Stress

Feeling stressed during wedding planning? I’ve provided some advice on that before, but here are some additional tips to make you feel like your head is above water again!

Don’t be afraid to offend people

Just say what you mean. Say what you want. Don’t apologize for what you want, and don’t feel like you owe folks some long winded discussion of why you want (or don’t want) X, Y, or Z at your wedding.

Along those same lines, quit writing such long winded e-mails or leaving uber explanatory voicemails.

Let’s illustrate with an example. Here’s how to send an e-mail to your florist:

Can I add peonies to my bouquet?

Here’s how NOT to send an e-mail to your florist:

I was thinking about it the other day, and I’m wondering if I can add peonies to my bouquet. I realize that it might not be season for them or that they might be hard for you to get, but can you let me know if that would be possible? I saw picture of one in a magazine and just loved it! I realize that we talked about this briefly during the consultation and everything, but what can I say, I just can’t make up my mind!” 

You’re busy and your wedding vendors are busy. Save yourself time by writing quick and succinct e-mails, and save them time so they don’t have to search through paragraphs to text to find the point of your e-mail.

Follow up on your e-mails as soon as you get them.

Don’t let them languish in your inbox. If you aren’t ready to make a decision that is related to that e-mail, just reply back, “Hi, thanks for your e-mail. I haven’t made a decision about this yet, but expect to do so in the next two weeks.” If you’ve ever read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, you know how important it is to clear your mental clutter. And all those unanswered e-mails and voicemails are mental clutter. And when the person calls you or e-mails you again in a week to follow up on their now un-replied to e-mail, that will add even more to your mental clutter and stress. 

Stay organized!

I know, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips. But don’t purchase anything for the wedding unless you already have a place for it at home. Make sure you’re tracking your next steps (my new obsession is OmniFocus on my iPad, which is great for keeping track of next tasks, but I still use Google Docs extensively), and what things you’re waiting on other folks for as well (has your bridesmaid given you her measurements yet? Has your caterer made that change to the contract that you requested? It doesn’t matter what system you use, but keep track!

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… that everyone tries to convince you that you SHOULD be stressed.

Here are a couple of conversations I had, mostly with women, throughout the wedding planning process:

Coworker: How’s the wedding planning coming along?
Me: Oh, fine, we just booked our florist
Coworker: Are you going crazy yet?
Me: Nope, not too bad.
Coworker: Just you wait! It will become madness when everyone starts to bicker and argue over every little detail.

Or:

Me (via personal facebook status update): Well isn’t that nice, my wedding dress is LOST and the designer won’t refund my deposit
Comments: “WHAT!?!?!” “OMG!” “What are you going to do?!?”
Me: I’m going to get married no matter what dress I wear

Or:

Me: No, we’ve decided not to hire a deejay. We’re just going to self-deejay
Other Vendor: No way! That is the LAST thing you want to be worrying about at such a stressful time. You want to make sure your entertainment works and your guests have a good time. Why add another stressor to an already stressful time?
Me: Ummm, it’s nothing I’m stressing about. I’m confident that self-deejaying will work just fine, we have backup equipment, and if it doesn’t work, well, a wedding can still be a wedding without music!

You get the point. Do you ever think that if people just stopped asking you about wedding stress and telling you about their former wedding stress, and trying to convince you that every decision along the way will just add to your stress? BAH! I’m stressing thinking about all this stressing talk.

So just remember, just because folks tell us that weddings are SUPPOSED to be stressful, you don’t have to agree! Negativity is self-perpetuating, so if you do talk to your coworker about all the wedding stress SHE had planning her wedding, you might start to feel stressed yourself!

So, just nip it in the bud! Stay calm and carry on! (and here’s how we avoided most wedding stress, and why planning a wedding does not have to be hard!)

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A few weeks ago, I detailed what I would’ve done differently planning our wedding. One of the items on the list set off a bit of a tizzy on Twitter. That item was #2, “Not hired a day-of-coordinator.” I’ve drafted an entire post about why I didn’t like having a day-of-coordinator, but I realized that some additional context might be needed before I actually publish that post.

One of our main reasons for not liking our coordinator, or really a lot of the other vendors, is their continuous statements like, “Oh, don’t you worry about a thing, we just want you to sit back and relax on your wedding day while we do all the work.” They are, of course, trying to sell you their services. They also come with a lot of pre-conceived notions about couples and weddings. They are also not your friends.

