Your first college party is an exciting and slightly terrifying experience. Your imagination has probably run wild with what to expect based on what you’ve seen in movies, TV shows, and stories from graduates from your high school who are somehow always still hanging around your basement kickbacks (can you say peaked?). You may be expecting to be in a mansion of a frat house that’s decked out with Euphoria style lighting and decor, but allow me to set the record straight. This will tell you what’s true, what’s overhyped, and what’s just flat-out not gonna happen so you don’t get your precious party dreams crushed.
Expectation: The pregame will be a fun and exciting way to meet new people. You’ll play drinking games, listen to some good music, and take a few too many shots with the girl you just met who is now your new bestie. You’ll have incredible conversations about what you’re excited about in college and exchange numbers with all the new people you just like, click with.
Reality: It’s a complete and total f*cking nightmare unless you’re appropriately buzzed. “Old Town Road” has been played 10 times just in the one hour you’ve been there, someone’s standing on the coffee table trying to teach everyone their favorite TikTok dances, and the punch you paid $10 for tastes like it has maybe one shot in the entire bowl. Your night will go one of two ways: you’ll black out and never make it to the party or you’ll roll up completely sober. Choose wisely.
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Expectation: You look perfect the whole night. The time you spent tearing apart your closet to decide which black top among a sea of black tops you were going to wear, redoing your eyeliner a hundred times, and starting to get ready two hours early to give your hair the perfect beach waves has all paid off. No amount of humidity or dancing could possibly destroy your Insta-worthy look.
Reality: Five minutes after you get to the party, you catch your reflection and your look’s already gone to sh*t. Your makeup has melted and your hair, which was once as sleek and smooth as an influencer’s Facetuned skin, is now a mile high with frizz and chucked up into a messy bun. Oh, and someone spilled their drink on you the moment you stepped in the door. Thankfully you were too drunk to notice. To top it all off, by the end of the night your shoes got destroyed and you lost your jacket, but hey, at least you took pics before you left!
The Actual Party
Expectation: You’ll spend the night dropping it low with your friends while scream-singing your favorite songs, impress everyone with how unexpectedly good at beer pong you are, and miraculously wake up without a hangover despite out-drinking everyone else. You’ll be the undeniable life of the party and your plan to totally kill it at this ~college thing~ will go off without a hitch.
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Reality: You’re going to spend more time trying to find a bathroom that isn’t totally disgusting to pee in and looking for your friends who somehow disappear every five minutes than you will socializing and dancing. After a while you’ll settle on peeing outside and accept that you’re friends are probably dead now, but honestly, the three minutes you’ll lose your sh*t while “Stacy’s Mom” is on are totally worth it.
Expectation: You’re going to meet the love of your life. You spot each other across the room the moment you walk in and he somehow only has eyes for you. The crowd parts as you move in slow motion to meet each other. The music playing in the background somehow matches the moment perfectly. Everything is so perfect, it’s almost as if it was cut together by the editors of The Bachelor.
Reality: You spend almost an hour on the porch talking to some dude wearing a half-buttoned Hawaiian shirt (disgusting, but he’s the best-looking one there). You’ll probably get his number and save it under something like “frat guy Hawaiian shirt,” make out a little, but he’ll ultimately end the conversation by being pulled away by one of his frat bros to go play Edward Fortyhands.
The End of the Night
Expectation: Your night will end with a legendary story. Maybe you’ll climb to the roof of your lecture hall, break into the basketball court at 2am, meet someone famous (you know, if you don’t go to school in a cow town), or literally do anything that will make your friends who decided to stay in jealous as f*ck.
Reality: By the time the party gets shut down, you’ll be too exhausted to even take off your makeup, much less go anywhere other than straight to bed. The only logical way to end your night is by debating whether or not a $4.99 delivery charge is truly worth getting greasy food sent to your room, to which the answer is always yes. You’ll spend about six minutes scarfing down an entire pizza and TBH, in that moment you won’t be able to think of anything more satisfying.
