Countdown to D-Day: rants and raves

I’d always figured I would be, like eemusings, a bullshit free bride, but even more so because I don’t consider myself a “bride” even if we’re doing this wedding thing, more like the Female half of the couple. It turns out my insistence on doing things my way, the clearly LESS stressful way, is still stress-inducing. Y’know, the world would run a lot more smoothly if people would just Do As I Say.

Honestly, I just wanted to plan a fun party with good food, the people I love, some fun music and kick back with everyone and the Dog. And I hope that’ll still happen, but in the meantime, my current status is: I can’t wait to get the damn thing over with. Planning has been a prickly, multi-thorn in my side and the sooner this is over, the better.

1. The most surprising people are unreliable and/or frustrating.

A. Family members who offered to not just help, but to plan the whole damn thing, were incapable of doing ONE task I’d asked them to take care of. I asked them to order 1 food item because it’s easier to order on site in SoCal, and eleven thousand texts and three months later, they still hadn’t done it. Two weeks before, I get a message asking if I want to go with them to the store to order it when I get into town for the wedding. Which is, of course, entirely beside the point of delegating.
B. Friends who said they’d do ANYTHING to help? Total radio silence after I sent them an email asking for their input. I finished that item a month later and still hadn’t heard back from them.
C. Friends who couldn’t manage to RSVP. Now, I know you people can read, I’ve seen it happen. We went to school together and I know you were booksmart enough to read printed text AND you’ve planned weddings. So what possessed you to not read the invitation and actually think: She must not want us to RSVP, anyway I don’t know how? Have. Mercy.
D. Family who are completely preoccupied with how things will affect them: my dad saying that doing one thing my way would kill a lesser man with the shame of it but hey! it’s my wedding and my way so whatever! He’ll suck it up! I didn’t know what truth I spoke as a frustrated kid when I said he was the king of passive-aggressive; my relatives being stupidly clannish and refusing to sit where I planned to seat them because they assumed they’d be uncomfortable and refuse to integrate even one little bit with anyone else because you know, this is really just an event where they should hang out with each other and no one else. Honestly, people. There was no greater justification of that sinking feeling I had when I didn’t want to plan this: no one really cares about this, it’s either all about them or just an inconvenience.

2. The good people will make your heart sing.

A. I asked a very uncrafty friend to come scrapbook with me because I was feeling unloved and lonely. Months of late nights, attempts at crafting and planning alone made me crave company, but she HATES crafting. Without demur, she showed up for dinner and made several scrapbook pages late into the night even after I’d said it wasn’t that important. Just to humor me.
B. Katie (and Ruth and Twitter, I tried to spare the rest of the world a bit) listened to ALL my whining, every time something went wrong. Every. Day. Of. It. And she stayed up in the wee hours of the morning to go through old country music with me, rocking out. It’s probably one of my best memories of planning.
C. SingleMa was frakkin amazing. I pled mercy on the hunt for shoes: I needed a pair that were fancy enough for an event but not so fancy I couldn’t wear it everyday later. It felt impossible & I just could NOT take it anymore. She so graciously let me email her what I liked (but couldn’t have), loved (but couldn’t find), and hated (so many ugly shoes!) and worked her shoe fairy magic, coming back with an extensive list of great options for me to pick from. She nailed it.
D. One set of relatives I haven’t seen in years took my one request and completely ran with it. I have photographic evidence that we’ll be fine with their end of things.
E. The long distance friends who, without a moment’s hesitation, RSVPed an enthusiastic yes even though it involved a long flight, a lot of travel, or otherwise what I’d consider an inconvenience. There is no greater gift than these friends who show so clearly with their actions and their words that they want to share a special day with us. That’s all I was hoping for.

3. Guest lists are the devil’s playground.

Wrassle with the number of people you can invite, cut it down, get into fights over the family lists, chase down people who (see above) apparently don’t think it’s important to respond to that nicely printed piece of paper that asks them to come to a party so BTW TELL US if you’re going to come, and then discover that a whole lot of people who were planning to come aren’t, anymore. *deep breath* It’s enough to make you say: just forget it. Don’t even care anymore.
And rude relatives who invite themselves or their kid’s boyfriends or girlfriends are ridiculous.

