I ran into one of my sister’s friends in the checkout line at Old Navy the other day.
She recently got engaged to her boyfriend and was asking me about my wedding, which was about a month ago.
After she peppered me with questions about food, venues and where I got my dress, she said (as so many others have said to me in the past month), “Well I know it’s going to be a lot of stress, but in the end it’s worth it, right?”
I smiled politely and nodded through tight lips while she went through the checkout line and left. But what I really wanted to do was run after her screaming, “Noooooo! It wasn’t worth it! Don’t spend all your hard-earned money and effort on a six-hour party!!!!”
So many people have asked me “Was it worth it?” that I am beginning to think most people think weddings are actually NOT worth it, and just want me to validate their opinion for them.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. It was worth it in the sense that I married my best friend and that I love him more than life itself and our ceremony was special to us.
But was the rest of it — the homemade favors and the pretty dress and the hours of centerpiece construction — worth:
- Eight months of the most stress I’ve ever felt in my life?
- Using up all of our savings plus the money we got from our parents and still going into over $3,000 of credit card debt?
- Becoming such an insane bitch at my rehearsal dinner that family members were scared to talk to me?
- Crying three times a week for three months before the wedding?
It was not. And for those eight months of effort and planning and all-encompassing stress, I still didn’t get the wedding I planned over and over again. It poured on the day of our wedding. We ended up having to hold my beautiful outdoor ceremony in the middle of the dance floor in the reception area. We rented and hauled 100 chairs for no reason. The outdoor decorations we spent money on weren’t even opened. Barely anyone could actually see our ceremony because the bridal party had to form a pseudo-aisle in order to fit into the space.
Not to mention, besides the whole “exchanging vows” part, it didn’t even feel like a wedding to me. It felt like a big party. A fun party with awesome music and delicious food? Yes — but a party nonetheless.
I was so exhausted from stress and planning that halfway through the reception I actually thought to myself, “I wonder if anyone would be mad if I just went to the hotel, took this torture device they call a corset off, ordered room service and watched reruns of ‘The Golden Girls’ on the Hallmark channel?”
Obviously I couldn’t do that, so I rallied and went back to the dance floor and danced my little heiney off with my guests. And I had a lot of fun and the end result was beautiful. But would I do it again? HELL NO. Well, yes to marrying my husband. But HELL NO to planning a wedding.
Then again, hindsight is 20/20.
So for all you brides or soon-to-be brides out there, here’s my advice.
If you insist on having a wedding, make sure you have enough money to pay for it outright.
Get a wedding planner — however expensive it will be, it will be worth it 110 percent. Try as hard as possible to remember it’s only one day in your entire life and that if it’s not perfect it won’t end your world.
Have as many people do as many things for you as possible. And for God’s sake do not DIY anything no matter how cute you think something will look — hire someone to do it for you.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.