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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Advice (8)

Monday
Aug222011

Your Wedding Planning Timeline

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I think every issue of every wedding magazine ever published has a count-down style “to-do” list, starting from 10-12 months out from your wedding date. While some of these list can be helpful, all are over-kill and some painfully outdated (i.e. “Send your engagement photo to the local paper.” What? Oh, that’s right! Newspapers are still printed. Silly me).

So in response to many of these lists I’ve created my own, T30SB-style.

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what?

10-12 Month Before

Stare at your left hand constantly. Gesture wildly with it at all times. Stop biting your nails and pay too much for manicures. Plan to regret this expenditure in exactly 7 months when you’ll be needing that extra money to pay for [insert overly-priced wedding must-have here].

Purchase every bridal magazine known to mankind.

Instead of his name, say “my fiancé.”

During office meetings, practice writing different versions of your name, even if you’re keeping your maiden name.

Reconfigure your office so that your computer screen isn’t visible to passers-by since you’ll basically be planning your wedding from your cubicle.

Stare woefully at your bank account. Start researching new recipes made with Top Ramen.

9-6 Months Before

Kick the DIY into high gear, bitch. Plan for every project to take twice as long as anticipated. Buy two of everything and save yourself trips back and forth to the craft store. Return unopened shit later. Remember, just about every single issue of every bridal magazine that you’ve already bought has a 20% off your total purchase for Michael’s in it. Find them. They are now your new currency.

Come to the realization that your fiancé is really only into this wedding planning stuff up to a certain point. It is the rare male specimen who will go beyond this point. Do not push him. Do it yourself so that you can play the martyr later instead of blaming him for not doing something. And honestly, it’s better if you just do it.

Now is the time to STOP looking at wedding magazines. Dress-envy helps no one, least of all you.

5-4 Months Before

It’s all about the CAKE TASTINGS! Forewarned is forearmed: excessive buttercream consumption may cause adverse bowel movements.

Eyeball potential family crises and decide which battles are worth it. Start assigning friends to the drunks in your families. For instance, Bridesmaid Mary is in charge of putting Uncle Albert in a cab should he imbibe in too many Alabama Slammers at your reception. For those serious troublemakers, assign two people per asshole. Muscle might be needed.

Get those scanners to beeping and register! It’s totally OK to register for the Dyson, just realize you’ll probably not get it. And register for cheap shit too – not everyone wants to shell out $100 for a gift. Times are tight. Get real and give multiple price point options. It’s really the polite thing to do.

3-2 Months Before

Yes, you’ll be hemorrhaging cash. Time to get over it.

STOP starting new DIY projects. If you haven’t already paid for the supplies and started it, you’re only going to make yourself nuts. Look, I warned you.

STOP looking at the eye-candy blogs. You may read this one and other, non-WIC (Wedding Industry Complex) blogs that are bride-friendly (see my Link ♥ list of Blogging Brides, The Marrieds, Hard-Core Stylin’ and Good Reads. Stay away from the All-Star Bridal Favorites because even those great sites will start to make you feel inadequate as a human).

DO watch episodes of The Housewives of [Insert City] on Bravo TV. Those crazy bitches can make a tightly-wound bride feel completely sane. It’s TV therapy, I swear.

2-1 Month Before

Go ahead and have yourself a break down. Best to get it out of the way now before the shit really starts to hit the fan.

Consider anger management classes instead of dance classes. You need the former for the RSVP hell you’re about to enter. Try not to kill anyone.

Thinking of Botox or a chemical peel or facial? Do it now so that any allergic reactions, open sores and drooping eyelids have time to heal.

When you get home, put on your wedding shoes. Cook dinner, get the mail, walk the dog. Break those suckers in.

3-4 Weeks Before

Seriously. STOP reading those blogs.

Call all the assholes who didn’t RSVP. Tell the people who added a plus one that they can’t bring their slutty dates. If you need an email on how to do this semi-politely, email me and I’ll send you what I sent out.

Gather all your wedding shit into one location and make yourself a checklist of what goes where and who is taking it there. Wrap up those DIY projects, lady. Time’s a tickin’.

Cry, but only a little because you already had your break down last month. 

Go shopping for honeymoon lingerie, it will make you feel better and you’ll start looking beyond the wedding day. There is life post wedding-planning, I promise.

1-2 Weeks Before

Get your pretty on: massages, pedicures, manicures. Pamper yourself, budget be damned.

Ignore the nay-sayers.

Screw your fiancé’s brains out. Sex is a total stress reliever.

Job? What job? Oh right. Just show up and do the best you can, OK?

Day Before

Breath. In, then out. In, then out.

Herd your cattle. Tell them what to do, when to do it by and not to be late. Crack the whip, sister. It’s time to take charge.

Eat something, but don’t eat anything with a lot of sodium. You’ll bloat.

