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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  • I can't wait for wedding zen. Or life zen for that matter. I think the wedding angels prematurely smiled down at me, deciding that iTunes should play Chariots of Fire at the exact moment I started reading this entry so that I might be able to destress enough to get myself to sleep. That and the fact that as of last weekend I actually have a venue and a date. That helps too.

    • Ake

      LIFE ZEN. This I want.

  • "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."

    Yes yes yes. That balance is totally it.

    Also the wedding zen stuff (particularly the "meh, if the caterers don't get here, we'll deal. No biggie") reminds me of how my makeup guy totally forgot about my wedding, and didn't show up. And thankfully my hairstylist was buds with him and called and woke him up and got him there, but he was so worried that I would flip up and I could barely muster up a "meh!" We'll deal with it, I thought. Can it really be that important?

  • Oh, I loved this post. The Wedding Zen must have worked because you look gorgeous and happy in all of the pictures. :) Thank you for sharing!

    (Also, I love your bouquet. I've been ignoring wedding planning recently, so please excuse the fact that I don't recognise the flowers… what kind of flowers are those?)

  • kerstin

    I love love LOVE this. She's got a real way with words — and it's really important to point out what you really NEED on your wedding day — that all that other stuff is nice, but not REALLY necessary. wise, wise, wise.

  • Hilarious. I am so going to re-read this post when I start becoming "that bride." Thank you for helping me find my weddin zen.

  • meant to say wedding zen, not weddin zen. But now that I look at it, I rather like weddin' zen.

  • Kate

    I keep telling my soon-to-be that when the wedding approaches, I'll just mellow out. I'm trusting that it will happen. (hopefully*)

    However, we're both a bit worried about external stress overwhelming us – i.e. from our anxious families wanting to "help" and direct and opine. Any suggestions for dealing with this?

    Also, Alyssa, you look so stress-free and beautiful! Congratulations!

  • Peonies, I think we all have our limits, and you had to deal with a pretty incredible amount of bullshit. I would have had a meltdown in your position, too! I think all this talk about rolling with the punches is meant to try and get us in the right headspace to realise that most little blips along the way aren't worthy of our tears; it does not mean that there aren't some situations that most definitely are worthy of our tears. And how.

  • WHERE did you get your dress?!? It's exactly what I'm looking for!!!

  • This girl rocks my world. I should print this out and look at it everyday for the next six months.

  • agirl

    This is amazing. Made my morning! Alyssa sounds a lot like me (but much more hilarious). When the Wedding Zen set in was just… blissful. I wish I could sail through the rest of life like that.

  • Alyssa, I want to be your best friend. You get it. I bet you get it in general and not just for wedding stuff, too.

    I'm glad you wrote that and I'm glad you're around!

  • Meg

    I think I have another post just for you. I just have to write it… I had wedding zen AND a meltdown the night beofore the wedding. And I had nothing as stressful as what happened to you.

    And, I mean, planning meltdowns too, of course.

    Um. Best I can say? That's normal. Try to give them responsability, ie, "Sure, that's a lovely idea, if *you* would like to do that, feel free." And then let it alone. Normally they won't do anything, they just wanted to complain. So it's key to remind yourself that other people's complants are not your problem.

  • Thank you soo much!

    I'm coming back to read this over and over!! I had my wedding zen a couple of weeks ago when I started considering sewing tablecloths and napkins (renting is an expensive option where we're getting married) I'm hoping the zen stays with me but I have this sneaking suspicion that my anal-retentiveness may kick in again at some point!

    Do you think we can have several wedding zen moments?

  • Alyssa: I thought I was the only person who cried over her shoes mere days before the wedding!! I thought what I wanted was so simple and easy to find I could just pick them up in any mall the week beforehand. Boy, did the evil retail universe show me who was boss :-) Great Wedding Graduate post!

    Peonies, no matter how happy or Zen you are, there is only so much you can take being treated like sh*t before you get mad about it. Sometimes I feel like crummy vendors use your wedding-day happiness as an excuse for completely botching their job — it's not their fault for effing it up, it's YOUR fault for noticing, because you wouldn't notice their screwups if you were the happy fluffy oblivious bride you're supposed to be. You are not a failure for crying. THEY are a failure for making you cry.

  • Brandi

    I LOVE ALYSSA! And yes, she is as awesome (and more) as she sounds. And, she was totally zen and amazing and gorgeous on her wedding day! She has the greatest smile ever. :)

    -Brandi (the person who took the pictures and was honored to be part of Alyssa & Matt's wedding!)

