wedding is on the 26th and I hear ya! All those little details and coordinating schedules and how exactly does one get from here to here…those are the things that are baffling me right now.

      We’ll figure it out, though!

    • Jenny

      Yay! May 26th for me! I too am just trying to get through all the details and timeline and coordination. Throughout the whole planning process I was just sort of meh about the whole decorations and details part, and now I’m done with my first year of my PhD program and I’m finding that all my creative juices are returning and I have all these ideas and plans…. we’ll see what gets done.

      And yes, stalking the forecast… currently looking nice in the days leading up to it. Fingers crossed

  • mimi

    81 days out, according to my countdown app (August 3). Right now I’m working on getting invitations ready to mail and also making table decorations. We’re having the wedding on family property in Northern Michigan, and my fiance is doing a lot of physical labor to get the place ready, while I’m working on the “typical” wedding details. I’ve got all of my vendors and I think I have a decent timeline in place, so I’m mostly just trying to accomplish something “wedding” every day and stay calm.

    • tess

      I am getting married the same day! You seem ahead of me, we’re just getting our invitations ordered. It is amazing how helpful it is to just take care of one thing every day. For instance, I had been planning to go buy my closer to my dress fitting as I was worried about my bra working with the dress (backless and strapless and I’m an E cup – so ambitious!), but the other day after work I just ran out and got it done because I needed to cross SOMETHING off the list that day.

      I think others have already said it, but planning a wedding doesn’t really mean that many items on a to do list when you break it down over the months you plan (at least compared to the to do lists I face every day in my professional life), but so many decisions come fraught with lots of emotions and negotiating, and the bigness of the biggest decision (getting married!) adds a whole other level to the anxiety. Right now I think what’s giving me the biggest anxiety is the parts I can’t control – the other people. I can’t control WHO will come (we invited a lot but are expecting a low turnout, and I am starting to feel relieved when people can’t come since it means less $$, which is a bit sad) and I can’t control how much fun they will have (I hope a lot!). So that’s what I’m focused on letting go of right now.

      • mimi

        Our wedding is semi-destination (within the same state, but 3.5 hours away from where most of the guests live, so most will be driving, with a few flying), so we are trying to get the invitations out a little early (at least according to the WIC invitation timelines).

  • Alix

    Husband elect and I are in the process of custom designing our invitations. We’re discussing whether or not it’s okay to email them to our guests. It would definitely make things easier and save a bunch of money. But I have this silly voice in my head saying “that’s not what people do”. Which is funny because we’ve veered away from so many other traditions in planning. Thoughts?

    • It works well for some people, and not well for others. I think it depends on you and your guests. Do you think your guests would receive/reply to a email wedding invitation? Then cool! Do you think it would sit in everyone’s inbox unopened for 6 months? Then probably not the best idea. You can also ask a few guests to get their feedback.

    • morningglory

      I designed our invites and decided to print and mail them through the USPS, however, we did online RSVPs, which cut out the cost of return postage. We also printed them at home on paper from Paper Source, which helped with cost, too. I felt like it was something I could DIY and have finished before the wedding and it’s been so great to have the design for other things (gift tags, directional signs, favors, etc…). I went with mailing them mostly because I appreciated the tangible nature of an actual printed invite. I actually mailed one to our apartment to have as a keepsake. It might be “what everyone else does” but it was what I wanted, too.

      • Leila

        We did this as well. We printed them on paper from Paper Source, sent them out by mail, and then had them RSVP to an email address we made for the wedding We then emailed them a link to the website, which had all the needed info. It really kept us from needing to put too much text on the invitation

      • mimi

        I’m doing the same thing, but I set up a Glo-Site for the RSVPs. Invitations are going out soon, so hopefully this will work! I’m thinking I’ll have to do a few paper response cards for elderly relatives, but otherwise fingers crossed that everyone cooperates!

    • Like one reply said, it depends on your guests.

      Do they all have computers and access to email to receive and respond? Can you do both, so elderly relatives can get their paper invite?

    • Alix

      Thank you for the responses! It’s a more intimate guest list and there are only 2 elderly guests coming and they actually love using email. On the flip side it wouldn’t cost too much to print the number of invitations we need. Maybe I’ll think it over a bit more. There’s always a coin toss.

    • Oakland Sarah

      My bestie did email invites through Paperless Post. It is a little nicer because it animates an envelope and connects directly to an e-RSVP. I’m not sure if that would work with an invite that you have already designed.

      When the time comes for my fiance and I to mail out invites, we are planning to do e-invites with younger crowd and hard copy to the less-comfortable-with-the-computer crowd.

    • Sarah

      We did both. We did an email invitation with a link to RSVP on a form through our wedding website. We also printed and mailed invitations/RSVP cards to those family members we knew couldn’t handle the online system. It seems to be working ok!

    • KE

      One thing to keep in mind is spam filters. Several of our wedding events used evites for the invites or as a save-the-date. In every case, at least a third of the recipients found the evites weeks later in their spam filters. If you go the evite route, I’d recommend anticipating needing to follow-up with guests to make sure they received it.

    • jess

      We’re thinking of potentially going with different methods depending on the person. Our (computer based) work friends? Email. Grandma who only recently got rid of webtv (yeah, that still exists…)? She gets something mailed.

    • Tania

      We’re emailing our invitations (and have already emailed our ‘save the dates’). I’m using Mailchimp to manage the process. It lets you format the email, and manages the mailing list. It even tells you if the recipient has opened the email! Slightly stalker-ish but very helpful! It should also stop the emails going into spam boxes. I’m also printing and posting a few copies to elderly guests.

    • Jessica

      I love that you called him husband elect.

    • StillSmiling

      We did electronic Save the Dates and electronic RSVPs (but actually mailed the invitations, with instructions for RSVP-ing online), which made me happier and was MUCH easier…in a way. The downside is this: people don’t have a paper card reminding them to RSVP. So, so, so many of our family and friends have not yet RSVP-ed. Maybe this just happens. But, as I try to track down Uncle So-and-So to see if they’re coming, I keep wondering if it is because of the electronic aspect… Sigh. But other than that problem, it was great!! Oh, and we printed just a few of the Save the Dates for close family and friends (Grandma, who won’t ever see it electronically, for example), which was fun…

    • Martha

      I just re-read this comment and realized how the awesomeness of the term “husband-elect”!


    I’m SO sorry… I’m not engaged so I can’t help… but I just had to comment that the graphic above says “Homeymoom” and it is CRACKING me up!!!!!

    • Other Katelyn

      Homeymooms are so much less PRESSURE than honeymoons.

    • Not to rain on the homeymoom parade, but it’s just how that cursive looks. ;)
      (Notice that there are 3 ‘humps’ for the m and 2 for the n’s)

      I felt I had to defend Maddie’s spelling honor! :)


        I’m a cursive crusader (I refuse to believe it will one day be extinct) so I appreciate your defense! I think it’s just the little “hooks” at the front of the letters that made them look like they (and the m) have too many humps. It was a quick perusal that caught my eye and made me laugh. No worries, Maddie! I know you know how to spell. <3

  • I am so happy for you all. I put the kabash on having a wedding last fall. My family super sucks and it’s not worth the drama. And getting married with a kiddo in tow is a lot more complicated logistically. So we’re common law married. Yes, very romantic. But secretly, a wedding would be fun. I plan to live vicariously through you all, so make sure you send in things! Enjoy your weddings you beautiful bunch!

  • Lauren

    My current rose and thorn are one and the same. My bridesmaids have their dresses being shipped right now! Yay! That’s the rose. The thorn has been the company being a complete PITA and being really unresponsive, blah blah blah (they all ordered online because they are scattered around the East Coast). And, to top it off, all of these dresses are HUGE and need really intense alterations. So what was an affordable but nice dress is now double the cost.

    I just feel so silly because a lot of my friends seem to expect me to wave a magic wand and fix it, and I just can’t. Nor do I have the time to harass manufacturers all the day long. I want my wedding to be a happy memory for them, not a money drain OR an example of my incompetence.

    That last part is 100 percent emotion related but it’s still hard to make peace with not being omnipotent.

    • KC

      Ugh. It’s frustrating when things don’t work out as anticipated – and doubly frustrating when that affects other people who you care about!

      Odds are pretty good that they’ll either a) not end up caring enormously or b) end up with The Best Bridesmaid Dress Story at parties, which eventually comes around to being a good/okay thing. If any of them are particularly-seriously strapped for cash, though, and you aren’t, it might be nice to cover the alterations for those specific bridal party members. (on the “what amount of money is it worth to me to make this problem go away?” sort of theme) But being honest that this isn’t how you expected it to turn out, and you wish that it was a better experience for them, but you don’t have any control over the manufacturer… well, it should go a long way with reasonable friends? :-)

      Best wishes to you! (and hooray for dresses being in the mail!)

  • Moe

    To all of the brides who are worrying, stressing out, freaking out, pulling your hair out, sleepless, penniless, jobless, short-handed, counting RSVPs, shopping, running errands, running out of time and just plain tired, I salute you.

    I loved my wedding, I worried about details, I ran out of money but I had a great time. It was one month ago. Today I got my proofs back from the photographer and I love them.

    So what if my dress was 8 inches too long
    So what if I broke out in hives three days before the wedding
    So what if it was cloudy and cold on my wedding day
    So what if my sister didn’t show up because she was mad at me
    So what if we had to substitute pie for cake at the very last minute
    So what if the dj hired at the last minute had inferior sound equipment

    In the photos everyone, especially me, looks HAPPY. Because WE WERE ALL HAPPY.

    You will get there, it’s going to be ok, and we’re here to help and offer advice if possible.

    • Sarah

      Thank you so much for this!

    • This is so wonderful and absolutely true!
      It is truly all about how you feel and how you will feel is full of joy and surrounded by love. The details will matter but only the slightest bit in comparison to how it all feels.

    • Kathy

      I so needed this. Exactly right now. Exactly this. THANK YOU!

  • My current battle with the parents is over the head table.

    My mom wants to have a direct, un-obscured view of the man and I during our wedding dinner.

    I want an intimate dinner and to be able to enjoy conversation with my friends, and my friends in the wedding party to be able to have a conversation.

    I pitched the idea of two long banquet tables long side to long side, making a large dining room style table (we have 6 bridesmaids and 6 groomsmen). Ma hated this because she thought she would not be able to see me. I have since moved the matron of honour and bestman from the foot of the table to the sides, no subsequent complaints, but still not happy.

    I pitched the sweetheart table, but have no idea how to seat the party posse we have. We would like them to be at the front with us, and sit together. Their other halves, if applicable, will either be at one table together or scattered with other groups of friends.

    Mother-in-law is silent, and stern through all of this. Groom is supportive of not doing the Last Supper style head table, 14 people behind one table is flipping huge.

    Has anyone done the non-Last Supper head table? Anyone done sweetheart or other versions of a head table? How did you seat everyone else? Pinterest and general image searches of alternative head tables have lacked fruit.

    • A friend of mine got married last summer. Their sweetheart table was at the top side of their dance floor. Their bridal party was split up over two round tables – the ones nearest the bride and groom. The bridal party was able to sit with their guests, and there was an unobstructed view of bride and groom.

      We are going to be doing modified last-supper table: we have 4 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen, plus groomsman-in-support/emcee-of-amazing. We are putting two 8-foot tables side-by-side, seating folks all the way around them with us in the center, but we’re not seating anyone directly across from us. For us, this is a win-win. We get to talk with friends and our bridal party gets to sit with their dates.

    • Kara

      We did a sweetheart table & put our bridal party at various tables. Bridal party members that were family sat with other family & BP friends sat with friends. We put two tables of our parents/grandparents directly behind our sweetheart table.

