I'm pretty sure one of the harder parts of my life so far has been the time Chris and I were engaged. Between having little real help and less money, it was rough. While I adore my husband, I don't think that he was very confident in helping with all the decision making, and my family was four hours away. Now looking back I can think of a lot of things that would have made the experience better both emotionally and financially.
1) It is really, really okay for you to skip handwritten thank you cards. Do a cute pose with a thank you sign in your wedding garb and send that out to your guests. Seriously it's better than nothing, which is what happened with me.
I'm going to expound a little bit.
After the wedding, and we got home and settled in, depression also set in. Don't get me wrong, being married is, and was, great. I love my husband, and I am so glad I got to marry him. But for those first few months I was either catatonic or hysterically crying. I've always known I had issues with depression, but this was probably one of the darkest and longest episodes I have ever had.
Then mom told me "You have to hand write your thank you cards because just sending the same thing to everyone is impersonal and rude." Okay, I don't think that is what she said really, but that is what I felt like she had said to me. So I tried. I tried really hard, and I got most of them done, but there are only so many ways to say thank you. After exhausting every wordage I could come up with, I felt like an idiot. I should have thought to look up "creative wording for thank you cards" but even that didn't occur to me because after finishing two or three I would desolve into tears and self loathing because I can't even write a nice freaking thank you card! And then I would get homesick and cry even more because mom would be able to help me and no one was ever helping me with anything and I'm such a failure and why did I always need so much help and....
Pathetic much? I think so. Looking back I wish someone would have said something. I wish I would have said something. But instead I'm pretty sure I offended most of my relatives and my in-laws. Two years later, I am still trying to figure out how to tactfully thank everyone.
People always talk about postpartum depression. I had post wedding depression.
2) Make a list. Being engaged makes you ditsy. It happens to the best of us, so make a list and stick to it. I am so glad I got my wedding planner at Barns & Noble. It was probably the biggest help that I had.
3) Give your wedding party agenda and a list of expected responsibilities. It's not fair to expect anyone to do anything that you never asked them directly to do. Some people just never learned exactly the roles that come with their title in your line. It's okay to ask for help, and I think that it would be okay being a little bridezilla in this area.
4) Collaborate with your clergy early and often. Especially if you are trying to blend families from different faiths. I tried my darnedest to do something that would make everyone feel involved, but because of poor planning on my part and poor communication on everyone's part, I'm pretty sure I only succeeded in making everyone uncomfortable and offended. The ceremony is the most important part, so get that part organized first. Everything else is secondary.
5) Spend time researching your photographer. If you are going to be paying for one, make sure you check references and your contract is clear. That goes for all the vendors, but the photos you will have forever.
6) Consider video. I wish I still had with me the words that my parents and in-laws gave us on that day.
I loved my wedding. At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that I have the most wonderful man by my side for the rest of forever.