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Granted, there may be a few schools out there where the parties are genuinely incredible and meet your expectations, but I’ve yet to experience that. Whether you’re a freshman going strictly to frat houses, or a senior who frequents the bar and experiences the occasional frat relapse (no shade, we’ve all been there), odds are, the only stories you have from your nights out are about your friend throwing up in your Uber, how you made a total ass of yourself in front of the guy you’ve been talking to, or, my personal favorite, you won’t have any stories at all because you went too hard and can’t remember a thing. Better luck next year!
Images: Aditya Chinchure / Unsplash; dietstartstomorrow, off campus (2), betches / Instagram
Wedding planning isn’t all puppies, gumdrops, and sunshine—which, if you’re engaged, you’ve definitely figured out by now. (BTW, if it is all that stuff for you, we hate you.) While you may feel like you’re ready to jump off the proverbial cliff you’re standing on, back away. We’re here to let you it’s OKAY if your wedding doesn’t turn out just like your Pinterest board.
Expectation: I’m super financially savvy, there’s no way I’ll go over my $20K budget.
Reality: $20K is like $100 in wedding money.
Creating a wedding budget is arguably a greater challenge than climbing Mt. Everest (don’t @ me unless you’ve done both), especially because everything, literally everything is way more expensive than you think. Unless you’re an Instagram influencer and have wedding vendors banging down your door to do anything you want in exchange for some free publicity, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. Start off by picking three things that are the most important to you and your S.O. when it comes to your wedding. Committed to having a killer band? A bar stocked with premium liquor? Whatever your top three things are, that’s where the bulk of your budget should go. We’re not saying you should blow all your money in one place—you don’t want your guests eating off of paper plates—but you’re basically writing yourself a permission slip to splurge in areas you care about most. If you’re lucky enough to have a family member helping out (#jealous), it’s important to have an honest conversation with anyone who may be contributing financially. Ask them for a number they feel comfortable giving you, and go from there. Trust us, it’s a much better solution than winging it.
Expectation: I mean, how hard can handwritten escort cards be?
Reality: LOL it looks like my 5-year-old cousin wrote these.
You don’t need to spend big $$$ on a calligrapher that’s way out of your budget. Etsy is filled with plenty of talented artists who will gladly do your escort cards (and signs and table numbers) for much less than what a professional calligrapher would cost.
Expectation: I’ll do mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses so everyone can pick a dress that works best with their skin tone.
Reality: WHY DON’T ANY OF THESE BLUES BLEND TOGETHER?? F*ck it, they’re wearing black.
Pinterest is a gold mine for gorgeous mix-and-match bridesmaid parties. The problem? Half the time you have no idea where the dresses came from, or if you do know, they’re a bajillion dollars and you don’t want your bridesmaids choosing between dinner and a dress just so you can have the perfect mix of slate and navy on your wedding day. If you’re doing a mix-and-match look, try to stick to one designer. A lot of times colors and fabrics from different designers don’t look so great next to each other. Select a designer you like that works with your price range and ask them for examples of weddings that took a mix-and-match approach, that way you can get inspo from an image knowing the look is actually achievable.
Me and all my friends at the bridal store: but do you have it in black?
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) August 20, 2019
Expectation: This whole wedding planning thing will bring me and my mom closer together.
Reality: At this point she’ll be lucky if she’s even invited.
Drink every time your mom says “Well at my wedding…” and you’ll be hammered before noon. The best approach to getting mom to agree with the items you want is to explain why they’re important to you. Make her understand why you need grilled cheese as your late-night snack instead of demanding it. Also, keep in mind, if she’s footing the bill, she has just as much of a say.
Expectation: I don’t need a wedding planner; how hard can vendor coordinating be?
Reality: SOS. I haven’t heard from my florist in over a week, my caterer emailed me the wrong menu, and our invitations got delivered to the wrong address.
