Things You Learn Planning A Wedding (Part 1)

For those unaware/newer to the blog, I’ll be getting married in the not too distant future. The fiancee and I (though mostly her) have been planning the wedding for just over a year now, and as we get closer to the wedding, most everything looks to be in good shape.

I say that it’s mostly been the fiancee planning the wedding because she understands weddings far better than me. Ignoring the religious side of weddings for purposes of this post[1], there are lots of things I didn’t understand about weddings and wedding related activities prior to being involved in the lead up to my own. I’ve decided to write a post tackling a few of these items today. I’m sure there’s someone out there (likely a male, as am I) who will inevitably stumble across this article wondering why certain things happen along the trail to getting married. Hopefully this will give you good advice, keep you from going insane, or at least cause you to reconsider your own morality.

Registries Are Like Parlay (To Others)

One of the more exciting times that the fiancee and I have experienced thus far in our engagement is that of creating a wedding registry. Through the better part of six hours on a Saturday, we spent time walking around a pair of stores, deciding what items we’d like for people to buy us for our new life together. Since both of us had lived alone in our own apartments for at least the past three years, it was easy for us to limit the registries to things we really need, be that due to not owning said item, or because our particular items were very old.

A significant percentage of people look at a wedding registry and think “Oh, look at all these things that the bride and groom would like that I could buy them. Let me find something in my price range”. But then there are people who look at a wedding registry and say “Yeah, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m going off registry because I know best”. The first group is wonderful. The second group is a group that my fiancee is far more accepting of than I am. I’m not exactly sure where the line is that makes people think a registry has no merit, but I bet they’re the same type of people who self-identify as “beer snobs”, “wine connoisseurs”, and “fans of football, or as you call it, soccer”, despite being from the USA.

Wedding Businesses Make Bank

I’m very excited to marry my fiancee. I’ve known that since I proposed to her. What I was never excited for was the prospect of a fancy party for people related to said wedding. I’ve heard the adage that a wedding reception is supposed to be a couple’s first big party to introduce them to society. I’m pretty sure whoever said that has lost far more money and sophistication than I’ll ever have. There were times as the wedding was being planned when I saw prices of certain things and seriously considered suggesting driving to the courthouse and just marrying then. No structured wedding. No reception. It makes more sense financially, psychologically, and I can only assume most other adverbs fit here as well.

You know who would have hated that? My fiancee. I’m pretty sure that’s part of why there are quite a few receipts I never saw.

And that’s fine. Weddings are about the bride[2]. I wasn’t about to say no to something wedding related just because I don’t see the need for something to be at a wedding[3]. It know it’s our day…but it’s her day. That’s just how weddings work. And because of that, if you have a company that does things for weddings, you can make it rain.

Music Confuses People

This one isn’t serious so much as it amuses me. We’ve had multiple people request that we play Stephen Colbert’s song at our wedding. You know, the one where he dances with the Rockettes.

Apparently a far smaller number of people have heard of Daft Punk than I thought. I kind of want to ask the DJ to play “Charlene” (below) right before just to see how people react.

People Will Say No…And You Will Be Sad

Both the fiancee and I experienced this at various points in the wedding invite/bridal shower/bachelor party/etc process. When you make your list of people you want to come to the wedding, there’s always a group of people you feel obligated to invite (because your family will get mad at you if you don’t), a group you’d like to come though you’d understand if they didn’t, and a group you really, really want there. You don’t go into making your list expecting everyone to come. But there’s always someone that catches you off guard — a family member, a co-worker, a close friend — who can’t come to the wedding for whatever reason. It sticks with you for longer than you thought it would. It’s never a fun moment.

More People Send Gifts Early Than You’d Realize

It was no more than a week after we sent out wedding invitations that a gift off of our registry showed up at our door. My boss’s wife, a lady who I’ve met once for a total of 45 seconds, sent us one of the gifts off our registry. Had it been someone from out of state or someone who wasn’t going to be at the wedding, I would have understood. But coming from someone who lives close and who will be at the wedding, it was a bit unexpected.

Between when the invites were sent out and the fiancee’s bridal shower, I want to say we got somewhere between four and eight more gifts arrive via mail. That’s not even counting a couple of coworkers who have offered to send us gifts, even though they’re not coming to the wedding[4]. I don’t get this phenomenon, and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just unexpected.

I promise another one of these lists after the wedding and honeymoon. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to add at that point.

Things You Learn Planning A Wedding (Part 1)

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12 thoughts on “Things You Learn Planning A Wedding (Part 1)

  1. 1. THIS SHIT IS EXHAUSTING…this is why the second time around, I just fucking eloped. Not a decision I regret, having already had the wedding experience.

