This wedding graduate post is from Alyssa, she of crying in the car, she of the hilarious emails to me out of the blue when things are *not going well in my comment box* that say things like, “And because I’m super mature, I say eff them.” Which make MY day better.

Anyway. The point at hand. I have been lucky enough to post many many awesome wedding graduate posts on the blog, and well, Alyssa’s is the funniest. So. I’ve never said this before, but this post is a little bit for David, he of the unprintable humor, he who bore the brunt of my meltdowns. That and for alllll of you. Rock it Alyssa:I’m gonna admit, I am NOT the Wedding Graduate that you need to emulate; I’m the one that you should LEARN from. I was bound and determined to have a stress-free wedding; so bound and determined that I worked myself up into a tizzy trying to NOT stress over the wedding. We all talk about getting away from the Wedding Industry and being more personal, but I took all that obsessive-ness that the Knot brides put into planning and focused on DIY wedding blogs.

You know the stereotypical bride who carries around 18 wedding magazines and a binder full of business cards and “idea pages”? I was the modern pseudo-indie version, with a Favorites folder FULL of blogs and idea websites, pictures from Flickr that had color combos I loved and my own inspiration board in PowerPoint because I couldn’t convince my future hubby that I absolutely positively NEEDED PhotoShop. (Lord knows I tried.) I think my biggest regret is that in trying SO hard to not be That Bride, I nearly ended up being That Bride. And That Bride is not pretty.

[I would like to interject here that I didn’t find A Practical Wedding until we were nearly married. I’m still sad about that. Might have saved me some heartache….]

So here’s my wedding wisdom – Find Your Wedding Zen. It’s that middle ground between caring enough to make something happen, but not giving a damn if it doesn’t. It’s like Shangri-La, hard to find but a beautiful place to be.Figure out what you care about. I mean, what you REALLY care about. Do that before you even start to really plan. Then go through that list and note what you could do without if you had to. Refer back to this list when you start getting tunnel vision on things that HAVE to get done.

Because trust me, once you start getting into planning mode and get caught up in it, you’ll start caring about things you never thought you would. I became enamored with paper; we made out Save the Dates, our programs, my bridal party’s gift was a set of handmade monogrammed cards and for the reception I made notecards with Words of Wisdom prompts for our guests to fill out and Tears of Joy packets AND I wrapped the pencils for the Words of Wisdom cards in coordinating paper. I mean, REALLY?? I didn’t even know what a Tears of Joy packet was until I started wedding planning. (It’s a little packet that holds tissue for your guests…did you know that? Nope? Me neither, until I turned into Crazy Indie Bride….)

Now, those tissue packets, were they cute and adorable and one of my favorite things from our wedding? Yes.

Were they necessary? Abso-friggin’-lutely not. Yes, they were helpful, especially considering how alternately teary eyed and allergy prone our families are. But instead of something that would be fun to have, I HAD to make them and suddenly they became VERY important to me which is never should have been.Also realize that the things you think will be the easiest thing will be one of the worst. It’s just going to happen. My thing was my shoes. I thought, “Oh, I can find cream colored flats anywhere, that won’t be a problem.” (Flats because there are two things that will ALWAYS put you in a bad mood; aching feet and uncomfortable underwear. I was already going to be strapped in a pair of Spanx so I’d be damned if I was going to wear heels too….) Sounds like an easy thing…and then I ended up spray painting a pair of zebra print flats two days before the wedding. Know how hard it is to spray paint shoes, especially when you’re crying AND furious at yourself for crying? Not my proudest moment.We had some REALLY stressful moments, especially considering that after we moved I had a HUGE project at work (900 kid dance recital, sounds cute, is a massive pain in the butt), switched jobs, moved AND turned 30. All during wedding planning. BOO. But luckily, somewhere in there, I found my Wedding Zen. Actually, I can tell you exactly when it was; it was at about noon on the day before my wedding, after I’d been up very late trying to finish up my DIY projects and had to cancel my body wrap that I’d scheduled in a last ditch effort to drop a few pounds (Brides, don’t eat your feelings during the wedding process….) I was alone in my apartment and suddenly it hit me…Holy hell. I was getting MARRIED! And all of the stress just fell away and I started getting excited. I popped open a bottle of champagne intended for the wedding at noon on a Friday and said, Screw it. I’m getting married and it’s going to be AWESOME.And ladies, let me tell you, Wedding Zen is WONDERFUL. Relatives are freaking out and being needy? Whatever, I was just glad they were there. Handkerchief that you meant to embroider to wrap your bouquet in to fulfill that Irish tradition that you’d never heard of but suddenly HAD to do? Do it on the long drive to the rehearsal dinner while one of your bridesmaids drives as you sing along to a tape (YES, a CASSETTE TAPE) of old road trips songs you used to in college. Find out the morning of the wedding that soon to be hubby can’t find the rings? Tell him it’s okay and that you’ll use your engagement ring and his A&M ring instead. (And politely ignore your man of honor hyperventilating in the background.)

And one of the funniest things? No one believed me that I was really that relaxed. I was excited and a little nervous yes, but not freaking out. One of the best parts came when we realized that it was about 15 minutes until my very short ceremony and the caterer still hadn’t arrived for our outdoor wedding. Everyone got quiet and looked at me and I said, “Huh. Someone should call them. Otherwise somebody needs to run to Sam’s Club and get some sandwiches.” Know why? CAUSE IT DIDN’T MATTER. If the caterer was late, people would eat late. If we had to get other food, then we’d get some other food and laugh about the ghetto food and then get our money back from the caterer later. Yes, it mattered a little bit, but there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it so why ruin the lovely makeup job that I had done? Wedding Zen. LOVE it.

I really wish that I could tell you all how to achieve this Wedding Zen, but I think it just comes when you’ve done all you can to make things go right and then the Wedding Angels look down on you and go, “Poor baby, you need to calm it down.” And then you do, because you realize that what Grammy kept telling you really is true.All you need is the man, the preacher and the dress.

Or the man, the justice of the peace and the stylish pants suit.

Or the woman, the officiant and two dresses.

Or WHATEVER. But that really is all you need.

You may want the other stuff, and it may be awesome when you get that other stuff, or hilarious when that other stuff goes horribly awry, but when it comes down to it you only need to have what you really NEED. Which is him or her, and someone to make it official in your hearts.And the outfit. Because the outfit IS important because it is your day to be a pretty princess dammit, however you choose for that to mean.

Pictures: Rockstar Photography (of Texas)

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