Kerry & Craig

Kerry’s wedding graduate post is one where we are so totally on the same page that I feel like she’s living inside my head. She hits on such important and not said often enough truths: being a bride-to-be can suck, you’re only a bride for a few hours, weddings have their own boozy-happy-impossible-to-explain magic, and more. Plus this wedding has Christmas trees, and zebra print and lots of laughter. I’d like to live inside it for the day, if you don’t mind. So read it, and listen. The woman is right, and then some.

When I woke up the morning after our wedding, the first thought that crossed my mind was “I want some bacon and a glass of water.”  The second thought was “I’m not a bride anymore.  HALLELUJAH!”

Allow me to clarify – being a bride was truly fabulous. It was brilliant and sparkly and overflowing with emotion and love and I’m hoping I’m able to reach out and touch that feeling in my mind whenever I need it in the years to come.  But here’s the thing about being a bride – you’re only the bride for a day.  Or even half a day.  Or even a handful of hours. Before that you are something else entirely – a bride-to-be, and I think a lot of women out there might struggle with that role the way I did.

I know there are wedding undergraduates out there for whom, like me, “Future Bride” is an ambiguous character to be for months on end.  Craig and I already lived together, had merged finances (as much as we were ever going to), had the names we would be keeping for the foreseeable future, were learning how to raise a living, breathing (albeit four-legged) thing without killing one another. We wanted to celebrate our commitment with our loved ones via a memorable, boozy bash, but I didn’t realize how universal the event is.

You share it with your world.  To me, being a bride-to-be often felt conspicuous, like when you take an uncharacteristic risk with your clothing choice and then feel like everyone on the street is staring at you all day.  And, let’s just put it out there that I don’t take a lot of fashion risks.

Throughout our engagement my emotions were really erratic – some days I would be deliciously obsessed with a new detail I’d planned or deal I’d scored and would love planning a wedding – but then some days it felt like work to smile and talk about the same details with every different person I ran into.  Occasionally I’d get terribly bored of talking about the wedding, and then I would feel guilty and spoiled for being bored, and then I would panic that I’d regret not appreciating every moment after the wedding. It exhausted me! I cried at my bridal shower and my bachelorette party, and numerous times in my office at work because I just wanted to feel like a non-bride, and have people ask me about my dog or our holiday plans or my empanada recipe, instead of popping their heads in my office to say “Only two month to go!” ” Three weeks to go!”   I felt kind of like a failure at being properly psyched – and what did that mean about my relationship, about my femininity, about my ability to appreciate the present while its happening?

Turns out, it doesn’t mean anything –  because, as much as I never would have believed it if every wedding graduate on this blog personally rang my doorbell and told me herself, you will feel like a  bride on your wedding day and you will do everything right, even if sh*t is falling apart around you.

If you are shy, if you are a terribly embarrassing dancer, if you get tongue tied around strangers and are kind of afraid of your extended family, if you get a depressing drizzle when you were counting on fluffy snow (or all of these things, like me!) it won’t matter. It’s like freaking magic is at work – and really it is magic, if you consider love and excitement and music and booze and fancied up friends as magic. Which now I do.  Being a bride is infinitely lovelier and easier than being a bride-to-be, so all of you out there who are kind of weirded out by the role the way I was, don’t worry about not “getting into it.” Just do your thing.

Beyond that completely intangible piece of advice there are a few other things I learned along the way:

  • Don’t wear an ironic zebra print robe while you get ready unless you are prepared to look, with zero horrification, at 1,000 digital pictures of you in a zebra print robe.

  • No-chip manicures are a marvel of modern science and worth the cash.
  • Write up checks for your vendors before the event.  This way you won’t accidentally overpay them by several hundred dollars because you wrote the check 10 minutes before the end of your reception after having roughly 18 glasses of champagne.  (Oops!)

  • When you first see your partner, give them a minute to look at you before you give them a bone-crushing hug.  This way they can whisper “you look so beautiful!” into your ear instead of “wait, I didn’t see you I need to see you!”

  • Go on an exclusive you-and-partner honeymoon, even if it’s just to spend a day in the hotel attached to your reception venue.  Re-hashing your memories before anyone else has a chance to alter the way they look in your mind is one of the most delicious things you can do together.

  • Write something down on a piece of paper on the day of your wedding about how you are feeling.  Pen and paper hold feelings better than anything else including the internet or pictures.

Photos By: Kuehl Studios out of Chicago

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  • Caroline

    HA: No-chip manicures are a marvel of modern science and worth the cash.
    I wished I thought of this while pushing our car up the hill, four times.

    Great, real, practical advice. I remember going out to friends from work about a month before the wedding and after plenty of questions I blurted out “I cannot wait for all this wedding sh*t to be over with so that I can be a real person again.” Some of them laughed, others looked slightly horrified. So, I get ya.

    • That is hilarious Caroline! I bet the people who were married knew exactly how you felt…

  • Oh my word, you just addressed so many the issues I’ve been having lately. I’ve got 4 months to go, and I’m just finding being a bride-to-be the wierdest thing ever. I know what I am supposed to be doing (invitations, find shoes, confirm with florist) but I have no idea how I am supposed to…be. And I know it’s not about “supposed to…” but, sometimes I just feel so guilty that I’m not enjoying this more. That I’m not ‘present’ in it, and that, in a week (or a day…) my thoughts about the wedding can go from dance-around happy, to can’t breathe stressful, to man-I-am-bored with this, can’t someone else do it?

    And then it’s my man who gets the worst of it..all of the ups and downs…and I think…”you seriously want to marry this!?”

    I really want to find the joy in where I’m at as a bride-to-be, not feel like someone who complains the whole time. I don’t want wedding planning to totally chew me up and spit me out really tired and annoyed with it all. After all, if “you only get married once” is true, then you only get to plan a wedding once too…

    BUT I am so glad to hear you say that it all ends well. Plus you have a massive smile on your face in your photographs, so I can only assume your wedding was amazing.

