You get engaged, and it’s all sunshine and Instagram likes for a few weeks. Then the terror will set in when you realize you’ve just become a one-woman party-planning committee for what will amount to a sh*t show in a nice venue with fancy clothes. Unless you’re planning on hiring someone to do the dirty work and heavy lifting for you, the majority of wedding planning—from dress to shoes to flowers to photographers to food—will be on you, sweetie. While, yes, parts of it can be totally super fun, there are a lot of dark things that’ll come out during this time. Here are a few things nobody tells you about wedding planning.
1. The Groom Really Won’t Care And, If He Does, You’ll Be Annoyed
At first, he’ll be all, “Baby, I wanna be an involved groom.” That’ll die off after about three months. Especially once you start asking him what he wants the boutonnieres to look like or what color napkins you should have for cocktail hour. You may also start pulling decision-making away from him after you ask him to choose groomsmen gifts and he decides he wants to buy the tuxes for each of his eight dudes and maybe throw some knives in for good measure. Or when you tell him to pick things out for the registry and you see he chose four different shovels, a drum set, and a lawnmower.
2. You Will Stop Caring, Then Start Re-Caring
You’ll probably hit this point during the font-picking process for your invitations. Or maybe during the centerpiece discussion. It doesn’t matter. You’ll have a moment where you’re all, “OH MY GOD IT’S JUST A BIG PARTY—WHO F*CKING CARES” and you’ll stop planning until you get 18 emails about flowers and payments then you have to jump back in.
3. Planning Blows Regardless Of Wedding Size
Whether you’re gearing up for a hipster Mecca at the local IPA factory or a Princess Diana themed affair in a cathedral, you’re still planning it. There will still be seating arrangements to configure, flowers to choose, timelines to create, and arguments over shoes. So don’t think that just because you’re planning a small garden party afternoon affair that you’ll have less to do than the b*tch that wants a 500-person shindig at the local country club. The suckiness of wedding planning does not discriminate, and is equally sh*tty for everyone. I guess that’s comforting?
4. You Will Cry
You may tear up over napkin colors. It may be when you realize you can’t afford the $30k flower bridge option. It could be when Daddy puts the kibosh on a 6-hour open bar, which, rude. Doesn’t matter—prepare to cry. A lot. Sometimes over nothing.
5. Everyone Will Have An Opinion
I think I was two months into planning when two close family members ganged up on me about how I was wearing my hair and makeup. “Why would you pay for makeup? My girls didn’t and it was fine. It won’t look like you.” “Don’t wear your hair down—it’ll be tacky and weird.” “You don’t need a veil.” “You’re spending too much money on an up-do.” “Buffets are gross.” “Can we have top-shelf vodka?” “I’m not coming if it’s not an open bar.” “Why didn’t you put dishes on your registry?” “I don’t want to wear that color dress.” You’ll have a meltdown and will likely give in to at least some of the critiques. Or you’ll cry-scream at your mom and get drunk alone while sobbing through Pinterest pages because no one understands your vision. Speaking hypothetically of course…
6. You Can’t Escape, Even In Your Dreams
Prepare to wake up in a cold sweat after dreaming that either no one came to your wedding or all the flowers were carnations or that your bridesmaids wore the wrong shoes (after you explicitly told them where to buy the ones you wanted them to wear) or that your photographer forgot to take pictures. I speak from experience. This sh*t will consume you.
7. Adios, Money
Unless mommy and daddy are footing the entire wedding bill, chances are you’ll be paying for sh*t right up until the “I do’s.” Even if your parents are paying for the venue and wedding itself, you’ll probably end up buying bridesmaid gifts, last-minute umbrellas (don’t get me started), shoes, honeymoon outfits, favors, etc. After the wedding, though, you’ll be like, “OMG, where’d all this cash come from?” so that’s something.
8. Music Is A Nightmare
First, you’ll go back and forth over band vs. DJ (really, whether you want a wedding singer trying to hit the big times when their rendition of “FAME” or a cheese d*ck DJ from Long Island called DJ Spinzz whose go-to line is “ALRIGHT PARTY PEOPLE”). Once that’s settled, prepare for the discussions about the ceremony music and cocktail hour music. Will there be violins during the actual nuptials? How about a booming pipe organ because there’s no other f*cking option in the cathedral? Oh, then prepare for your parents to try and “help” by creating the playlist for cocktail hour because, like “well you’re not even going to be here for it” and then having to gently explain to them that two hours of show tunes and Bruce Springsteen are not the atmosphere you’re going for.
9. Things Will Go Wrong
…and you won’t care. Honestly, on your wedding day, your limo driver may make a wrong turn after you told him EXACTLY where you wanted pictures done. Your florist may show up way too early with flowers. Your bridesmaid’s dress may rip right down the back during pictures. Someone could throw up on the floor at your venue. All these things happened at my wedding, and I didn’t care. You’ll be so caught up in the whirlwind of the day that little sh*t won’t matter.
