an open letter to future brides

I am sick of yakking about immigration and you’re probably sick of hearing it, so this is not a lamentation about immigration.

I go to a lot of weddings, as in, I can weigh the wedding invitations/save-the-date’s/Thank You cards I receive each year in solid kilograms. And with the wedding season upon us, here are my gratuitous thoughts from being a professional wedding attendee:

Dear woman,

You are engaged. Congratulations. I hope you didn’t sprain any fingers mass-texting all those exclamation marks. Some of your friends are having irregular heart palpitations over whether they will be picked to be in the bridal party, and your betrothed’s friends are probably thinking up excuses to sidestep such a fate.

Anyways. The Big Day usually takes forever to arrive, even though there are a quadrillion things that needs to be done beforehand. So, here are some tips which might help you during the full-time job that is called Wedding Planning. Because one can only schedule in so many crises into one’s calendar.

Before I start, here’s a thought: the wedding is only one day. Okay, including the wedding rehearsal, it’s two days but hey, compared to the number of days until death us do part, two days are not worth stress-induced increase in cholesterol and premature white hairs. Unless you are marrying for fortune and plan to ax your spouse in less than 48 hours post-nuptial, then yes, yes do freak out, but also consider calling your psychiatrist, and maybe also forewarn the local police force. 

But ALL of the family/friends/colleagues are going to be there!, laments the I-wanted-an-intimate-ceremony-but-we-have-to-invite-a-legion-lest-my-mother-disowns-me brides. Then do read on.

Let’s start with the planning part. Your bridesmaids might be the most giving and obliging people to ever tread this earth, but please, keep the glitter and/or ribbons to a minimum for your invitations/save-the-dates/wedding programs. Especially compound-tied ribbons, because those who have to tie them will secretly hate you.

photo credit: Pinterest

photo credit: Pinterest

Please print your wedding bulletins/ceremony details/piece of paper with all of the names in a font that is legible. I am sure Vivaldi and Vladimir Script and Edwardian Script and Palace Script MT exude the elegance that you and your betrothed undoubtedly encompass, but the wedding attendees would rather be able to read your parents’ names, or those of the wedding party.

Moving onto the wedding day. I haven’t been in the men’s shoes, but having been a bridesmaid and maid of honor, the women’s attire deserves some thought. If your bridesmaids are of different statures and/or body types, it is advisable to make sure your bridesmaids feel comfortable with how they look. Same goes for shoes: a fabulous three-incher may look great with a petite woman, but will be statutory torture for a heavier woman. One good compromise that I have seen: the bride decides the color palette for the wedding and the bridesmaids choose the attires that work best with each of their body types. Remember that these women are (hopefully) people who have been your support group who gave you a ride at 2AM because you didn’t want your creeper date to drive you home and joined in for wine slushy after bleaching the mold off your wall and shared their commonwealth of feminine products in your emergency. So be kind.

photo credit: tumblr. com

photo credit: tumblr. com

And extend your kindness to those who work to make your wedding special. In particular, musicians are not slaves. The best advice I have heard from a professional wedding musician regarding compensations for our services: “Call the plumbers and request a team of four. Ask them to drive in Friday rush hour traffic to your fancy location, work for two hours to get the lay of the land, and ask them to come back on Saturday and work from 2 to 5, then from 6 to midnight. We will take half of what they charge you.”

Also, unless you are fine with having a semi-comatose cellist by the time you reach the altar, Canon in D may not be  the best selection. Or you might have an angry cellist, like this one.

A few notes on the reception. The first dance and subsequent dances of  the reception should be short, and if possible, eliminate some of the wedding-party only dances, since those can be especially awkward for the wedding party couples. Chances are, these people in formal-wear probably only met each other at the wedding rehearsal, so there will be lots of attempted chit-chat on the dance floor. Multitasking in constipated penguin suits and corset dresses bodes ill.

photo credit: tumblr. com

photo credit: tumblr. com

Speaking of the wedding rehearsal, hold off on the alcohol the night before the wedding. Not only does alcohol make you retain water, and therefore more challenging to fit into your attire, but even the most stunning Vera Wang or Armani do not go well with a hang-over.

Other miscellaneous, but potential stress time-bombs: favors. They are time-consuming to make and most of them end up in the trash anyways. Honestly, very few people care about them. So skip the trinkets entirely and instead, come up with some form of entertainment at the tables: cross-word puzzles on trivia of you and your betrothed, or provide random assortments of LEGO pieces.

A word on flowers, photography, and video-recording: shop around. If you would like to have a memorable event, hire someone who’s experienced. Ask friends for referrals, look at the vendor’s packages and samples from past clients. Do your research. 

Prepare an emergency toolkit that contains the following items: clear, double-sided tape, small sewing kits, and safety pins. Also, pack extra boutonniere pins because no one javelins those flowers on correctly the first time. And actual first-aid kits when someone’s aim is off. And lots of facial tissues. Actually, consider having the flower girls hand them out instead of rose petals.

I’ve only touched upon a few things, but the general rule of wedding planning comes down to being a gracious host for people who are making considerable efforts to see you joined in matrimony. Modern opinion might insist that you as a bride gets free reins to behave as you wish, but a wedding like that usually becomes a chore, rather than a celebration, to attend.

So, congratulations once again, and may your marriage be as resplendent as your wedding day.

photo credit: tumblr. com

photo credit: tumblr. com

what are some of your favorite wedding stories? what are the “I wish I knew” things that you’ve learned from wedding planning? feel free to share your insight on the art of wedding planning in the comments section. 


technically speaking…

I played violin for (yet) a(nother) wedding this past weekend. A conversation between the photographer and I:

Photographer: “Hannah, can you move [the hand that’s holding the violin] closer to your…center…mass…?”
Me: “I believe it’s called the sternum, as the proper anatomical landmark.”
Photographer: “Well, I was trying to be subtle and as unoffensive as I can, because the only word I could think of was brisket.

Note to self: Modify job description: Violinist. Will travel. On-site trans-species mutation optional. Estimates available upon inquiry.

photo credit: tumblr. com

photo credit: tumblr. com