This post comes out of some latent angst over my first “to do,” and the guy I “to do”-ed with. The good thing about planning a second wedding is that a lot of people are keeping out of it. Am I saying that I'm an expert? No. I've just got some “been there done that, and I'm avoiding that now at all costs” perspectives to share.
1. The difference between cold feet and absolute dread
Your gut gives good advice. Sometimes, it's best to listen. I realized there were HUGE waving red flags, but I kept saying, “it's stress,” “it's work,” blah blah blah. The truth is, my ex was abusive and I gave excuses, and after the wedding it only got worse, despite my insistence to myself that it would get better.
Yes, I admit, this one is touchy. But I'm a firm believer (NOW anyway) that one should question those deeply buried emotions and questions. I had strong thoughts of running away before my first wedding and I ignored them and chalked it up to stress. Had I stopped and spent some me time thinking I may have saved myself a painful marriage and avoided getting a divorce.
And NO, I am NOT telling you to run away if your head is spinning and you're freaking out — that happens. I'm saying, stop and ask yourself why you want to run away and be really truly honest about it.
2. On your wedding day things will go wrong
As a matter of fact, during your entire planning, things will go wrong. Don't get hung up on it. One must learn to take a zen approach. Take a deep breath and think of the problem like a puzzle. Flip the problem over and around, look at it backwards, forwards and every way in between. With my first wedding, my dress was too short, every single tux was measured wrong, my mom threatened not to come, most of the guest list was cut in favor of people that didn't show, the lighted flower strand my mom made was kinda tossed into a corner by the venue, I forgot EVERY step to our first dance… and multiple other things.
Learn to wrap your head around things, alter your view, rearrange — without drama. Laugh instead of cry.
3. Put your foot down when it's something you really really want
If you let everyone else get what they want, or compromise every detail, you WILL regret it. Make a list of the things MOST important to you and a list of things you are willing to compromise on and a list of “don't cares.” I regret so much about my first wedding. It wasn't my wedding for the most part.
4. Don't think you have to spend a fortune to have something nice
Going back to #3 — make sure you are getting what you love. My first time around I didn't want to spend more than $5000 or so, but the wedding ended up costing $24,000. And I look back and feel sick about it. Because, seriously, when it comes down to it, your family and friends are there for you, not a $30-a-plate meal.
5. Your mother (or family or close friends) WILL lose their minds at some point:
Your mom may want you to have the wedding she never had, or want to relive her wedding through yours, or just get all annoyingly giddy. Your family will get all huffy over so-and-so being such-and-such. Your close friends will be mad over not being allowed to bring some dude they just met the week before. The bridesmaids will most likely get pissy over color, or shoes, or whatever they aren't fond of. There will be arguments. There will be huffy guests and family. Remember, you can't make everyone happy, especially when it means you won't be.
6. Sometimes compromise is needed
As much as I've said “it's your day” — and it is — it's also your partner's. My current partner has always dreamed of a real wedding cake. Even though I'd really like cupcakes, it's just not something that matters for me as much as it does for him. Compromise is key, because in the end, you don't want your spouse looking back on your special day and feeling sick about it. A wedding is about two people.
Sometimes it's okay to let mom have her way on something — maybe it would mean the world to her if you wore an old brooch or something. Think of ways to let your mom/family in without letting them take over.
Even if you have to lock yourself in a bathroom and cry for an hour, remember to take a deep breath and put your foot down when you need to. Make lists of your requirements (see #3) and make sure people understand your un-budgables.