After 450 days of planning, 203 invitations, 161 table cards, 150 cupcakes, 50 votive candles, 25 wine bottles, 15 white paper lanterns and 10 registered place settings, we are just under 24 hours before the wedding. That’s a lot of math for someone who barely squeaked out of Calculus in high school.

Honestly, I’ve been pretty Zen these last few days. According to “Bridezillas” on TV, I shouldn’t be, but I just am. I got the hard stuff out of the way, and now I just want to breathe it all in. Sure, there are little details to attend to, like appease my vanity and get a spray tan, or try to explain to my grandmother that new cameras will not be covering our wedding just because it’s a gay one… but overall, mission accomplished.
So, I’m taking a moment to reflect on this experience. As someone who for the past five years or so has coached brides on how to get the job done from the perspective of a well-worn bridesmaid, I’m now going to offer some reflections from someone who finally went through the trenches himself. Here it goes …

  • Unless you plan to go to city hall or Vegas to do the deed, plan early. Give yourself at least a year or two. What’s the rush? The more wiggle room the better. And don’t procrastinate. Make a list and cross them off as you go. Trust me, it’s therapeutic to draw big red lines through finished tasks. Especially while sipping a margarita.
  • Who ever said that there’s an automatic 20 percent fall-off of the invited guest list was either crazy or just unpopular. We had 10 percent decline our invitation. So if you invite 200, expect 200. It’s that simple. Sure, not everyone will come, but don’t assume that they won’t. More the merrier, right?
  • Hire a planner. That’s all.
  • That budget you have in mind? Double it. Cheese puffs are pricey. No, in all seriousness, create a budget buffer. Extra costs pop up when you least expect it.
  • COMMUNICATE with your partner. And by communicate I don’t mean screaming, crying and throwing Jordan almonds at them to make your point. (Though I can’t promise that won’t happen.) But, do try to express concerns, frustrations and opinions in a constructive and calm manner. A little compassion combined with honestly goes a long way.
  • Don’t just like your vendors. LOVE your vendors. They are the ones who have your back on the big day. So make sure that you trust and respect them from day one. And, please, treat them kindly.
  • If you chose to DIY with décor, table cards, etc., you will get paper cuts, and chip and break nails. So get the manicure AFTER said tasks are done. Just sayin’.
  • Don’t get mad at your mom for inviting her own friends to the wedding. They usually spend the most money on the registries so it evens out.
  • Be realistic. If cupcakes are more affordable than a dessert bar, or beer and wine fit your budget better than a full open bar, then do it. Don’t break the bank and gamble away your firstborn to pay for an ice sculpture in the shape of two kissing dolphins. If your reception is special, unique and 100 percent you in its own way, there’s no going wrong.
  • Enjoy each other. Yes, a wedding is also about taking care of your guests, but most importantly, it is about you two. Check in with each other, steal kisses even when glasses are not clinking and don’t let the day overwhelm the true purpose of the occasion. Love.

Ok, I’m off to take my matron of honor out for some pampering. I’ll be back with a full report of the big day soon. Until then, happy planning, and see you on the other side.

Blog post by Always a Bridesmaid Contributor Darren Elms.

Photo courtesy of deMonica Photo.

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