Broke-Ass Tag: wedding priorities


Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!”

Confession time: We only got to share one day together engaged before Michael had to go back home. That night, I had a nightmare where I was standing on a tiny island alone, surrounded by a sea of wedding ideas, concepts, colors … junk essentially. I could see a tornado of all of this screaming towards me, and I had no place to run. I get swept up in this swirling vortex of nuptial doom and I’m trapped with no way out. Even in my dream I start having a mini panic attack. OMG, what color will the napkins be? Should I use real flowers or silk? Is there really a difference between ivory and ecru? Faster and faster I’m swirling until I wake up in a cold sweat gasping for air. Holy crap, did I just have a nightmare about wedding planning?! UGHHH! I had the same nightmare every day for the rest of the week. By the time the weekend came, I made a mad dash to Connecticut to see Michael. Maybe we could help me master the nuptial vortex.

Now, I’ll admit I had been quasi wedding planning for about a year or two. Don’t pretend you don’t have that secret Pinterest board where you squirrel away your wedding ideas. We all do it. My fiancé, Michael, on the other hand, has not been secretly planning a wedding since birth. So, while I was sort of expecting this bombardment of people demanding information, he was completely blindsided. It doesn’t help that we are separated by 250 miles and didn’t get a chance to absorb everything in one sitting. I was going to set some things straight if it killed me. Four sleepless nights aren’t pretty.

Real Bride Danielle...and Mike

Everyone always teases me that I live my life in a series of lists. Meh, so what, it’s how I organize my thoughts. After we had full bellies and a glass (or three) of bubbly to celebrate, I pulled out a notebook and started making a list. We realized, before we could even begin navigating this insanity known as wedding planning, we at least needed to lay out our priorities. In hindsight, this is perhaps the best thing we could have done together. There are all of these things I’d love to have and have always wanted but this one little list made me stop and think: What are the absolute most important things that I want for my wedding day besides my guy? What did I absolutely have to have in order to be happy? We both set out to write three things we needed in a wedding and then shared the notebook.

Once I sat down and really thought about it, the only things I HAD TO HAVE were great food, fun (hopefully in the form of a bouncy castle) and a short wedding dress. All Michael wanted was to minimize cost and scale. Bless his penny-pinching skills! Putting these things down on paper lifted a huge burden off my heart. No matter what happened, as long as we had these things and each other, we’d be just fine. It felt like we had waded through the wedding planning tornado and actually found ourselves on the other side. . That night, I slept like a baby. I now know who we are as a couple, and this can keep me anchored as I navigate these stormy seas.

What about you? Did you feel suddenly overwhelmed once you landed the ring? How did you find yourself again?

  • 2/18

    We talk a lot about taking the stress out of wedding planning and learning when to take a deep breath and let things go, but when it comes down to it, this is an incredibly special day and some things are worth a little fight. As our wedding day slips further and further into the past (almost five months, yo!), the glow of happiness is still there, but I’m starting to realize there are a few things that I wish I had cared a little more about or been more “on top of” or even been a little more aggressive while dealing with them.

    I know from experience that it can be super hard to completely envision everything you want in your wedding and how to make it happen. I was practically clueless for the first several months! What IS totally reasonable is to give things a second thought before you write them off as frivolous expenses or an unworthy effort. Budgeting is hard, but you don’t want to cut things out before you’ve given them due consideration. Every couple will have different priorities, but for your consideration, here are the top five things I wish I had cared a little more about:

    A videographer

    This seems to show up on a lot of lists. They’re expensive and you wonder how often you’ll really watch your wedding video. It’s very easy to file this under the “not worth it” column and let it go. It was also something weird for me to spend money on because I was a videographer. Specifically, I was a television reporter who shot and edited her own stories, so I imagined how I would react if I got a video back with a jump cut or nonlinear editing or any other jargon-y mistakes you’d only recognize if you studied and practiced this for years. Ultimately, it was my distaste for paying someone to do something I can do that convinced me to drop it, even though that would have been some feat just to be the bride AND catch everything on video! You may remember when I admitted post-wedding that I lost my place reading my vows and ended up winging it; I kinda wish I had admissible evidence of exactly what I promised (haha)!

