To start this blog post off right, I have to be honest, no matter what happens during wedding planning, the end result will NOT be PERFECT! I hate to start that way but its important to know that things happen. I want to believe most people accept things come up and things happen and circumstances change things in our every day life, but as a woman and previous bride, we get on this initial high of believing that this one moment and event will be perfect nothing will happen to me. You’ve heard horror stories before, I’m sure or seen a few brides endure wedding planning chaos. It happens to us all. Take for example, all the brides who have currently had to reschedule their special one of kind day because of COVID-19. My heart breaks for those brides. Thankfully, my wedding day and story took place right before the Covid madness began.
If you have read either of my past two blog post, “Love Story” or “Journey to Building a Home”, then you know my amazing husband, proposed the day we closed on our brand new home. As soon as we finished photos, the first thing I did was call each of my family members via FaceTime of course so they could check out the ring. Then by society standards, we must document our entire lives on social media, therefore after each family member knew, I created my very own “I said YES” post, for all to see. Keith and I shared some champagne then it was time to unpack the cars and prepare to move into our new home. We went to dinner only a couple hours later to celebrate and on our drive to dinner, I wasn’t going to waste time, I jumped right into “Bride” mode, and asked that we pick a date. And I’m sure there are some brides that do not feel the rush or want to plan immediately, but just a little insight into me, I was always that girl chasing after love and a wedding, I dreamt of my wedding and obsessed over my wedding. At one point I had taken a job for a Wedding Planning company, it was such a delight being able to be apart of each brides special day. And at every wedding or reception, I would cry for joy for the bride and groom and the families. But on the other side of the emotions that each of those weddings brought, I saw the behind the scenes, I saw the drama, the stressed brides, the mothers of the brides or groom that were a little over the top. So when I got engaged, I thought I know what I am doing, I know what I want and nothing could go wrong.
Well I quickly learned my first lesson that night at our engagement dinner, others would not be on the same page as me. Keith and I went to dinner with his grandparents, and as soon as we sat down as order drinks and started talking of the ring and the proposal. I mentioned we were already deciding on dates, his grandmother, said you don’t need rush into it. I know she meant well and wanted us to just enjoy the moment and it wasn’t meant to hurt my feelings because that isn’t her intention, however in the moment felt as though she was raining on the parade so to speak, which wouldn’t be the only moment that this occured. And ultimately until I told her, she had no idea that my goal was to have a short engagement. Now pointer for those brides planning weddings, its important to realize that you will need to be flexable during the planning process, because in my case even though I wanted a short engagement, I couldn’t get everyone on the same page, so it ended up turning into a year long engagement.
Here is another bride reminder, but a tip for families and even friends of the bride and groom; THE WEDDING IS FOR AND ABOUT THE BRIDE AND GROOM! It is often forgotten in all the hussel and bussel of wedding chaos, that people surrounding us forget that. Now it is not lost on me that when you as the bride marry your groom to be, you are also gaining more family, but it is vital that you and your groom communicate and as a team declare from the beginning the boundaries between that yall and the family. This was crucial for Keith and I, because we would need it and it would be tested during the rest of our wedding planning. And before I move on I will quickly give an example of the boundaries we set and its based off our beliefs about how to create a successful, long standing marriage. We both agreed that we would be a bit old fashioned, in our home, Keith and I, our marriage which includes our friendship is #1, and we never neglect self love and care, because it helps us give more to each other. #2 is our future children and in this current case our dogs followed by #3 our family then friends. Now this works for us and this is what we communicated within our relationship and declared our foundation for our marriage. This can be tough when you are marrying into a tight knit family because they and in general people do not like to feel replaced, less important or a lower priority in someones life, so there will be growing pains. During our wedding planning, growing pains were only one of our struggles.
As I mentioned growing pains were a struggle for us as some of his family members had a hard time adjusting to my presence and fought against us. Although this topic is still a trigger of anxiety, I agreed to be transparent and will continue with that in this blog. I will not associate names, out of respect for those involved, as the name is not necessary for the picture to be painted. About a couple months into the wedding planning process, I had already sent out my Bridemaids Proposal Boxes, (and no I did not take a picture of any of them, bride crafter oversight), and all had accepted. I was coordinating the vendors and as getting quotes and ultimately planning the big day, I had a plan to gift my bridesmaids their make-up professionally done for the wedding day. This is not always common, as it does get pricey. I continued to send emails to my bridesmaids to ensure there was constant communication. I was talking of dresses, giving the girls full decision making on which dress they want to wear, although it did take a little bit of time and a couple dress changes to finalize said style, ultimately each of my bridesmaids picked their own dress. I was asking for sizing for the day of oufits for each to wear and even though it was nearly 8 months out from the wedding I was giving tentative timelines for the girls for the day of preparation. I was working diligently to coordinate everyones sleeping arrangements for the weekend of the wedding. It came down to one bridesmaid, that was a family member of Keith’s, that wasn’t responding to my emails and just seemed to be hard to get a hold of. I reached out to extend an offer for her, her husband and daughter to stay with us during the wedding weekend. She politely declined and I respected that decision. I continued to confirm that she had received my emails about hair and make up and getting ready, and she said she didn’t receive them and that she would not partake in getting ready with me on the day of the wedding. I was not only thrown off by this information but upset, felt disrespected and hurt, that she was choosing what she wanted to be apart of instead of being fully