I’d loved looking at weddings magazines since long before I was engaged. As a teenager, I’d use the money I earned from whatever part-time job I was working at the time to treat myself to the latest Martha Stewart Weddings and dog-ear the things I loved. I kept all the back issues on a shelf I referred to as “the archive.” Half-decent with a pencil, I’d draw sketches of my dream dress. It usually included some combination of a full tulle skirt, fitted bodice, taupe ribbon sash, and cathedral-length veil with a blusher.
When Pinterest came into existence, you better believe I had a weddings board (strategically kept secret, obviously, so as not to terrify any potential suitors), even though I was nowhere near walking down the aisle. The details of my dream day shifted with changing influences and passing fads: a tented backyard reception (a la Father of the Bride) gave way to a rustic barn wedding (despite never having stepped foot in a barn in my life) to a Latin-flavored celebration to honor my Cuban heritage.
So when my now-husband, Charlie, proposed seven years ago on a perfect fall day Central Park, you’d think I had my dream wedding fully planned and ready to execute, right? Not quite.
The prospect of planning a wedding—in real life, not just in my head—is hard for indecisive types like myself. I like too much and agonize over decisions. Planning a wedding with real dollars is also a very different prospect than doing so with imaginary money. That custom fireworks show I envisioned capping off the night? Not quite in the budget.
Having seen how my tastes had changed over the years, I knew I didn’t want to look back on my wedding with regret. I decided to stick with a simple color palette and kept the details fairly timeless. My husband and I chose The Room on Main for its classic ballroom feel and neutral finishes. My mom—my not-so-secret wedding-planning weapon—designed a custom monogrammed crest that appeared on our invitations and favor boxes. Floral arrangements were kept lush and loose, with the head table featuring a leafy garland dotted with roses and berries.
A lot of my wedding day was different than how I imagined it as a teenager. The dress I had in my head never materialized, and I ended up going in the complete opposite direction, selecting a form-fitting satin number with a beaded and pearl-accented illusion back and cap sleeves. I wanted live music, but my indie-music-loving husband wanted a song list populated with more obscure choices that aren’t in the repertoire of most wedding bands. And the sparkler exit I dreamed of? Turns out it’s a fire hazard and a no-no at many venues. Then again, when I was planning this imaginary wedding, I also thought I’d be marrying Leonardo DiCaprio. Sometimes reality is better than anything we could dream up.
My point is, if your wedding day looks a little different than you imagined, due to a global pandemic, a tight budget, or any other reason, know this: It will still be one of the best days of your life. It will also be a blur. Here’s everything I remember from my wedding day:
Fair to say, some truly special moments, and some not-so-glamorous ones. But they all added up to create one of the happiest days we’ve still ever had, and most importantly, the start of our life together. We have a few more gray hairs than we do in these pictures, and I couldn’t fit into my gown today even if I slathered myself in Crisco. But five years later, we’re got a lot of great memories under our belts and three beautiful babies under our roof.
If you’re planning a wedding, my biggest pieces of advice would be:
As always, let us know how we can help make your wedding planning process easier. Send me an email at email@example.com.
August 12th, 2020 at 2:23pm
Excellent advice, and as a wedding vendor myself, exactly the same things I tell my brides! It’s so much better to enjoy and be in the moment instead of fretting over every little thing, so many of which don’t even matter. Our Covid brides who’ve gotten married this summer are feeling surprisingly stress free….I think once they get to wedding day, they actually feel LESS pressure!