Broke-Ass Tag: wedding advice


Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Hindsight’s 20/20, right? Oh, it’s great to look back with all of your knowledge accumulated through experience, but when you’re in the thick of things, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

This truism applies to planning a wedding about as nearly as anything I’ve ever experienced. You get inundated with advice: some well-meaning, some completely self-serving, but it can all get jumbled up into a big, confusing mess. So with that, I’d like to offer you a little more advice … on the advice I just wish I hadn’t stressed about.

Anything from any website that offers any article written from the perspective of a jilted wedding guest

A lot of the bigger online publications are going to drive their visits with clickbait. What’s an almost guaranteed promise of a click? Drama. From guests angry their children weren’t invited to bridesmaids totally not down with traveling, there are a lot of pissed off posts. But they reflect singular opinions. And if you DO read into them, there are probably deeper problems than the one being railed on. Keep in mind that people who love you are going to be happy for you. It may not mean they can be there, but if they choose to be angry, they might just be an unhappy person. You’re better off serving yourselves as a couple when it comes to wedding choices.

Almost anything from the comment section of the above mentioned articles.

“Well I wasn’t mad about it until NOW!” was the prevailing hidden message in so many things I poured over with panic in my heart. Reading complete strangers’ thoughts on a subject I hadn’t even broached in the planning process caused me more grief than any conversation with, you know, an actual person who loves me and was invited to our wedding. Certain things will always be a little controversial and the ULTIMATE RAGE that comes out in comments is generally stoked by a collection of like-minded people and the occasional voice saying they’re unreasonable. Then it’s the Internet, so it’s time to fight. Skipping the comments section is one of those pieces of life advice I ignore way too often, but I would implore you to try. It’s for your own sanity.

Trying to make everyone happy with music selections.

I love music, and I love a lot of different kinds of music so putting together a cohesive playlist was hard enough. Asking other music lovers for their advice turned into a rundown of the latest Pitchfork playlist of experimental folk electronica that just seemed way too complicated for a wedding. In the end, I just went with songs I already owned that met a few criteria: “Is it about cheating?” “Is it a breakup song?” “Does it include the word ‘fuck’?” No? Then it works.

Trying to make everyone happy with the bar

Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Photo by Shaina Sheaff Photography

Not being too far removed from the poor college kid life, I remember frequently saying that $1 Miller High Life was awesome; $2 Miller High Life wasn’t too bad and $3 Miller High Life was practically undrinkable. Free anything was free booze and if someone tossed me a Keystone with no expectation of compensation, I just said thanks and popped the top. Most people still respect the rule that you don’t complain about what’s free, but if you’re looking for advice on what to serve, keep your polling numbers low. Like, one or two people, low. If you’re pre-purchasing anything for an open bar, the more choices you include, the more difficult it is to estimate the amount of each you need to purchase. We ultimately served four beers which served us well, proving all of my concern for making the perfect choice was a colossal waste of brain space.

The word “tacky”

We’ve discussed this word before. It’s a shitty, shame-y word and you know what’s tacky? Calling someone’s personal preferences tacky.  The end. Food isn’t tacky. Bright colors aren’t tacky. You are not tacky. This goes back to the bit on social media comments, too. Everyone’s got an opinion and I hear they’ve all got assholes, too. If anyone wants to insult you or your choices about how to celebrate your love, fuck ‘em. Well, maybe that was a little tacky, but, pfft.

So go forth in love and joy about your seriously awesome love story and try to take a deep breath. Pleasing everyone is hard, so just make your love the focus and the rest will all work out.

What else have you found isn’t worth the stress? Share you advice in the comments below!

  • 1/19

    For a weekend last March, Matt and I set aside our wedding planning to take a big step in our spiritual journey towards marriage. We had opted to get married in a Catholic church.


