Wedding Budget

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

Bitchless Bride is on Yahoo! Finance! 6 Ways to Avoid Debt During Wedding Planning

 

I am so beyond THRILLED to have had the opportunity to be featured on Yahoo! Finance! Bridey, check out the video, read the article, and BE SMART WITH YOUR MONEY!

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

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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

Bridey, You Should Always be Truthful... But, Here Are 10 Wedding Planning Scenarios in Which the Truth is ALWAYS Quicker

They say you get inspiration from unexpected places. In this case, my inspiration for this post comes from a quote I heard in the movie Cars 3. Yup! Cars 3… I honestly don’t remember which scene it was, just that there were a lot of cars discussing something car-race related, and one of them said that “the truth is always quicker”. I swear I had a fucking epiphany in that moment. I pretty much tackled one of my kids so that I could get to my phone fast enough to make a note before I lost it. And, that quote has stayed with me because it is SO relatable in so many situations in life. I mean, you should always make it a goal to tell the truth, but oftentimes the truth gets clouded with white lies or half-truths, usually because we’re attempting to spare somebody else’s feelings, right? But, what if you had the balls to always tell the truth; no matter what? What if you decided to be upfront, transparent and honest from the beginning of your wedding planning journey? What would happen? Allow me to educate:

1. Wedding Budget - This is the mother-load, bridey. Your wedding budget dictates everything else. Like, EVE RY THI NG else. Venue selection, the guest list, vendors, open bar, food, wedding dress, etc. So, cut the bullshit, and determine an actual budget; not an estimated budget, not a ballpark budget, but an ACTUAL budget, and who’s responsible for contributing. This conversation is usually best with some sort of alcoholic beverage, and props. Well, a spreadsheet at the very least. Remember, bridey, the truth is always quicker.

2. Guest List - It’s really very simple, or it can be. Who do you want around you on your wedding day, bridey? You get this one day, ONCE (well, maybe twice or even three times… no judgement). One day where you are lucky enough to have everybody you love under the same roof. So, make it count. Look around… Who’s there. Who’s cheering you on? Do you know everybody? Who’s (purposely) not there? Okay, were you able to capture that? Now, how will you make it happen when faced with resistance from family? How can you get through this painfully uncomfortable, usually brutal and awkward discussion? Tell the truth. Be brave. The truth is always quicker.

3. Skeletons in the Closet - We all got ‘em, but how you deal with them is what counts. Two words: Recognize and address. Say it with me, bridey… Recognize and address. You know what they are, so acknowledge them early on in the wedding planning process! For example, is your sister is a serial dater who you know will want her current flame at your very intimate and expensive wedding? Deal with it NOW! Parents went through (or are going through) a tumultuous divorce? Brutal. Talk about who’s going to walk you down the aisle, where everybody is going to sit, and if dates are allowed… This conversation is going to SUCK, but save yourself a lot of time (and pain and anguish) later. And, don’t save this beauty for the week before the wedding. The truth is always quicker.

4. Sig Other Responsibilities - I swear this is a precursor for marriage. Don’t set yourself up to be disappointed; be honest from the beginning. If he/she isn’t into “wedding planning stuff”, then believe them. Raise your hand if you need help, but don’t go assigning tasks and then getting disappointed when the follow through is lacking. The truth is always quicker.

5. Bridal Party - Who? Who do you want standing next to you on your wedding day? Now, who do you feel obligated to have standing next to you on your wedding day? Bridey, if you feel obligated, then I bet they do too. Suddenly they are obligated to contribute to bridal party shenanigans, showers and the like. Obligated to be excited about the bridesmaids dresses and then buy one. Obligated to show the fuck up. Imagine what would happen if you gently broached the subject with the “obligator”, and lightened the bridal party load? Might eliminate some stress and unmet expectations later, right? The truth is always quicker.

6. Bachelorette Party - I love Vegas. Probably because I got married there, but more than that, I love all of the bells, whistles, pasties, smoke and mirrors… But, if I’m standing up in more than one wedding this year, and I’m still working my way up the corporate ladder, my funds are limited. Bridey, while it is the responsibility of your ‘maids to make this happen for you, it is your responsibility to not be a greedy asshole. Your ‘maids will take cues from you. So if you know that three out of the six girls are broke, then suggest a local party with local fun, and save them the embarrassment. The truth is always quicker.

