Sunday, March 16, 2014

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding:
Being a Bride

Mindy Marzec, photo by Root Photography
L.A. Wedding Blogger World is pretty small, and I've been friends with Mindy Marzec and Renee Scotti Dalo for over three years. Mindy started her blog, Budget Fairytale, while she was planning her May 2012 wedding at Disneyland. Renee's blog, That Bride's Got Moxie, is about her "destination" wedding in Philadelphia last October. Since they've been writing, and most of all, thinking about the wedding planning process for a while now, I wanted to get their take on what it truly is like, and what it feels like, to be a Bride. What did they encounter, both practically and emotionally, that most couples might not realize that they're going to go through, too?

Mindy was first challenged by the expectations her and husband's families had of what their wedding should look like. "I’m my parents' only daughter, and my husband is his parents' only son, and there were definitely expectations on both sides that things would be done a certain way," she said.  They got flack about even having the wedding at Disneyland in the first place, "that it was juvenile," but most of all, "Traditional wedding things, like wearing a long white dress, having bridesmaids and groomsmen, we didn't do any of that. And they had a little bit of panic about it." 

Renee Scotti Dalo, photo by Redfield Photography

Renee had different issues with her and her husband's large Italian families. "If we invited every single one of our cousins, we’d have had 400 people at our wedding. So, we had to start out by being very honest with our families and say, 'We can’t invite every single person we know to this because we’ll go broke!' And we still had a big wedding, we had over 200 guests, but people did get upset that they weren’t invited."

Renee and Mindy agreed that the pushback wasn't entirely unexpected. As Mindy put it, "My husband and I had been dating for seven years before we got married.Just knowing what our families are like,  we knew that there were going to be issues."

Renee said that she didn't really tell people what she and her husband were planning, which kept most reactions and opinions to a minimum, "I just went ahead and planned our wedding." Renee was still amazed at all the unsolicited advice she got anyway. "People would come up to me and want to talk about our flowers for like, an hour - what they liked, what they didn't like, what we should have, what we shouldn't do. Why would anyone other than the bride care that much about our flowers?"

"What really helped deal with it was that we were united in our decisions," Mindy said. "So, he and I could go to whoever was having a problem and say, “This is our decision, not one person or the other's, it’s a mutual decision and this is what we're going to do. I'm really glad that we stuck to our guns about what we wanted our wedding to look like, and that we didn't bend to anyone else's wishes.”

Renee agrees that her husband's support was invaluable and grounding for her, too, especially when they were faced with an unexpected twist -  their wedding venue was sold and renovations began on it, soon after they signed a contract. "I have a tendency to get overdramatic about things," Renee laughed. "When I saw the carpet after the renovation, it was hideous, and I started crying, which is just ridiculous. And I know it was ridiculous, and Joe kept saying to me, 'Really, you’re crying about a carpet?'" But, they did have to let go of a lot of their initial plans, since they didn't know what the outcome of the renovation was going to look like.

For the most part, Renee and Mindy both they really enjoyed planning their weddings, despite all the stress of getting everything done, and the pressure of trying to account for every little detail. Compromises on some of those details did have to be reached with Joe and Tim in the beginning, though. "We were very cooperative with each other, and reasonable with all our ideas and our requests," Mindy said, but, of course, there were certain things that each of them originally wanted, that wasn't as important to the other person, and those had to be worked out.  Renee agrees, saying that, "Joe picked what he cared about early on, and he stuck with that." 

How about their vendors? Was it hard to find the right people to work with?
Neither was too worried about that, actually - they both used resources they already had. For Mindy, it was the Disney enthusiast community she was involved with, where she found referrals from other Disney brides and Disney wedding blogs. "I always knew it would be easy to narrow down vendors," she said. "We struggled with photographers for a while, but that was it." Renee went to the Philadelphia boards and listings on different wedding planning sites, "Once I hired my wedding planner - who I found on - I asked her for referrals."

