Planning a Wedding Kind of Sucks, But At Least There's CakeGrasie Mercedes

On October 2nd, 2012, my beau and I got engaged. It was sweet, beautiful and simple. I decided then that I wanted our wedding to reflect that same sentiment. I’m a complete control freak and borderline OCD (undiagnosed), so I knew I could not have a wedding planner because I would want to do it all myself, anyway. Not to mention my fiancé and I did not want to spend a fortune on our special day and not having a planner instantly saves you $3-25k (depending on how much of a baller you are). So the decision was made: I would plan our big day.

The second you announce your engagement, you are inundated with questions and advice about your wedding. “When’s the date?”; “Where are you having it?”; “How many bridesmaids?”; “You should just elope” “Spend the most money on your photographer or you’ll regret it”; “Florists will rip you off” and so on and so on. Then you get the recently married folks telling you, “You won’t remember a thing”; “It’s over so fast”; “It truly is the happiest day of your life.” Umm, okay.

Bridal blogs, magazines and books are full of beautiful photos and ideas that make planning your wedding completely overwhelming. It’s easy to see how any sane woman can instantly become a Bridezilla. There are literally thousands of options and for every decision you make, you quickly find a “better option” the next time you look.  Every decision feels like the most important decision ever! “What will these invitations say to our guest about us and our wedding versus these invitations?” “Will our wedding suck if we pick the wrong invitations?!”

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Wedding Inspiration Board (Part 1)

Speaking of invitations, by far the most anxiety-ridden part of planning a wedding is the guest list. Seriously, it sucks a$$. (I used money signs for a reason.) According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the US is $28,427 with catering being $63/per person. This does not include booze and we all know a wedding without booze is not a wedding at all. So, let’s just say $75/person with booze…that means you, your future hubby and/or your parents are paying $75/person for everyone who attends… even the annoying boyfriend of cousin Cindy who no one really likes (don’t worry, I don’t have a cousin Cindy). When I thought about our guest list, the number 100 came to mind, We wanted to keep it intimate and the friends and family that popped into our heads didn’t possibly exceed that number… well it did my friend, it did. We did not take into account how many of our friends and family were married, engaged or living with a significant other. That number of 100 quickly became 180! AHHHH!!! Okay sure, not everyone will come to your wedding, but about 60-70% will, and that’s about 25 more people (and $1875 more dollars) than we thought of. Are you starting to see why people lose their minds when planning a wedding?

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Wedding Inspiration Board (Part 2)

Then there’s the millions of other things you need to worry about: bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl(s), ring bearer, DJ, photographer, wedding favors, invitations, flowers, specialty cocktails (that’s a thing now), rehearsal dinner, location, officiant, hotels for guests, wedding party gifts, activities for guests, wedding rings, shoes, hair, makeup and most importantly in my book…the dress!

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Designer: Sarah Seven

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Designer: Sarah Seven (Psst: My dress is similar to these! Shh!)

Finding my dress was one of the first things I did and I loved every minute of it. Putting on “the one” is just as emotional as it is in every RomCom movie you’ve every seen. There are so many beautiful designs to go with and what you think you want is rarely what you end up with. There is really that magical moment when you put on “the dress” and everything seems right in the world. You tear up and see yourself walking down the aisle to marry your best friend. It’s perfect. It’s by far the best part of planning a wedding…

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  1. This post is exactly why I didn’t have a traditional wedding. The guest list skyrocketed, when we tried to say “no kids” family got offended, we couldn’t pick a date because every time we tried there would be a conflict with a family member… after we’d been engaged for a year and a half and still didn’t have a wedding date, we decided to run away to NYC for our wedding/honeymoon (we live in Los Angeles). I call it a “planned elopement” because we planned it like 2 months in advance, so parents and some close friends were able to attend, but it still wasn’t a “destination wedding” because we didn’t do a bridal party, catering, etc. We were going to do it at the Office of the City Clerk (they don’t do “courthouse weddings” in NYC), but have you seen the 30 Rock episode in which Liz Lemon is going to marry Criss? This is really what it’s like. It’s the DMV of weddings, with “pick a number” turns (A-23, you’re up!) and ladies in wedding dresses saying their vows at counter windows like they are paying a traffic violation fine.), but luckily a friend knew a wedding planner who does ceremonies out of his suite on the 55th floor of the Empire State Building so we had our ceremony there (at cost – $300!), we hired the photographer he suggested ($350!) and had dinner with everyone after (us + 10 guests) at a steakhouse in midtown (Groupon prix fixe, $25 each for a 3-course meal!). So, basically, we got super lucky and LOVED our wedding (oh and yes, I wore a real wedding dress) and wouldn’t have it any other way, but this definitely wouldn’t have worked for everyone. Good luck planning!

