(finally) a summary of the whole weird and wild wedding experience

Bear and I got married nine months ago. Not to the day, or anything. I’ve never been like that.

Sometimes I feel a little like a wedding veteran, when people are talking about planning one. They always sound so young and ambitious, and I lean back in my chair, fold my hands over my belly, and say, “Alright now…Alright now, kid…But let’s just slow it down for a minute, here…”

No, I would never say that.

But I feel like I learned a lot from planning a wedding. And I realized suddenly that I never really took the time to write a post that summed up my experience into a neat little post with a moral at the end and a set of convenient bullet points for reference. And I’m a blogger, so that’s sort of unforgivable.

Instead, after I got married, I was really excited to not have to think about weddings ever again. A few months ago, I clicked on some fluff piece called something like “The Post Wedding Blues: Are You Feeling Depressed and Down During Your First Months of Marriage? It May Be Because All That Wedding Excitement is Over!”

I was like, “Wait, what? Are you kidding me? THIS is the good part.”

But sometimes I think I’m too hard on my wedding. It was a great day. I wore a stunning gown. I still remember exactly how Bear looked, and how he looked at me.

It was ridiculous how much love was in that room.

And here is what I learned:

1. There will be that much love in that room no matter what. People are thrilled to be at a wedding. You don’t have to worry so much about whether or not they’ll like it.

2. If you really want something, stand up for it. Don’t let the other people involved in the planning process tell you that thing isn’t appropriate, or isn’t “wedding-y” enough. It’s always wedding-y enough. I wanted to serve the guests deli sandwiches, but got overruled, on the basis of sandwiches being inappropriate fare for a formal wedding. Now I realize that no one would’ve cared, and it would’ve been cute.

3. Conversely, if you stand up for the thing, and the other people involved (such as your mother) care a lot more than you do, it’s probably OK to just let them do their thing. Because you will not be thinking about the food or the flowers or anything really, except for being extremely happy, on that day.

(look how happy my parents are!)

(I just included this one because my mom is really gorgeous)

4. I am really glad that at the last minute, I told the awesome girl doing my hair and makeup that I didn’t want a lot of makeup. Because of this, I look more like me in the pictures, and I like it.

5. I am really glad I wore comfortable flats.

6. And a shrug I bought off Etsy for $40. I don’t regret any of the things I didn’t spend a lot of money on.

7. The only parts that really mattered were the ceremony and the toasts. You can tell  people to keep it to 2-5 minutes, but don’t cut them out if you want them to speak or sing or play or recite something. There’s way too much concern over whether or not the guests are sufficiently entertained. They will get to dance a lot!

8. Along these lines, I am SO glad the ceremony was as long as we needed it to be. Bear and I wrote our own vows and Neshama Carlebach sang, and I sang, and people gave us blessings. And the videographer complained that ours was the longest wedding he’d ever filmed, and he’d had to burn an extra DVD, as a result. But I don’t regret even one second of the ceremony.

What I do regret is…

9. The receiving line after the ceremony. It slowed everything down, created a bottleneck, and left Bear and I locked in the basement for over a half hour, waiting to be told what to do next. I was annoyed at missing so much of our wedding, and it was clear that no one was sure how to manage it. And because everyone was still stuck in the ceremony part of the space, our group photos are outside, in the street. And there are almost no photos of Bear and I just standing around, being married together.

10. The truth is, I didn’t fully understand what weddings were about until months and months later, when Bear and I visited his cousins, and they were all still talking about it. They’re all gotten to see each other and hang out, and check out NYC, while we were busy freaking out and getting married and driving off for our very, very tiny excuse for a honeymoon. When you’re getting married, you forget about everyone else. But a wedding is about everyone else almost as much as it’s about you.

I’m bad at lists and bullet points. I wasn’t great at wedding planning, either. I can’t even think of a good moral to conclude this story with.

If I were to rewind time and do it all over again, yet with the great wisdom that I have acquired since then intact, I think I would’ve gone a little less formal. The formality was out of nervousness and inexperience. I think I would’ve hired the florist I liked, rather than the one with a longer track record, who my mom trusted, and who thought all bouquets should be huge and round. I think I would’ve had Katherine curl my hair even less, so that I looked even more like me, and I would’ve gotten deli sandwiches for everyone. And definitely no receiving line.

