The Truth Hurts

Wedding Planning + Side Hustle or Hobby = Wedding Planning Bliss

clark-tibbs-367075-unsplash.jpg

Bridey, did you read the title and have a mini panic attack? Did you read the title and think, “isn’t this the same person who wrote, Why Planning Your Wedding Actually IS a Full Time Job!”? Did you read the title and think, “That bitch is crazy! How can I possibly add one more thing to all of my things?!!”? Trust me, when I wrote the title of this post, I realized that I was going to have a whole lot of explaining to do! But, here’s the actual thing, we get through the shit we don’t particularly enjoy so that we can move on to the shit we really do enjoy. Right? It doesn’t matter what “it” is, because the truth is, we all need motivation to get through the hard parts of life. So, we dangle the carrot of joy in front of our eager belly when we need a push, when we need a kick in the ass, when we need to finish whatever the fuck is weighing us down so that we can focus on what truly makes us happy. And, a lot of the time? It’s the shit we do on the side... It’s our side hustle or our hobby that becomes our “temple”.

So, bridey, time to get a hobby. Get a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side (obviously in the non-cheating sense of that phrase!!). Go do something that brings you joy; that makes you happy. For some of you, that may mean making some extra cash to put towards the wedding or an over-the-top wedding dress or some extravagance related to the wedding, and for others it’s truly just for fun; an escape from the planning which will allow you to separate yourself from the stress. But, whatever the case may be, go get your hustle/hobby on. It’ll save you... from YOU. But, no matter what your hustle/hobby is, bridey, dive in. Go crazy. Let go. Allow it to seep into your soul.

When I was discussing this hustle/hobby mission of mine with one of my friends, she asked, “So, what would I do? What would your hobby be?”. And after some serious consideration, the last bite of dessert and a swig of my cocktail, I told her that if I were in the midst of wedding planning (my own wedding, not yours), I’d take a class. Something I really look forward to; something scheduled. A class like martial arts or cooking; something that built on what I had learned the previous week so that making excuses for missing my new hobby would be uncomfortable. In my early 20s, I went to culinary school to become a pastry chef (see the extremely large pic of me below in cake class), and while I completed the program, I didn’t pursue the dream (because it became clear to me that I belonged in the front-of-the-house, engaging with people, not chatting in the back-of-the-house where my colleagues simply tolerated my enthusiasm), and my skills are super rusty. I’d love to take a cake decorating class, and update my skill because when I’m in the kitchen, I’m at peace, I’m focused on what I’m doing, and the noise of the rest of the world is quiet. 

 Yeah, I made that cake, and those amazing white chocolate flowers!!

Yeah, I made that cake, and those amazing white chocolate flowers!!

That brings us back to you, bridey. What are you going to do to quiet the wedding planning noise? To be at peace? To make a little extra money? To learn something new? The options are pretty endless, seriously, just Google it, and you can see for yourself. The thing is, it has to excite you not stress you. The whole point of this is to escape, not to bring on additional stress. So, go… Get a hobby. Go hustle. Go be happy. I’m giving you permission to enjoy your life while planning your wedding… Got it? Good! Then stay Bitchless! 

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

When Quitting Your Wedding Feels Like the Only Option, and How to Persevere

johnson-wang-515995-unsplash.jpg

“You’ve come too far to quit.” she said. “Push yourself!” she screamed into the mic attached to her headpiece. I was in spin class and wanted to fucking die. My whole body was sore from boot camp the day before, and my legs felt like noodles. Plus, it didn’t help that we were doing all sorts of fancy moves like pushups, side to sides, etc., ON THE BIKE, and I felt like a total jackass, because coordination is definitely not one of my strong suits. I was completely flailing. I had nothing left to give; nothing left in my body, and all I wanted to do is get the fuck out of there. But, something clicked when she uttered those words into that headpiece. Something made me continue to move my ass even though I didn’t think my muscles would listen to my brain. And, so I did. And I didn’t quit. I persevered, and I pushed myself even though I thought I couldn’t get it done.

You know how I did it, bridey? I went at my own pace. Because she was right, I had come too far to quit. So, I slowed down just enough to feel my heart settle back into my chest, and did the best I could with the fancy shit (although, I do have a bruise on my collar bone…hmmmmm). The point is, that you’re 100% going to feel like quitting one or more times during your wedding planning. It’s overwhelming. It’s stressful. It sucks sometimes. It’s not always what you expected it to be. But, don’t quit. You’ve come too far to quit! Don’t screw up everything you’ve already accomplished because you’ll only make it worse for yourself when you come back to it. Just slow down. Take a breather and let your heart settle back into your chest. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Breathing. Breathing is key.

I find myself saying that a lot these days. “Breathe. Take a breath.” Bridey, we’ve all become so programmed to GO! GO! GO! that so often, we forget to breathe while we race to the altar. And, frankly? That’s bullshit. I don’t care if your wedding is tomorrow or next year. Go at your own pace. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to the pressure of feeling like you have to accomplish everything immediately. Don’t put that kind of stress on yourself. It’s you versus you, not you versus every other bride getting married with better Instagram photos or a juicer Pinterest page. Fuck that noise! Appreciate the things you like, and then move on.