  2. I, too, am a control freak and had no intention of letting go of the reins to bring in a wedding planner (and who needs to spend that kind of extra money?). Lots of stress, lots of fun, and the day went by WAY too fast. Did everything go perfectly? No. Did I spend a lot of money? Yes (still well under the ‘average’ cost of a wedding…I like to stretch my dollar!). Would I have eloped instead? Not for anything. Best. Day. Ever.

    • Ah, that is so great to hear! I’m so happy it was your best day ever!!!

      Grasie Mercedes | 3/16/2013 06:03 am
  3. Love your post! I’m not getting married any time soon, but it’s great advice – will remember!

    Elizabeth Entenman | 3/15/2013 11:03 am
  4. I spent under $1000 for the whole thing. At first we were going for the big to do and then we realized we weren’t doing it for ourselves, we were dong it to impress everyone else and worrying about what they’d think. So once we decided it was for us and no one else, and we decided it was a celebration not an obligation, it was a breeze. I got a gorgeous cocktail dress for $80, I let my bridesmaids pick out cocktail dresses, each a color in the rainbow (we spent less than the guys renting tuxes), rented out a swingers club (sounds crazy but the night club seating and stage was perfect for the ceremony to switch instantly into the reception, built in bar and game room and our guests had a blast dancing in the cage.) We got a barbeque buffet. All of the decorations and neceseccities we got from Wal Mart and Michaels. Decorated ourselves the night before. To this day if you ask anyone in town they’ll tell you our wedding was the best thing to ever happen, ever. The main thing we just kept telling ourselves, and I think everyone needs to tell themselves whether its formal or casual, is this is a CELEBRATION for your love and nothing else.

  5. Grasie,

    My best friend and I have been married for almost three years (in June!), and I was sooo not prepared for the tumultuous escapade that was “Planning A Wedding.” It was nuts! It was a nightmare! Brought out the complete worst in most of my bridal party; My MOH freaked out and quit 6 months before the wedding, lost two more girls due to stress and finances, added in two more in last second…… and amid the craziness, the tears, the “I hate yous” (yes, there were several), and my groom face-planting into a cement fire pit the night before the wedding–we still managed to end up married. It’s been the biggest blessing, the most inspirational journey, and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to work for. The wedding was beautiful, but if I could do it over again, we’d elope for sure! Thanks for sharing your story :)

    • Whoa! Yeah, I’ve heard some nutty stories! We are 3 months away and so far myself and my lovely bridesmaids have all kept our cool. Fingers crossed!

      Grasie Mercedes | 3/16/2013 06:03 am
  6. Grasie,
    I love what you have to say and I am right there with ya sister! I am getting married NEXT weekend! (still feels awesome to say that) I just recently wrote about this as well. It’s so so easy to lose sight of what you’re actually doing all the tiny details for. On one hand, you want to give the beginning of your marriage together the honor and specialness it deserves but on the other, you just want to be married! Anyway, if you want to check out my story of wedding craziness and bliss you can find it here: http://www.apensievenameddesire.com Thank you bringing to light just how stressful this process can be.

    • That’s awesome! Congratulations!!! Have a beautiful day…I’ll check out your story now :)

      Grasie Mercedes | 3/15/2013 10:03 am
  7. Great advice! I am in the middle of planning as well (4 months to go) and have been asking myself the same question you mentioned. Anytime I am struggling with things like plates, silverware, etc., all I have to do is ask if I remember what was used at any wedding I’ve been to; the answer is always no, therefore it doesn’t really matter because no one will notice it!

    • YAY! Good luck with the rest of the planning and congrats! Summer weddings are the best. xo

      Grasie Mercedes | 3/15/2013 10:03 am