Big Wedding, Small Budget

Pretty, Pretty Princess

Lately, I’ve been spending some time figuring out beauty stuff for the wedding. I’ve been trying to suss out how to handle my hair, since I’ve started wearing it naturally instead of straightening it. So I’ve been experimenting with lots of new products. I’ve been scouting out salons for manicures, brows, etc, and making appointments. And I’ve been trying to nail down the makeup situation.

I am someone who wears makeup every day, but it’s very minimal and takes me all of five minutes. The only time I’ve ever worn foundation was when I had my makeup done for another wedding. But what I hear from everyone is that I really should wear foundation on the wedding day, because, you know, the pictures—they last forever and don’t I want to look good in them? So I spent the day yesterday makeup shopping at expensive department store counters with some (more experienced) friends. I walked away, thankfully, with a ton of samples, and the decision made that I would, indeed wear foundation to the wedding. And that entails blush/bronzer and powder—a whole host of things that I wasn’t planning on using. But, you know, I do want to look nice at the wedding, and I do want to look good in the pictures. So there you go.

The pressure to look absolutely perfect at your wedding is incredible. A bride is supposed to be the thinnest she’s ever been, with a perfectly made up face and coiffed hair, sprayed to within an inch of its life. It doesn’t matter what you usually look like; rules for a bride are completely different. For example, I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter if I hate wearing my hair up; this is my wedding and wearing it down just would not be good enough. Now granted, this advice came from strangers and/or acquaintances (why are they giving me wedding advice anyway?), but I think it reflects the general expectation for brides.

I’ve had a hard time balancing bridal expectations with my own comfort level and values. I do think that a wedding is a special day, with a special dress (at least for me). So, there’s nothing wrong with dressing up my face and hair as well. And buying and shopping for makeup has been super fun; I’ve always liked makeup, so I’ve enjoyed indulging myself with nicer products than what I would usually buy. I will wear more makeup and more hair spray at the wedding then I normally would. But at the end of the day (both literally and figuratively), I want to look like myself. Just a dressier version of myself.

I would never want to look at the pictures later on and feel like I was unrecognizable. How I look should reflect the fact that I am entering into this marriage as my whole self, flaws and all. It should also reflect that this is a special occasion, not just an ordinary day. That’s what I want to think about as I plan my look; I want to leave behind the expectations of the bride as pretty, pretty princess.



Confession: I like to talk. A lot. This should not be news to anyone who has ever met me. Also, I’m not exactly a private person. I don’t keep things to myself very much, and when something is on my mind, I have to talk about it. I’ve spent more hours than I can count dissecting thoughts, questions, life events, decisions, and really boring minutiae with my very accommodating friends (thanks, guys). And of course, when it comes to wedding planning, I’m no different.

I think I’ve done a good job through most of this engagement to avoid letting the wedding planning take over my life. I’ve avoided becoming a “bride,” for the most part. But that’s pretty much over now. The truth is, with such little time left, the wedding has taken over. There is a ton of stuff to do; unlike a couple of months ago, I have something I could be working on every single day. And I’m at peace with that. I knew things would get busy as the wedding got closer and it’s ok. I’m not super stressed and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m enjoying actually getting things done.

The problem is that this takeover has come with a certain obsessiveness that I’m pretty sure anyone who has gotten married before will recognize. Because I’m always doing stuff for the wedding, I’m now always thinking about the wedding. I’m either pondering a decision, mentally running through my to-do list, or feeling excited about something that I’ve finished. And with me being me, thinking about the wedding all the time means I’m talking about the wedding all the time.

Ugh. I cannot express to you how much I hate this. I’m sure it is even more boring for the people who know me, but seriously, I’m boring even me. I need to remember how to discuss other things, and how to have other things to discuss. I’ve started to challenge myself to not bring up the wedding when I’m having a conversation, but man, it is hard. And that’s just embarrassing.

This weekend, we had a coworker of Steve’s over for dinner. I had never met him before and he didn’t know that we’re getting married. And I managed to go the whole night without mentioning it. Thank god. I found it so liberating, actually. And it was really nice to remind myself that I am a real person, not just a bride.

So, as I go into these last two months, I’m going to work hard to strike a balance. I know I have to spend a lot of time and mental energy on the wedding and it is fun to discuss it with my friends, but I really need to remember that it is not the only thing going on in my life or in others’ lives. I had no problem finding things to talk about before I was planning a wedding. I should have no problems now.

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The Next Few Days

The next few days are going to be really exciting around here! Emily came in yesterday, so of course we’re thrilled. On Friday, we’ll be taking our engagement pictures. In preparation, I have gotten in touch with my inner girl. Fancy makeup, manicure, brows, getting my hair done…wow. It’s a lot! But it should a really fun afternoon. We’ll be headed to downtown Orlando, starting out in the same spot where we got engaged last year. It will give us a chance to get used to having our pictures taken and to build rapport with our photographer. So, it serves more of a purpose than just pretty pictures (although that would be great on its own).

Then on Saturday is my shower. This is the first big pre-wedding event. My first time as a bride, publicly, anyway. Sometimes I do get nervous about it; I don’t always like being the center of attention. But I know it’s going to be great, and I have absolute faith in those who have been planning it, so that has alleviated any anxiety. I’m so glad Emily will be here for it, and I just think it will be so much fun!

People have been calling me a bride for almost a year now, since we got engaged. But I haven’t really felt like a bride; I’ve just felt like me, but me as I’m planning a huge event. But the wedding is coming up in conversation a lot more now that it’s getting so close. And with the engagement pictures and the shower this week, well, I’m anticipating some kind of switch over to that bride feeling. What that feeling is, exactly, I don’t know. But I’m sure I’ll be working it out here. For now, I’m just excited to be able to enjoy the fun stops along the road to March 24th.

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