    • carrie

      I feel the same way like David is going to look at me be all, “Whoa. Never mind.” Thankfully it’s not even close.

      This is some sort of rite of passage. No one could tell us this is how it’s gonna be and we’d believe it until we got through it. But we’ll all get through it, right? RIGHT?

      Thanks for the lovely, much-needed-in-my-world post, Kerry. You, your words, and your wedding are beautiful!

    • Amy

      I think the biggest thing we should tell newly engaged ladies is that not enjoying planning a big, stressful, emotionally fraught event in no way reflects on their ability to enjoy being married or enjoy their actual wedding day. I’ve planned large multi-day events for work and let me tell you – it is work, involving a team of people and many months of planning. And I got paid for that work, and felt no guilt about complaining about it at the end of the day.
      And you know what? A planning a wedding to me felt just like that, except without the team being paid to help me, and with more people getting upset over things like my choice of outfit. Plus, I couldn’t b*tch about it over beers nearly as much. Sigh.
      So, planning a wedding is a job and a half and you are not a bad person if you think that job sometimes sucks. On the bright side, being a bride (not a bride to be) is largely awesome. And then, whee! you never have to plan a wedding again!

    • I hear you re: feeling guilty about dumping the emotions on your partner. I remember feeling like I was outing myself as this secret crazy antisocial person that I had hidden from him all along. I kept reiterating that “don’t worry, don’t worry, I’m not REALLY like this all the time” which had to sound even crazier. It’s cool though – he stuck around :)

    • I think it is a rite of passage, yeah. It tells a lot about you+parther (mine is also called David!) but it also tells you loads about yourself.
      (But I’m still a wee bit worried that I’m outing myself as a crazy person for life, not just for wedding planning!)

      BUT best message is we will all get through it! Just need to keep on listening to the clever ladies who’ve been through it all before….

    • Steph & B

      I often felt like I was the absolute worst bride-to-be ever. Seriously if we had a nickle for every time that I said “I don’t care. Do what you want.” to all the various wedding questions I got, we would be rich. And then there were my other two favorite sayings “I’m so tired of all this wedding BS. I just want it to be over so I can focus on more important things.” or to my fiance, “You’re the one who wanted this stupid wedding. You do it. I wanted to get married in Vegas by Elvis.” [even though I still secretly obsessed over all the wedding details]

      Those last two things make me feel like a monster. I was like an inverse bridezilla. The zilla that wants nothing to with the wedding but is still all zilla-y.

      It actually got to the point where I was not only dreading the planning part, but I was dreading the wedding itself. And that was not cool. Two weeks ago, Ben looked at me and said “Let’s just get married for us. Now.” So we did. Last week. We went to the courthouse got a marriage license, found an officiant and got married. I’m a wife now, but still a bride to be in a way.

      We still have to have the “wedding” thing in July for our families (mostly because they bought all their tickets to Montana and we’ve paid for pretty paid much everything). Of course now, I feel a lot better. I’ve had my small intimate elopement and Ben is getting his religious wedding affair. And as far as I’m concerned, I’m just planning a party now where I get to wear a really really fancy dress.

      But still there is something wrong with this whole bride to be anxiety thing. I felt like such a bride to be screw up because I dreaded my own wedding and ran off and eloped. Without my dad (something I never thought I would be okay with) without Ben’s wonderful family and without our closest closest friends. While I am beyond elated that we are married now, I still feel a bit like a cop-out–like I couldn’t cut it in bride-land.

      I’m so glad that you talked about this in your post Kerry. And I want to talk and read about this “bride to be” identity thing and anxiety some more. I’m so glad you were able to overcome it and that I’m not the only one who feels like this. You do look beyond happy and glowing in your pictures. (oh fianceesarehumanstoo your David understands that the crazy person is not really you. I’m sure he’s dealing with a similar identity crisis as a groom to be —something else that I’d want to read and talk about)

      • Wow, this is a big story! And I don’t think at all that you seem like a cop out, actually it sounds like it would make a good wedding graduate and a half post. Cause there’s always two aspects to wedding planning – the fact that it’s insanely personal and between the two of you – and the fact that it’s this big public, community affair. The fact that you split the two is different – and brave – but both parts are still happening. Your wedding will still be a massive celebration of your marriage!

        And yeah, how interesting would it be to hear how a groom-to-be handles all of this? Also, my name’s Anna – there were plently of Anna’s already in the comments and it was getting confusing! Nice to meet you and thanks for sharing your story!

        • Steph & B

          Hi Anna! It’s great to meet you too! I’ve been stealing moments for this blog while I was supposed to be working on and writing my thesis. But now that the semester has come to an end, I feel like I finally have time to weigh in.

          I realized after I posted that I left a really long drawn out comment for something that I wanted to be short. I love words too much. And, like so many of the wedding graduate and undergraduate posts have already pointed out, there are a lot of complicated emotions surrounding this process.

          Maybe after I’m done grading my massive stack of papers, I’ll send Meg an email and see if she’d want me to share my wedding graduate-undergraduate post. (Oh and if you ever feel the wedding venting gets out of control, I’ve found that bowling is always a great way to blow off steam and bond. It’s kind of like sanctioned violence and aggression.)

      • Karen


        And I second everything you said about wanting to read (and talk) more about bride-to-be (and groom-to-be) identity. It’s nice to know I’m not the only basket case out there (and I say that with love, I promise)!

  • “To me, being a bride-to-be often felt conspicuous, like when you take an uncharacteristic risk with your clothing choice and then feel like everyone on the street is staring at you all day.” This, this, this. This is what wedding planning felt like to me. And in the end, it didn’t matter at all. Wedding day magic rocks.

