Wedding Planning Diary, Part II
Back when Andy and I were looking at venues, getting a general lay of the land, and comparing prices, it never occurred to me to pay attention to little details that would later haunt me. I love our venue—the location and "New York"-ness of it are second to none—but there are several things about it that I overlooked on the first visit. Future brides, trust me: Pay attention to the linens, plates, silverware, chairs, furniture. These are all things that never crossed my mind to focus on, much less spend money renting. If I could go back in time I would probably keep the same venue because I love it so much, but let me tell you: when we had our tasting and I was seated at a table, eating from designed-to-withstand-major-wear-and-tear plates and sitting on designed-to-be-cleaned-easily lounge chairs, I realized I hated a lot of the basics.
As my longtime readers probably know, I'm admittedly obsessive when it comes to aesthetics. Thus, we're now renting a lot of things. I did not plan on this. What's painful about it is that most of those things are included with the venue... I unfortunately dislike them. Vehemently. Spending time in this industry and with a planner, I've come to realize this is actually a normal expense, but for a neophyte like myself who didn't even know you could rent a sofa, this has been quite the education.
The other unfortunate reality is that, as it turns out, a LOT of people rent this stuff—especially since our wedding falls in wedding season—and it's something of a blood sport. Selecting tabletop items to rent reminded of finding an apartment in the city in my student days; one time, upon finding the apartment of my dreams, I was told my application got in 11 MINUTES behind someone else's. (This actually happened to me more than once!) With tabletop items, the pieces I wanted were often scooped up by another customer before I got my order in, and we had to start the selection process over again. My planner called it a moving target, and trust me, it was frustrating. I of course recognize that none of these extras were necessary and the stress is entirely self-inflicted. Sigh.
Choosing to rent items: Expectation: N/A (I had no idea I'd ever be renting anything) | Reality: 5/10
Actually securing the items: Expectation: 1/10 | Reality: 8/10
It hadn't occurred to me to discuss this but so many of you have asked what website provider I used for my wedding website that I figured it was a common dilemma. I went with Squarespace and have been happy with the decision. If I'm honest, I didn't really shop around; All The Pretty Pandas was built with Squarespace and so I already know the "language" somewhat. But even I, a person who's had a Squarespace website for 3.5 years (has it really been that long?!), struggled at times with things like formatting and getting the look I wanted without knowing how to code CSS.
I'll put it this way: In comparison to this blog, building a wedding website on Squarespace was a snap. I produced what I think is nice enough looking wedding website in a solid day. But if I hadn't already known my way around Squarespace's sometimes frustrating formatting, I am confident it would've taken me much, much longer.
Expectation 2/10 | Reality 4/10
IN GOOD COMPANY
The Guest Count
We went way over in numbers with our invites because everyone we spoke to told us that at least 20% or so of the invitees would not be able to attend. I'm happy to report that, at least in our experience, this proved to be completely true. In fact, I'd say about 25% of our invitees were not able to attend, for reasons ranging from work to cost.
The most common reason? Kids. More often than not it came down to whether or not the guests were able to get their parents to babysit for the weekend. Overshooting on the list paid off because, head count-wise, we ended up smack dab where we'd hoped.
Getting the number just right: Expectation: 6/10 | Reality: 3/10
My planner told me going into all this that the three most difficult things about planning your wedding are (in no particular order):
1) finding your venue
2) the guest list
3) the seating chart
In my mind, the guest list was going to be far more difficult than the seating chart. I figured once I knew who was coming, it was just a matter of putting like-minded, similar-aged people (some of whom hopefully already know one another) at a table together and trusting they got along.
I can't even describe how much harder it was than that. In fact, there have been exactly two times where I've cried during this whole planning process and putting together seating was one of them. (The other time was just a moment of feeling generally overwhelmed—when I sent out this tweet.) It turns out that in any social circle, there are people that just don't mesh. I have two girlfriends who have had a very recent falling out. Andy has two friends who he describes as "mortal enemies". My parents have a friend who, at a wedding many, many years ago, told another friend of theirs to "fuck off"—both of these friends will be at this wedding. (You can't make this stuff up.)
On the surface, it seems simple. If someone doesn't like someone else, just don't seat them together, right? It's not so easy. It's a domino effect of who's friends with who, and who those other friends might mesh with, and maybe those friends would work great with the friends of the first friends. Maybe some of them are single and it'd be great to have them meet, but the connective tissue friends don't get along. Do you just sit them together and say, "Not my problem", or do you wrack your brain to find a solution? One article I read about this described table seating as "Tetris, with emotions" and I couldn't agree more.
Expectation: 5/10 | Reality: 10/10
I've never known anything about flowers and, while I've learned plenty about things I formerly knew nothing about (like letterpress and gold foil), I still don't know anything about florals. This is one of the many departments in which I've completely entrusted my planner and floral vendor to make choices for me based on my Pinterest board. According to them I have a fondness for succulents. Who knew?
Expectation: 1/10 | Reality: 1/10
The Bridesmaids' Dresses
I am possibly more excited about my bridesmaids' dresses than my own dress! It mattered a lot to me that my girls LOVE their dresses and that they want to wear them again. I knew I wanted them to coordinate in some way but not be totally matchy-matchy, so I chose to have them in matching fabric, but with different silhouettes. Also, while I liked the idea of black bridesmaids' dresses, I worried too many people would be wearing black and they wouldn't "pop". My bridesmaids will definitely stand out. :)
Choosing the bridesmaids' dress theme: Expectation: 8/10 | Reality: 5/10
That's it! I'm considering writing later on about the emotional journey of planning a wedding; not in terms to our relationship, but rather the mounting pressure and how easy it is to lose sight of what it is you want and like. If any other brides-to-be are interested in this, do let me know. If you're curious about any other wedding planning aspects, please let me know in the comments!