10. You Won’t Know How To Spend Your Time Afterwards
Once the day has passed and the planning is over, you literally won’t know what to do with all your free time. You may even feel kind of sad that you don’t have dresses and flowers and open bars taking up all your time anymore. We suggest yoga and day drinking.Images: Sweet Cream Photography / Unsplash; Giphy (5)
Oh god. Here we are again with tips and tricks on how to cut costs on your wedding and have it not be a precursor to your poverty. If you want things in life like the down payment on a house or a honeymoon that isn’t at a cheap resort in Mexico that serves tainted alcohol, you’re going to need to chill on some wedding day stuff. Everything from food to flowers to photographers costs a lot of money, and you need to prioritize where it’s cool to pay a couple thousand and where it’s like, uncool. Maybe none of this applies because Mommy and Daddy are footing the bill, but, like, maybe they aren’t. Or maybe you’ll piss them off so much that you’ll be paying for it yourself.
In any case, here are a few ways to cut costs on your wedding.
1. Chill On Your Dress
Do you honestly need the custom designer Oscar De La Renta dress for your wedding day? Yes, it’d be nice to have, and yes, everyone would be super jealous (especially your cousin who literally always tries to one-up you). However, at the end of it all, is it necessary to spend more than $5k on a dress you’re going to wear once? There are millions of beautiful dresses below the $5k point, many in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. If you NEED the designer dress, check the sale racks or shop sample sizes if you’re #blessed enough to be a size zero or two.
2. Don’t Use A Florist
Flowers are going to kill your budget. All of your flowers are going to die three days or less after your reception. I’ve heard of people quoted $30k on flowers (she wanted an entire altar made of roses, but that’s neither here nor there). Knowing these cold hard facts, go ahead and get your bridal bouquet and potentially bridesmaids bouquets from a florist. But when it comes to decorating cocktail hour serving areas or adorning tables in the reception hall, go for dried arrangements of lavender, baby’s breath, and eucalyptus from your local Michael’s (I know you have a coupon) or mixed floral bouquets from spots like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Grocers have fresh flowers delivered on the reg and will prevent you spending a metric f*ck ton of money on the same effect you’re getting from the florist. If you put gas station roses on a table, chances are your guests will be too drunk to realize you spent $12 instead of $100.
3. Stock Your Own Booze
Although some of us (me) think it’s tacky, soon-to-be-wedded couples sometimes do a “stock the bar” party instead of a bridal or wedding shower. The object is to guilt guests into buying all the booze for your event so that you aren’t forced to pay a couple thousand dollars for an all-night open bar. You could also slowly buy nice bottles of top shelf liquor and use that, depending on the size of the wedding. The moral of the story is that having an open bar with a bartender with top shelf liquor at a venue is often extremely expensive. So, if you’re able to at least stock the bar with your own beer, wine, and liquor to offset some costs, go for it.
4. Limit The Guests
I know your mom is dying to invite your third cousin twice removed, but if you want to count pennies for this shindig, limit the guest list. Every person you invite is going to cost you between $50-100 depending on the size of the wedding. Once you think of everyone as a dollar sign—dollars that could be spent on wine during your honeymoon—you’ll stop feeling so obliged to have them sit through your special day.
5. Buy Used
Check out Etsy, Craigslist, weird garage sales, flea markets, etc. for wedding decor like lanterns, tea lights, vases, etc. Chances are, you’re going to find little corner-filling items for a lot cheaper (and in probs fine condition) by perusing used items versus going to a planner and having them source stuff for you.
6. Nix The Programs
You know what costs money? Printing programs. I printed 160 programs for my wedding which hosted a guest list of 150. I still have about 100 said programs laying in a v sad, handwritten book basket in my office. If you want everyone to know the correct Psalm number with which your reading coincides, get a giant, adorable chalkboard, frame it nicely, and have someone with lovely handwriting get to work.
7. Don’t Bother With Favors
Save your money. You just gave these ungrateful plebs an all-you-can-eat buffet and free booze. They don’t need a personalized tea light or Mason jar of local honey that they’ll forget about and leave in their car. It may add up to just a couple hundred bucks, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to buy house wares like that margarita machine, amirite?
8. Go Buffet
When it comes to food, obviously, a plated dinner is nicer, fancier, and classier. However, if you really want two weeks in Corsica after the wedding, opt for a family style meal or buffet which is almost always cheaper (don’t @ me). People can eat as much or as little as they want (less food waste which is like, v planet-friendly), go up as much as they want, and you can have an assortment of mains and sides.
All these tips AND MORE can help you save thousands of dollars on your big, giant, one day party. Remember that when you’re drowning in invites and custom napkin colors and your bridesmaids refusing to wear pink: it’s a big party. What matters is the person waiting for you at the end of the night; the person you can pass out and throw up on this night and every night for the rest of your life.
Images: Anne Edgar / Unsplash; Giphy (3)