$2000 Budget Wedding on focusing only on things you can actually control (good life advice for me, really):
I think one of the keys to making it through the tumult of wedding planning (and life, for that matter) is to draw a big, fat line between the things you can control and the things you can't. Once the line is drawn, you should focus only on the things that are on the Can-Control side of the line.$2000 Budget Wedding on " What to Do When You Don't Want to Be the Center of Attention at Your Own Wedding"
You can't control the relationship between your dad and your father-in-law. You can't control the type of person your mother is. You ultimately can't control whether people have fun at your wedding (you can do everything within your power to set up a fun environment, but you can't actually make them have fun).
It's very liberating to free yourself from being responsible for the things that are beyond your control. It also frees up a whole lot of energy to start thinking about the things you can control.
[paraphrased advice on trying to prevent family drama]
1. Figure out which members may be worth trying to talk to before the wedding to express the importance of not letting a situation devolve into yelling or anger.
2. Minimize interactions with inflammatory individuals and resolve to let remarks that do come through to roll off your back.
We didn't walk down the aisle: ...I realized, "Wait a second. I don't actually want to walk down an aisle. I'll already be nervous about speaking in front of everybody; I would rather forgo the expected aisle altogether." We simply pulled up in our car, got out, and started mingling with our guests. I was nervous for about two seconds. Then I saw my good friend, Luis, and got overwhelmed with love and affection for him. I pretty much stopped being nervous. People were definitely staring at me and checking out my dress, but I was too busy talking with people to notice too much.
We incorporated toasts into our ceremony instead of doing them during the reception: We love the sentiments of toasts, but we didn't want to stop our reception in the middle of the party and focus attention back on us. Therefore, we incorporated "toasts" into our ceremony. We asked five of our friends and family members to speak during the ceremony. People did the same thing they do during toasts: Tell funny stories, recite poems, read quotes, make wishes, etc.
We used the "cake cutting" as an opportunity to thank our friends and family for helping out with the wedding, rather than drawing more attention to ourselves.
We set up a reception with multiple activities going on simultaneously, so people could do their own thing instead of wait to see what we were doing. We had dancing on the patio, board games in the living room, hot-tub soaking, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire. We posted a sign with all the activities listed, so people had a sense of what options were available to them.
We encouraged our guests to get to know each other by having quirky name tags at the Welcome Picnic and an online guest book for them to upload their photos and a brief bio of themselves prior to the wedding. [it occurs to me that it would be easier and more scalable to tell people just to stalk each other on Facebook]
Don't use a microphone during your ceremony. (As a guest, I get frustrated when I can't hear what the couple is saying, but it's your wedding and you should do what you want to do!)
Skip things like the first dance, a bouquet toss, the garter thing--treat your wedding more like a regular party.
Generally I'm not a fan of being the center of attention because my mindset is always on the side of 'well, that means more witnesses for when I screw up.' I also have a pretty strong voice in my head that says 'Who do you think you are?!' which I'm working on pushing aside for career development purposes, but for personal life is probably a good thing to hang onto. The world would be an easier place if more people had more self-awareness.
I'm uncomfortable of the idea of the 'big reveal' of the bride not just for those reasons, though. It seems like that 'tradition' plays to the culture of focusing on just one person in the partnership, and just physical appearance at that. Being out and about setting up the last few details and being there to welcome guests as they arrive appeals to me much more in my head, since it's more 'we are hosting a gathering' as opposed to 'we are putting on a show.' The picture in my head also has me more relaxed and useful while doing stuff, instead of twisting my hands nervously while secluded in the bridal suite and peeking out the window at people.
But, I could very well end up wanting that separation to store up energy to deal with having so many people at once. Even people that I love dearly are exhausting when in large quantities. That's being an introvert.