Monday, April 19, 2010

Bar vs. Wedding

You know how we talk about the insane expense of a wedding, and the fear that everything will go wrong?  The greatest quote I ever heard applied to wedding planning was Mrs. Cheese, who said, "the entire wedding industry feeds on our fear of regret."  Yes, yes they do.  But you know who is worse?
The Bar.
I mean "the bar" in the lawyer sense, not the alcoholic sense (not to deride that 25% of lawyers are alcoholics).  I'm alllllllllllmost done with the bar application.  I just paid my deposits for bar review.  Yes, deposits.  Because I'm taking two courses.  Because one is a supplemental focused exclusively on the multistate, aka multiple choice questions, and if I don't do well enough on the multistate, I can't waive into DC.  Why am I doing all of this?

Because I don't want to fail the bar.

I have been told by people that it's not that bad, and that I will probably pass it.  In fact, I have an 88% chance of passing it.  But that 12% is enough to make me fork over well over $3,000 for review courses.  Plus $525 just for the privilege of taking the exam.

I want to believe that if I throw enough money at the bar, I will pass it and never think about it again.  So I got to wondering - do I believe the same about the wedding?  If we spend enough on the wedding, will we ever do it again? But truthfully, I don't think that is the fear that Mrs. Cheese was talking about.  I think the fear she is talking about is the fear that somehow, making the "wrong" choice at your wedding will lead to unhappy guests, or something going wrong, or not being able to enjoy the day.  Then, for a lifetime, people will always remember that your wedding wasn't that fun.  (Or worse - I went to a wedding that went down as The Wedding From Hell.)  My fear isn't that in 30 years, I'll look back on my bridesmaids dresses as unfashionable.  My fear is that, to save a few dollars, our guests will go hungry.  My fear is that there won't be enough alcohol for them to enjoy.  My fear is that they will not be able to read their invitations and won't come to the wedding.  My fear is that the iPod will malfunction or our playlist will be sad and nobody will dance.

The thing to do, when these fears grab you and won't let go, is to breathe and relax.  Because if your guests go hungry, they'll order a pizza when they get home and blame the fact that they didn't eat a big enough lunch. If the bar runs out, the bar runs out.  People aren't going to have less fun because they're not drunk.*  If they can't read their invites, they'll call my mother and ask where the wedding is.**  If the iPod malfunctions, we will have a backup. If people don't dance cuz there is no DJ, they'll see me dancing alone, and feel sorry for me, and come dance with me.

There are problems you should throw money at, and there are problems that are WIC-created fears.  For example, any DIY project that is going to take up a large portion of your wedding weekend, isn't outrageous to pay somebody else to do, and you don't want to do, throw money at.  (Florist, decor, setup.)  And if you can't throw money at the problem because well, you don't have it, then just breathe and remember - it doesn't have to be perfect.  You won't regret it if it isn't.  You will regret that you spent so much time stressing over everything being perfect that you didn't have any fun.  You will regret not spending enough time with your friends and family because you were trying to get everything finished.  So bring your loved ones into your DIY projects, and don't be afraid to ask for help.  But most importantly, don't be afraid to let things go.  Every party I've thrown, there is always something that gets forgotten, and usually, it's a pretty good time without that thing.  Just don't tell everyone at the wedding, "well, it would be so much better if I'd finished the bathroom baskets."

What are your fears?

*Remember those "you don't need alcohol to have fun" posters? They are right.
**Or go to the wedding website - but we sent out the STDs a year in advance and I still have people asking me where the wedding is. 


  1. Very true. The point is to have fun, spend time with family, and enjoy the moments. Not to be cranky & stressed and a pill to be around. I am not that great with the DIY details so instead of stressing out, I am just not doing much. I know I would spend hours cursing how many magnets go in each OOT bag. No bathroom baskets planned for us either. I agree that my biggest fear is that people won't have a "nice time" so I am putting my thoughts/energy/money into that decisions that give us the biggest bang for our buck and make Groom & I the happiest. If it doesn't thrill me, it's low on the list, if even there at all.

  2. p.s. Good Luck with the bar!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You're right, of course! But I did mean the kind of regrets you meant - the kind of worries that make people throw great quantities of dollars at something because they don't want to wish they hadn't. I think I wrote about this big debate I had over super-expensive make-up. It's make-up! But then, I also had a huge debate over chairs -- the comfort of my guests.

    So I agree with you, even more than you thought!

  5. I guess my two biggest fears are that we won't be able to save enough money to make even our cheapest plans work out and that my mother will never get over my religious choice.

    I've given up worrying about putting on a good party, because I know how to throw a party. And I know my friends and family will love it regardless if things fail.

    Oh, and you're going to rock the sh*t out of the bar. ;)

  6. It's hard to reconcile these thoughts when you bring up the Wedding from Hell. Because I think everyone has been to a boring or ugly or something bad wedding. And no one wants that. That's what drives our fears, this idea that we will be bad hosts despite all of our best efforts. After all, if all we cared about was getting married, we would elope. Anyhow, I think about this fear a lot and my only conclusion is that I am not as Rock and Roll as I would like to think and no matter what I will always care about what people think of. My goal is just to try to not let that get to me or define my decisions.

  7. People make a wedding from heaven or hell. Invite nice people, tell them to have fun and share the joy. Tell the jerks you are having a destination wedding in Kabul, and that they had better hurry and get tickets

  8. AHHH! The iPod malfunction or crappy playlist is like our worst nightmare! That and a torrential downpour that wipes out all of our candles, soaks our guests and destroys the barbecue. But if Josh and I are the only ones dancing, so what. I'll still have the best time dancing at our wedding with the most awesome groom ever. And if it rains, I'll just take off my sandals and dance in the grass! So long as the lightening stays away! I've seen a handful of these kinds of posts today- taking a breath, trusting your decisions and knowing that you planned the best party you could. (They've been extremely helpful after a crazy weekend.) And thanks for saying that it's okay to put money towards something if you truly feel like it will be helpful. Like knowing your friends will drink themselves into a coma, so yes, having a bartender and not a self-serve bar may be a good idea. So as always, thanks Ellie!

  9. Soooo, on the BAR note, I was going to email you, but I can't seem to find an email address, so I guess I'll just ask here. You see, my fiance is a 3L also, and he's having a rather difficult time finishing his last semester due to major stress/anxiety issues. In fact, it is looking like he's not going to finish all of his classes and will have to finish in summer school. I figure, between law school, bar review, and planning your wedding, you've got to be feeling the strain too, and I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to deal that I could pass along to him. At this point, I'm worried about him being able to graduate at all. If it would be easier to email, my email address is, but I'll check back here too. Thanks!