Planning A Wedding: Your Big, Beautiful Expectations Versus The Harsh (But Still Beautiful) Reality

Is there any major life event that gets more idealized than a wedding? As children (and, come on, as adults, too), we watch movie after movie, and each one ends with someone who is either literally or effectively a beautiful princess, in a big white dress, marrying her One True Love. Weddings, we’re told, mean happiness. They are both the product of happiness, and the cause of it. A wedding is the reward we get in exchange for suffering the brutal single life; they are the pinnacles of romantic love; they are heralds of a bright future. They are the happiest days of our lives, dammit. For women especially, weddings are built up from birth as The Most Important Thing That Will Ever Happen To You. One could argue at length about the harmfulness of cultural norms that make weddings the central events in women’s lives, but, regardless of whether it’s healthy or not, a lot of women can’t help but have high expectations about weddings in general. When it’s your wedding, those expectations can shoot straight up from “high” to “astronomical.”

When you have so many emotions riding on a single day, it’s simply impossible to not experience a few emotional needle-scratches when reality doesn’t coincide with your ideal. Take comfort in the fact that all brides experience a few let downs here and there—and they still manage to have great weddings. (Well, most of them. We can’t all be winners). Take a deep breath—it will all be OK. Here's how the expectation of your wedding will inevitably differ from the reality:

Expectation: 

The proposal will be like something from out of the movies: You’re S.O. will pop the question, you’ll gracefully whisper “yes” with just the tiniest sheen of tears in your eyes, the music will swell in the background. Perfection.

Reality: 

First, you’re so shocked that you make a completely unattractive gagging noise, and then it’s just ugly tears. Congrats!
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Expectation: 

Planning the wedding will mainly involve looking at beautiful flowers and dresses and cakes. Your life will be a living Pinterest board.

Reality: 

You spend most of your time figuring out how many trash cans you need to rent.

Expectation: 

Your budget is going to go toward all of the beautiful flowers and dresses and Pinteresty things.

Reality: 

Those trashcans you need to rent? Those cost money. Ninety-five percent of your budget goes to fun things like venue insurance, parking, fancy Port-O-Potties, and, oh yeah, the freaking trash cans.

Expectation: 

You and your guests are going to rock out to the most kick-ass band ever.

Reality: 

You can only afford an iPod playlist. Some jerk keeps sneaking in and changing the music to “Backstreet’s Back”.

Expectation: 

You are going to have a beautiful, elegant, massive wedding cake.

Reality: 

Do you know how much those cost? Maybe we could just have cookies instead…

Expectation: 

Picking out your wedding dress is going to be just like in Say Yes To The Dress. You’ll find the right one on your first day of shopping. Someone will ask you, “Is this your dress?” and you’ll say, “Yes,” and everyone will sob uncontrollably.

Reality:

Finding the right dress takes work. You’re relieved when you finally find one you really like. And while you do really like it, you’re not going to cry about it.

Expectation: 

Shopping for dresses with your bridesmaids is going to be so, so fun!

Reality: 

This is torture. Actual torture. Everyone just shut up and wear the damn dress.

Expectation: 

On the day of the wedding, you’re going to go the old-fashioned route and not see your fiancé(e) before the ceremony.

Reality: 

You live together, and by the time The Night Before The Wedding rolls around, you’re both too tired to come up with plans for sleeping apart. Besides, it’s sort of nice to eat breakfast together on the day you’re getting married.

Expectation: 

At the end of the ceremony, the officiant will say “You may know kiss the bride,” and you and your new spouse will have the most perfect, romantic, and meaningful kiss you’ve ever shared.

Reality: 

Kissing in front of everyone you know is actually really awkward. Plus, you’re both still sort of shaking from all of the excitement, so the kiss happens from an odd angle and you kind of get each other’s noses. The whole thing looks weird in photos.

Expectation: 

Memories of your wedding day will be crystalized in your mind forever.

Reality: 

It was all such an insane whirlwind that you barely remember any of it. The only proof you have that the ceremony even happened is the ring on your finger. Thank God for pictures, right?

Expectation: 

Your wedding will be the most important thing that has ever happened to you.

Reality: 

The wedding is just a day—a great one, but a day nonetheless. It’s the waking up the next morning and being a married person that’s the crazy (and awesome) part.


Images: Fotolia; Giphy (17)/Simon Collison, missmareck, Liberty D8, rachel a.k. /Flickr (4)

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