    Celebrating my ladies

    Photo by Shaina Sheaff

    Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

    You see the amazing ideas on Pinterest: members of the wedding party laughing earnestly while everyone is still getting ready, opening a cute gift or drinking from a personalized glass. Asking a friend to be a part of your wedding party has become almost as nerve wracking as the actual proposal. My husband and I made a decision when we were first engaged that instead of engraved flasks or matching gifts, we’d just purchase a suit for his three groomsmen and the dresses for my bridesmaids. All in all, that carved out about a grand of our budget (more than food, alcohol or flowers) and I don’t regret it at all, but looking back, I let all the last minute DIY and running around take over and I ended up feeling like I should have been more personal, more gracious towards the people who helped make our day so awesome.

    Wedding night arrangements

    I don’t like to nag, but man, I wish I had! Booking a hotel room where my ladies and I could start getting ready pre-ceremony and my husband and I could spend our wedding night was something I delegated to my guy. In his mind, a Friday night at the end of September was going to be a perfectly easy time to secure a one-night reservation in a fancy hotel where we could feel all, well, fancy in our wedding day bliss. We had the money set aside to do ourselves up nice with our accommodations and I suggested that we get that done early. His thoughts? What could possibly be going on that night to book up a hotel? Besides, reserving a room later would probably yield a better deal! Wrong. There were apparently several events going on that weekend with reservations at the luxury hotels that went back almost a year. We ended up in a nice commuter hotel that was exceedingly sweet to us, but our dreams of an in-room Jacuzzi and sweeping view of downtown didn’t quite pan out. In the end, it wasn’t a huge deal, but if you’ve got something special in mind, it’s best to jump on it as early as possible.

    Being firm with my desires

    Two weeks ago, I shared some of the things I wish I hadn’t stressed over and I mentioned ignoring the blog posts and articles from jilted wedding guests. Posts from wedding professionals can be a lot more helpful, but I wish I’d trusted my gut on a few things. There’s a line between telling a pro “how to do their job” and gently guiding them toward your grand vision. I think I erred on the side of caution when it came to the fear of offending the people who were hired to help make things great. Yes, it’s poor form to ask a photographer or caterer or florist to essentially copy something you found online, but there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I love this and would really like a photo/food table/floral design in this style.” Hiring someone you trust goes a long way, but if there’s something you want, speak up and make sure you and your vendor understand each other so you’re not left disappointed.

    Better time management

    Photo by Shaina Sheaff

    Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

    I got myself in trouble here because I’m rather proud of my ability to juggle multiple things at once (again, TV reporter). I think I have a decent handle on exactly how long it’s going to take me to apply the perfect winged eyeliner and eat a sandwich so I’m not starving, but time does weird things on your wedding day. Despite the incredible help I had from many wonderful people, I felt rushed and my natural tendency to want to do everything myself resulted in a pretty epic meltdown while I was trying to tie my bouquet that morning. My best advice: think of how long you expect each step to take, then pad that with an extra 50%. You’re going to have nerves; you’re going to be fielding questions; you’re going to have several more people involved in the process than, say, your morning pre-work ritual. Give yourself extra time and for the love of everything good, forgive yourself for needing it! Your wedding day self will thank you for those few extra minutes, even if it’s just to smile and take it all in.

    So, would I call any of this a regret? Not really. It was still a beautiful day and lived up to my mantra, “All we have to do is get married,” so nothing was ruined. But do be honest with yourself when it comes to the things you want. If you think you can’t afford something, grab a friend or family member to help you research before you make it a hard no. But above all, if something doesn’t work out, just turn to that person you love beyond words and say, “Hey! We’re married and that makes everything perfect!”

    Are you engaged and struggling with whether or not to prioritize something? Are you married and wish you did? Help your fellow BABs out and tell us in the comments!

  • 10/5


    Bride brain is a real thing, and I hate it. Source I'm getting this post to our lovely BAB editor late {Eds Note: It's OK. We still love her.}, after mentally reminding myself about a million times. I open browser tabs and forget why I opened them. Source Any errands I have to run must come with full lists. And last night, I caught myself trying…

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