Broke-Ass Tag: Boston Bride


For as long as I can remember, there have been people in my life using 12 step programs to improve themselves and their circumstances. Some were battling addictions, and others loved those that were battling addiction. Whatever their individual case might be, these programs helped bring clarity and some kind of peace to otherwise chaotic life situations. Through those people and their experiences, I’ve become well acquainted with two things that I think have helped me (or could’ve helped me had I acknowledged them more often) get through my wedding planning, and something that I think it’s important to remember about marriage (and really all of life too). One is the phrase “One Day at a Time” and the other is the Serenity Prayer.

serenity prayer decorThe Serenity Prayer for those who aren’t familiar with it. I’ve had this plaque since the day I was a little girl after a scary incident with burned garlic bread!
Now a quick disclaimer: I’m by no means trying to to trivialize addiction or the struggle that goes along with it. It’s something I’ve been well acquainted with my entire life without ever having an addiction myself. I’ve watched people, both the addicted party and their loved ones, suffer from it. I’ve seen families torn apart because of addiction. I’m by no means trying to compare the experience of living with your own addiction or that of someone you love to the wedding planning process. I do however think the tools you are given to fight addiction through a 12 step program can be useful in putting other parts of your life together and that’s my point here. I by no means mean to take anything away from the seriousness of the struggle with addictions of all kinds and I’m truly sorry if anyone takes that away from what I have to say or feels slighted at it at all.
So back to my original point: One day at a time. Do you know how hard it is to actually live your life like that, especially when you have a large life event looming over head? I do because despite the fact that it’s an idea that has been rammed into my head since I was a little kid, I still didn’t put it to use in my life leading up to my wedding. When Matt and I were actually going through the planning process, there would be days when a panic would strike me and suddenly I’d find myself texting back and forth with Matt for hours doing out the math to make sure we were on track to have the money we needed saved in time for the wedding.
And guess what? We were … before we wasted tons of time freaking out. We had done out the math originally and set our savings plan into motion. We knew what we had for resources at our disposal. We knew where we were at. We threw what extra we could towards our wedding savings when we could. We had the whole thing under control, but unfortunately what we didn’t have was trust in ourselves and our plan. We didn’t trust that we’d be okay if life threw us a curveball. It threw us plenty in the last few months of our engagement, from having our credit card account compromised with tons of money taken out to Matt facing sudden unemployment to car issues that needed resolving … all in the same one-week span. Instead of trusting where we were at when we were there, we were always worrying about what was coming down the pike at us. None of the worrying helped us save anymore money or put us in a better position for the wedding or life after it. It just took away from our ability to enjoy the planning process and our engagement because we were always worried about what was coming next instead of dealing with whatever task we had at hand.
On the occasions when bad things did happen that could’ve/would’ve/should’ve set us back in our plans, we were up to the task and took care of business, despite all our fear and anxiety. Nothing was as bad as we could imagine it to be. We knew what we were doing, despite our doubts about our own abilities. I think it was in these moments that we were forced to stay in the moment to deal with our challenges facing us because they were right there in front of us. There was no other option but to live in that day and deal with what was currently on our plate. We didn’t have time to think about what was coming up next and that was okay because we had things under control even if we didn’t believe in ourselves enough to know that then.
As for the serenity prayer, I think it’s important to remember that things will come along that you can have absolutely no control over. You can make a lot of decisions about your wedding, but you can’t fix or control everything.  Sometimes, you need to make decisions that aren’t easy like firing a vendor, or telling someone who thinks they’re invited to your wedding that they’re not, or having a tough conversation with a bridal party member. It’s not always easy to tell what you can control (like what your bridesmaids wear to your wedding) and what falls outside of your control (like what your guests wear to your wedding) and sometimes just taking the time to say a prayer (even if you don’t believe in a higher power listening to that prayer) can give you a moment to breathe and find clarity that you might be missing otherwise about all these different things.
I think this way of thinking about things is even more important when it comes to marriage. I’ve been freaking out since the day I found out I was pregnant about what it would mean for our marriage and what has that worrying gotten me? It hasn’t made me any more prepared for our life as a trio instead of a duet and when I allowed it, it took away my ability to enjoy the fun parts of pregnancy because I was so preoccupied with what might happen when instead of what was going on now. In the meantime, we’ve had other major life shifts that we’ve been hit with. Some were positive things, while others were just about as negative as they could get. These happenings couldn’t have been foreseen or expected on either account. There was nothing we could do to prevent the bad things from happening or  and we also couldn’t make the good things happen sooner. All we could do is rise to the occasion and be one another’s strength when faced with challenges and triumphs.
Every day that leads up to your wedding is a single day. Put a plan together with your fiance and trust in it. Your wedding is a single day. Enjoy it and don’t worry about what comes next. Your wedding day goes by fast enough as it is and you’re really not going to remember it if you’re too focused on what could be coming at you from here. Every day of your life after your wedding is one day. One day may be full of happiness and joy and the next might be full of despair. No matter how well you’ve planned things out, bad things can and will happen. Worrying away your good times won’t save you from the bad. If anything, it’ll deplete your strength to deal with the bad when you actually find yourself faced with it. Start out each day fresh and just take things as they come instead of losing yourself in what could be. One day at a time and you’ll come out the other side, no matter what life throws at you, in your engagement, your marriage and your life.Julie and Matt
No matter how bad the bad times might be, I know having this guy by my side will always make it easier and make the good times even sweeter.
  • 8/16