    Wow. What an amazing graduate post. (And the pictures!!!!)

    • Stephanie

      Ohhhh yes, that sentence sums it up perfectly!

      • Steph & B

        Or this one:

        I felt kind of like a failure at being properly psyched – and what did that mean about my relationship, about my femininity, about my ability to appreciate the present while its happening?

        Brilliant. And the pictures are just absolutely wonderful. Everyone is so happy.

  • Esme

    Yup, you got it right! 3 months to go and this is what I’m feeling. Love it xx

    • Me too me too me too. This is exactly what I needed to read today.

  • Word. I was not prepared for how hard/weird/uncomfortable being engaged can be, you articulated it really well :)

    Plus, now I want bacon and water! Breakfast of champions.

    • Amy

      A bagel with butter and cream cheese + side of bacon = hangover remedy of champions…or so swore my maid of honor ;)

  • I’m driving to New England today and would’ve skipped reading this morning except I saw that it was Kerry’s AMAZING wedding and I wanted to read and giggle and enjoy. And it did way more than that–it was wise and exactly what I needed.

    I’ve been craving this weekend because I’ll get to talk about things OTHER than my freaking wedding. I love that people are excited about my wedding, I find that immeasurably valuable, but there’s other things about me that I care about than what colors we’re having (NONE) and blahblahblah.

    So thanks for making me feel sane and reassuring me that it’ll still be magical despite my failing at bride-dom. Or redefining it. I’m redefining it, right?

    Huzzah Craig and Kerry!

    • Oh lord, the color question. Why does that always seem to be one of the first questions people ask? And when you don’t have colors it’s just kind of awkward to answer. My reply I’m sure seemed weird to most people: “uuhh, well, see, there are these quilts. and some purple things. and then there are leaves around, so there’s green. and a lake, that’s blue. and he’s wearing a blue tie. the tables? well.. there are crayons on them..” And then they don’t know what to say. But no worries– remember the wedding magic :)

      • Lisa B.

        I was well aware of the weird emphasis people put on the wedding “colors” so I’ve decided I’m just going to pick two random colors just for the heck of it. I mean, I can say like, blue and green, and be done with it with no further effort. Yay for kilts. :)

        • Maggsfriend

          Whenever people ask what my “colors” are, I reply with a smile “blush and bashful,” the colors Julia Robert’s character insisted on using in Steel Magnolias. It gets a laugh and lets the person know I’m not taking wedding planning too seriously.

      • And the ‘theme’ question. I get asked all the time “What’s you’re theme?” And then they seem really confused when I try to explain we don’t have a theme,… in the end, I’ve just been answering “marriage! Marriage is the theme of the wedding!”

      • Edelweiss

        Quilts, leaves and crayons – oh my ! That sounds like a fantastic fun dream of a wedding to me.

      • carrie

        We picked colors (aqua and fuchsia) before we even had a venue…which is already decorated. My flowers will be hot pink. We are getting married at the beach, so there’s the aqua? Surely there is more to a wedding than effing colors.

      • I still have over a year and a half until my wedding and I already have people asking me those questions. “Where will it be?,” “What are your colors” (um…all of them?), “How many people?” I freaked out and started thinking that because people were asking the questions I was supposed to have answers.
        To appease the fiance I jokingly gave up wedding planning for lent. Best decision EVER! I took 40 days of not talking about it or giving people a few basic details and then changing the subject. I’m approaching it all with a clearer head now and at my own pace and I love it even more.

      • Michele C.

        We have a color idea and people still don’t get it. Albeit the people I’m mostly referring to are Italians and some of these American trends haven’t hit here yet – but we based our decor on a peacock feather hairpiece I got off Etsy, the first thing I bought for the wedding. We both loved it so much we figured we could take those colors and run with them. But when I say this to some people they ask “why peacock feathers?” “what’s the meaning?” Because they’re pretty, people! How much meaning do you really want to find in freaking decorations?

        • carrie

          WHY peacock feathers?!?! Cause they’re gorgeous…??? Peacock teal is one of my favorite colors, plus purple, plus iridescent, so yay for your colors!

      • Yes! I don’t know of any other event where you have to base your entire decorating scheme around a selection of 2 or 3 colors. Why is it so important for weddings?! oy.

      • Apparently people get really paranoid about accidentally matching the bridesmaids. At least that’s the explanation I’ve been given about why everyone wants to know what “your colors” are.

        (Speaking as someone who had a full fourth of the guests turn up in the color the bridesmaids were wearing and has unknowingly worn the exact same shade as the bridesmaids did at the last two weddings I attended – NO ONE CARES. ;))

      • I guess it’s just one of those questions that people assume is a.) totally non-controversial, and b.) fun/easy to think about, requiring no special “wedding knowledge” to appreciate.

        I haven’t had a good answer for though… the answer changes wildly depending on my mood and/or what pretty wedding blog post I saw on that particular day.

        “Lavender and sage? OF COURSE! That looks gorgeous! Oh wait, this bride is using fuchsia and orange! I’M gonna use fuchsia and orange! NO wait wait, look at THIS one!….”

      • Kaitlyn142

        The color question drives me insane. I ended up picking colors just to have an answer, and even then, it was based on not clashing with my sister’s lovely strawberry blonde hair (lavender and sage don’t clash with strawberry blonde, right?).

    • Thanks, Jo – you are so nice! Have fun on your weekend away.

      And colors are stupid. Our cake-bake-lady told me I picked the “wrong” colors because apparently navy and grey are “inedible.” You can’t win!

      • No they aren’t! They’re entirely edible.

        • Steph & B

          Blueberries are navy looking. Does that mean that they aren’t edible?!?