  • Cate Subrosa

    Oh, Alyssa, you're my new favourite Wedding Graduate. Hurrah!

  • Elissa

    Alyssa, thankyou for your wise gems of genius. Thankyou also, for admitting to your meltdowns. Even out here in 'keep it real' wedding land, it can sometimes feel like we're just meant to know, and do everything, and not freak out because we've got our values in tune, etc, etc. Truth is, I have (we have all) freaked out both majorly and minorly before finding this space of zen.

    My wedding is this coming saturday. The forecast is for rain and, even though we've spent the past 6 months planning a beautiful outdoor wedding with lanterns in the trees and fairy lights in the bushes, I don't honestly care. We're not getting married for our photo album. We've got a phone tree organised and an indoor space at our reception venue. So, whatever the weather, we can still get married and have a party and it will still be amazing!

  • @Betty I would TOTALLY do something like that!

    Every wedding graduate is my favorite but this tops them all. Alyssa, you're so honest and blunt and I adore you for that. Luckily my lovely man got my wedding shoes for me as a birthday gift but I do imagine I would be crying about "not finding the perfect pink to match my dress and how dying shoes is so expensive and how I don't want to look like a lame bride and blah, blah, blah."

    I'm kind of a control freak (we're buying a house and I've already got the exterior paint colors picked out before we sign the Escrow papers kind of control freak) so I'm SO scared about getting into obsessive bride mode.

    My wedding zen is here, I'm still looking for my "family zen" has anyone reached that state of calm where when your mother keeps insisting you buy the $200 boquet from a friend's you say f*ck it and make your boquet without caring if she thinks you're insane?

  • Also can we establish the term IWIC(indie wedding industrial complex)? Being an "indie bride" is almost MORE stressful than giving into the expectations of the standard WIC.

    "What do you MEAN you're not having a polaroid (vintage typwriter/ photobooth/ handcrafted bench/ WHATEVER) guestbook?"

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    I love this woman.

    I had absolute wedding zen all day (the tables are set up wrong and my gran's going to be sitting with her head IN the bbq? Meh. The handmade bracelet I went a little nuts about making broke as I put it on? Meh. My mother in law was sending my death rays throughout the ceremony? Hilarious. None of our welcome drinks were served? Who cares) until the moment that our venue staff refused to serve our food, were rude to me my husband and our families and started setting up tables IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR MEAL for the next week's wedding. Then I cried. And I feel like such a failure for crying with frustration during our wedding when I read posts like this all about the zen and how none of it matters. Which I'm quite sure isn't the intention of said posts and said posts are wonderful. But there you have it.

  • Meg

    It's Blogging Industrial Complex, actually. BIC. Accordions and Lace's husband termed that ages ago ;)

  • Alyssa, thanks for sharing! This was a great one.

    And how fun to see a local-ish wedding! Apparently her husband and I went to the same university, though I'm sure he graduated a year or so before I got there, and they were wed about 30 minutes from where I live.

  • Thank you ladies so much!! It is so fun to be a Wedding Graduate and to know that y'all went through (and may be going through!) the same thing! Plus you guys said I was pretty, so we are now all immediately BFF's.

    @P&P; – I'm so sorry to hear that all that happened! I hope emails and letters and scathing reviews were written about the horrible service!

    @Kahlia – Thank you! The bouquet was made of pink garden roses (because I was determined to get some pink in my wedding SOMEHOW) and white hydrangeas. And it was HEAVY…

    @Kate – I say nod, smile, thank them for their assistance and then turn around and do whatever the hell you want! Which is always easier said than done, but once you do it, it keeps getting easier and easier.

    @FarFromGraceful (who might have the best screen name EVER) I got it from David's Bridal! (T9612) I know, I know, I should have been a good indie bride and re-styled by grandmother's wedding gown or searched thrift stores for months for a vintage one, but it was pretty and I liked it.

    @nina – Absolutely! I wish I would have had more than one Wedding Zen moment, but the giant one at the end felt so damn good….

    @petitechablis – I KNOW, RIGHT?!? How can you get everything else in the stinkin' world overnighted, but not wedding shoes? I could order homemade pie, right now, from 18 states away and have it to me by tomorrow, but apparently getting a pair of flats requires a Holy dispensation.

    @Brandy – We might…are you surrounded by Cowboys, Mavericks and Mustangs on a daily basis? And did you get caught in the middle of a Red River Shoot-Out about a month ago?