7. Weight - I hate this one. This is all about being honest with yourself, and obviously being honest with yourself is difficult. Bridey, if you want to lose weight for your wedding, then do it. If you don’t care, then you don’t care. The bottom line is really about how you feel on your wedding day, not how you look. You want the girl smiling in the photographs to be happy with herself, fat or thin, and only YOU can answer that question. Remember, the truth is always quicker.

8. Wedding Dress Shopping - Are you wondering why I included this? Because, over the years, I have heard all sorts of various viewpoints on wedding dress shopping. Some brides LOVE a huge entourage to accompany them to the bridal salon, while others would rather vom than have a group of girls expressing their opinions about their favorite lace or bodice or whatever. This is up to you, bridey. You determine who (if anybody) comes with you, but set the expectations early. The truth is always quicker.

9. DIY or DI-CRY - I am 100% a DICRYer. I always have these grand ideas about whipping up something I see on Pinterest (bridal or otherwise), and then crash and burn pretty awfully. Hence the crying… Bridey, there’s no shame on not being a DIYer. If you choose to become a DIYer, please practice and give yourself plenty of time to accomplish these tasks because they will always take longer than you think. The truth is always quicker. (And your truth might be to hire somebody else to do it…)

10. Open Bar - Yes! Oh wait, the budget. That pesky fucking budget. Can you afford to have an open bar? Can you provide an open bar all night? Can your crowd handle it (will they take advantage and turn into assholes)? How important is it to you? I’m pro open bar, but this is not a question I can answer for you, bridey, but, I know you know the answer. The truth is always quicker...

Bridey, you see why this one quote resonated with me do thoroughly? It is truly applicable in every situation, wedding planning and beyond. I recommend you keep this link handy if you need some encouragement as you plunge into these 10 wedding planning scenarios. When in doubt…the truth is always quicker!

Photo by David Thomaz on Unsplash

5 Reasons Why I Am the Only Wedding Planner on Earth Who Feels Bad for Prince Harry + Meghan Markle

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I am definitely a minority here. I mean, I am probably the only chick on the planet, let alone wedding planner, who is not excited about the upcoming royal nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. When I’ve mentioned this publicly (not on social media or anything crazy like that…) several eyebrows become raised, the music stops and I feel like I am standing in the middle of the room with a hot potato in my hands. My peers promptly utter, “Whaaaaaa?”,  like I have suddenly sprouted a unicorn horn, have rainbows shooting out of my ass, and hooves bulging from underneath my dress. I am instantly grilled on how I could possibly say such a thing. “Isn’t this your thing?” they ask. “Nope. Not really… I actually feel bad for them.” I say holding eye contact (just so I can catch their reaction to such a preposterous statement). “You feel BAD for them? You feel bad for two super wealthy, super attractive, and super famous (not to mention royal) people getting married?” they ask, stunned. “Yup.”I say. And immediately I am asked, “WHY?” Why? Well, I’ll give you five reasons…

1. I don’t care what anybody says, if Price Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to have a backyard BBQ wedding with a live band and tiki torches, or a tropical, destination wedding where they exchanged vows barefoot on a sandy beach, or a swanky, reception style, all-white wedding, it would never happen. It would never happen because their wedding and their wedding plans are probably 99% out of their control. Will they choose their color scheme? Sure. Will they have their hand in selecting the florals? Possibly. But, when it comes down to making their wedding all about them and who they are as a couple? Their banana flavored wedding cake is most likely the only decision they will make that is all their own. And frankly? That makes me sad for them. Because I love their story, and how they got to know each other, and I believe we are all missing out on the wedding they could have planned together without restrictions. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it would have been pretty fucking amazing. Don’t you?

2. Um, can we just talk about the guest list for a second? Prince William and Princess Catherine had 1900 people on the guest list. NINETEEN HUNDRED. And, I’m sure they knew all of guests… Sounds incredibly intimate, right? Even if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have half of that  number (I’ll do the math for you, 850 guests), that’s still a fuckload of people celebrating the most important, and biggest days of your life. That’s like four weddings in one. I mean, holy shit… just imagine going from table to table to greet all in attendance?! And, I’m guessing it’s not too likely they will skip this particular piece of wedding etiquette, leaving them very little time to actually enjoy their wedding day.

