wedding planning

**FLASHBACK** 10 Life Experiences More Stressful Than Planning a Wedding

Bridey, I know that planning a wedding is stressful, and oftentimes, painstakingly brutal. So, today I thought I would open your eyes to ten life experiences more stressful than planning a wedding. Well, perhaps not more stressful, but definitely just as stressful for sure! And the crazy thing? Most of you have probably experienced at least 5 things on this list. It all comes down to perspective. I mean... Although it's difficult to imagine while you're in the midst of planning your wedding, there are life changes in which the stress trumps the angst you're feeling right now as you make your wedding plans.

So, bridey, I challenge you to take yourself back to the coping mechanisms you used to get through these tough times... Because, it's time to stop the bullshit excuses, and quit feeding into the bridezilla behavior. Your 100% better than that! Let's make the word "bride" synonymous with "awesome" instead of "bridezilla". Okay? Hopefully, looking at this list of stressful life experiences will help you put your wedding planning into perspective, and help you get through the wedding craziness (family dynamics, budget, etc.) Here are my thoughts (and not in any particular order):

1. Buying a House: Which inevitably means that you have to move, and both can be pretty brutal! I remember the day my hus and I closed on our house, and as exciting as it was, it was SUPER stressful! Providing all of the bank statements, W2s, etc. felt like a colossal task. And thennnnnn.... The move! Oye vey! Packing shit up, moving shit in, unpacking the shit. Yikes! 

2. College: I did well in school, but there wasn't enough Xanax in the world to calm my nerves before finals. I remember telling myself that, "By this time next week, it will all be over." Seriously, I would have traded planning a million weddings over taking an accounting final! But, I survived, and looking back, I wish I could have told myself to chill the fuck out, and quit getting in my own way.

3. Getting Fired: Sooooooo.....Forever ago, I was a hostess at a fine dining establishment, and was scheduled to work on an evening that my future hus (didn't know that at the time) had invited me to attend his summer outing for work. My boss said that if I missed that particular evening, she would fire me. And, you know what? She did. Money was tight for a few weeks after that, but I got through it... And who knows? Perhaps that was the night I sealed my fate with my husband.

4. Death: It's not easy to cope when a loved one passes away, but life eventually goes on, and we heal. Living through it is hard, and stressful. Kinda makes stressing over which passed hors d'oeuvres to select for cocktail hour seem miniscule, right?

5. Illness: Less than a year after I got married, my husband passed SEVERAL pulmonary embolisms through his heart and into his lungs. It was horribly scary (I was terrified that he would die, and it's a miracle he didn't!), and I hope to never go through anything that intensely horrific again. I'm pretty sure I dropped about 10 pounds in one week, and struggled with PTSD thereafter. Thankfully, he's doing great, but man... Talk about perspective!

6. Public Speaking: I don't usually have a problem with this, but sometimes it sneaks up on me. And for most people, it's painful. Right? I mean, oftentimes, there's sweating involved, racing hearts and sweaty palms. Ick! Super stressful!

7. Job Interview: "Don't fuck it up. Don't fuck it up. Don't fuck it up." Yeah... That's what used to play over and over again in my head when I was interviewing. And, depending on the job at stake, interviewing takes preparation, poise and confidence. Throw in some competition for the position... Yikes! Totally exasperating! 

8. Pregnancy/Birth: Do I really have to elaborate? I have two incredible children, but man did I fight to have those little assholes. We went through IVF, and between the needles, blood draws, wands (that's my special word for an internal ultrasound or transvaginal ultrasound. Ewwwwww! Use your imagination!), and everybody and their mother seeing my vag... To say it was a stressful time in our lives would be a huge fucking understatement! I don't want to scare anybody out of getting pregnant, so I'll leave it there, but pregnancy? Birth? FUCKING STRESSFUL!

9. Parenthood: You know that joke about how babies/kids don't come with an instruction manual? Well, they don't. And there have been numerous times since my kids arrived that I totally would have sought from said manual if it existed! I LOVE being a mother, but I also like knowing what I'm doing, so sometimes it's really fucking hard.

10. Divorce: I mean... Think about all of that money you're spending on one day, bridey. Now imagine spending quadruple that amount, and not nearly getting everything you want. That's divorce!

Perspective. Perspective. Perspective. 

Image via Examined Existence

What Happens When a Bride Doesn't Come Back from Bridal Entitlement?

