In the six-year-long period that spans from the "Whoa, child bride" age of 24 to the "Shouldn't you get moving on that whole settling down and reproducing before your ovaries atrophy?" age of 30, I've watched many a friend plan a wedding. And my friends don't just get married . . . they Get Married, with all the beautiful gowns and perfectly appointed venues and Bruce-Springsteen-backing-band-worthy musicians that entails. Their weddings have been special and memorable and thoughtful and gorgeous. But when a dear friend and her fiancé recently eloped to Maine, with an ordained sea captain and the proprietors of their rental house as the only witnesses, she was met with a chorus of "Oh, if only we had done that! Our wedding was so stressful!" and "Bravo! You guys got married the right way!" and "Think of all the money you saved!" and "Shut up or my fiancé is going to kill me!"
I was struck by how psyched people (well, aside from that last one) were about this unconventional way of getting hitched, and it made me wonder about the struggles of wedding planning and the regrets that brides and grooms have after they hang up their gowns and tuxedos (and checkbooks). I've watched so many of the lovely ladies in my life take on the often yearlong process of planning the big event, and I've flipped through many a bridal magazine while lounging on the beach during a bachelorette party or having my hair blown out with the rest of the bridesmaids. These mags tout the event as the Best Day Ever . . . but what if they more accurately represented the pains and annoyances of planning a wedding? What if they admitted that your dress is going to get filthy the second you step out of your white-pony-drawn carriage (please don't)? That your bridesmaids would get mighty liberal with your chill request that they wear "something pink"? That your food choices are going to be soggy canapés or sad Caprese, and that's that, and you have to deal with it and pay $100 a head anyway?
With the help of a couple of happily married staffers (one of whom wrote this exhaustive guide to the worst things about planning a wedding) and a slew of us who've done bridesmaid or maid of honor duty, we (and our awesome designer Caroline Wurtzel) concocted six honest bridal magazine covers . . . because, to hear the brides tell it, getting to the Most Important Day Of Your Life can be a pain in the Vera Wang-clad ass.
Though if you do choose to write your own vows, may we suggest these readings?
Alternate headline: 15 Passive Aggressive Emails Your Bridesmaids Will Send You.
Can someone decide what the heir to the Mason jar is please? I love those things, so sue me.
Note to bridesmaids: When the dance floor is awkwardly empty, it's your job to fill it up with your best approximation of the Macarena.
To all of you planning woodland fairy-themed weddings: The crown braids of today are the bridal shoulder pads of tomorrow.
Because you know all the drunk groomsmen are going to use the photo booth props in a NSFW manner anyway. Embrace it.