3. Unlimited budget. OMG. Doesn’t that sound sexy? Unlimited budget… YES! It sure does! Who doesn’t love an unlimited budget? Right? It’s SO fucking sexy! As a wedding planner, when I have the opportunity to work with a couple rockin’ an unlimited budget, I get excited. Actually, I get elated! Because instead of squashing Pinterest dreams with the reality of the price behind the curtain, I get to help make dreams happen. I don’t have to say “no”, and that is an awesome feeling! But, although a tremendous budget is usually a tremendous blessing, it comes with a price of it’s own. PRESSURE FOR PERFECTION. More money? More problems. More perfection. And in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s case? Gobs of it. Heaps of it. Loads of it. And, I don’t know a soul in the world (famous or not) who loves the idea of being bogged down with the pressure of perfection.

4. When you’re Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there’s no such thing as skeletons in the closet. Those suckers are on display for the world to see. And, unfortunately, the most common complaint I hear from couples getting married? Family skeletons barreling out of the closet wrecking havoc on the wedding planning equilibrium. It sucks, but it happens, and you deal with it. But having to deal with it in a very public forum? UGH. Bridey, I’m not suggesting that I know anything about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s skeletons, but we all got ‘em, sooooooo….. 

5. We all love a good viral video, right? We watch cute cats chasing their tails, giggling babies, people tripping over their own two feet, etc. But, when it comes to your wedding, it’s nerve-wracking enough to even think about tripping down the aisle or fainting or crying in front of friends and family, right? And, broadcasted for the world to see? Terrifying! There is no shelter for these two… Nowhere to hide, and considering the enormity of the day without all of these obstacles, this has got to be weighing on these two, and that makes me feel sad for them.  

So, there you have it. Yes, I feel bad for two super wealthy, super attractive, and super famous (not to mention royal) people getting married.                                                          

Image via Getty Images

Five Reasons NOT to Surround Yourself with “Yessers” While Planning Your Wedding

She’s the friend that tells you that your glitter nail polish should be reserved for a seven year old little girl. She’s the friend that sides with your sig other when you’re whining about an argument you had last night because he was actually right. She’s the friend that tells you that you don’t need the waffle when you can get the fried chicken by itself. This friend, bridey? This friend, is your real friend who tells you the truth even when it isn’t exactly what you want to hear, and she’s absolutely who you need around while planning your wedding. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a gaggle of girls (and boys too) “yessing” you to death and agreeing with all of the shit you say as you plan your wedding because it can drastically slow you down and prolong your decisions instead of helping you come to the right one. But, the top five reasons why you shouldn’t surround yourself with “yessers” while planning your wedding?

1. Because a yesser is so worried about upsetting the contrived facade of a happy bride planning her incredible wedding that she is afraid to tell you that you’re being ridiculous when you are in fact being ridiculous. It’s important to have your friends tell you that surpassing your budget by three thousand dollars on your wedding dress is stupid. Or that nobody can really tell the difference between chartreuse and lime green linens so make a decision and move on. This friend doesn’t concern herself with worrying about your precious bridal feelings (I mean, she’s not an asshole either), but instead, focuses on being a true friend and helping you make tough choices.

2. Because a yesser is phoning it in, and sometimes it’s by accident. Ever “yes” somebody just so they’ll shut the fuck up? Seriously, if you answered “no” to this question, then you’re totally lying. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have definitely “yessed” somebody simply to end a brutal conversation or avoid a disagreement that I didn’t feel like engaging (no pun) in. And you know what, bridey? This brand of yesser? She’s not necessarily mean spirited, just not interested. Perhaps you’ve included her in your bridal party and she’s not into it, but felt badly declining. So rather than immerse herself in lengthy conversations she doesn’t care about, she says “yes” just to shut you up. If you feel like you got yourself one of these, then cut the cord. Trust me, you’d be doing both of you a favor!

3. Because some of these yessers? They’re not really your friends. They’re followers. They are only there because everybody else is doing it. And, unlike the followers you have on instagram, twitter, facebook, etc., this yesser is a follower because they don’t have a mind of their own so they need to do what everybody else is doing. I mean they might not even like you or care that you’re getting married! They’re superfluous; they’re redundant; they’re a stupid waste of a bar stool and cocktail. Okay, that definitely came out a lot meaner than I had anticipated, but still all true. If you’re smart bridey, you’ll steer clear of this follower.

