11 Wedding Planning Lessons I Learned (Part 1)

More of our wedding photos will be available soon on Flicker and Facebook.

More of our wedding photos will be available soon on Flicker and my Facebook page. In fact, check out my Facebook page for more photos now. (Photo by Kassey Finney)

Ah, it’s good to be home, even though I terribly miss the clear, calm Grecian beaches, the lack of clocks, and the looping of various techno songs and club music. I’ve had Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” in my head ever since I’ve been back. (Funny side note: I totally thought she was saying “but-her-face” the first few times I heard it, which would have made the song way better.)

I have plenty more to share on our stellar “Greek Island Hopping” honeymoon, but first I have to share about our wedding. The completion of our wedding and honeymoon marks the beginning of a new era for us and allows me to check off two of my major goals for 2009:

  • We fully enjoyed our once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon, and enjoyed the process of making it happen. (Allow me to be very clear that there were numerous moments when I was anything but enjoying the process of making it happen, as you’ll see.)
  • We successfully paid for our wedding and honeymoon. Yes, we had some help for which we are extremely grateful, but by and large, we financed the wedding ourselves, and we only had to put $3,000 on our credit cards. As for the honeymoon, most of that was paid for through unbelievably generous gifts from our friends and family, and we paid for the rest. We had a honeymoon registry set up through AAA by my sister-in-law who is a travel agent there. I highly, highly recommend this for couples who already live together and have pretty much all they need before they get married.

I apologize for the long lag in posts, but I had no idea I would be so consumed with last-minute wedding planning. That’s just one of many lessons I learned while planning our wedding:

  1. No matter how much you plan in advance, the last couple weeks before your wedding are hell.
  2. We had all the major pieces in place months in advance. Yet somehow, an avalanche of details buried us in the last month before the wedding.

    The key is that so many things are contingent upon your guest list, and your guest list isn’t finalized until about a month before your wedding. You can’t create ceremony programs, pay vendors, or buy favors, etc., until you have the final count.

    Even after those items are taken care of, we still had to create and assemble the playlists for our DJ, buy our groomsmen’s and bridesmaids’ gifts, buy the favors, get all the groomsmen’s measurements, schedule and attend dress fittings (speaking of which, I had five, which I’m pretty sure is not normal, but my lady was foreign and we had a lot of communication barriers apparently), create the gift packages for the out-of-towners, write our vows, create a wedding day schedule of who does what, where, and when … the list seemed never-ending.

    Oh, and remember that we were taking on all these tasks while working our full-time jobs. Not only did we have to do our regular jobs, but in the last couple of weeks, we had to put in extra time to ensure that everything was covered while we were gone on the honeymoon after the wedding. So on top of the wedding stress, there was job stress. It seemed like every minute of our waking hours was devoted to the wedding or work. 

    I admit that I especially started to freak in the last three weeks because I was pushing us to have almost everything finished one week ahead of time because a lot of our friends and family came into town then. I wanted to have that week to actually enjoy their company and not be running more wedding errands.

    That was definitely the most stressed I’ve ever been. I had no idea I could cycle through so many moods so quickly. You have to remember though that this was an event that we had been envisioning, planning for, and saving toward for almost two years. Add to all the work and sacrifice I (we) put in, I’m used to having my name associated with my work. Naturally, I felt (unnecessarily created for myself) a ridiculous amount of pressure.

  3. People will say or do the wrong thing sometimes. Don’t get offended.
  4. I had a couple of friends or family members along the wedding planning process who said things that really hurt me or offended me. I’m being vague on purpose: It doesn’t matter what they said, or did, the point is that since I viewed the wedding as a sort of extension of myself, I took a lot of their actions or comments to heart.

    Now that I’m out of it, I can see that no one ever meant to upset, worry or stress me out, they were just expressing their own opinions, questions and concerns. It may not seem like it, but almost all of the comments and behaviors you’ll witness are coming from a place of love.

    Of course, you may also just have those one of two Joy-kill Judy’s – people who are impossible to please and who are only happy when they’re complaining about something. Just laugh it off; see them for how absurd they are.

  5. You will go over-budget.
  6. While it’s true we actually managed to stick to our budget more or less, it’s mainly because we had a much smaller guest list than we anticipated. We had planned for roughly 140 guests, but ended up with 82. (Keep in mind, we put the guest list together almost two years ago, and look how fast the economy sank in that time. Nothing quite like a depression-era wedding!) If all those guests had come, well … we would have made adjustments to our budget.

