6 wedding and planning clichés I didn’t realize were true
When you start out plann- ing a wedding, you’ll hear all kinds of stories – good, bad and ugly – about the things that happen during wedding preparations and on the day. I heard many such tales from past couples, so common that they have become clichés. Some I took as the pearls of wisdom that they truly were; others I took with a grain of salt. For some, I privately scoffed, “Hmph! That’s not going to happen at my wedding. My wedding is going to be so much more amazing, organized, insert self-important adjective here.” Now that I have been through the process myself, I can pass on to other couples exactly which wedding clichés happened to us, and exactly how they came back to bite us on the butt.
• “There’ll be so much politics”: I’d heard about wedding planning dramas from recently married friends, and read that some couples are driven to elope- ment by all the meddling from their families… but I thought our family and our friends would of course be completely supportive and make sure our wedding planning experience was special. Yeah, not so much. Comparatively, we got off veeery lightly in terms of politics, but we still had my mother insisting on certain things, criticizing some of our decisions, and announcing she and my father may not attend all the wedding events as “this wedding depends entirely on our health” (really, I thought it depended me and my groom’s love for each other?). Also, my father refused to buy a suit, my brother got into a big fight with my parents right before the wedding and declared he didn’t want to be in the same room as them, and when my sister realized she hadn’t been named a bridesmaid she started yelling accusingly at me that sisters are automatically supposed to be bridesmaids. And on that topic, there was also bridesmaid drama: at one point two of them weren’t speaking to each other, and when I intervened at their re- quest they clearly thought I’d just made it all worse and then were not speaking to me. (And that’s just one of the bridal party drama stories.)
• “You’ll turn into Bridezilla”: For some reason, I was absolutely terrified of being labeled Bridezilla during our wed- ding planning. I went out of my way to be extra nice to everyone, not prattle on too much about the big day even if asked, and remind myself to keep the wedding in perspective (eg, no one will remember your center- pieces the next day, so there’s no need to freak out about them). However, I was definitely guilty of letting the wedding take over my life. I spent most of my spare time doing big day research, compiling inspiration boards and dissecting decisions – when I could have spent less time obsessing and more on quality time with my husband-to-be. And I certainly had a ‘zilla moment in the final week, right before our complimentary engagement photo shoot when I realized the dress I’d bought for it was now enormous on me (see next point) and didn’t match my shoes. I ran around like a mad woman getting everyone’s opinion on it and scrambling to find another outfit. I was practically in tears! As it turns out, while the photo shoot was complimentary, the photos from it were not – so there was no need to get all worked up about “photos that would last a lifetime”.
• “You’ll lose weight in the end from stress”: I’d read and heard many times that brides shed pounds in the final weeks before the big day, not only be- cause of the emotional stress but also the constant stream of tasks leaving you with no time to eat. I was certain this would not happen to me, because we planned to completely finish all preparations two weeks before the wedding, as that’s when we would travel to my home country. (All married couples reading that sentence are thinking “Ha!”) We ran out of time to finish our DJ playlist and DIY stationery before we left, so that was two (rather time-consuming) tasks that shifted to the final two weeks. New tasks also cropped out: distributing guest welcome letters to hotels, buying drinks and food for our after-party, guests suddenly sending us lots of questions (the answers to which were of course already on our website), chasing vendors who weren’t responding, and making back-up plans now that rain was forecast for our big day. I ended up in tears at least once that final week, and there were two days where we were so busy and stressed that I didn’t actually eat anything between breakfast and dinner. I suddenly dropped two kilograms / five pounds, and in several photos from the rehearsal I look unhealthily skinny. (And, surprise surprise, I gained that weight right back once I resumed normal eating patterns.)
• “You won’t get to eat much”: Whaaat? This is the cliché I was most certain would be codswallop. We planned a three-course plated meal; when everyone else sits down to eat, we would sit down to eat too – why wouldn’t we eat? We spent loads of time deciding that menu and discussing the different combinations, so I darn well wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor! However, on the day, things turned out a little differently! In a fake first dance for the photographer during cocktail hour, the Reflective Groom stepped on my dress… so I spent the rest of the hour in the bath- room with a bridesmaid as she tried to hitch my dress up higher, to prevent him stomp- ing on it again. As such, I missed all the cocktail hour fingerfood! Once the reception began, it was so long since I’d eaten that I devoured my appetizer. However, after that I could only eat half of my main course and half the dess- ert… I lost my appetite because I was so nervous knowing my speech and the first dance were coming up. (And there wasn’t much space for food after my bridesmaid strapped my corseted wedding gown on extra tight in the bathroom. :P) After the meal and formalities, I was so busy mingling or being pulled on to the dancefloor that I only had time for half a piece of wedding cake, and didn’t even get to try the other three cakes we’d ordered for the night!
• “You’ll hardly get to talk to anyone”: We added several events to our wedding, for a more social atmosphere and more opportunities to catch up with our guests. With a bachelorette party, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, welcome drinks, the wedding itself and a farewell breakfast in the space of a week, we assumed we’d have plenty of time to rub shoulders and chat with everyone. However, while we definitely got around to say “hello, how are you” to all our guests, there was no time to actually catch up with anyone and find out how they’ve been doing lately, how is work/relationship/kids, and so on. This is one thing I feel immensely guilty about, especially when I only get to my home country (on the other side of the world from my groom’s country, where we live) every 1.5 years so do not see friends and family often. During our nuptials, I felt a constant pressure to mingle, so I already flitted about a lot, and would often get pulled away from one conversation due to other guests arriving, departing or just trying to get my limited attention (or our venue organizer asking a quest- ion). It was worse for my groom; he felt obliged to spend time chatting to his friends and family who had traveled all the way from his country, and some of my friends – who had never met my groom before – felt ignored and told me he was rude. Can’t win!
• “The day goes by so quickly”: This was one cliché I was fairly sure would be true! Time always flies when there’s lots going on, and few days in your life are more action-packed than your wedding! (Well, for the average person in any case – spies, surgeons and lion tamers excluded.) I honestly cannot remember if my shiny new husband and I got a private moment together to take it all in and simply enjoy the idea that we were now married. It was our plan to have this private moment during the car ride to the reception, but then our photographer – to our surprise – jumped in the car with us and chatted loudly with our driver non-stop on the way there. Guh! The reception seemed to move at a fairly normal pace… until suddenly my groom approached me at the party and asked in shock, “Do you realize it’s only 45 minutes until our grand finale starts?” My jaw dropped and I wanted to howl “noooooo!”. I was having such a wonderful time and didn’t want the night to end. We continued on to the after-party, just to keep the fun going!
What wedding clichés did you hear before your big day? Which ones turned out to be true for you?