My friend Miss S is getting married - whoo hoo - very exciting. So at the risk of sounding patronising I thought I'd pass on a few bits of post wedding wisdom. The stuff that most people in their rose tinted post nuptial state won't tell you.....
1 Have a real think about what YOU want - and be prepared for the fact that other people think they have the right to have an opinion. Clearly they have no such right, but that won't stop them. If you don't want kids at your wedding don't have them, if you want a non religious ceremony have one, if you want to wear orange go for it. It YOUR day and everyone else should just be happy about the fact that you're getting married.
2 There is no such thing as "The Dress" - it is a myth that some brides like to believe in, but following extensive questioning of everyone I've ever know who has wandered up he aisle very few people have that "oh my god this is the one moment". I agonised over the fact that I never had that moment, but I loved my dress anyway.
3 Give a really short RSVP dates. When people get a wedding invitation this is what happens. "Ahhh lovely - so and so and so and so are getting married in August, oh we can make that, great, I'll just pin this to the notice board/stick it on the mantel piece/put it in the "stuff" draw in the kitchen so I remember to RSVP." Then they get so used to seeing it on their noticeboard/mantel piece that they forget to RSVP until you - in a fraught "Oh my god no one is coming to my wedding" state - call/text/email/facebook stalk them until they finally get around to replying. I say give them a three weeks max to reply.
4 If your vendors are men give them the most detailed instructions you could possibly imagine giving anyone. If you say cutlery they don't necessarily think knife, fork, spoon - so you end up with just knives and forks. If you say standard wine glass they will order something that looks like it belongs in a 1985 episode of the Golden Girls. If possible give them written itemised lists and pictures of exactly what you want - to save last minute cutlery and glassware meltdowns.
5 Prepare yourself for bad behaviour. There's always someone who ends up crying because they're not the bride, or making a scene because they've had one (or six) too many. If you have a friend/family member who is incapable of behaving when drunk, don't for one minute think they'll manage it on your wedding day. Prepare yourself for their rudeness and ignore them - you don't have to deal with them on your day. If you can get away with not inviting them then do it.
6 Get a wedding video - we didn't have one and that's my biggest regret. I don't remember much of our ceremony because I was so overwhelmed that so many people had turned up to see us get married and because I was finally there outside in the sunshine saying "I do". I'd love to watch it back just once. So I think it would have been worth the extra expense.
7 Never, ever, ever, ever agree to share anything with a bride who is having her wedding the next day. It will only cause you great anxiety and much stress - and it won't save you anywhere near enough money to justify the grief. In fact - she'll more than likely be better off than you in the end without all the stress.
8 Apologise to everyone in your wedding party in advance - you will get cross and shout and possibly even cry. Weddings are stressful and a lot of work - especially if you're doing it all yourself. I told everyone involved to expect a meltdown, so when it happened no one was suprised.
9 Don't expect everyone to be as into it as you - getting married was for me one of the most important things I will ever do, but other people don't think the same way. They don't understand why it's so crucial for it to be perfect, or that you'll be hurt if they don't seem to take an interest when you'd expect them to. It took me ages to realise that being married isn't the be all and end all for some people as it is for me - but once I accepted that it was easy to deal with the fact that they didn't want to help.
10 Talk it through - sit down with both of your families in the beginning and discuss how involved everyone wants to be. We didn't do this and I think that it would have saved me a lot of heartache if we had.
11 Be prepared for theivery - wedding guests can be rather light fingered (shocking I know) - I am still missing a cream and pink checked rug and a cream cushion with pink spots. (If they're in your house - shame on you!)
12 Order more double the booze for your welcome drinks - pictures take ages and guests get ansty if they're without a drink for more than two seconds. So have your bar in an accessible place straight away or double the booze to keep people happy.
13 Get the best music - you might want to have a rave - but are people really going to enjoy dancing to that noise all night? We had cheese and everyone loved it - with one notable exception - but I don't care what she thinks!
14 Try and take it all in and spend time with your new husband - it really is an amazing experiences and one most of us only plan on doing once, so make the most of it. If things go wrong just ignore it and laugh it off, I didn't care about anything but having a good time - and no one noticed that some of the candles weren't lit.
Good luck and happy planning.