Happy Anniversary to us! Two years ago today (yep, St. Patrick’s day) we got married in Scottsdale, Arizona. Surrounded by so much love and beauty and sunshine, we got to say yes on a day that was fun, relaxed and connected.
We’re celebrating by returning to the resort where we got married for a a few days of relaxation in the sunshine. We’re taking it easy because of the coronavirus stuff—we cancelled our spa appointments, we’re choosing takeout or restaurants that we know aren’t super busy, and we’re avoiding crowded places. But we’re still celebrating and enjoying time together.
And being here has me reminiscing about our special day and all the planning and effort that I put into it.
So, today, I thought I would share all those things I’m still thinking about two years later, in the form of all of my unsolicited wedding advice, for both brides and guests. And, to keep it interesting if you just don’t care about my wedding advice, I’m sharing some of our wedding pictures, too.
Ready? Here we go!
For Wedding Guests—Things Not to Say to a Bride On Her Wedding Day:
Top level, the point I want to make here is that you should never draw attention to a lack of something on the wedding day. The bride has put endless time and energy into this stressful day, so even if everything goes wrong, your job as a guest is to tell her it was beautiful and the cake was delicious. Period. End of story.
Let’s get specific, though. Here are three examples of things not to say to a bride on her wedding day:
- “Sorry I didn’t get you a gift.” She doesn’t care, she hasn’t looked, she probably won’t notice. She’s not even thinking about gifts until tomorrow and your presence is the best present. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t get a gift—gifts are my love language, so they’re important to me. Just don’t bother bringing it up if you didn’t. Again, don’t call attention to a lack.
- “Don’t worry, nobody noticed XYZ issue.” At my wedding, there was some kind of sound/microphone issue during the ceremony. It’s fine, it happens, I had already forgotten it by the time someone told me that it wasn’t a big deal at the reception. Bringing it up to tell the bride it’s not a big deal not only reminds her that it happened (it’s a whirlwind day—she forgot by now) but showcases that it in fact was a big deal since you feel the need to bring it up. Mention the things everyone did notice—how beautiful she looks, how their vows made everyone cry, how fun the party is.
- “We’re leaving now.” Manners-wise, the bride is probably not the hostess. If you want to thank someone for a lovely evening on your way out, thank a parent. Practically, the bride has spent months planning a fun party for you. It’s totally fine to leave early for any reason, just don’t call it out to her by saying goodbye. While you know you have a migraine/kid at home/early flight, all she hears is “your party isn’t fun.” Just ghost and she won’t notice—trust me.
For the Bride:
Feel Free to Sweat the Small Stuff
Those little details every wedding magazine, book, etc. tells you to stop sweating? The ones they say nobody will notice? People will 100% notice and love them if you want to do them.
If you’re stressing yourself over every little detail and you truly don’t care about them, feel free to release them. Nobody will mind.
But, if you’re the type of person (like me) who loves those little things, go for it. You’ll be happy you did.
- I made a list of all of our married friends’ and family members’ first dance songs and asked our DJ to mix them in during cocktail hour and dinner. I was sent a video of some of our close friends dancing to their first dance song during cocktail hour, and I’ve never seen someone look so touched as when I told him that I asked the DJ to play it for them.
- I put our friends’ nicknames on their place cards instead of formal names. People loved this and saved them or took pictures and sent them to me.
- We cut out our escort cards by hand to go on custom postcards we had made. Literally nobody commented on it but I was so happy because they were perfect and exactly what I envisioned. The things you should DIY are the things you care about.
Make Your Bridesmaids’ Lives Easy
Remember, these are your friends. (And, if they aren’t married yet, they’re probably going to get their revenge when they get married.) Be nice to them.
The best way to make their lives easy is to just tell them exactly what you want from them. I had 3 bridesmaids, so I told them who I thought should plan the shower and who should plan the bachelorette party and let them go from there.
On the wedding day, I assigned one to watch my dog, one to make sure I was drinking water, one to make sure I was eating, etc.
Everyone is happier when they know exactly what they should be doing and, trust me, everyone just wants to be helping. If you don’t want to seem controlling (everyone knows I’m controlling so wasn’t a concern for me), talk to your maid of honor about all the tasks you want bridesmaids to do and ask her to distribute them.
Also, bridesmaids get somewhat screwed when you pick a dress from David’s Bridal or any bridesmaid shop. They intentionally size them weird and make you order a too-big size so that you have to pay for alterations. Plus they always look SO bridesmaidy and you know they aren’t going to wear them again.
Consider picking a dress from Nordstrom (or any online retailer, we got ours here and ⅔ of my girls have actually worn them again) and have them all order their normal size. You don’t even have to pick a designated “bridesmaid dress.” Even if you pick an expensive dress, they’ll save money on alterations (when is the last time you ordered a dress online that needed alterations, other than maybe a hem?).
If you’re worried about the dress selling out, have them all order at the same time and plan to have a try on brunch to be sure they all like them and look good in them. (Schedule the brunch within the return period.)
Happy Anniversary To Us!
Cheers! I hope you liked this random brain dump of advice. Or at least you liked checking out our wedding photos. Let me know your unsolicited or controversial wedding advice over on this Instagram post.