Any time Ken or I even hinted or suggested doing something on our own on the wedding day, vendors would jump in immediately to claim they could save the day. “We don’t want you to have to think about anything on your wedding day. We’ll take care of everything.”

relaxFlickr User Soukup

For detailed oriented folks, like me and Ken, that is a really infuriating statement. Because, here’s the thing, we WANTED to do stuff on our wedding day. It was something we had been planning for THIRTEEN MONTHS. It was very important to us to see it through to the end. But no, folks told us that this would be “impossible.”

I had been thinking about this issue for a long time. I even wanted to write a blog post on this topic before the wedding. But I thought to myself, “let’s not be presumptuous!” Maybe it is, in fact, impossible to do anything on your wedding day.

Well, it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s fun!!

Here’s a rundown of what Ken and I did on our wedding day:

  • Set up iPod deejay equipment (Ken did)
  • Moved flatscreen TV outside and set up slideshow (Ken did)
  • Set up lighting equipment in pavilion
  • Troubleshooted (Er, troubleshot?) our DIY Photobooth
  • We made our own deejay wedding announcements (first dance, cake cutting, father daughter dance, etc.)
  • We reminded the pastor to give the blessing
  • We made sure that the guitarist got his payment
  • We made sure the ceremony got started on time
  • I added firewood to the fireplace during the reception
  • We pinned our own corsages and boutonnieres
  • I answered questions that the caterer had when she asked if I wanted a final copy of the invoice.
  • I reminded people to refill things like the cider when I realized it was low.
  • I did my own makeup
  • Drove our own cars
  • Played with our niece and nephew in the morning
  • I changed my dress mid-reception

I found none of these things “annoying” to do on the wedding day. In fact, it made me feel like I played a role in ensuring that the event we had planned for 13 months progressed smoothly throughout the day! It was FUN!

Most importantly, we interacted with ALL our guests at the reception, something we were led to believe would be virtually impossible if we were doing things like self-deejaying or controlling our own lighting system.

And in retrospect, I had a ton of free time the morning of the wedding. In fact, I dorked around on Facebook and Pinterest for a good amount of time. I was so worried about it being hectic that morning, and I ultimately ended up relaxed and quiet.

It was actually MORE distracting just sitting around. At least if I had other projects, maybe I could’ve kept the jitter level down.  I could’ve also made my own bouquet, like A Practical Wedding or Big Day for 10K (something I considered way back, but buying flowers wholesale wouldn’t have made any sense since I didn’t have any bridesmaids that needed bouquets and we didn’t have floral centerpieces. And also since I thought that actually GOING TO THE STORE on my wedding day would be impossible). Or I could’ve spent the morning at the venue instead of at the hotel and set up everything myself and then just gotten my hair and makeup done after I had set everything up.

So, in a few days, I’ll post the full “Why I hated having a day-of-coordinator” post. But hopefully this post gives some better context that the whole “no-way-you-can’t-do-anything-on-your-wedding-day” type attitude is not for everyone, and neither are coordinators.

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Frequent readers of SuperNoVABride know that I have very strong feelings about wedding-related stress. First, wedding stress is almost entirely self-imposed because planning a wedding is, frankly, not that hard. I even outlined the steps we took to ensure that our wedding was mostly stress-free!

But there were definitely times that I was overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you handle those overwhelming times

Organize the Information you already Have

Feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information you’ve been collecting or receiving? Try organizing the information you have instead of searching for more information. It will make you feel boatloads better!  Let me provide an example:

Back in August, I had been trying to make arrangements to have my hair and makeup done on my wedding day. There were some hair stylists and makeup artists that I could eliminate right away. Because, nope, sorry, I’m not spending $425 on an up-do. And, no, I’m not spending more on my makeup than I spent for my wedding dress.

But, the differences between the others vendors were very subtle, which made it very difficult to compare them. All were seemingly close in price, but everything had to be examined closely. Some provided both hair and makeup services, while others just provided one of the services, meaning I would have to book two different vendors. Some of the vendors included a trial in their estimate, some charged extra. Some of the places were located farther away and charged a travel fee based on the mileage traveled. Some charged a flat travel fee regardless of the distance. Some charged “kit fees.” Others had a minimum amount of people for which they would travel (and since we weren’t having a bridal party, that could be an issue).  All of a sudden I was feeling really confused and overwhelmed, something I never like.  I kept looking at each of the different estimates and trying to figure out the best deal!