committed to the bridal squad. She and I agreed to discuss via phone the next day, because I wanted to properly converse about her decision and hopefully explain myself and my vision for the day and hope that it could potential change her mind. When the next morning came and she didn’t call and then didn’t answer my calls, I was mad, I felt as though she didn’t care and blew me off. Now I learned a very valuable lesson in making assumptions from this experience, because I later find out she was sleeping after working the night shift. But in my emotions and feelings, I sat down and wrote an email, one that I edited three times because I didn’t want my anger/frustration to come through but more my vulnerability and hurt. I sent the email which was full of emotion and honesty to how I was feeling and in a short couple hours later, she called to discuss, but I texted her to inform her that I was preoccupied and would happily discuss this with her later. She continued to call until I answered. As soon as I answered, she yelled at me, warranted she was now on the receiving end of the hurt and bad feelings. I attempted to apologize for the hurt I caused her and for being a bit brash but my apology was not accepted, she immediately declined to be in the wedding and refused to speak with me again without Ketih present. Keith decided to call her and hear her side of it, and she shared it with me. This was the one moment we were tested on our committment to our relationship foundation. It appeared as though he was siding with her in the disagreement and he wanted to play mediation. But I was firm in my belief that I could work through this with her if she was willing, and he stepped back and respected that he cannot fight all my battles. As time passed and my attempts to make peace were denied, the communication wasn’t clear among all parties, she sent text with concern that she talked directly to me I would attack her, which would never be my intention and then she wrote my husband text saying he should not marry me and that she had every intention tarnishing my name with the rest of the family. Sadly the situation escalated out of control. Thankfully, a few months before the wedding we spoke once the three of us and agreed to disagree, not discuss or work through that issue and ultimately just give mutual kindness when in each others presence but I should not expect her respect. And although I pray that our once friendship can overcome, I am more concerned that my husband have healthy and happy relationships with each of his family members.
Now in continuing with wedding planning, be sure that as a Bride, you remember that the groom is just as important as you, and its important to choose things together, because after the wedding you are married and that is all about choosing everything together. For example, after my fallout with his cousin and my ex-bridesmaid, I proposed we cancel the wedding completely and elope, because I didn’t care anymore to have a big wedding anymore, because my focus shifted, I wanted to spend my life with the soon to be hubby and it was only important to me that we be together. Keith was open to the idea and liked that it was going to be much less expensive but he told me that he ultimately couldn’t imagine marrying without all our friends and family. So I went back to the grind and planned this big to do wedding, and I wouldn’t have made it through if I didn’t have him helping with decisions and just listening to my crazy wedding anxeity rants.
I think I am due for a Bride tip right about now, if you are planning a wedding, remember there are price tags attached to all things and contracts are not easy to get out of, and refunds are not a thing, when planning a wedding. At the very beginning, my goal was to have a DIY under $5000 wedding, because according to my Pinterest board that was possible. But as I crafted this beautiful wedding it all quickly added up. But for me in all that excitement I didn’t want to associate $$$ to the wedding, I was created this gorgeous wedding. But lets get real ladies, if you are planning a wedding starting and continuing to remind yourself money talks. When the discussion of money came up for the wedding, Keith and I had planned to do as best as we could and pay for it ourselves, until my mom agreed to help where she could. So when it was adding up quickly and becoming larger than we could afford, I had to reach out to my dad, and he wasn’t interested in paying for the wedding to begin with because he had just paid for his wedding shortly after I was engaged. But ultimately with the sound voice of my step-mom, he complied to help pay.
And I will finish this post by saying my wedding planning was wrapped in chaos, between losing a bridesmaid and relationship, along with putting up with constant resistance from numberous people (family and friends), who didn’t understand or maybe felt left out and I was not immune to the dysfunction of family dramas, as I come from a broken household. And if you are a bride of a broken household, you are not alone and it may seem tough to navigate but you can do it and if you feel as though you cannot, reach out to friends or heck send me a message, I will be happy to help you in whatever way I can. If it helps you see you are not alone, I will give one more example of when my broken family caused me stress as it happened in the week leading up the wedding my mom threatened not to come because I had upset her, as she felt I was siding with my dad over her, and then my dad was upset a few days prior to the wedding day because he was unhappy with his seat location at the ceremony. Being a bride is tough, and challenging but for every pitfall, I had an amazing bridal squad full of my 2 sisters, 2 sister-in-laws, and 2 close friends, they were by my side through it all and from the moment they arrived the for the weekend of the wedding they carried me through until the end of my ceremony. And I had so many friends that supported me and listened to me vent and gave me advice and reminded me that being a bride should be fun. And on that day, Keith and I were able to share that special with everyone that loves us and thankfully everyone was patient as it was blister windy morning, but the drinks kept flowing, the food was fulfilling, my decor beautiful and the music was pumping. The wedding turned out to be a success and I focused so hard that day to ignore everything I went through and just focus on as much as I could because that day flew by. And that would be my final recommendation, once the planning is over, hand the day over to a wedding coordinator, or make it easy on yourself and give full control to wedding planner, if possible, and just be as present on that day as you can, and ensure you eat your food and desserts. I’m grateful we made a point to do that because it is easy to entertain and forget to eat. But ultimately make the day about you, do not try to worry about everyones feelings because it will drive you insane, trust me. In the end you will have a beautiful wedding day, no matter what!