    • Emily

      Ohmygod, I love you people. It’s been the same way for me through this entire freaking process. “What are your colors” “What’s your theme”? “How does that fit into your color scheme/theme?” And the majority of it comes from family members I love and adore that are just trying to be sweet and make sure I have my dream wedding which I never had a dream of in the first place, other than the cake. (Can my cake be my theme? Let us eat wedding cake.) So I’ve defaulted to just saying the theme is whatever my fiancé and I like. Which is a yellow New England inn, chalkboard signs, flowers everywhere, friends drinking/dancing, indie rock cocktail hour: that’s my wedding.

      • mere…

        I love the theme “cake”!

    • I learned the hard way that you can’t bring up the fact you are getting married casually to strangers, unless you want to talk about every single little detail. It’s quite annoying.

      My hairdresser is getting married too, and all she seems to want to talk about are our weddings. I get that we don’t know each other well, and there’s a limited amount of small talk you can make in a salon, but when I’m getting my hair done I just want to relax and not think about the wedding for an hour.

      Same thing happened when I went for a massage about a month ago. Of all times that I seriously did NOT want to talk about the wedding was when I was getting a massage. But she saw the ring and kept on yammering on and asking questions. I just wanted to zone out and enjoy the massage but I couldn’t!

      • Steph & B

        Och. That’s terrible. These “how goes the wedding process” questions always make me feel like a total failure. I always end up shrugging my shoulders and say “it’s going” and then try to change the subject. There is always that uncontrollable urge to just shout “I don’t care!!!!”

      • Tina

        I want my massage to be silent. I don’t have enough guts to say it, though. It’s only happened to me once that the therapist tried to carry on a conversation while the massage was happening. I can’t even imagine how irritating/stressful it would be to have them questioning you about one of the things you’re trying to escape for a bit.

    • Holy mackeral, I thought I was unnatural for despising the color/theme question. Every single person seems to want to know them. I’ve been trying to get someone else to pick them for the past 4 months because I cannot be bothered but it’s like there’s some crazy importance to the color scheme like it *actually* matters!

      Who cares? And why *does* it matter?? I’m just gonna have a riot of colors and my poor MOH is going to have an aneurysm when she figures out I’m really refusing to pick a theme or a color. ^_^

  • Cass

    I absolutely adore your dress!
    And you’ve hit a lot of what I’ve been feeling right on the head. These last few weeks have just felt awkward. I kinda feel like I’m playing dress up.
    Hoping the wedding day feels more real :)

  • Kerry is spot on as usual. Spot on.

  • Salwa

    OMG – thank you!!!!! I have 2 months left until the wedding, and I am at a point where I just want to think about something else with my time. I feel guilty because I know my fiance and I have to work on wedding stuff, but when one of us bring it up, we just say “there’s always tomorrow”.

    People at work think that I have 3 heads when I say things like we’re not having a first dance, and our cake cutting will not be with cake but with creme brulee (and come on, who WOULDN’T want creme brulee). Thank you for injecting some sanity into my day.

    • carrie

      Creme brulee? Genius!

    • When you mentioned cutting creme brulee, I swear my eyes turned into little sparkly hearts for a second there.

    • Who doesn’t want creme brulee? Are they a guest? Can I take their spot? :)

      • Salwa

        Thanks ladies!! I only cared about 3 things in our wedding planning.

        1) I needed a F-A-B pair of shoes
        2) Chairty wedding favours
        3) Creme brulee

  • Ruth

    “I felt kind of like a failure at being properly psyched – and what did that mean about my relationship, about my femininity, about my ability to appreciate the present while its happening?”

    Exactly, one hundred times! It can be really difficult when it feels like other people are more excited about your wedding than you are, because obviously as the bride-to-be you’re expected to be giddy with excitement and what if you’re not? I believe I severely disappointed a few guests who asked the night before and morning of the wedding “Are you excited?” and I said “Not really…” without having time to explain the actual feelings I was having, which were somewhere near overwhelmed, nervous, and wishing I had eaten a bigger breakfast.

    Thank you for reminding me and future brides that it’s ok to feel how you feel and it doesn’t make your wedding any less amazing!

    • YES! I wish ONE phone call to friends would elicit something other than questions about the wedding. I’m doing ____ too! I’ve just accomplished this! Ask me about _______, damn it! It’s like this is the end-all, be-all, and I just can’t get psyched about that. SO glad to hear I’m not the only one. Agreed, it can be fun and exciting to plan and be a bride-to-be. But hooo-llllyy, the pressure to be wrapped up in it 24/7 is unreal. Give a girl a break!

      In other news, Kerry, your wedding shoes are smashing. And thanks for the tip about writing the checks out before the champagne…sounds like just the advice I need!

      • A bride-to-be instructional mad-libs! I love it!

        And thanks for the shoes compliment. I heart those suckers.

      • I know, I feel that too! Like, I am a WHOLE PERSON not just a bride to be. Hence the blog name I guess!

        Also, what I find so annoying is that the guy doesn’t get much of this. People will talk to him about everything else under the sun, and then maybe add on “How’s planning going?”
        But for the girl, that’s all people ask.

        And yep. I think we shouldn’t be too hard on people. Cause planning a wedding can be pretty fun, and, let’s face it, not the worst source of stress in the world!

        • Edelweiss

          And that’s the same for pre-engagement. I’m getting all the “when” questions and not-at-all subtle hints. Including his co-workers and family telling me they’re so happy to see me because they’ve been dying to know when we’re getting engaged “but of course we can’t ask Walrus”. Why not? By the way, my new job is awesome – thanks for asking!

          • holly

            Try someone asking to see your hands every time she sees you and then letting out a sigh at the naked ring finger. She does it out of love but seriously.

            It makes me wonder what she’ll do when there is a ring–will her head implode?