I was loathe to create a spreadsheet comparison, because, frankly, it’s difficult to make a nice neat little spreadsheet when there are so many different variables.  How could I get all my columns to add up all nice and neatly to make sure I was comparing apples to apples?

Finally, I realized I didn’t need some perfectly designed spreadsheet with all sorts of fancy formulas.  I just needed a place where I could view all the pricing information and services for each hair and makeup vendor in one place.  So, I compiled a less-than-perfect document, which I called a snapshot view, of all the hair and makeup places. It made vendor comparisons so much easier just seeing all the information in one place.  I was quickly able to see the fees for each place, how much my cost would be, how much it would be for others getting their makeup done (my sister, my future sister-in-law, and my mom), and how much the total would be.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and trying to make a decision and compare really disparate services and prices, just compile all your information into one place.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly organized.

Step Away from the Computer

Have you ever searched for something endlessly online and not been able to find what you’re looking for? Then you know that it’s a waste of time and truly demoralizing. I can’t even begin to calculate how many hours on end I spent looking for the silliest things online. Some of the worst time wasters? Cake toppers, wedding card boxes, and ring bearer pillows. I could never make up my mind on those items. I would bounce around from Pinterest to Weddingbee Classifieds, to Craigslist classified and various wedding blogs, and then in the end, have nothing to show for it after hours of time wasted. It’s a terrible, unproductive feeling.

Limit searching, for whatever it is, to 30-45 minutes max. If you reach that maximum allotment and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, do something productive instead. Complete a task or two that will have a definite, tangible result. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself, I swear! What are some productive tasks? Try some of these: Save all your wedding contracts to a common folder, or better yet, upload them to Google Docs. Make appointments with some wedding dress stores. Make a shot list for your photographer. Do something, anything, that will have a specific outcome instead of endless researching online.

Step Away from the Computer … Part 2

Have you searched for something online using the term “unique?” Perhaps “unique wedding card boxes” or “unique wedding programs.”

Well, let me save you some time.

Whatever is showing up in those search results, is not unique. At all. I can’t even begin to quantify how many times I searched for “unique wedding program” and those damned fan programs showed up. Hmmm, if they’re in all my search results, they’re not exactly unique anymore are they?

The best ideas I had (which, if I may brag for a moment, included our Save-the-Date Card, our invitations and RSVP card, our Lego Ring Bearer box, and sewing LED lights into the hem of my dress) were the effect of two potential causes: 1) the costs of things. Because, frankly, I’m not paying $80 for some boring little ring bearer pillow. Or 2) just how generic existing options seemed. How is it possible that wedding card boxes can be SO boring?

After countless hours of searching for “unique” ideas online, I stepped away from the computer and opened one of my trusty Moleskine notebooks. And I sketched. And I erased. And I sketched some more. Or sometimes I tried freewriting (see #4).

Lo and behold, MY brain – my very uncreative and anti-crafty brain – took over. And I ended up with some very wonderful ideas. And they didn’t come from the internet!

Try Freewriting

About a year ago, I learned about freewriting in Accidental Genius. It’s a quick read, and I recommend it, but here’s the quick gist. When you’re stuck, or just want to unlock some creativity, just sit down and start WRITING. Pure, unadulterated, misspelled, run-on sentences. Computer or paper and pen, it doesn’t matter. When you run out of things to write, just write gibberish. So, for instance, if you’re stuck and can’t figure out any good ideas for your ceremony, just start writing. You’ll be amazed at what can emerge from your brain after a freewriting session. And how organized things can emerge too!

 

I’d love to hear in the comments about how others dealt with the more overwhelming moments of wedding planning!

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Wedding Day Morning Calmness

by Melissa on November 8, 2011

Second post in one day? I can’t.stop.writing. No joke.

I would like for my wedding day to start on the calmest possible notes. This will require a delicate balance. Of course, I don’t want to ignore my family as we get ready, but it’s almost like my family is incapable of being calm and prepared. I am, on the other hand, completely prepared for the wedding.

