I took wedding preparations very seriously. It was a two year engagement, so I had a lot of time to plan for every teeny tiny thing. And I did. With the help of several significant people, the wedding was pulled off successfully.
Admittedly, towards the end I stopped caring about the minute details.
There was a noticeable crease on the guest stone sign – I did not reprint it. A jewel came off of the center of my dress – I let that roll off my back. I should have touched up the roots of my hair one more time before the big day – I couldn’t be bothered.
Of course, no amount of preparations can assure a completely surprise-free wedding.
Here are the top 5 things I wasn’t expecting. (This is separate from the major things that went wrong, which you can read about here.)
All photos in this post except the first one are courtesy of our fantastic photographer, Jim McLaughlin.
1. Guests want a cheap hotel.
According to my wedding book, much like with the gift registries, when you book hotel room blocks you should offer your guests a wide range of prices and options.
We decided to book two hotels that were close to the venue, and one that was close to the airport. The prices per night were $99, $129, and $149.
Everyone flocked to the cheapest hotel.
I believe those who live locally and were planning on a room who couldn’t get in that one block, opted out of staying at a hotel altogether.
It was a little bit embarrassing to deliver so few welcome bags to those particular two hotels. Of course, the one made out beautifully.
I had even warned people there is no bar in that hotel.
2. People can’t dress themselves.
I knew going into the whole wedding thing that I would be responsible for choosing what the bridesmaids wore – more on that in a moment. What I didn’t expect was how many other people asked me what they should be wearing.
Both of our moms opted to wear similar colors to the bridesmaids dresses. Which is 100% cool with me – it’s my mother-in-law’s favorite color anyway – but I was surprised they felt the need to consult with me and coordinate with the whole color scheme.
My father and I had a detailed conversation about whether or not his tux should match the groomsmen’s tuxes, which were black with silver vests and black ties.
And if he matched, then my father-in-law had to match. But we couldn’t have one matching and one not, of course. I repeatedly told them to wear what they were comfortable with.
In the end, my father went with a vest and tie that matched my mother’s dress (and by extension, the bridesmaids dresses), and my father-in-law went with a darker shade of gray for a vest, with a black tie.
What was really surprising, though, was when the guests started asking me what they should be wearing.
When my friend Maia asked for my permission to wear flip flops to the wedding because of her feet problems I was blown away. She showed me a picture of her dress and how long it was, and would thus cover the blasphemous flip flops.
“Why do I have to responsible for what people are wearing??” I said.
Maia shed some interesting light on the situation: There were some inconsistencies with the wedding in terms of how fancy and formal it was – this could lead to some confusion on how to appropriately dress.
On the one hand, we went completely all out with catering, including a pig roast and almost-but-not-quite top shelf open bar.
On the other hand, the venue was a barn. Fair enough.
Also on a clothing-related note:
3. The bridesmaids dresses matched.
The exception to the people-can’t-dress-themselves observation would be my Team Erin.
I told my girls that they could do the whole I-pick-the-color-they-pick-the-dress thing. Originally I wanted brown to go with the wedding colors. After picking out my own dress, I decided brown would not be terribly complimentary.
I went with a plum purple, which would be more fun and feminine for the ladies than brown anyhow.
I didn’t really care if the exact shade of purple was off a bit, as long as one person wasn’t really standing out noticeably from the others.
The bridesmaids coordinated so well, you never would have known I let them pick their own dresses.
4. There was a lot of stuff I never saw.
After putting so much work into all the little details, many things escaped me on the actual day of.
I had no idea how the plant favors looked or were arranged, until I saw photos:
I never saw the gifts until pictures, and I never saw, period, the money/card holder.
Although I put them in the restrooms myself, I never saw the hospitality baskets on the day of. (How did I go all evening without having to pee? I don’t know.)
I had no idea what the cupcake and dessert station looked like. This is what I got to see afterwards:
Not getting a chance to see these various displays really brought home how much you have to delegate with a wedding.
You truly cannot do everything yourself. You have to choose family members, friends, and vendors you can trust to take care of all these aspects of the event.
Also, as alluded to before, towards the end I was so stressed out I didn’t have enough room in my brain to care about these kinds of details anymore.
5. How happy I was to have video.
In lieu of a videographer, we had a photobooth – I don’t regret that decision for one second. The photobooth was such a perfect addition to the festivities.
I had put video completely out of my mind, believing that I didn’t really need it.
But when I saw my parents’ friend’s amateur video, I realized just how special it really is to have those moments captured.
I cried. I laughed. I watched multiple times in one sitting.
No one else probably cares – kind of like showing your vacation slides to someone – but it is something I will truly treasure forever.
In addition to the major parts being captured – ceremony, speeches, etc. – there is lots dancing at the end. It reassured me how good of a time everyone really had.
Thanks to Perry Berkowitz for that gem.