In the course of the eight months I’ve been planning our wedding, I realized that everyone who has ever planned a wedding wants to give you their best advice about their experience. One friend gave me a book about planning a “practical” wedding (which sounds boring actually) and said it really helped keep her grounded. Another friend told me, “Just do what YOU want, don’t worry about everyone else,” which turned out to be amazing advice. My mom even found her wedding budget from 1985 and gave it to me (just for fun because as it turns out, weddings have gone up in cost in the past 30 years).
Here’s my advice: Don’t do it. Seriously.
I guess that’s a little harsh. Let me amend. Don’t do it if you have a full-time job. Don’t do it if anyone, at any point in your life ever, has described you as “disorganized,” “sensitive” or “dramatic.” And definitely don’t do it unless you have $20,000 to spare. And I mean, $20,000 of actual money in your bank account. A personal loan at a gazillion percent interest doesn’t count.
Trust me when I tell you these things. You might have dreams of walking down the aisle, looking more beautiful than you ever have, to your handsome fiancé while your family and friends look on. You might want to import beautiful out-of-season flowers and pick out the perfect accent color for the napkins. You may desire to see photos of you and your future husband looking fabulous overlooking a lake while perfectly colored autumn leaves fall down around you.
RESIST THESE DAYDREAMS.
This is why I want to rain — no, downpour — on your parade.
You know that feeling where you’re like, “Oh shit I’m about to start crying and it’s over something completely stupid and I know it but I can’t help it because there is literally no other place for my emotions to go”?
When you plan a wedding, plan to feel like that at least twice a day. You might be able to get a handle on it a couple of times, but trust me when I say it will catch up with you next time. And when you start crying in front of the jewelry lady because your wedding ring is $300 more than you thought it was going to be, you are going to be embarrassed but won’t be able to stop.
Planning a wedding also tends to magnify everyday life problems into large, insurmountable disasters. My new/used car got rear-ended two weeks after I bought it, which totally sucks but is not the end of the world. To me, it was the worst and most inconvenient thing that could ever happen. I Kirked out on the rental car guy because he told me to call another rental agency to verify their address.
When I figured out we were $3,000 short of the rest of our wedding expenses, I really lost it. My mom tried to reassure me but I was having none of it. That’s when I thought to myself, that if in January I could have fast-forwarded myself to this moment, I would have told my fiancé that we were getting married at city hall and put all the money into a savings account.
Obviously I’m not going to cancel our wedding just because I’ve had a few meltdown moments — and I realize I will probably have several more before the wedding date. But I do feel like it’s my duty to let others know what they are getting into if they decide to go through with planning a wedding.
You will feel like a crazy person at least once. You will spend more money than you have ever spent in your life. You will cry multiple times over dumb things. But all this stress, craziness and insanity will be worth it in the end –—I hope.
Emily Little (nee Campbell) was a perpetually single girl who recently met and married her Mr. Right. Her blog, Dating Emily, has been a two-year diary of her adventures in relationships. Her life of bar-hopping and casual dating has turned into one of dog-walking, craft-making and budgeting for eventual home ownership. But just because she can make a mean casserole doesn’t mean her adventures are over. As she prepares to become a first-time homeowner and eventually, a mom, she is discovering that the adventure may just be beginning.