Wedding Regrets: Learn from Mine

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I’ve mentioned a little bit about how Mr. Nerd and I had met before. I wanted to share with any brides to be our wedding fiasco and some tips in avoiding the mistakes we made in planning our special day. We met the first time early in the summer. He was helping me and a family I was living with moving to a new house.

Unfortunately, the Dad and I were the only adults able to lift heavy items and for the most part, my responsibility was watching the rambunctious toddlers. They hired movers but that would only be two and anyway, they turned out unreliable. I had contacted (LDS) members in the area and asked for some help.

That’s how we met. He became my link to the church during hard times and my lifeline back on my feet after a number of devastating blows. Finally, after his long-distance girlfriend dumps him out of the blue, we went out on a date. And if you’ve picked up anything about me yet, I can be a bit oblivious to social cues. It took me over a week later to realize it was a date, and another day for me to realize that I liked that. Only a few months later he asked me to marry him. And thus began the first great hurdle we had to cross. Wedding planning.

“I love how she makes me feel, like anything is possible or like life is worth it.” ~ 500 Days of Summer

We had a number of things running against us and few working with us. Though honestly, we were blissfully in denial. Family tensions were rising and getting volatile. Both mothers were adding name after name of far distant family members – some who we’d never heard of. The fathers wanted no part of the planning for their own reasons. We had beautiful ideas, grandiose even – but with family and friends mostly made up of introverts we were dooming ourselves. Let me break it down for you.

We are probably considered closet romantics. We wanted dancing. Beautiful and poetic pictures that will tell our love story years later when we can barely remember it ourselves. We wanted to celebrate with anyone and everyone close to us. Joyous and happy – genuinely happy. We did want simple and intimate, but still grand. I know that sounds conflicting, but you know those serene wedding pictures where its beautiful and just a few things placed here and there. But I also wanted it to be funny and real. We had funny ideas as evidenced by one of our engagement photos to the right. We actually put this one on our announcements believe it or not.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~ Rachel Mueller-Lust, event planner

The problems we were facing fell basically into three categories. Relationship issues (not with us – others!) financial constraints and reality.

As I mentioned beforehand each parental unit seemed to have an issue with us as a couple or their child getting married. It took almost a year after our marriage for my dad to bring up my husband in conversation or start a real conversation with him on his own. My mother had issues coming to terms with me getting married since I was 21 when we married. She had waited till 29 to get married. In additon, my older sister was still out dating and not ready to slow down. For a while, they didn’t approve of my choice and it hurt a lot. Yes, he was the first guy I brought home, but that was because all the other boys I had met were just that – boys. I had already determined those relationships would fail, and finally, one that I could see succeeding.

My mother in law, I was slow to get to know but I did try as Mr. Nerd is an only child. I’d figure the best gift I can give her is to let her in on helping out with the mother of the bride duties. That backfired on me as she wanted to voice her opinion a lot on the plans and expected us to go with them just because she gave “advice”. One specific occasion was the hotel we had our stay-away at; we chose one a bit further away, we’d get continental breakfast (free food) and it would be in our budget. She wanted us to go to a nicer (read as more expensive) hotel down the road and she would pay the difference.

A wedding is a day a marriage is a lifetime ~ unknown

No fact checking went on and we lost the free breakfast and was never paid back – including the room we had paid for our best man and matron of honor and their infant son. We never pushed for the money and learned our lesson. My father in law just planned to dress nice and show up to the wedding. He didn’t care for the details, he’d occasionally ask how things were going with the wedding planning but it was mostly for polite conversation.

Everyone was quick to tell us ideas but just as quick to tell us they, unfortunately, can’t help out financially. We never asked for them to, but we would be grateful for any help but our budget was based on what we could afford on our own. But then when we talked about the planning some family members were quick to remind us we were paying for it ourselves, making us feel like talking about our plans implied we wanted them to pay for it.

So, in the end, we made decisions and told others as little details as possible, and if asked about something most likely it was already a done deal and paid for. And guess what, then we were the bad guys since we didn’t let them help! Pick a storyline! Either you want to help or you don’t!

