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The Bridal Path

August 4, 2010

This just in: Newly engaged woman thinks she can keep walking on clouds and not come down a notch to plan her wedding. Well folks, that woman would be me.  Now that our engagement has been announced and we’ve spent quality time with our family and friends, it’s time to get down to business and plan our wedding.  Thankfully, we can already check off 3 key items from our to-do list: 1) the date has been set, 2) the church has been booked, and 3) the venue has been reserved!

Admittedly I’m in unfamiliar territory.  Maybe I should be better prepared given the number of times I’ve been a bridesmaid, then again, maybe not.  It’s different when you’re the bride.  The planning process can feel overwhelming for most brides-to-be.  God knows I’ve had my moments.  Until recently, I had no idea what a blusher was and could barely pronounce hydrangeas.  I could care less about extravagance or flexing some ridiculous bridezilla muscle.  I’m a no fuss, no muss kind of gal.  Just give me an intimate and elegant celebration and I’ll be happy.

So what’s next?  Well, that’s the thing, I’m not entirely sure.  I know the focus should be on the details, i.e. bridal gown, florists, decor, but I am unclear on exactly where to start.  Drawing on my EA skills, I’m treating this as a major project, complete with a budget and project schedule, breaking it down by category (my Macbook makes it so easy!).  Armed with this and my planning guide, I feel ready.  And with only a year to go, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.

1. Get on the Same Page. Talk early and often.  Do get clear on each other’s likes and dislikes right away to establish your vision for your wedding.   Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off each to ensure you’re on the same page.  This is no time for surprises.   Don’t shut your fiancé out, he may just surprise you.  Sure, there will be times you disagree, but you must compromise.  Not only will your fiancé feel included in the planning process, he will appreciate knowing that you value his opinion.  Update: Just as I was about to post this piece, I had an issue with Sean regarding a tiescot.  I didn’t lose my cool but I came pretty damn close.  Since Sean didn’t feel I’d accurately tell his side of the story, he typed up his own version of events and insisted it be included in the piece.  I agreed, so here you go:

“Okay so here’s how it went down.  After helping an elderly lady cross the road I decided to be proactive and visit a suit shop in hopes of finding that right tux to compliment Nadine’s dress…you see…I just want to make sure she is happy…mostly…..mostly.  I quickly jumped on my bike risking my life as I rode alongside the cars on Eglinton Avenue West.  With my muscles rippling in the wind I finally arrived at the destination.  After being semi yelled at by 2 females who were attempting to help me in my venture to make my bride’s day a little more special the only thing I decided on for sure was that I would go with a tie-scot.  YES A TIESCOT.  It’s not a tie, it’s not quite an ascot, but it’s the best of both worlds…it is the ‘TIESCOT’.  Pleased with my decision I returned to my queen to share with her the good news for which had been found onto me.  I sat Nadine down, looked deep into her eyes while holding her hand and told her about my decision to move forth with that which is the tie-scot, not quite a tie, not quite an ascot, rather it’s a TIESCOT.  Nadine started to freak out.  She told me to draw a diagram of what it looked like.  She…she made me….(I’m sorry…I …I’m okay just…just give me a second..)…she asked me to… (I didn’t think this would be so hard…I’m…I’m sorry…okay) she asked me to show her a photo of it and that it would need her approval first.  I tried to run…but…..alas it was too late.  She pulled me by my hair, put me in a headlock and told me if I screamed it would only make things worse.  After explaining to her what the tie scot was…that it is not quite a tie, not quite an ascot but it is the best of both worlds…the TIESCOT, and she finally saw her reflection in the TV and saw firsthand how she was over reacting.  She realized at that moment that putting that chord around my neck could not be a good thing and that the tie scot, not quite a tie, not quite an ascot, but a TIESCOT would look much better.  We held each other for a while whilst my muscles blew in the wind.  She cried, I laughed, I laughed she cried and she then apologized for becoming, if even for a second…a bridezilla.  I tore my shirt off and wiped her tears proclaiming that we shall never speak of this day again.  Rather, let us move forth towards our big day and have it become even more special by way of the TIESCOT…not quite a tie, not quite an ascot…it is the best of both worlds, for it is…the TIESCOT.”

Umm, okay.  That’s not exactly how it happened but I’ll let him have his shine. 😉

2. Know the Lingo. I didn’t know a dais from a pomander, but I knew enough to get my hands on a few magazines in order to bring myself up to speed on all things bridal.  I can only imagine what Sean must have thought as he watched me and my girlfriend/bridesmaid Miranda race to the magazine rack at our local Pharma Plus the day we got back from Cuba.  We grabbed every magazine in sight and felt sorry for anyone in our way.  Here are some of the resources I’ve found helpful:

The Knot

Toronto Life Wedding Guide 2010

Canadian Bride/Today’s Bride Magazine

Brides.com

Once Wed

100 Layer Cake

Snippet & Link Daily Wedding Inspiration

The Wedding Co.