    @Brandi – I'm so glad you saw this, I was just going to send a message! Y'all, you know another thing that contributes to Wedding Zen? Having a fun, funny and cool photographer who helps keep you organized and focused during the wedding, and who snags awesome photos with you barely even knowing she is there!

    @ Allison and Meg – You know what was my downfall? The DIY faction of the BIC. I don't know how many times I said, "You know…I bet I could make that."
    Thinking about it today, we made:
    -our STD's
    -the labels for the wedding invites
    -our programs
    -my veil
    -the flower in my hair
    -my bridesmaids' and man of honor gifts (notecards)
    -my bridesmaids' necklaces
    -my man of honor's pin
    -a necklace for my MIL
    -the handkerchief around my bouquet
    -our centerpieces
    -our arch
    -Words of Wisdom cards for the tables with coordinating pencils
    -the buckets holding our lavendar that they chucked at us
    -the color of my shoes (under protest.)

    Plus we had an iPod wedding, rented the sound equipment and had multiple cakes instead of one big cake that we brought in ourselves.

    And out of that, I delegated maybe three of those things. I'm ridiculous.

  • @Lyssachelle I was looking at that dress before- you and i are built similarly and it looked SPECTACULAR on you! You may not be an "indie bride", but you're definitely a PRACTICAL one! :)

    Thanks for the info!

  • Let me just say that I needed this SO bad today. I'm officially a month out today and our rehearsal dinner venue just canceled on us. Please bring on the wedding zen!

  • Le

    OMG-Laughed out loud. I too had the PPT and the blog files…bookmarks…made our save the dates and invitations…centerpieces…etc. We jokingly referred to all of that stuff as wedding crap.

    It was silly-beyond over the top and I am comforted to know that I was not alone in my reaction to the planning process.

    The zen did happen and I would not trade my memories for anything. (Part of the zen was climbing a tree in my wedding dress!)

  • Vee

    This made my day. I LOVE this post. Thanks for posting, and Alyssa, thanks for sharing =)

  • Meg

    If it makes you feel any better, one month out I didn't have a clue what I was wearing. The dress my sister made was clearly a problem (didn't know if it was salvagable or not), no idea on shoes, no hair thing.

    But it works out. Weddings are rad like that. I stumbled on to my perfect dress in a vintage store. Not after months of searching, just because I wandered into one since my friend thought a dress in the window was pretty. And BAM. Magic solution. Though it took me awhile to see it was a magic solution.

    So one month out no rehersal dinner spot? No problem. Something will probably fall into place that was better than what you had before. It may end up being pizza sitting on the floor with the people you love most at your moms house… but you have what you need. Swear.

  • Meghan

    I loved that, Alyssa. The zen is very important. I had a moment when I was in the room waiting to go down the aisle and started wondering where my bouquet was. I know that I had seen my mom's and my sister's, but not mine. I started to freak out, thinking off all the really annoying calls I had with the annoying florist about the flowers that all I was not at all picky about, but she kept calling anyway and now she is late… Well, my syster ran in and put something together that was perfect. Later when I saw the bouquet it weighed about 100 lbs and I was so happy with my little bunch of flowers pulled from the mother and sister bouquets. Zen, especially after a brief freak out feels so good.

  • Haley Dawn

    these are words that I am going to try and live by while I am planning.

    Thank You

  • This was amazing. Just… amazing.

    When we first got engaged, I emailed my bridesmaids and told them their main job was to slap me if I got DIY crazy.

    So, taking a class to learn how to letterpress my own invitations – good idea or a bad idea?

  • Mariana

    ooooh, i loved this post! great advice!

  • Adina Marguerite

    Wow! This post made my day as well! With all the crazy people around me telling me everything has to be a certain way, this is very helpful and very grounding :-)

  • awesome. i am getting caught up in the "indie" non-bride, bride. ACK.


  • Alyssa–I just looked at the list of stuff you did–Holy crap, girl, you are a machine!! I do that too–"Oh, I could do that!" (rolls eyes) I'm substituting a lot of that list with food–and we're talking appies, mains, salads, desserts. Call me crazy…

  • Tree

    Thank you, Alyssa. I think that a lot of us that are going through these blogs are all doing the same thing: trying to find that balance between WIC and Indie-Bride that fits US. And I've been trying my damnedest to not get too carried away with what others in my family have done, with what I found on etsy/hand made/saw in a magazine. It's too much.

