So, this title is not exactly accurate given that I had a nine-month-long engagement. However, I planned most of the party in the 12 weeks leading up to my September wedding. I am a procrastinator and have never really been interested in being a bride. For the most part, bridal dresses all looked the same to me and I spent the better part of a year mildly annoyed when people brought up topics like 'charger plates,' 'bustles,' 'chiavari chairs,' or 'why do you only have four items on your registry?'
Three weeks before my wedding I didn't have a dress or a cake. It was June before we picked a church and a place to have the party. Save the Dates went out to only half of the invited guests, and we booked our honeymoon twelve days before the big day. So, now that everything is done and it all came together, I feel validated after defending my unconventional planning tactics for months, and would like to share my new widsom with other Procrastinating Brides out there on the internet who once Googled "Why am I freaking out about getting engaged" the night of their engagement because they deeply, truly hated the idea of becoming the Pinterest-crazed bridal stereotype we all fear and loathe. (And yet here I am, using this thinly veiled excuse to share my wedding pics.) See below for my top ten tips for procrastinators or just people who hate being a bride, avoid using the word 'fiancé,' and whose nightmares typically include a Honda Odessey.
1. Just say no to save the dates (except for out-of-town travelers), magnets, a color scheme, anything DIY, color schemes, bridesmaid dresses and shoes, etc. In my book, these things are strictly optional.
2. Do not, under any circumstances, read The Knot or look at wedding-related Web sites or Pinterest boards that can cloud your mind with needless details that do not need to be considered, or look at anything else that could potentially inspire interest in driving to Michael's to buy mason jars and burlap.
3. Avoid people who are planners - these are the people that will tell you that your dream wedding was already booked by someone else and that you are now in the difficult position of choosing to either a. Extend your wedding until 2015, or b. Have a crappy wedding that will make you despise yourself for not listening to them back in January.
4. In your search for venues, use OpenTable: it's an efficient way to find places with space to seat your crowd - I typed in '250' on a Chicago restaurants search and was given a short list of options that made choosing easy.
5. Book a coordinator. The lady I hired is the best money I spent! She gave me a template that lists every detail that I would have forgotton about otherwise, plus pre-populated options and a deadline for everything up until the big day. Plus she hid all of my mistakes, oversights, and poor planning decisions from me so it never mattered anyway.
6. Visit bridal stores with no intention of buying a dress, and be sure they serve wine. Also keep in mind the hundreds of amazing dresses that you bought off-the-rack and wore the same night. The whole 6 month lead time requirement to order a bridal gown is simply because they all know you will hate it if you have too much time to look at it, think about it, and wear it alone in your bedroom. Therefore, the bridal stores should just be for getting an idea of what you like (ivory silk, lace) and do not like (fabric dragging on the floor, glitter). The wine is for making it fun. (My friend Ashley designed my dress and made last-minute (ok, highly stressful) changes to it just days before).
7. Read Anna Quindlen's 'A Short Guide to a Happy Life' and 'Being Perfect' (Spoiler Alert: If you really were, you'd be friendless and super boring). The two short books will come in handy during moments when you realize you spelled the name of the church wrong on the invites that you just dropped off at the post office and will make you love the colorful shoes you picked even more than you already did.
8. Keep it simple for everything - I hired a printer, told her to make everything ivory with black text, and make it match. I told the florist to keep everything ivory and a reasonable height so my guests will be able to make eye contact across the table. When people asked me about things that I had never heard of, I made a policy of saying no. (Thermography? What is this?)
And if you can, get married in a place that is so old and established and timeless that it needs no decoration besides the stained glass, chandeliers, and pretty faces of all your friends and family.
9. Remember the important things, like your grandmother and her rosaries and deep faith in God, love, marriage, family, and the goodness in all people.
10. If all else fails, remember this: no one really cares about your wedding all that much besides you. No one will remember the centerpieces or the flowers. They won't remember the food or the cake or what your hair looked like or who made your shoes. Whether your wedding is in a backyard, a barn, or a palace, the only thing they will really remember is if they had fun - and the only way that can happen is if the host and hostess lets them by having fun themselves.