WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE PLANNING A WEDDING

Dear past self:
  1. People will expect you to have a date set three minutes after the proposal.
    "Haven't you always had a perfect date in the back of your mind?"
  2. You have to buy a dress nearly a year in advance.
    Apparently 9-12 months is the norm. Shop 7 months in advance, and you'll see panic in the eyes of the dress consultants when you tell them your wedding date.
  3. Even if your wedding doesn't have a "theme", have a something vague to give to nosy acquaintances.
    "Why not? Don't you want it to be memorable?"
  4. Do not make jokes like, "As long as the church is still standing the next day, it went better than my parents' wedding!" outside of the family.
    Post-matrimonial church fires aren't as funny as your relatives have led you to believe.
  5. Jokes about the surviving members of The Beatles are also off-limits.
    Again, your relatives have steered you wrong. John Lennon dying on your parents' wedding day is not a funny anecdote. People are not over this.
  6. Also, don't mention the guy that had a heart attack during their wedding reception.
    Let's be honest, your parents' wedding was a bit of a train wreck. And your family has a weird sense of humor.
  7. Don't show people photos of your grandmother's dress that you almost wore.
    Because she looks amazing, and the gasps you get in response will make you rethink your choice again. Even though the dress didn't really fit and it was run over by a bicycle at some point.
  8. Only tell people your pharmacist aunt is making the cake after they see how wonderful it is.
    Beforehand, people who don't know of your aunt's magical cake abilities will just nod sadly and tell you it's okay if you can't have your "dream wedding" because of expenses. Your future-husband's relatives will offer to pitch in money. There will be hand-wringing.
  9. The people closest to you - your parents, your cake-magician aunt, your bridal party - won't RSVP.
    They will just assume you know they'll be there. This will happen despite your invitation requiring that they select a meal.
  10. Make sure your mom knows your dating history.
    If she doesn't, she might start telling people at the rehearsal dinner that you're marrying the first person you ever dated - rather than just the first one you actually introduced to your parents.
  11. Tell your bridal party to meet you at the church earlier than they really need to be there.
    Otherwise they will be very late, and your photographers will fly around in a panic because they wanted pictures of you all getting ready together. You will have to reassure them, and it will be awkward.
  12. Never trust a shoe salesperson.
    If they feel too small, they are too small. Your honeymoon not a fun place to learn that your toenails can literally fall off from dancing all night in too-tight shoes.
  13. There will be hats.
    If you get married during the Kentucky Derby, all the women in your family will wear giant hats. It is known.
  14. There will be con-artists.
    Your husband's 4-year old cousin will come up next to her mother, who will explain with smile that the little girl said she hasn't gotten a picture with you and your beautiful dress. She will repeat this with any adult she can find, eventually getting more photos taken with you than your own maid of honor.
  15. There will be bad jokes.
    Your new father-in-law will forget to deliver your husband's luggage to your hotel room. Everyone he encounters while searching for it will try to make jokes about him not satisfying his new wife.
  16. There will be drunken escapades.
    One of your friends from college will hit on your new mother-in-law. The best man's brother will fall asleep on a bench in the hotel lobby. Your husband's cousin will get in a loud argument with a stranger for no apparent reason.
  17. No matter what happens, everyone is going to have a fantastic time.
    And hey, at least the church didn't burn down!