family dynamics

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

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

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“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

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

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

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Why Planning Your Wedding Actually IS a Full Time Job!

You know that nagging feeling when when someone says something to you that you just can't shake? And, in the long run, you know it's not a big deal, but mentally, you can't let it go? Well, I am having one of those moments. Last month, I wrote, "Help! I'm Not Excited for My Wedding", and one of the comments stuck with me. Like, it's been nearly a month, and I just cannot let it go. I keep coming back to the article waving my hands in the air and swearing at the screen. The comment? Well, this woman said, "Are you kidding? It's not a full time job to plan a wedding and if it is, you're doing it wrong. Seriously, you've got to be kidding, it's not that hard." I know, right? What the fuck? (And, not for nothing, I'm curious what her wedding was like...)

The thing is, bridey, the woman who wrote this comment? She's not alone. Several people believe that planning a wedding is easy, and that you must be doing it "wrong" if you're stuck. And, as somebody who has planned a gazillion weddings, I can tell you with absolutely certainty that there is nothing easy about planning a wedding. I mean... Forget the décor, logistics and the wedding gown... That's the easy part. That's the gravy. The full time job is balancing the precarious combination of family, money and anxiety. Right? That's the shit that makes planning a wedding difficult. That's the shit that takes on a life of its own. Now, does that give you the right to be an entitled, bridey bitch because things are challenging? No, but it does give you the right to raise your hand and ask for help; something I feel that brides should do more often. (Ahem... Hire a wedding planner!)

On Bitchless Bride, I stand on my hot pink soap box and preach about being nice while planning your wedding, by on the same token, I preach the brutal truth about WHY weddings can be such a pain in the ass. Let's be honest, dealing with family dynamics and financial shit when you're not planning a wedding can be laborious, but dealing with family dynamics and financial shit while planning a wedding? Fucking brutal. Seriously, that's why I wrote, "Help! I'm Not Excited for My Wedding" in the first place. The three P's (pressure, precedence and perfection) can really fuck you up when you're trying to balance all of the other delicate pieces of planning a wedding. For most brides, it takes a lot of strength to filter out the noise and push forward. That's why so many couples head to Vegas!

See why I'm so pissed about that stupid comment? One little, asinine, blanket statement managed to completely minimize everything a bride goes through to keep up her balancing act. Because, to some of you, planning your wedding actually IS full time job simply because of the dynamics you're dealing with along the way. Bridey, I know I can be tough on you, but this time? I 100% have your back. So, stay strong! Plan the wedding that you want, and don't let stupid little comments get in your way. I'll try to do the same!

Image via Mushy Cloud

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.

Either Listen to Your Heart or Listen to Your Divorce Attorney!

Okay… The Truth Hurts Tuesday is back with a bang! Seriously brideys, I am not messing around today. Here’s the bottom line… If you are being taunted by that little voice inside your head, you know, the one that is saying something like, “Run, bridey, run! WHAT am I doing, and how do I get out of this?” then perhaps you should take a step back and listen to what the voice is trying to tell you. If it ain’t right, then don’t get married. Period.