So what are you supposed to do if you’re having trouble getting over the wedding planning hump? Change your perspective; see it from an outside view. And, go long… What would your future married self tell your current engaged self as you struggle with this particular piece of your wedding planning? She’d tell you that, no matter what, you’re still going to marry to your sig other, and to take a break. Come back with a fresh set of eyes after you’ve taken some time to focus on you. Or, perhaps she’d tell you to plan your wedding out of order. The reality is that the order in which you plan your wedding is flexible. Crazy, right? Stuck on food selection? No problem. Just work on the color scheme/florals/linen instead, and come back to the food after you’ve had some time off. Can’t determine your bridal party? Worried about hurting feelings? Perhaps you shouldn’t have one… I don’t know, but what I DO know is that you’d be amazed at how easy these choices can be once you’ve given yourself permission to breathe and quiet those inner demons.

Bridey, you’ve come too far to quit. Push yourself. And maybe that means pushing yourself to a yoga retreat or girls weekend or romantic weekend, but either way, do push yourself because you WILL persevere! You can do this! 

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

Bitchless Bride’s Top 11 Wedding Day + Wedding Planning Regrets

Let’s face it, we all have things we’ve come to regret in our lives, right? Because retrospect is a powerful, powerful phenomenon, but also because we are older, and we’ve come to realize that some of the stuff we obsessed over or prioritized, were just stupid. And, we, you and me, are really the only ones who can look back at our lives, recognize our mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them, right? Sort of. While I can’t undo the losers you (and I) dated before finding your sig other, I CAN offer you some pretty compelling advice about what other brides deem as their wedding day + wedding planning regrets for you to learn from and avoid. Some regrets are serious and some are silly, but both can leave a damper on your day. Ready?

1. Don’t be a bitch! You know this is a total hot button for me, but more than that, nothing good will come from being a ‘zilla. Nobody will want to help you. Nobody will respect you. And, nobody will want to be your friend. (And, nobody will want to come to your wedding!) So just be friendly. You’ll be amazed at what good can come from simply being human. Plus, you’ll regret it. I think it’s fair to say that no matter what the situation, we always end up regretting our shitty behavior. Right?

Side note? A friend of mine shared with me that I would have “hated her ‘zilla ass” because of how she behaved while planning her wedding, and also on her wedding day. Looking back, she 100% regrets her shit behavior, not only for obvious reasons, but because when she thinks about her wedding day, memories of her bad behavior squash the good memories. Yikes! So, just don’t be a bitch!

2. I am a fancy shoe wearing whore. I love anything super high, and super fance! I love the glitz, the glitter and the glam. But, not wearing comfortable shoes on your wedding day is a mistake. Because we all know that when our feet hurt, it can truly make you feel awful. Definitely an emotion you want to avoid on your wedding day. So, what are your options? Go for lower, more comfortable shoes or bring a replacement pair for after you’ve walked down the aisle/take photographs/danced your first dance. Oh, and put them in the freezer until you wear them. I know it’s crazy, but just do it. You can thank me later!

3. I am all for saving money with talented friends or family members, but not hiring a professional to do a big job (photographer, DJ, caterer) is a huge mistake! A mistake that you will regret when you have shitty pictures, or the entertainment sucks and nobody is dancing. Bridey, call in favors for the DIY elements that are simple, and leave the big jobs to the professionals. Got it!?

4. Who’s guest list is it anyway? Who’s wedding is it? Is it yours? Or your mothers? Sorry MOBs + MOGs, but the pressure you’re putting on the bride and her sig other is bullshit. It’s upside down. This is a celebration; an expensive one. A once in a lifetime gathering of people that want to share in it’s beauty. And, it’s unfortunate and sad when there are too many of the wrong people, and not enough of the right ones. So, fuck etiquette, and listen to your soul. You know who should and shouldn’t be on that list. Take charge, bridey, and fight the good fight! And, if you can’t (because of family dynamics, money, etc.), then strategically place your tables at your reception. Have your favorite people near you, and the others further away… 

5. A long, boring, and generic ceremony. Waaaa waaaa. Those suck. Right? Plus, it’s totally possible that you will be bored too! And, there is nothing worse than being bored at your own wedding, so add some spunk. Write your own vows, have a classical guitarist/harpist/banjo player, bring your heritage to your ceremony or even somebody else’s. Just make it memorable for you and your guests!

6. This one is tricky because I know that there is some superstition around seeing each other before the wedding. But, I will share with you, bridey, that seeing your sig other before the wedding will ease the pressure of walking down the aisle and falling apart at first glance, AND will allow you to get several of your photographs taken before the ceremony so that you two can make it to your cocktail hour (see #10). Plus, staging a first look is a pretty surreal opportunity. You can feel what you are going to feel, together, without 300 eyeballs on you. Think about it…

7. Relinquishing control to the wrong hands. Remember #4? Same idea. It’s lovely that your mom, or sister, or future MIL or future SIL want to help you plan the wedding. It really is… until it’s not. Be sure that the people helping you are actually helping you, not just creating (or recreating) a day that is less about you and your sig other, and more about satisfying their own needs. Find your voice (nicely), and use it. This is your day. Your life. This day represents who you are as a couple. Not what anybody else thinks it should be.