4. Because a yesser feeds you when she should be encouraging you. It’s like an intertwining of bullshit, and frankly, it gets confusing. Bridey, your friends should be helping you be decisive and true to yourself during the wedding planning process, not simply yessing you because that’s what they think you want to hear. It’s counterintuitive. A real friend will help you focus on what’s important, has your best interests in mind, but will tell you the truth too.  

5. Because some yessers? Well, they like to be “yessed”, so they will yes you to death if you allow it only because that’s what they think you want. If you suspect that this is happening, then it’s your turn to be honest and let then know that you value their opinion and truly need it so please stop the bullshit.

Bridey, we are all intuitive. And, trust me when I tell you that you know who these people are, and by having them “yes” your every move you will only make your wedding planning more difficult. So don’t. Consider this a cheat sheet, and if you even think that one of your friends falls into any of these categories either confront it immediately or purposefully leave them out of your inner circle. Got it? Good! Stay bitchless!

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

When it Comes to Weddings, Size Really Does Matter. Five Ways Not to be a Pain in the Ass While Planning a Small Wedding...

Is it true what they say about size? That bigger is better and that size really does matter? Ten years ago, I would have taken a much more politically correct stance on this topic, and told you that size isn't important; that it's what you do with it that counts... But, as I get older, I've come to realize that size is super important. And no, you dirty dirty people, I'm not talking about penis size, I'm talking about the size of your wedding!! Don't get me wrong, I love a small and intimate wedding, surrounded only by those you really love, but usually, planning these small and intimate affairs is a bigger pain in the ass than the bigger more elaborate weddings. Why? Because there's more at stake and less buffer. That said, I do have some advice on how to not be a pain in the ass during planning. Look down.

1. First of all... Remember that while your party may be small, your attitude doesn't need to be big. And as I've written a hundred, million times before, your shit attitude will hinder your success and will only get in your way. So, while you may be falling apart on the inside (for reasons listed below), putting on a face and being nice to those around you will only make for a better planning experience. Trust me, I know it's hard, but as several wise women (and probably some men too) have said in the past, "fake it 'till you make it". 

2. Managing family dynamics can be more difficult with fewer people acting as a "distraction" to the big picture. And fewer people still means big opinions. And, if I had to guess, I'm sure you're fielding plenty of big opinions about a having small, intimate wedding. Opinions from your mom and dad or your soon-to-be in laws about all of the friends and family they can't invite. And that can be absolutely rattling. I get it. I really do, but, bridey, it's really simple. Stay strong, and remember why you made the choice to have a small celebration. Perhaps you wanted an intimate day and money in your pocket for your plans after the wedding. Or perhaps you don't love your giant extended family. Whatever your reasoning may be, remember it when things get tough. Own it when things get tough. Stand by it when things get tough. And stay strong when things get tough. Which leads me to my next point... The fucking guest list. 

3. Determining the guest list can be painful. You and your sig other are choosing to have a small wedding and unfortunately that choice comes with consequences. Don't get me wrong, I really love the idea of a small wedding; I get it... I did it (well, I eloped, but still dealt with a lot of the same issues as you!). And, I pissed off a lot of people in the process. But, deciding to essentially eliminate friends and family can be hurtful. So, be blunt. Don't dance around guest list. Be open with the people you're not inviting and tell them that although they're not invited to your wedding doesn't mean that you don't care about them. No need to get into budget conversations or reasons here bridey; you don't owe them an explanation or an apology, just the truth. And leave it there. The less you say the better. I've said it before and I'll say it again... You might be doing them a favor because maybe they don't want to go your wedding anyway.

4. Hire a wedding planner. I know that you think you don't need one simply because your wedding is small, but your wedding planner can act as the perfect liaison for shit you don't want to deal with, and I'm not just talking about logistics. I'm talking about your mom whining about how you didn't invite Aunt Shirley or how sometimes glitches are more noticeable with less people. THAT'S why you here a planner. It's not because I don't believe in your planning abilities, it's fielding the bullshit that can get tricky.

5. Break tradition. Get rid of the formalities that aren't important to you. You're already breaking the rules by having a small wedding, so skip stupid shit. Skipping a DJ or band? Then get an amazing guitarist as entertainment so that you can have a first dance (if you want). No cake cutting? Fine. You should still have an amazing cake! That's one of the things I regret about eloping. We never cut the cake because we didn't have one! And I fucking love cake!!!! Anyway, all I'm saying, is that you've come this far... So, don't succumb to the pressure of "the norm" now! 