          • For Holly: Is it too mean to wear an ostentatiously fake ring the next time you see this person? Like a ring pop or something? cause …. I wouldn’t be able to help myself ….. :)

    • When you have a long engagement, it’s hard to maintain I high level of excitement about one event. It’s the same when you are approaching graduation. Of course I was excited about it for months leading up to it, but it’s hard to keep that outward excited appearance going. After awhile it gets tiring to look excited every time someone brings it up.

    • Fiorentina

      I just wanted to feel like a non-bride, and have people ask me about my dog or our holiday plans or my empanada recipe, instead of popping their heads in my office to say “Only two month to go!” ” Three weeks to go!” I felt kind of like a failure at being properly psyched

      OMG, seriously. Our wedding date is late July of NEXT YEAR people. I got all the vendors hired and a website put together over a year in advance because we wanted our guests to have enough time to make travel arrangements (destination wedding for most of them). Not because I wanted to live in a state of heightened SQUEEEEEEE! for the remaining 18 months.

      Honestly, I am so glad to put it all aside for literally a whole year. I’m usually a procrastinator, but we just couldn’t afford to do that with this wedding planning, and it’s all done. I don’t have to do crap but save money for at least another 8 months or so, and I’m GLAD. The wedding will be great. Of course I’m looking forward to it. But it’s not the only thing going on in my life. I am a multi-faceted human being, not just a bride-to-be.

      So please, people on facebook, refrain from asking if I’m “getting excited yet”. (Especially you, other half of sister’s “it’s complicated” who is angling for an invitation this far out in order to feel more secure in a rightfully tenuous relationship. I’m not stepping in that, so knock it off.) No. I’m not. I was ecstatic over our engagement, but that was a while ago, and now I’m just happy that life is getting on as usual.

      • Steph & B

        We did this too. I got all my wedding planning out of the way a year in advance (or at least tried…wedding invitations are the bane of my existence now). I wanted to keep the school year free because I was finishing my thesis and I didn’t want to be bothered. And I said so repeatedly…”Come spring semester I will be completely off the grid. I am writing/defending my thesis. Do not talk to me about weddings or ask me wedding questions. Everything is online. Call Ben or his mom.”

        No one listens though. And of course, I would get phone calls from his mother about wedding details all the time: “I know that the x, y, or z about the wedding is just absolutely plaguing you right now.” No, what is plaguing me right now is trying to define Toni Morrison’s depiction of motherhood in her latest novel. And then all kind of questions about wedding invitations kept popping up (they’ve known for a year! the details are all online! shouldn’t wedding invitations just be a formality at this point?). I ended up having to put the thesis to the side (even my dang thesis advisor kept asking me about the wedding).

        Moral of the story: I’ll say this again, Nobody listens. Why can’t they just listen? I think they think they are just being polite. That all we ever think about is wedding. So if you have something other than wedding coming up that needs your immediate attention, make a game plan to run interference.

        • Malisa McCown

          Ahhhh. So I’m not the only one this is happening to. :P Was planning to finish my thesis in June. Wedding is July1. Graduate Aug. 8. Move on with life.
          Yeah. Not likely to happen. I will soldier on as much as I can. But, yeah. Though, for full disclosure it has more to do with marrying a Canadian and the U.S. Immigration Service having a big stick up ** * and so cannot even remotely concentrate.

          • Steph & B

            Ugg. I feel you sister. Actually one of the best decisions I made was to put the thesis aside. A thesis is a big freaking emotional and intellectual deal. And it deserves your full attention. It should be your best work.

            I found myself hating the entire world while I tried to balance both the thesis and the wedding planning. When I put the thesis to the side (and then also eloped a month later), I felt almost like a whole new person. In fact giving your work a bit of a rest to come back to is probably the best thing that you can do (I tell this to my students all the time, but I never seem to listen to my own advice).

            So don’t despair on not following the timeline. Your thesis and your wedding will be all the better for it. Do rant and despise immigration services though. They suck. Seriously the US needs more Canadians to help counterbalance the jerks (I take it your fiance doesn’t have a green card? If he does, I’ll have to ask my dad–also Canadian–what he had to do when he married my stepmom–American).

  • Kerry, your description of being a future bride as conspicuous is spot on!

    And I have to exactly your advice about an exclusive honeymoon, if it is only just for a night in a hotel. My husband and I didn’t have the time to do a “real” honeymoon after our wedding, but stayed in a nice hotel the day after before flying out. I try to tell as many people as I can that even a one-night honeymoon is enough – just do it!

  • Edelweiss

    I’m sure 1,000 pictures in a zebra print robe would drive anyone crazy (and let’s be honest, looking at 1,000 pictures of myself in whatever outfit would drive me crazy) but you are rocking the robe in this post.
    Thank you for concrete, practical advice that allows me to remember even if I don’t care about colors there are real details that will matter to me. It’s like having a close friend tell you the honest truth about what happens at childbirth – everyone spends hours debating the details that don’t matter as much (as long as you have a healthy, happy baby), to the point you get sick of all the chatter, but in the meantime there are actual tangible things you can and should prepare for – that people forget to mention. So thank you.
    And one last piece of photo love – the digital camera pic – will be priceless on your 25th anniversary!

  • I really relate to this, escpecially the wedding excitement rollercoaster. I measured it by the making of the paper flowers which I did inconsistently in fits and starts. When I began with them having ogled weddings on Offeat Bride I was seriously excited – that took a little while to turn into boredom and then the flower making was abandonned. It picked up occasionally when I felt I ought to make some more but never reached the super productive high of the initial excitement before all the details that are not Details were obvious.

    Jeez, dude. I’m so glad to be on the other side.

