Un-Brides meet Kim. She has great advice when it comes to rehearsal dinners, bridal parties, and overall un-bride attitude. Her I Guess I Do moments include a poor planner and first dance jitters. Enjoy her story in her own words below.
My name is Kim and I married Mike, the man of my dreams, and I can honestly say that I had the perfect wedding day. Well, in my own head anyway. I chose to wake up and not let any problems stand in the way of what was going to be one of the biggest days of my life. That isn’t to say my day...or the days, weeks, months, or year leading up to it...didn’t have its load of mishaps. Nothing is perfect, but it can be if you let it.
I had a year and a half engagement. During that time, I was living with my parents in Ohio while my fiance, Mike, was living in Pittsburgh. As you can imagine, planning a wedding with my fiance 2 hours away made for some “interesting” phone calls. Lots of stress and unfortunately, lots of tears. I can remember scheduling our first meeting with the wedding planner at the Ritz Carlton and being super excited. We had to plan things out far in advance because it was hard scheduling things with my fiance living out of town and getting him to Cleveland in time to make appointments. Well, our first meeting was supposed to be a sit down dinner at the Ritz’s restaurant, where we sat with our assigned planner and went through some of the details: picking out the linens, going through the daily agenda, talking about food, etc. Exciting.
We arrived, expecting Ritz Carlton customer service to be even more ramped up because we were their future bride and groom, but we ended up being sorely disappointed. Our planner, Jenny, started off the sit-down letting us know that she was missing her father’s birthday party because of this late appointment. Wow. Gee, sorry? She was the one that booked this appointment in the first place. I actually apologized to her. There was no dinner (not even a glass of water offered) so we sat through the meeting knowing this girl was pissed while having our stomachs rumble with hunger. First meeting: huge disappointment. I left crying. After all, this was the first meeting about our wedding day....a day that I would remember for the rest of my life (and our pocketbooks would remember, too). My husband ended up calling the Ritz Carlton and Jenny was taken off our account and we got a new planner. Later, I learned that Jenny got promoted and is now working for the Ritz in California. Doesn’t really give me much hope for those future Ritz brides.
During the year and a half engagement, I had plenty of other ups and downs that were beyond the scope of wedding planning. I was the maid of honor in my twin sister’s wedding, which was 2 months before mine. Yes. Double the engagement celebrating, double the bridal showers, double the bachelorette parties and double the drama. It was quite the busy year....and expensive! Luckily, my sister Colleen and I were never competitive for attention. In fact, it actually worked out in my favor for a lot of things: family members coming in from out of town for hers and not mine (huge savings on that invite number!), already having addresses for more than half of my invite list and learning from all the problems that were encountered on her day. Biggest lesson learned from her wedding day: don’t stress the small stuff.
Looking back on that engagement time, I think the most stress came from the people that were supposed to be the stress relief: my bridal party. And that probably isn’t even exactly fair to say so let me elaborate. I was not the typical bride where everything I did was to make me happy. In fact, I ended up doing more than I should have to make everyone else happy. I had 10 bridesmaids (along with 2 flower girls) because I wanted all my close girlfriends to feel included and couldn’t bear the thought of hurting anyone’s feelings. (For all you future brides, keep in mind that large bridal parties mean lots of money on bridal gifts and fewer spaces for the dinner rehearsal!) Well, when others started getting engaged, they didn’t include me in their parties. It was incredibly hurtful (and admittedly, embarrassing). Here I was going out of my way to make sure everyone felt special by being included, and they had no problem when it was their turn to be “bride” to be inconsiderate towards my feelings. At the time, it was honestly devastating. Looking back, I can really only give them kudos. Good for them for doing what THEY wanted. It was their wedding day, too. And at the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, you aren’t going to be able to please everyone. I learned that the hard way.
Before I knew it, my sister’s wedding was over and mine was upon me. I had my dinner rehearsal and my husband gave the most tender and romantic speech that night. I was in heaven with him. Of course, behind the scenes of that dinner I had family members pissed at me for not inviting them and others members mad because I didn’t include children to the reception. Dinner rehearsals are even more difficult to plan than the actual wedding day because of the limited number you can work with. We decided to only include people directly involved in the wedding (bridal party, readers, ushers, etc) and those who came in from out of town. Mind you, because Mike and I each had 10 people in our bridal party, that was already 40 people invited because of dates. We had limited space and my husband’s family was paying for it, so I wanted to be fair when it came to money. On top of that, my side of the family is HUGE so I would never have been able to invite everyone, especially at that venue. Ughhhh. One can never win. But I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying every second of every minute of every hour of that memorable evening. Today, I am absolutely thankful for that positive attitude.
My wedding day. Bliss. Why? How? Because I woke up with an attitude of no matter what happens, nothing is going to break this smile. After all, I was marrying my best friend and was incredibly lucky in love and blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who were genuinely beaming with happiness for us. When I put my wedding gown on, I truly felt the magic it possessed. I felt radiant and beautiful and for the first time, I felt absolutely perfect. There was nothing or no one that could turn that off. It was an emotion I wish I could have bottled up. It truly is all about your attitude.
While all of the above is absolutely true, I do have to admit one minor break down and a couple of mishaps that happened throughout the day. Mike & I had a choreographed dance for our first dance as husband and wife. It was to the song “She’s Everything” by Brad Paisley and it was beautiful. We took ballroom lessons and had it choreographed in Pittsburgh. Anyway, before the reception started, Mike & I were in our hotel room at the Ritz and decided to do a practice routine because I had never done the dance in my dress. Bad idea. I was so overwhelmed by everything, I was stepping on his feet, tripping on my dress and forgetting the moves. I had a minor break down in the room and told Mike I didn’t want to do the routine anymore. A couple tears and deep breaths later, my husband had calmed me down and we went downstairs to greet our guests. God bless that man! Our dance routine....well, it went off without a hitch!
So all in all, it was an over-the-top beautiful affair. All the work to feel like a “perfect bride”: the practice hair and makeup sessions, the careful planning, the dedication to details, the menu and food tasting.....it was all worth it. I am not sure if anyone even noticed all those “little things”, but I remember them. I have the pictures and memories to prove it, both of which will last me a lifetime. The drama....who cares. The people who were meant to be in my life, they still are. And the wedding...well, in my humble opinion, it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. And I hope for all you future brides, that you feel the exact same way about yours.