    The Church we got married in. Photo by SK Photography

    This had nothing to do with the cost of things. If we had chosen the cheaper option, we would’ve gotten married at our reception hall and saved about $400 because of the added costs (coordinator who we met once, organists who have to be paid whether they play at your wedding or not, soloists with the same deal, altar servers, etc), but in our Archdiocese your wedding needs to take place in a church or on consecrated ground to be recognized. For us, having that recognition was really important, despite any misgivings we might have with the church. This was one instance that was not up for debate because of the importance the spiritual side of marriage has for both of us so we had to be sure our budget reflected that. In addition to costing a little bit more than other ceremony spots, the church is one of the few institutions that will place requirements on you to get married there. They want to be sure that people whose marriage they are recognizing are getting married for the “right” reasons (i.e. for the purpose of marriage within the Catholic tradition, and not under duress or within an abusive situation). You’re not just taking part in a civil agreement, you’re actually taking part in one of the seven Sacraments of the church and they expect you to treat it like that. One of the requirements they ask of all their married couples is that they attend Pre-Cana classes.

    When Matt and I jumped into our little blue Volvo 240 and drove 10 miles outside of Boston last March to attend our classes, there was still snow on the ground. I remember watching kids sledding down a hill near a huge statue of Jesus as we drove into the lot next to the building the classes were to be held in and being kind of in awe of the size of the retreat center.

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    I guess it wasn’t that big but it felt like it towered over us as we entered the parking lot.

    I was nervous. I really didn’t know what to expect. The first time I ever heard the word Pre-Cana was 25 years before that, when my sister got married. My mom talked about it often, and sung it’s praises, but I always felt like she was somewhat vague about what it contained. She would just say it gave you tools you could always return to, even years after you’d been married. She’s entering her 55th year of marriage this year, so I think she knows a thing or two about that! The prospect of that had always made Pre-Cana something I was excited for, even before marriage was a concrete idea in my head. Now it was here before me and I was scared of what might be expected of us during it. Would we have to do any public speaking? Were we going to be put on the spot and asked uncomfortable questions about our relationship? These were the kinds of questions swirling around in my head as we walked through the doors of the retreat center. We signed in at the door and they handed me a yellow folder and Matt a blue one. We then headed to a room full of about 100-150 other couples and sat down.

    I quickly realized my nerves were really for nothing, as they typically are. For us, Pre-Cana was really rewarding. A lot of it was listening to speakers. The speakers were a Priest, a deacon, and three separate married couples. Each married couple was there to speak about a different stage in their marriage. One couple had just been married a few years. Another had been married longer and had children. The last couple had been married for close to 50 years. The Deacon and the Priest lead things off. They introduced each topic and often tied things back to the church’s teachings and then the married couples would take over and talk about a topic as it related to their marriage. From there we’d go to the folders we had received where there would be a page to fill out. All the engaged couples would separate from one another and fill out the page by themselves and then regroup and discuss it. There were a few things that we got into groups to discuss, but it mostly involved talking between ourselves to figure out how we felt about various topics that could potentially become troublesome in a marriage. The topics were things like finances, communication, family planning, sex, intimacy, and our relationship with God. That last category got a lot less coverage than you would think a church sponsored weekend would include. It was more focused upon us making our relationships stronger, and while our relationship with God might enter into that at times, this was more about our personal responsibility to each other. It was to get out the tough conversations we might’ve been avoiding without even realizing we were and it taught us better ways to speak to each other when we’re upset. It was a good reminder that we’re not mind readers and we’re both human. We wrapped up the weekend with special letters we wrote to one another, which we then read aloud in private and of course I cried my heart out the whole time. There was also a special engagement blessing…during which I also cried.