  • KB

    “To me, being a bride-to-be often felt conspicuous, like when you take an uncharacteristic risk with your clothing choice and then feel like everyone on the street is staring at you all day. And, let’s just put it out there that I don’t take a lot of fashion risk” — this is SO TRUE. Thank you for putting it into words!

  • eRiN

    Favorite. Post. Ever.

    So relevant and honest… love it!!

  • And by the way, that ironic zebra print robe totally rocks.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure what Kerry is talking about, because she looks hot in it!

  • KERRYYYYY. so excited to see this pop up in my reader this morning.

    “It’s like freaking magic is at work – and really it is magic, if you consider love and excitement and music and booze and fancied up friends as magic. Which now I do. Being a bride is infinitely lovelier and easier than being a bride-to-be…” YES. truly magic.

    so much joy in these pictures. so much SMRT in the post. weee! congrats Kerry and Craig! :)

  • Mollie

    “Re-hashing your memories before anyone else has a chance to alter the way they look in your mind is one of the most delicious things you can do together.”

    YES. a thousand times yes. There were two different “day after” brunches/get-togethers that family were throwing, and one of the best decisions we made was to NOT commit to going in advance. I wanted to be able to go if we wanted, but not feel required to show up.

    After the wedding was over, all I wanted to do was hide away with my husband (literally, hide!) and let everything soak in without having others’ impressions/rehashing (even if it is perfectly lovely!) get in the way of our own initial memories of the event.

    • p.

      I, too, wanted to ‘exactly’ that portion about rehashing with your spouse first. One of my best memories of the whole wedding process is driving up through Point Reyes the day after our wedding and starting to talk about the differences, good and bad, between the wedding we’d planned and the wedding we’d actually had. And yet, it’s something I’d forgotten was so important to me until this post.

  • Julie

    Wow, this is exactly how I feel about people asking me wedding questions. It seems like as soon as the ring was on my finger, as far as the rest of the world was concerned I no longer had hobbies or interests or knowledge about anything except how to pick a wedding venue and make a guest list. Of course, now that I’m graduating, it alternates between “how’s the wedding planning?” and “what are you going to do when you’re done with school?”…

    It’s nice to hear that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.

  • I just want to exactly the whole post! xx

  • I love all of Kerry’s advice, especially writing up checks beforehand and getting to talk about the wedding with your partner before anyone else. (Also, chip-free manicure? That exists?!) This is such a level-headed yet upbeat post; it’s great inspiration for one of those future brides.

    Also, I say the zebra robe is a major “do” not a “don’t.” It looks awesome, Kerry!

  • Charm City Vixen

    A. Your robe is BANGING. Love it! (But then again, my glasses are leopard print… anything outrageous is absolutely breathtaking in my opinion!)
    B. Great PRACTICAL advice, especially about caterers.
    C. Do you think men get questioned about wedding stuff the way women do? My FH is helping me plan — we’re doing it together. I know it isn’t that unusual…

    • Harriet

      In my experience, men definitely do not get asked about wedding stuff as much as women. My FH and I are having a really simple wedding, and while I am doing more planning than he is, he is definitely involved in all the decisions–mostly I come up with a selection of options for food, flowers, etc. and then we make the decision together. But people ask me about the wedding all the time (friends, family, co-workers) and he says people don’t usually bring it up with him. There is just a lot more pressure as a bride-to-be than as a groom-to-be, even if the bride-to-be (me) is keeping things as simple as possible and so doesn’t have all that much to say!

      • Yeah, I don’t know. My fiance sure seems to talk about the wedding a lot with all his friends, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s prompted or not. I suspect it’s not. Maybe because he’s not getting asked about it by any and everyone, then when he’s with his friends he suddenly goes into word vomit about the wedding and then he comes home and I have to be like, “You said all that at a birthday party?!! But we’re not inviting half those people!! Knock it off!!”

        As annoying as it is to constantly answer wedding questions, I think it might be harder for guys. I’m not a super-SQUEE kinda person, but I appreciate that I get to do it on occasion. I think my fiance is even more of a SQUEE kind of person and he never gets to do it.

      • Kathleen

        Everyone (especially older men) keeps telling my fiance, “Don’t say anything. Just nod and do whatever she wants,” which is getting on both of our nerves because up to this point he’s done more of the research on wedding stuff than I have! So yeah, I think men hear a lot different messages about wedding planning than women do.

  • Allie

    There’s so much that rings true to me that I had to stop lurking and actually post. We just slipped under the 100 day mark and I’m asked the same questions by well-intentioned people 20-30 times a day. I know things are coming along but I can’t explain that I just spent two hours designing the map for our invitation. Plus I’m incredibly shy and don’t want the extra attention. Sigh. Thank you for your inspiration and clearheaded advice :) Cheers!

  • hoppy bunny

    “It’s like freaking magic is at work – and really it is magic, if you consider love and excitement and music and booze and fancied up friends as magic. Which now I do. ”

    Great post! It actually made me feel a little excited for the day, even though I am still many months off. I think this bit on it being magic is maybe the best thing ever–thank you so much!

  • This post was awesome, and exactly what I needed at this point.

    I am like you–slightly erratic in my thinking. Some days I am beyond super excited about all the planning and details, and some days I want to punch whoever decides to push me about flower arrangements. I’ve narrowed my bride to be status into two months….which has its pros and cons, really.

    I appreciate the honesty of this post. I also really appreciate the advice. I know I’ll need it!

  • You all are making my heart sing with these comments!

    I was a little nervous that I’d hear crickets, or that the response might be: “so what. you felt weird, boo effing hoo. MY VENUE BURNED DOWN AND THEN THERE WAS A TORNADO AND MY HAIRSTYLIST ACCIDENTALLY SHAVED MY HEAD.”

    But feelings are what it’s all about (well, that and bacon). The good ones and the strange ones.