You know what’s crazy? My dad got me thinking about this topic. I know, right? Every so often my father and I have a few glasses of wine and start chatting about why people are the way that they are, and what makes them tick. And considering my background, these conversations usually lead to talk of entitled and bitchy brides. And we all know that when it comes to brides, some have an affinity to the dark side, and take on multiple personalties during wedding planning, something I fondly deemed as Bridaldemia, an affliction in which a “normal”, sweet bride turns into a crazy, entitled bitch. Usually, she comes out of the haze after her wedding day, but what happens when a bride doesn’t come back from bridal entitlement? What happens if she can’t shake that alternate personality after she says “I do”? By our third glass of Cabernet, my dad told a story about a women he worked with many years ago who never “recovered” from of her entitled, bridal ways. 

What’s interesting to me is that this lovely woman, turned into a nasty bitch bride before it was considered “acceptable” behavior, like it is now. Seriously, bridey, you’ve heard me whine a gazillion times about how I feel like our society applauds and encourages, and even celebrates bad bridal, ‘zilla behavior, and how it makes me want to pull my hair out. But, thirty-five years ago? Not so much. More often than not, a bride’s mother would plan her wedding with little buy in from the bride. So, hearing that this sort of behavior started decades ago, was definitely shocking to me! But, what’s even more worrisome is that this chick never went back to who she was before she got the rock. Then it hit me! I 100% know her type. I have worked with at least a dozen women over the years who were completely different people when they walked down the aisle as opposed to when they hired me, and never quite shook the entitlement after their nuptials.

The problem? These brides got used to the entitlement and they liked it. They liked it so much that they decided not to go back to the people they were before. And, when you think about it, why the fuck would they? We all fight for position, and when you’re a bride, your position immediately moves up. As a bride, you’re treated with kid gloves, and for the most part, you get whatever you want because you use your new position and demand it. And, what’s worse?People give it to you. So, why would a bride want to go back to her previous position as a plain, average woman when she gets so much more by being entitled? Right? In a fucked up way, who could blame her?

But, here’s the thing. If the wedding/hospitality industry stopped bending over for these demanding bitchy brides who are simply using their new position to be miserable and make everybody else miserable, then the problem or the entitlement would go away; the problem would cease to exist. But, until we as a whole (industry) stop being so fucking afraid to say “no” and accept entitled piss-poor behavior, then we will stay broken, and brides will continue to stay entitled. And, some won’t come back from it because they were taught that the more noise you make, and the more misbehaved your are, the more you get.

It’s painfully clear that things have to change for us to get our brides back from bridal entitlement. As an industry, we have to stop enabling and celebrating bad behavior. We have to take care our brides without letting them trample and take advantage of our good intentions. In a sense, we have to “raise” them to be good brides so that they don’t become entitled, and then we won’t have to worry about getting them back after the wedding. Essentially, we have to eliminate the problem before it starts. But, I can’t do it alone. Brides and vendors alike have to make a conscious effort to stop the bridal entitlement before it starts! Who’s with me?! Good! Stay Bitchless! 

Cartoon via V3Wall.com

**FLASHBACK** ~ The Lone Bride... Why Getting Married Can Sometimes Make You Feel Incredibly Lonely...

So, I had an epiphany the other day while catching up with an old friend of mine. You see, bridey, she’s getting married, so of course we were discussing her wedding plans, annoying family drama (which inevitably presents itself during the process), and the seriously stupid shit people say when they hear you’re getting married. Like, “We were wondering when you were finally going to met the right one.” Right? BRUTAL! My friend is my age (just about 39), and comments like that are just dumb. But, what struck me the hardest was when she said, “It’s strange, planning my wedding has made me feel incredibly lonely.” Whaaaaaa? Lonely? “Why lonely?” I asked. Her answer stopped me in my tracks and literally made me need to sit down (I totally pace while I’m on the phone).

“Because, I’m 100% in it alone. Everybody else has already gotten married, had kids and is dealing with their own shit. They don’t care that I’m getting married. I mean, they’re happy for me, but they just want to show up on my wedding day, and be done.” she sniffled. WHOA… I never thought about the “lone bride”. I mean… I just wrote about why getting married in your 30s is so much better than getting married in your 20s because you’re smarter, and stronger and more resilient to the bullshit. And, while all of these things still hold true, this kind of conversation definitely shed some light on what it feels like to be the last 30-something standing. Complete isolation.

I mean… Does she not deserve to have her big day simply because she waited too long? That seems entirely unfair. But, do people really not care as time ticks by? I tried to put myself in the position of the married chick with kids dealing with her own shit… Oh wait! I’m actually that girl. I have two kids, been married over a decade, and yet, I’m still excited for my friends who are getting married now. Perhaps it’s because I am more tuned in due to the wedding-world I live in, but to not be happy or care that one of my friends is getting married? No. Absolutely not. 

