A while ago, I wrote a post about all the things I learned about myself throughout the wedding planning process. While there were some surprises to some of my friends and family, I, myself, can’t really say I was shocked. I like to think I’m pretty true to myself and can stand up for myself and for what I believe in, even if it’s unpopular or might offend some people (e.g. my very blunt views on creating your wedding guest list (read it here). But, if I had to learn some wedding things the hard way, I want to share my unfiltered tips so you don’t have to do the same.
What I want to talk about today is, the not so great things I’ve learned about others and just general tips I’ve picked up on while planning a wedding. Quick shoutout to all my girls for personally being the absolute best throughout the entire process!
#1 Let’s start with the “others” topic. And boy, this is a BIG one.
What I’ve basically learned is this, more than ever, when you’re planning a wedding, you learn who the 1000000% down, ride or die, be there no matter what people are. And you learn this quick. And it rings true to not only friends, but family as well (which may come as a shock).
Everyone likes to be all excited and send cute texts or messages, obsess over all your IG photos, and all that — you know, the easy stuff. The parts that don’t require a lot of energy or take up someone’s time. But throw an event where someone has to rsvp, possibly drive “a little farther than they’d like”, or even bring a gift to be polite, and I guarantee you’ll see some of your “Day 1s” quickly disappear.
I’m going to be frank here, I love my family. We celebrate all our holidays together and I really look forward to seeing them and spending time with them. But, if we’re being open about how I feel and felt, my aunt and female cousin, who both live in the Los Angeles area (local to where my bridal shower was held), failed to make it to my bridal shower. An event they still managed to miss even though they were sent invitations 3 months before the date. Obviously this hurt. I was embarrassed that my own family didn’t make coming to share this special event with me a priority. Now obviously, it’s not the end of the world, we’re going to see each other again, and I forgive them, but still. I’m never going to forget that. I know they didn’t mean to intentionally make me feel the way I did; my cousin texted me the day of to let me know she got called in to work last minute — so fine. But part of me wanted to say, can’t you tell your boss that your cousin’s bridal shower is today and you’ve been planning on going for months and that they need to call someone else in? I don’t know, maybe that’s selfish, but that’s the kind of person I am, and that’s the kind of thing I would’ve done. Which brings me to point #2 of what I’ve learned about others while planning a wedding.
#2 You can’t expect people to see things, respect, or appreciate things the same way you do.
Call me sentimental but my days as “Smith” were numbered as we planned our wedding, so every part of the process, every event, meant SO much to me, more than I could ever explain. It was like one chapter was closing and a new one was beginning, one where I’d start building a new family with my soulmate. So when people don’t have the same level of respect for the process and the “getting married” thing as I do, it does and did hurt my feelings. It’s a BIG freaking deal. And if Joey and I have chosen to share that process with you, guess what? I think you should respect the whole thing JUST AS MUCH AS WE DO. Which means: RSVPing to things when you need to and to do it by the deadline; showing up to events without hesitation — especially if you’re a member of the wedding party and are in the same state as the events (quick shoutout to my best friend Cynthia who literally flew from Virginia to California to be here for me for EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Get you a girl like that and you’re set for life people); and being a reliable and available friend throughout the process.
At least that’s how I feel. But again, I’ve learned that you can’t expect people to feel the same way you do. Maybe they see your wedding as a little event that they can decide whether or not they’re coming the day of. Is that wrong? ABSOL-FUCKING-LUTELY. But some people are freaking crazy, and that’s the end of this point/rant.
#3 Pick your wedding party wisely – this will save you a WHOLE LOT of stress.
I’ve been in 3 weddings in my lifetime, and I can tell you this: I think if someone’s asked you to stand and support them on the biggest day of their life- THATS A BIG FUCKING DEAL and you should be on hand for any. single. thing. that person wants or needs throughout the process. I felt that way for each girl I stood next to, and I still feel that exact same way about them today. I’d go to war for these girls. And I hope they know that I’d do anything for them. You need pretty earrings to wear on your big day and forgot yours? Let me get my man to go get some I have at home and bring them to the venue for you to wear. A bridesmaid is giving you drama a week before the wedding because she didn’t buy the color shoes you wanted and asked her to get a year ago? Guess what? I’m going to call that B and tell her what’s up, and that it’s completely inappropriate to tell the Bride seven days before her wedding that you didn’t get the shoes. I mean, thank God you at least got the bridesmaid dress, but come on. *actual events that took place*
I hope — and girls, you can call me out on this — I hope that I did everything that was needed of me and then some when I was a bridesmaid. Because now that the tables are turned, holy shit, being a bride and planning a wedding is A LOT. And the most stressful part- for me at least- was worrying about whether or not I’ve chosen reliable people in my party that are going to be there no matter what and do whatever I need them to do to help me enjoy the day and have it run smoothly. I have a lot of girlfriends and friends I love and adore and trust completely. But it’s funny how different those aspects of a friendship become as soon as you’re planning a wedding and actual commitments are required of people.
If you’re on the fence about asking someone to be in your party, my advice is this- ask that person to be in your party, but then also let them know that being a member of the wedding party is a true commitment. Let them know that they’ll need to sacrifice their time for wedding events, financial aspects are going to be required of them (e.g. bachelor/bachelorette expenses, attire expenses, hair and makeup, etc.), and that they may have to miss work for special occasions/the wedding itself. If these are things they have problems with, let them know that’s totally okay and you understand, but that you’d like to know before they accept the role.