Bridey, you see a theme here? I'm telling you to stay strong and stand behind your decision. You're not doing anything wrong by choosing to have a beautifully small and intimate wedding. Just own your decision and kill any haters with kindness. You'll be surprised at how staying strong will empower your decision and your attitude! Got it?!

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Why an Alternative Way of Communicating with Your Wedding Vendors Can Save Your Sanity

We live in a world where people expect to be responded to immediately, and if they're not taken care of immediately, then too often they become irate, irrational and, ignorant. Not ignorant in the traditional sense of the word, but ignorant to the situation. For instance, if you're trying to reach someone and you're not getting the desired response, but continue to communicate in the same way, maybe it's time to consider how you're communicating; maybe there's a glitch in the system. Maybe it's time to try adjust your method. Like... Try calling instead of sending a hostile email. I know it's archaic, but sometimes a phone call can clear the air immediately.

Obviously there's a story here... Allow me to explain. I'm working with a couple who are quite lovely, but extremely high strung. The budget seems to be bulging (because the guest list keeps expanding!) and the more it bulges, the more uptight groomy becomes. And the more uptight groomy becomes, the more upright bridey becomes. A recipe for disaster... And because I'm the "outsider" (non-family member, non-BFF, basically a nobody) more often than not, I'm usually on the receiving end of of this disastrous recipe. And it sucks. I'm starting to get pretty fucking irritated as I continuously catch shit for the imaginary fights people have within themselves.

Last week, he became irate. Why? Because he wasn't getting my follow up emails (I sent three, didn't hear back, something that happens quite a bit in my world because people are busy) not realizing that he wasn't receiving them, and therefore thinking everything was copacetic. And instead of calling me (or texting), to see what was going on, he sat on it, fuming. Like, you'd have thought I'd never ever responded to a single email. And, the strange thing is that I have always been super communicative with them, so you can imagine my surprise when I received a nasty, borderline hateful, email from him telling me how unprofessional I was. Wow. Unprofessional? Ouch! Know what I did, bridey? I picked up the phone and we had a conversation. Duh.

Within a minute, the situation was under control. Within a single minute I was able to diffuse his piss-poor behavior. And that poor asshole? Well, he sat there for days getting more and more pissed off instead of simply calling me to see what was up. And, it really was that simple. I mean, whatever happened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt (oh, and basic human decency!)? I had never given them (him) a reason to think that I was neglectful. I had always responded quickly and professionally, and suddenly, within a week I'm unprofessional? Fuck off.

Bridey (and Groomy), I hope the lesson is clear here. If you're not receiving the response you're accustomed to, and if your vendors haven't given you a reason to doubt their communicative ability, then consider alternative way to connect. Consider that perhaps there's a problem. Or just sit there like an asshole getting angry and irate. Your choice. Got it?

Image via Create the Bridge

The Top Five Reasons Why Your Wedding Vendors Don't Like You

I was cornered, but completely fascinated. I was stuck, but I didn’t care. And I froze when she said, ‘I’ll alienate all of my clients by telling them the truth.” Upon digesting the breadth of her confession, I literally bowed down to her. And, after a good belly laugh, we toasted and I was on my way. Bridey, I LOVE when this shit happens, and frankly, it happens all the time. Fellow wedding vendors discover who I am, and the truth behind my blog, and then spill their innermost bridal-fessions to me. I swear, more often than not, I should be sitting behind a screen taking confession instead of sitting behind a computer screen! In this particular case, I was actually on vacation, tropical drink in hand, and happened to start chatting with a woman who shared my machoism for the hospitality industry.

Here’s the thing… I'm not afraid of alienation because I'm just being honest, and by now, you’ve come to expect from of me, right, bridey? And, since I started Bitchless Bride over five years ago, I cannot even begin to share the magnitude of comments, stories, and tales from wedding vendors from all over the county (and world) about what they hate about their brides. Curious? If not, you should be! C’mon, don’t you want to know the top five reasons why your wedding vendors don’t like you? Well, here they are whether your like it or not… Ahem:

1. You never want to pay us what we’re worth. It’s crazy, I have written about this a bazillion times, and every time I do, I get so fucking irritated. I simply don’t get it. In most industries, you pay what you pay, and that’s that. But, the hospitality industry? Well, somehow, our fees are a constant negotiation. Or, we’re expected to “throw it in” for free. Don't get me wrong, we all know that we're in hospitality, and service is our “thing”, but so often that service orientated behavior gets translated in the bridal filter from “this is my fee and I am worth it” to, “blah blah blah, cheaper”. Well, enough is enough! You want to talk about truth, bridey? Here’s one. You get what you pay for. PERIOD. 