The idea that wedding planners are a waste of money is the wedding industry’s biggest myth. Planners actually help you save money and keep you on budget. They know all the right vendors and will become your best friend during the wedding planning process. Plus, they’ll be a good buffer between you and your mom.
Expectation: Wedding diet starts tomorrow.
Reality: Wedding diet never begins.
Crash dieting for your wedding is not the right approach. Come up with a plan that allows you to get in shape but still enjoy champagne and pizza. You don’t have to drop 20 pounds to look gorg in a wedding dress. Your fiancé loves you just the way you are, so you should love yourself too!
Expectation: I know exactly what kind of wedding dress I’m getting.
Reality: How many outfit changes can I have? They’re all so beautiful, don’t make me choose!
Want two dresses but don’t have the budget? A lot of designers are making convertible wedding gowns that come with an overskirt you can remove for the reception or a bolero you can take off after the ceremony. There are dozens of ways to transform from “I dos” to dancing shoes without spending a fortune.
Them: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done while planning your wedding? Me: I agreed to pay the band $200 extra to have someone play a 2 minute sax solo during the ceremony
— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) July 26, 2019
Expectation: I don’t want to blow all my money on the wedding, we still have to pay for the honeymoon!
Reality: Guess the closest thing we’ll get to a honeymoon is laying out in our backyard.
As soon as you get engaged, start setting money aside! If you have a year-long engagement, you’re sure to rack up some cash by the time you get married. You can also delay your honeymoon so you have time to save or enjoy a long engagement so you get everything you want without going broke.
Expectation: I’m definitely inviting my coworkers, high school friends, college friends, and extended family. It’s a party, after all.
Reality: Eloping sounds ideal right about now.
Remember, the easiest way to slash your budget is to cut the guest list. Does your great-aunt twice-removed really need an invite? Be realistic about your list. Less people doesn’t equal less fun.
Expectation: I’m not going to be a bridezilla.
Reality: THIS IS MY DAY, PEOPLE. DON’T YOU GET THAT?
It might be hard to believe, but when you get engaged the world DOES NOT revolve around you (sorry to break it to you). You’re engaged, not the queen of the world, so please for the love of God, keep yourself in check.
Expectation: I’m not going to overdo it with Pinterest ideas.
Reality: I need wooden signage, sparkly tablecloths, vintage furniture, burlap banners….
There’s nothing worse than a wedding that looks like Pinterest threw up on it. Stick to one aesthetic and commit to it. There’s no reason you need every single DIY project you’ve ever attempted at the reception.
Expectation: I’m not going to register for boring stuff
Reality: How many mixing bowls are too many mixing bowls?
Totally normal to get excited about new kitchen utensils, it’s part of #adulting. And let’s be real, is there a better feeling than a new Keurig arriving at your door?
Is it frowned upon to put “pay student loans” on the wedding registry? #weddingplanning
— Cathy Rose (@Cathy_Rose) August 15, 2019
Expectation: I’m not going to be one of those brides who forgets to eat on their wedding day.
Reality: There was food there?
EAT. Whether you take 15 minutes right after you exchange vows to shovel down some food or you greet everyone right after you tie the knot so you can enjoy the dinner part of the reception, you can’t function only on champagne all night (I mean you can, but don’t you want to enjoy the food you picked out?).
Expectation: I’m going to soak in every moment of the day to make it last longer.
Reality: It’s over already?!
There’s nothing worse than the band or DJ announcing it’s the last song. Make sure it’s one you both love so you can go out on a high note.
Expectation: I’m going to be so happy once the wedding’s over.
Reality: *cries self to sleep every night*
PTWD (post-traumatic wedding disorder) is a real epidemic that thousands of couples suffer from every year. Luckily, you’ll have photos, videos, and memories to last a lifetime. Plus, you can upload a new photo from your album every Thursday until the end of time.
Images: Devon Divine / Unsplash; betchesbrides, disco_infern0, Cathy_rose, nicpellegrino / Twitter