Broke-Ass Tag: wedding stress


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!

  • 2/4

    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!

  • 1/21

    Real Bride Shannon: Loving Your Wedding After the Wedding || Shaina Sheaff Photography

    Several Real Brides have been honest about the fact that at some point in the planning process, they start to hate their wedding. It happens often enough that I think it's actually kind of normal. Whether it's a shrinking budget, family complaints or vendor mayhem, plenty of things can cause you stress. I'm not here to tell you not to let them; I'm here to…

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    Real Wedding: A Sweet and Sentimental Family Affair || Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

    Credit: Andie Freeman Photography You’re about to take one of life’s most important steps with the person you love. You want your wedding day to be a perfect celebration, and a joyful starting point for your marriage. But, the truth is nothing is ever perfect. Whatever can go wrong, probably will go wrong. Avoid becoming so stressed out you don’t enjoy your big day by employing…

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    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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  • 8/26


    It's less than two months to go 'til the wedding, and in my waking hours I am nothing but serene. Everything is progressing nicely, budget looks tight but good, and Mr Fiance and I are getting more and more excited about the big day. So why are my nights plagued by stress dreams? I know BAB has talked about wedding nightmares before (wedmares, anyone?), but I…

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    Credit:  Lucky Photographer The first step to having a grown-up wedding is acknowledging that you're a grown-up. And that your guests and family are grown-ups. Marriage is the second most grown-up thing you can do. So, you might as well start now with the day that’s going to start it all off. In the immortal words of Monica Geller, “It sucks, you're going to love it.”…

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    Feminism is a complicated term. The fact that it even needs to exist as a concept is frustrating in itself, but with so many varied (and heated) interpretations of the word bouncing around in today's media, it almost starts to feel like a taboo topic in many circles. Its most basic definition, though, is the idea that society should consider women as equals to men.…

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  • 1/16

    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…

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