Posts in the 'wedding stress' Category

Let Your Wedding Crew Choose. Follow and Get Out of the Way.


Credit: Powell Pictures

So, I’ve been checking in with my 2015 couples a lot this week. March’s backyard wedding was relocated to another backyard. May wants a photo booth.  I’m looking at venues with July #2 this weekend. June #1 is in way better shape than she thinks she is. And, actually, so are you. Remember that the next time you start to wonder.

What’s been interesting is that each of them asked about managing their wedding party. And managing their families. Or, rather, managing their wedding party and families’ questions and expectations.

There are just so many of them, you know? Wedding party and family members. And questions.

When is the bridal shower, where is the bachelorette party? Should all 10 of your family members wear the same color as your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen? When should everyone, or anyone, fly in for the wedding? And on and on.

Should you let them choose, or just tell them what to do?

Well, yeah, definitely one or the other.

But here’s the thing: It’s up to you, what they get to choose, and what you want to  dictate. And it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Most of the time, wedding-wise, people want (cough, cough, NEED) direction. But if it’s something that’s not a big priority for you, it’s okay to let them make the choice .

But let them know one way or the other.  And if the answer is, “This is what we’re doing,” remember to smile and say “Thank you.” And if it’s “Whatever you want to do,” give them a deadline to let you know, well, what they’re going to do. Every choice needs to come with a deadline. Every mandate needs to come with gratitude and a smile. Got it? Now go forth and plan …

What’s the last detail your wedding crew has thrown back to you? And which way did you decide to go. Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit


See you at the end of the aisle,


Five Good Wedding Planning Habits You Should Probably Start Now

Five Good Wedding Planning Habits That You  Should Probably Start Now

I believe that it’s not enough to simply survive planning your wedding, you should thrive and feel like a Boss while you’re doing it.  Here are five wedding planning habits to start practicing now that will help.

Let’s start with the money, first:

1.Multiplication. Avoid sticker shock that every couple goes through, and  remember that you are buying in bulk. For example, Chiavari chairs  for  $10 each? Multiply by 100 = $1o00. $2000 if you’re getting another set for the reception.

2.Ask about the other STDs – Service, Tax and Delivery. Always. Everyone who is delivering a product – your photographer, your photo booth, your cake – is going to charge tax, plus a delivery or travel fee. Your venue and your caterer will charge tax, plus a service fee. Here in Los Angeles, that’s usually adds up to  30% of the bill, on top of the bill, turning your $85 per person dinner into $110.50 per person. Multiply that by 100 …

3. Your last question to any potential vendor needs to be, “Is there anything else I need to know?” There are many unknown unknowns in wedding planning – the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know, or need to know.  Asking this question will give the opportunity for your vendor to go over anything they might have missed in their spiel, but are mentioned in the contract, or cover concerns other couples should have had. Things like, late fees, open fire permits, parking, vendor meals. That question might lead to more questions, but there are never too many questions. Or answers, for that matter.

And then there’s the mindset:

4. Treat this like any other shopping trip. This past weekend, I walked through Bloomingdales – like an idiot – to get to the rest of the mall, and I was stopped dead by an ankle length full-sweeping silk skirt. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that’s My Style. $598? No. I took a picture of it so I can maybe find it cheaper online, and then skipped over to Banana Republic and bought another ankle-length sweeping skirt for $75. My point is, that with every vendor, every service, you have alternatives. The last thing you look at is not the only option you have. It’s not only being able to afford it, maybe you just don’t like it. As an ex-bride of mine once said to the hovering bridal salon sales lady, “I know I look good in it, I just don’t feel good in it!” Feel good in it, feel good about it, whatever it is. If you don’t, move on.

5. Keep reminding yourself that you are not a victim of your wedding.  This wedding isn’t something that’s happening to you, you’re not being forced to pay $110 per person for dinner on a Saturday night. If you start thinking otherwise, or continue thinking that way, you are going to be very, very unhappy through this whole thing.  Throwing a wedding is a choice that you are making. That can be frustrating, or it can be empowering: You get to choose how you’re going to do it, what your wedding is  going to look like, or if you’re going to do it all. You get to say “Yes,” and you also get to say, “No,” and your reasons for doing either are perfectly valid, okay? So, stay empowered and don’t confuse “want to” with “have to.”