I think this might be completely incomprehensible to someone who does not plan. Here’s an example. As of two days ago, my mom STILL did not have an outfit to wear to the wedding. And for my wedding shower a few months ago, my sister was buying supplies like tablecloths right up until about an hour prior to the event. So I think that, because they plan things at the last minute, they always ask me questions, like “Do you have this,” and, “oh, you didn’t forget about that, did you?” or “shoot, I don’t remember seeing this, have you seen it?” This drives me absolutely batshit crazy.

Also, having people ask me, “are you ready!” and “are you excited!?” and “no cold feet, right!?” every two seconds will be exceptionally annoying to me. I just want to be left alone, in peace, to prepare for the day. But, at the same time, I want to involve them and not seem like a total bitch on my wedding day.  (On a side not, I am SO looking forward to after the wedding so people will stop asking me, “are you ready,” and “are you excited.” One of these days, I really just want to say “No.” just to see what someone says.)

Anyhoo, I’ve made some preparations for the morning of the wedding to hopefully make it as calm as possible and not be a douchebag in the process.

Preparations for Morning of Wedding Day

  • Downloading meditation podcasts to listen to as I relax or start to get ready
  • If I’m feeling restless and full of nervous energy, practice dancing moves, or do jumping jacks and burpees to burn energy
  • Studying up on some deep breathing exercises
  • Perhaps even pound out a blog post about my feelings at the hotel
  • Put copy of the wedding to-do list in the hotel room so people don’t ask me needless questions (a HUGE pet peeve of mine) or ask me “do you have this ready, what about that, etc.)
  • Put up signs asking people to keep a calm vibe when they’re in my hotel room. No panicky voices (ahem, my sister). No loud voices (ahem, my future SIL). Quiet voices might be difficult because my grandmother is very hard of hearing. She’s also a very negative, and sometimes even mean, person. If she says anything negative, I will ask my mom to take her somewhere else.
  • Bring noise canceling headphones in case the volume level does get too high and I need to tune people out
  • Ask everyone to turn their cell phones to vibrate. The sounds of ringing cell phones tend to stress me out sometimes
  • Have a bottle of white wine handy so I can have some drinks and relax if necessary
  • Have my “calming” pandora station queued up

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Worrying Myself Sick over the Weather

by Melissa on November 8, 2011

 

 

weather

I know I shouldn’t be greedy. Our wedding day, after all, will be beautifully sunny as of right now. But look at all those beautiful temperatures in the 60s. And then our wedding day? PLUMMET. We knew this was a risk of planning an outdoor wedding in November.

To recap our planned wedding, taking place at a campground we’re renting for several days:

  • Ceremony in outdoor, uncovered area at 3PM
  • Reception in covered pavilion with plastic siding immediately following the ceremony. The pavilion has picnic tables and benches.
  • Indoor area, called the Mess Hall, with the photobooth, games, and additional drinks. The Mess hall has tables and benches.

I’m really torn about what to do. 54 degrees is not really that cold. But I don’t want to be one of “those” couples who insisted on having their wedding outdoors at the expense of the guests’ comfort.

So, instead of continuing to worry about everything, I figured it would be helpful to write things down.  Here are our options:

1) Keep everything the way it is. Outdoor ceremony, reception in the pavilion. Keeping the pavilion warm shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll have 3 patio heaters, each with a 15 foot heat radius, plus a HUGE fireplace in the pavilion. The park ranger has told us that sometimes the pavilion can actually get hot if the fireplace has kept roaring for about 24 hours. To make the ceremony area warmer, perhaps we can have the patio heaters at the ceremony site, and then have our stronger family and relatives roll them into the reception pavilion, about 150 feet away, after the ceremony ends. I figure we can also ask the officiant to shorten his homily or nix it altogether to keep the ceremony as brief as possible.

2) Move ceremony to indoor space (called the Mess Hall). The Mess hall has its own picnic tables and benches. I figure we can move the tables to the perimeter of the room, and set up the benches in “church” type rows. There’s a fireplace in the mess hall, and Ken and I could get married in front of the fireplace. The one problem is that the mess hall is kind of a tight squeeze with all 147 guests inside. Plus, it’s not terribly pretty (although I have a more positive opinion of it than Ken does). It’s very rustic looking, but it does have some old linoleum flooring. But, at least our guests would be warm and comfortable for the ceremony.

