-You will obsess over superficial things.
Some may argue that all of this wedding stuff, other than the marriage, is superficial. In a lot of ways, I agree with that. But I'm talking about the mostly beauty-related, very superficial aspects. For example, nail polish color. I have a master's degree and I spent weeks, maybe months, trying to decide what color of nail polish to wear on my wedding day. Granted, I probably have an honorary master's in indecisiveness, but still! It's really not that important, and I KNEW that, yet I still made it a concern. The way I finally decided was to narrow it down to a few choices, then each time I got a manicure in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I would get one of those colors. I chose the one I liked best, which just in case you're curious, was GelColor by OPI Funny Bunny with a transparent shimmer on top. (The ring below is the BEAUTIFUL "right hand ring" my mom got me as a wedding gift. She chose the green amethyst (prasiolite) stone because it was one of our wedding colors.)
Think back several years and imagine how you pictured your engagement. You're probably in a constant state of bliss, working out every day, getting super skinny, spending all your time reading wedding magazines while you sip champagne, you're getting facials every few weeks, your hair and nails look absolutely perfect, your arms are really toned and your skin is beautifully bronzed and blemish-free. Cue reality. You have a job, your life does not revolve completely around wedding planning, you don't have nearly as much time to exercise as you thought you would, you're having breakouts, and you haven't exactly stuck to your wedding diet. Or maybe that's just me. But the point is, you will not have an endless amount of time (or even motivation) to become Wedding Barbie. And you don't need to!
I kept saying I was going to go on a wedding diet. I never did. I do have to admit I trained for and ran a half marathon a month before the wedding. And every time I train for a race, I lose a little weight, so I guess that was my "wedding diet". But I didn't have nearly as much time to run/work out in that final month as I thought I would. I did my beloved Pure Barre up until two days before the wedding, and that was for my sanity as much as it was for my body. But logging a bunch of additional workouts? That just didn't happen. Do what you need to to feel healthy and fit, but don't drive yourself crazy.
Pure Barre Bride-to-Be
On the beauty/skin care front, I promised myself I would be religious about using my face cleansing brush (knockoff Clarisonic), start my teeth whitening trays a week or two before the wedding, and get few facials. Seems simple, right? In reality, I just didn't happen exactly as planned. I did my best. But what I did do was upgrade my skin care products a few months before the wedding. Most importantly I got a stronger retinol that I would highly recommend whether or not you are getting married: Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment. I got it while Paula's Choice was having a retinol sale and got a boatload of free samples as well. I'm really liking this line lately; the prices are much more affordable than many other skin care lines and I have loved everything I've tried.
Bottom line: Step up your beauty and fitness routine a little but don't obsess. Plus, it's amazing what anxiety can do for your waistline and airbrush makeup for your complexion ;)
-You will spend several hours on a wedding website and pack it with information and people will still ask you where to stay, where the venue is, etc.
I'm not all that crazy about wedding websites, but I thought it was a good idea for our wedding because we had so many out-of-town guests. I wanted to not only share the details of the wedding weekend, but also travel information and some recommendations for local spots. I'm technologically-challenged, but I spent a lot of time putting our website together. Apparently many people didn't use it, because I got tons of questions which would have been answered by a quick click on the site!
-Little things will drive you crazy.
You will inevitably have family drama and fights. Some people may mistakenly think your wedding is somehow more about them than you. Others will share their unsolicited opinions and advice. This issue was more challenging for Max and I because our station decided to have us do stories about our engagement and wedding. That meant the whole town of Sarasota wanted to know all the details. If I had a dollar for every time we got asked, "When are you getting married?" I would have paid off the entire wedding! People mean well and it was very sweet that they cared, but it can get overwhelming. Also, you will probably have stupid fights with your fiance, speaking of...
-You will do a lot more work on your wedding than your fiance. This will annoy you. He will ask what he can do to help. You will be apprehensive about leaving a task in his hands and realize it's probably easier for you to just do it yourself.
But...there are guy-friendly assignments! For example, we had to put together an Excel sheet of our our guest addresses for our invitation place. I don't do Excel well on a good day much less a stressed-out one, so I assigned this task to Max. He wasn't too thrilled, but he did it.
-Weird things will happen right before your wedding.
I haven't been sick in YEARS (knock on wood), but the Monday before my wedding, I woke up with a minor cold. Really? Luckily it wasn't much more than a stuffy nose and itchy throat, and I could tell it wasn't going to turn into anything serious...but still. My skin started breaking out, we had last-minute scheduling issues with our rehearsal, my phone fell in the toilet at my bridesmaids' luncheon, heavy snowstorms hit just about everywhere we had guests coming in from, including Texas! A freaking plane slid off the runway at LaGuardia two days before the wedding causing a ripple effect of cancellations across the country, including one of my bridesmaid's flights. She and her family (her kids were the flower girl and ring bearer) got stuck in Charlotte, had to re-route their travel plans, and were left without luggage for two days. We had friends and family experience medical emergencies. And the list goes on. Just expect the unexpected!
-It is difficult to balance enjoying your wedding reception and greeting guests.
I have absolutely no advice for you on how to do this successfully. I had heard from friends they regretted spending their entire reception talking to guests instead of having fun. Yet I felt like I didn't have a enough time to spend with our guests. You'll be very busy, it goes by quickly and there simply is not enough time to do it all!
-You CAN actually eat at your reception.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me, "You won't eat at your wedding." I told them I surely would eat at my wedding because you really don't want to see me with a low blood sugar. They tried to convince me you either won't have time or your stomach will be in knots. Wrong. We had a sit-down dinner, so well, we sat down and ate. All of my nerves were pretty much gone at that point. What was there left to be nervous or anxious about? It was much harder to choke down food at the rehearsal dinner because I still had a nervous stomach at that point. What I didn't get to eat were the desserts. Everyone snatched them up in a matter of minutes! And then by the time they served us our slices of cake, we were dancing and taking some photos with our photographer. I saw my piece from afar sitting on the table, and I still regret not going over there and at least grabbing a bite.
-You won't notice much of what happens during your wedding.
And this is coming from a very observant person! People mentioned all these things that happened during both the ceremony and the reception that I had no idea about. I think I had tunnel vision about what was happening right around me, and I just couldn't process anything else. I just have to laugh when people want to ban guests from using phones or cameras. People could have been doing flip flops behind me during the ceremony and I would have never noticed!
-You will still have a to-do list after the wedding and your house might be a disaster.
There will be many thank you cards to write, gifts to put away, suitcases to unpack and boxes of wedding decorations to go through. Depending on your situation, you may also be combining households and bank accounts and changing your name. I had family staying at my house for the wedding, so I scheduled to have it cleaned both before and after the wedding. Anything you can do to save your time and sanity, is a good idea. (Another tip: Start writing thank you cards immediately for gifts that come in before the wedding.)
-Planning your honeymoon may present its own challenges.
Traveling is expensive, so if you're planning a honeymoon, you have to take that into account alongside your wedding budget. When you hear "honeymoon," you probably think of a trip to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. But if you don't have the funds, don't like the beach or are getting married during hurricane season, you should probably look elsewhere. It's always been easy for Max and I to plan trips, so I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to choose a honeymoon destination. We literally looked at places from Canada to South America!
Downtown Santa Barbara
View from Brophy Bros. Restaurant
I still have people dumbfounded and asking me, "WHY did you go to Santa Barbara, California on your honeymoon??" I don't know how to answer that. Because we wanted to? I guess it's not your typical honeymoon destination, but it was absolutely perfect. Still dreaming about the Four Seasons, the vineyards, the beautiful weather and the breathtaking views. The company wasn't so bad either :)