I might want to redo the wedding night, too, which concluded with me throwing up, and crawling miserably into bed, wearing one of Bear’s t-shirts and feeling like I was probably going to die. But then again, it’s hard to predict what the best part of a story will be. Sometimes it’s the stuff that goes wrong that makes for the best retelling.

I loved my wedding, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do weddings right. I loved it because it was mine. I think it’s easy to feel like there’s a chance you could mess your wedding up, when really, there isn’t. Which doesn’t mean I think formality is totally lame, and people who have formal weddings are suckers. I don’t. I liked wearing a huge, fancy white gown.

I liked that the day was just about as different from every other day as possible. But if it had been a really casual, in-a-field, potluck kind of wedding, it would’ve been special in a totally different way. And in many of the same ways, too.

OK, I’m done.

Also, one last lesson: gigantic bouquets are difficult to hold. Mine was really, really ugly, and could’ve easily been used to bludgeon someone to death, had I needed it for that:

(I think this is the only picture of Bear and I looking at the camera at the same time. And he’s not even really looking at the camera. The lavender lights in the back for cocktail hour were also a mistake)

*  *  *

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in white.

Here are some of my favorite posts from the wedding planning days:

Cookies for my wedding: a post about not dieting in preparation for my wedding.

I am not grown up enough for my life: a post about how technical wedding planning can get, and how I’m not good at being technical.

Brides have to look in the mirror for a long time: a post about getting my gown altered and being informed that my breasts don’t exist.

I’m getting married in a little over two weeks: a post about how I reacted to getting engaged, and how I am probably too young to get married. And lots more. Actually this is probably the longest post I’ve ever written.




Kate on July 19th 2011 in wedding

18 Responses to “(finally) a summary of the whole weird and wild wedding experience”

  1. LIT responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I didn’t have a formal wedding: I’m from Texas, my hubby is from Ohio. Instead of making one state’s family/friends travel- we decided it would be easiest for us to do the moving. Our “wedding” was at the Justice of the Peace- with our parents present. It was a great day: stress-free good times. 3 months later, we had a reception in Ohio… 3 months after that we had a reception in Texas… 3 months after that we went on our Honeymoon cruise… and 3 months after that we were celebrating our 1st anniversary. It was such an exciting year of constantly looking forward to our next celebrations! Although it’s not how most people would plan their “wedding”- I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to do it over. And that’s all that really matters!

  2. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I have to say, I’m glad I had a fairly formal wedding, because it gave people the chance to get dressed up and come together, and they seemed really psyched about that. But I think you’re right– it just has to be a wedding you like. That should’ve been how I ended the post. You guys are always making me realize what I should’ve written, after the fact :-)

  3. Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Ah, you look gorgeous! As does your mum. I’m getting married in just under three months, and I fear my nuptials will pale in the glam stakes compared to yours (so easy to second guess yourself on everything when you’re wedding planning), but as you say, you just need to plan a wedding you like, and I think my fiance and I are doing just that.

  4. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    OK, I couldn’t help but update the post just a little…thanks for helping me clarify things.

  5. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Love your blog name. Honestly, I didn’t look gorgeous in plenty of my wedding photos. But that’s life!
    And good for you, for planning a wedding that you like. Care to share any of the details? (I admit, I’m always interested in hearing about other people’s weddings. I’ve turned out a little girly like that)

  6. Joh responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    What awesome timing. I’m getting married in 6 days (18 people, courthouse, bbq cooked by us to follow at the house we’re renting for the week for all) and so obviously, our plans are not the typical WIC wedding – which I’m glad for. But, I almost feel guilty that I still have the big fluffy white dress and veil, I’ll be the focus of attention. Like you, I’m the same size I was last year – no magical bridal transformation (though I did get a rockin short haircut last week). I don’t mind having an ‘un-traditional’ wedding, but I was almost feeling guilty for still having that dress. Point being, I love that you embraced and loved the white fluffy dress! – and now I have a little more enthusiasm for my dress-choice!!