3) Hold both the ceremony and reception inside the pavilion. Since the pavilion will have covered sides, we could always just have the ceremony in the pavilion. We could get married in front of the fireplace. But, the layout is not great for a ceremony. First, the way our tables will be arranged, our guests would not be looking straight ahead at us (in other words, the tables would be perpendicular to where Ken and I would be standing, not parallel). And it’s not like those tables can be moved easily. Each picnic table weighs 400 pounds. And since the benches are attached to the tables, we can’t move those like we could in the mess hall. To illustrate, this is a scaled version of our reception floorplan:

floorplan

Another downside to this option is the catering setup. The caterers were planning to set up their stuff during our ceremony. If we hold the ceremony in the pavilion, that would delay setup of the food and bar.

4) If, for whatever reason, the pavilion does get too cold, we can invite the guests to move to the mess hall. We’ll have music going in there, and I think that once the buffet is actually done, the mess hall might be a cozier place anyway since the pavilion is just HUGE. And this option has always been part of our plan. But, people aren’t used to weddings where they can just move around from place to place. They’re used to being assigned to their table and then never moving anywhere else except maybe the dance floor and bar. But, we tried to avoid this by letting our guests know in the programs that there will be things set up in the mess hall.

As Ken keeps saying, we’ll just have to play it by ear. But what do you think? Would you think ill of a couple that had an outdoor wedding in 55 degree weather? After seeing weddings like this and this and this, I don’t feel so bad. Maybe I’ll try to buy one or two more patio heaters just in case!

And, to look on the bright side of things, there is a 0% chance of rain on our wedding day! Initially, they were predicting “showers.” Plus, the fall foliage will be at peak of the peak! The trees are GORGEOUS around here.

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Setting Up Helper Stations for DIY Wedding

by Melissa on November 7, 2011

Yesterday, my wedding week to-do list included tasks like “get things organized at venue.”  Well, what the hell does that actually mean?

Anticipating that family and friends will ask what they can help with after they arrive, I’ve created a list of some of the more “menial” tasks that will need to get done as Ken and I focus on some of the bigger picture items. We’ll set up “helping stations” that include the boxes or bins related to each of the below tasks. Then we’ll ask them to cross it off our list as it’s completed. Although the helping stations will take a bit of time to set up, in the end it will save us time and preserve our sanity so that our friends and family aren’t interrupting us every two minutes to ask what they can help with and we won’t have to waste time showing them where the supplies are.

So, here’s our list of things family and friends can help us with on Wednesday and Thursday:

  • Put sand in bags for luminaries
  • Take cellophane off of board games
  • Assemble centerpieces
  • Keep fireplaces burning
  • Put batteries and SD cards into digital cameras
  • Fold and assemble ceremony programs
  • Assemble coffee supplies in wooden carrier (creamer, stirrers, napkins, tea bags, hot chocolate packets etc.)
  • Take plates, cups, napkins, etc. out of plastic wrappers (but not all in case we can return some)
  • Dishes to wash:
    • Cake stands
    • galvanized buckets
  • Break apart pieces of chocolate and put in bucket and cover with saran wrap
  • Open graham cracker packages and put in bucket and cover with saran wrap
  • Make coffee pot-sized portions of coffee grounds
  • Pour sand ceremony sand into the jars
  • Put postcards in table number holders
  • Assemble patio heaters (pack toolkit for park, including drill and chargers)
  • Organize “kids table” items (combine all crayons into one jar, take toys out of packaging, etc.)
  • Put “reserved” tape for on seats for family at ceremony site
  • Set up guest book items (including putting markers and pens in cups, putting cardstock in baskets, etc.)
  • Put empty boxes and bins in kitchen (the small room with the freezers). Stack or nest them neatly if possible

Tasks for our day of coordinator the morning of wedding

Pavilion:

  • Decorate tables (tablecloths, table runners)
  • Steam/Dewrinkle tablecloths and table runners
  • Put centerpieces, pumpkins, favors, and table “numbers” on the tables
  • Move television to pavilion?
  • Set up easels with seating charts
  • Make sure fireplaces are going strong
  • Turn on patio heaters
  • Set up dessert table with (mockup of dessert table will be on a table in mess hall)
  • Put up family wedding photos
  • Set up guest book items
  • Set up games table (small folding table with ivory tablecloth). Mockup of games table will be in mess hall

Ceremony site:

  • Put tablecloths/fabric on hay bales
  • Put out table for sand ceremony
  • Set up sand ceremony kit on table
  • Move speakers equipment to the ceremony site
  • Put out chair for classical guitarist
  • Put out table with programs

