GP: Dealing with Wedding Expectations
I am pumped to have Angie and Josh from One Cat Per Person (I’m down with OCPP, yeah, you know me) as co-guest bloggers today. If you haven’t checked out her blog, don’t waste any time, go now! Oh wait…read the guest post…and then go….you know…get on with it, then!
Weddings are hard. Damn hard. Especially when you have your best friend, mother-in-law, second cousin, Maid of Honor, the blog scene, and the WIC setting ridiculous expectations for your wedding. As we brace ourselves and dive into the deep, dark waters of wedding planning, these are the inevitable facts that we know come with the territory. How we choose to navigate, accept or avoid these expectations is up to us.
As soon to be married folk, we expect other people to be uncooperative, selfish and demanding. We know they expect us to act like bridezillas and groomzillas. But what we sometimes fail to recognize are our expectations for our partners and the wedding planning process.
Why are these expectations important? Well, they can keep you sane for one. They can help you understand how to communicate effectively with your partner. And it will keep you sane. Yes, I meant to say it twice.
It’s just. that. important.
When my fiance, Josh, and I began planning our first wedding we had a very difficult time with wedding expectations. Together we made timelines, wedding pillars, goals, vision statements, mission statements, and more. You name it, we have an Excel spreadsheet for it. We had a file on each of our laptops filled with tutorials, inspiration boards, and look books. It quite sickening now that I think about it. We focused so much on meeting the expectations of the blog scene, WIC, and our mother’s that we forgot to create expectations for ourselves.
So with our experience in planning two weddings, one that failed miserably and another that we’re crossing-our-fingers-praying-to-the-wedding-goddesses-above it goes off without a hitch (pssh, yea right.), we decided to highlight a few gems of knowledge about wedding expectations that we wish we knew eight months ago:
Expect your wants and needs to change.
What you are so totally digging now may not be what you are so totally digging five months from now. This may include your wedding dress, your suit, your food, your venue, the list goes on. Maybe the change is caused by you or maybe your venue owner so damn high all the the time he sucks to work with… ahem, I digress. If this happens you need to assess if it’s too late to make changes. If it isn’t too late, embrace the change. Figure out a plan B, get back your deposit, find a new dress, do whatever it is you need to do, and start researching.
Ask yourselves these critical questions:
- Why caused this change? Was it us? Was it the stoner?
- What is it about our plans that we don’t like?
- What can we do to get back on track?
- Will this new plan work?
- Is it worth our time/money/energy?*
A note from the authors: Time/money/energy is the holy trifecta in our wedding planning process. If any wedding element/project/thingie doesn’t meet all any part of the trifecta, we don’t even bother.
If you can’t make any changes, welcome it with open arms. Accept the fact that it’s going to be part of your wedding and you have plenty of other elements to focus on. This wasn’t very easy for us at first. Wedding #1 was not our wedding at all. It belonged to someone else I saw on some wedding inspiration blog and when Project Copy-that-chick’s-wedding failed, we were completely blown by the unwelcomed change of plans. I cried. A lot. We drank. A lot. And then we picked ourselves up off the floor and went back to the drawing board. Wedding #2 (our current wedding) started off as a non-wedding wedding. We did the opposite of what we thought the cool kids were doing and decided to be all punk rock about everything, but that left in the same boat that Wedding #1 put us in. But this time, when our non-wedding wedding started to look like a somewhat traditional-kinda crafty-maybe even a little trendy wedding, we embraced the change. We understood that our wants/needs had evolved, and went with it. Now, we’re so stinking happy you couldn’t pry it from our cold, lifeless, dead, monkey hands… or something like that.
Be realistic with your expectations.
Please note, realism is something we failed to put into a spreadsheet. Josh feels very strongly about this point. He says, “having a picture perfect vision of your wedding day is all well and good, but it’s important to recognize that some things are not attainable.” That doesn’t mean you need to lower your standards, but you need to get real with what resources you have, what resources you may not have, and how you can substitute those resources if need be. For example, we did not have the money to letterpress invites, maps and the like. So instead we used Josh’s design skills and made our own post card invites and a wedding website. It was more work than we anticipated and sure I still dream about letterpressed invites, but our DIY approach helped us save a lot of dough.
While we’re on the topic. DIY route is not always the answer and it’s not always a money saver. You also need to ask yourselves if DIY-ing something is worth your [insert holy trifecta here]. Money doesn’t solve your problems, but if you spent the last five nights trying not to throw your DIY cake topper out the window, cough up the $40 bucks and hit up Etsy. Josh may be a designer, but I am no crafter.
A note from the authors: If you build your own website, do some research on other people’s property wedsites. Check out the free websites available and what they have going on.The free websites gave us lots of ideas on how to make our site both informational and functional. Josh built us a WordPress template because it’s easy to use, especially for someone like me who is all kinds of html/css/blahblahblah illiterate.
Set expectations of each other.
So maybe you’re the planner and the list maker. You set up all the tasks and deadlines that you and your partner follow. Maybe your partner isn’t as hands on as you are. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to discuss what your roles are in wedding planning. Mr. Joshua and I thought we had this all figured out. Oh, how sweet and naive of us. We created a his and hers task list and it completely bombed. I tried to conquer both lists on my own, I didn’t ask for help, and Josh sat around twiddling his thumbs waiting for my cue. This is not a good way to plan a wedding. It took us many, many months to get wedding planning down to a science that works for us. For example, I am not comfortable with confrontation. So when we dumped Wedding #1 and needed to get back our deposits, Josh felt more comfortable contacting the vendors. My source of discomfort is an arena in which Josh thrives.
A note from the authors: Feel free to write your own rules to wedding planning. Maybe it is easier for one of you to make a list and the other to delegate. Or maybe you make a list together and pick out the projects you want to tackle solo or together. Either way, find what’s right for you. It may involve some difficult conversations, but in the end it’s worth it.
Expect to have fun! Duh!
It’s your freaking wedding, ya turkey! You’re going to look hot. Your partner’s going to look hot. You’re going to dance your hot little asses off and have a banging time. Don’t fret. Weddings bring people together. And not just any people- the kind that love you and your partner. Bonus! No one will notice that you changed your mind and went with fuchsia over violet or that you hated the playlist you made four months ago and downloaded an entirely new playlist the night before. Your guests will not notice these things unless you do. If you shine with love and have the greatest time of your life, your guests will too. That’s a fact, yo.
We’ve put together some of our wedding wisdom gems and now we want to hear yours. What has your experience been with wedding expectations? Have you been successful in navigating your way through them or are they still presenting themselves as a challenge? Or maybe you have some other tips you want to share?
Cheers and Happy Planning!