Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for to wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I plan my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
I generally like to think that I can handle things myself. This, however, is a shout out to my best friends who knew when to take the reins.
First we have Matt, my Man of Honor who planned the most amazing bachelorette party for me. He didn’t have to ask me what I wanted. He knew I didn’t care about cheesy games, picked the perfect restaurants and clubs, and even had a cheese plate set up when I arrived at the hotel since he knew I’d prefer that to cupcakes. He later gave a speech at the rehearsal dinner that meant so much to me. Throughout the wedding process I didn’t want to ask for things because I didn’t want anything to feel forced. The bachelorette party loses a little something if you have to plan it yourself. Some people want the sash and penis straws to mark the occasion, but seeing how Matt truly “got” me is what made me feel like a bride. Basically, he made it so I didn’t have to think and made me feel entirely special the whole time.
Then we have Steph and Liz. After my wedding weekend, these girls became heroes to me for the smallest of reasons.
Albert stayed in the hotel beginning Thursday night of our wedding weekend. That night, Liz spent the night at my house with me and it was one of the best nights of my life. After the lowcountry boil, we headed downtown with a group of friends to hit up the bars, coming back around 2 AM to eat drunk pizza in bed. It was just like back when we were in college. It was a great distraction from the craziness of the weekend and just plain FUN. I actually got pretty drunk Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights of our wedding. I know that’s not typically advised, but I wanted to remember my wedding as a crazy fun party and it was. I’m not sure how, but I managed to avoid a hangover all weekend. I am so lucky I had a best friend who wanted to have a slumber party with me. It is a memory I will treasure.
HOT TIP #1: If you can swing this during your wedding weekend, I highly recommend it. After all, you’ll have every night for the rest of your life with the groom, but sleepovers with your best friend are fewer and further between. It will feel truly special and will likely help you turn off your brain before such a big day.
Liz further cemented her place in the Hall of Awesome by bringing face masks for her and I to put on at the salon. By the time you get to the salon, emotions are high and this is a great way to combat the inevitable stress. Face masks don’t seem like much, but it was this wonderful, calming thing. Basically, she was by my side the whole weekend, keeping my spirits up and my mind calm, so there was no chance to be anything other than blissfully happy all weekend.
HOT TIP #2: Be the bridesmaid who brings a bag of tricks to the getting ready portion of the wedding day. Face masks are a fabulous idea and is very nice because it’s the kind of thing a bride won’t do for herself. I was also in a wedding where most of us arrived to hair and makeup woefully hungover. One of my fellow bridesmaids thought to bring granola bars and probably saved my life.
Steph wins major points for seeing what nobody else could. Overall, I was one of those brides who remained calm throughout the process. Not much ruffled my feathers during the planning or the weekend. That’s why I was surprised when I broke down at the salon. I think it was a combination of all the emotions of the wedding process finally catching up to me and the anxiety of soon having all eyes on me. I didn’t see it coming, but Steph did. Maybe she noticed me getting quiet or tense, but something clued her in to me not being ok so she quietly walked over to get my Mom. (Note: I didn’t see this; my Mom told me after the fact.) Just as my Mom got to my chair, I completely lost it. I had a full blown panic attack, the kind where they have to bring you a paper bag because you can’t breathe. Steph also knew that I needed space and part of the reason I was freaking out was all the fuss being made over me. Not all the other people in the room understood that. Some started to ask what I needed. Some told me “just breathe”. One even giggled and said it was cute I was nervous. All that only made matters worse. The only things that helped were Steph noticing the problem, getting my Mom close and everyone else far away, and Liz bringing me water before then leaving me alone.
HOT TIP #3: Be the bridesmaid who keeps her finger on the pulse of things. Keep an eye on the bride from afar. Think about what she would want, not what you would want in her shoes. If people need to be brought into the room to pump the bride up and deliver a party atmosphere, make that happen; if people need to be ushered out to give the bride some space, you can orchestrate that as well. Figure out what needs to be done and make it happen quietly.
Let me be clear: My panic attack (or as Steph said, [I] “had a moment.”) did not happen because I was nervous about marrying Albert. I had never been happier, more excited, or more sure about anything. Ever. But I am not generally a very emotional person (in fact, Albert has only seen me cry about 3 or 4 times in our entire relationship) so this was literally years of emotion bubbling to the surface. It was everything: I was nervous about officially being out of my parents house and already missing the comfort of being the baby of the family; I was anxious about walking down the aisle and being the only thing people were looking at; I was sad so many important people in my life were missing both this and all my other milestone moments, with my Grandpas having both passed away 22 years prior and my Grandma entering the throes of dementia; I was thinking “what if it’s not fun?” There were a lot of thoughts that I’d pushed down for a looooong time and they decided to make their grand entrance while I was sitting in the salon with my hair in curlers.
HOT TIP #4: These feelings are normal. Perhaps it’s not the healthiest thing to keep them bottled up inside, but, hey, these things happen. The important thing is that you surround yourself with the people who will bring you back to center. For me, that’s my Mom and these friends.
Bottom Line: We should all hope to have friends like this in our lives and strive to be this type of friend for others. There is a common theme here. All three of these people knew me almost better than I knew myself. They understood how and when to step in and did so without being asked. I am extremely lucky to call them my people.