By 6pm, all wedding planning stops. Have fun with your people if you’re doing a rehearsal thing. Now’s the time to mingle with your B-List people, in case you miss face time with them at the wedding.

The Wedding Day

Eat. Light, but filling. Avoid sodium. Don’t over do it on the coffee. You don’t want a caffeine slump right in the middle of like, all the action. Nor do you want to pee every other second. 

STEP INTO YOUR DRESS so you don’t fuck up your hair and make-up. Do this WITHOUT your shoes on. If you can’t get your dress up over your hips and you MUST put it on over your head, bring a pillow case or other light weight fabric to drape over your hair and face so that zippers and beads and whatever don’t catch on your hair and so you don’t get red lipstick on your gown. That would suck. Get people to help you with this. Put ALL accessories on AFTER the gown is on.

Chill. Whatever happens will happen and will be the story of your wedding day.

Get your party on.

 

So there you go. Now you know when to do everything. Easy, right?

Thursday
Aug182011

Wedding Assumptions: You vs. Them

I’ve been lurking around a couple bridal bloggers sites recently; women who are gnashing their teeth over the details. I get this, I really do. As a self-proclaimed control freak, sometimes it is about absolutely nothing but the details, big picture be damned.

Is this you? If so, you need to fucking relax. Or at least pretend to relax. Or try to pretend to relax. Your fiancé will appreciate the effort.

Why? Because here are the cold, hard facts: some people suck and regardless of all the details you put into something, not everyone will notice. Or care. Or care to notice.

Don’t believe me? Here:

My rehearsal gathering was exactly that – a gathering at a bar. We could not afford to feed our 40+ out of town guests twice. It was a cash bar. There wasn’t any food. This information was supplied to our guests repeatedly with helpful links and locations as to wear to eat, directions and personal favorites. Who listened? A few. Not many. And those who did listen chose to eat someplace far away, encouraging others to go with them and generally making a mess of my whole plan. Those who did not listen were oddly shocked at the lack of food and left early in search of sustenance. My mistake in all this: assuming that people read and remember what you tell them about your wedding.

You vs. Them.

These assumptions cross all borders and boundaries and can make your life a living hell if you let it. For those of you who have been through the RSVP phase, you know how incredibly ignorant, selfish, stupid, petty and generally lame people can be. The people who request a +1 when one CLEARLY wasn’t invited. Those parents who want to bring their kids though you’ve indicated on your website, Save the Date and through family members that your wedding is NOT kid-friendly. The brother-in-law-to-be who wants to bring his new stripper girlfriend. I had a family member RSVP that they were coming only to revoke that RSVP a few days prior to the wedding. Granted, they had a good reason, but it was annoying all the same. I also had to come up with extra invites two weeks before the wedding to placate family members I hadn’t seen or heard from in over a decade.

You vs. Them.

Attention grubbing in-laws or bridesmaids might try to steal your wedding day thunder. Aunt Mildred might talk smack behind your back because of your lack of a formal receiving line or pie buffet in lieu of a fondant tower.

You vs. Them.

What you need to realize is that your guests, particularly ones who don’t frequent the likes of wedding blogs, magazines or who are 253 years old, have no clue about weddings these days. Lots of people show up expecting to see a pair of silver bells as a motif and lots of white draped tulle. They plan to eat dry chicken picante with a house Chardonnay followed by the Electric Slide and the Chicken Dance. We know (yes, you do) that these things are probably not going to happen at your wedding. Your guests do not. For the most part, you should expect them to expect picante and ancient dance rituals. Wedding Assumptions on your part are a HUGE mistake. You will only be disappointed if you do and you do not want to be disappointed with your wedding. But guess what? It is WAY OKAY if a guest is. It ain’t their wedding. It’s yours and your fiancé's.

You vs. Them.

Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m encouraging you to give your wedding guests the big, fat finger. You do want your guests to have fun and not go hungry, but in reality, there is only so much you can do for people. Those who complain totally deserve the big, fat finger. There are many ways to give someone the big, fat finger without actually flipping off your great aunt or the slut your now brother-in-law brought as a date even though you strictly forbid him to do so.  A well-timed comment said with a sincere smile works wonders. Don’t be a bitch, but be direct. Don’t sugar coat, just tell it like it is. I did this on more than one occasion and it was generally met with understanding (pre-wedding) and absolute compliance (during The Big Show).

I did gnash my teeth over it, of course. I have some regret over the time I spent with my teeth, but it was only because I had to figure out the way to be a bitch without sounding like a bitch. That’s definitely a tough one for me. Go figure.

While you’re excited about the RSVP’s coming into your mailbox every day, expect the lame. Know that your wedding day assumptions are most likely totally different than most of your guests. It’s YOUR party. And it’s not just a party. It’s the day that you are committing your life and love to another person, forsaking all others. That, my friends, is a huge fucking deal. The way you and your groom decide to do that has nothing to do with formality, convention, traditions or the almighty dollar sign. In no way will it always be easy, but then again neither is marriage. Get used to working at it. Trust me though, it’s totally worth it.