Buuuuuutttt… If I’m completely honest, I probably don’t care the way I would have cared like 10 years ago. Because too much has happened since I walked down the aisle. Too much has happened since I said “I do”. Two kids, illness, hospitalization(s), job loss, new jobs,  buying a house, work, etc… All huge life events that make my actual wedding day, and planning that went with it, seem far away and small. Kind of like a mirage dancing in the distance. It’s still important, but certainly not the most important moment in my life.

Bridey, you know what I said to her? I uttered my favorite fucking word on the planet… Perspective (seriously, read the link)! I reminded her that while her friends and family love her, and want her to be happy, their perspective has changed since they got married. They have had experiences that have changed them, and changed their thinking about weddings and wedding planning. Does that mean that they don’t care? Absolutely not. But, they aren’t about to get wrapped up in the minutiae or give advice on which flowers to select. What they will give you, is advice. They’ll tell you to stop obsessing over the details, and enjoy the dude and the day. They’ll tell you everything they would have changed about their wedding if they didn’t get in their own way, and allow every.single.detail. to get under their skin. They’ll tell you how fast your wedding day goes, so enjoy every second, even if it’s raining. They’ll tell you a bunch of shit… So, listen, and learn.

Bridey, if you’re a 30-something bride feeling lonely, recognize that you’re not alone. Know that your friends and family DO care, and they love you. They just have their hands full with their own lives and their own perspective. It’s not personal, it’s literally just life. And, they will be there to celebrate with you (and your hus), and to love you, just leave them out of the plans…

Image via Fotonord

**FLASHBACK** ~ Bridey, It's Time to STOP Apologizing! Except When You do These 10 Things...

I've stopped apologizing. Seriously. I'm done apologizing for stupid shit. Sure, if I make a mistake or if I owe somebody an apology, then I will apologize to them, but other than that? I'm all done. I'm done apologizing when it's unnecessary. And you know what, bridey? You should be too. Seriously, ever find yourself in somebody's way at the store and realize that your very first instinct is to say, "I'm sorry"? Have you ever stopped and wondered why? Because, are you really sorry for looking at the same t-shirt or cereal as somebody else at the same time? I'm not. But, we are wired to think that we are inconveniencing somebody somehow simply by standing where we're standing. And lately? If I'm not done looking at the t-shirt in question (or reading the cereal box), then I'm not moving, and I'm not sorry. Good for you BB, but... how is this relevant to wedding planning? Well, bridey, you do it all the time! You apologize unnecessarily, and then you don't apologize when it's necessary!

Look, I promise to tell you when you need to apologize, but apologizing because you don't understand terms of a vendor contract or because you can't wrap your head around a service you are paying for? That's just silly! It's important for you to understand everything you are paying for and receiving, and frankly it's important for you not to apologize in the process.

Bridey, I know that I have spent a lot of time busting your chops for your sometimes entitled bullshit behavior, but I've also made it a point to educate you and stand up for you while you plan your wedding. Because I understand that it's difficult to plan a wedding on top of the countless other responsibilities you are busy juggling. I understand that most of you haven't had the pleasure of wedding planning, and therefore you have a lot of questions. It's normal, and it's okay. So, rather than apologizing for it, own it! You're not supposed to have all of the answers. You're not supposed to know what makes "the industry" tick or how attrition works in regards to food and beverage or guest rooms, etc.. So, it's completely acceptable for you to ask questions and get answers. No apology necessary.

When should you say you're sorry? Here are the top 10 moments when an apology is necessary: 

1. Apologize when you're being an entitled bitch. We get it, you're getting married! It doesn't give you carte blanche to be mean.
2. Apologize for getting pissed off because a vendor had the audacity to work on Saturday and couldn't meet you when you wanted them to.
3. Apologize for not being flexible with your vendors (see #2).
4. Apologize for being rude to your mom, sig other, MOH, etc. in front of your wedding vendors.
5. Apologize for monopolizing all of my fucking time going over and over the flowers, décor, linens, etc., etc., etc., once we've already made a decision.
6. Apologize for not being able to make a decision. Promptly.
7. Apologize when you miss an appointment because you had to get to the gym. REALLY!?
8. Apologize for keeping me waiting (see #7).
9. Apologize when you say you need a "quick minute to chat", and an hour goes by.
10. Apologize for paying your deposits, final payments, etc. late.

Bridey, this list could be a hell of a lot longer, but what I'm hoping you'll take away from this article is knowing and understanding when you should apologize, and when you shouldn't. Got it? Good! Stay Bitchless! 