At Mindy and Tim's wedding, everything went really smoothly, and they had a wonderful day. "It was really good, and I’m very happy looking back on it," she told me. Mindy also hired a wedding planner,  but only for that day, "I did a lot of DIY stuff, and the planners at the Disneyland Hotel won't touch that. I didn’t want ask a friend to do it. We hired a planner and I went over with her how I wanted everything, and she did it all perfectly." As for their families' experience, Mindy laughed, "We had Mickey and Minnie and Donald drop by our reception to take pictures with the guests. It was a surprise. And the look on everyone’s faces when they came in just kind of validated the whole day. See, I told you guys it would be awesome, and you all laughed at us. And here you are, first in line to get a picture with Mickey!'"

Renee's wedding was a little more chaotic. For one, the Federal Government shutdown started that week. "I'd made this elaborate welcome book for our guests, telling them how to get to all these attractions, like the Liberty Bell, and they were all closed!" she laughed."A couple of days before the wedding, I put in these inserts, like, okay, the Button Museum is still open! But you can't do anything about it , what can you do?" The night before the wedding, the power went out on their hotel's block. On their wedding day, Renee kept forgetting well, everything. "I was like a zombie. I forgot my shoes, my lipstick, my checkbook. My wedding planner went back to the hotel four times for me. The last time, she asked,'Is there anything else you think you might have forgotten?' and I said, 'I don't know, my brain?' 

During the ceremony, Lily, her 2 1/2 year-old flower girl, screamed "NO!!" right before they took their vows. "It was a long day, and she did not want to be there anymore. She turned to her mother, who was one of my  bridesmaids, and said, 'Come on, Mama, let's go.'" Not being open about her plans backfired at one point, too, when her sister-in-law unknowingly sat in the decorated chair that was supposed to be a memorial to Joe's parents. Renee said, "People told me, that on the day of your wedding, these little things aren’t going to matter, and I didn’t believe them. But it’s true. And anything that goes wrong becomes a part of the story of your wedding, 'Oh, you had to be there when the power went out while we were at karaoke, and everyone kept singing in the dark for three hours!' And, Lily, that story is going to follow that kid around her whole life, because I’m going to keep telling it. I’m going to tell it at her wedding one day." 

"I loved our wedding," Mindy agreed, "And after it was over, yeah, I thought, Why did I stress so much about it, and why did I worry about things that ultimately didn’t matter? 

The day itself, they both told me, goes by really fast, so you need focus on enjoying it. "Joe kept saying, take this in, look around, it’s going to be over soon. It’s overwhelming to have all these people that you love in the same room," Renee said, "And every project I’d worked on for 18 months was right there in front of me. I was overwhelmed the whole day. And I’m still shocked by it." 

"And you and your partner are the focus of the day, and everyone wants to talk to you and be with you," Mindy added. "And it can be very draining and yes, very overwhelming, but in the best possible way." 

Plan ahead for feeling that way. Renee said that if she had to do it over, she would have saved her planner the trouble, and done her wedding packing on Thursday. "Our wedding was on Saturday night, and when I woke up on Friday morning, I did not stop, think, or have a rational thought until after breakfast on Sunday morning, after our guests had left."

Mindy remembers being exhausted that day, "I did not get any sleep the night before, I was too wired, I was too excited. I don’t want to push any kind of drugs or anything, but definitely try to get some rest!" She laughed.

Any regrets?

Not surprisingly, Renee answered, "I would have gotten a videographer. So many epic cool things happened, and we either didn’t see them, or missed them, or heard about them the next day.  If we’d hired someone to take video of our wedding, I think we’d watch that thing all the time."

Money that she didn't spend was Mindy's only regret, too. "There are two things that you can do, but only when you have your wedding at Disneyland," she told me. "One, you can come into the wedding in a carriage. I didn't want the fancy one, but they have one that’s like the horse-drawn carriage in Central Park. I really, really wanted it, but we cut it to save money. You can also have a private early morning photo shoot in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and we didn’t do that, either. And I look at pictures of other couples who got those photos, and I do get a little twinge in my heart. I wish that we could have tried to figure out how to afford it, because it is a once in a lifetime thing, if you do it right. If there are small things that you really want, then you should try to make them happen, if you can."

But the key to enjoying your wedding, and enjoying your wedding planning, Renee and Mindy both told me, is not add any extra stress to the day. "Everyone says it, but you should try to relax," Mindy explains. "Try to look at the big picture. No matter how much you plan, how much you worry, everything is going to come together, I promise. The important thing is that we ended up married, and that was the goal. It sounds silly because it's obvious, but people lose sight of that." 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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