I am getting married in 72 days. In about two months time, I will become Mrs. Jen Boyles Traas, and it feels like just as much an unexpected miracle as it did when Ian and I first got together two years ago. Sometimes the unexpected holds the best possible outcome, but with a wedding, it's fantastically nerve-wracking not knowing how everything is going to unfold. Truthfully, I can't wait until it's over. I want to be tucked into bed in expensive hotel sheets with my husband, wedding debris strewn about the room. I want to heave a huge sigh of relief, grin at the thought of all we accomplished, and, frankly, move on with our lives. This is not to lead you to believe I didn't want the wedding—on the contrary, I was the one who said we should skip the idea of eloping and give our family and friends something to remember! But it's honestly far more work than I was prepared to do, which brings me to my pre-married list of tips for you future blithe brides. 1. Listen to other brides' advice. When I was blathering on and on about having a non-wedding wedding, my editor Emily, who was married months earlier, inserted a few wise words: "Planning a wedding consumes you more than you think it could"—even when you think you're the "anti-bride." She was right. 2. Stop eating like crap. I hope I won't come off as one of those preachy people who tell you how to lose weight for your wedding, but if you want to be happy with your event pictures and combat the stress, stop erecting a roadblock in the form of delicious cheese and epic brunches (or whatever your vices may be—those are totally not mine at all). Be the best "version" of yourself on your day. I committed to personal training a few times a week (Thanks, Angie!) and have lost almost 20 lbs. It's not a massive difference, but enough to make me feel good. I would advise not changing your body entirely just for a wedding. Be yourself. 3. Expect to pay twice what you planned. Don't wait until two months before your wedding to figure out where your out-of-pocket expenses are going to come from. A money tree would be nice right about now, but instead, I'll eagerly await my tax refund. 4. Accept any and all help. You'd be surprised how many people actually will want to assist you with your details. I was lucky enough to have a great wedding planner approach me and offer her services (more on Casey at Belle Noelle later). 5. Cut costs where you can but stay true to what you value most. Ian and I were most particular about our attire and the music, because those are the type of things we're into. We upped our game in the wedding dress and suit department and enlisted to tasteful talents of DJ Jake Rudh (of Transmission and Current fame).
We cut costs on stuff that didn't get us as excited (e.g. tableware). 6. Expect to fight a few times. Nasty or nitpicky, they will happen. Remember that your day is not just about you. This experience should be memorable in the best way for both. If your groom becomes ambivalent in the planning, TALK. 7. Be authentic. Really the best advice ever. Don't opt for a cutesy chalkboard sign or trendy rustic table settings if that truly isn't you. You want to look back on your wedding and, on the whole, be able to say "Wow, that was really 'us'." 8. Venue is crucial. Choose wisely, this sets the tone most. Make sure the decor won't fight with colors you've decided on, and make sure you have a good rapport with the events person and/or caterer. 9. Choose your wedding party thoughtfully and practically. I refuse to use the phrase "It's the biggest day of your life" in seriousness, but you need to be able to put your full trust in the people who will stand alongside you in the thick of all the details and in the ceremony itself. Don't choose someone out of obligation (friend OR family member). Do you trust this person to stand up and speak about you in front of all your loved ones (and strangers)? Would you trust them to run with a few details when you can't handle them? 10. Time FLIES. It's almost May. I can't believe it. Don't wait until the last two months (ahem) to start thinking about the stuff you didn't want to think about when you got engaged. 11. Remember your love, above all. When things get tough, this is what will get you through. xoxo Jen The Blithe Bride column