      • We did this too. I had two bridesmaids who don’t really get along (although did a good job of putting that aside to be there for me… way to go ladies!), so rather than put the wedding party together at a table, I sat each of these girls with their respective friends and then filled in gaps with some of my cowokers. My sister (MOH) went at the family table with cousins and siblings and some more coworkers. So I spread my coworkers between 3 tables to spread out the bridesmaids.
        Nobody was supposed to be sitting anyways, they were supposed to be dancing!

    • Moe

      This is my completely biased opinion, I don’t think anyone looks comfortable at a Last Supper like table. When I’ve seen it done that way the wedding party tends to scatter and sit other places.

      We did a sweetheart table and it was placed in a center stage prominent area of the venue. That time to eat together alone and uninterrupted was priceless. Once the music dancing and karaoke started I don’t think I ever went back to my seat.

      I did ask the coordinator to add two chairs to our sweetheart table after dinner so that people could stop and chat but it was never used. I saw the idea somewhere maybe it was here? And liked it.

      I’m sure mother-in-law will survive if you have a sweetheart table. :)

    • Martha

      We’re doing a “U” shaped head table. There is a rather funky niche in the ballroom and I figured, why not? We will be in the bottom of the “U” with our bridal party up the sides.

    • We had a sweetheart table placed diamond style (square turned sideways) between two eight person tables where our wedding party sat. So my husband(!) and I were both facing out, but on either side of us, our wedding party was just at a normal 8 person table with people on both sides. I liked it because it felt like we both got to have our own little table and be at tables with our peeps.

    • I put way too much time and worry into this. As the plus-one of a wedding party member, I’ve hated having to be seated with random people while the one person I know is at a head table. And when you’re Last Supper style, you can’t talk to more than the people on both sides of you anyway. We seated our bridal party members at guest tables like everyone else (who we seated according to who we thought would want to get caught up with people they don’t often see or who they’d hit it off with if they met for the first time) and had a sweetheart table for ourselves. Most of our guest tables had extra chairs (between numbers not working exactly and a couple of people getting snowed into northern airports) so we ended up eating dinner separately at guest tables so we could spend more time with our guests. The only time we were actually at our sweetheart table was during the toasts. I know a lot of people really treasure that little bit of time alone together during dinner, but we knew we’d be moving out of the country soon after the wedding and would have more than enough time alone together, so we prioritized spending time with people we don’t often see. Not that it was something we agreed on ahead of time – it just kind of happened.

      • Emily

        I agree that it can be tough on dates of wedding party to sit with people they don’t know. It might be a good idea to run that by your wedding party – they’re doing a lot for you that day, if they want to sit with their dates, maybe that’s a good move to make everyone comfortable.

        • KateM

          We seated our bridal party like everyone else, and our table as well. We had friends coming that were not in the wedding but that we were close to and wanted to visit with, so we had them seated at our table. It was great. Eating was a such a short part of the night, honestly. If people can’t see you, who cares? They stop by your table anyway. We enjoyed our dinner conversations so much. I highly recommend it.

        • anon

          I’m getting married in a little over 2 weeks (!) and I really didn’t want the last-supper style table. The 2 times I had previously sat at one, as a bridesmaid, I found them quite dull, as you are restricted in who you can talk to and the conversation doesn’t mingle and flow as it does on round tables. So we have opted to have a round table for ourselves, parents and bridal party (it’s small), the same as our guests will be sitting at. I’m so pleased we were able to do this.

    • Thanks for the help and comments!

      I talked it out with Ma last night, and she in on board with a sweetheart table. We are going to mix up the wedding party between two tables on our wings, and see if we can sit other halves with them. We are doing tables of 8, we have 6 groomsmen and 6 bridesmaids with 7 other halves. We might put it out to the other halves to see if they want to sit with friends, or with their partner.

      Having the wedding party interspersed with the rest of the party may throw too many people for a loop. They are all so used to seeing a Last Supper head table, that Paul and I at a sweetheart will make them go “Whaaa??” According to Ma, people like to look at the wedding party, so keeping them together is a compromise I will make with her.

      • Casey

        They can look at the wedding party during the ceremony, right? Who really needs to watch other people eat!?!

        We are contemplating not even sitting with each other – bride with groom’s family, and groom with bride’s family, at regular tables, no assigned seating. We’ll have to have our officiant make an announcement to make this work. But then our goal is to really mesh both families. We have only invited family – no friends, and no parents’ friends.

    • Can you do it so that it’s like a regular table, except you and your dude are in the middle with no one opposite you?

      So, like, for 14 people (you two plus 12 bridal party . . . unless also their dates will be there?), you’d have two 8 foot tables together. And you and the mister would be sat in the middle, with MOH and BM to your sides, or whatever, choose your choices. And the bridal party sits around the table so that the only people NOT directly facing someone is the two of you. That way A) everyone can talk to each other, B) you’re still 80% surrounded by your awesome bridal party and C) your mom can still have a clear line of sight to you and your husband.

  • Martha

    Loving all the Memorial Day Weekenders!

    I am finally getting excited. I was so anxious about my “final” estimate from my caterer. Not for any real, concrete reason, but just these horror stories you hear about a bride who got completely hosed.

    Once I get him on the plane home (he can go home for the wedding earlier than me because his job is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more flexible) than I think I’ll be much better because I can freak out about details and neurotic checklists without him chirping “don’t worry about it” in me ear.

  • M

    Today is 18 days until our wedding. Things are getting real, y’all.

    Super important question I have:
    Is it weird to ask for people to prepare toasts for our reception? Beyond the usual best man/maid of honor? Our reception is a simple but special cocktail reception that’s going to start at 8pm and have a menu of our favorite classic cocktails. My dream is to have a circle of our friends and family members around while some (not many) (who want to and don’t feel nervous about speaking in public) make toasts.

    Is this too selfish or weird of a request? Our ceremony will be pretty much all our officiant so we won’t have anybody do something then. I really need to know if this big toast thing is an okay thing to ask for.

    • I asked my dad to do a welcome toast, and my grandmother asked to give a toast. I think it’s OK to ask :-).

    • LMN

      I second Deva’s opinion…I think it’s okay to ask! think it’s a lovely request, and I think that the people you ask will be honored to be included in your event in this way.

      We don’t have a bridal party, so we’re going to ask our parents, siblings, and a handful of close friends to give toasts. We’ll give them the option of saying “no, thank you” altogether if they don’t want to speak, or doing a toast at the reception, or at the rehearsal dinner–depending on whether they are more comfortable speaking in front of a small group or a larger one. I’m a little nervous about asking them, but I’m mostly excited. Pretty much sums up how I’m feeling about the wedding!

      • Katherine

        No wedding party here, either! :virtual fistbump: It’s so much less complicated this way, I think :-)

        • Stephanie

          Virtual high-five for no wedding party! And we are asking a few special family members and friends if they would like to make a toast (but emphasizing that they are more than welcome to decline).

        • LMN

          Virtual fistbumps and high-fives for Katherine and Stephanie! I’ve second-guessed a lot of wedding planning decisions, but the decision not to have a wedding party isn’t one of them. One of my best friends got married without a wedding party a few summers ago and gave me the idea, and I’m so glad she did.

          I know it’s not right for everyone, but for me and my FH, it really reduced the stress and increased the fun. I still have my ladies who are helping me out that day (and have been helping me for months). We just don’t have the official titles, or any of the obligations, and that has really helped me be more relaxed about it.

    • Moe

      I suggest asking, not everyone is good at doing things like that on-the-fly.

      My MOH and Best Man gave toasts and I asked them beforehand. My MOH was deathly afraid of public speaking so I thought she might say no and that would have been perfectly ok. But her husband coached her through the preparation and what she said was so beautiful

    • KE

      Not selfish, not weird, but be very, very clear with guidelines. This is an area where people feel honored to be asked, but also a lot of pressure to get it right. And even confident speakers worry about when to pip up, how to get everybody’s attention, if there’ll be a mike or if they should plan to project, if any topics are verboten, if they need to have written remarks or should speak off the cuff, how long they should speak.

      Like reeeeally spell it out for your potential toasters. “After the maid of honor speaks, would you mind clinking your fork against your glass and offering a toast? It doesn’t need to be a huge speech, but just two minutes of your thoughts about us as a couple would mean a lot to me. This is going to be an informal thing, so no microphone or platform– we’ll all be in a circle and please plan to talk after the MOH.”

      I know that sounds less special and more manufactured, but the toasts themselves are what really matter. You’ll have a more meaningful experience and your toasters will actually enjoy it if there’s a bit of structure in place.

      • M

        Thank you soooo much for this. *For you and all awesome APWers.* This I will do and I think with the guidelines and making sure people have advance notice (like asking today!) this will be great.

    • It’s not weird at all! And is totally an okay thing to ask for – and a really lovely thing too! – as long as you ask in a way where people feel comfortable saying no if they need to.

      We asked four people to give toasts – MOH, BM, and the people we thought of as our vice-MOH and BM. My brother then gave an impromptu toast, which was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. I’ve also been to a wonderful wedding where the couple had a toasting time when people (probably about 6-8 in all) spoke, and it was really lovely.

    • Emilie

      I went to a wedding last summer where they set aside time towards the end of the night for a “roast.” Even though they called it a roast, it ended up just being a series of heartfelt impromptu toasts to the couple. Since roasts are generally scheduled and less formal, everybody felt very comfortable stepping up to the mic.

    • Diane

      Idea: for the folks who you’d like to have speak but aren’t “traditional toasters”, at some point call them, explain your vision, and say something like, “I would love for you to be part of this if there’s something you’re comfortable saying.”

      Sounds delightful and full of love!

    • Brenda

      Definitely ask, it’s totally fine. People like some notice so they can plan, and if you don’t ask you might end up with no one saying anything because they don’t think you want it even though they would have been happy to do it.

      I would say just keep in mind who likes speaking in public and who doesn’t.

      For my best friend’s wedding in September I said “you’re not going to make me say something, are you?” And she said “you’re damn right I am.” And I did, because she’s important to me, and I’m glad I did, even if my face went bright red.

      However, I will not make her say anything at my wedding, because she would actually die. And I love her anyway.

  • Katie

    Oh, guys. I realized last night, out of the blue, that we had the wrong time on our invitations. The invitations that were printed not even twenty-four hours prior, in a different state, and now cannot be altered (except with another printing run, which is not going to happen.) I had stuck in a tentative time as a place holder and then later we decided to change it except…we did not change it on the invitation proof.

    And all I can do is laugh, sheepishly, at myself. It’s only a half-hour difference, so…I guess we’re just meant to get married half an hour later!

    • sarah

      a close friend of mine had the wrong address for her wedding’s location printed on her invitations….it was a place she’d visited a lot growing up, so she just assumed that she had the address memorized, but apparently not. when she realized her mistake she laughed a lot too. and it worked out– we all found the wedding

    • Catherine B

      Good thing it was just a half hour!

      I found out yesterday (with 19 days to go) that our caterer had the wrong times for the wedding. Oops.

    • Jessica B

      That’s funny! From all the advice I’ve been given, still plan on the ceremony starting at the time you originally planned because all weddings run 20-30minutes late.

  • Copper

    Any suggestions for professional makeup in the Los Angeles area? And, what’s a reasonable price to even pay/budget for that service? (myself, 3 bridesmaids + officiantfriend)

    • Morningglory

      The Origins store near us does wedding and event make-up FOR FREE. That’s right. You can schedule an appointment, you can even do a trial run to make sure it’s what you want, and they’ll even do the bridal party. FOR FREE! I was about to book a $100 appointment for my professional make up, but went for my trial at Origins and loved it. That’s what I’m doing for my wedding make up (and I don’t usually wear make-up at all).

