I saw this post about a wedding checklist and I just had to de-bunk it…I don’t want my cousins (or niece) that are all getting married someday, some sooner than others as some have found the right person already and some have not, thinking this is the norm or standard or the proper way to go about a wedding. Its not! Weddings have gotten too complicated and I just had to debunk some of this crap…
First of all, Travis and I had a lovely wedding. It was truly a good day. It was a very special. One of the best of our lives because
we got married to each other. We appreciated having a wedding and everyone had a great time, from what we were told. It was very memorable
and we are very grateful for it.
Would we do it again?
Probably not. I think we would elope, to be honest. Then, it would have been just US. Yes, it was nice to have my Dad give me away and I know it was special and important for him and to my Mom. And all our family and friends enjoyed seeing us get married. Still it was OUR day, not theirs. They also had a wedding, it was much smaller than mine and they didn’t get to have a reception, but I remember looking at their wedding photos and thinking it looked so sweet and they looked happy. It was their day. Your wedding is your day. No one elses. So, it needs to be what you want. I loved that my Dad gave me away, but I also think he would have been fine if we just eloped. Whatever made ME happy was what was important to him. And, no we don’t regret having a wedding. It was a wonderful experience. We would have been just as happy anywhere though. As long as we got married.
Some people truly enjoy the wedding experience. And that’s fine. For me though, I just wanted to be married. I was ready. I was not nervous at all and I had no hesitations. I did want the dress, but you can have the dress and still elope.
And I loved the location where our wedding was, but I would not have my wedding there today. For one, its way too expensive. This is one of the main reasons I say that we would elope. Weddings are too expensive. A wedding seems so important at first. And if our daughters WANT a wedding one day, we will do our very best to give them one. However, to our friends and family that are getting married these days, we do encourage them to elope or to have something very small. There are two reasons for this…
1. Cost – weddings are getting more and more expensive. This is money you could put towards a house or to paying off student loans or to a nice trip or even put in savings. Because as Travis and I have found, savings IS important.
2. Secondly, a wedding does not make a marriage. If you want a wedding, make sure you also want the marriage. Weddings are one day. Usually only a few hours of your life. You can have a wedding anywhere though and it will be just as special. Do you want to be MARRIED or do you want a WEDDING? The marriage is even more special than the wedding, in my opinion, and should be in yours as well. I love being married. I think this is why Travis and I say we would not do a wedding again. The wedding was a sweet and thoughtful BONUS to the beginning of our lives together. Its like I won the lottery when I met my soul mate and we got married, the wedding was like not having to pay any taxes on the lottery winnings. Weddings are a bonus, marriage is what you WIN!
As one of my favorite cousins is planning her wedding I really wanted to de-bunk the wedding checklist though and here’s why. It is not important stuff and I’m hoping one day she will be glad that she went with a smaller wedding or eloped. One of my other favorite cousins totally did her own thing for her wedding. It looked absolutely AUsome! She themed it Auburn and she looked like she and her husband had a great time. She did it affordably too from my understanding. Back to my de-bunking though. Travis and I got engaged on Nov. 19th 1999 and married Feb. 12th 2000, yep, you read that right… less than three months later! I had a really pretty dress, flowers, two beautiful maids of honor, photos, and a reception. I planned it ALL in that time frame. You don’t have to be engaged for a year and plan the wedding in that time frame. Its completely possible to do it quick and lovely. Now, for some, you have to be engaged for a while for school or to save money or whatever the case may be and that deserves a lot of respect. I don’t know if I would have had that kind of patience. Oh, I also got shingles on my shoulder during this time frame and served for a week on jury duty in December and I worked full time as an assistant manager at a photo lab.
So, let’s break this down bit by bit, here’s part 1…(my comments are in the parenthesis, just in case you missed that tidbit and are one of the spammers reading my blog.)
Bride & Groom’s 12 Month Wedding Countdown Checklist
10-12 Months Before (Don’t even agree with having to be engaged this long, but we have to start the debunking somewhere.)
1. Introduce both families and officially announce your engagement. (I would hope they would have met before your engagement if you’ve been dating a while, but even if they have not met, who cares? Will it change your mind about getting married if no one likes each other? I hope not. Save yourself the drama, because there will be plenty more later on.)
2. Find out who pays for what and start a budget. (This is one good idea, a BUDGET, if you are going to have a wedding, but set the budget lower than what you think you need. This is so you will be surprised when you don’t spend it all and will have money left over! It keeps you on a much stricter plan too. We were very lucky in that my parents paid for most of the wedding; I also saved them money on college though by going through in 3 1/2 years and at a smaller school and by living at home while I went to college.)
3. Create a guest list and manage it with our websites easy-to-use tool. (You don’t need a tool. Do you have an address book? Does he or his Mom have an address book? Have you even ordered the invites yet? This is unnecessary item totally.)
4. Compare calendars and select a tentative date. (Pick a date that is no more than 6 months away, whether you elope or have a wedding).