    Over the course of my engagement, I had a lot of different ideas on who I wanted to be in my wedding but I held off until I had my date and venue at least to ask anyone. Being engaged for four years meant people came in and out of importance in my life and I knew that was the way things went sometimes. I’m glad I held off on asking anyone for that very reason. I knew I was going to most likely ask my four sisters to be in the wedding party and I knew I was going to have Matt’s two sisters as well. It got more difficult from there though. What about friends or sisters-in-law? An even bigger question for me was about my nieces and cousins. I have nine (eight at the time) nieces and a crazy amount of cousins and second cousins, many of whom I’m pretty close with. Leaving them out of the wedding party didn’t really feel right because of what they all meant to me. With my nieces in particular, though, I realized that having them in the wedding party would’ve doubled the cost to my sisters. In the end, I had the niece and cousin who were closest in age to me (and who I had grown up with as friends as much as relatives) in the wedding party and that was it. I did have two of the youngest as my flower girls and then found roles for the rest as party of the wedding ceremony. I still am sad I couldn’t find a way to incorporate another couple of cousins I’m really close with, but I figure at least I saved them the hassle of having to take on any planning.
    12473646_10100571625445000_2425953772683319059_oThe full crew! Photo by SK Photography
    I wanted to make a big deal of asking my bridesmaids be in my bridal party. When all the details were sewn up about my wedding I decided it was time to come up with how I was going to ask my girls to be in my wedding party. I figured I’d DIY some beeswax candles and come up with some cute way to ask them using those. And then the winter hit. It was February 2015 and Mother Nature decided New England had to pay for the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. I was stuck inside my house for the better part of a month with little or no creating supplies. Some beeswax candles got made, but then they got tossed aside as I couldn’t figure out  exactly the way to ask with them and I re-thought their significance. Time was creeping up on me and I knew I needed to ask soon or there wouldn’t be time for us to go out and do all the things that needed to be done in anticipation of the wedding. So I used the world’s worst communication method to ask: I texted them.
    I know, I know. Texts are impersonal and …whatever else they might be that makes them a not-so-worthwhile form of communication. But time was of the essence and I’m not good with phone conversations. I didn’t have everyone’s emails at the time, and it was important for me that I put my thoughts together before I came out and asked them. I didn’t just fire off a text that said “Hey b in my wedding plz?” or even let emojis do the talking. I sent them miniature novels in text form that said: 1. Why I wanted them to be in my wedding and what they meant to me; 2. What my expectations of my bridal party were going to be; and 3. That I understood if they couldn’t take part in it because of money issues or just a general desire not to. I let them know my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if they said no (even though they totally would have and I waited for each return text with trepidation as to what they’d have to say).
    I think that beyond any beeswax candles or sparkly gifts I could’ve given them, within those texts, I hit on some important things that a lot of people neglect to talk to their bridal party about and that lead to a lot of problems down the road in planning. Not so much why I wanted them to be in the wedding, because I think that comes down to individual relationships and feelings, but more my expectations and the understanding that I was asking them to be part of it, not telling they had to be.