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Idle Hands and Wedding Tasks

by Melissa on November 3, 2011

The wedding is one week from tomorrow! I am completely restless! Remember when I set a goal to have nearly all wedding-related tasks done by mid-September? Well, we did a damn good job of it. Ken is a still wrapping up all his wedding technology-related projects but he’s having a BLAST! I, on the other hand, am actually a little BORED. This past weekend, I sat on the sofa watching Law and Order reruns, making Christmas shopping lists, and creating other post-wedding to-do lists (including mapping out a plan for a new, non-wedding related blog Ken and I will be launching!)

boredom

Image Source

Lack of wedding tasks right now creates one problem. I am still very distracted and restless simply thinking about the wedding, and therefore completely useless. Hell, I’m even CREATING more wedding projects for myself to do. For instance, the campground we’re renting has an outdoor pavilion and an indoor “mess hall” area, and I wasn’t planning any decorating in the mess hall. Well, in my boredom last weekend, I started thinking that maybe I should decorate it. What’s that quote about idle hands?  Ah yes, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools.” Or something like that. Oh well, at least another trip to the fabric store will keep me occupied. And, some of it has been productive. Last night I organized all the wedding gifts we’ve received thus far.

What else am I doing? Oh, that’s right, CHECKING THE WEATHER. I know, I shouldn’t. But it’s unavoidably tempting since we’re hoping to have our ceremony outdoors. Bah!

I jump around for internet tab to internet tab. I scroll through pinterest obsessively but barely paying attention to what’s on the screen. I make excuses to leave my office and go to Starbucks (and I don’t even like coffee!) just because I can’t stand sitting around.

What else have I been doing? I have been drafting blog posts left and right! But I haven’t been actually finishing any of them. Why? Because I get too distracted in my thoughts and start doing unproductive stuff online, or thinking about my pre-wedding annoyances.

I feel kind of weird. I’m not rushing around at a harried pace. I’m not running tons of last minute errands. Sure, there are a few last minute things I think of here and there, but nothing dramatic. In fact, I even told my parents they can delay their arrival by a day. Originally I had asked them to arrive the Wednesday before the wedding so they could help set things up at the venue (We’re renting it Wednesday-Saturday), but, I told them we’d have things under control.

Next week, I’m not going into the office. I told my coworkers that I may be available for some telework on Monday or Tuesday if things aren’t too crazy. But, I need to plan out my days in painstaking detail so that I’m not left restless and unproductive. Also, I think working out will be a very good idea. It will help burn some of my restless energy!

Eeek! One week from tomorrow!  I’ll post an update with my detailed daily schedules for next week!

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A few weeks ago, I shared with you my rant on inconsiderate and unreliable people. It felt good to let that out. During our 13 month engagement, I prided myself on having a relatively stress-free wedding planning process. We even got most of our wedding-related tasks done by late September, nearly six weeks before our wedding! But these last few weeks have gotten a bit rougher, mostly regarding three issues. I want to say forthright (and potentially mean) things to people about these issues, but I don’t want to be hurtful, so I’m saying them to the internet instead. 

1) As trivial as it sounds, picking up a cousin from the airport has become a major point of contention. My dad’s 50-ish year old single cousin is flying to DC the day before the wedding. She won’t rent a car because she doesn’t like driving in unfamiliar cities, and she won’t use the metro. So, if you can believe this, my family told me (not asked) to pick her up from the airport the day before the wedding. This is ridiculous on a couple of levels. 1) The bride and groom should not have to pick anyone up the day before their wedding. 2) She arrives during morning RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC. It’s a 35 minute drive to the airport one-way in zero traffic. I’d estimate it would take at least two hours each way in traffic. I need to be at the wedding venue and getting things set up that morning, not wasting my time in traffic! Plus, I’d like to add that she has a 35 minute connection in Philadelphia before she arrives in DC. What if she misses her connection? We’re not waiting around for her!  Taxis, SuperShuttle, and metro are all out of the question apparently. So, here’s what I want to say (but won’t).