5. Choose your wedding party. (Again, why do you need to do this a year before the wedding?Your friends/family are going to be there for you if they are true to you, regardless of when you get married and if you want them in the wedding, they will be there.)
6. Create a wedding website to share your engagement. (Um, okay, but again, why a year before the wedding? People are going to forget or not go to it until about 2 weeks before the wedding).
7. Consider whitening your teeth for your engagement parties and photographs. (That’s what whiten at home kits are for. Also, photoshop, but most of time this is simply a vanity related thing. Not necessary unless your teeth really bother you. I have never liked my teeth, but my wedding photos look completely fine. And I didn’t have them whitened professionally. Money saved there for my parents.)
8. Conduct interviews and hire a wedding coordinator if applicable. (Um, NO! You know what you want and what you don’t want. A wedding coordinator is more money and will influence you on spending more than you want. Not to mention her kickbacks and personal taste influence. If you have a family member that enjoys this and cares about YOU then go for it, but don’t hire one.)
9. Decide if you want premarital counseling. (I said no. Travis said no. It was no big surprise that other people encouraged us to, but we’ve been married almost 13 years now. I think we are doing just fine. We keep passion and communication in our marriage and it works for us. Its also helpful that he’s my best friend. We also hired a justice of the peace to perform our ceremony. Actually, he performed it for free but we tipped him $100 for his time.)
10. Start looking at photos of wedding dresses for inspiration. (Most girls start doing this when they are 6.)
11. Send your engagement photo to the local paper. (Wait a second, did I miss the step where you actually get an engagement photo taken. Are you part of Manhattan society or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Why bother then? Especially 10-12 months before!)
12. Begin thinking about where you want to honeymoon. (Elope to a honeymoon location and this is another money saver!)
13. Visit and book your reception site, and arrange for parking. (Arrange for parking? What a valet? People should have enough sense to park their own cars. And a reception site? One of my cousins had her reception at her Uncle’s barn and it was cute and fun and everyone had a great time from the photos I saw, we lived 12 hours away so were not able to attend.)
14. Visit and book your ceremony location, including rehearsal time. (Unless you are getting married at the Vatican, I think you can wait on this step too.)
15. Create a save-the-date guest list. (Doesn’t this go along with #3 above?)
6 – 9 Months Before
1. Alert out-of-town guests of wedding date and/or send a FREE save-the-date email. (Free Email, okay, I can go with that, but this is what your INVITATION is supposed to do, so why spend money on a save the date.)
2. Find a bridal salon and begin trying on wedding dresses and veils. Bring stockings, heels, a strapless bra, and a hair clip to
each appointment. (This one is okay, except I don’t think you need a hair clip or stockings and like Randy on Say Yes to the Dress says, leave the entourage at home, bring no more than 2 people with you to try on dresses.)
3. Get in shape for your wedding gown by starting an exercise routine. (Okay, if you want to, but don’t crash diet.)
4. Get ideas for honeymoon locations and research pricing. (Again, just elope there and you’ve saved money.)
5. Start looking at floral designs and interview florists for style and cost. (Waste of money here. I was so unhappy with my flowers and I was extremely specific. They looked pretty, but they were NOT what I wanted or asked for. The more weddings I see, the more I say go with greenery, and fake flowers for the bouquets work just as good. Cheaper and everyone can keep them.)
6. Search for menu ideas and start meeting with caterers. (Now, my caterer, I loved. She was the most awesome part of our hired wedding party people. She did not over charge us and she did exactly what we wanted. She also made us a picnic basket for after the wedding. This was the only way we got to taste any of our wedding food! We opted to not have a sit down dinner and just stuck with finger foods. Worked great.)
7. Research wedding photography and interview wedding photographers/videographers. ( I lucked up on this one. My Uncle is a pro photographer. The only suggestion I have on this is anyone can video your wedding, friends or family and it will be fine. So unless you are related to Ron Howard you don’t need a videographer. Photography is up to you. Just get your photos on a disc with the copyright release and you can print wherever you want, if they want to charge you more than $1000 for the whole day and the disc then they are ripping you off, look elsewhere.)
8. Get ideas for music and interview bands/DJs. (Do you really need a dance floor and DJ? Again, my cousin danced behind a barn. Very pretty and romantic and no one cared. And DJ, really? What’s wrong with an MP3 player with your playlist and some speakers?)
9. Finalize flower and decor ideas, and select a florist. Include specifics of each floral arrangement in your contract. (Again, not necessary to do 6 months before the wedding, but okay. Just don’t be overdo on the flowers. Don’t need them really.)
10. Sign a caterer. (Okay, shouldn’t you sign when you find the one you like. And I don’t think 9 months beforehand is a necessary thing either.)
11. Order your gown and wedding veil. (Once you find the right dress, get it. Easy enough.)
12. Shop for and select the perfect bridesmaid dress. (Or better yet, tell them what color you want and let them pick the dress themselves – that way everyone has something unique and they can pick something they will wear again. Of course they should ask your approval on it, but really, everyone looks at you – not them. Let them be happy with what they are wearing.)