“Wouldn’t give a nickel to do it again, but wouldn’t take a million to lose her.” ~ Anonymous

Eventually, the wedding day came. Things were very stressful and the timing of everything was running very close together. Even though we had friends running as buffers and taking care of any final decisions or if problems arose. It still seemed like everyone was checking with one of us. We were needed everywhere and barely got a moment to relax and take in the beauty of the day. The ceremony was good. I was almost late for a number of reasons but made it in the end to the Temple.

And then came time for photos. This was a tough call for us as the Temple grounds were still in disrepair. (They were doing a complete landscape update during the winter and it had taken longer with the weather changes.) So we had scoped out a public garden to take photos with. There were many beautiful flowers and options to take photos with but with a large group it was hard to do the things we wanted to do when most of the family members wanted to “be done already”. This should have been a sign for me that not all was going to go well that night.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost

Mr. Nerd and I went back to our hotel room to rest for a bit while everyone did their last-minute prep at the church for the reception. Once we arrived we had planned to make an entrance, have our dance and the daddy-daughter dance I had practically blackmailed my father into. Turns out the music got mixed up and skipped to the next song early so hadn’t gotten to my dad to drag him out and it was all very stiff – which I had expected. Then he handed me off to my husband, and we played the right song. We had our dance and that was it.

Everything became exhausting and chaotic after this point. Everyone wanted their moment with us. I had more family there than Batman and so I had to do the meet and greet introductions and then reversed it to the members of his family that were able to come. We had about 50 people RSVP and planned for more to “just show up”. There weren’t even the 50 people that had reserved places. We had music playing and dessert table but barely did either the two hours we were there. For a bunch of introverts, they really wanted to talk to us that night. We didn’t get to dance to our music. We barely ate dinner or more accurately the buffet of desserts.

“If Plan A didn’t work the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.” ~Unknown

A few months later, while we were sitting waiting for it to get dark we played “20 questions”. We had gotten a list based on couples most were pre-marriage questions. One was “what’s your dream wedding?” We flipped it around and discussed what we’d do differently.

The Wedding

  1. We would have started planning the wedding sooner.  Part of our delay was because I delayed telling my parents I was engaged as we were not talking much at the time. Definitely would go back and rip off the band-aid the next day instead of wait almost a month.
  2. The date had been set early on, but we didn’t send out invites till later. Going back I would make cheaper invites and send as many as we could much sooner. We only sent about 100 total and could have sent more so others would know they were welcome to join us. I originally rejected the idea of “save the date” and formal invitations because it was only a three-month window by the time we sent them out. But we had chosen a date just before Easter and many already had plans. Potentially, I also would have extended the date more towards summer, because we now have 3 wedding anniversaries in the same month in our family.
  3. I’d make my dress a bit looser in the torso. I sewed my dress with my mom just as she did. Unfortunately, during pregnancy, my ribcage expanded twice – permanently. Now I’m glad I took the scrap leftovers instead of letting my mom throw them away.


Yes I did chase my new husband around with blue and white cake!

The Reception

  1. If we had small numbers of guests like we did for real at the reception, I would have planned a party at someone’s home instead of in a big gym.
  2. For meet and greets; I think I’d prefer the greeting line at the beginning of the reception – even if it seems awkward and stiff. That way all the greetings are done then and I can move chatter-boxes along. And if anyone tried to drag me off the talk I’d grow a backbone and ask them to call me in a few days for chatting, because I want to dance the night away with my new husband!
  3. We had also seriously considered the way things had gone that we would have had a ceremony with close friends and family that supported us all along the way and then announce to the general public we had gotten married. Instead of spending a bunch of money on things we would end up throwing away or getting rid of.
  4. Also, I would have made sure my husband-to-be had not changed the reservations just because his mother wanted us to. If she said she was going to pay part of it then I’d ask for the money before we paid in full – and she wouldn’t have given it over so we would have stayed where we were before.

But in the end, our wedding day specifically, was not the important part of our marriage. We checked it off our list and went on to make our life, together, the best we could do.

Drop a Line below! Are you planning a wedding this holiday season?


1 thought on “Wedding Regrets: Learn from Mine”

  1. Nice! I enjoyed reading your article. And you are right, wedding day is just a one day and it’s our dream to make it like a fairy tale. But, and we need to prepare more for the marriage.

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