Bridal Party

The Top Five Wedding Planning Woes… How to Have a Strong Day When Wedding Planning Makes You Feel Like Shit…

“Have a strong day.” he said. And, all I could think about as I walked away is how clever it was to say, “Have a strong day,” as opposed to, “Have a great day,” or “Have a lovely morning,”. I mean, even though I was walking towards the treadmill at the gym, prior to embarking on a super difficult boot camp session, and, oh, the dude who uttered such brilliance was a trainer, I’ve been thinking about it all morning… I can’t shake it and it’s dual meaning. And, I’m 100% going to steal this double entendre, and use it every chance I get. Why? Because it resinated with me. It literally moved me. It made me run faster on the treadmill, and push myself harder during boot camp, but more than anything else, it made me get out of my head, move past the bullshit I’ve been holding onto, and DECIDE to have a fucking strong day! Literally and figuratively! And, you know what, bridey? You can have a strong day too! Allow me to elaborate…

Bridey, I know that there are days when it all feels like too much. You have a job, you have responsibilities, you want to workout or spend time with your sig other, and at the same time you need to keep up with wedding planning timelines, deadlines, and targets. Annnnnndddd…. On top of all of that, there are quite a few factors that make you feel like shit while wedding planning; shit that depletes your strength and makes you feel like crawling into bed, hiding under the covers and sleeping until it’s all over. Am I right? A lot of things can make you feel like shit, and they range in decibels as they echo over and over in your head. So, why don’t we focus on the top five (so that your head doesn’t explode)? Because as much as I hate to admit it, there are way too many wedding planning woes that can fuck with your mojo, and by discussing the top five, hopefully we will set you up to handle the other, smaller woes that can make you feel weak, and diminish our “strong day” goals. Ready? I’m just gonna spew them out, and then give you some pointers… Family dynamics, budget, weight loss, loss of a parent and bridal party drama. 

1. Why don’t we start with a big one? Family dynamics. BRUTAL for some of you… And unfortunately, without knowing the specific details, I can’t give you specific advice, but I can tell you that these problems will not fix themselves. It’s important for you to deal with the issues that arise as they happen because sitting on them will not make them go away, (nor will wishing them away). For example, if your soon to be mother-in-law is super opinionated, and attempting to recreate her wedding vicariously through you and your sig other, then squash it as quickly as it begins. How? Give her a few wedding planning jobs to do (that you either aren’t fond of doing yourself, or that you don’t particularly care about) so that she feels like she’s contributing. I’m betting that’s why she’s behaving the way that she is. Because she’s feels excluded from the big picture. Don’t underestimate the power of inclusion (or exclusion). And even though she’s not communicating this well, or the way she’s expressing herself grates on the very fibers of your soul, it’s the truth.                             

Look, bridey, no matter what you’re up against, oftentimes, tough family dynamics usually boil down to very simple roots; roots that were tangled a long time ago and need to be addressed with kid gloves, and carefully. So, if it was your parents tumultuous divorce, drama over the guest list, or the budget, think back to where this trouble might have stemmed from… And, handle it using the basics we learned in kindergarten. Be nice to others, include others, respect others… It’s important for you to dig deep, be STRONG, and remember why you are getting married in the first place.

2. Budget. I swear it should be a four letter word. Because it sucks, it stings, and it stinks. Seriously, don’t you wish weddings were free? Fuck yeah you do! But, the truth is that they aren’t. And the other truth is that you, bridey, don’t really have a clue what things cost because you’ve never done this before (most of you anyway). Weddings are an expensive milestone. And, staying strong during money conversations is HARD especially because most of the time it feels like you’re giving up something that you really want. Right? That’s where I need you to adjust your thinking… Every time you have to let go of something you want, just think of what you’re replacing it with…    

Not enough cash for a band? Don’t worry! A great DJ will rock your wedding, and you don’t have to worry about a band learning new songs or eight vendor meals. Purchase a preowned designer wedding dress instead of buying a new one. Are most of your guests local? Awesome! Then get married on a Friday or Sunday. Most venues will work with your budget on their “off” days. You see where I’m going with this, right? 

3. Losing weight. Fuuuuuuuccccckkkk! Fuck it’s hard to lose weight. You gotta measure, calculate and workout. Seriously, I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Here’s the thing. I LOVE to workout. I always have… But, I also LOVE to eat, and poorly. Well, not poorly, just sugary, boozy and carby. Is that so bad?? But, what I have come to learn is that I feel better when I eat healthy. I have more energy. I don’t feel lethargic at 3 PM. My mind is sharper.