8. Is a bridal party necessary? I don’t have the answer to this question. But, some of my brides have totally regretted the drama their bridal party brought to the planning, and to the wedding day. Sometimes, not having a bridal party is sweeter. It allows those who want to step up, step up without pressure, and with utter joy. Your friends and family will still celebrate you, but in a different kind of way. Think about it. (And, then picture the ceremony… You + Sig Other + Officiant = Pretty Awesome.)

9. Your wedding day will be the fastest day of your entire life. I’m not being dramatic, just honest. For all of the planning and money that goes into it, it totally FLYS by. So enjoy it. Love it. Savor it. Try to avoid getting wrapped up in some of the formalities + obligatory shenanigans, and instead be 100% present for every.fucking.moment because you’ll blink, and it will be over.

10. Try to talk to everybody at your wedding. I know that sometimes it’s easier said than done, but not getting a chance to talk to everybody because you spent too much time taking photographs or the guest list was to big, or because you didn’t have any time at the cocktail hour (a GREAT opportunity to chat with everybody) can leaving you feeling sad or guilty. And that that’s definitely not a lasting memory you want. So start talking!

11. I’ve mentioned this before, but your wedding day is a fabulous chance to hold hands with your sig other for the ENTIRE night. Don’t have separate evenings, bridey; not tonight. Hold that dude or girl tight and have the only time apart be when you’re indisposed. 

I hate to say it, bridey, but I could have added at least five or six more “regrets” to this list. But, I think I’ve covered the ones that seem to present themselves the most. And, like I said, while I can’t undo some of the losers you dated or that time you ran naked in the quad, I can undo these 11 regrets before you have the chance to regret them. So, you’re welcome!!! Good luck!

Photo by Dương Trí on Unsplash

Why Ditching Your Wedspectations will Create Wedding Planning Bliss

elena-koycheva-774495-unsplash.jpg

Bridey, do you have you ever have those fights in your head that never (thankfully) actualize in real life? You know what I mean… You set your internal stage for this big emotional “fight”, including (but, not limited to) each and every possible witty retort, amazingly shrewd comebacks, and “told you so” jabs, although when the real situation presents itself, all of the energy you put into this big to-do typically ends up being completely moot (totally love this word!). You have these unfounded expectations about what something will be or should be, but the truth is, you have no idea what to expect, so you automatically expect the worst. Right? We all do it. And, how many of those imaginary altercations actually happen in real life? Probably none. So, instead of being present and enjoying the present, you spent the last hour, or day or week wasting your energy on this bullshit concoction. How fucked up is that?

I hate to say it, but I see this kind of thing all the time in wedding planning. There’s this BIG expectation, this BIG feeling built up of what it should be like, or what you should be doing/feeling/experiencing, and because most of you haven’t done “it” before, the truth is, you really have NO idea what to expect. All you know is what you’ve absorbed via what I call, wedding osmosis. Wedding osmosis is the shit you’ve mentally stored away based on what you’ve seen at weddings you’ve attended, photographs you saw on Pinterest or Insta, or blogs, etc.… So, how do we adjust your reality so that you can enjoy preparing for this big event instead of building it up to be something terrifying? How can you start with a clean slate? Trust me, it’s possible, but you have to be willing to let go of your coo coo internal dialogue and start small. But, how?

Bridey, imagine entering the world of wedding planning without any preconceived notions? Zero assumptions. Clean slate, baby… What if instead of starting the process with these great expectations, you started the process with no expectations? HOLY SHIT! Could you do it?! Yaaaaassss you can! Ditching your wedspectations will create wedding planning bliss and change your experience tremendously! Because, it’s really simple. Just dare to go at your own pace. Dare to filter out the noise, and fuck the “rules”, fuck the pressure, and fuck anybody who attempts to wedding shame you about all the shit you are or are not doing. You do you. Period. By squashing your own inner beast and limiting wedding osmosis, you can take charge of your plans on your terms without going crazy, broke, insane and friendless.

There’s so much pressure for you and your sig other to get started planning at this ridiculously feverish pace, that not only will you forgo enjoying your engagement, but you won’t take the appropriate time to learn what the hell you should be doing to build a beautiful day. Hitting the ground running is one thing, but simply hitting the ground is something totally different. Baby steps will still get you to the end, and you’ll be better for it. So, take a deep breath. Take one day at a time, and ditch your expectations. I promise, you’ll be absolutely amazed at the outcome. 

Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

The Offline Wedding Challenge... Can YOU Do It??

What if you were brave enough or crazy enough or loony enough or coo coo enough to take your wedding and your wedding planning offline? Like no online anything... No online planning. No finding your wedding vendors online, no Pinterest (yikes!), no free advice (including mine, and I’d fucking miss you, but sometimes you have to let go of the people you love), nothing. I mean holy shit, how would that even work? How would you manage to plan your wedding without these tools, these helpful tips, these “things” we’ve become so dependent on? Seriously, how the fuck did our parents do it? And well? Right? But, something tells me you’d find a way, and maybe, just maybe you’d even like it.