2. You constantly tell us how to do our jobs. Bridey, I think the easiest way for you to feel our pain here is to give you an example. Have you ever had to report to a new boss in a job you’ve had for a while? Sucks, doesn’t it? And, you know how sometimes you’re dying to roll your eyes because they don’t know shit about the project or culture or whatever, and yet suddenly you’re being told to about how to do something you’ve done a million times? Welcome. Welcome to the life of a wedding vendor. Your micromanagement is annoying and unnecessary. If you’ve done your homework in choosing the right vendor, then you shouldn’t feel the need to tell us how to do what we do. So, just don’t.

3. You don’t listen to our advice. This one really pisses me off. Seriously, I hire people to help me do things I don’t know how to do (or don’t do well), and I listen to them because they are the professionals, and I am not. It’s as simple as that. Or at the very least, it should be. Bridey, you hired us. Therefore, you need to listen to us. And, no it’s not an ego thing, it’s an experience thing. We’re either trying to save you time or money or both, and you waste all of it by not taking our advice. The worst part is that it burdens everybody when you stray from the people you hired to trust. So, please listen our advice! 

4. You stalk us a year before your wedding, and then drag your feet when we need you to stalk us. This is one that truly baffles me. One year before your wedding you are literally in constant contact. Whenever you have a weddingy thought, you call or email us. Whenever you have a weddingy idea, you call or email us. Whenever you have a weddingy “epiphany”, you call or email us. But…. two weeks before your wedding, when shit gets real and we need you to respond, you’re MIA. I don’t get it. I really don’t. I know that you’re busy solidifying the rest of the details, and that you’ve got a ton on your plate, but radio silence? Totally brutal for wedding vendors when it’s crunch time. Depending on our craft, we need final numbers for food, flowers, tables, lighting, etc., and when we can’t find you, the whole process comes to a complete standstill. Your silence impacts the timeline, staffing, and much much more! So, please communicate with us closer to your wedding instead of a year out, okay?

5. You bring people to your appointments. Bridey, do you bring your friends with you to your dentist appointment or waxing appointment or meetings with your financial planner, realtor, or accountant? Probably not. So, please don’t bring your friends to meetings with your wedding vendors unless they have a role in the wedding (and even then, that can be tricky). Why? Well, sometimes we have to talk about money, and it can make it uncomfortable when we don’t know if the person you brought is privy to your budget. But, the biggest reason? I don’t give a fuck about their opinion, and neither should you. This is your wedding we’ve been planning together, and when you bring in “outsiders” it opens the door to suggestions and opinions that are not your own. And, depending on how close we are to your wedding, these opinions have the potential to undo so much work that has already been done. So, unless this person is crucial, meet them afterwards. 

Bridey, these are only the top five reasons pulled from five years of comments, stories, anecdotes, etc. from Bitchless Bride’s inception. If I took the time to sit down and pool all of information? Well, let’s just say that next time, it’ll be in a book, not an article.

Photo by Scott Webb

Recently Engaged? Congratulations! 5 Steps to Take Before Falling Down the Wedding Planning Rabbit Hole

It’s that time of year again… It’s what I like to call “engagement season”. Yup! ’Tis the season when several million happy couples take the next glorious step in their relationship, and decide to tie the knot, take the plunge, buy the cow, get hitched, plight one’s troth (I think this is probably my fave), walk down the aisle, become husband and wife, lead to the altar, etc., I really could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you get the point! No matter what you call it, you’ve decided to get married, and that’s fantastic… But, the thing is, most of you are embarking on a completely new and somewhat scary endeavor together. I mean, what should be amongst the greatest time and experience in your life is also one in which you’re about to spend a ton of money, fight about stupid shit (um, like linens and flowers), and open many of pandora’s boxes. Sounds fun, right? So, how do you keep your sanity and preserve the sanctity of your relationship before falling down the wedding planning rabbit hole? Try these 5 steps:

1. Enjoy being engaged! Live it up! Right? It seems so obvious, and yet so many brides (and grooms) rush into the wedding planning with hopeless abandon! Bridey, don’t rush it… Take some time to show off your beautiful ring and simply be engaged. You don’t have to know the details right away. Seriously, there’s no trophy for who can plan their wedding the fastest. So, chill the fuck out. Take this time to really be with your fiancé and embrace why you want to get married to him (or her)! Because marriage is much more than just a wedding, right? It literally symbolizes the first day of the rest of your lives together. And, if that’s not what it means to you, then run away… Fast, and NOW! 