    • Thank you so much for your post today. It’s really well timed, as I get closer to my wedding and no one wants to talk to me about anything other than the wedding. I’m ready to be past bride-to-be at this point.

    • K

      You may be shy but you are effing hilarious, Kerry. That made me laugh out loud. And the people at the reception look like they are having the time of their lives. And bacon is the food of the gods.

      I too am looking forward to the wedding itself, and the marriage even more, but not the process of getting from here to there.

    • I actually really appreciate posts that are more about the quiet struggles with wedding planning than about FIRE-TORNADO-BALDHEAD drama. It’s reassuring to read about someone who didn’t feel entirely comfortable about the whole experience, but still came away from it happy and with a good story to tell.

    • Sophia

      I rarely comment on wedding grad posts since I’ve been married 7 months. However, I SOOOO related to being uncomfortable and feeling overexposed as a bride-to-be while loving the experience of being a bride. This was so honest and well written. Thanks!

    • Karen

      No silence here! This was an amazing grad post — it’s definitely ringing true for me in a zillion ways. Thank you — and congratulations!

      • Jen

        The response you imagined just made me guffaw at work. I know it might be a tiny bit mean, but I had fun picturing a bald bride running around to a wig shop.

  • Raqui

    Love the Zebra robe! Love it! Amazing pics and sentiment. Your words about magic hearten me. I definitely need the magic – I have now been “engaged” for about 2.5 months with about 5 months to go. Telling family and friends was fun. I loved their reactions and their words of wisdom and support, but now I am not enjoying. I don’t know how ladies do this for 1-2 years and for big 75+ people weddings. I would become very angry. I already have two jobs and this is like a third job to me. I am already too haggard, sweaty and smudged to be a bride and I have no colors either! Except I like red – the color of my eyes.

    One cool thing is that we have planned our honeymoon – really an amazing spiritual adventure trip BEFORE the wedding, so that is like a beacon to me and I feel that after it I will not be the same, so whatever happens at the wedding will be good.

  • amysee

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for this. It is exactly what I needed to read today. I just started planning and jumped immediately into that stage where you feel like you absolutely cannot do it yourself, it is too hard and complicated, you must pay someone to think and organize for you, blah blah blah etc.

    I mean, I’m assuming this is something a lot of engaged folk go through, because it certainly felt universal at the time. :)

    Anyway, Kerry says “just do your thing,” and that is going to be my wedding planning mantra from this day forward. We are just going to do our thing.

  • Rachel

    We under the 100 days markt and just last night I was trying to explain to my mom that I was sick of answering questions about the wedding, that I didn’t want to talk about it to co-workers, friends, family but I didn’t want to sound ungrateful or spoiled. I just want to be quiet, sit in my little corner and make my favors/maps/invitations etc. Then boom…wake up this morning and APW did it again! Thank you Kerry for this post and thanks for the tips at the bottom!!


    brb sending the link to this post to everyone who has looked at me funny when I’ve gotten exasperated over being a bride-to-be.

  • For such a self-proclaimed shy wallflower type, you have an abundance of friends and loved ones (even of the Internet variety) and exude joy. I never tire of getting glimpses into your wedding, Kerry.

  • Lydia

    Yes. To all of this. I felt this exact same way and I always got looked at like I was a three headed toad. When people would ask me how married life was after the wedding (which they are still doing 8 months later) I would mostly say “It’s a lot better than being engaged!” and then I would get side glances and weird pauses. I didn’t love planning my wedding. I loved being engaged bc it was exciting, but hated it bc everyone wanted to hear my plans. And…it was just tiring talking about cupcakes and my shoes and people seemed dissappointed when I said the reason I chose this or that was bc it was made the most sense, not bc of some long romantic decision and GAH. I love being a wife and just LIVING and having people talk to me about normal shit again! It’s amazing.

    And that was about 6 sentences too long. Just yes, to this whole thing. Thank you.

  • Laura

    What an amazing post! Thank you, thank you, thank you! With my wedding in just over three months, I am starting to struggle with the bride-to-be role in the same ways, especially with the constant questions (Am I changing my name? It’s a deeply personal decision I haven’t made yet, so please give me some space!). Knowing that the day itself will be a welcome reprieve from this is such a comfort. Thanks, Kerry!

  • Soooo… this is exactly the post that I’ve been mulling over in my mind. In fact, last night I told my fiance that I was going to write a post about how I don’t really love being engaged. I’m looking forward to marriage. And I love dating him. But I’m just not into the being publicly engaged and having to talk about it ALL. THE. TIME. Maybe I’ll still write it. Hmmm.

  • LOVE the umbrella picture.

    And this:
    “Go on an exclusive you-and-partner honeymoon, even if it’s just to spend a day in the hotel attached to your reception venue. Re-hashing your memories before anyone else has a chance to alter the way they look in your mind is one of the most delicious things you can do together.”
    Yes! That weekend where it was just us and we didn’t talk to anyone, we didn’t e-mail anyone, it was just us, was what we needed for those memories to gel and become permanent.

    And then this:
    “Write something down on a piece of paper on the day of your wedding about how you are feeling. Pen and paper hold feelings better than anything else including the internet or pictures.”
    Spot on! The day after our wedding we passed a piece of paper back and forth and wrote down over 30 little one-liner moments that were our favorite. I love that list.

    • Lindsey

      Yes! My fiance and I aren’t able to go on our planned honeymoon right after our wedding, so instead we’re going to hole ourselves away in a local hotel for a couple of days before going back to our regular ol’ apartment that we’ve already lived in together for four years (by then). I’m really looking forward to just taking some time to ourselves to cuddle and talk endlessly about everything we remember. :) (And write it down!)

      • Anon as well

        That’s what we did. We took a weekend right after the wedding just for us at a hotel before going home and then took our long honeymoon after the semester was over (that’s what he gets for marrying a graduate student).