    I have my guy, and I have my officiant, and I have my future within my sights. And we're doing it together. Man, does that sound good. :-D

  • Meg

    We need to talk about how letterpress is overrated. I mean, I like it very much, but lets say it's worth a score of 10. Well on the blogs it has a score of 300.

    Is it worth it to take a letterpress class? Yeah. I want to one day. Is it worth it to take a letterpress class to make your invitations? Well. That's… crazy. As in 'going to make you.'

  • MsAliMarie

    Yay! Thanks for this amazing post.

  • April


    What an awesome grad post. I'm still laughing.

  • Blue12rain

    Just awesome. Congrats on your marriage and for finding your wedding zen and for remembering what was important in time for the big day!

  • Jessica

    I swear – every time I am tempted to go on the knot I will go this post instead. And then I will be in my happy (not crazy bride) place. Thank you Alyssa!

  • Amy

    AMEN!!! I'm a few weeks like (2 and 2 days) and I have been stressing big time, but honestly… over the long weekend…

    Jonathon looked at me and said..
    Amy- am I going to be there?
    Are you going to be there?
    Is Dr. Roberts (our pastor) going to be there?
    Okay then, what else matters?
    Um nothing, but I might have to go naked.
    Well good. We can start he honeymoon early.

    And then suddenly.. it doesn't matter. We have also started saying when people send back regrets RSVPS (I was depressed about this at first..) until Jonathon said.. "Well we are saving $12.89."


  • @nina – we should join forces, between us no diy or recipe would stand a chance!

    @IRMcK – I'm with Meg. If you want to take the class, awesome, do it! But if you are doing it just for your wedding, I would definitely think twice.
    Think of your guest list and then think about who will even notice your invites are letterpressed. Then of those people, who will keep them and treasure them and all your hard work. Now think of the rest of your invites, crumpled in the trash after your wedding is over, all your love and creativity and hard work lying amongst egg shells and pizza crusts. Still worth it?

  • *like* a la facebook

  • Brandy

    This is something I cannot wait to hit! (I'm hoping that if I just ASSUME it will, then it will, right? Right??!!!)

    Also, I think Alyssa and I live in the same area. :)

  • Hannah

    Dear Alyssa –
    I kind of love you.

  • Betty

    this was hilarious..thanks for the smiles.

    luckily, i found Meg and APW months before my wedding so the wedding, and i realized what we were getting into. the angels actually blessed me pretty early with that zen. that or my fiance (now husband) stopped the channel surfing at "bridezillas" and reminded me that i hadn't reached that "crazy" yet.

    i was a craftoholic bride too…and it was 8 or 9 weeks before the wedding that i absolutely needed stir sticks that had some witty saying on them like "eat, drink, and be married". as my coworkers sat by and watched me cut each strip of printed fabric with the saying..and watched me roll and glue gun each one onto a skewer..they never said a word about the misspelled "maried", until my hubby to be shows up and says, "what does this say?"

    so i just said "f*** it! we're not having these stupid things!" ahhh, zen is nice.

  • One Love Photo

    this is so great. I love the top part so much!

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Oh, this is awesome! I LOVE wedding zen. It's funny how you have to go through the craziness to get to that place, but there is balance even there — had you not gone through the craziness, you wouldn't be able to fully appreciate and embrace the zen that followed :-)

    I reached wedding zen the day of the wedding after returning to my parents' house after my hair appointment to find that things still were not set up, we were running an hour behind, photographer was late, mother of the groom was nowhere to be found for pre-wedding photos (so she isn't in ANY of them, btw), my hubby was in a bad mood because he'd gotten into a fight with my crazy aunt and the list goes on.

    I took my husband, closed ourselves up in my parents' room, looked him in the eye and said "we're getting MARRIED in 2 hours. None of this other stuff matters." He nodded, agreed and off to married-get we went :-)

    And you know what? Everything was beautiful, not because things turned out well. It was beautiful because we had exactly what we needed.

  • Putting down the chocolate biscuits…

    Alyssa – I LOVE YOU.

    I am 28 days out from our wedding and feeling a bit stressed today. This post made me feel SO MUCH BETTER. Hoping the Wedding zen finds me soon (hopefully before I have consumed so many chocolate biscuits I don't fit into my dress!)

    Ghetto food – Bah haha

    Thank you Meg for wedding graduates. It makes me think there is sanity somewhere in all of this wedding insanity.

  • Oh my god. Thank you so much for writing that. It is good to be reminded that so much of this just doesn't matter, and the most important thing is the person next to you and the people supporting you.

