How to Plan a Wedding in [Almost] One Year

September 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

I wanted to have this finished for our first anniversary.

I got lazy. I even stopped writing for myself for a while. That’s the downside of actually working in the creative field you want to be in. You do so much writing for other people that sometimes you forget to write for yourself, too.

I finally finished the first draft in April of this year, just in time for our 1.5 year anniversary. It’s now in the revision stage, and I’m sprucing it up to get it published somewhere.

But I thought I’d share an excerpt here. On our two-year wedding anniversary.

Happy Year 2. Love you, Squirrelface.


How to Plan a Wedding in [Almost] One Year

10 Months Before

Book a time to try on wedding gowns. It’s vital to coordinate a time when all your VIPs can be there.

Give your maid of honor (best friend) and bridesmaids (sisters) three weeks’ advance notice. Follow up on Facebook a week later with the time and location. Follow up one week after that to remind them about next Saturday. Keeping a constant line of communication with your bridal party is very important.

Text everyone on Saturday morning.

You’re a punctual bride. Arrive at the salon at 1pm sharp. Your maid of honor’s there. And your mom. That’s a start.

Meet with your consultant and chat about styles. All the dresses you want are available online only. Well, you might as well try on dresses that are like the dresses you really want.

Get a text from your sister at 1:30pm. So sorry, she totally forgot. Also, she just got called into work.

Let’s see that second dress again.

Are you sure you want to go backless?

This one feels too heavy.

Text your other sister at 1:45. And let’s see dress #1 again.

That’s the one. It’s so silky and light and fits your hips just right. And you don’t feel so bride-y in it. Not that it’s a bad thing. But feeling like a bride only two months in kind of freaks you out.

Make a downpayment. Wow, that took less than an hour!

Get a text from your other sister at 6:30pm. Sorry! She forgot. And just woke up.

9 Months Before

By this point, you should be in touch with your venue to talk about menus and tastings and floorplans.

Oh, look at that. There’s an email from them waiting in your inbox when you get home from work.

“What was the date you booked again? October 6th or October 13th?”

It’s a little disconcerting that they don’t remember details. But it’s nice of them to check. Verify the date and whip up some dinner like the June Cleaver you won’t be about 11 months from now.

There’s another email waiting for you after dinner:

“I’m so sorry, but here’s what happened. Another couple booked your date in August, three months before you did. I’m really sorry. We’re under new management and didn’t have the right datebook the day you called to book.

I’m really, very sorry. I’ll do anything to convince you to have your wedding here. September 29th is still available.

Again, so sorry.”

They… they what? Go ahead and flip the fuck out. You’re three full months into planning. You deserve this moment.

And… calm. This can work in your favor. You need a ceremony site, and your venue overcharges for their ceremony site. This is that perfectly-balanced point in your planning when you can Get Things For Free.

You reply:

“This is very disappointing. I fell in love with your venue as soon as I walked in. I can’t imagine a more perfect spot for my wedding. But my ceremony site is booked solid on the 29th.”

This is a lie. You don’t have a ceremony site yet (even though other online to-do lists will tell you to book one 12 months in advance). But they don’t need to know that.

“Didn’t you say something about hosting ceremonies for a fee? If there’s any chance at all for any kind of discount (since we already spent money on the other place), that would make it so much easier to move our date. I’d hate to not have my wedding at your venue at all!”

Receive the response:

“Yes! I’ll waive the $500 fee completely! You’re all booked for the 29th.”

Congratulations. You just booked a ceremony site and saved $500. But now you’ve lost a month.

4 Months Before

Start a yoga routine you won’t stick to, because who has time to get in shape? You’re five four months out from your wedding day.

And by the way, that event planner you talked to in January? The one you’re getting the free ceremony from? She doesn’t work there anymore. She left. In March. And they are so sorry no one followed up with you. They thought they contacted all of her brides. And you know they charge $1,000 for the banquet room, right?

You need to set this new chick straight, because that’s the main reason you booked the place. Back in November when you made your deposit, it was the only place within 25 miles of Philly that didn’t charge a room fee and wasn’t owned by Steven Starr.

Luckily, you’re still good at Getting Things For Free, even with only four months to go.

You come home from work, The Triumphant Bride. Nothing can get in the way of your perfect wedding now.

Your fiance is sitting on the couch, staring at the wall. He barely registers you walking in. He just got fired.

3 Months Before

This is the night you get drunk and text your mother-in-law to ask if you should still marry her son.

You can’t keep your Center City apartment. This is the worst part about getting married. Your fiance doesn’t like the city. And you hate the compromise. But you can’t stay here with the rent going up.