    • I just got married and hired a makeup artist whom I loved! Her name is Edica Casanova, and she did my makeup, my mom’s and one of my bridesmaids (because only one wanted it). This is the link to her professional facebook page:

      I was totally stressed out by wedding makeup because I’m not a big makeup person, and she just made the whole experience so lovely for me.

      Feel free to message me if you have other questions.

    • Rachel

      Kacee Geoffroy is amazing. She was on time (heck she was there before I was), was super professional, sweet and made me feel and look amazing. I can’t recommend her and her team enough.

  • Kathy

    I’m at the point where I’m stressing because I’m worried I’m not stressing enough. Ugh.

    Also, is anyone on the east cost getting OMG CICADAS from everyone they know? Should I actually be worried, or continue to just not give a damn because I have no control over it?

    • Martha

      I was freaking out last week trying to freak myself out so I could get my freak out out of the way (does that make sense?).

      And yes, continue not to give a damn about the cicadas. There is definitely NOTHING you can do.

      • Kathy

        That makes TOTAL sense to me. Did it work? :)

        • Martha

          Not really – as we’ve gotten closer (9 days!) I’ve lost my desire to freak out because everything has gotten done. Also, I got my monthly bill this week, so maybe my body is expelling all the freak-out-ju-ju-bees that way?

    • Morningglory

      I was OMG CICADAS myself until I read that our area isn’t really affected by this brood. Are you having an outdoor wedding? I am. If they do show up, I think the best approach is just to let all of your guests know that they don’t bite, that they’re harmless and get a few cool photos with them if you can. It’ll be memorable, if nothing else. :) Good Luck! And you can check out this website to track them:

    • Quinners

      I do that too! Within 10 weeks of getting engaged, I had booked a photographer, two venues, entertainment, a dressmaker, and a queer-friendly officiant. I’d figured out where we were getting our invitations, flowers, and centrepieces. I’d bought my shoes and our rings. I’d cobbled together a ceremony my fiancee and I both find meaningful and well-written. I put together a list of the things we still need (accessories, gifts for my fiancee’s parents, who are helping financially, etc). And then I went “huh. I still have a year and a half to go, and nothing left to do for about eight months. Well then. Wait, isn’t wedding planning supposed to be hard? What hugely important thing have I forgotten to do?!”

      • AltKat

        That is super awesome for you, but in all honesty this seriously stresses me out in a bad way. We’re 34 days from our wedding, still have a TON of stuff to do and couldn’t possibly have afforded to have that much in lock-down before now. I know that two very easily stressed people should expect a bit of last-minute freaking out, but now I feel as though I’ve been stupid or something, and that we should have been better and have just failed.

        I’m really sorry for venting at you, but in a thread aimed at people a little while out from their wedding, it seems a little boastful to tell about all of the stuff you already had planned out so far in advance and then imply that it wasn’t hard, that those of us freaking out just screwed up. We didn’t screw up, this shit gets hard. Especially when you’re doing everything (or a whole bunch of “thing”) yourself like we are, and like lots of people do.

        • Quinners

          I’m sorry! That wasn’t meant to stress anyone else out. I did things this way because I have serious anxiety issues and *couldn’t* leave any of the big things undone.

          I’m not originally from the town I live in, I have no support other than my fiancee because my close friends and family are thousands of kilometres away, and I basically didn’t do anything else with my free time during those ten weeks. It’s less that getting everything done was super easy and more that I had to work fast because I was overwhelmed and wanted not to be.

          And yet I still stress out, because I expected it to be harder, and having anxiety means thinking that if it came easily I must have fucked it up somehow. That’s why I added to that thread – not having something to stress about can still be stressful when you have anxiety issues! And as for affording it – I couldn’t. I racked up debt and committed to working a ton of overtime in order to pay it off quickly, because having debt I could pay off was less stressful than having tasks left undone.

          I can definitely see where none of that came across in my comment, and I’m sorry that what I said was upsetting for you. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that people who didn’t do as much in as little time screwed up, because I don’t believe that.

    • Ashley

      I’m with you – 18 days to go and my to-do list is manageable, any outstanding tasks can be knocked off during season finales (really the best reason to get married in June – TV distractions that make all the cutting of programs and place cards bearable) and I’m generally just feeling like I do leading up to a big trip to a new country – excited, a little nervous and just READY TO BE THERE. Good luck with things and enjoy not feeling stressed – it’s pretty sweet!

      • Kathy

        We’re June 1 too! And yes, that’s exactly it. I’m tired of worrying about it and just want to get there! Good luck to you!

    • Think of the cicadas as nature serenading your love. :)

      And, 17 years from now, plan a kickass anniversary party with Brood 2.

  • CPM

    40 days, you guys! The stress dreams have begun in earnest. I’m tracking down stray RSVPs, finalizing our catering and flower orders, following up on what feels like a million little things, etc. etc. Yesterday I did my hair & makeup trial (aka I did my own hair & makeup to see how long it took, and then took a million pictures). My fiance is taking the lead on organizing music, drinks and the honeymoon. We’re meeting with our officiant (my uncle) over Memorial Day. Then we’ve got programs and decor and and and… so much left to do!

  • Cara

    I’m getting married next Friday, and I don’t think it will quite feel real until it’s happening.

    I’m the first of my friends to get married, so virtually none of my bridesmaids or groomsmen know what they’re doing. For most of them, this is the first wedding they’ve been in. One of my husband-to-be’s best men (we have two) has completely refused to participate at all and will not give a toast. One of my bridesmaids doesn’t understand it’s my wedding day and decided to get her hair done separately from the other girls, and requested 1/5 of my cupcakes to be gluten-free because she’s on a diet (no allergies, just a diet). Her sister is making the cupcakes, and I was only recently informed that this was happening.

    My future MIL has only recently decided to participate, requesting all kinds of games and decorations that needed to be planned months ago. When I went to pick my dress up last weekend, it had yet to be touched by the tailor even though he promised, though his thick Russian accent, that it would only take “2 weeks, max-ee-mum.” My florist informed me that we won’t be able to pick up the succulent favors from her shop until next Wednesday, which I need to wrap with burlap and a ribbon. Unfortunately, next Wednesday I need to be 2 hours away from the florist shop at my parents house at the tailor picking up my wedding dress.

    My parents decided to send a few last minute invites after RSVP’s were due to the caterer, who needs to place orders for everything tomorrow. This means that I also have all kinds of different alternate versions of table schematics, based on whether or not the last minute invitee’s show up. The shuttle services has not returned any of our calls in the past week. And I’ve been obsessively checking the 10-day forecast (even though I promised that I wouldn’t) and it looks like rain. And my ceremony musician wants to choose the processional and recessional music at the rehearsal, which is just a bit much for someone who likes to have a plan.

    But you know what? Even looking back over all of these things that should be giving me frequent, minor panic attacks, I think I’m doing all right. Sometimes I complain about them because people ask- but at this point, all I can think about is how awesome it will be when I get to kiss Ian as his wife for the first time. And how I can manage to make it through the father/daughter dance without crying.

    It’s going to be awesome.

    • Martha

      I gotta say Cara, this is my favorite comment in this thread. Because you’re right, it’s going to be AWESOME.

    • It’s going to be awesomeeeee!! good luck!

    • Badger and Bear

      I’m getting married next Friday too! Strangely calm so far, but plenty of time to lose my wedding zen, and regain it again. My best lady’s dress (ordered online) hasn’t arrived and we still haven’t finalised the seating plan (oops) and my Dad has to be lied to about the start time of the ceremony so that there’s a decent chance he’ll be there on time. BUT I put our post-band ipod playlist in order today and laughed and danced and cried a little as I listened to it. Everything will be fine and in the end, we’ll be married.

    • I’m sorry, a fifth of your cupcakes have to be in her diet? Is she planning to eat all 1/5 of them? Because if so, I applaud her vision.

      • Martha

        AHHHHHHH! Accidentally hit “report” instead of “exactly”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I’m 7.5 weeks out from my big day … oh yeah … almost at the 50 day mark. So freaking out has commenced. I’m looking forward to that day in general – exchanging vows and rings with my beautiful fiance in front of our loved ones and partying the night away. But I’m also panicked that everything turn out great. We’re bringing in a lot of our vendors to an apple orchard and you just want the day to be perfect, right? Most of the big stuff is knocked off the list … just minor details like decorations left to complete.

    I’ve been so excited to get our RSVPs back, but I know in a few weeks we’ll start another whirlwind of seating plans and finalizing food headcounts and ahhhh! :)

  • Bostonbride

    Can anyone recommend a hair stylist in the Boston area? (or who would travel?) Unfortunately there is no one in the APW vendor directory (where I’ve got a lot of my other great vendors!) I am having a terrible time finding someone who is willing to come to the hotel in Cambridge (as opposed to having the whole wedding party go to a salon) and it is stressing me out immensely. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    • Magster

      Yay Cambridge wedding! My friend is having her normal hair stylist (Heather at Bangs in Watertown) travel to the wedding site. She doesn’t travel very often, but figured I would pass the info along in case it might work out for you!

  • Tania

    We’re four and half months out. It’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve started to get that gut-wrenching excitement! It feels like we’re crafting a super fun day that we want and I’m starting to think that people might actually enjoy themselves :-)

    My area of panic is confirming all the pledges people have made – a friend promising to film the ceremony, a friend promising their band will play, a friend saying she wants to make my wedding jewellery, another who wants to give us gelato for all of our guests! Such lovely intentions and promises – but now I need to confirm whether or not they are still planning on doing what they’ve said they want to do!

    Then, I’m having a nightmare timetabling the day-of hair and make-up. Silly question, but can anyone tell me what comes first: hair or makeup?

    • Stella

      I think it’s hair first….

    • They did my make up first, but that may have only been because I was the only one getting make up done and we had three hair stylists for six people. The stylist who did my hair had both moms done by the time I was out of make up and in her chair.

  • Kristin

    Our wedding is set for the end of August and one of my biggest concerns is coordination. Our guests are all driving at least two hours to the central location we’ve chosen…which is fine, but I’m worried about how everything will get done. For example, we’re having my aunt make the floral arrangements the day before and driving them 2 hours (how are flowers preserved in a hot car?)…we’re paying the band we’ve hired to help set up the decorations in addition to playing music..a little concerned they won’t know what to do even with my florist aunt as the stage manager…and super concerned about how our guests will be able to hear the ceremony since there is no electricity available and no amplification allowed at our outdoor ceremony. Definetly not ok using a megaphone to project noise, lol. I know in the end that it will all come together but getting confirmations on people making commitments is not going super great.

    Another big concern I have is the talk I need to have with my dad about walking me down the aisle. He hasn’t brought it up and I don’t want to…he knows I have some strong views about the concept of the dad “giving away” his daughter. I’m concerned that he’ll casually bring it up when we come for the bridal shower..about 2 months before the wedding…or that he won’t bring it up at all and the night before the wedding, I’ll have to break the news to him. And I’m not exactly sure how to tell him it would be ideal if my fiance and I walked together down the aisle towards our new life together. If my parents are devestated by that news, then we’ll have both sets of parents walk both of us. But me bringing it up feels really uncomfortable.

    • KC

      Regarding the second paragraph (sorry, no advice on the other stuff): I wonder if you could discuss “important aspects of the ceremony” with your parents – on the “we’ve decided to include this and this, and were wondering what you would think about us walking down the aisle as a couple rather than doing the familial handoff thing” – since usually the what-the-ceremony-includes planning is done farther out and would maybe be a bit of a buffer to the Big Question? (and also, if you’re including any traditional elements, that might be a salve?) Although that might turn into an actual discussion of elements of your ceremony that are non-negotiable, so… maybe not. I don’t know.