    The date of our Pre-Cana retreat was actually really significant to us as well. It just happened to take place on the 12th anniversary of the first time Matt asked me out. You’d think after 12 years, we’d have all this stuff figured out, but I think the fact that even old pros like us got so much out of it shows just how helpful it really was. When I told some people we were going to Pre-Cana, they kind of scoffed. This was partially because I think a lot of people have preconceived notions about what it’s all about and what a religious view of marriage would be. Others thought it was crazy that a couple that had been together as long as we had needed any kind of marriage “prep”. The thing is though, even the best couples could use a hand at being better to and for each other. I also don’t think time spent together automatically translates to understanding or acceptance of the commitment that is marriage. No amount of years dating prepares you for what marriage is actually like. I think going to some kind of pre-marriage counseling, even if it’s not associated with your religion, is a good practice for everyone. We all spend so much of our time focusing on the big day and the party … but then after all that fanfare, you’re choosing to live with this person for (presumably) the rest of your life. Why not spend a little bit of time in the course of getting ready for that ACTUALLY preparing yourself for what you’re really undertaking with a wedding? Hey, for people who are getting married in the Catholic church, marriage goes further than life. The person you’re marrying is the person you’re spending eternity with, so you better find ways to deal with them! It was nice to take a timeout and remind ourselves of the important step we were taking, especially on such a significant date for our relationship.

    I also walked away with a special appreciation for my religion through it. I know there are plenty of criticisms that can be lobbed at Catholicism, but I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of our classes. On top of helping out the engaged couples, it also helped the married couples teaching the class to be reminded of THEIR Pre-Cana classes by coming back and teaching them. On top of that, the center where we had our class offered similar retreats for couples once they were married, whether they were happily hitched or really struggling with issues. It’s nice to know that by getting married in the church we were becoming part of a community that will help support us as we go forward in our lives joined together. Just two months into our marriage and we’re already using the tools we were given in Pre-Cana to be better to each other than we might’ve been had we never gone. Nobody can really teach you how to be married, but we did learn how to be better to each other as a married couple.  Our decisions are more considerate to one another’s needs and our “fights” are more constructive. I promise you, if you have the opportunity to have some kind of marriage counseling, grab it. Even if you think you’re the perfect couple, we could all use a touch up here and there.

    Are you attending pre-marital counseling? Have you found it effective?

  • 1/13

    just remember- you're not alone

    Being a BAB has been an amazing experience for me. With my limited budget and limited crafting skills (I try, but I’ve learned when it comes to Pinterest fabulous chalkboard direction signs and flower arrangements ... I’m better off using my other talents), I’ve had to learn to be resourceful to get what I want. And I’ve also learned that many things we’re told we…

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    World's Best Boss Mug

    World's Best Coffee Mug, $13.75 by Etsy seller MagicCityDesigns Hiya BABs! Today's advice question comes from a reader who wants to know about the etiquette of inviting coworkers to her wedding. (Hence, the mugs. Because coffee. And Dunder Mifflin. #pamandjimforever)  Hello and happy holidays!! I am writing to request etiquette guidance: I had a very strong relationship with my former coworkers, which has not carried over to…

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    Being a bride and also working in the industry gives me a unique perspective. I'm involved with an online community of bridal professionals and creatives, and I reached out to them this week when my bridal side had questions. Long story short, I was getting some anxiety because I was getting bad vibes from my photographer. Nothing terrible, just not feeling like we were clicking.…

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  • 11/18


    Love must be in the air: Between my graduate school cohort, the assistant lecturers with whom I share an office, and my Facebook news feed, I think I’ve seen about 10 engagements, six weddings, three babies, and one vow renewal in the last month alone. All this love and excitement lately has me feeling a little nostalgic; as a person who had a Pinterest board full…

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    Wedding Planning + Pinterest

    Hiya BABs! What have you accomplished in your planning this week? Now be honest, how much of it involved Pinterest? Pinterest can be a double-edged sword for couples planning a wedding, both your BFF and worst enemy, the coach in your corner, or your opponent about to take you down for a TKO. Arguably, social media may even be killing weddings. In today’s post, we’ll examine…

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    It’s getting down to the wire. The distance between us and our wedding is no longer discussed in months but rather weeks and pretty soon it will be mere days until we’re there. It’s been a long time getting to the altar for us but now that it’s almost here it feels like we’ve had no time at all to prepare. Add to that that…

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  • 10/19

    Katie and Andy are Married!

    Credit: Traynor's Photography We're married! Everything went really well. The only minor snafu was that the best man didn't realize that our rings were supposed to get passed around the crowd, and he was so afraid of losing them that he kept an iron grip on them. The officiant didn't notice, and so he said all the ring warming text even though the rings weren't…

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