Friday
May062011

Your Best You

Marie’s wedding last weekend was so different than my own in so many ways. I know her budget was dissimilar, the number of guests, the style. It was all very much suited to her and it made her wedding that much more enjoyable for the guests and I’m sure, for her. It was a round peg in a round hole and it all just worked.

I’ll admit that there were a few times when I suffered a twinge of Wedding Envy. Y’all know what I’m talking about, right? For me, the twinges were over her gorgeous flowers, the Monique Lhuillier (natch) and her Groom’s Cake Replacement: the ice sculpture vodka luge. But those are the material things of a wedding, not the wedding itself. I can’t compare vows, or romance or how I felt compared to how she felt as we walked down our respective aisles. How can you compare feeling that kind of joy? You can’t. And you shouldn’t.

Another part of the Wedding Envy I had was the sheer number of people surrounding her on her wedding day. Marie’s hotel suite was a hot bed of activity. There was Marie, her sister/MOH, the hair and make-up chick, her mom, me, our friend and Wedding Poem Reader Michele, two photographers and her dad – all coming in and out all day long. That’s NINE people, folks. I was envious of her close-knit family and always have been. They have all lived in the DC area almost their entire lives. It’s where Marie grew up and where she’s always lived. She went away for college, but not that far away. Weekends at home were easy to accomplish. I only came home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Summer and not always then either (I did have a double major though).

There were times throughout the day that I watched their interaction with a grin on my mug. Their Italian heritage showed through as did the source of the sisters’ quick wit and humor and the united family support of their beloved Washington Redskins. At first, I was a little overwhelmed with it all. There seemed a sense of mayhem in the room that started to raise the tiny hairs on the back of my neck. No one appeared to be in control, a schedule wasn’t being followed. I thought to myself, “The more people you have around you, the crazier all this gets.” I even mentioned to Marie, “There’s no way I could have done this on my wedding day – all these people!” But as the day progressed, I realized that my interpretation of the room was all wrong. 

How families interact with each other are all so different from one to the next. As I watched family members come in and out in various stages of dress, hair and make-up, I noticed that it wasn’t mayhem. They moved around each other with a fluidity and familiarity that oozed with excitement (duh) and happiness (double duh) and anticipation. What is was, was beautiful.

The more I thought about this during the days that have followed the wedding, the more clarity I’ve experienced, so I thought I would share.

The dynamics of Marie’s hotel suite were very much like her wedding: the round peg in the round hole. What was perfect for Marie does not equate to perfect for any other bride. For me, I needed the calm and the quiet as I got ready. It was me and my MOH and my photographer, for the most part. I didn’t even see my mother until after our First Look at the church. Oddly, I didn’t realize this until I saw our wedding pictures.

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Here we are coming out of the church for family pictures. My mom’s all peeking around the corner with a grin on her face!  This was her First Look!

I had one friend stop by to see me, but only to drop off my Something Borrowed (a family heirloom Swedish wedding ring that was a good luck charm and had been to literally, hundreds of weddings). The thing is, I didn’t wish for more. I wasn’t flustered. I wasn’t edgy. We weren’t late. It was smooth sailing the entire time and I knew that I needed that for me. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t happy or excited or filled with anticipation. It didn’t mean my family didn’t have those same emotions. It didn’t mean that my experience was any less beautiful, just different.

I want to challenge brides out there with this charge: DO NOT COMPARE. I know, I know. I’m asking the impossible, right? How can you not compare with all the shit that brides are constantly bombarded with? I knew I had to stop looking at SMP (also known as The Bane of My Existence) the closer I got to my wedding date. I no longer needed the inspiration. Decisions and commitments had been made. I didn’t need any more ideas or God help me, another DIY project to add to the list. I didn’t want to feel bad that I had only a few garden roses instead of a whole bouquet of them. But here’s the reality: I don’t think I would have spent the money on a whole bouquet of garden roses anyway. It’s just not in my nature. Like a lot of twenty-nothings, I had a Credit Card Catastrophe that taught me fiscal responsibility very early on. I learned “thrifty” really fucking fast. That part of me, that lesson learned, is ingrained into my soul regardless of my income level. Yes, I was a DIY-heavy bride. No, I did not have the filet mignon as an option. Nor did I have orchids or Lhuillier. I had a little Southern wedding in a cute little church with my closest friends and family. I loved my $1300 gown. I loved the glow and warmth of our reception venue. Our wedding was perfect for us, just like Marie’s wedding was perfect for her and her now-husband.

Brides, do your best to accept who you are, not what the magazines and giant wedding website are telling you who to be. Don’t pound your round peg self into a square hole. It ain’t gonna fit.

There is only one YOU. Do your best YOU and everything will fall into place. I promise.

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