    2. The gift thing is strange…especially the way some people still send them early the old-fashioned way and some don’t and then you’re receiving gifts for months straight. And the priciest ones come from the strangest people! My ex-boss sent me the second most expensive gift I received ($200 worth of bed sheets and pillowcases), and he didn’t even come to the wedding. It was weird to me, but he was also one of the few people I knew at the time who had any money to speak of. For some people, money for a gift really isn’t a big deal. That totally blew my mind.

    3. Yes, most weddings have DJs. I highly recommend that you have both a DJ and alcohol at yours. If you have no alcohol and an iPod playlist you created yourself on shuffle through the speaker system, you will have no one dancing or having fun and it will be lame and not worth the money for the party.

    4. I agree that weddings are for the bride, as a general rule. At least in straight weddings, with more traditionally-raised people. Girls are told from birth that a wedding is the most important day of their lives. They start choosing their wedding colors in grade school, and that is not an exaggeration. But…it really is your wedding too. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is important to you.

    5. All of this stress will melt away the second you see her face that day, and you realize that you’re marrying someone you really love. You probably won’t be able to wipe the grin off your face for a solid 8 hours. I couldn’t. 🙂

    1. The gift thing is really throwing me to. A lot of stuff had already been bought off of our registry after my fiancee’s bridal shower, so we had to add more stuff (apparently people get pissed if you don’t have enough stuff for them to buy? What the actual fuck?). We added some tables and bookshelves we thought looked nice but never expected anyone to buy. Within 24 hours of adding them to the registry, someone had already bought us the bookshelf. Stunned the hell out of me.

      We have both a DJ and alcohol. While most of the people on my side of the family won’t drink, those that do drink will appreciate it. I’ll have one drink the entire night and be fine.

      I’m sure the stress will go away once the wedding begins. I have far more than I can add to this list, however I’m saving for a part 2…or 3.

  2. It’s interesting how different experiences can be. I don’t know many people who have received gifts early from their guests. We only received one, and the only reason they gave it to us early was because it was a pot/pan set and we didn’t have anything at our apartment yet. Anyone else who sent early gifts sent them to my parents or Scott’s parents to hang on to until the wedding or a shower.

    We skipped the DJ route, and opted to use my macbook and a pro sound system instead. Mind you, it was a pretty small wedding, and there was no alcohol, but it actually worked out quite great.

    The cost of the wedding and wedding related items was a big thing for me. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I asked Scott if we could just elope, but both our families would NOT have taken that well. We got engaged right before I went to Guatemala, and when I got back, I just couldn’t do it. We revamped our budget and ended up knocking about $8000 off the budget (it was pretty small to begin with). I could not justify spending exuberant amounts of money on a single day, especially having just seen how much that kind of money could help families in Guatemala. It actually severely depressed me.

    For us, the wedding was not about me at all. It could be because I was one of those weird girls who NEVER dreamed about my wedding. I had no idea what kind of wedding dress I would want, cake, any of that. I tried to keep Scott involved in everything as much as possible. I think the only time I trumped his decision was with the wedding colours, and that was only because the shade of blue he originally wanted clashed with the other two colours we had picked.

    Our wedding was pretty much stress free, mainly because I never let it become something ‘big’. Our largest stress was with the guest list – not with the people who said no, but rather the people who we couldn’t invite that basically accused me of being selfish, entitled, and a horrible person for not inviting them, even after we explained that finances were tight and because of that we were forced to limit our guest list. We had 102 guests, an 63 of them were Scott’s relatives. That didn’t leave much space for my family, bridal party, and a few friends.

    Best of wishes on the rest of the planning – and remember, the more important part isn’t the day, it’s the marriage that comes afterwards. It’s just another day… with a giant party, and the greatest commitment of your life 😉 Enjoy it as much as you can.

    1. Even if the thought of eloping has crossed my mind multiple times (it hasn’t. I have no idea what you’re talking about), I never even would have considered suggesting it. My family wouldn’t take it well (based on previous elopements), her family wouldn’t take it well, and the fiancee herself would not take it well.

      1. I think the one thing that really made me stop considering it was when someone pointed out that the wedding isn’t really for the bride, it’s more for the guests. It’s the chance the family and your friends have to celebrate in something special with you.

        Still doesn’t take the stress away, but it did give some perspective. That said, it did not drive me to make decisions on my wedding based on what the guests would want.

  3. I would love someone to buy the $2 citrus peeler I put on the registry. We’ve had quite a few of the really expensive gifts already show up, but my grapefruits and oranges remain unloved.

    1. Dude, you need a citrus squeezer. Best $8 spent EVER.

      And a garlic pod. Specifically so you can make obnoxious zoom-zoom noises while you chop garlic.

  4. I’m not particularly sure what the average wedding cost is in Ohio. I’d have to think it’s somewhere between $15k and $20k, but I don’t know if that’s the case. My car cost $16k. If a one day party costs more than a car, that seems like an inefficient use of funds to me.

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