Bridey, if you “need” to lose weight (I say need in parenthesis because a lot of the time it isn’t necessarily a necessity, but more of a desire), focus less on the number and more on how you feel when you treat your body well. Focus on getting strong. Focus on how great it feels to sweat your stress out. And then balance it with what you eat. And quit beating yourself up when you do eat sugar, booze and carbs. Just get back on track, immediately. Don’t give in to a case of the “fuck-its”. Try to make this less about sweatin’ for the weddin’ and more about living a healthy lifestyle, forever. HAVE A STRONG DAY!

4. Loss of a parent. Gulp. First of all, I am deeply sorry. I feel for you, bridey. Not having one or both of your parents present on your wedding day is difficult at best. And it sucks. And you are absolutely allowed to feel like shit about missing them as you plan your wedding. But, do your best to find a way to honor them without making yourself too sad. Because on your wedding day? They are there with you, and the last thing they’d want for you on such a big day is sadness, right? So, honor their memory and celebrate their life as you enter a new phase of yours. 

5. Bridal party drama. I am literally cringing as I type. This one gets me every time because of what I have seen first hand. Here’s the thing… Don’t choose your bridal party out of obligation. I can assure you that by doing so, you are absolutely setting yourself (and the others) up for drama. Who do you want next to you on your wedding day? Who will listen, like truly listen, as you vent about your wedding plans, and care? Who will tell you that your ass isn’t right in that wedding dress, and to keep searching for one that fits you better? THOSE are the peeps you want by your side! And if that means that your sister from another mister doesn’t make the cut because she’s not reliable, forgetful and sometimes selfish, so be it. Be strong. Get ahead of it. Have a conversation with her before asking the others to stand. Stop the drama before it begins.

Bridey, I know that by simply encouraging you to have a STRONG day, doesn’t mean that you will. And, I know that some days will be harder than others. But, you are in charge of how you feel. You can choose to feel strong or weak. So any time anybody says, “Have a good day,” I want you to change that sentence in your head to, “Have a STRONG day,” and then go do it! Got it??

Photo by Brooke Lark 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

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ FLASH BACK: The Bridal Party Breakup

***I was thinking about this crazy chick the other day, so I thought I would share this insane story with you again. The reason I thought about her? Well, I had a moment like, "I wonder whatever happened to whatsherface..." Know what I mean? Then I realized that I didn't give a shit.***

February 5, 2013:

It's the truth hurts Tuesday brideys! And boy do I have a story for you! The best part of this story (actually, more like the worst)? It happened to me. And looking back, I definitely should have and could have handled it better, but frankly I feel like I never should have been in this situation in the first place. Actually, that's why I am choosing to share this story with you so that if you are in a similar position as a bride-to-be, you won't do what this bride did. I mean, she completely put me on the spot and forced a reaction from me that was kind, but not truthful. Any idea where I am going with this brideys?

Here's a hint... Don't ask a very new friend (new as in you've known her for about two months) to be your MAID OF HONOR! It's a hell of an honor and a huge responsibility, so if you don't know somebody well enough, then you might not realize just how much you are asking of them. Instead of the honor that it should be, it may feel more like entrapment to your friend, and not only that, but she'll probably feel very, very uncomfortable.

Perhaps some of you are thinking, "What's wrong with asking a new friend to be in your wedding? Obviously she felt as though she had a strong enough connection with you to even ask." To which I would answer, "Yes, we definitely had a solid connection." But... "I didn't know her the way a friend should know a friend if they are accepting an invitation of such magnitude.  And, she didn't ask me to be in her wedding, she asked me to be her maid of honor!"

So... what'd you do BB?

I have to admit, this happened before I was the well seasoned professional I am now (Bridey, I may have a trashy mouth, but I am definitely a pro!). Sooooo.... I didn't handle it well. I was mortified. I said "yes" initially, and it took me a week to politely decline her maid of honor invitation, and get out of being downgraded to a bridesmaid too... Yeah... I wanted completely out of this wedding. Obviously, this was not a easy conversation to have, but I knew I would ultimately let her down in the long run, so therefore it was important for me to be up front with her before I got in even deeper. 

But, how did you do it? How'd you get out of it?

I took her out for a few cocktails, sucked down a giant martini, and laid it all out there. I know this will surprise you bridey, but I happen to be very blunt... HA! But, really I am. And if she hadn't caught me so off guard initially (at work, and right before we met up with a few girls for lunch), then I would like to think that I would have politely declined and let it go. That said I was absolutely determined to handle the bridal party breakup better than I had handled the proposal. When I told her how I felt, I was careful to explain myself without being a bitch, and to let her know that I had no intention of even being in the wedding. I would certainly be in attendance, but the responsibility of being part of the bridal party was too much, and I didn't think it would be fair to her.

Honestly, she handled it really well. Much better than I had expected, and we ended up having a pleasant evening together. Needless to say, the friendship took a hit, but I felt and still feel strongly that I made the right choice.