Oh So Beautiful Paper

Bridal Guide’s Wedding Dictionary

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide by Elisabeth Lluch

As much as I love Canadian Bride, The Knot is the truth!  Not only is it a wealth of information, but it includes culturally specific ideas you can incorporate into your wedding.   I was pleasantly surprised to see African American traditions style advice included on their website.  Sad that I had to visit a online magazine based in the USA to get this information.

(Special thanks to loyal readers Tru & Melissa for sharing a few of their favourite links!)

3. Brain Freeze. If you visit our apartment, they’re hard to miss.  They go where I go.  I’m referring to the 5 thick ass bridal magazines I can’t seem to shake loose.  The routine goes something like this: glance at magazine, absorb what I can until my brain hurts, check mark or rip out pages of interest, pause for a few days then repeat.  Or if I’m online, I’ll bookmark pages or save photos.  The bottom line is you’ll never be able to absorb it all so don’t even try.  Pace yourself.

p.s. The nice thing about leaving your bridal magazines around the apartment is that there’s a very good chance your fiancé will glance at it and possibly point out something they like. 😉

4. More Money, More Problems. Before a certain someone rats me out I will admit that I was naive to think that we could have a small, intimate wedding for $5,000?  Okay, I actually thought we could do it for $3,000.  For weeks I ignored Sean’s teasing. But it wasn’t until I received the quotes that I came down to planet earth.  Do be realistic.  Know what you can and can’t afford and make it work.  You don’t have to break the bank to get the wedding you want.  Many couples can get carried away and plan their wedding to appease their family and/or guests.  The truth is if they really care and support you they’ll understand that it’s your day, not theirs.  Don’t go for broke for just one day.  Save your money and put it elsewhere e.g. honeymoon, house, savings.  Smart couples know that it’s not about the wedding, but the day after the wedding…just saying.

Things can get sticky when family members feel they can steer the direction of the wedding because they helped out financially.  Striking the right balance is crucial.  Do set the ground rules early to establish how much say they should have when making decisions.  Don’t treat your family like an ATM.  If you can’t find a compromise then be prepared to foot the expenses.  However, if you decide to accept their help, express your gratitude, be respectful of their limits and let them know that while you appreciate their input, the final decision is yours.

5. All Eyes On You. My fiancé makes his living in the spotlight.  I do not.  I’m low key and prefer to chill behind the scenes with a pen and a pad.  I understand that my wedding is the one day where all eyes will be on me and I’m cool with that.  Although I don’t plan to obsess about my appearance, I do plan on taking advantage of this opportunity to give myself a just little extra TLC.  As I continue to take care of myself from the inside out with a balance diet, I’ll be increasing my weekly yoga and cardio.  I’m not a fan of gyms – mainly because I prefer the outdoors & so many of those machines look like medieval torture devices – but for the right workout, I may just give them a second look.

6. What Really Counts. Do remember what it’s really about: you and your boo beginning a new chapter in your lives.  Many of us in our community rarely see couples jump the broom and the few marriages we do see are usually shown in a negative light.  I never viewed marriage as a noun, but rather a verb that you commit to doing every day. And being able to say that I’m marrying my best friend is a big deal and a reason to celebrate!  No matter your style of wedding or its size, if you can remember to breathe, relax and laugh…together, you’re on the right path towards marital bliss.

p.s. Check out this clip from the TV show Bridezilla to see how this bride puts her feuding bridesmaids in check.  Guaranteed jokes!  For the record, I’d just like my bridesmaids know that it will never get this crazy, but if it does… 😉

Love,

Nay

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© Nia’s Piece, 2010

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Desiree permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:54 am

    Hi Nia
    What an enjoyable blog written about preparing for your wedding.
    It was so much fun to go back and think about things that went through my mind during our wedding process

    You made some good points
    – remember it’s about you and your boo. It’s a special day for the 2 of you

    -include your fiancee in his ideas. We always complain that men don’t speak or feel their emotions, well this is the time to allow those feelings and opinions to come out. They count

    -it’s one day…don’t break the bank

    PLUS, memories of your day will both last you a lifetime

    Stay focus, and smile. Keep the love alive during this time. It is love that’s bringing you both together

  2. melissa permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:58 am

    WOWOWOWOW!!! That clip is BANANAS!!

    and LMFAO @ Sean’s rendition of what went down…too funny!

    Best of luck with your planning – I think you are WAAAAY ahead of the game with the date/church/venue already booked!

    now is the fun stuff!

    ps-I like the tiescot – as long as it’s tucked into a vest….

  3. Myria permalink
    August 4, 2010 5:31 pm

    Nadine, this entry is on point, honest (besides Sean’s version of the happenings) and should definitely be read by anyone planning their day. Keep up your great writing and Congratulations!

    Just remember, its one day and you two have a lifetime together to plan!

  4. August 8, 2010 4:46 pm

    Congratulations to you both! I’m soooooo happy for you guys. Yay! And Nia, awesome post. You rock for sharing all these tips.

  5. August 8, 2010 9:34 pm

    Thanks for your comments & advice ladies! xoxo

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