Bridey, I realize what I am asking you to do. And, frankly, I don’t know how possible it is because we’ve all become so accustom to finding anything, and pretty much everything we need, want and don’t want with a swipe of a finger. Myself included!! So, why am I asking you to make it harder on yourself? How could I possibly ask such a HUGE “ask” of you during such a stressful time in your life? I mean, planning a wedding is hard enough, right? So much to do, so many details, so many things…

Well, I’m 100% convinced that taking your wedding offline will bring the humanity back into planning. You will have the opportunity to really connect with your vendors, your family, your friends and even your sig other. We have become so disconnected because of the ease of gathering information, that even a friendly phone call to inquire about flowers or catering or wedding cake can make you feel good about your choices; good about people in general. You’ll get a feeling that you won’t get by filling out a questionnaire online. You’ll get to FEEL. And, hopefully that feeling will be one of excitement and joy. It’s amazing what a good conversation can do for your soul.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and it was a fabulous day! I felt like a queen on FaceBook, my phone was blowing up with texts, I got some amazing presents, but my favorite part? My oldest friend, who lives across the country, called to wish me, “happy birthday”, and we chatted for over an hour. I have known her since I was six years old, and although we don’t talk often, she is somebody who will be in my life forever no matter how much time goes by… And, outside of it being a great day because it was my birthday, that phone call made me so happy. She absolutely could have texted me with birthday wishes, but actually talking? Amazing. Do I expect you to feel this kind of joy after you talk with a potential wedding venue? No, but it’s more likely that the person on the other end of the call will make you feel happy and excited about your wedding in a way that a questionnaire can’t. It’s more likely that you will make a connection on the phone instead of online. It’s more likely that you will feel joy from actually speaking with somebody about a pretty important day in your life as opposed to typing about it…

So, where do we go from here? How do we do this? Honestly? I have no fucking clue! Ask your mom! Somehow she managed to plan a wedding without Pinterest. Although, I think a great place to start is by picking up the phone and calling instead of picking up the phone and swiping, even if it’s only to one of your vendors. Or, call your friend and ask who did her gorgeous flowers instead of texting her. Allow yourself to get lost in great conversation. 

Bridey, is this whole offline wedding challenge logical? Doable? Manageable? I don’t know, but what I DO know is that taking a break from the continuous, endless web of choices might help connect you to your vendors, your family and your planning. Please, take this offline wedding challenge, and call it an opportunity to really connect instead of submit.

Has anybody taken this “old school” approach? How’d it go? Who’s willing to give it a try??

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

What's Your "Why" Behind Wedding Planning?

 For LC + NV.

For LC + NV.

My mom and one of my close friends work for a company that provides pretty amazing training and seminars for their teams around the country. And their BIG thing? The “thing” they ask to get juices flowing and bodies moving? It’s a very simple question meant to brew up some pretty big answers. The question is, “What’s your why?” What’s your dream? The thing(s) in your belly that gives you butterflies when you think about achieving it or conquering it, the thing(s) that get you excited or terrified or both, the thing(s) that keep you going... What is your motherfucking why? Well, I clearly added that last part in, but the question remains the same. And, after a few strong cocktails and fancy food, my friend asked me what my “why” was; what got my juices flowing? What scared me? What excited me?

I thought it was pretty obvious, but I told him that my “why” was to give every part of my life everything I had. Right? Or else there is no “why”! In clearer terms, my “why” is to be a fucking rockstar mother (who accidentally swears in front of her kids), a trophy wife (not the fake bullshit, but a wife who supports her hus, and at the same time makes him proud to be married to her), to bring Bitchless Bride off “paper” and onto TV (stay tuned for more on that), to bring perspective into weddings and wedding planning, and most of all, my “why” HAS GOT TO BE to enjoy my life as it’s happening. And, bridey, that was not the sauce talking, (although maaaaybe it helped me to vocalize my “why” more definitively), it was the juice mixed with some butterflies.

So, allow me to ask you the same question, but in regards to your wedding... “What’s your ‘why’ behind wedding planning?” What gets you motivated to make it all happen? To celebrate the shit out of your nuptials? What get you excited or nauseous? Why do this? Why go through the process, the planning, the pain? Because we all know it ain’t easy... So, what’s your “why”?

A few ideas about your “why” that come to my mind based upon my years of wedding planning, coaching, writing, and, ahem… preaching?

1. I think the most obvious answer is because of your intense love for your sig other. Right? And, if it’s not, then it should be! But, seriously, all of this work shouldn’t be in vain. If your sig other isn’t the driving force behind your “why” of wedding planning and oh, I don’t know, getting married, then stop what you’re doing and reevaluate. It’s better to realize this now, instead of 1.5 kids later… Truly loving your sig other will make the wedding planning SO much more bearable! IF this is your number one “why”, then congratulations, bridey, you’re in it for the right reasons!!

2. You’ve “earned” it. You love your sig other, and you’ve been to SEVERAL weddings together over the last few years, and now it’s your turn to create an event that is about you and your love. Share who you are together through your wedding. Make it memorable and awesome!