Image via The Odyssey Online

**Flashback** ~ Ten Things I Hate About "I do"...

"Oh my God, you have the coolest job! I'm sure you could write a book about all of the stuff you see!" *wink* Since all of my non-wedding industry friends always seem to think that my job is nothing but rainbows and unicorns, I thought I would share ten things I hate about "I do". And since I'm not really into sugar coating, a few of these items may hit a nerve, so brideys, I suggest you listen up and learn from this instead of being offended. Because I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. If used correctly, then what I am about to share with you can quite possibly change the entire course of your wedding, if not your life. Okay... a touch dramatic, but...

1. Cheap brides. It's one thing if you don't have the money, and need to scale back. I totally get it!! But, cheap for the sake of being cheap is fucking annoying. I want you to remember something, bridey. You get what you pay for, and if you hire the cheapest vendor or nickel and dime the ones you hire to their breaking point, then most likely you will be disappointed with the outcome. If you're cheap with them, then odds are? They're going to be cheap with you.

2. Two words. Dry weddings. WHAT the fuck? I have planned weddings of all different religions, backgrounds, etc., but imposing your personal tastes and/or beliefs on your guests is rude. At least have a cash bar (cringe) and make your guests pay for their booze. But, not offering it? Inconsiderate.

3. Which leads me to my next point. Vegan weddings. REALLY? Enough! Be vegan! Be healthy! That's awesome, bridey, but pretty please with sugar on top, don't subject your guests to tofu if they aren't interested. Look, I have a lot of vegan friends, but when we're together they certainly don't impose their "stuff" onto me. So, please, bridey, don't do it at your wedding. If meat makes you ill, I totally get it. Just make it a lovely vegetarian wedding, and skip the vegan.

4. Get a grip on your expectations. Drop the fairy tale act. You want magic? Then marry the right man. PERIOD. If you plan well, stay true to yourself (and your budget), and the rest will fall into place. And you know what that is? Magic!

5. Please don't be rude to your fiancé, mother, father, sister, brother, event manager, florist, caterer, etc. in front of anybody else. Because it's painful. It's excruciating. It's uncomfortable. And it makes me want to punch you in the face. If you have an issue with any of the peeps mentioned above, then work it out privately and get off of your soapbox.

6. Unflattering bridesmaids dresses. You heard me. UN FLATT ER ING! And for any of you who say "OMG, don't my girls look amazing?"... You're lying! Because that bottom heavy friend of yours in that stick-straight, super light dress is fucking miserable, and it shows!! So, be considerate, bridey. Because more often than not, that amazing bridesmaid dress? It'll be donated after the wedding, and will probably be worn by a 17 year-old girl to her prom. So, if you must, then be a stickler for color, not for style.

7. Weddings over a long weekend. Remember the video post I did when I broke the news that nobody wants to come to your wedding? Well, that feeling is multiplied by 100 when it comes to attending a wedding over a long, holiday weekend. Most of your guests would like to get away for a three day weekend, and unfortunately that does not mean getting away and attending a wedding with the focus on somebody else. So before you consider ruining the holiday for your guests, see if there is any other date that would satisfy you and your groom.

8. God awful toasts. Bridey, if you know that the best man is a notorious drunk or has an odd sense of humor, then don't give him the opportunity to go public with his "charm". I've sat through way too many awkward toasts, and trust me it's not cute, and it's not cool. All it does is make everybody in the room uncomfortable. So, pull the plug before he even has the chance to go "on air".

9. The transformation from "engaged" to bride. Huh? Let me explain. It makes me sad when I meet a bride for an initial consultation and she's a beautiful, slightly voluptuous, curly haired girl, and by the time the wedding comes along, she's got no shape, stick straight hair and is a mere shadow of who she used to be... just for the sake of the wedding. Brideys, your groom needs to recognize you as you stroll down the aisle! I mean, the dude proposed to you as you were, right? So, make sure you're still the same girl! Look, I'm not saying that you shouldn't get healthy and look FAB on your wedding day, but a complete transformation? That's going a bit too far.

10. Sometimes, I hate the bride herself. I hate what planning a wedding has done to her. She's become selfish, needy and impatient. She's not the girl she was before the bling met her finger. It pisses me off! Grrrrrr.... And that my friends, is how Bitchless Bride came to be. 