    Expectations for the bridal party are a big deal. How often have we tossed the “z” suffix onto a bride because she outlined her expectations of her bridesmaids and went a little bit (or a lot) overboard? These things might seem crazy at times when put out there like that, but at the same time, it’s important to be honest at the start about what being a bridesmaid means to you. When I was actively involved in Wedding Yard Sales, I’d see brides that had all different ideas about what their bridesmaids roles were, and bridesmaids who had even more ideas. Some people feel its the bride’s responsibility to pay for her bridesmaids’ gowns while others feel its up to each bridesmaid to get her own dress. Some feel the bridesmaids take care of the extracurricular parties, like the bridal shower or bachelorette party and that the bride is to have no part in planning those whatsoever. Others feel it’s up to the mother of the bride and still others feel the bride does that herself. Outlining YOUR expectations as a bride at the start avoids confusion and possible arguments later rather than assuming that you’re on the same page and finding out later that you weren’t even in the same book. If you can go so far as to let people know a dollar amount or range when giving your expectations, even better (although I’d say give room for that number to change because some things can cost more than you originally expect, too). The better you can give someone an idea of what they’re agreeing to when you ask them, the better off things will be down the line.  It’s important to come to terms with what being a bridesmaid means to you before you ask someone else to do that, and maybe even do a little bit of research before talking to them about costs and responsibilities.

    It’s also important to recognize that you are giving people a choice. Just like when my husband proposed to me, this proposal can come with a “yes” or “no” after the fact, not an assumption of agreement just for the question having been asked. Being in a wedding party can be really expensive, even a broke-ass one where you do your best to keep costs low. My bridesmaids had a mish-mash of expenses they were dealing with above and beyond my wedding: A new home, a new car, multiple kids and the tuition that said kids were racking up in all grade levels through college, a new baby and other weddings. No matter what age or stage of life my bridesmaids were at, they had something major going on in their lives money-wise and I acknowledged that when asking them because it’s important to remember you’re not the only one dealing with expensive, life-altering stuff at any given time. Sometimes even greater than the dollar value is the cost to people’s time and energy, especially if they have demanding jobs or families or are just in a spot in their life where they’re already being dragged in several different directions. Like I said, my feelings might’ve been a little bit hurt if some people had turned me down … but realistically, it’s important to be understanding of other people’s circumstances. It might feel like they are saying they don’t care enough about you to take part in your wedding, but they could also be saying they care too much about you to be there for you on a part time basis when they know you deserve better than that. There are many different thoughts and emotions that can go into the decision to become someone’s bridesmaid, just like there are a lot of emotions that go into why we choose the people we do. Be mindful of that and do your best to not take it as anything personal against you or your husband to be.

    In the end, I didn’t spend a ton of money on my proposal to my bridesmaids. I used the beeswax candles I made myself and instead spent my energy on coming up with just the right words and put it out there to them. I’m glad I was able to express what they meant to me, and had the opportunity to really talk about what their role in the wedding meant to me. I used the money I would’ve spent on a proposal on their thank you gifts.

    It’s not so important how you ask them, but making sure they fully understand what they’re being asked and that is is a question, not a declaration is important. I can’t say my bridal party was without any drama at all, but I can say that I minimized it as best I could on my part by letting people know what my expectations were and allowing them to make a choice to take on that role that meant so much to me. Everyone played their roles in the end and added different elements to the wedding.  I’m grateful to all of them for being part of such a special day for me.

    How did you ask your crew to stand by your side? Did you create elaborate proposals or keep it simple ‘n’ sweet?

  • 8/10

    Photo credit: Maria Burton Photography It's hard to believe that today already marks our 67th day of marriage. I don't know why I'm surprised, since the last five years we've been together went by in a blink, but settling into marriage has felt very natural. The most common question I'm asked these days by coworkers and friends I run into is, "how's married life?" And…

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    Credit: Maria Burton Photography We did it! On June 4, 2016, we tied the knot on a beautiful (and hot!) day outside of Boston, Mass. After over a year of planning, everything came together just like we wanted, including everything we DIY'd with all of our friends. The biggest DIY of them all was my wedding dress, which was probably the hardest and most time-consuming sewing project…

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    There are places in my life that I feel so connected to by memories and experiences that they almost take on a life of their own. My parents' house (where Matt and I currently call home as we save to buy a house of our own) is like that. The campground where we got engaged, where I'm writing this from currently on a surprise trip…

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    Oh hey, we're married!  It's been a little over a month since we tied the knot, and things are getting back to normal. The first thing that people asked us when we returned from our mini-moon was, "how does it feel like to be married?" And honestly, we both say that nothing really feels all that different ... I just have a new last name…

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    So if there is one thing I don’t really have when it comes to my wedding it’s regrets. I’m really proud of the day Matt and I pulled together for ourselves and our families. I might wish I spent a little bit less on this or that, but ultimately I feel confident and proud of the choices that we made that got us to that…

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    Wall decals available from Etsy seller AdnilCreations It's been seven months since I got married. I think it's time (or maybe time again) I take a moment to step away from the discussion of my perfect and beautiful wedding day and instead talk about what really brings us together today: Mawwiage (or Marriage if you aren't playing a medieval priest during the '80s). Obviously seven months…

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