3. You’re smart. You’re smart together. You’re a smart couple who are budget savvy. You’re not going to fuck it up with overspending, drama and unrealistic expectations. Just celebrating.

4. “If I get married, I want to be very married.” Audrey Hepburn said that. Be very married, bridey. Be in it. Be content. Be courteous. Be conscientious. But, more than anything else, and as I just mentioned, enjoy your life as it’s happening… TOGETHER.

Bridey, your “why” is your truth behind wedding planning. While I’ve shared the most “popular” “why’s”, I can’t completely answer this question for you. However, I’d make pretty damn sure that I was doing it for the right reasons, and that your “why” equals that of your sig other. Got it??

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

Your Friends are Your Foundation… Love Them for Better, for Worse, for Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and Health,’Til Parted by Death

 My foundation (minus a few key players)...

My foundation (minus a few key players)...

I never had a bachelorette party. Perhaps it’s because I eloped and the party was a casualty of that decision, or maybe it’s because I didn’t want one. Either way, I’m on my back from Nashville, fifteen years after our engagement, fourteen years after we tied the knot, and about eight years after having our first child. Totally left my husband and kids to fend for themselves... Good thing my hus is perfectly capable of parenting without me. But, this wasn’t my bachelorette party, it was a weekend away with a few close friends; all of whom needed a fucking break from their current reality. All of whom have been married over ten years, lived a whole lot of life and wanted some time to play and rejuvenate.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, a bachelorette party is “a party for a woman who is going to get married, to which only her female friends are invited.” Honestly? That’s bullshit. Because, these parties should be for any and all who have dared to live and love even a little bit, married, engaged or single. You don’t have to be getting married to celebrate friendship and have some much needed time with your close girlfriends (and guy-friends too). Because with living and loving, there comes a price; a tax; a toll simply for having the balls to show up and participate, IF you actually dare to give your life everything you've got, and more. And for that kind of hustle, we should celebrate! Right? Fuck yeah! But, this trip? What I think we were really celebrating? Our friendship. Our foundation. Our fearlessness. Because when you allow somebody into your fucked up little world, and they don’t run away screaming, that’s totally grounds for celebration.

We’re celebrating the girls that get us through the day; the girls who understand our ups and downs. These are the girls who get us without strings attached and without judgement, even on our worst day (and trust me, once you get through your wedding and onto the next stage of your relationship with your sig other, you definitely don’t want anybody in your life who judges you!!). Now, ask yourself, bridey, as you prepare for your bachelorette, wedding, etc.… Are these your friends? Are these the girls (guys) you have in your life right now? Because if not, call bullshit and get rid of them. Because they will not enhance your life or your party, instead, they will suck the life out of you and your party.

I’ve touched on this previously, but it's worth mentioning again... These friends are the girls (or guys) standing with you on your wedding day. These are the girls (or guys) who have probably held your hair when you've had too much to drink. These are the girls who are wholeheartedly happy for you, and want the true you. They are happy when you are happy. They are sad when you’re sad. But, no matter what, they are there for you, and that alone is the real treat. Your wedding is only the beginning. It’s not just about you and hus, it’s about shoring up the foundations of the people who support you so that you can love in sickness and health, for better or worse... Celebrate your foundation. Don’t take it for granted and don’t stop celebrating. 

Bridey, if your marriage falls apart, your foundation will be there for you. Don’t lose it, nurture it as hard as you nurture you marriage. Got it? Good! Now, where’s that penis straw?

Image via the woman sitting in front of us at the CMA's!!

My Kinda, Sorta, Almost Weddingiversary… Why Eloping Felt Like Our Only Option

tom-the-photographer-659305-unsplash.jpg

May 22nd would have been my 14th wedding anniversary… If only we had gotten married. The plans were coming along beautifully. We put a deposit down at the venue (for you Bostonians, it was our very favorite restaurant, Michael Schlow’s, Radius), I went dress shopping with my mom, and we started to solidify our wedding vendors. So, why didn’t we get married on May 22nd? Well, my bridey drama queens, it’s definitely not what you’re thinking. There was no crazy controversy. There was no scandal or deranged lover or pregnancy, or whatever. I love the shit out of my husband; the one I was supposed to marry on May 22nd. But, I didn’t love the idea of planning my wedding. I know, I know, the wedding planner who didn’t want to plan her own wedding! Could I have “hired” one of my fellow wedding planner friends? Sure. But, that wasn’t the problem. Well, that wasn’t the only problem.

In 2012, I wrote an article for Huffington Post called, 5 Reasons Why I Eloped. And six years later, it all still holds true. Go read it, it’s quite good (if I do say so). But, the two major points of contention (which I still think about almost daily)? Family dynamics + budget. These two points are the biggies… Like, ruinyourfuckingwedding biggies. The power of family dynamics combined with the whole money thing can be brutal. So, to avoid dealing with the inevitable,  we proactively took ourselves out of the epicenter, and ran like idiots to Vegas. I know it’s not for everyone, and I know it’s not something everyone can do without some serious repercussions. But, in the spirit of staying true to ourselves, eloping felt like our only option.