Image via snazzyspace

**Flashback** ~ All Weddings Are Not Created Equal – Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Bridey, when it comes to what your vendors are going to provide for you, avoid comparing what you heard your vendors did for your best friend, sort of friend, acquaintance or somebody that you know. Because each circumstance is different... Perhaps the caterer threw in an additional passed hors d’oeuvre during cocktail hour for your friend because they received a shitload of short rib that they needed to unload or else it would go bad. Or maybe the florist your acquaintance used was late paying her rent for the very expensive studio she resides in and lowered her pricing so that she would win the business. Your friend got a free cheese display? Perhaps the catering manager at the venue comped the damn display because your friend is awesome and she simply wanted to throw her a bone. Or, you know what? Maybe, they’re all lying or embellishing the truth. Whaaaa? You don’t think that you girls are competing just a bit? So be happy with what you got because as Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the Thief of Joy".

Whatever the case may be, bridey, I just can’t listen to it anymore! Remember when you told your mom that the whole class failed that stupid fucking geometry test and her retort was that, ahem (imagine your best mom voice), “I don’t care about the rest of the class, I care about you.” UGH! But, you totally remember, don’t you? Well, that is essentially what I am saying to you. When you approach your vendors with deals that they may or may not have made with your peers, it does nothing but piss them off in the same way it pissed off your mother. Because each circumstance is different!!! They are focused on what they are providing to you. And all weddings are not created equal! And frankly, all brides are not created equal. And... you guessed it! Not all "deals" are created equal!

Bridey, if you want a freebie, the worst possible way you can go about asking for it is to say that of your friend, or whomever, got a deal and therefore you want one too. Seriously? That’s just annoying. Be straightforward. Be nice. Show some respect for the vendor with whom you are working, and leave everybody else out of the equation. If something is out of your budget, tell them, and if they are in a position to discount it or offer it to you complimentary, so be it, but let it be their decision. No matter what, if you have been a delight to work with thus far, anything is possible. I told Elizabeth Vargas that when we sat down for a chat. Basically, we (vendors) want to go above and beyond for those clients who treat us with respect. 

Got it? 

Good.

What is Wedding Dissection, and How it Can Ruin Your Wedding Planning...

Remember in like seventh or eighth grade, how we had the "opportunity" to dissect a frog? And although some of you thought it was fascinating and the coolest thing ever, I'd say that the majority thought it was disgusting and overwhelming. Right? For me, the worst part was definitely my science teacher! OMG! I swear, he was completely obsessed with every.single.detail. of that fucking frog, down to the teeniest, tiniest spec. He was super thorough, super detailed and oftentimes, got super sidetracked. I remember that he'd get so wrapped up (and basically stuck) on one aspect of that stupid frog that we had to constantly remind him where he started. We were constantly reeling him back in. Oddly enough, it's quite similar to what I do with you, bridey. I reel you back in, and try to prevent you from dissecting the wedding planning process so that you remember where you started, and quit losing your mind over the teeniest details.

But, seriously... Isn't ironic that all of these years later, mentally, I find myself back in Mr. Brown's (I think that was his name!) science class (YIKES!), but instead of ripping open that fucking frog, I'm trying to prevent you, bridey, from dissecting your wedding planning? I'm trying to guide you though each "cut" and move you along seamlessly so that you don't get stuck on ONE thing. I'm trying to prevent you from being over thorough, over detailed and super sidetracked. Because sadly, the fastest way to ruin your wedding planning experience is to overcomplicate it, and get stuck on the smallest details. 

The crazy thing, is that so many of you do this, and you know you do it! I was chatting with a very chill, very down to earth friend of mine who's getting married next December (2017!), and she admitted that she's already taking a ride down the wedding planning rabbit hole. And while she feels herself falling, there's nothing she can do to stop it. So, I offered her a l'il bit of perspective... I reminded her that while it's easy to fall, the way you can pull yourself out of the rabbit hole is to remember that your wedding is ONE day out of your life. ONE DAY! And, while there is a lot wrapped up in this one day, it's still just ONE day out of your life. 

To shed a little light, I told her my story... I mean, who would have thought that less than a year after I was married, my husband would be hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms? Or that when we tried to start a family, we failed and needed to go through round after round of IVF (here's the whole story)? We certainly didn't think we'd be battling any of these obstacles. Right?? Bridey, do I look back on my wedding day with emotion and fondness? Absolutely! But, more than that, I look back on my marriage, and I am grateful that my hus and I had such a solid foundation to get through the bullshit. 

Bridey, will there be times during your wedding planning when you lose sight of the big picture? Definitely. But, every time you get sidetracked, and every time you get obsessed with the minutia or you start over-thinking, you lose. You have to remember that the more you dissect, the less you will have in the end (seriously, think about what that poor, torn apart frog looked like when we were done!). You'll end up looking back on your wedding planning and maybe even your wedding, with mixed emotions, just like dissecting a frog... 

Image via Sharleez Bridal