2. Get the BIG discussions out of the way before you even think about planning your wedding. Look beyond your wedding day, and discuss your life after the honeymoon. Bridey, have you talked about having kids? Have you talked about what each of you want out of your career(s)? What do your finances look like? The sooner you tackle these big talks and determine if you two are on the same page, the better. I’ve seen couples deteriorate shortly after they get married simply because they got so wrapped up planning one fucking day, that they forgot to plan the rest of their lives! Focus on what matters, and remember that 99% of the time, people don’t change. For example, if one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, then put the planning on hold… Probably forever… 

3. The wedding budget! AHHHHHH!!! Bridey, set your budget early, and then fight like a lunatic to stick to it. Oh, and add 20% in miscellaneous bullshit to that total. YUP! 20 fucking percent! I really can’t explain it, I just need you to do it! Listen, the budget has the potential to ruin everything; even your relationship. So, start doing your homework to get a feel for what wedding-y things cost where you live, and prioritize. How? What do I mean? See number four.

4. Determine what is most important to you two as a couple, and incorporate it into your wedding. For some of you, it is an open bar and music, and for others it is impeccable décor and food. Whatever it is, own it and filter out the rest… Spend your money and your time planning the things that will make your wedding day awesome, and then politely decline free advice from those eager to give it. Remember that this is the one day in your life where you get to call the shots, and make it all about who you are as a couple. So, fuck the peanut gallery and focus on what you want!

5. Take a vacation. Have a lot vacation sex (But, use protection… Nothing speeds up wedding planning like an impending birth!). Have fun! Enjoy each other! Come home strong and unified before the reality of wedding planning sinks in, and times get a bit strenuous. 

Some advice as you make your way through the planning? Make a pact and limit the wedding conversation to once or twice a week. Talk about other stuff… Like you used to before you got engaged. Don’t make every conversation and date night a planning session. Got it? Good! Then bitch less!!! 

Image via MARATHON

Five Ways to Make Your Wedding Planning go From Stressed to Relaxed

It’s pretty sad when your iWatch reminds you to breathe. Right? Seriously, at first I thought it was because I truly wasn’t breathing (I mean, obviously I was breathing, but maybe I was holding my breath), and that it was a personal reminder to catch some air, but then I realized that I had completed the most recent update for my watch, and this was a new feature… BREATHING, breathing was a new feature! What a fucking concept. But, you know what? I listened. And, it worked. I felt better after I took a moment to breathe in and let it all out. I hadn't realized it, but I was holding my breath. It was a tough day and I was wearing it like a badge of dishonor. My shoulders were up to my chin, my hands were clenched at my sides and breathing seriously felt like a chore. But then, an updated iWatch essentially reminded me to slow my roll. Something I tell my brides all the time. Breathe. Take it slow. Break it down into small, manageable pieces. Stop feeling like you have to conquer your to-do list all at once. Just breathe, bridey.

But, here’s the thing. Breathing is hard sometimes. Taking a step back and remembering to breathe in and let it all go is difficult when you feel overwhelmed in a world you to fully understand, and are left to navigate on your own. So, please allow me (not your damn watch) to remind you to breathe, and teach you a few things you can do to make your wedding planning feel and actually be more manageable.

1. Remember that shit will go wrong. It always does. Bridey, no matter how well you planned out every.single.detail for the big day, and no matter how well you organized the hell out of your spreadsheets, something inevitably goes wrong on the day of your wedding. So, take the surprise out of it, and embrace it. Breathe. Own it ahead of time. Own the fact that sometimes, even with the best laid plans, things get a little messed up. Just let it go. If you resign yourself to the fact that you did the best you can, and that literally, at the end of the day, you will be married, then fuck it. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. And, breathe.