    Besides, I suppose, its a mullet dress, so it will be awesome :)

  7. San D responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    40 years ago I was living with my then boyfriend (now husband). My father was to be deployed to Vietnam and I always wanted him to walk me down the aisle so we got married. We had a wedding in my husband’s family’s church to which immediate friends and family were invited by hand linoleum printed invites that we both made. Our ceremony was light and included shared lighting of candles from the flames from the altar to both sides of the family. The dress was off the rack “prarie dress” from Macy’s summer dress department. My mother in law made a sweet bouquet of daisies and a ring of daisies for my hair. My sister wore her off the rack prairie dress, similarly adorned with a ring of carnations. We all drove to a restaurant to have “dinner”. When the maitre’D realized it was a wedding he added two candles to the layered chocolate cake we had preordered, and kept the restaurant open later so that the tuba umpa band could continue playing into the night. Everyone ordered a la carte, my father was pleased to pay the bill at the end of the night. It was an innocent and lovely way to start our journey as a married couple.

    Recently on the radio I heard a couple speak of their recent wedding. She planted 500 tulip bulbs the fall before and had all the flowers she needed for her wedding. They rented a space and a DJ, and made sure the space had doors that opened onto a patio space so that people could dance, and get up and get their food from the 5 Food trucks they rented (yup, the kind of food trucks that are parked on the streets of big cities). Everyone loved the surprise of it, and of course the food. What a hoot!

  8. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Sounds absolutely amazing. You are going to rock that dress. And I wish I’d had the guts to cut my hair before my wedding!

  9. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    @San D
    Food trucks!! I LOVE that.
    And your wedding sounds lovely, too :)

  10. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Did you submit this to A Practical Wedding? It looks exactly like that kind of post.

  11. Kate responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Nope. But maybe I should. Thanks for the idea!

  12. Karen Fridkis responded on 19 Jul 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Best wedding ever!

  13. Eat the Damn Cake » A Practical Wedding (and a Jewish homeschooler) responded on 16 Aug 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    [...] not act particularly bridal during the wedding planning process (which you can read a summary of here). I never shrieked and jumped up and down. And I’m resisting the urge now. But the urge is [...]

  14. Kate Fridkis: How My Posture Messed Up My Wedding Photos | POLITICAL MOSAIC responded on 05 Oct 2011 at 5:55 am #

    [...] messed up a lot of stuff with the wedding (you can read my post about it here). I should’ve gone for the young woman florist who worked with wildflowers, rather than the [...]

  15. How My Posture Messed Up My Wedding Photos | WEDDING PORTAL responded on 05 Oct 2011 at 7:29 am #

    [...] messed adult a lot of things with a marriage (you can review my post about it here). we should’ve left for a immature lady florist who worked with wildflowers, rather than a [...]

  16. Kate Fridkis: How My Posture Messed Up My Wedding Photos | WEDDING PORTAL responded on 05 Oct 2011 at 7:30 am #

    [...] messed adult a lot of things with a marriage (you can review my post about it here). we should’ve left for a immature lady florist who worked with wildflowers, rather than a [...]

  17. Eat the Damn Cake » cold feet responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    [...] after I’d chosen, I sailed through the rest. The engagement, the wedding—I didn’t pause for a second. People think that’s the hard part. Committing to another [...]

  18. Jessie responded on 29 Apr 2013 at 1:31 am #

    While I certainly enjoyed my wedding (because hey, it was my wedding) I would have done it very differently in hindsight. I had it in a big church that I didn’t go to but thought was beautiful, hired a semi-friend for the photography and didn’t get what I paid for and my mother controlled far too much of it. Plus I was a student and dirt poor, so everything was cheaply done and you could tell. I hated planning the damn thing – even now the words “wedding planning” send a shiver down my spine! But then again… it was our day, and suddenly we were married, committed, and I love that. It did teach me one thing though. A wedding is just a day, and whether you loved it, hated it or were somewhere in the middle it’s the marriage that counts.