      Or you could lead up to it with discussing which members of the immediate/extended family should Process In Style, and/or how to pair them up?

  • Stacy

    Yet another Memorial Day Weekend bride, here! Ours is Sunday, the 26th, so 12 days!

    People keep commenting that I seem so calm, but I think that’s mostly because I’m trying not to obsess over things with every bit of my remaining brain power. There are still things to do — directional signs, WRITE MY VOWS, print the church bulletins, assign tables, finish the playlist, finish purchasing the booze (we’re doing New Mexican food and a margarita bar, so there’s currently a TON of tequila in my trunk), finish decorating the cupcake tower, come up with a timeline so everyone knows what the heck is going on. I’m just trying to focus on getting ONE thing done each day. That has worked out so far. Now add in that we’re officially in contract on a house as of last Thursday, so all of those fun things have to be done now, too, like scheduling the house inspection and getting the financing in order.

    I just keep projecting myself into July, when we’re all moved into our new house and the wedding is behind us. And I tell myself “it will all get done, it will all get done.”

    • Oh no! I meant to hit reply and accidentally hit “report this comment” instead! I’m sorry! I just wanted to congratulate you on your new home! It’s a lot to have going on at the same time, but one of my best friends did it last summer (new home and wedding), and it all worked out.

      Also, I wrote my vows at 2am the night before, as did my then-fiance. They were great; it worked great. Which is just to show that it will all get done, and as it needs to.

      Best of luck! (And sorry again about the report flag!)

    • My first thought upon reading this was “Man, I want to be in your trunk.”
      (With all the tequila.)

  • Rachel

    18 days for me. I’m second guessing my decision to do so much ourselves. I’m freaking out that everything is going to fall apart at the last minute. What if people hate our (self-made) reception playlist? What if our flowers (from Blooms by the Box) aren’t right when they arrive, or the bouquets end up looking weird? What if my hair and makeup (that I’m doing myself) look terrible? What if our centerpieces look horrible? Etc. etc.

    I’m trying to keep myself sane by saying that most of this will not happen, and that most likely everything will run smoothly – and even if it doesn’t run smoothly, who the f*ck cares, because we’ll still have a great time. But it’s hard to keep away the crazy.

    • I would like to mind-meld with you, so that we can combine our powers of “It will all be ok.” We’re DIT-ing SO MUCH, and I’m really starting to worry that 1) everything will fall apart and/or 2) all my friends secretly hate me for asking them to help me cook/arrange flowers/set up. I think it’s not true though, and I think that even if the bouquets are weird or the makeup is horrible or the playlist is bad, either no one will notice, or someone will step up to help fix it. And we made these decisions because we’re capable of doing these things, even if it doesn’t always feel like it this close to the actual wedding. Whew.

      • Rachel

        “And we made these decisions because we’re capable of doing these things, even if it doesn’t always feel like it this close to the actual wedding.”

        Right?! I know how to do my own makeup. And I have pretty good taste in music – so why am I all of a sudden second-guessing everything?

  • Carmen Miranda

    One month before my wedding and my mom has gone truly, clinical psycho. Years of unattended mental health, almost certain depression, regrets of a life lived filled with grudges and rancor… still bad-mouthing my dad 30 years after their divorce even though I agreed for them both to walk me down the aisle, and holding on to other grudges that are just as old…. I asked her if she can’t leave all that crap at the door on my wedding day, then not to come. I am forging for myself a new life and a new family where love, peace and forgiveness will reign. Is it wrong to leave her behind? I honestly do not see another way out, as she refuses to just let go and say that she’s willing to come in peace and with love. Without her I would have never made it to where I am today, but I am truly just ready to start a new phase!

    • Katherine

      No, it’s perfectly fine, Carmen. Yes, she raised you and you wouldn’t where/who you are without her, but if she can’t put aside her own issues for *one* day for her daughter, then she shouldn’t be there. This is a day for you & your partner to celebrate, not for you to be worrying about her all day. ((hugs))

    • Good for you, for standing up for yourself and setting boundaries. That sounds incredibly hard. I hope your wedding, your marriage, and your relationship with your mom all flourish.

    • Jessica

      My mom and I are in the midst of this now, although I am not yet engaged. Depression? Check. Years of grudges? Check. Divorce baggage? Check. What has FINALLY helped us set some boundaries and start rebuilding was me confronting her when she started bad-mouthing my dad. The result was not pretty. We literally got in a screaming match at a bar that ended with me storming off and locking myself in the bathroom. I am generally extremely calm and mild mannered.

      But now six months out, my mom has not ONCE brought up my dad and their divorce. We did have an honest conversation about how she feels about marriage last month. I let her know that while I respect that her experience was not great, one of the greatest joys in my life right now is my relationship with my partner, and her feelings about marriage make me feel like I can’t share about my relationship, which hurts us from growing closer.

      So… depends on how close you are to your wedding and how comfortable you feel with confrontation but I’d try to use this as an opportunity to redefine your boundaries with your mom. At the end of the day, even though it will be hard for your mom, she will ultimately still love you. Good luck! Its tough.

  • Is anyone else baffled and frustrated with the registry process? I don’t care about gifts and am having a low-key wedding, but I want little less than stuff I’ll feel obligated to keep because someone who loves me wanted to buy something tangible for our house.

    I’m inclined to register for a short list of things, but I’ve no idea where to do it, and don’t know where to start.

    …Also, I keep getting frustrated that we don’t have the things on the list and buying them (which is nice to be able to do, counting my blessings here).

    • Carmen Miranda

      We registered at for our honeymoon (you get the cash minus 7% processing fee), and registered at for those people who want to buy us things. The selection is huge there, books, kitchen stuff, beauty equipment, you name it! Get that thing that you would never get for yourself but would be nice to have!

      • Angie

        I’ll second the honeymoon registry. We did ours at and it’s pretty awesome. We just don’t care about matching plates or towels right now (cool if you do! but I just can’t bring myself to at the moment). But what we do care about is traveling, and our honeymoon. People so far have said they really like it and enjoy being able to contribute and feel like they’re part of the trip. The website also has an app where you can take pics to send as thank you notes. So your Uncle Joe bought you a trip to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand? Take a picture of you and your new spouse playing with those baby elephants and have it printed out and sent as his thank you card.

        By the way, sooooo completely pumped for the elephant sanctuary. I am hoping I can fit a lil baby dumbo in my suitcase to bring back with us. We’ll see.

    • Amber

      We’ve been struggling with the registry as well. Since we live together already, we’ve got a lot of kitchen type things and feel pretty set on stuff. Would it be nice to have a matching set of dishes? Sure. Is it necessary when we have totally functional plates? No. Not really. But, in the end, I get it that people are going to want to get us gifts. So, why not let them know what would be useful to us? I’ve been trying to think of things that would be nice to have, but I won’t be heart broken if I don’t get them, like a food processer would be cool, but not a necessity. Or, maybe matching bathroom towels? Ok, we can ask for that. Or, simpler things, like a few different cookbooks or an upgrade from plastic to metal measuring cups. We’re also challenged with the possibility of moving out of the state after our wedding and then having to deal with moving a bunch of new stuff. Should we ask for money and gift cards instead? I guess we could, but I just get the sense that people want to gift real, tangible things. I don’t know. The whole thing feels so based in consumerism. But, I also get it that our family and friends want to show their support of our relationship and marriage by helping us get started in the adventure that will be our marriage. In the end, we’re putting together a registry and trying to be reasonable and practical about it.

      I asked about registries on an open thread a week or so ago, and few different people suggested this site: My fiance and I decided to go ahead and use it. Thus far it’s pretty easy to add items, and they can be from just about anywhere. And, it looks like it will be easy for our guests to use as well. Good luck figuring out what to do with your registry as well!!

    • We struggled with the registry process too because my then-fiance and I were already living together and had most of what we needed. But I knew some people – like family and parents’ friends – would buy us actual things regardless of if we registered or not, so we decided to do a short registry of things we knew we would enjoy having but probably wouldn’t buy for ourselves (like nicer bed sheets and matching utensils) so those people could pick things we knew we’d use. We also put some random things we wanted on there – like I’ve always wanted a sewing machine – and were thrilled when we got them for us. We used and it worked really well. It was easy for our guests to use and we could register for stuff from almost anywhere.

      We also registered with Heifers International, which made us both really happy. It was a great way for people to give us “gifts” that were actually super-useful charitable contributions. This is their registry site:
      Other charities probably do this too; this one just happens to be my favorite.

      • this! We love the Heifer Project, especially because a lot of people in my family are veterinarians who have donated their expertise as well as their time.

    • I put a short amazon wish list on the wedsite (you can put things that aren’t on amazon on the wishlist like a kitchenaid in a pretty blue or “knives- but i dont know anything about them so can’t tell you exactly what kind but something that actually cuts) but i also have a blurb on there about how we’re driving cross country after the wedding and don’t really need anything. I’ve also told my family that gas gift cards are more than ideal

    • Rachel

      Crate and Barrel puts out a really good guide on stuff you need (and stuff that you really don’t but they think you do). We got the guide, went through it first and crossed out everything ridiculous on the list and then went back through it to see what we truly needed/wanted to replace/can’t afford but had wanted for years. From there we registered and I felt better about it because it was only for stuff we truly needed and can say that today, 2 years later we use every single gift we received.

      • lauren

        Ah! I reported instead of “exactly”ed..I’m sorry!!

    • Lauren

      We felt the same struggle with the registry!! Ultimately, we looked at the items we have (after living together for several years) and decided what we truly need to replace (I’m looking at you coffee maker that leaks all over) and what items we would like to have (like matching dishes and a full set of matching silverware). We registered for those items and agreed to donate all our current “stuff” that is replaced. That helps us feel less like we’re crazy careless consumers. Just beware that you will be told by the people at the store that you “need” to register for a certain number of items or else. So not true – just register for what you feel comfortable registering for! They literally tried to shame us into adding more to our registry. Frustrating.

      As for where to register, I TOTALLY recommend It has been amazing – you can create individual registries at lots of different stores and link them through myregistry (we did this so we can take advantage of a few of the “fulfill the registry” discounts that places like Macys offer). You can also just register from where ever without creating the individual registries – you just don’t get the little perks of the registry for that specific store. The best part is that you can also create as many “cash” registries – like a honeymoon fund, house downpayment fund, etc – as you want. Their fees for the cash registry is only about 3% which is SO much less than other honeymoon registry funds.

      We also did Bed Bath and Beyond as an in store registry for people who don’t like to shop online. This is where we were shamed. I don’t dislike the store but it wasn’t a very positive experience.

    • Alison C.

      We just finished our registry (getting married late July). And it was hard. We had a lot of people giving us advice like “take this opportunity to get matching towels!”. While we don’t actually have matching towels right now, we do have most items required for an adult household. We also don’t know where we’ll be living in a year, and, to be honest, we don’t want to register for matching towels, china, glasses, silverware, etc, when we might be shipping it across the country and risk having it broken. So we didn’t. I wrote a long paragraph on our wedding website about how we’ve both been functioning adults for some time now, so we don’t need much to start our household. We ended up registering for our honeymoon at And actually, since it required us to think about the honeymoon a bit but not actually commit to anything, it was pretty fun. We registered for fun things to do, like surfing, hiking permits, Hobbiton tours, farmer’s market’s meals and winery tours. Then, since we are doing a camping/backpacking honeymoon in New Zealand, we registerd at REI for some big ticket items like a new tent. I think I’ll probably offend a couple of my older not-close family members who really want to buy me crystal, but the people who really know and love us have totally been on board with it. I can’t say that the comments about getting matching towels, how we absolutely must have china on our registry, and how no one will want to give us cash for our honeymoon hasn’t bothered me, but I’m learning (aka trying and succeeding occasionally) to let those comments roll off my back.