You’ve got this.

What are some habits that you’re already starting with your wedding planning? And what do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments below. And if you would like more information about me and my little area of Wedding World, visit

See you at the end of the aisle,


Real Bride Elizabeth: The Stress Rears its Head

Up until about a week ago, I was fairly laidback about my wedding. This surprised me, because I tend to be somewhat of an anxious person. I was pretty proud of myself. However, it seemed like once I got in the 3 month range, a little timer went off and all of a sudden I was in panic mode.


This is my “are you kidding me?” face

It all started with our upcoming trip to North Carolina. One of Bryce’s friends is getting married, so I decided to take advantage of being there and get in my hair trial, makeup trial and meet with my photographer to go over details. One little question from my hair stylist about what my timeline was for the day sent me into a tizzy. I know what time the wedding is going to be, but that’s about it. I have NO idea how long it will take for me to get my hair done, what time the photographer is showing up, or any of those others minute details that haven’t crossed my mind.

This prompted me to email every wedding planner in the Greensboro area to inquire about day-of coordination. Bad idea. I had NO idea just having someone come the day of the wedding to make sure everything goes smoothly was so expensive. One planner quoted me $2,350 FOR JUST THE DAY. Nope nope nope.

At lunch, my boss and I sat down and talked about my options. After tossing some ideas around, I reached out to one of my friends from college who had a picture-perfect wedding this past August. She was already going to be invited, but I asked if she would consider coming out and helping decorate and coordinate. She graciously said yes, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel about the entire situation knowing that I will have someone to handle the tiny details the day-of.


Jenny to the rescue!

For my future brides to be, here are some other things that helped me curb my emotions when I feel the stress taking over:

  • Playing with my dog
  • Yoga
  • Looking at cute pictures of animals online
  • Bourbon. Lots of bourbon.

Ladies, what are you doing to combat wedding stress? Do you have any neat little secrets that you’d care to divulge?

Signs of the All-Dreaded “Bride Brain” & What You Can Do To Squash It

Heeeyyyoooo!!! Now that the insanity of the holidays are safely in the rear-view mirror, you’re rockin’ that sparkler and all you newbie Broke-Ass Brides are starting to look ahead to your big day, I think it’s important to sit you down and talk about that horrible monster that is sure to rear its ugly head at some point during your planning process …

BRIDE BRAIN. *cue suspenseful music*

But Christen!, you’re saying, I’m totes rational and there’s no way, ever, EVAR that I’ll succumb to Bride Brain. I got my shizz together and I GOT THIS.

Darling, it’s OK. Bride Brain is nothing to be ashamed of … unless you let it get the best of you. And please, for the sake of your friends, family and your hubz-to-be, don’t let it do that. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of grovelling to do.

How do you know you’re getting conquered by Bride Brain? Well …

- Instead of wearing rose-colored glasses, you’ve started rocking Wedding Color-Scheme Glasses. Everything you see is suddenly twisted into wedding context. Would that rad vintage beer sign work with your Champagne fountain? Is that Creature from the Black Lagoon statue work with your centerpieces?

- You can’t have a conversation without bringing up your wedding … even with the customer service rep from your bank or the gas station attendant.

- You find yourself more stressed over whether you have enough baby’s breath for your bouquet than the fact that your car’s radiator is about to fall out.

- Your last 20 Facebook/Twitter posts are wedding related.

- You live on Pinterest and have pinned 7x more on your wedding board than any other of your boards.

- You now picture your wedding in terms of how good it’ll look on a blog.

- You’re having wedding nightmares … every night. Getting strangled by your veil, your MIL turns into Ursula from “The Little Mermaid,” your groom shows up naked (though that may not be so bad).

Fear not, you rockin’ BABs! This too can be fixed.

First, step away from your computer. That’s right, take that finger off the mouse and and power that bad boy down. WAIT!!! Not YET … finish reading this, first.