4. Service fees and taxes

Did you know that venues will charge you at least 20% service (21% in our case) first, and THEN tax you on the total of all the services, food cost and the service fee? So that’s another 8% on top of 121% of the expected cost. YAY!  I expected to pay those fees, but they weren’t clear about how it was applied. Also! We got a whole bunch of things free and they charged us a service fee on the value of those things (a coordinator, for example) so instead of free, it was 21% on the cost. Free: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

At the end of this road, this day isn’t just MY day, or even just our day. Yes, all the decisions are made by us because we’re paying for and planning the whole thing. But it’s about having a nice time with loved ones and making a special memory to shine against the other darker days that we have had so many of. I’ll be grateful for everyone who shows up to have fun.

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10 thoughts on “Countdown to D-Day: rants and raves

  1. I just attended/participated in my cousin’s wedding. She and her mom were doing everything themselves: the food, the decorating, the …EVERYTHING. I do not envy you brides, not one bit. Even coming into town the wee hours of the wedding day (I had to skip the last day of an important work thing to make it in time!), I was bombarded with last minute details that needed my help to be done. And they’d been planning it for the last two years…and my aunt is a planner extraordinaire.

    Just insanity. I think that even if you plan on being easy breezy, the details and magnitude of what it takes to organize an event of this size makes it ridiculously hard to keep your cool. Good on you for seeing the silver linings and appreciating the people that are there for you.

    Hope the day goes as smoothly as possible (there will always be a few hiccups–it rained on my cousin’s wedding day and the only way to get her to the front of the church was to go outside!!!) and the party is crazy amounts of fun and happiness! :)

  2. Oh dear heaven, thank you for this post. I was laughing out loud and nodding my head. It’s funny how everything is the opposite of what you expect, but I suspect you will still love the day and be happy you did it in the end. I am impressed with you bullshit-free brides, I am trying to be a simple and laidback bride, but I will not mind insisting on things every now and then!

  3. LOL! You’re making me feel glad my father bribed my (ex-)husband to elope with me! Truth to tell, though the money was enough to furnish our entire apartment, I secretly resented it for years. Even yesterday, I was at a favorite gay couple’s annual Christmas open house — they had their wedding cake on the counter, having frozen it a year ago when they made their long-term relationship official, and the thought crossed my mind: I never had a wedding cake. Sob.

    Maybe that was just as well?

    Isn’t it weird about RSVPs? That has been true from time immemorial. Even back in the dark ages (when I was of marriageable age), people would often complain that invited guests would not respond to when asked to RSVP. Hence, the relatively new custom of “RSVP if regretting”: i.e., “c’mon! just tell me if you’re NOT gonna show up.” People don’t respond to those, either.

    Most recently, I’ve noticed, many invites contain a condescending little lecture: “Because we need to know how much food to order and how many places to set, please let us know if you will attend.”

    Ha hahhh!!! I thought I’d fall off the chair at the one who asked if you’d like to accompany her make the order you asked her to make! Maybe she’s afraid she’ll make a mistake???

  4. I think this is the worst of the worst, when people who have themselves planned a wedding or other events don’t bother to RSVP. I know you know how important it is to have a head count! So, you’re not being rude because you don’t understand how event planning works, you’re being rude because you’re an ass who thinks you’re more important than you are! /rant

    I’m down for country music jams at 4am any time. <3

  5. Eesh, I guess we really lucked out with two sets of family who didn’t intrude. I’m so sorry that this is all becoming so stressful.

    I guess the thing to remember is that, one way or another, it will happen and it will be in the past. So once you get to the day of, just let it all go. Things will happen, some of them will happen wrong, but it’s beyond your control at that point which does, believe it or not, make it easier to breathe. Though I’d suggest having your bridesmaids act as a shield against stress-inducing family members.

    I myself ended up having to fire my hairdresser 3 days before our wedding; we had an informal rehearsal dinner which nevertheless got messed up with a long wait and nearly not getting the group seating we had been assured of over the phone, and the day before I realized that, while I had bought lots of potential decorations, I hadn’t actually figured out how I wanted them done.

    My bridesmaids helped me curl my hair and freeze it with a dictatorial grade of hairspray. We had a quiet word with the restaurant manager (slightly tearful because I was tired and stressed, and tears always help those kinds of negotiations). And one of the bridesmaids stuffed some tulle into the cobalt vases I had bought for a very pretty milky look that wouldn’t cut, set fire to or choke any of the kids that might come.

    Like I said, at a certain point things will be set in motion and on rails so that you have to just go through it rather than trying to affect it much. Sadly, that may actually be the least stressful part of the wedding.

  6. Pingback: The Five Stages of Wedding Planning | Tiny Apartment Design

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