    • mimi

      We don’t need a lot of stuff either, so we registered for what I’m hoping will be sufficient for shower gifts at Sur La Table and Crate & Barrel (I love to cook, so there’s some stuff I’ve been wanting, but we’re not doing fine china or anything like that). We are going to Europe for our honeymoon, so we also set up a registry on Honeyfund, which my sister used a couple of years ago and had good success with. Our wedding is August 3, and my shower is June 23, so the registries are pretty much just waiting right now.

  • Allison

    Another Memorial Day bride… next weekend! Yay! Barf! And I am just starting to freak out and have a meltdown today. The brunch is too expensive, the DJ quote was wrong, I am running out of money, too many people said yes to RSVPs… this is too much for a normal person!!

    But this thread gives my crazy a home. I have a groom I love (but who does NOT like wedding planning), supportive parents and in-laws, and tons of people who want to come celebrate with us. And my dress? It’s bangin’. It’s all going to be fine. PLUS we hired Maddie to take pictures and make everything look fine. :)

    Thanks APW for another timely post, and all the brides and commenters who are sharing sanity or who are also freaking out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • If it makes you feel any better about too many people RSVP-ing yes, some people who said yes probably won’t come. A friend told me this when I was having the same worry, and while it’s not fun in other ways to have people canceling last minute, it did totally alleviate the space worries. Just to give you an idea – for us anyway – we had 9 people become last-minute “no”s within two weeks of the wedding.

      And you’re right that it is all going to be fine! It will be wonderful, in fact!

  • kaybee

    40+ days out and my therapist just recommended upping my anti-depressant. Yup, that’s where we are at right now. I got write-in requests for gluten-free food options, someone invited solo RSVP’d himself PLUS FOUR and I feel like I am literally hemorrhaging money. Plus we are getting married in a different state and packing for a honeymoon that will take us to at least 3 different climates. Um, yeah. Can you say overwhelming? I know that this is all normal and it does help to know that others are going through the same things.

    This is my mantra for the next few weeks:
    “As long as we end up married at the end of the day, it was a success.”

    • as someone with dietary restrictions i don’t expect others to adjust their menu for me i am a grown adult and can pack snacks in my purse in case i can’t eat any portion of the food or the entire meal and i know how to drive to a store if i forget. i’ve taken to reading the “your wedding is not an imposition post” as least weekly sometimes daily.

      Also plus four dude? No just no. I”m tempted to get a friend to act as bouncer and be all “I’m sorry you aren’t on the guest list”

      • Katherine

        I have to say that, for someone with dietary restrictions, catered meals can be very hard. Like Katjamichelle, I wouldn’t request a special meal at someone elses’s event. However, I have no qualms about taking people up on it if they offer a special meal to accommodate me. (And since most of my friends & family know that I have serious food issues, they quite often do offer.) I’ve also been known to ask ahead of time what the food will be, so that I can plan accordingly if I need to bring anything. Some people might consider that rude, and I try very hard not to be a rude person, but I also have to look out for my own health. I see a big difference between food preferences and actual health needs (or religious restrictions). So, while I don’t disagree that it’s really annoying to write in special food requests, I do hope that hosts in general try to be sensitive to my needs. Because eating food that doesn’t make me sick is an actual need, not a whim.

        A few suggestions:
        -It might be worth asking your caterer if they can do special meals. My caterer actually offered before we mentioned anything. That might be because they’re mostly a restaurant, and not a traditional caterer, so they’re used to serving lots of different meals. It might be because i asked so many questions to make sure I can eat at my own wedding. Regardless, it’s probably worth checking if a few gluten-free meals would be a big deal.
        -If providing gluten-free food isn’t an option, maybe you can politely tell people that it isn’t possible with your caterers, but that they’re welcome to bring their own food. (Maybe even offer to heat something up in a kitchen?) Taking out my own food in the middle of someone’s fancy event can feel awkward & rude too, so explicit permission & acknowledgement that you understand the guests’ position might be enough to make everything go smoothly. I know that I would appreciate it. :)

  • Beth

    We’re 12 days out (so many Memorial Day weekend brides on here!) and I am freaking out most over how everything is actually going to come together. We still have small things to get done (cards for table assignments, finishing those stupid cupcake-paper puff balls, figuring out how to do my curly hair and whether my friend will be able to do it right, finding a lipstick that doesn’t make me feel like a clown), but for the most part it’s trying to figure out who to ask to help with what and how everything will get done. Like, will swapping the ceremony room for the dinner room actually happen smoothly or will our friends be annoyed about being asked to do that instead of eating appetizers? All the scheduling aspects are kind of baffling to me. I’ve only been in 1 wedding and that was 10 yrs ago, so I feel like I don’t really know…what will happen? Which is dumb, because what will happen is us getting married, but still, I feel kind of clueless about the logistics.

    Also, we’re going to Alaska for our honeymoon and I’m trying to figure out what to do at each port, but it’s kind of overwhelming. Anyone been to Alaska? Any recommendations for inexpensive things to do vs big ticket tours that might be worthwhile (we want to do one big thing like a helicopter ride to a glacier, but every single port offers this, so how do we choose?)?

    My existential fears are…keeping quiet for the moment, but they kind of come and go. Reading APW has helped keep them within bounds.

    • Jenny

      I grew up in Alaska and I’m totally in love with my home state. Where are you going, I’ve got lots of ideas and I LOVE talking about the AK! It sounds like you might be doing an Inside Passage tour, and in June? Which is just the most beautiful time to visit, though all times have their bonuses, (except Jan/Feb). So let me know where your ports are an I’m happy to share what I know! If this is easier via email, I’m jennifercmorgan at gmail dot com. I’m a Memorial day weekend wedding too!!

      • Beth

        Awesome, I’ll email you!

    • Our groomsmen spent part of the cocktail hour bringing benches and the sound system in from the beach. Not a word of complaint. Everybody got plenty to eat and drink at dinner and the rest of the reception. My husband is a guy who does so much for his friends, I think they appreciated having the opportunity to do something for him.

      I wish I had Alaska advice, but alas, we haven’t made it there yet. Someday!

  • Ashley

    Hi all,

    I’m less than 60 days out from my wedding in Vermont and don’t yet have a photographer. I’m looking for a student. I love all the photography I see on this site, but honestly, I just can’t afford the prices of a professional.

    Does anyone have any tips for how to find a photo student? I’ve tried colleges near the venue, posting on craigslist, etc. Anyone know of photo forums or something?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Carmen Miranda

      I am paying $400 for a professional photographer for 4 hours on my wedding day, and she threw in a free 30-min engagement session (which went great!). This will cover one hour before the ceremony (doing a first look), the 1-hour ceremony and 2 hours of my reception, which should be plenty. My friends/family will take pics as I am getting ready, etc. Found her on craigslist, where I got a very large number of responses. Not sure your photography budget, but if you’re willing to pay something, and limit the number of hours covered, you may be able to get good quality within your budget (and expand your search beyond students).

      • Ashley

        holy buckets! That’s a fantastic deal. The cheapest I’ve found so far is $800 (for 2 hours). Any chance your photographer is in New England?

        • I think Carmen has a really good suggestion — post your specifications and you’ll probably get many responses! Just make sure you see a website with pictures from several weddings or LOTS of portrait sessions, and you’re comfortable with what you see, sign a contract you feel comfortable with so you have remedy if anything goes wrong, and a trial-run engagement session is great if you are uneasy. Meet with the person, too, to make sure working with them will be ok personality-wise. There are lots of beginners, or students, who are definitely worth taking a chance on, I just think you have to be more careful than when dealing with a more established business that will command higher prices.

    • Lauren

      How many hours are you looking for and what is your budget? Have you tried to contact photographers you like and see if they have people they recommend when they are booked/someone is below their budget? Or, ask them if they have an assistant who you can hire.

      Also – you can ask your current vendors who they have worked with and get in touch with those persons (who might be different than what is on this site). If those people can’t help you, maybe they know someone who can!

    • Alison C.

      Just got the invites in the mail today. Well, 99% of them. We were both addressing and stamping them this morning before work. Getting married July 27th. Also, we are both graduate students, and we are both trying to write and submit papers before we take off for the wedding. At some point I thought this was a good plan. I’m not so sure now. I keep stressing about the little details like table centerpieces, wedding favors, etc. But we’ve got the venue and food, the invites are mailed, I’ve got something to wear and we’ve got an awesome playlist for dancing. Once we get the booze, that’s all we need right?

      • Rebecca

        I turned in my master’s thesis four days before we eloped. I’m not necessarily recommending it as a course of action, but four days was plenty of time to sleep/ pack/ run errands/ finish christmas shopping, so it can be done.

        When we did our family reception, we just threw down a bunch of led tealights in glass holders around some flowers, which actually looked pretty nice (plus you can turn them on way in advance and they won’t burn down the venue). I think it was about $40 for two dozen all together.

    • Jessica

      Another VT bride – yay! Melissa ( is pretty affordable. We’ve only spoken with her on the phone, but she seemed super nice and sane!

    • Oakland Sarah

      Where exactly in Vermont? I went to college in southern Vermont and know some photography students/recent grads who might be excited by the opportunity.

    • Where in Vermont are you looking? I know someone in Northeastern NY near Lake Champlain/Burlington area that does travel if its a reasonable distance.

  • I’m 25 days out and while there’s nothing specific I’m particularly worried about, I woke up with a low-to-moderate constant hum of anxiety on Monday and haven’t been able to shake it yet. I recognize this as the unrelated-to-reality anxiety that I’m on medication for already, and I know that it will go away eventually, but I really don’t want to deal with 25 more days of this. I’d like to enjoy the last parts of wedding planning! I’m going to ask my psychiatrist if he can recommend something temporary (I do NOT have time for a meds change this month, haha). For the moment I’m getting treatment in the form of extra hugs and kisses from the fiance.

  • About two months ago I got accepted to a PhD program for the fall. Having only 6 months to get everything in order and move cross country was overwhelming but doable…then my boyfriend proposed. Now I am still trying to get everything together for a cross country move AND planning a wedding. The date is set July 28 and I’m happy about it really I am, but i’m also losing my ever loving mind. I think I’m already at the point of whatever isn’t done isnt going to happen…which is bad since the invitations haven’t gone out yet but i just can see where any extra energy is going to come from and it’s still 2.5 months away

    • KC

      1. Online invitations are better than no invitations, and might be not-too-painful, if you have peoples’ email addresses. Quickly printed or hand-written invitations on a blank care can be sent to Great Aunt Bertha who has no email address if needed.
      2. In 2.5 months, you *will* have ups and downs in terms of wedding-available energy, so make a list and timeline of absolute necessities while comparatively down and knock stuff out of the park whenever you’re comparatively up.
      3. Delegation is gold, for moving and for weddings (partner, family, friends, people-for-hire, call ’em all in).
      4. All you really gotta have for the wedding is you, your partner, the wedding license, officiant (except in states that don’t require an officiant) and a witness, who can be hauled off the street if necessary. If you don’t want to elope, not inviting people is probably not ideal, but it’s useful to remember when things aren’t getting done or are going awry in any way that the bar for getting married is actually pretty low and is doable.

      Anyway, you can get the things done, and at the end of the summer, you’ll be married, moved, and going to start a PhD program! Hooray and congratulations!

  • Fia

    Joys: 1) I’m a cool person, Fiance is a cool person, and together we are awesome. B) We finally nailed down a date a year from now. III) Fiance’s practical side took over and he stopped insisting we have the reception somewhere other than the church fellowship hall because he was convinced the red carpet would Ruin Everything and now we have an extra grand to spend on other things. Like cupcakes. Yummy cupcakes.