Because let me tell you, you don’t want people to say yes right away, thinking “I’m so cool. I got asked to be in the wedding party”, and then 2 months before your wedding they tell you it’s too much, they can’t afford it, etc.. Because once you’ve hit that 2 month mark, your wedding day is basically planned and having someone fall out that late in the race is going to screw up a lot of the planning you’ve already done.
#4 Never assume anything.
This is a big one. Never assume that people are going to get their dress/suit ordered or fitted on time just because you sent out a group chat once 7 months ago. You have to consistently remind people to get shit done. (Again, not something I agree with, but it happens). We had two groomsmen who went to get their suits fitted 30 days before our wedding even though they had 7 months to do so. Some people do not have good time management skills, nor do they realize the importance of getting things done ahead of time. You know they types — the procrastinators — I loathe those people. Just go get it done when the bride/groom asks you to so they don’t have to worry about your shit on top of all the other shit they’re dealing with. But as a bride/groom, don’t assume people will know. You have to communicate and be direct with people — especially when it comes to the specifics of throwing the biggest event of your life.
This goes for family and vendors as well. Don’t assume people know what you mean; just learn to be direct and tell people what you need or expect of them. I’d say this is especially true for vendors. If you’re paying someone a substantial amount of money to add something to your big day (photography, florist, etc), make sure they know exactly what you want from them. Don’t assume because you’ve talked over the phone, that they understand you or know what you want. I’m pretty OCD so this was really easy for me, but I can see how if you don’t express yourself, you might look back on your big day and be unhappy with how some things turned out. For example, you could get back photos that maybe your photographer loved, but aren’t necessarily your style — which would be a pretty big bummer to find out after the fact.
Another example would be this: my photographer sent me a location for our engagement shoot and it was this big beautiful field of yellow flowers. It was beautiful but not my style. It was too bright and not what I wanted. So I told her that and she said we could go to the field next to it with grass and mountains that would better fit my vision. She said that if I wanted, we could go to the yellow flower field and take some shots and she could edit them to tone down the vibrancy. That’s exactly what we did and I absolutely LOVE every one of our photos! But if I had just agreed in the first place, I’d have some bright yellow colored engagement photos that I hated.
#5 If you’ve accepted a position in the wedding party as a best man/groomsmen/maid of honor/bridesmaid YOU SHOULD BE THE MOST SUPPORTIVE AND LEAST DRAMA CAUSING PERSON ON THE PLANET WHEN IT COMES TO ANYTHING WEDDING RELATED FOR YOUR BRIDE AND GROOM.
I don’t even feel like I need to elaborate on this one. That’s just it. You should be the one person that without a doubt is going to do everything as planned the entire time. Call time for makeup is 8 am? I’ll be there outside at 7:45 am with everyone’s Starbucks order. Need me to pick up pumpkins leading up to the wedding because you’ve bought out all the pumpkin patches around your house? Not a problem, I’ll buy pumpkins for you every time I see one while I’m out and about. You’re OCD and aesthetically obsessed and need every single thing in your life to be instagrammable and perfect? Okay, let me throw $2k at your bachelorette party because guess what, it’s the only one you’re going to have so we better make it picture perfect. That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about. Those are your people and that’s how you know you picked one hell of a squad to support you on your big day.
#6 THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF ALL.
Family and friends are great, but have you ever met your soulmate?
You have to realize that none of this shit or the drama that will sure enough ensue leading up to your big day really matters. AS LONG AS YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE EACH OTHER, THAT’S ALL THAT TRULY MATTERS AT THE END OF THE DAY. Your wedding is about you and your partner becoming one. Simple as that. If a bridesmaid wants to show up when the guests show up for the wedding, f*$k it, as long as you know where you and your partner will be at that time, that’s all that counts. Family doesn’t want to fly across the country and will wait to see the photos? Great, guess what? Dirt off the shoulder, you’re moving on and starting your own family with your partner. It sounds harsh, but hey, it’s tough love.
The people who truly love you and support you will show up, will fight for you, and will make sure the day goes perfect for you- and you know what the best part about that is? You won’t even have to ask them to. Those are your people. All the others? Dirt off the shoulder.
Well, I’ll stop my roasting here, lol. I do want to say that I’ve appreciated and learned a lot about people throughout the process. I’ve certainly learned what not to do when it comes to being a wedding guest/wedding party member/family member. I have some family members who will be getting married next year and my mom actually asked me if I’d fly out (they’ll all be getting married in other states) to go to their weddings. And my answer was that I’d absolutely fly out. If I’m invited, I don’t care if it’s in another country. If you’re blood, I think it’s my job as a member of your family to show up and support you, because, in the end, we’re all just adding to our family. I understand there might be financial issues if the wedding is held, say in another country, but I’ll make every attempt to make it work! Having gone through this, I know that all I really wanted was my friends and family more than anything to be on board and show up without fail. So that’s what I’ll do for them, hands down.
If someone reading this is planning a wedding, I hope I’ve helped you with this unfiltered advice. And if you’re reading this as a guest or party member- GET FREAKING ON BOARD AND DO YOUR JOB. That’s all I have for tonight, stay tuned for happier, light hearted posts to come 🙂