I’m not gonna lie, there were some pissed off people upon our return and celebratory announcement. But, looking back, I still feel like we dodged a bullet. I still feel like we “won” somehow. We have a day that was truly for us, and only us. But, the most important lesson here, bridey? Do what’s best for you. That’s been my motto lately; as a wedding planner/writer and personally. Your best interests lie within you. Listen to them. Does that give you license so be a selfish asshole? No, but it does give you permission to stay true to yourself and your sig other. Filter out the noise, and listen to your inner voice of reason. You get one fucking day, bridey. ONE. Use it wisely… Which leads me to my other major point. Budget.

Oh the budget…. The fucking budget. The collapse of all things based in reality. I could go on and on, and I have. But, here’s the thing, and the “thing” is pretty basic. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. And, even if you can, think about your financial goals after your wedding. It seems far away now, but I can afford my life now because I didn’t fuck it up then and spend all of my/our money on a wedding. Even if it’s not your money, have some respect for whomever’s money it is. Don’t buy just to buy. Prioritize your needs and wants and go from there. You definitely don’t want your benefactor(s) (ahem... usually your parents) to harbor any resentment because you took advantage of their generosity.

May 22nd will always have a special place in my heart as my kinda, sorta, almost weddingiversary. But, it also reminds me of how I (we) stayed true to what we wanted, and didn’t go for broke in the process. You should try it, bridey!

Photo by Tom The Photographer

Reboot! ~ Feeling Out of Control, Bridey? How to Climb Back Up the Downward Wedding Spiral of Despair…

It's really easy to lose yourself and your self control while planning your wedding. Actually, it's really easy to lose yourself in any large and somewhat daunting project. Right? I mean it starts innocently enough, but then it all seems to add up and up and up, and usually all at the same time. The big picture begins to feel really fucking big and unsurmountable. And wedding planning? On top of all of the other shit you have going on? Feels brutal and unforgiving. The endless details, the myriad of friends and family members offering their advice and suggestions, the constant changes and moving parts! OH MY!!! There seriously isn't enough Xanax in the world to calm your ass down! But, don't worry! That's why I have created a list of ways for you to climb back up the downward spiral of despair and kick some wedding ass! Ready?

1. Quit making it so big! Break your wedding planning down into small, manageable pieces. You don't have to have all of the answers now. Just know that you have to get them... eventually. Bridey, it’s been said that all great things take time to build. Same is true for weddings. So stop pressuring yourself to get it all done so fast. I mean... Don't be a slacker, but at the same time, don't push too hard too fast either. This is a giant undertaking; one that's expensive and emotional, and you have to break it down to be successful. Sometimes looking at the big picture can make it feel completely impossible. But, looking at it piece by piece? Totally obtainable! 

2. Be fucking nice. Be fucking nice to everyone whether they’re involved in your wedding planning or not. If what you put out is what you get back (the law of cause and effect), don’t be a nasty bitch. Seriously, I’ve been preaching this shit for years! Be nice! This is probably the easiest “fix” on the list because it’s so simple. Think about it… If you’re a nasty bitch, then inevitably you can expect to be greeted with nasty bitches in return. Right? So don’t be a bitch! You get more bees with honey, so be sweet, and delicious and golden. You’ll be amazed at how your wedding planning experience changes, and quite possibly your life too.

3. Ask for help. If I had to guess, I’d imagine that since you’ve been sporting that rock on your hand, you have had several people offer to help you… Right? So, take them up on it! Get some help! Bridey, there is no shame in asking for help and delegating tasks. Just be sure that you trust the delegates. 

4. Stop! You can totally drop and roll if you want, but I just want you to stop. Stop beating yourself up. Stop thinking about what you should be doing, could be doing, or what you didn’t do. Just stop, bridey. Stop the negativity. Because one thing leads to another and next thing you know you’re in a full blown panic over something stupid, something negative, and something completely ridiculous, and it can catapult into this monstrous snowball of negativity super fast. But, it can only have power if you give it power. So just STOP. Think about what you’ve accomplished thus far, and be proud. 

5. Be patient. Be patient with yourself, the people trying to help you, and your fiancé. When shit feels unbearable, be patient; take a step back. Find a distraction (that isn’t wedding related) that makes you happy and delirious. What do I do? I bake and then lick the bowl (and eat the cookies, but enough about me!). Just remove yourself from the situation, and be patient.

Bridey, I know what it feels like to be out of control, and feel helpless as you tumble. But, I know you can get through it! The crazy thing? These five steps? 100% applicable to your wedding planning AND your marriage. 

How to Get Past the Stupid Shit People Say About Your Wedding Planning (and You), and Survive!

It’s no secret that people say stupid shit, right? I mean, sometimes I am absolutely dumfounded at the pure stupidity uttered from people who generally mean well, but can’t seem to find the right sequence of words to string together to make what they are  TRYING to say purposeful and/or helpful. And, oftentimes, the “offender” will recognize their error in judgement almost immediately (probably after seeing you cringe), put their foot in their mouth and apologize, but those other times… Oh my Gaaawwwd! UGH! The “offender” is completely clueless, continuing on with their judgy diatribe of words, leaving you to pick up the pieces of your pride and self worth. Am I right? Did you just picture a few “offenders”? So, how can you, bridey, get past the stupid shit people are inevitably going to say to you about your wedding plans (and you personally) at a time when you are at your most vulnerable?