    Fears: A) Surviving a year until we get married. My mother can be overbearing when in party-planning mode (which she is aware of and as such has granted me a Back Off Card) and Fiance’s mom is extremely timid and doesn’t really believe the Back Off Card is real for some reason, which led to a really awkward planning session between the four of us. *sigh* 2) I’m afraid everyone will hate our wedding because Fiance and I are not really party people. Party for us = five or six friends grilling burgers and talking. That’s about as wild as it gets. Fiance’s best friend got married last year and the event was little fancier, a little more ambitious than I think we can afford/would want. I’m afraid people will expect that as the norm.

    But there is a whole year to continue celebrating the joys and conquer the fears so perhaps I’ll just sit back and take a moment to breathe and remember that everyone involved loves us, and that’s what’s really important.

    • Jenny

      Congrats on setting a date, and good luck dealing with family during planning. Sounds like everyone is aware of potential issues, maybe that will be a great blessing!

      While I can’t speak for your friends, I can say that I have a group of friends from college and the group has had 4 weddings over the last 5 years, and mine and another coming up in the next 6 months. They have all been/will be pretty different from each other, outside/inside, fancy/laidback, dancing/less dancing, lobster/pigroast, city/country, hotels/lodges/camping you get the idea. And each one was a blast, each wedding felt like the couple and that’s what made it awesome. In fact, my old roommate was just saying, I think it’s so cool how each of the weddings has been so different, and so like each of us.

      I hope that’s reassuring!

  • Catherine F (Soon K)

    I’m getting married in 4 days. We’ve got so much DIT going on because we have a $4,000 budget and 200 people coming to the wedding. Our main photographer and one of my bridesmaids (bridesman, I guess) broke up last weekend in a blaze of glory and now are refusing to talk to each other, our musician friend just backed out of playing the wedding, my fiance’s grandmother is dying, and… I’m veering between shaking with anticipation and not giving a damn if the flowers get done on time or if the tables get decorated correctly. Or maybe I’m doing both at the same time. This whole thing is so surreal, and I know I’ll be happy when it’s over. I’m glad I have two photographers, at least, and I really hope M’s grandmother makes it to the wedding.

    My question was going to be what I should do to de-stress, but M just came home bearing ice cream. He knows me so well. If you need me, I’ll be stuffing my face. Don’t judge. I haven’t stuffed my face in months.

    • Lauren

      YUM for ice cream (and yey for fiance!). Good luck…I’m sure you’ll get through it all and then you’ll be married!!

  • Jenny

    I have a question. Typically who gets special corsage/boutonnieres on the wedding day?
    K is wearing one, and I think I would like to get one for my mom.
    Is it just his mom and dad, what about grandparents and siblings?
    Our officiant?
    We aren’t having a bridal party, but we do have a select group we’ve asked to get ready with us and help us out, a wedding support crew of sorts….

    I know it’s probably a personal choice thing, but I don’t want to have hurt people’s feelings because I don’t know this wedding tradition.

    • Catherine B

      Hmm, for us it’s wedding party, parents and grandmas (if there were grandpas they’d get them too.)

      I think there’s some leeway so don’t worry! For us, if we didn’t have a bridal party we’d probably get them for siblings anyway.

    • I think it’s anyone you wish to honor. In the South we have these things called “honor attendants” (which is kiiiiiiiiinda a bullshit way to make your second cousin serve punch at the Baptist wedding reception, I’ve found) and they get corsages, and parents and grandparents. But it’s anyone you want!

  • Catherine

    guys im confused – i wanted to submit for Pride month, but can’t figure out where? I clicked on the Pride box on the right but where do you submit a regular wedding planning post- not a how to or graduate or ask ?? I’m lost !! Like, just a post about engagement and regular life?

    • Catherine

      Nevermind I figured it out!!

  • Emilie

    Our wedding’s July 2014. Reading all these comments about having a zillion things to do the weeks leading up to the wedding makes me wanna tackle everything now!

    We already have a ceremony venue, reception venue with caterer, and officiant booked. It feels great, but I’m also a little embarrassed by coming across as SUPER-TYPE-A-BRIDEZILLA for getting everything done 14+ months in advance.

    The thing is I’m going to graduate school far far away in the fall and would really like to do as much planning as possible sans long distance. Meaning now. But I feel silly.

    It’s comforting to remind myself Hermione would be doing the exact same thing.

    • NB

      You shouldn’t feel silly — you are being awesome! But I’ve felt the same before, so here’s what worked for me:

      A calm kindness seems to fight the super-bridezilla vibe effectively. You can always try: “I know I have a lot of time, but I figure you probably get booked up fast and I wasn’t going to take any chances.”

      As things go on, you can mention you’re only in town in short spurts (I assume you’ll come back in the winter or at some point before your wedding) and so are trying to use your time wisely while you have it. I mentioned this to a few vendors as I’m in a similar situation, and everyone has always been more than happy to help out.

    • NB

      Here’s a possible conundrum: I just received floor plans from the reception venue and it seems they can only jusssst fit 15 tables, and they are 5′ / 60″ rounds. We were told that 150 people would fit in the room with enough space to dance. But are 60″ rounds going to handle 10 people each? My future MIL has been the BEST and tried it out with one of her tables and said basically petite people can handle it, but it’s elbows on elbows if anyone weighs over 125.

      One of my main priorities was to make this a fun experience for our guests… being squished in like cattle does not sound fun. Or maybe it will just force people to dance?

      Am I totally screwed? And if I’m totally screwed, what the heck should I do?

      • Jenny

        So one thing is to think about rectangular tables. Martha stewart weddings actually has a floor plan tool that let you put in the size of your area and the size of different table and move them around and all that. We are putting 8 or 9 ppl at tables (10 if there are kids). But rectangular tables let you fit more ppl in the same place.
        Good luck!

        • NB

          Thanks! That was a great idea. I tried out the planning tool and got a couple of way to make things fit with rectangles instead of circles. Woohoo!

  • Emilie cont.

    Can somebody point me towards some worthy wedding flats?

    I found a dress I love and it fits well in both a regular and petite size. If I get the petite size, I have to wear flats. If I get the regular size, I must wear 4+ inch pumps. Very torn on what to do. Don’t want to pay for alterations since they’re really not necessary at all. Just gotta decide on shoes.

  • amy

    Anyone recommend reception venues in Madison, Wisconsin area? Looking for something low-key, perhaps outdoor, nature-accesible? 100-120 people in early-mid June?

    • Emily

      Check out Quivey’s, picnic point, and the Union Terrace!

    • Taylor

      I’m getting married in Madison this June!
      We’re doing it at bishop’s bay country club. as stuffy as it sounds, its really great. There is a $5,000 catering minimum, but no venue fee or anything so definitely doable on a mid-to-smaller budget and it comes with an event coordinator who is AMAZING and super helpful.

      you get to get married at the edge of the lake underneath these GORGEOUS trees that form a bit of a natural arch. There’s an indoor dining room with grat windows looking out over the lake/lawn, and a sceened in patio for dancing. We’re doing a low-key, casual wedding and this place is perfect for it. you don’t have to be a member (we’re not).

      highly recommend checking it out

      • amy

        Thanks for the recommendations! I check on the Bishop’s Bay website and they don’t seem to have any info about weddings (unless of course, I can’t find it…)

        I’d LOVE to see the photos if you’re willing to point me in the direction of your photographers’ website :)

        • Taylor

          I’m not married yet, so we don’t have any photos there yet (we are using a Chicago area APW photographer who has never done a wedding there yet)

          there are some photos on my pinterest board that link to blog posts of weddings there, though. If you google Bishops Bay wedding, youll get quite a few results, too.

          Are you on twitter, by chance? I could DM you the contact info of the event coordinator there.

          • amy

            Got in touch with the coordinator yesterday! Thanks for the recommendation! Best wishes for your upcoming wedding :)

  • Kathy

    Right now we’re elbow deep in writing our ceremony and vows for our July 28th wedding. We’ve had the basic structure, elements and outline for 6 months and have also known who would be doing which parts (we’re not having a wedding party but will have those close friends each participate in a part of the ceremony.) Since we are writing the entire thing, we get to customize everything – the ring warming, the Dr. Seuss reading, the water blending with water from rivers we guide on, the tree planting with the water we just blended… the vows and ring exchange. I love that each element of the ceremony and the words written for them are a direct reflection of our beliefs and thoughts on a thriving partnership. But did I mention we are writing THE WHOLE THING?

    We’ve been researching a’plenty the last 6 months, including amazing inspiration here on APW. The beauty of all of this writing and deciding is that it requires us to really understand and be able to articulate the foundations of our relationship and our intentions surrounding our marriage. But holy hell, it is overwhelming at times. I mean, this is the thing I really want to get right! I am so very happy we are doing it this way but I will also be very happy when we have the completed ceremony in hand.

    I love checking other things off the list. It helps reduce the anxiety that comes from this big piece still being in process at the moment. Like ordering the tree we’ll use in the ceremony and then plant in our yard. It’s a gingko tree and we have the spot picked out already! I can picture us planting it, nurturing it and watching it grow and just thinking of that makes me happy.

    Here’s to anyone out there feeling anxiety about whatever is their current stress-inducer. And having something to think about that makes you take a breath, feel happy and keep moving forward. And maybe sleep a little.

  • Margaret

    So we’re 17 days away and I’m wondering about programs. We need them because we’re having everyone sing a hymn during the ceremony and I don’t expect people to know the words. Is it too late to order them? And does anyone have experience with Magnet Street? They say they can ship in 3 days and have a design that I love.

    From an emotional place, I’m struggling with really being aware of my lack of female friends who are close by and able to support me until my family and bridesmaids come into town. My fiance’s best man planned a surprise 3 day bachelor trip to Vegas and they left this morning. I’m really struggling with trying to be happy for him that he has friends to do things like this with and knowing that I’m not having a bachelorette party because there would be about 4 girls to invite and none of them would be likely to be able to take off work to attend. And no one’s offered to plan it for me. Yes, I could plan one myself but I’m jealous that my fiance doesn’t have to. I’m also stuck at home by myself without any plans for 2 days because these are my days off for the week. Any thoughts out there?

    • honeycakehorse

      Re the bachelorette party: I know this is a really, really bizarre idea, Margaret…but what about a virtual bachelorette party for the girls who can’t leave their locations?

      I come to this because I’d lived in isolation from everyone I know and love for a big part of the year, and my social life frequently happened on skype at the time – we instituted these “open bar” nights, where people clinked in with their favorite cocktail whenever they can make it (4-6 hour time zone differences have led to funny drinking situations), and we chat and laugh about stuff…it’s really quite a good substitute for a get together…

      Second, a more “in the flesh” solution: do you have any GUY friends/ family/ other people that mean something to you whom you would feel like partying it up with (or doing something enjoyable together with)? Sure, it’s not the norm, but in the end, isn’t it about celebrating a milestone in your life with people who care? Even a “mini-party” with a good local friend might be less party-ish than a “traditional” fête, but it might end up that much more enjoyable.

      • I totally second the guy friends/family/etc. bachelorette party. I have way more guy friends than female friends, so I’m having a “bachelor party” with my closest guy friends, instead. I also love the virtual bachelorette party idea!

        • Margaret

          Thanks for this. A virtual bachelorette party sounds like a lot of fun. And today one of my bridesmaids surprised me with a virtual bridal shower. She created a blog with games and a place to leave advice. It’s pretty amazing.