  • kristina

    i would just like to take a moment, dorky though it may be, to give a little WHOOP at the fact that y'all used his Aggie ring in the wedding. aside from an actual wedding band, there's not a better ring to symbolize commitment, unity, and love than a Fightin' Texas Aggie ring.

    ahem, sorry for that bit of Texan that just can't help but jump out… it's just so fun to see a bit of my hometown somewhere i never would've expected! :)

    and one month in to my 7 month engagement, i'm quickly finding my wedding zen. WHOOP!

  • B

    I am going to join the masses and thank Alyssa for this post. We are seven months out and it is so good to remember that I already have all I need. We don't have all of our food figured out, and might end up hiring some random grillers from Craigslist, so I've already imagined what might happen if they don't show… PB and J for all. Thanks for sharing. And Meg, I've been lurking for a couple months now, so thank you too! This community (that I suppose I haven't REALLY been a part of as a lurker) is wonderful.

  • Becca

    This is exactly how I want to be on my day. I want to care about nothing but walking down that isle to him and leaving as his Mrs. I don't want to worry about food or decor or people fighting. I just want the zen. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom!

  • Sara

    Terrific post. Alyssa had me laughing so much at spray-painting zebra flats…that's awesome!
    I like how she brought up the way a bride can get caught up in these beautiful wedding blogs and insist on doing too much crafty stuff. I find myself collecting so many ideas, but in the end I know I will have to cut that list greatly. If I didn't know that before, I definitely know that now after reading this post.
    I also am set to start on wedding invites…and I'm telling you, that before my madness with wedding blogs, I could not have cared less about Save the Dates and Invites. I've been getting crazy thoughts like asking my artist father to draw our wedding invites. Really? Is that necessary. I know I'm going to be asking so much help from him on the day of the wedding. This can probably go by the wayside and I can settle for those lovely printables that are advertised here on this site.
    About letterpress. Yes it's beautifully presented on the wedding blogs with beautiful lighting and styling. But I know for a FACT that they will be thrown in the trash by my family and friends after the wedding is over. That's thousands in the trash. That really hasn't been my style thus far, why should I start now?

  • Meg

    Newsflash: No one gives a sh*t about save the dates. No one over 35 even knows what they ARE. Use the phone, save yourself the heartache. That's what my future self is telling my past self, and you get to overhear it. Lucky.

  • Sport

    "All you need is the man, the preacher and the dress."

    Tears. Thank you for writing that. And thank your Grammy for me. She just put those words in my heart for my own Grandma who is no longer with us.

    Congratulations on a lovely wedding. *big smiles and hugs*

  • @ sarah – i agree with you. i usually feel fine even though I work full time, go to school almost full time, and have many other roles in my life while wedding planning. (i'm pretty high strung, to boot.) but it's the other people acting like i ought to be stressed that make me doubt myself.

    i just want to hide in my love-cave of strength and what i know is true until the wedding. and what is true is that everything will be fine, even if nothing turns out the way i want. as long as i end up married that day, i have reached my goal.

  • all i have to say is I freakin love this post.

  • Sarah

    that's awesome.

    p.s. i am in grad school full-time and i work part-time and i am planning my wedding pretty much mostly by myself. i'm not that stressed… or at least, i'm normally a kinda stressed person anyway, but my stress levels don't seem higher than they would be otherwise. so i keep thinking, is there something i'm doing wrong? isn't that the crazy thing about wedding planning – even when you're NOT stressed, everyone makes it seem so stressful, that you feel like you SHOULD be… because clearly, if you're not – you must be doing something wrong!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought it would all be so easy, I'd go with the flow, but the closer I get, the more challenging that has become! I was married before and got it all wrong! This time I've got it down: The RIGHT man, the person to make it official, the dress(and just as important,the right undergarments)! Thanks for the reminder of what's important (and for admitting the outfit is part of it!) I am printing this post to refer to daily for the next 4 months!

  • kelli

    I love this wedding!!! The simplicity, the fun attitude towards this special day- I am truly inspired!

