I already learned a lot from more than one wedding planning website. Previously I found:
- Ideas on what to do at a wedding reception other than dancing
- Inspiration for wedding color palettes
- Budget calculators that broke components of my budget down into percentages for me
- Locations of local venues and their open house days
- Sign ups for bridal show expo mailings
- Wedding planning “to do” lists and timelines
- A free ring sizer
- Which flowers are in season and wouldn’t wilt for an August wedding
- A huge wedding dress sale thanks to a bridal shop mailing list I was on
But now that I had the basics and new what stuff and money was needed for planning a wedding, I decided to check out the forums on the wedding planning website I picked. What I really wanted now were some specific suggestions on good vendors. I liked the caterer, baker, photographer, dress shop, and tuxedo rental place that I’d found. But not only did I want to check up on them before I had to book (just in CASE my gut instinct was wrong) I also wanted to find local:
- Classical wedding musicians
- Makeup artists
- Hair dressers
- Florists for weddings
That’s not to say I didn’t learn a LOT on this particular popular wedding planning website. These ladies had a lot of experience and a lot of opinions. It was just a little more…personal. They talked about mother in law problems, (and mother problems) wedding dress advice, and jewelry suggestions. So, stuff that any bride could relate to, and benefit from, not just brides here in Massachusetts.
But they also seemed to worry a lot about stuff that I didn’t hadn’t really thought about. I’ve learned a lot about wedding etiquette that I just never would have imagined before. Some made me think twice about what I planned for my wedding. Most of it has just added to my wedding planning stress.
- Getting a “better” engagement ring to replace the first one What?! There’s an interesting way to emasculate your future husband. Maybe that's easy for me to say because Adam brought me to pick mine out, but still. Ouch.
- Save The Dates The first time I read about giving guests STDs I was appalled, but later learned that it is the norm to sent out pre-invitations called “Save the Dates.” Apparently this invitation gives only the date but not the location and time. Then a second invitation will give the location and time. Why is this necessary? Do people set a date before they have a venue booked? That’s the only reason I can think why this is necessary. I don’t think I need to follow this rule, however, since my guest list is so small Adam and I can easily tell them through word of mouth.
- Wedding shoes I kind of thought the dress would cover my feet pretty well, but apparently photographers take pictures of the shoes alone, or with the ring around the stiletto heel.
- Getting a second wedding dress Why would I want a separate one for the reception? I’m paying more for the gown than I ever paid for a dress before. I’m going to wear it for as long as possible!
- Heavy Drinking Apparently, many people expect lots of alcohol to be served at a wedding. Now, I’m not a big drinker, and neither is Adam. I planned on having champagne because it’s elegant, and I’ll never get more elegant than the big white wedding gown. But having a full open bar? Not something I planned on. I am the last person to think about a drink (any drink, I don’t even get a soda with my meals when I get fast food) so I guess I thought wine with dinner, champagne toast, but after that…I didn’t think.
But it wasn't just the superfluous stuff they agonized over that I found stressful. They also fought passionately on this wedding planning website over things like whether it’s tacky to serve sandwiches at a wedding, or if it’s all about what works/pleases the couple. They ripped into vendors, even those who posted on seemingly appropriate threads. They aired their personal issues, and they told these poor young girls that they didn’t understand what marriage is about; they clearly just wanted to wear a white dress to a big fancy party.
I stayed on for a while, hoping to learn more tips from this wedding planning website, but in the end it was clear. This was dominated by a handful of women who were already married, and for some reason stayed on to let everyone else know if they're doing it right or wrong. I felt pretty uncomfortable posting on that wedding planning website since I felt like I was in the minority on a number of issues. Some of them pretty personal. But I did learn things along the way. Even if a lot of what I learned was that even though I thought I wanted my wedding to be traditional, there were a lot of traditional things that didn’t seem to fit me. I guess I want it to LOOK traditional, but I’ll be breaking tradition in order to simplify. At least I was learning what I don’t like well in advance of having to commit to anything.
Since it’s not time for me to book anything, I still have lots of time to really judge for myself which suggestions to pass on, and which to take to heart. Readers, are there any wedding traditions that you decided you just don’t need to bother with, and why?