Image from Martha Stewart Weddings.
With the wedding just a couple of weeks away, I've not only been thinking a lot about all that's left to do, but also about how it's going to feel when there is no more wedding to plan. Basically, about five days into the engagement we started planning, budgeting and stressing, and have done that for almost exactly nine months. I really had no idea how hard planning a wedding was, or how one stray comment can completely make you fly off the wall or just burst into tears. I've definitely learned a few things throughout the whole process that I wish I had known (just out of courtesy to other past brides and grooms) as well as going into it.
You can't make everyone happy. It would be great to please all 120 of your wedding guests, right down to their favorite finger foods, a climate-controlled outdoor wedding and bouquets for everyone, but it is just not possible. Of course, I feel it is important to please the main players like your future in-laws, grandparents and parents as much as possible (this day is very important to them too, and they want to feel involved, so if they want to pick out napkins and fabric and help choose the menu, let them do it!) But at the end of the day, make sure you and your fiance are happy. The childhood T-ball teammate who doesn't eat fish can suck it.
RSVP at all costs. Always, always, always RSVP. Even if you haven't spoken to the bride in 10 years, if she invited you, she needs to check you off the list. And if the invitation comes with pre-paid postage, your offense is even worse. Andrew and I didn't RSVP to two of the four weddings we've been invited to, and we both feel horrible about it. Even if the bride and groom know for a fact you're coming, it's still a nice gesture to return the RSVP card or visit the wedding website. But at least let them know in some way.
Stick to the registry. Unless you've verified it with the couple, don't go off-registry. (It is okay to stray if you know for a fact you're getting your friends something they want but didn't have an option to register for.) But if you are strolling the aisles of Macy's or Belk, and you choose to purchase a cheese dome that's not on the registry, it's safe to assume the couple saw it when they were registering, said "Wtf would we need a cheese dome for?" and went along their merry way. Andrew and I pledge to be better wedding gift buyers after this, though, as we've straight up sucked in the past and even went (gasp!) off-registry once (the second time doesn't count because I knew for a fact the bride, wanted it!) Maybe we deserve to be punished.
Ditch the (Elaborate) Details. I'm obsessed with personalized wedding things like napkins, tags/labels and wedding favors. I think these details make the reception venue cute and fun for guests, but at some point you. must. stop. Everything can be personalized these days, from matchbooks to banners to toasting glasses--the list is endless. When you start spiraling out of control, reel yourself back in by asking, "If I was a wedding guest, would I care that I am drinking wine and beer instead of a signature cockatil created for the bride and groom out of sparkling cider and grapefruit vodka and puppy tears?" The answer is no, (and drinking puppy tears would be gross.) That thought would never cross your mind; you'd just be happy to be drinking. In fact, guests wouldn't even mind if there were no favors--the free food, music and drink are enough. Simplify your wedding planning and have a glass of wine, bia.
Recently, I spiraled into the black hole of detail-induced dementia, during which I almost sentenced my guests to a hot, dry death. (Sorry guests!) A week or so ago, my future MIL and I had the idea to provide water bottles for guests while they wait in the blazing hot Mississippi sun for the ceremony to begin (in hindsight, maybe we should provide sunscreen too!) since the buffet won't be open yet and that's where the water, lemonade and iced tea will be. I temporarily thought, "Oh no, this means, I'll have to order personalized water bottle labels to match the tags on our wedding favors." Then I thought, "I can't possibly do that, there's no time, I will simply let my guests thirst to death in their chairs." And then, it hit me: No one will care or even notice if the water they're sipping is Dannon brand and not Lindsey & Andrew, August 14, 2010. What a relief!
5. Send a gift, even if you can't make it to the wedding. Because it's just really fun to get gifts.