So, bridey... if you are in the "la-la love" stage with a new friend, awesome. Have fun and enjoy! But, let me be the one to tell you that if you are thinking about asking her to do the "honor" of being in your wedding, then use caution. I know it seems counterintuitive, but consider the impact on your newborn friendship if her reaction isn't not "yes". Got it?

What do you think? Have you ever been in a similar position? 

Image via Hand Crafted Collectibles

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ When Choosing the Guest List for the Wedding Becomes Emotional... For Somebody Else!

So, I was at the gym the other day, (Ewwww... I have officially become one of those girls who starts off a story by bragging about how I was at the gym! It's not like that, really! I got baby weight to lose, bridey, which is a whole other post for a whole other blog! Anyway...) and I started chatting with the woman, old enough to be my mother, who shared a story about how the guest list for her niece's wedding took an ugly turn. I won't get into all of the gory details, because I although I was focused on the dirt of her story, I was also attempting to burn off the spare tire that loves to present itself in every shirt I own.

Basically, her niece was picking and choosing the guest list for wedding in a way that was extremely hurtful to close family. I believe the cliche I am looking for is 'cherry picking' the guest guest list. And I'm not talking about the family members whose names you forget because you see them once every five years at a funeral, I'm talking CLOSE family members; like, people important to your MIL important. Right? Bridey, while choosing your guest list is among the most difficult tasks of planning your wedding (just wait until you start placing those guests at tables!), remember that this list will stay with you for the rest of your life. It's a fine line between choosing your guest list, and choosing who will stay in your life once the wedding is over. 

Look, I totally get it! Weddings are fucking expensive. The more people the more money. Plain and simple. But, your choices now will have repercussions later. So, if it's not a money thing, then get over it, and invite your soon to be MIL's cousin from Cincinnati, because let me tell you, your MIL won't forget that you didn't invite her. You will, but she won't and when you least expect it, she'll torture you with that choice down the line.

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ A Lesson About Friendship to All of You Brideys

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ A Lesson About Friendship to All of You Brideys

Brideys, I'm going to get straight to the point because this shit is important. It's so super important because if you don't have friends after you say, "I do" then who will you bitch to about your husband when the wedding euphoria wears off? Right? I mean basically, bridey, I really want you have friends when your wedding is over. I also think it's kinda important that you still like your friends when your wedding is over too. I mean, it is a two-way street. So, I thought I'd share a few ways to keep AND like your friends leading up to, and following your nuptials. 

1. Don't be an entitled bridey bitch. Yes, it's your day, but everybody is there to celebrate with you so make sure you that when the day finally arrives that they do in fact want to celebrate with you. In other words, don't fuck it up all the way to the altar and then expect your friends to be excited to be part of your wedding. 

2. Brideys-to-be... Going to a wedding like every other fucking weekend? Yeah, then outside of being exhausted and over it, you're obviously at the stage in your life in which you'll probably be in several weddings too. That said, may I make a suggestion? It's very simple actually. Don't be an asshole.

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Bridal Party Etiquette

Bridey, so I know that you are the one getting married, and you are the one spending a ton of money on your big day, and that you are in charge of the building the perfect bridal party, but let's get one thing straight, okay? Don't be a bitch to the women you are asking to stand at the altar with you. Period. I am getting so tired of witnessing or hearing about bitch-ass brideys behaving like total diva assholes to the women they supposedly love enough to have them share such a personal experience with... So STOP IT. 

Yes I am being hard on you, but most of you deserve it. Sorry, but you do. However, because I care about your well being, and in order to help you to avoid creating drama surrounding your wedding day, I have decided to give you five rules to follow to keep you from fucking up your relationships with your maids (possibly forever). 

1. Don't even think about asking one, or some of the girls to lose weight before your wedding. Not only are you going to hurt their feelings, but it's just rude. Accept them for who they are and what they look like, but please don't ask them to make such a personal sacrifice for you. If they haven't done it for themselves already, then odds are they are not going to do it for you (although they may try unsuccessfully), and then you've opened up a whole other can of worms. And trust me, your friendship will never be the same. I promise. 

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ The Bridal Party Breakup

It's the truth hurts Tuesday brideys! And boy do I have a story for you! The best part of this story (actually, more like the worst)? It happened to me. And looking back, I definitely should have and could have handled it better, but frankly I feel like I never should have been in this situation in the first place. Actually, that's why I am choosing to share this story with you so that if you are in a similar position as a bride-to-be, you won't do what this bride did. I mean, she completely put me on the spot and forced a reaction from me that was kind, but not truthful. Any idea where I am going with this brideys?

Here's a hint... Don't ask a very new friend (new as in you've known her for about two months) to be your MAID OF HONOR! It's a hell of an honor and a huge responsibility, so if you don't know somebody well enough, then you might not realize just how much you are asking of them. Instead of the honor that it should be, it may feel more like entrapment to your friend