2. The biggest problem many brides face is the wedding budget. Yup! The fucking budget is oftentimes the tip of the iceberg which leads to fights, insane stress and pure anxiety. So, how can you fix that? PLAN. I don’t care if you’re the worst planner/slacker in the whole wide world. Plan to go over your budget, bridey. And then budget the “over budget” into your budget. Sounds crazy, right? But, the reality is that something like one third of brides go over their wedding budget. ONE THIRD! The problem? They are not setting realistic expectations from the get-go. Be it with how much gets spent at the venue or on flowers or photography, etc.… Soooooo… Don’t just stick to your budget, stick to reality! Once you determine your budget, add 20% to the total. Now, take a deep breath, and let it go!

3. For the love of God, hire a “day of” wedding coordinator. I really don’t know I can be more clear. In reality, it’s more like “month of”, but whatever you do, hire somebody to take care of you and the details on the day of your wedding so that you can relax. Pass the baton, and enjoy the day. PERIOD. Oh, and breathe.

4. Perspective. There’s my favorite word again! PER SPECT IVE! Bridey, not to be fucking morbid, but the next time everybody you love in the world will be under the same roof is going to be at your funeral. Right? So, when you’re feeling especially stressed and overwhelmed, remember that. And, get excited! Everybody you love is coming to celebrate with you, and I can assure that you they won’t care if the details aren’t perfect. Because they care about you and your sig other. So, breathe. Let it go, and be present, not stressed for the people you love!

5. Take care of yourself and your relationship. Oddly enough, couples fight a lot during wedding planning because that’s all they end up talking about. So, just don’t. Remember to date during your wedding planning, and have fun together. You don’t have to be planning all of the time. Go out! Enjoy each other! And, breathe!

Bridey, I really hope this helps you break it all down… I know that it’s not always realistic not to be stressed when you’re spending a shitload of money and time planning one day, but if you just breathe, and remember that you CAN do this, your inner rockstar will shine through. Got it?

Image via EmbracingHealthBlog

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ ***FLASHBACK*** Bridal Party Etiquette

When I resurrect a juicy post, it's usually for a reason. It's come to my attention that brides are still being bitchy no matter how hard I try to prevent this from being the case. So, re-educate yourselves, and don't forget to read the comments from way back in February of 2013:

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. Because this shit keeps happening... Although, 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 prevent 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. 

2. It's not okay for you to ask your bridesmaids not to get pregnant. Seriously, that'd be like if they asked to hold off on getting married. Right? If you are choosing these girls to be in your wedding, then obviously you care about them. And if you care about them, then you must respect their life choices just as they are respecting yours. So, get out of their bedroom and be a supportive friend!

3. Do not assume that your bridesmaids have a whole year to dedicate to your wedding. What do you mean BB? Well, bridey, I mean that if you want to have "weekly wedding meetings" and you feel as though some of your bridesmaids "just aren't too into it", let it go. Your bridesmaids are responsible for leading their own lives, and as much as they want to participate in every aspect of your wedding as they can, to some of the girls it might feel like work. And you know what? That's okay. Because bridey, I bet if you are honest with yourself, then you know in advance who these girls will be, and ultimately it's your fault because you asked them to be in your wedding. You don't get to be surprised when they don't seem all that into it when you knew from the beginning that it was a possibility. Again, accept them as is or don't ask them to be in your wedding. 

4. This one really pisses me off... Don't assume the financial situation of anybody in your bridal party. You are not allowed to get upset if some of your bridesmaids can't make it to the shower (or showers), the bachelorette party, etc. because it's a plane ride away. They are already investing in your wedding with a dress they can't wear again (let's be honest), a gift, their time, etc. etc. etc. So, again, let it go if somebody can't make a trip or two or... wait for it... they choose not to... Got it?

5. I find this one shocking. Really I do. And it's not like it's a big deal, but it bothers me every time it comes up... Brideys, if your bridesmaids want to cut or color their hair, it's none of your fucking business. You are not the boss of their lives... Okay, so unless one of your girls is rocking a mohawk, then shut your mouths. These girls are supposed to be your friends, brideys. So, if you want them to still be your friends after the wedding, you'll keep your mouth shut! Seriously, are your photographs really going to be ruined because one of the maids went from blond to red???

Brideys, this post is a bit more harsh than some, but I know you can handle it. I tell the truth because I care. I truly have your best interests in mind, and not only want your wedding day to be the best day of your life, but I want you to have friends in your life afterward... Got it?

Photo Cred: {Types of Bitches Blog}