  • Moz

    So awesome, so funny. Congrats to you and your man on the marriage xx

  • Emma

    Wedding Zen is my new mantra. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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  • SamB

    I know it’s a little off-topic, but – OMG, can I tell you how awesome it is to see a bride in glasses? I see real wedding pictures all the time, and the few brides I see in glasses are wearing dainty, blend-right-into-the-face glasses. I’m glad to see some beautiful pictures of a gorgeous woman, who happens to be wearing in your face, cooler-than-lisa-loeb, black-rimmed, balls-to-the-wall GLASSES! I’m printing. Next time someone in my family tells me I’ll regret not wearing contacts, instead of getting ENGRAGED, I’ll just calmly pull out the pic and say, “hmmmmm, do you think she regretted it? She looks like she had a really great time…”

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  • Jo

    Oh this is a good one! I went from not giveing a shit about anything to, well, you said it already in your post. :)
    So yeah, I’m two years late to this party, but I was wondering….I got the same dress and what on earth did you wear for spanx? it seems like all the ones i can find come up to your shoulderblades, which isn’t exactly the look I’m going for with a backless dress… :)

  • Ris

    Ahhh!!! Alyssa! You may never see this new comment buried down here in 2011 BUT!!!! I just found my wedding dress today at DB, was googling images of “real brides” wearing it, and saw you! (um, this is a little weird, cause I know you from APW stalking, but you don’t know me… unless you remember me from one of maybe five comments I’ve ever left here… this is getting awkward…). ANYWAY – I’m very excited about finding my dress, and feel like it’s some sort of sign that Alyssa of ATP fame liked it too :)

  • sarah

    Okay, I just read this today because I am way behind the times (or, just getting married in July and feeling DAMN LUCKY to have found APW and reading its backlogs obsessively), and GRRL, you are my FUGGING HERO.
    Being myself totally obsessed (there’s that word again! I’m obsessive — Harry Potter series, anyone? Puma shoes? Beethoven string quartets?) with Not Being THAT Bride and Saving All the Money, I jumped headfirst into DIY blogs. You know what, though? I don’t have All the Time — I teach high school English, for chrissakes. But I do want to have All the Meaning and All the Love … and I’m starting to let go. And you, dearest heart, are my new bride-life coach. Whenever I need to chill. the. eff. out., I’m coming back to this post. No, I do not need to make fans for favors for my guests. (But if I do decide to do it, they will be awesome.) No, I do not need to do whatever else it is I’m sure I’ll come up with. All I need is to be a pretty, pretty princess, give The B a big ol’ kiss, and get married. Oh, and rock out at the party.
    Alyssa, I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you for being you.

  • Absolutely love this post, which I just found via a link from another APW article. I count myself among the lucky few brides who have been pretty Zen all along the way, despite a couple of surges of mad Etsy buying and DIY dilemmas. I’m getting married this weekend, and I can’t wait!

    The major factors making my blissful state possible have been:
    * Steady participation of my fiance in planning and easy agreement between us about the nature of the event;
    * A short (6-month) engagement and all of the automatic (freeing!) concessions that go along with it;
    * Keeping the wedding small (60 of our closest family members and friends, though it has been a bit stressful to hem in the list and keep it contained, for fear of offending people not invited);
    * Having the wedding during the Christmas season, when our venue will already be beautifully decorated, saving us from having to make or buy a bunch of flowers and decor;
    * Choosing a venue that provides a skilled wedding planner, in-house catering/bar supplies and lodging (a historic hotel in the town where we live);
    * Staying local, and focusing as much as possible on buying locally;
    * Taking the high road when dealing with family members, making concessions to keep the peace (i.e., not having a rigid “vision”);
    * Delegating to family members and being content with how they do whatever I’ve asked;
    * Being happy with all of the elements I have been able to find, make or borrow, however unlike my original “vision” they may have been.
    * And, finally, being a mature bride of 39 who simply knows she’s met her match. I’ve become much more low-key in my maturity, and I’m sure that’s served me well throughout this process. The only things that REALLY mattered to me were finding a great photographer and a beautiful venue. Everything else just fell into place.

    What a beautiful thing it is, to put on a wedding, get all dressed up and just have fun with those we love, eh? I just can’t wait for Saturday, when I’ll focus on being present, taking it all in and having a wonderful time.

    Good luck and happy planning to all! xo

  • Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

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    Therefore that’s why this article is great. Thanks!

  • Laura C

    But what if you don’t know what you REALLY care about?! What if part of you wants to elope and the other part of you wants a kick-ass dance party with every single one of your loved ones there but just doesn’t want to pay for it? What if you find out that your fiance’s brother has decided to propose to his awful girlfriend and they’re planning on their wedding being just a couple of months before your own wedding and now you suddenly don’t want to you have a wedding at all?!

    ***breathing into a paper bag***

    And OMG, you’re wearing the David’s Bridal dress I’ve been eyeing for months now!!!! This must be a sign!