          I’d be totally cool with having a mixed gender thing too but there aren’t really people to invite to that either. We moved to Los Angeles three years ago and meeting people is just hard. We moved here together and the people I’ve met at work all seem to think that being in a relationship equals too busy to hang out or they already have their own friends or we’re all busy trying to be actors and waiting tables and there’s just not time. So yeah I feel like all of my friends are actually his friends and they are having their

        • Margaret

          Thanks for this. A virtual bachelorette party sounds like a lot of fun. And today one of my bridesmaids surprised me with a virtual bridal shower. She created a blog with games and a place to leave advice. It’s pretty amazing.

          I’d be totally cool with having a mixed gender thing too but there aren’t really people to invite to that either. We moved to Los Angeles three years ago and meeting people is just hard. We moved here together and the people I’ve met at work all seem to think that being in a relationship equals too busy to hang out or they already have their own friends or we’re all busy trying to be actors and waiting tables and there’s just not time. So yeah I feel like all of my friends are actually his friends and they are having their own party now and I’m not invited.

          That’s a really long “poor me” rant and I’m sorry. Thank you so much for your suggestions and I’m totally going to try and figure out some sort of virtual thing. It’s just nice knowing other people have dealt with similar things.

    • We used Magnet Street for our save the dates and everyone loved them. I googled Magnet Street coupon before ordering and found a code that was good for 20% off.

      I was with you on the bachelorette party. I ended up going out with my bridesmaids two nights before the wedding because they all lived far away and I didn’t really have friends where we lived at the time. And I planned it myself since none of them knew the area. I kind of wish we’d just done a boozy slumber party instead or skipped it altogether.

      • Margaret

        Awesome. Thank you and I may steal your idea of a boozy slumber party two days before the wedding.

    • Beth

      I have a friend whose sister was planning a bachelorette weekend for her, but then the place they were supposed to stay at cancelled last minute so they had to scrap their plans. She ended up inviting a few (like 4-5?) of her local friends to a day of awesomeness that included a fancy lunch, massages, a trip to a hot tub, delicious dinner, and a movie at her house at the end. Not everyone could make it to the whole day, but people came when they could and it was great! I wouldn’t feel too weird about planning something yourself if you really want to to something because, I mean, bachelorette or no bachelorette, who wouldn’t want to join in on that kind of fun?

  • I’m getting married in 13 days, and the only thing that’s stressing me out at this point is make-up. I decided a long time ago that I would do my own make-up because I’m very particular about what I like (keeping it subtle) and I’ve heard the ladies at the spa at the resort we’re staying at are heavy handed. I’ve gone to sephora and mac already for the make-up trials, and I’ve spent a fortune so far on product (oops) but I’m still lost on blush and lipstick. Are they supposed to match? I have three different blushes – a pink one, a peach one and a natural flush one. But no lipsticks that match! I’m getting really frustrated trying to find something that matches to one of these colours, especially since my lips are so red to begin with. Anyone have some advice? Am I supposed to match these items or just keep them in the same colour family, like pink blush and pink lipstick?

    • Laura Lee

      Blush and lipstick definitely don’t have to match! Just keep both either warm colors or cool colors. Or skip the lipstick altogether and just do a tinted lip balm or gloss.

    • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

      Definitely don’t have to match. Pick the blush you like best on you-then look at what you have for lips and go from there. Maybe you just want to wear a little lip gloss? Because it sounds like you don’t really think you need more lip color :)

  • Laura Lee

    45 days, eek! I’m mainly freaking out about getting all my remaining DIY stuff done, but mostly holding it together. Oh, and the fact that we somehow have to renovate and move into our house between June 1st and June 29th while also trying to finish the final stretch of wedding planning, double eek.

    My question for the APW community is pretty simple though I think. When I showed my mom my first draft of the ceremony programs, she said I should put our new address on the back because that’s what people do. Is this really a thing that people do? I don’t mind adding it, it just seems really weird to me. My mom says people will appreciate this so they can mail us christmas cards and things. I’m skeptical. Has anyone ever seen or done this? Is it something people did in the olden days?

    • We didn’t do it, but I’ve definitely seen it done several times.

    • mimi

      I’ve seen it too. We’re already living together, so our current address will be on the invites anyway.

  • Happily, we have not yet begun to really stress but little things keep popping up here and there (we are 143 days out). This week, the good: our first official meeting with the venue to talk details! The bad: someone from church is throwing us a shower and invited people who are not invited to the wedding even though I sent a guest list. Part of me wants to be “Not my party, not my problem” but I also feel some sense of responsibility for all wedding and wedding-related activities. Rock, meet sorta hard place.

  • Andrea

    So my fiance and I had chosen a date of May 10, 2014 as our wedding – a year away. But about 3 weeks ago we decided to turn our May 26, 2013 Engagement Party into our WEDDING! Crazy right? Although it really depends on who you ask :) As someone who personally like to do things with as much advanced timing as possible (I really can’t help myself) – the details quickly but not stressfully began to fall into place. When my fiance and I got engaged on February 14, 2013 I started our venue search and my dress search. It just so happens that I found my dress in March and it arrived way earlier in late April. In addition, my fiance and I found our wedding bands and went ahead and ordered them – they came in 3 weeks ago. Oh and that engagement party? Well is just so happens that both or our parents and all of our sibilings and BFFs are all able to come! So – the idea came to me – why are we waiting a year? Oh yeah – its so we can afford the big wedding that everyone is ‘expecting’ us to have. So why are we waiting a year, again? – So all of the out of town guests (I’m from NY and he’s from OH) can make their travel arrangements with as much advanced notice. Ok so one more time – why are we waiting a year?- It’s for everyone else.

    And with that discussion came the possibility of turning a party we were already planning for into a small intimate surprise wedding. We’ve given our parents 2 weeks notice – reaction stretched from total speechlessness to tears of pure joy and excitement. Every friend we’ve told is just beaming with excitement that we’re doing it this way. Yes there has been the 1 or 2 freak-out negative reaction that requires me to to pregnant to do such a wedding (that’s probably for another discussion post).

    So – with less than 11 days until we are married – I think I am the calmest one. Yes there is food to buy still and flowers to pick up that morning and last minute decorating around the house – oh and the reliance on a good weather forecast (because if it rains we will have a capacity issue in our house) – but hopefully that’s nothing a 12’x12′ canopy can’t fix.

    We are excited and elated to be married in our own place in less than 11 days and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

    • Catherine B

      Congratulations! That sounds wonderful and perfect for you! I hope you report back after.

      • Andrea

        I definitely plan to report back :)

    • Catherine

      that sounds so magical!!! a surprise wedding??!! I love it! Awesome!

    • blissing

      That sounds so perfect. It’s worth a years’ stress for sure.

  • Our wedding is in 4 months and 2 weeks (yay!!), and these are the things I’m currently stressing over:

    1. Do I really need a Day-of Coordinator? They seem so expensive, but I also know that I’m having a morning wedding and I won’t have any time before the wedding to set things up myself. I’m hesitant to ask friends because I don’t want them to feel like they have to work at our wedding, but I also just can’t justify adding another $1000 to our budget. Anyone have thoughts or advice?

    2. I can’t get much time off of work — right now I have two days off approved, although I’m going to ask for a third day. I think what I’m looking for is other people who weren’t able to take a week off for their wedding to tell me that my wedding will be just as special and wonderful, and that I’m not missing out on something by going right back to work (We have a longer honeymoon planned for later in the year).

    3. 10am is not too early to get married, right? Like people can wake up that early and not resent me forever?

    Thank you all for being a big dose of sanity in this whole process!

    • Rebecca

      I took two days off, and one of those days was spent actually getting to the location. That was about the same amount of time our families could manage (we did a destination wedding at the most central place in the country we could pull off, since everyone is sooo spread out), so I didn’t feel like we missed out at all on that front.

      Going back to work right away wasn’t exactly awesome (especially since the hubs has more vacation time and took the day after we got back off to, like, do laundry and go grocery shopping and all), but it was fine. You could always set up some sort of mini-moon the weekend after your wedding- one week of work will probably go by fast. I found getting back to my routine was kind of soothing after all the chaos and talking and stuff of the wedding.

      Also, if people can make it into work at 8 or 9, they can make it to your wedding at ten.

    • Laura

      I decided on a DOC about a month out and I am so happy that I did. She took care of all of the annoying details that I didn’t want to deal with so I could just focus on getting married. Especially since you won’t have much time in the morning, it could be nice to have someone in charge of making sure everything gets done. Of course, this could also be your super-organized friend. We had family and friends doing some things (chalkboard decorating, chuppah setting up, music) but it was helpful to have the coordinator be in charge of making sure it all was taken care of so we all could just enjoy the day.

      And 10am is totally reasonable.

    • Kat

      The DoC is worth the extra $1000.00 Ours is starting a month out from our Oct 5, 2013 wedding and will take care of running the rehearsal, setting up the church, timelines, confirming #s with caterer and confirming all vendors and just making sure EVERYTHING that is supposed to happen actually happens.

      I’m having a DoC instead of a wedding cake, because although more dessert after dessert is great, I’d rather not be a crazed stress ball for a month, and fondant is gross.

  • I’ll be six months out tomorrow, and I kind of feel like EVERYTHING is all of a sudden something I need to be paying attention to, you know? Like, before I was like “it’s cool that I haven’t even started to look at flowers, caterers, cakes, lodging, transpo or exercising my arms into something less resembling overstuffed sausages, right?” And now . . . it seems like I need to do ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

    This, on top of my fiance’s job assignment ending in Canada (which is a good thing), and him moving back to England to finish out the visa process, and him moving his two cats down to me a few weeks ago because otherwise they’d have to be in quarantine, and one of those cats getting so stressed by the move that she wouldn’t eat or drink and got dehrydated and now I am LITERALLY GIVING HER SUBCUTANEOUS FLUIDS WITH A NEEDLE twice a day and I’m also looking for a house for us to move into within the next month and I’m still overloaded with Save the Dates and my future Sister- and Mother-in-Law have emailed asking me to find them rental homes for the wedding and and and and and.

    Breathe, right?

  • Angie

    If anybody gets this far down in the comments, I wanted to recommend an amazing tool I’ve been using for a few weeks now that has really helped calm my brain. It’s a project management tool and I think it’s meant to be used in a work setting, but who cares? It’s There’s a corresponding app you can download on your phone too (and it’s all freeeeee). I have my project as “Wedding” and then different tasks like “Ceremony” or “Decorations.” Within each task you can create a checklist – so my Ceremony checklist includes “find readings” “figure out order of the things” “write vows” “buy bottled water for guests”. as we complete each checklist item within the task, you of course get the very satisfying opportunity to cross that shiz of the list.

    One of the very very best parts is that you can assign tasks and make due dates. I got my fiance to sign up as well and now we share the project, so I can assign tasks to him (he can also assign tasks to me but when I told him that he laughed and said he absolutely would not be doing that). Then I believe you get an email reminder when a due date comes up. So convenient! I totally sound like a commercial right now, but I kept reading about people making to-do lists and trying to keep track of everything that needs to be done and how to delegate and make sure it gets done. Well, get your mom and maid of honor and future brother-in-law to sign up too, and assign away. Everyone can leave notes as well so perhaps less phone calls to get updates on things you don’t really care about, which for me is a win-win-win.

    • Emily

      I use Basecamp for work (very similar) and love it dearly. I’ve been forging my own to-do list/due date/assignment list in Google Docs, but if I had thought of Asana sooner I would have loved that too! Good comment.

  • Marie

    So, I’m not sure if this is the place, but how about the emotional stuff, guys?

    I see everyone’s posts about RSVP cards and make-up, but I’m struggling with the magnitude of being married. Am I ready for this? Is he ready for this? Are we going to have a good marriage?

    I know most of this stems from my parents’ (awful) divorce, but I have flutters of doubt, and then I worry that it’s a sign that we’re doomed, and it all snowballs into a giant cluster of anxiety. How do you deal with that?