Here's some of the stupidest shit people say — and the solutions:

The Complimenter: This is by FAR my favorite insultingly awesome “compliment” I hear my clients grieve over (usually for weeks).

Offender: “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve definitely lost A LOT of weight.” You see, this seems and feels like a compliment, however the implication is that you had A LOT of weight to lose, and that you were a giant fat ass prior to losing all of this weight for the wedding.

The solution?: Reinterpret the statement as, “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve clearly been working hard.” Because, in my heart of hearts, bridey, I know that this is what the “offender” meant to say. It’s just that they didn’t say it tactfully, which means you have to change how you hear it.

The Comparer: When the “offender” is trying to stir the shit… This bitch knows exactly what she is doing, and is purposefully trying to get you riled up.

Offender: “Wow. When I planned my wedding, I had all of my vendors lined up within weeks of choosing the date.” OR “I already had all of that stuff done at this point in the planning.” The implication here is that you are way behind the eight ball, and you’re fucked; your wedding is fucked, and she’s better than you.

The solution?: Rise above, bridey, rise above! Walk away from this conversation, and rid yourself of the bullshit comparison. Even if you ARE feeling behind in your wedding planning, you don’t want to engage with somebody who isn’t there to help you, but would rather compete with you. So, don’t compete. And, the good news for you slackers (kidding), is that being behind in your wedding planning doesn’t mean you won’t catch up. And fast. A lot of the time, all it takes is an hour or two to sit down, get yourself organized, and then knock things off of that “to-do” list.

The Inquisitor: We all have these people in our lives. They are super inquisitive, super annoying, and super nosy. Quite simply, they ask too many questions and don’t know when to quit.

Offender: “Your ring is huge! I can only imagine what your wedding budget looks like…” OR “How much is this whole ‘wedding thing’ setting you back?” OR “How does it feel to be the last of you friends getting married?” See what I mean? Too many fucking questions! Rude ones! Insensitive ones!

The solution?: Other than saying nothing and walking away? Or being an asshole (I give you permission, but…)? Don’t use seven words when four will do (totally stole this line from Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven)… Be short and concise as you gently tell the “offender” to mind their own business. You don’t have to answer these questions, bridey. In fact, please don’t. Shut it down, and move on.

The Diminisher: This one KILLS me. Like scrape me off of a busy road, kind of kills me… The diminisher has a tendency to make you feel small for caring as much as you do about your wedding (and the planning).

Offender: “I don’t know what the big deal is… It’s just one day.” Holy shit! Hold me back! Buuuuuut, the thing is, I actually agree with the “offender” because it IS just one day, and your marriage is about so.much.more than the day itself. However, it is a stressful, expensive and emotional day, and to downplay the enormity of it gives me rage.

The solution?: Don’t give in. Don’t let the “offender” get away with that bullshit, while at the same time don’t sink down to their level. There is no need to justify this statement. Simply say that it’s important to you, and they don’t have to understand.

The “Ought-er”: The ought-er is somebody who generally means well, but has a strong opinion about what you should be doing.

Offender: “You ought-a look into getting your haircut before the wedding.” OR “You ought-a make sure you have the budget for the extra flowers.” OR “You ought-a BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!” We get it, and perhaps you’re right, but whenever anybody starts a sentence with “you ought-a”, I immediately tune out because I am annoyed.

The solution?: Tune it out like I do. The ought-er is usually a nice person who has your best interests in mind, but doesn’t express it well. So be polite and take the “ought-er” with a grain of salt.

Bridey, you are doing great! It’s super important for you to ignore the stupid shit people say as you plan your wedding. 99% of the time, it’s them, not you!!! So, keep your wits about you, and continue to slay the cray!!!

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Reboot ~ Please Don't Come to My Wedding... How Cutting the Guest List Means Cutting the Cord

lanty-251049.jpg

“Please don’t come to my wedding,” she said jokingly, although with a bit of truth behind her words. I laughed with her because I understand how out of control the guest list can become, and when those invitees whom you thought were not going to accept your (strained) invitation decide to grace you with their presence, along with all of those guests you knew were going to come to your wedding, the budget struggle and the lost prospect of an intimate wedding suddenly become very, very real. Bridey, the guest list is probably the hardest part of wedding planning you will encounter because it affects everything. Every decision. Every selection. Every dollar.

So, what is a bride to do? How do you cut the guest list so that you don’t have to cross your fingers every time an RSVP arrives? How do you do it without hurting feelings? Honestly, you don’t. Somebody is going to be hurt because they weren’t invited even if they had no intention of going to your wedding. That’s just how it goes. And it sucks, but that’s the reality of it. So, I need you to do something for me. Imagine a world where you got to decide who would be in attendance on one of the biggest days of your life. Really think about it. Now, write it down. Who’s on that list, bridey? Close family, friends, etc.. Right? Awesome. Now, stop thinking about who’s not on the list and start thinking about how you’re going to handle your ideal guest list. Because, this is it! And for those who didn’t make the cut? Too bad. Remember, you don’t have to apologize, you just have to understand the consequences of your actions and figure out the balance between the two.

