Lessons Learned: Dynamic Discoveries

Planning a wedding is a learning process. Budget, I think, is one of the sharpest learning curves for a lot of people (why does everything cost way more than it should?). Since I’ve been on this crazy planning journey since January of 2012, I’ve learned some things along the way that may or may not be helpful for those just beginning this journey (or may be helpful to the non-primary-planning partner?).

Lesson 1: Weddings are expensive.

Via Times Union

Yikes. This was the first thing we learned and it’s the one that still smarts the worst. There are plenty of ways to keep costs down, for sure, but I have not once heard anyone say “oh, that (wedding thing) was cheap!” Put wedding/bride/etc. before or after another word and you can automatically charge more for it.

For example:

100 mini-lights = $8.61. Via Amazon

100 mini bridal lights = $11.09. Via Amazon

Lesson 2: Getting a special perfume for the wedding day is totally a thing.

Via She Said Beauty

This is definitely a case of “I didn’t know I needed it until I needed it.” I wrote about this here. I’m not the first Bee Blogger to have written about this, either.

Lesson 3: People are nuts for chiavari chairs.

This totally looks like a ’90s style photo shoot set-up to me. Via A.V.I. Maxim Wholesale

I tried explaining this one to Sparky and he just shook his head. “They’re nice and everything but they’re just chairs!” I couldn’t help but agree, BUT with that being said: chiavari chairs were included with our rental. I may have understood the obsession a little bit better if we hadn’t gotten them automatically.

Lesson 4: Weddings involve complicated and strange etiquette.

Via Amazon

As an example: it’s rude to mention registries (as a guest, I’ve always found this helpful), don’t put the address of the venue on the invitation (whoops), it’s poor form to bring gifts to weddings (apparently you’re supposed to send them before/after the wedding so as not to burden the bride/groom), and on and on.

Lesson 5: Weddings bring out the crazy in people.

Via Go Jet Go

Be you a bridezilla, guestzilla, fam-zilla, whatever. Somewhere, somehow, SOME crazy will infiltrate itself into the wedding. Case in point: how many times were you asked on or near the day you got engaged “OH MY GAWD! WHEN IS THE WEDDING?” I mean, we’re pretty on top of it and had an idea of when it would be by the end of our engagement night but even that wasn’t set in stone for almost a month. (Fun fact: our original wedding date, picked back in January 2012, turned out to be Yom Kippur. We changed it mighty quick.)

Lesson 6: “White”

Via Rue La La

Diamond white. Antique white. Off-white. Ivory. Seashell. Cream. Bridal white.

Or how about: sapphire, cobalt, royal blue, blue, sea blue, cerulean, etc. (All of these were actual names for colors that turned out to be, for all intents and purposes, the same).

Moral of the story: colors are different and everyone wants to call them different things. Through trial and error, you’ll find colors you want (or won’t). Don’t give up if you think it doesn’t exist in your dream color(s)—just keep an open mind and get creative with naming.

This is just a sampling of the things I learned. What have you learned during the wedding planning process?


Mrs. Campfire

Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:

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  1. Guest
    DC, Guest @ 7:59 am

    I see you used by suggestion for the title. NICE! :)

  2. Member
    love108 3976 posts, Honey bee @ 8:12 am

    Do you recommend that book?

  3. Member
    ilikeballet 156 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:25 am

    Oops. I put our venue address on the invitation because I thought it’d be nice to let the guests know where we were getting married. Sheesh! Etiquette schmetiquette!

  4. Member
    Miss Wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:05 am

    I love this list! Everything is so true, ha ha! :D

  5. Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 9:18 am

    Girl, well said!!!!

  6. Member
    veggie_rachel 575 posts, Busy bee @ 9:40 am

    I’ve already broken a rule! We put our wedding venue address on the invitation. Mostly because I didn’t want to buy another card to add to the invitation bundle because our ceremony and reception are at the same place. And you know what? I don’t think ANYONE that we invited will know that it’s considered bad etiquette. Who makes up these rules?!
    Also, the other day we passed by a florist that had a sign reading “Wedding Specialist.” I turned to my FI and said “aka, we’ll sell you the same flowers for 80% more money.” It’s kind of true…

  7. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 970 posts, Busy bee @ 9:49 am

    @DC: It was a great suggestion!
    @love108: I haven’t read it but it was perfect as reference picture.
    @ilikeballet: @veggie_rachel: I put our venue address on the invite, too. I don’t think anybody noticed.
    @Miss Wellies: @Jessica: Thanks!

  8. Member
    ms_purple 2275 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:24 am

    I completely agree that putting “bridal” or “wedding” on anything jumps the price up significantly. It reminds me of another industry I deal with on a daily basis – the scientific industry. If I need 90% ethanol, 1 liter is $65 from a scientific supplier…no thanks we will just head down to the liquor store and buy us a $6 bottle of 180 proof vodka! I am not kidding. We only use it to sterilize stuff, it’s sufficient. A 12″ square plastic tray oh sure that will be $30! What?? Well it’s for “science” so it costs more. Slap the word “molecular grade” on something you can charge a fortune. I know some prices in that regard are for a reason but so many are insane.
    We also put the venue address on the invite (I think our guest would question if we didn’t).

  9. Member
    lovelyduckie 851 posts, Busy bee @ 10:34 am

    “don’t put the address of the venue on the invitation”

    Whoops….I had no idea

  10. Member
    Mrs. Jet Setter 388 posts, Helper bee @ 11:09 am

    I agree with all of this, especially #5! I’ve already had some awkward convos with the most RANDOM of people.

  11. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 970 posts, Busy bee @ 11:25 am

    @Ms_Purple: I hear that!
    @lovelyduckie: I was really surprised, too!
    @Miss Jet Setter: Yeah…

  12. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1300 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:32 pm

    Ah… Cobalt blue…would it be as vibrant by any other name?
    Great post :)

  13. Guest
    E, Guest @ 6:06 pm

    I tried to book a venue by calling my event a “family reunion” for the longest time. Eventually the selected venue figured it out, but they wouldn’t have charged me more if I was having a wedding or mob scene. As long as their rooms were rented, they were happy.
    Good list, though!

  14. Member
    fridaythe13bride 212 posts, Helper bee @ 3:33 pm

    “Bridal makeup” kills me. You’re putting the SAME amount of make-up on the bride as the bridesmaids, yet it’s like another $50, because it’s the bride…..a huh…

    We are getting married on Yom Kippur by the way. We aren’t Jewish so I had no idea until after booking. We have some Jewish guests (including 2 bridesmaids). They were a little upset but there wasn’t much we could do at that point! Between avoiding labor day the weekend before, and choosing whatever was available at a venue, that’s how things work out sometimes!

  15. Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1069 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:30 am

    I am so baffled by some of the things that are deemed proper etiquette. OF COURSE I put the address of the venue on our invitation, for goodness’ sakes! Etiquette = a joke (to me, anyway).

    I love this post, btw.

  16. Member
    Mrs. Gondola 970 posts, Busy bee @ 3:36 pm

    Oops! I put the address on as well.
    Love your list- my hardest lesson: weddings are expensive!

  17. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 970 posts, Busy bee @ 4:09 pm

    @Mrs. Waterfall: Hahah, right? :)
    @E: That’s awesome!
    @fridaythe13bride: Sparky and I are both, matrilineally technically Jewish. And what’s the deal with bridal make-up, seriously!
    @Mrs. Palm Tree: I know exactly what you mean!
    @Miss Gondola: Yeah, tell me about it! We just figured out our final payments. Ugh!

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