Talk to your fella about setting up at least one night per week that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with your impending nuptials. Go catch a ball game! Hit up the mini-golf course. Have some fun and blow off some steam.

Plan a mock-wedding full of the ugliest shizz you would never imagine having at your big day. Poufy sleeves, baby-puke-colored bridesmaid dresses. All the hideousness to your heart’s content. Make a Pinterest board for it, sketch it, whatevs. Just make something that is so far from what you want that you can’t help but bust a gut laughing (or gagging).

Tackle one big thing at a time. For serious. You don’t play in the NFL, so don’t think you’re capable of taking down more than one linebacker at a time. Make a list of your priorities (Venue, photography, cake, bar, dress … etc) and number them. Then devote a week to the first one, the next week to the second, etc. Limit the list to your top five or ten, and don’t start working on the small deets until each one of these big ones is donezo. Once all the big pieces are in place, the little stuff will either come easy or no longer matter.

Fine yourself every time you mention your wedding plans during an arbitrary convo. Kind of like a swear jar, throw a quarter into a vessel every time you bring up your special day during an irrelevant chat. Gas Station Gus will thank you.

Finally … KEEP CHAMPAGNE IN YOUR FRIDGE. I can’t stress this one enough. It doesn’t need to be a baller-ass bottle of Dom. But make sure you have it on hand for stressy wedding moments. There’s something about those tiny bubbles that will put you in a happy fog and remember the celebratory aspect of this whole deal. Don’t drink? Keep whatever special, treat-yo-self kind of bev you lurve on hand.

With this, I set you free to tackle the wedding road ahead of you. Please, make sure to keep your brain straight and don’t hesitate to freak out in the comments if you need to. We’ll love you regardless.

Now off with you! Go get some other stuff done and don’t even think about picking up that guest list. Go on, BABs, and be the amazeballz chickadees you are!

Welcome, all you newbies! And if you found us through The Listserve, an uber-awesome high-five for you! Woot!



{Real Bride: Carrie} Cha-cha-cha-Changes! (& Dealing With Life’s 3 Biggest Stressors At Once!)

Hey there, BABs! Back in the days when I was debating where we should get married, I mentioned our plan to move to San Diego, California, from Ohio.  Well, I’m happy to announce that we turned that plan into action and…


Our new neighborhood beach!

Honestly, now that I’m here, I’m really glad we decided to have our wedding in Arizona.  Trying to find a place to live, find jobs, and learn our way around a new city has been hard enough without also trying to find an ultra-low-budget wedding venue!

It’s been a tough transition for us.  It took me nearly a month to find a job.  Combine that with the sticker shock of SoCal life compared to the Midwest, and the wedding countdown ticking away, stir vigorously, and you’ve got one stressed-out Carrie.  As always, Zach has been the yin to my yang.  When I’m lying on the bed crying that, “We’re never EVER going to have enough money for a wedding!!!!!!!” he’s sitting there rubbing my back reminding me that, “Everything will be perfect.  Just be patient and it will work out!”  I know he’s right.  However, according to the experts, moving, getting married, and unemployment are three of  life’s biggest stressors!  Thankfully, we are both now working and building that wedding savings account!

How can you be sad with views like this?

I know our situation is easy compared to the problems many other engaged couples are facing.  I’m glad that we were able to make it through this huge life transition together!  Did anyone else move or have a major life change mid-engagement?  What are your tips to help engaged couples cope with wedding/life stress, and come out stronger in the end?

{Win This} Give Yourself A Break From Wedding Stress With 1Hour Break!

Conveniently purse-size!

Wedding stress can take a serious toll on your physical, emotional, and mental reserves. The bills, the coordination, the family conflict–it can bubble up into one big mess of no time for yourself currently and none for the foreseeable future, either! 1Hour Break wants to change that and help you battle the wedding stress monster with their concentrated kava spray!

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In addition to our lucky winners this week, 1Hour Break is offering our readers the opportunity to try a bottle for free with the coupon code “BROKEBRIDE” (s&h not included). Discover Hawaii’s secret de-stressing weapon with 1Hour Break!