    • Jules

      I went through the emotional struggle of long-term partnership towards the beginning of the wedding thinking/planning process. Honestly, a wonderful therapist and lots of long talks with my partner were what helped me deal with that, and sift through what was my own baggage, and what was related to our relationship. In my case – most of it was my own shit! Fear of loss, fear of abandonment, all that good stuff. 11 days out from the wedding day, I can’t say that I’ve completely dealt with everything, but I am MUCH much better at being able to take that ever-important step back and assess what is my own reactivity, and what actually is something to work through with my partner.

      I wish you so much luck! Holy shit, I had no idea when I started what a lot of stuff this wedding/marriage thing would bring up for me, but it’s been a beautiful, hard, rewarding process.

      • Marie

        Hi Jules,

        It’s really reassuring to hear your story. I’ve been avoiding therapy for a while (even though there are huge neon signs pointing towards it), and this is one more push. I think I need to go, but it’s hard to accept that I need a little help.

        Do you have any advice about talking to your partner about therapy? Whenever I mention it to my guy, he balks and worries that I’m about to go crazy. He also fears a therapist will prescribe me pills, or convince me to break off the engagement. He obviously has some reservations, but I feel like I can’t soothe his fears AND keep up the will to go. So far, I’ve always chosen to talk him down, and by the time he’s open to the idea, I’m exhausted and can’t even contemplate searching for a good therapist.

        • Jules

          Therapy really does still carry a lot of stigma, sounds like he could benefit from some psychoeducation? Maybe just normalizing going to therapy, it certainly has its role (in my opinion) in our culture, that has become so disconnected – we rarely have wise elders we can go to, close-knit spiritual centers, etc. So although some people may view therapy as something where they will pathologize you, tell you what’s wrong in your life, there are just as many therapists out there to support you in your process, maybe guide you a little, but mostly honor your own healing process and capacity to heal yourself. Maybe re-framing the conversation would help – setting the boundary from the beginning of the conversation, that going to therapy is for you, and letting him know how hard it is to acknowledge that you need help, and how much it would mean to you if he supported you in that process.

          My partner was wary at first about the idea of therapy in general, but now actually thanks me for going because it makes me a better partner to him. He also sees how hard it is, how brave it is to spend time delving deep and working on myself. It has been a process though. I continue to use it as a form of self-care — my preference is to work with people who also specialize in body-centered therapies, especially somatic experiencing, but that’s just what works for me.

          Also, just to pass along the best advice I got about weddings outside of this website (which has been such a haven…) — a friend who had been with her partner for years told me that they saw the year leading up to the wedding as an opportunity to REALLY focus on one another, on their relationship. In that way, my going to therapy benefits both me and my partner, in terms of strengthening my coping skills and communication.

          • Marie

            “Honor your own healing process” is a beautiful way to phrase it. That’s exactly what I want.

            Ok, you officially inspired me to at least try therapy. I called around before I lost the nerve, and my first appointment is tomorrow at lunch. Whew.

            I’m going to talk to my guy tonight and try to put a positive spin on it. I’ll use your friend’s reasoning too- about this as the time to focus on our communication and relationship.

            Thank you for your kind responses- they’ve really encouraged me to try this, for myself and for our relationship.

        • Oakland Sarah

          I’ve now been in therapy on and off for….8 years? I’m not a terribly messed up person and I don’t have serious mental health issues, but I find that therapy has helped me grow tremendously. I first went when my parents got divorced and then again throughout college and now I’m back in again because law school is stressful. I just appreciate having the time to talk to someone who helps me put things in perspective and helps me to understand why I am having the feelings I am having. I also feel like my relationships are stronger and my quality of life is much improved because I have better emotional intelligence than I did before.

          Therapy is not going to make you do anything that you don’t want to do. It’s not brainwashing. If anything, it gives you the strength to make the choices you actually want to make.

          In terms of finding a good therapist, I am lucky enough to have therapy covered by my insurance. If you are too, I would start with the therapists listed. If not, I would search for “sliding scale therapist [your area]” or “donation based therapist [your area].” When I had just graduated college and was super depressed I went to see a therapist who was in grad school for therapy and all of my sessions were donation-based. Most therapists these days have a website where they have a picture and talk about themselves. I think the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the person. So, see how you feel when you look on their websites. Does the person look kind? Do they look like someone you would like? Sometimes you have to just do a trial run, too. For the most part, I have liked all of the therapists I’ve seen, but I had one who looked great on paper, but I just didn’t “click” with her.

          Good luck!

          • Marie

            Thanks for your input. I’m going to see a therapist tomorrow, mainly because you guys have been so sweet and encouraging about it. I think my insurance covers it, but if not, her fee isn’t that expensive.

            It’s reassuring to hear that you haven’t been brainwashed :) I’d like to incorporate your response into a conversation with my guy tonight, if that’s ok. It’s so hard to describe therapy for non-mentally ill people, especially since I don’t have much experience with this.

          • Oakland Sarah

            I was trying to directly reply to you, but it wouldn’t let me. :(

            Yes, you can absolutely share anything I’ve said!

            Good luck. Therapy has made a profoundly positive difference in my life and I wish the same for you. :)

    • Catherine

      Hi Marie!

      THANK YOU for bringing this up!! I, myself, am going through loads of anxiety right now. I know it has nothing to do with my partner because for the past year and a half I have been dying to get married and engaged and so thrilled and excited and thankful to have our relationship.

      May I recommend the book The Conscious Bride? Lately I have commented a lot about this, but I recently found the work of therapist/author Sheryl Paul who’s majority of her work revolves around the transition of getting married. And the three stages : letting go (a death), a liminal stage (in between), and the rebirth (your new family, new unit that you create, and new life). She has the website as well and a wedding Ecourse that I am studying right now too.

      It is a shame that our society has built up so many false beliefs about this time in women’s lives – that you are supposed to be nothing but over the moon and full of bliss every second! You’re not? You feel sad- well are you sure you want to get married? etc etc…It is totally ignorant of the actual process and rite of passage that marriage is. Sorry to be going off, I have just been dealing with this a lot lately and am so happy to have girl talk about it! There is nothing wrong with you!! Geez I wish I could email you right now and share all of the stuff I have been going through and what has helped me and all the amazing things I am learning about this time in my life- and that in order to soften and feel my love, I need to allow space within myself to grieve (yes, grieve!) all that is going on, shed the false beliefs that my subconscious believes about love and marriage, and that every single emotion I am feeling is normal and actually a sign that my soul IS taking into account the enormity of this.

      Ok, phew, sorry, but seriously if you are really struggling- and anxiety can be a b*tch!!- I would love to email you – it would probably help me as well too! Hope I didnt talk your ear off!
      My email is :)

      • Thanks for the recommendation of Sheryl Paul– just spent the last hour reading her blog, and her work seems like a really valuable resource. It’s so affirming to see that my mish-mash of feelings doesn’t make me weird– I’ve *loved* being engaged, but I’ve also been struggling with depression and anxiety throughout my engagement (and before). It’s hard to square those two truths: that even though I’m thrilled to be getting married, I’m still not always blissfully happy.

        • Catherine

          I’m so glad you resonate with it! Just trying to pass it along since it has helped me learn and grow tremendously! I’ve never grown so much as I have since this anxiety hit three months ago- I was forced to examine my psyche in ways I never would have, so I’m starting to even see this as a blessing!

          And in response to everyone, yay for your first therapy session!! I am truly surprised to hear how ppl have such negative connotations around it! What could be more healthy than examining yourself and healing your wounded parts? So healthy and amazing for a lifelong partnership!

          I’m so happy we can talk about all of this here. I don’t have any engaged or even close to it girlfriends, I am 23, and this community has always been a source of comfort and support for me.

        • Catherine

          Emily, hi again, may I also ask you what you mean when you say anxiety and depression before engagement too? Do you mean throughout your life, or leading up to engagement?

  • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

    So-10 days to go. And I just moved in with my amazing husband to be this past weekend. So, I was standing in the bedroom the other day, rather overwhelmed by all the unpacking and organizing that still needs to happen and all I can think is “I want to go home”. Cue a cry session, because it is home now, and I’m really starting to get the tangible effects of committing to someone this way. But hell, I’m running home to mom this weekend, and I know that will always be home too.
    The magnitude of what’s happening is enormous to me, and I’m worried about emotionally coping, never mind all the actual items on the to do list for the next 10 days. I’m pretty sure you can’t clean and organize a 100 year old, 5- years as a bachelor pad and under renovation, farm house in a week…but through all of it, I’m still really excited. I don’t think I’ve every experienced quite this level of emotional complexity.

    Thanks for this thread, it made me feel much less isolated :)

  • blissing

    We are getting married next month and NOTHING is planned yet because we are waiting for divorce papers to come through. I went through thinking it would be done last year and planning for a date last Oct. and I don’t want to be disappointed again, so no reserving anything until he’s finally really divorced! *

    We were thinking of eloping to Vegas because everything’s kind of geared towards weddings there and it’s much cheaper. Then I was thinking if I’m doing all this planning for Vegas, why can’t I do the same for here? (The SF Bay Area). Then I look at the links posted above and I know why: $650 to do hair and makeup when in Vegas it’s $150. Etc. I can’t find a small indoor ceremony venue (~20 people)–know any?

    Vegas also requires some thought, but last minute is their specialty. We also don’t have to think about guests there, sad to say it but it’s true! Just venting, but any thoughts or ideas are welcome.

    *I always feel the need to say I was not the cause of the divorce, for some reason.

  • 10 days away- hurray for Memorial Day weddings! This post came at exactly the right time for me, and it’s nice to hear from other brides who are at similar points in their planning & prepping.

    I just finished a semester of law school and got back to my parents’ house in Ohio yesterday. I’d love suggestions on how to hold onto the wedding zen in the last week and a half of rush-rush-rush and last minute lists.

    Now that I don’t have school and being halfway across the country, it seems like I should be 100% focused on the wedding details, ALLTHETIME. But my mind doesn’t work well that way, and I know I’ll just spend hours “looking up a few things on pinterest”/catching up on blogs/avoiding the actual tasks at hand. So: how do I stay calm-ish and also stay on top of what needs to get done?

  • Laura

    Thank you for this thread. It’s really comforting to know that there are other brides who are not blissfully sailing through the wedding planning process. My wedding is a week from today. While I am super happy to be marrying my fiance and excited about our life together, I can’t help but feel like the actual party will be disappointing. It’s turning out to be nothing at all like my fiance and I had originally envisioned. It’s too big, too formal, too religious, too cookie-cutter. Its become more like what our parents and family have envisioned for us than what we want and I’m mad at myself for not standing up to them and staying true to ourselves.

    I’m terrified of the thought of having a camera on me for 10 hours and having all these guests that I have to talk to. I didn’t want any of this. I just wanted a nice, simple, unfussy wedding. Just a great meal and dancing with my new husband, our best friends and our close family.

  • Helen

    Does anyone have suggestions for ceremony music? I’m looking for something in the classical vein, but want to stay away from the Pachelbel Canon and Mendelssohn’s wedding march. Any suggestions appreciated!

    • Katie

      Like walking down the aisle or while everyone is being seated? I just went on spotify and searched for piano covers of my favorite songs. Vitamin string quartet is gold.

      • Helen

        Thanks Katie, I’ll try that!

  • Katie

    WOOHOO 4 days!!!! I AM SICK WOOHOOOO!!!!
    Know what I need done- transporting stuff to the hotel. That is it. Everything and everyone else will or will not show up whateverrrr.

    My family is stressing me out and the weather is just getting worse but it will all be done soon so I am going to enjoy it.

  • A person necessarily help to make seriously posts I’d state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular put up incredible. Fantastic task!