This is the place where you made yourself. This is where you moved with the paychecks from your first writing gig, even though it was sleazy hack work. This is the hub that’s a 20-minute walk away from your life-blood haunts in the heart of the city. This is the hardwood floors and fire escape cocktails and the windows that face northwest for maximum sunlight value.

Your fiance can’t find a job. It’s been a month. And you only have three more to go. And even though $34,000 a year is the most money you’ve earned in your life, it can’t sustain two of you. It can’t sustain the two of you and also pay for a wedding.

Get drunk.

This is where things get hazy, because you need advice but don’t want your parents to think that you need more money. Text the first neutral party you think of: your mother-in-law. (She’s the logical first choice after a bottle of wine and three gin and tonics.)

Ask her what you think makes sense: “Should I really get married to Joe?” (It sounds less alarming in context. Really.)

You’ll text back and forth for an hour. Her answer is yes. Really, I mean, what did you expect? You should have called your sister instead, which you’ll realize tomorrow morning when you’re deleting all those texts.

You’re going to miss this apartment.

1 Week Before

Shoes… check.

Headpiece… check.

Bridesmaids’ dresses… check.

Final alterations… check.

Some basic idea about what you might be doing for flowers, maybe… check.

A 101 degree fever… no. No. A 101 degree fever is not what you’re supposed to be doing the week before your wedding. Neither is Sudafed or missing the time from work you had blocked off for your honeymoon.

How much vitamin C can you take before it’s toxic?

Listen. You should have gotten more sleep the month before. Well, I mean, you would have if it weren’t for the downstairs college bros who play beer pong on their porch until 2 a.m. But sleep is vital, as is eating well. You should really take care of yourself so you don’t get sick the week before your wedding.

But you probably will get sick the week before your wedding, anyway. Just, please, give your apartment a walk-through before you start picking up your other sisters at the airport to make sure that you at least don’t have any damp towels hanging in your bathroom from that steam bath you gave your sinuses five minutes before you got in the car.

Have you ever mixed Sudafed with five of your little sister’s improved versions of a Long Island Iced Tea in under two hours? Don’t. It puts you in deep danger of spending your entire bachelorette inside an Atlantic City hotel room instead of at the burlesque show with more boobs than your fiance saw at his bachelor party. Unless you rally hard and impressively. At the very least, you’re never going to want Domino’s Pizza ever again.

1 Day Before

If you miss your nail appointment because you’re still in Atlantic City Instagramming an impressive hangover breakfast with all your sisters at noon, don’t panic.

If your dad gets the flu and can’t make your rehearsal, don’t panic.

If you still don’t have those goddamn flowers you should have decided on three months ago, don’t panic.

But most importantly, don’t be the last one to arrive at your rehearsal dinner because you stopped to buy a case of Yuengling with your sister first.

Oh, and that thing you said about your wedding not being anything like your sister’s, where everyone pulled an all-nighter the day before to make bouquets and centerpieces and cake toppers and photo booth props, because you’re way more organized than that? Yeah, that was a lie.

Didn’t you follow any of the planning advice online? The cashier checking out your flower order at Wegman’s at 2:30 a.m. doesn’t think so.

The Day Of

You’re not going to remember anything about this day. You’re just not. About a year from now, you’ll have a private moment with a friend of yours on her wedding day, about halfway through the reception, and she’ll look at you and ask with glassy eyes, “Did it go this fast for you?” And you’ll tell her, “No, I think it went even faster.”

But you’ll remember the most important parts, like one sister doing your hair while the other does your nails and your kitchen becomes the Ad Hoc Salon. Laughing at Internet memes every five minutes. That moment when your sister comes thisclose to threatening the bros downstairs with a baking pan.

The time in the car when you’re 20 minutes late because of traffic and still five minutes away from the venue when suddenly, like serendipitous wedding day magic from a sappy chick flick, your recessional song plays on the radio. Just like that. And it’s the first time your wedding day feels real.

Seeing yourself in the mirror for the first time.

The look on your fiance’s face when he sees you for the first time, even though he totally botched your first look shot by not opening his eyes in time, goddamnit!

The tissue your best friend kept tucked in her dress for when you needed it during the ceremony, and how you handed it to your husband instead.

The way it feels to say “husband” now.

All the things your dad says to you during your father/daughter dance.

And that moment where all three of your families get together for one photograph, something you never thought would happen when you first learned the word “adoption.” The gravity of that moment almost means more than the actual wedding.

Your wedding is about unity. Whatever happened in the months before don’t matter as much as this moment and all the moments that come after.

But seriously. Just buy your flowers before 2 a.m. the day of your wedding. There’s really no excuse for that.


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