With wedding season on the horizon, soon-to-be brides are reading tons of magazine articles with tips on surviving the big day. After having planned and completed my absolutely fabulous wedding day, I realized that there are a few tips that these magazine articles and websites never seem to mention.
1. Don’t assume people will do what they are expected/supposed to do.
We hired a very well known local deejay for our wedding. We paid well over what we could have paid for a lesser known deejay, but this guy is a Cleveland legend and we were willing to pay a little more since he has been around since we were kids. We were honored when he agreed to spin at our wedding for a slight discount on the price. The day of the wedding, he showed up in jean shorts and a polo shirt. Not only that, but he also brought along his wife to the reception, who we had no idea was going to be coming. Luckily, our outdoor ceremony was held at a location where the deejay was located at a level above where everyone was seated. The only person who saw him was me, as my entrance began at the top and descended to the bottom level where the ceremony took place. He happily agreed to change into something more conducive to the day for the reception.
Our deejay has spun at many a wedding and also for numerous celebrity events. We assumed he’d know the proper attire to wear for our wedding; apparently we were wrong. Don’t hesitate to spell out exactly what your expectations are. You are paying these folks, so don’t feel apprehensive about letting them know what you require up front.
2. Anticipate that you may lose some friends.
A harsh reality of becoming a bride is that you likely have single girlfriends who don’t foresee marriage in their immediate future. This makes some very jealous and unfortunately, your friendship may suffer for it. A month before my wedding, my former best friend of 14 years flat out told me she was jealous (yes, she actually said “I am jealous”) of my quote/unquote “perfect life” and told me I was going to have to find another maid of honor; she wanted to be happy for me, but she just couldn’t do it. My wedding planner told me to watch out for this, but I believed by friendships were strong enough to combat any green-eyed monsters. So when it actually happened, it was a harder hit than it would have been had I prepared for it.
If you are blessed enough to have all your friendships survive your wedding and subsequent marriage, fabulous! If not though, look at it as a blessing in disguise””God is removing unnecessary negativity from your space so your marriage can thrive, which is what is most important at this time. And you really don’t need any jealous friends around your marriage anyhow.
3. Pay for everything in cash, if you can.
I was not one of those lucky brides whose parents footed my wedding bills. In fact, I know very few who are. As a result, most of us have to pay for our weddings ourselves.
One thing I am so grateful for is that my husband and I paid for everything single thing in cash. We put nothing on credit. But I have friends who are still paying their wedding day expenses after six or seven years. I have another friend whose wedding bills survived longer than his marriage did.
Paying right out of pocket forces you to be realistic about what you can afford so you’re not paying on your wedding dress long after it doesn’t fit any longer. It also inadvertently brings about creativity ““ if your top choice for, say, invitations is out of your price range, you have to get creative and find a way to get what you want at a price you can afford. Perhaps that means going with a cheaper printer, or even creating and printing your own. Besides, the best parts of the day, in my opinion, are the unique touches that each couple creates for their special day. Spreading payments out in advance of the wedding for expensive details such as the reception and wedding dress will help, also.
4. Breathe and take it all in.
The day goes by super fast, especially the ceremony. We spent more time at the rehearsal than the actual ceremony itself. Thankfully, we have mementoes like photos and video to remind us of the glorious day, but nothing compares to the feeling of actually walking down the aisle to meet my husband and take our vows under the sanctity of the Lord. So be sure to take a few moments of your day and soak it all in because (hopefully) this will be your only opportunity to experience this joy live and in person.
Gwen Jimmere is an award-winning and nationally syndicated editor who authored the relationship manual for young women, If It Walks Like a Duck”...and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me. She blogs about relationships, dating, marriage and parenting at The Duck Walk and works in social media/digital marketing.