    It’s the small stuff that gets you. In the last week or two before the wedding, we racked up more than $1,000 as if it was Monopoly money. It came from the interior decorations, the wedding dress undergarments, the marriage license fees, the hair and make-up trial appointments, the real appointments, eating meals out because we didn’t have time to cook, having the apartment cleaned before our guests arrived, getting camera film, and I’ll admit it, I treated myself to a new outfit for the rehearsal dinner/beach barbecue.

    Important totally-worth-the-money note: Having a cleaning service come and spotlessly clean our whole apartment the weekend before our guests arrived was 100% worth the expense. I was so glad I had the foresight to know we would be way too swamped with the last-minute stuff to give our apartment the kind of thorough scrub-down it needed.

    I highly recommend adding this into your budget.

    So remember to set aside at least an extra $1,000 for “miscellaneous.” I know, I know, it sounds awful and it makes you cringe, but hey, if you don’t use it, you can put it right back into savings or toward honeymoon spending money. Oh, and speaking of extra money, remember to factor in gratuities (to the caterer, hair appointments, transportation, etc) – those can be big extras that are easy to forget.

  7. You will be oblivious to the details on your wedding day.
  8. Many people were late to the ceremony.

    I didn’t notice.

    I had one friend who was in the hospital the day of my wedding for a kidney infection and missed the ceremony but was there for dinner with her hospital bracelet still on her wrist.

    I didn’t see it or notice she seemed unusually tired.

    I had another friend who had a champagne bottle shatter on the ground, bounce up and slice her calf. She probably should have had stitches. Her leg had multiple skin-colored bandages all over it.

    I never knew it happened or saw the bandages.

    I probably would have never known any of these things unless people had told me later.

  9. You will be more nervous than you ever imagined.
  10. I knew I’d be nervous on my “big day,” but I never thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep and would feel ready to vomit at a moment’s notice.I wasn’t nervous about marriage itself; I was dreading the ceremony.To me the ceremony was the biggest of all performances, and I detest performances. I played piano for 15 years and competed in at least four recitals or competitions a year, and I loathed every last one of them. I would get nauseous, be sweaty, have shaky hands, and a racing heartbeat.The stress I felt the night before and the day of was like the culmination of all those piano recitals. I really thought I was going to vomit at any second. I was so bad that one of my bridesmaids offered me a Xanax that she was prescribed for when she flies because being on planes practically gives her a full-blown panic attack. The prescribed dose is two pills, but I only took one. I even took one half at a time because I’d never had it before, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t allergic or anything. So after the Xanax and some champagne while getting ready, I felt much, much better.And once I got to the venue and saw just how small the ceremony was by looking at the chairs, I felt so stupid for being so nervous.

    Really, it’s the anticipation that plays tricks on your mind. Rein it in by whatever means necessary, just don’t pull a “Sixteen Candles.”     

    To be continued …

Goals Update:

Again, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate us on such an awesome job well-done.

  • We rocked out an amazing wedding. (We couldn’t have done it without the help of our wonderful family and friends though!)
  • We had a phenomenal honeymoon.
  • We stuck to our wedding budget.

Tomorrow’s 3 Most Important Things:

  • Exercise.
  • Continue this post.
  • Write a thank-you note.

My Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Financial Goals, Goals, Happiness Goals, Life Lessons, Relationship Goals, Stress Management Goals, Wedding Goals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 11 Wedding Planning Lessons I Learned (Part 1)

  1. YAY! I’m so glad to see you’re back! Looking forward to more pictures and more tales of the wedding and honeymoon.

  2. Timory Wilson says:

    Yes! The wedding and reception were phenomenal! I was so proud of you and Adam! 🙂

    It’s nice to have you back!

  3. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks — and thank you so much for such beautiful interior decorations! We totally couldn’t have done it without your help!

  4. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Oh, don’t you worry — there is plenty more wedding and honeymoon info to come!

  5. Crys says:

    I had so much fun at your wedding. You can add me to your list of friends that had ailments but attended your wedding. I felt like an ass because my vision was all messed up and smudged and I wasn’t really able to function as well or participate as I would have liked. And thank you for sharing your details and experience wedding planning, lord knows I’ll be there sooner than I think. Ha ha. And welcome back home! I can’t wait to see photos from your honeymoon!

  6. kadee84 says:

    You never cease to amaze me.. Congrats on ALL of your success. You’ve definately earned it! (And deserve it 🙂

  7. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Aw, thank you! Now it’s your turn to buckle down and get to business! I want to see your blog updates!

  8. Pingback: Things to do planning a wedding in the last week- part 2 | Wedding Planner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s