Today’s Bride Blogging post comes from our very own Bri Reeser! Bri and her husband Kyler met their freshmen year of college, through a mutual friend. They quickly became best friends, and began dating a year later! Bri and Kyler just tied the knot on June 15th, 2013, so they are very recent newlyweds. Keep on reading to find out how Bri dealt with some planning nightmares!
During my engagement, I would have dreams that I was stuck trying to plan my wedding hundreds of miles away from the venue. I dreamt that my fiancé was living on the other side of the country, being busied with finishing a master’s thesis that left little to no time to help, and that my girls were scattered far and wide–some in other states, others in other countries. I’d wake up with deep breaths, only to realize that my dreams were a reality. I WAS living on the opposite end of California, Kyler WAS thousands of miles away and stressed more than I was, and my girls were nowhere near me to bring me constant comfort. Whenever I told people about our situation, I was met with open mouths of disbelief and eyes of pity. And the recurring question was, “Oh my goodness, how are you doing this?!”
Looking back, I pat myself on the back that I did it! I planned my wedding without my friends or fiancé, while working a full time job and trying to stick to a tiny budget. Now, I can’t say that I was 100% alone in this. My friends, as far away as they were, became huge encouragers and did everything they could from a distance. Kyler sat patiently while I cried from the stress and nodded in agreement and excitement during Skype sessions meant to share my recent crafts. My sister and mother stepped in as my extra sets of eyes, ears, legs, arms and any other vital pieces I may have needed.
For those of you who may be facing a similar situation, first of all, let me say that I’m sorry. It is rough, and there are moments of loneliness, stress, and bitterness. But hold tight, because there are also moments of pride and realizations of strength! If you haven’t quite begun the process, I have a few tips for you that might make everything a little bit easier:
1. Be Thankful for what you DO have!
I didn’t have any of my best friends where I was living during my engagement. I always imagined staying up late giggling and glueing invitations closed. I pictured the Saturdays Kyler and I would spend visiting caterers and discussing how the gazebo would look. I didn’t get that. I did, however, get my mother and sister. They were absolute godsends. Anything I needed, they got me. Any tears I cried, they wiped away. I didn’t have the crowd I had always imagined, but I had my foundation. Don’t wallow in the disappointment that long-distance can bring. Take advantage of those who are sitting there saying, “I’m here to help! What can I do?”
2. Think Ahead!
This is an obvious statement to us brides. We know that weddings take time, and if you don’t call certain places a year in advance, you won’t be getting that for the day-of. This also applies to your time with your fiancé or friends. Think ahead to when you might see them next, and plan the big stuff around that (if it can wait a bit). The weekend before Kyler flew back to Boston, we crammed all our venue tours in and decided on one before he left. We waited and sampled caterers the weekend that he flew out for Thanksgiving. We met with our site coordinator over Christmas break. I made sure to have my dress fitting before one of my girls moved to Minnesota. Thinking ahead not only ensures that you will take advantage of the limited time you have with your fiancé or bridesmaids, but it also allows you to turn otherwise small tasks into big events! And this can really make up for the many things you will do alone.
3. Use the locals!
A lot of people get married in cities or states away from their hometown. In college, the chance of finding someone who’s from your hometown becomes less likely. Inevitably, you or your husband will have friends who will have to travel to the wedding. In my case, I was the one traveling. I lived 6 hours away from my venue, so just “dropping by” to remeasure the gazebo or sample a new menu item was not an easy task. If you have family, future family, or friends that live in the area, use them! I was lucky enough to have my husband’s amazing family living in the same city as the venue. They took care of linens, desserts, and anything else that was hard to handle from afar. Not being involved in every decision can be difficult, but when you’re a long-distance bride, there’s just got to be some wiggle room.
4. Decide: Here or There?
What can you get done in the comfort of your own home? A lot actually! Make your save the dates, invitations, aisle runner, wedding signs. Buy your dress, your shoes, your earrings… the list goes on and on. While I was still in southern California, there were many moments when I just felt alone and unmotivated. But I would always remember that I still had so much to do! I knew that when I arrived to Livermore two weeks before the wedding, I was going to see Kyler for the first time in 6 months! I wouldn’t want to super glue favor tags, draw on chalkboards, or plant succulents. And although we ended up doing all of these things together, there were many other tasks that I finished well in advance so that I could enjoy some time with my soon-to-be husband before the big day.
5. Don’t be a Bridezilla!
I’m so thankful that none of my friends or family have claimed that I was a crazy bride. In fact, they all said I was super calm and level-headed. Whoo! This was due to the constant reminder that none of it mattered. Yea, I just said that. What I’m saying is that the food, decorations, music, or even if Kyler had a suit didn’t really matter. I’m so so happy that all those things worked out, but there were a lot of things that didn’t. I didn’t have many connections where my venue was, so I passed off my cake to a friend of a friend. I had a super simple, super beautiful vision of what I wanted in a cake. Well, one sweet but untrained 15-year-old baker and two very hungry then very sick dogs later, I had an unexpected cake on the dessert table. It was nothing like what I visioned. But you know what? I don’t have even a single memory of what my dessert table, much less cake, looked like. That’s because none of it truly mattered. What mattered was dancing with my new husband, looking over his shoulder at my two best friends dancing with a drink in hand, and all my bridesmaids swaying in a circle, hands held, smiling at the beauty of my wedding.
So when you begin to remember that your fiancé is nowhere to be found and your friends are scattered, grab whoever is closest and remember what matters: you’re getting married to your best friend. You may be miles apart for now, but in 2 or 6 or 12 months, you will lay your head next to their head and laugh at the memories from your big day.