Dear Cousin. You are a GROWN WOMAN. Yes, I realize you’re not “familiar with the DC metro system,” but guess what? Neither was I when I first moved here! I figured it out. Sure, I got mixed up a few times. You know what else? I TRAVEL TO THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES AND FIGURE OUT THEIR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS. Trains in India? You bet. Women-only metro cars in Cairo? I was glad when I figured that one out! Saigon pedi-cab things? Been there, done that, almost died. So, you can drag your butt onto one of the cleanest, safest metro systems in the country and allow us to avoid a shitload of rush hour traffic and our sanity on what we’re trying to make a lovely, relaxing day.
Initially my parents were going to pick her up, but that brings me to my next point: 

2) Getting my family to stay in hotels the days before the wedding. I’ve mentioned before that my family does not have a lot of money. And, I don’t want to sound whiny, because seriously, I wouldn’t have taken their money if they offered because I know they couldn’t afford a wedding, but Ken and I have planned and paid for this entire wedding. Haven’t asked you for any help, and haven’t asked you for a dime. So, I can’t believe that you wouldn’t be so difficult about my request that you stay in a hotel when you’re in town for the wedding so that Ken and I can have our peace at home. Yes, even if you “promise to stay out of our way” and yes, even if we “won’t even know you’re there.” You are welcome in our house any other time. But not this time. I know that $80-ish/night is expensive for a hotel. But, our wedding has been expensive too!  I told you MONTHS ago that I did not want you at the house before the wedding. Did you think I forgot about this request the other day when you just casually mentioned all the people that would be staying at our house? And when I told you that we had taken apart the guest bedroom bed to make room for all our wedding supplies, I did not appreciate you telling me that I could just “sleep on the couch in the basement.” Yes, because a backache would be just lovely right before my wedding.

What does this have to do with my cousin needing a ride to the airport? Well, the other day my parents said they would just leave our house Thursday morning and pick up the cousin from the airport themselves (the same conversation they told me I could just sleep on the sofa). I gently reminded them about the hotel issue. They refuse to drive all the way from the hotel near the venue to the airport. So, it’s either A) They stay at the house and pick up my cousin, or B) They stay at a hotel and I have to pick up my cousin. I told them that I absolutely could not pick her up the morning before the wedding day. So, my sister calls me trying to figure out cheaper hotels that are closer to the airport or our house. During which, my sister also offered to stay at our house (promising, of course, to “stay out of our way”) so that SHE could go pick up my cousin.

Here’s what I want to say to them (but won’t).

Ken and I have planned an entire wedding by ourselves. No outside help. Zero. Invited 282 people. I’m pretty sure that you all can figure out a way to pick up a perfectly-able 50 year old woman from the airport. 

Yes, I know you do not have a lot of money and that $80/night is a lot of money for a hotel. But, we have shelled out $16,000 thus far on our wedding. Maybe if you had stopped buying daily lottery tickets and going to bingo so often, you could afford the extra nights in a hotel.

3) The dreaded RSVPs. Okay, you ready for this one? More than 5 days past our “RSVP-by” date, we were still waiting to hear from nearly a third of our guests!. I was fully aware and prepared for the lack of RSVP issue. But, if people don’t RSVP, they are seriously out of my life. I just e-mailed two people who I considered to be good friends (and former coworkers) to remind them to RSVP. Still, nothing. When I asked my mom to contact some of her relatives who had not RSVPed, she refused, saying, “You’ll never get a 100% RSVP rate!  I’m not calling anyone.”  That officially made that the second thing I asked my mom for help with during the wedding, and the second thing she refused to help with. She then continued to tell me that the only time she calls those relatives is when someone dies, so she doesn’t want to scare them by calling them. Nice. Real nice. So instead, I am left being the one reaching out to my mom’s family, which makes me feel weird. Like a “Please, please, don’t you want to come to my party and buy me gifts!” kind of way. 

I will fucking laugh in the faces of people who showed up at our wedding without RSVPing. Why? We have seating for 160 guests. Right now, we have 143 confirmed attendees (we invited 282 people). If we had more than 160 guests RSVP, we were going to rent extra tables. But, we’re not paying money to seat people that potentially may be there. So, if more than 160 come, those who didn’t RSVP won’t have a place to sit. They’ll also be the last to get served food and cake.

So, here’s what I want to say:

To those of you who have not RSVPed or responded to any of my reminder e-mails, I’m done with you. Especially two people who I considered to be my friends. You are losers. My feelings would not have been hurt if you couldn’t come. They are, however, hurt that you didn’t even bother to RSVP.
Mom, I am really mad that you wouldn’t help me track down some of the missing RSVPs.