  • Rasheeda

    This post is spot on! I remember the day after the wedding in my mothers suite at our hotel and one of her friends walked in and said “Oh there goes the Bride!” to which I responded “No, I’m just a wife now, and I think I prefer it that way”. Being a bride is fun, for a day…ONLY…I found it to be an emotional rollercoaster, one I gladly jumped off on the end, but it was still a ride worth taking.

    And about that robe, its chic! Just think in 30 years, you’ll look like a trendsetter and your kids will think you were HOT!

  • Brilliant. We just passed the two month mark and everyone around me is all “squee!!!” while I feel very much like how Kerry felt. Can’t someone ask me how my snowboard season was? Or *also* about my dog? Or when I’m going to stop settling for being a copy editor and bust out the big guns?

    I mean, it’s exciting, but … there’s more. So thank you, Kerry, for affirming that it’s OK for me not to be utterly inundated with butterflies and glitter.

    • Karen

      Hey — don’t knock being a copy editor! (Though it depends what you’re copyediting, I suppose. I love my job most of the time, but there are days…)

  • Thank you for an amazing post that addressed most if not all of my extensive fears of wedding planning and then the actual wedding. I’m sure I could also click “exactly” on most of the responses. I feel so conspicuous as a bride-to-be and my lack of excitement about planning and almost then dreading the wedding for a lot of reasons you mentioned (awkward in front of lots of people, worried about the mix of extended families, not wanting to be the center of attention for an entire day ohgawd!) – all of this has left me incredibly insecure and putting off the process as a whole for now. It is really encouraging to hear that despite all this, the day will be enjoyable, fun, and everything it should be and not being good at the before part doesn’t instantly negate that. Also, it makes me feel a little better about looking forward to the relief once its all done, even though I haven’t really started.

  • Kerry! I love you (but you already know that). This post and the advice are so spot-on wise, hilarious, and true, just like the rest of your writing. And a million times yes to the bridal magic. It’s awesome. (And I think some of it rubs off when you attend subsequent weddings. At least it has for me… who cares if I look stupid on someone else’s dance floor? Everyone’s already seen me look stupid on mine, hurrah! ;))

  • RachelC

    yes yes yes. thank you, thank you, thank you.

    This post was just what I needed today. I needed to read that being a ‘bride-to-be’ and being a ‘bride’ are 2 completely different things and that I will do all the right things on the day I am a ‘bride.’ *siiiiiggghhh of relief* Seriously, that’s so comforting.

    I also totally agree on the everyone-wanting-to-talk-weddings-and-you’re-like-wtf-there’s-other-things-happening-too thing – especially when it’s people who are totally uninvolved in the wedding (random people at church, friends of acquaintances, hair stylist, etc.). I still don’t feel like I just want it to be over with, I’ve really enjoyed the ‘bride-to-be’ time, but I am definitely excited to experience the ‘bride’ part – in 2 weeks and 2 days. Aaah!

    Again – THANK YOU!

    • RachelC

      PLUS- you barely MENTIONED the fact that you had depressing rain which is another fear of mine. So — woo-sa……it can be done.

      • It rained the most miserable, dreary, consistent rain imaginable. I’d had my heart set the whole engagement on a snowy backdrop. But honestly, I really didn’t even care on the day! I called around that morning to find a big clear umbrella and the umbrella pics turned out to be most peoples favorites. If you had told me pre-wedding that I would have a calm reaction to rain, I would NEVER have believed you.

  • Kerry,

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this:

    “Being a bride is infinitely lovelier and easier than being a bride-to-be, so all of you out there who are kind of weirded out by the role the way I was, don’t worry about not “getting into it.” Just do your thing. ”

    It hit so close to home that I actually got a little teary. It’s so hugely comforting to know I’m not the only one feeling that way. I want to *exactly* your entire post.

    ~ Kim

  • Chicago! Right?

    • Yeah! Our venue was the Hotel Palomar. They killed it with awesomeness.

  • ka

    I love you.

    Seriously. I really needed this today.

    And the ironic robe? Looks totally glamorous on you. You should take more fashion risks. :)

  • SarahMae

    Thank you for this! A lovely, completely relatable post. I now feel sane!

  • i adore you, kerry. this post is so beautiful…

  • Em

    Yay!! I loved this post. I’m not up to the planning-and-doing-stuff part of my planning yet, not really, but that ‘feeling like a bride’, and people constantly asking how wedding planning is coming along (as they were doing to me, two and a half years from the date.), I get that. So this was a great post.
    Thank you Kerry!

  • Moz

    Fantastic grad post. And your dress was amaze balls Kerry – congrats on your marriage!

  • Oh my gosh. I just adore you. I adore your zebra print robe! I never even considered wedding morning fashion and now I absolutely MUST have something similarly fierce.

  • Kristin

    EXACTLY to the entire post. My wedding was just last weekend, and this is exactly what I’ve been trying to say but hadn’t found the words for. EXACTLY.

    • Yay, Kristin! Don’t you feel AWESOME?

  • Marchelle

    <3 <3 <3 you Kerry.

  • See, now you’ve inspired me to maybe start planning my wedding, again. We keep talking about planning, for a November wedding, but it always sort of putters out because I’m the planner of the two of us but I’m also apathetic about an actual wedding because a) stage fright, b) busy, c) too much work. But really, mostly a.

    But maybe you’re right and there is a magic that makes it all ok on that day…. which means it’s ok to stop pretending we don’t even have a date in mind and stop pretending not to plan anything before it’s too late to get something together without heads exploding. :)

    Plus it would stop all those COLOR questions!!

    And for the record, the zebra print totally works for you. As did everything else! :)

  • This is exactly the kind of info I wish I had when I was getting married. Very helpful