This week, three lucky BABs will win packs of 1Hour Break (One will win a 12-pack, one a 6-pack, and one a 3-pack)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



{Win This} Let Dr. Rita Ease Your Wedding Woes With The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide App!

There's an app for that.

The journey toward your wedding day has begun. With a simple “yes”, you set into motion one of the most emotionally charged and psychologically challenging of all society’s rituals. Marriage, like birth and death, eclipses the routine of our daily lives through its sheer drama, symbolism, and importance. Expectations and sensitivities run high; your relationship is thrust into the public spotlight. Add to this the complications of planning such an extravaganza, and the effect can be overwhelming. It’s not surprising that more than half of all engaged couples experience very real pre-wedding stress that puts their relationship to the test.


 Dr. Rita Bigel-Casher, psychologist and author, is here to help you through the wedding rollercoaster of emotion with her iPhone app: The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide. “Many women empathize when I compare the road to love and marriage to a ride on a merry-go-round. One moment you can be on top of the world, while the next you are on the way back down again. Just like the carousel, our romantic lives provide endless opportunities for excitement and joy. And one day, when horse and rider are in perfect sync, you and your true love grab the shiny brass ring and make a pact to marry.”
Guided by her thirty years’ experience, Dr. Rita has packed her app full of tips, tests, and helpful tools, focusing on the emotional hot spots that can flare up as a couple plans their nuptials: family pressures, money, differing religions and traditions, nerves, fear, second thoughts, and divided loyalties. The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide can help  you work through all of these issues so you can move past the conflict and stress and focus on the joy of marrying the love of your life.

This week, three lucky BABs will win a copy of The Bride’s Guide to Emotional Survival app!  You’re not alone: Dr Rita can help.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your Bankrupt Wedding Venue

Jillian emailed the BAB team this week with a dilemma: Montefiori, her wedding venue outside of Chicago Ill., sent her a letter two weeks ago stating that they were closing as of December 1st, and canceling all their scheduled 2012 events. Montefiori is currently in foreclosure, having defaulted on a $3 million mortgage. Their phones are disconnected, and the website is gone. And according to news reports, that leaves about 30 (!) couples scrambling to look for alternatives. Jillian had paid a deposit of $5,000, but told me today that she knows of other brides who had lost as much as $14,000.

Can you imagine? On second thought, don’t.

This is the third instance this year that I’ve heard of vendors going bankrupt, including a very popular caterer here in Los Angeles. Operating costs have eaten up their client’s deposits, so most are left in the lurch. And it’s so frustrating, because there just isn’t that much you can do. Bankruptcy basically means that you have to stand in line after all their other creditors, and the biggest fishes get paid first. And it’s not like you can tell if a business is going out of business. Several of Montefiori’s brides had asked them what their status was, based on what was going on in the local wedding industry, and were reassured that they would still be around. What else would they tell you?

Gah, the UGH just won’t quit! The only way I can think of to protect yourself in this case is to purchase event insurance, either through your home owner or apartment rental insurance or through companies like A couple hundred dollars on a policy can get you your money back if this happens to you. Many venues are even requiring that you have it upfront, anyway, so that’s extra protection for both parties.

And, in the meantime, you have to find another venue in your budget, given the money that you’ve already spent. Give yourself a couple of days to wallow – TWO – and then take a deep breath and think about your options. I always say that the last vendor you meet with isn’t the only choice you have, and this is your chance to prove me right.

Seriously, DEEP BREATH. If you’ve already secured a block of rooms, see if that hotel has ballroom space available, too. Take another look at the other venues you may have rejected. Search for city and state owned facilities that are usually much less expensive, like a local park, museum, or recreation center that you can jazz up. Figure out ways to downsize other wedding expenses (see my post on wedding budget tetris). You can do this. It sucks, but you can do this.

One of Montefiori’s brides also started a blog where other couples could log in their complaints. Shining a light on the situation has produced some action, so see what you can do to get the word out, too. Other local wedding venues have gone on the site to offer their services, and the blog set off a slew of newspaper and television reports. So many, in fact, that Montefiori’s owners finally contacted brides this to let them know that they will be receiving their refunds this week. Jillian hasn’t gotten hers yet, but she’s hopeful that Montefiori will stick to their word this time. Unfortunately, that’s all that she can do.

