You're Not Alone: Katie M.

My clients often feel isolated as they plan their weddings. They can't talk about the hard parts because people think they're complaining, ungrateful, or second-guessing their choice to get married. But I know something my clients don't: They're not alone. Hear it from people who've been there.

Katie M.
Married September 23, 2017

When it comes to your wedding, what was your...

Worst surprise?

There were a few of these but in reality, most were expected: the cost of services like photography, videography, florals, etc. and the cost of rentals like vases, uplighting, etc. However, one really awful surprise that drove me to bridezilla tears was people disregarding the need to RSVP or RSVPing "no" but changing their minds later.

My husband and I decided that we needed to have a seating chart because we were not only mixing two distinct cultures, but also because we wanted guests to be very comfortable at their tables, with people they knew. I submitted my final seating chart three days before my wedding and hell broke loose!

My uncle, who originally RSVP'd "no," announced that he was coming with his wife, NINE kids, and one kid was bringing her friend. The same day, my cousins — who were completely unresponsive to my messages about RSVPing for five months — decided they were also coming with their wives and all their kids. I think the final additions to our guest list was something like 16 people.

Logistically, it was a nightmare. We had to come up with a whole new seating chart on the day before our wedding. However, it turned out OK. To our surprise, everyone was sat according to the seating chart and guests really appreciated how much effort we put into making everyone feel completely at home.

Biggest regret?

I really wish I had budgeted more wiggle room time on the day of my wedding. We woke up REALLY hungover from our rehearsal dinner and I had absolutely zero idea that my hair and makeup would take five hours. I was on time to the venue itself, but I did not have enough time to take all the portraits I wanted with my husband. Guests began to arrive almost an hour earlier than we anticipated, so we didn't get as many photos in the ballroom like we wanted.

I also regret that I didn't get to to physically interact with my husband during our photos because of all the extra hair, make-up, and trinkets that were on me. Indian wedding garb is so difficult to deal with, and probably within half-an-hour I was ready to die.

But even though we didn't get that many posed shots, the candid ones are way better anyway. Plus, if we want some portraits, we can get those done later. 

Best advice?

OK, here we go! 

  1. Don't drink. You want to remember EVERYTHING you possibly can. Your drunk uncle dancing, your dad shedding a tear, interactions with each guest, and, in general, you want to understand the gravity of what you just got yourself into. 
  2. Try to get an all-inclusive venue (linens, bar, cutlery, some decor, chairs, etc.) but one that is flexible on catering.
  3. Skip the wedding cake, garter toss, bouquet toss, etc. I know the wedding cake is a huge deal to a lot of people, but no one misses it. We got a Russian dessert bar, and people raved about it! There may be sentimental value attached to a lot of these things and that's great, but if you're doing it just because that's what everyone does, it probably isn't worth it. 
  4. This may be a unpopular opinion but ditch the traditional bridal party. Perhaps invite your friends to your venue earlier to hang out, take photos, whatever but don't make people buy expensive clothing and slave away for your wedding. If you want your close friends to wear matching outfits, take care of that cost yourself or at least make their pieces affordable and something they will be able to wear again.
  5. Keep speeches short and lighthearted.
  6. Make sure you are as close as you can be to your guests and that people are not intimidated to interact with you. For our wedding, we did this by ditching the head table and sat at the same table with our families. Our guests were able to come up to us and chat without feeling like they were on the spot.
  7. Splurge on what you think is beautiful even if people say, "This is something no one remembers." You want those over the top florals? Do it! You want Chiavari chairs and elaborate programs? Do it because it's your wedding, dammit! 
  8. Last one, I promise: Get a videographer

Have something to share? Email me at elisabeth@elisabethkramer.com