This story is satire and meant to entertain. The topics covered are very real, however, and each item mentioned, no matter how ridiculous it sounds is something James has personally witnessed steal the joy from a couple's otherwise fantastic day. After seeing this pattern repeated often enough, he decided it might be useful to write a cautionary tale so others might benefit from it when planning their own wedding.
Weddings are a lot like cars: Both are made of thousands of moving parts that need to work together for a successful outcome. As with cars, most people are familiar with weddings but wouldn’t know where to begin if they had to assemble one themselves.
Over the years I've noticed that just like cars, it’s easy for couples to wreck their own weddings. They don’t mean to. They certainly don’t want to. It happens because they weren’t paying attention to the signs or were distracted from what was most important at the time. Here are a few common ways I've seen couples ensure that they don't enjoy anything about their wedding day.
1. Make Sure it's the Best Day Ever!
A fantastic way to ruin your own wedding is to convince yourself that this single day will be the most important, magical, and meaningful one of your entire life. A sure sign that you are on the road to success is if you find yourself having thoughts like:
This HAS to be perfect.
I’ll take my time; they can’t start without me.
The weather will be sunny and 75 degrees...in August.
Everyone in the family will get along and even dance together at my reception.
During our vows, a butterfly will land on his shoulder to let me know the universe is smiling on us.
This is good! It means the delusions are becoming hard-wired. The next step is spreading the word and convincing everyone around to jump on this crazy train with you. Go, girl!
2. The ABC Rule (Always Be Comparing)
Once you are sure that everything will go as flawlessly as imagined, take it to the next level by comparing your wedding day plans to what your friends or family have done in the past. This is essential and there are no shortcuts here. Maybe start by asking yourself a few of the following questions.
Will it be nice enough?
Will I have more guests than my brother did at his wedding?
What will my sorority sisters think?
If I add in a children's choir, will that make the ceremony appear more heartfelt than my friend Suzanne’s?
Would a donut tower impress or repulse judgmental Aunt Laverne?
Will I look as good as my sister did in her dress, or should I get that gym membership now?
If you were a step ahead of me and already asked yourself a few of those questions, then congratulations! You are well on your way to wrecking that wedding in style. Just be aware, your insurance policy does not cover this type of damage.
3. Mind the Details
Your wedding day is the optimal time to obsess over every detail you spent so much effort planning months prior. If a stitch is out of place on a bridesmaid's dress, it's up to you to see it through and make it right. Even if that means missing out on quality interactions with people you haven't seen in years.
As you take your place ready to walk proudly down the aisle to your destiny, you notice the flower girl is sprinkling rose petals that are clearly coral in color and not the blush you requested. Of course, only you know they don't quite match the table linens at cocktail hour. The guests find it lovely, yet you still make a mental note to call the florist on Monday for an explanation.
When being announced into your reception, if instead of taking in the moment and enjoying the cheers and good energy of your guest, you catch yourself thinking, "That is not how we discussed folding the napkins." then you've arrived! Missing out on the experience of joy or even appreciating your day is a sure sign that you have this item covered.
4. You Must Remain Hidden
It’s a good idea to be adamant that absolutely no one outside of your bridesmaids and mother should see you in your dress before the ceremony. Spending the first few hours of your day worried over who might be walking by outside the parlor door is totally normal behavior. Running to hide in a closet if anyone tries to peek in to say hello is a good strategy for successfully avoiding any pre-ceremony nervousness.
Your Grandmother is just outside of your getting ready room. She traveled cross country to be here and you haven't seen her in years. She wants to give you a big hug and have a special moment before the ceremony, but rules are rules. Sorry, Grandma. Of course, this behavior limits most positive interactions with those around you, which destroys any hope of us getting decent candid expressions in our photos, but hey, a girl’s gotta choose her battles.
5. Get Hammered
Finally, if you have all of the other pieces of the wedding-day-wrecking puzzle in place, but want to leave a lasting impression on everyone in attendance, the choice is clear: get loaded! I’ve found that brides and grooms who are too intoxicated or medicated to function, much less remember anything about their wedding day, are by far the ones who give their guests the most memorable experience.
I’m not talking about just a few beers or glasses of wine to help loosen you up. That level of buzz can be a good thing for keeping you mellow. I’m talking the freaky-nasty kind of stumbling, bumbling drunk that is guaranteed to get you a million views on YouTube. Oh, the fantastic stories your guests will tell around the water cooler at work on Monday after attending your reception. Like the part where you decided to climb up on stage with the band and perform mock fellatio with the microphone before ripping off your husband’s shirt and sending him off to surf the crowd.
Whatever direction you decide to go for ruining your wedding, one thing holds true: you are in complete control of it. So go out there, give it your best, and make an impression no one will ever forget. No matter how hard they might try.