13. Book your honeymoon! (Elope and honeymoon there…can’t stress this enough.)
14. Find out if your ceremony location requires liability insurance. (If they do, move on.)
15. Finalize contracts with your wedding photographer and videographer. (Yeah, okay, if you have to. But really 9 months before the wedding, no.)
16. Book your DJ/band. (See above. MP3 player works great! We used CDs because it was before MP3s got popular, it was just 2000 people, not the 70s or something.)
17. Browse and purchase wedding dress accessories, including shoes, lingerie, purse, and gloves. (Purse and gloves? Really? No, you don’t need this. Travis’ cousin did the cutest thing and wore teal shoes. Loved that! Wear what you want. Accessories? Travis bought me my celtic heart necklace and I wore it on the wedding day. Sterling silver $40 and still my favorite piece of jewelry ever.)
18. Choose your officiant and discuss ceremony ideas. (Check with your justice of the peace or judge. They usually love doing this and are very nice and affordable.)
19. Start thinking about all of your gift registry options. (Not hard. Just don’t go crazy. And register somewhere like Target so people that live out of state and town can order online or can visit one in their area. And register for everything. If your groom wants a Wii, register for it, you might get lucky!)
20. Select three hotels in varying price ranges and reserve rooms for out-of-town guests. (No, they can do that. You can give suggestions.)
4 – 5 Months Before
1. Start thinking about cultural traditions for your wedding. (If you must.)
2. View wedding invitation styles and research proper wording. (Easy, its called websites.)
3. Look at photos to get ideas for wedding cake designs, and meet with bakers to taste samples. (This is part of the point of a good caterer.)
4. Discuss menu ideas with your catering manager. (Easy enough, whatever food you and your future hubby love and want.)
5. Shop for wedding rings. (Go with what you want and what you like. Not what is the most trendy We did this right before Christmas 2 months before the wedding.)
6. Look for the grooms tux and decide what groomsmen will wear. (Or here’s a thought, let them decide for themselves! )
7. Confirm your bridesmaids ordered their gowns and decide on accessories. (Also, let them decide, because does it really matter if one friend wears huge hoop earrings? That will be her mistake in judgement, not yours. And while I gave my maids of honor a pair of earrings to match my necklace that Travis gave me, they wore them because they were special. The other things they wore, were their choice.)
8. Have your mother and future mother-in-law coordinate and select their dresses. (Yes, this can be important. My future mother in law picked out a dress that matched the maids of honor. She took it back and got a pretty green. My Mom wore a candlelight colored suit, which was my choice. And she looked really pretty.)
9. Compare pricing, place your wedding invitation order, and book your calligrapher. (Or take a Saturday and let you and your fiance address invitations. Its more personal and no one really cares about your handwriting).
10. Purchase your wedding rings and send for engraving if applicable. (Okay, this can wait though and only engrave them if you really want to.)
11. Get ideas for wedding favors. (Not an immediate thing. This can be decided a few weeks to a month before hand.)
12. Confirm dates for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. (If you are lucky enough to have friends that want to give you one!Let them make the arrangements and just be thankful for one.)
13. Make sure you’ve started your registries before bridal shower invitations are sent. (Duh!)
14. Choose your baker and finalize wedding cake. (Lets just say again – Caterer – all in one! Makes your life and her/his life easier.)
15. Reserve rental equipment such as chairs, tables, linens, tents, etc. (Or just go with a place that will include it in the price.)
16. Research and book your rehearsal dinner location. (Easy enough. It can be Popeye’s chicken if you want. Does not need to be fancy. We went to a seafood buffet and everyone loved it.)
17. Get ideas for wedding hair and makeup. (Make sure you look like you on your wedding day. Not some made up fantasy person. Simple is always better.)
18. Notify any family or friends whom you would like to give readings, sing solos, serve as guest book attendant, etc. (Another one of those things you can wait until a month or two before.)
19. Interview and hire any additional management staff and babysitters if needed.(Um, no. Babysitters, no – people can bring kids to weddings. Management, no – do you have someone manage every detail of your life? You will make it without a manager on this day too.)
20. Give your guest list to shower hostesses and check that your registry has enough items. Update wedding website. (Okay, again, hope you have an offer to have someone give you a wedding shower, let the hostess ask you for the guest list because not everyone wants to host a shower for 50 and if your registry doesn’t have enough items, then graciously accept the gifts you are give gratefully.)
21. Consider getting wedding insurance. (Um, no. And why? What are you going to insure? Who cares if something happens? I wouldn’t have cared if there had been a tornado on the day we were scheduled to get married, we would have got married that day. If anyone didn’t show up because of a possible problem, that’s why they have insurance and why you have a contract. They will refund your money. We had rain and ladybugs covering the church on the day we got married. And guess what, we still got married. Without wedding insurance. Shutter the thought.)