I Guess I Do

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Alison & Shane : ES Photo

Meet Alison & Shane. I am very proud to say that Alison is an I Guess I Do follower and says it's what helped her get through her planning process, which is why she was more than happy to share her I Guess I Do moments with all of you! The couple got married in one of my favorite places, Palos Verdes, and Alison also happens to have one of my favorite I Guess I Do moments, Un-Bridesmaiding her Bridesmaids. 

But what I love most about Alison is that she had the courage to trust her gut and plan the wedding she knew she always wanted. Enjoy Alison's story in her own words below!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a planner. Why procrastinate if you can plan now? I’ve actually turned this neurosis into a career. I’m a financial planner and my title is literally “Advanced Planning Consultant.” So nothing made me happier than immediately following Shane’s proposal when he told me we had an appointment to see La Venta Inn the next day. The first words out of my mouth were “You made a plan?!”

We went to La Venta and both fell instantly in love with the venue. Not only was the view better than I remembered (from my high school cross country running days), but the old Spanish building and gardens were charming and relaxing. Now if there’s one thing I love more than planning, it’s a perfectly sunny day. It was already late December and if I was going to get a sunny September wedding date, we had to book right away! That’s when I made my first I Guess I Do mistake, we tentatively set a date one day into our engagement. This would have been fine if I hadn’t proceeded to tell friends and family to save the date.

Once I had the venue (and man) of my dreams, you’d think I’d be happy. Then why was I waking up in the middle of the night stressed and having occasional panic attacks during the day. Was I worried about the marriage commitment? Definitely not. I’m 31, more than ready. A few weeks post-engagement I went to my car on my lunch break to think. I just kept having flashbacks to hyperventilating before my bat mitzvah because there were too many people coming to see me. That’s when it hit me. Why was I throwing a large wedding? I hate being the center of attention and so does Shane. Also, being a financial planner I just couldn’t justify the outrageous costs.

I took a step back and asked myself what things will I regret not having at our wedding 30 years from now? I came up with a very short list:

1) Walk down the aisle and dance with my dad

2) First dance with my husband

3) Best friends and immediate family attend

4) Open bar

5) La Venta 

So I called my fiancĂ© and asked if we could have a smaller wedding. He said, “that’s what I wanted in the first place.” I then figured out with La Venta that we could still book it with a smaller group if we did the 11AM – 3PM spot. Since the wedding needed to be on Sunday since my Jewish parents insisted on it, I thought it worked out nicely. A mellow Sunday affair.  

We had some trade-offs with the mid-day wedding. One good trade-off, was switching from a DJ to my favorite local acoustic guitarist, Paul Lemire. This was more our style anyways. I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. Then there was the not so pleasant task of telling a small number of close friends that they no longer needed to save the date. The true friends understood (so I think).

The biggest decision I made was to un-bridesmaid my bridesmaids. I love my best friends, but the thought of getting eight of them ready by 11AM was unnerving. Here’s how that conversation went. “So the good news is you’re still invited to the wedding and you don’t have to buy an expensive bridesmaids dress. The bad news is no more wedding party”. My best friends have known me for years and already know that I’m crazy, so nothing I do shocks them.

However, I can always count on my younger sister to give me brutally honest feedback. Her response: “What? No bridesmaid dresses, no DJ, no Photobooth. 11AM on a Sunday! OMG, your wedding is going to be so lame. (Sigh) Well at least when I get married in a few years, my wedding will be super fun in comparison.” 

So now that the smaller wedding was set, did my panic attacks go away? Yes. Did I still have I Guess I Do moments along the way? Of course I did. I still obsessed over flower girl halos, wedding shoes, changing the back of my dress from corset to zipper & buttons, etc, etc. Shane actually gave me a thirty minute time limit on weeknights and from 4-6PM on Sundays when I was allowed to discuss wedding details with him. There was a Sunday reminder in his smartphone. Trust me, this was for both of our sanities.

The month before the wedding I actually had very little to do since I’d planned every detail so far in advance. This just freed up my time to obsess about the weather. The one thing mostly out of my control. I had researched that September historically was the least foggy month in Palos Verdes.

The morning of the wedding it was perfectly sunny which is rare by the beach. I was so happy about the weather, I honestly didn’t care about much else. Did I notice minor problems with the cake, flowers, and music? Of course, I’m a perfectionist. However, I didn’t care anymore. It was a beautiful day and most importantly, I was able to talk with each of our guests individually. My favorite decision we made was for Shane to give a thank you toast in the courtyard at the end of the event. Rather than making a grand exit after Shane’s toast, we personally said goodbye to each guest before they left. It was a fabulous day with no regrets. Almost worth all of the planning. 


  1. Loving this story! Honestly we all have these I Guess I Do moments..mine was a bit similar in regards to the Un-bridesmaid-ing some bridesmaids! Whew!

  2. See Gee - you're not alone! Thanks for reading :)