Have any of you been caught in this situation? What advice can you offer about getting your money back or starting the vendor search over? Share in the comments below.


Budget For Stress Relief

No matter how much you plan and prep, the last few weeks before your wedding are going to be a stressful time.  You have to hound the RSVP stragglers, confront the dizzying logic puzzle of the seating chart, brace yourself for final-balance payments, all while surfing epic waves of emotion. Stress is inevitable. So you need to budget time and money for stress relief.  Here’s my chillaxation game plan:


[Photo from lululemon’s Flickr photostream]

When a Groupon for two months of Bikram yoga popped up two months before my wedding, I felt like I’d won the stress-relief lottery.  Yoga gets hyped to a preposterous degree as a the ticket to a healthy body, a peaceful mind, and a rockin’ bod.  I’ll be honest: I’m not a True Believer.  I have to suppress chuckles when the instructor tells me that the Cantankerous Goose posture or whatever will balance my endocrine system. That said?  I can’t deny that yoga makes me feel better.  And from a time-management perspective, you can’t beat the efficiency of combining exercise and meditation.

Now, let’s face it, yoga is pretty bougie and class prices reflect that.  The $40 I spent on my two-month pass felt like a lot of money to me, and that was allegedly an 87% discount (I just wasted a few minutes staring at my studio’s complicated price schedule trying to suss out that math, but then I realized I should be reserving all math brain energy to sort out why we have eight more guests accounted for than meals in our wedding spreadsheet). But if you can find a deal or a good donation-based studio, or even if you are able to set aside some money for a few full-price classes, do it.  For one thing: having an instructor correct you and suggest modifications is incredibly valuable.  Secondly, there really is something extra special about hot yoga.  Sweating buckets recharges your body’s batteries for some reason.  And maybe your air-conditioner-free apartment feels like a hot yoga studio, but the conditions aren’t optimized the way they would be at a class.  Finally? Laughter is a great stress relief too, and at any yoga studio you will hear some hilariously pretentious gems about energy and flushing out toxins and such nonsense.

Don’t fret if you can’t afford that, though.  All you really need is a mat (I stubbornly attempted to practice yoga on my carpet for months before discovering that yoga mats stop you from slipping.  Yoga is way more fun when you don’t land on your butt every few minutes) and an internet connection. YouTube “yoga” and you’ll find an embarrassment of educational riches.


I know it sounds like I’m drinking the yoga-freak Kool Aid (which I’m guessing is coconut water), but stress has a way of collecting in your muscles.  Getting a massage is not just about getting that imaginary metal spike in your neck to take a hike, it’s about getting emotional tension out as well.  So I will be getting a massage the week of my wedding, to loosen up, to let go of some emotions, and to get away from everything for an hour. If you can, set aside the time and money for this.  If you can’t afford it, beg and bribe your partner into giving you a massage.  Of course, some fiances, (COUGH Collin COUGH) are lazy massage-givers who think an entire back rub can be accomplished in three minutes, but maybe you are one of the lucky ones marrying a certified masseuse.


“Goo” is a term my friends use to describe lovey-doveyness.  We usually use it in a teasing but secretly envious way.  What I’ve found in these recent stress-tastic weeks is that goo is the cure for wedding angst. Whenever I feel like my brain might melt or my heart might explode because of the latest planning drama, I shift my thoughts to how much I love Collin.  His smile and the way he mumbles “I love you” to me in his sleep and the way he gets so excited to eat the fancy dinner he’s cooking he does a little hip-shaking dance in front of the stove.  And then I feel tremendously better.  Partially because it’s relaxing and fun to be unashamedly in love, but also because it reminds me why I’m planning a wedding in the first place. At the end of all this, I get to be married to Collin! And that is so awesome, it deserves a big celebration like this wedding. Stress that is undoubtedly worth it is somehow not so stressful.

What are your pre-wedding stress-busting tactics?