Bridey, the truth? No bullshit? Those you don’t invite will be pissed off and hurt, and potentially hold a grudge against you for the rest of their life (and yours). So, the question becomes, are you willing to cut the cord? It’s completely possible that some of these people will never speak to you again, un-friend you on FaceBook, and fall off entirely. And honestly, this might not be a bad thing. Perhaps it’s even an opportunity to filter out the people in your life you’ve been dying to let go of, but haven’t quite found the right excuse. Well, I’d say that by not inviting them to your wedding you’re pretty much sealing the deal!

Although, what about those who you still adore, but didn’t make the cut simply because by inviting them would mean that you would have to invite the string of relatives associated with them (to keep it “fair”)? Sadly, they might end up being collateral damage, however if you’re able to have an honest conversation about your reasoning, then you could potentially salvage these relationships. But, there is no guarantee, and that is what you have to internalize and decide how important certain relationships are to you. And, only you can answer that question.

Look, I know it’s not easy, be that as it may, it’s still your wedding, and your choice. In my opinion, down the road… you’ll end up filtering out those people who really don’t matter to you or make much of a difference in your life (family or not) simply by living. That’s how it goes. So, why not cut the cord now and mark your wedding day as the day you didn’t succumb to the pressure of being all inclusive even at your own expense (literally and figuratively). Got it? Good! Now, go write your list! And good luck!

Image via Lanty

ReBoot! ~ Wedding Planning... A Job You are Completely Unqualified For??

Congratulations! You’ve just been hired to do a job you are completely unqualified for… Best of luck! I mean… What if that really was the case? What if you were hired to do a job in which you lacked the appropriate credentials and connections to be successful? Sounds awful, right? And, why the fuck would you accept that kind of responsibility knowingly? Well, for most of you, I just described the minute after you told your friends and family you about your engagement. Yup! Your engagement and plans to betroth has just become your brand new, shiny job; one that has you completely ecstatic, and terrified at the same time. One that looks good on paper, but can totally suck and suck the life out of you at the same time. Bridey, welcome to the most unqualified time in your life (well, unless you’re already a parent!!). Welcome to your engagement! 

I know, I know, I’m a bitch for ruining the moment, and I hate to rain on your sparkly, bridal parade, but better you have some warning about the next step as opposed to thinking that this experience is going to be 100% rainbows and unicorns. I meet very few brides who are totally excited and ready for the task at hand. Because planning a wedding is a lot of work and takes a lot of commitment. And, the brides that are totally onboard, are usually an event planner, a spreadsheet whore or a control freak (that doesn’t end so well) who has some serious issues with pretty much every stage of the game. So, where does that leave you? Don’t worry, bridey, you’ll be fine. Just allow me to educate you a bit…

Last year, I wrote a piece called, Why Planning Your Wedding Actually IS a Full Time Job, and one of the primary points highlighted in the article isn’t the actual planning of the wedding, it’s more about the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy when it comes to family dynamics and money. For some you, these are issues you may deal with daily, but when you are planning your wedding, they become intensified and daunting. And kind of like a new job (qualified or not), you’re faced with new situations, tons of decisions and several conversations that feel uncomfortable and borderline risky. Risky? Yes, risky. Because with each decision, your psyche fucks with you, and tells you that you’re risking the budget or that you’re risking the delicate equilibrium that is your immediate family or that you’re risking your friendships… And the thing is, bridey, you can’t quit. You can’t decide not to move forward. (Well, unless you’re me. I eloped, but that came with it’s own set consequences.) But, you can persevere. 

How? Here are a few quick suggestions:

1. Cut yourself some some fucking slack! You’ve never done this before (well, most of you haven’t), and there is no need to be so hard on yourself. Take your time, filter out the naysayers and the noise, put your head down and just do it. Oh, and… See #2.

2. Surround yourself with professionals. PERIOD. I’ve said it a million times, bridey! But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then hire people who do. We don’t hesitate to do this for every other facet of our lives, so why should your wedding planning be any different? Wedding professionals like planners, gifted photographers, etc. will walk you though the tough decisions, and advise you when you’re stuck. So, put some extra dough in the budget and consider it your “piece of mind” fund.

3. Avoid the 3 Ps…. the 3 Ps. Pressure, precedence and perfection. They all suck, and most of the time they are usually self-induced. So let it go…

4. Be honest with your fiancé, yourself and your family. AT THE BEGINNING. Don’t leave room for “risky" behavior to butt in… Even in a job that has you feeling insecure, honesty really is the best policy.

5. Please have fun. I mean, it’s not fun a lot of the time, but this industry and wedding planning have become synonymous with fucking rainbows, unicorns, glitter and cupcakes… So, when you come across one of those things, enjoy it. 

So, bridey, are you going to quit this terrible job that your 100% unqualified for? Fuck no you’re not! You’re going to plow through, and own it because if nothing else, it will get you ready for another job you may not be 100% qualified for… Marriage.

Image via Jobboard Finder News