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**Dislaimer, I’ve had these thoughts running through my head ALL day. I just needed to get it on paper. I’m feeling MUCH better. I wrote this all as stream of consciousness. No editing, no proofreading, so my apologies in advance** 

I hate unreliability. HATE IT. I don’t think anyone likes unreliable people. Even people that know that they themselves are unreliable don’t like other people that are unreliable. I have had my fair run in with unreliable and inconsiderate folks in the last few months. And here is a tirade some of the unreliable or generally inconsiderate folks that have infiltrated my life in the last few weeks.

Fuck you, table runner seamstress lady I found on Craigslist. I dropped off 40 yards of burlap at your house at the end of August to make 25 burlap table runners for my wedding. Six weeks later, you haven’t made me ONE despite promising you’d have them all done at the end of September. You’re either a complete liar, or you have the worst luck in the world From your emergency root canals to car accidents to laryngitis and dog vet visits that have delayed my runners, I didn’t buy any of your excuses anymore. So I went to your house yesterday and took back all of my burlap and thread. And, when I was there, you lied again telling me you “didn’t remember” saying that you would have a sample ready for our final venue walk thru. So now, I have to order ones from an Etsy seller, which I was trying to avoid because they’re so expensive. Which means I now have 40 yards of burlap and nothing to do with it. Don’t worry, in a few weeks, I will file a lawsuit in small claims court suing you for the price of the burlap and the difference in price for what you were going to charge vs. what I had to pay on Etsy. So, while you may have fucked with my nicely planned wedding timeline, I get to say the ultimate fuck you.

A slightly milder fuck you to vendors who try to upsell you at the last minute. And doing it by convincing you that your guests will think you’re a horrible host if you don’t take the upselling option. Well, guess what vendors, if my guests judge me because I don’t feed them h’orderves during cocktails, I don’t care. I haven’t cared about people judging me for a LONG time. Prior to about 3 years ago, I never ever attended a wedding that served h’orderves. But, you realized it was a money maker so now you try to sell it as a necessity. Our guests are GROWNUPS. They do not need to be coddled at every moment. Sheesh. And guess what else? Our guests won’t care that we’re using mismatched paper napkins. Also, vendors, don’t expect me to make important decisions on the spot. Don’t plague us with question after question that we already have the answers to. And, don’t treat your clients like morons. I’m sure some of them are, but at least try to give all of them the benefit of the doubt at first.

To our day-of coordinator, you have been a source of stress instead of a source of help. I’ve been able to find things cheaper than you have and you have seriously questionable taste levels. You have put us in touch with the most unreliable people in the state. From your alcoholic assistant to your handyman that can’t show up on time for shit, nothing has been helpful. And don’t tell me that you don’t want me to do anything to help set up. Our wedding day will be the culmination of more than a YEAR’s worth of work. I want to help set it up. To execute MY vision. Don’t tell that you don’t want me to “stress out about it.” Because I’m not. I’ll stress out about it if I left it all up to you.

Fuck you, local hay bale-offering farms that have said, yes, you can deliver bales of hay to my wedding for decor and extra seating and then NEVER return my e-mails to set up delivery and payment options. Why even tell me that you can do it if you have no intention of following through?

Etsy sellers, you’re mostly great and all, but you seriously overprice your shit and sometimes when I get it in the mail, I am disappointed in what I purchased. I am comforted slightly that I am supporting individuals and small businesses, but seriously, you need to evaluate your pricing. Like the cake topper I ordered that looked wooden in the photo? Just thick cardstock (the description didn’t specify materials either way, but I spent $18 on a cardstock cake topper? Mega disappointed in myself). Or those cute luminaries that have been in magazines recently? They are TINY! Not even full sized and I just spent $45 on them.

To my family, I love you, but I’ve asked you for nothing during this entire process. No financial support. No help with any wedding-related tasks. And now, the one thing I’m asking for, which is for you to stay at a hotel when you’re in town for the wedding, you won’t do because it’s “too expensive.” What do you think, everything we’ve done has been cheap? Please, we need our peace in the days leading up to the wedding. And because you won’t pay an  extra $89 to get a hotel room, I’m now just going to ask that you not come down as early as I originally asked. And I feel terrible for doing it.

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