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Confession: I did not enjoy my wedding.

Adam was right.

After getting engaged, Adam requested that we elope and I balked at the idea. After waiting 26 years to get engaged, by goodness, I was going to have a freakin’ wedding! But now that it is all said and done — the money spent, the pictures in, the day over — I can without reservation say that Adam was right. We should have eloped.

If you were a girl who loved every last minute of your wedding, please don’t take this post as an accusation. It’s not meant to be. If you are girl planning your wedding, please don’t take this post as an attack to all your wedding bell dreams. It’s not meant to be. This is, however, a confession I need the world to hear. I did not enjoy my wedding. Not even a little bit…

Over the holiday weekend, one of Adam’s relatives made a statement to me. She said, “I really liked your wedding because you enjoyed yourself.” It wasn’t a question… it was a foregone conclusion. I sort of nodded my head politely and she responded, “Yup. You did. You really did enjoy yourself. That’s what made it so wonderful. You enjoyed yourself.” I wanted to laugh. I wanted to correct her. I wanted to tell her that if it appeared that way, I deserve an Oscar. I wanted to let her to know how badly I just wanted to just grab Adam’s hand on that day, get in a car, and get out of there. Together, and alone.

Our wedding was beautiful. It was filled with love. There was plenty of food, dancing, and laughter. We had amazing family and friends that tried their best to show their support to us. I loved that our parents pitched in funds and helped plan and showed up at 8:00 a.m. to decorate the venue in 100 degree weather. I loved seeing other family members make the long journey to Central Arkansas and I loved meeting some of Adam’s family members for the first time… But when it is all boiled down, it was just too much.

I was under no illusions about weddings. I know that they are a lot of work and
cost a lot of money. That’s just the truth of the matter. However, I was under
the impression that after all that hard work, and after shelling out all that
dough, I would get to sit back, relax and enjoy my wedding. I didn’t.

Instead of feeling like a blushing bride, I felt more like a referee. I
constantly ran interference between everyone. With only four hours of sleep and bags beneath my eyes, I toted boxes, setup tables, organized decorations and basically ran around like crazy from 8:00 a.m. onward. My phone
rang every five minutes with cancelled RSVP’s and at roughly $60.00 a head, these messages became more and
more infuriating… especially considering that we had already finished setting
up the required tables, chairs and ceremony benches of ALL RSVP’ed guests. If it wasn’t a cancelled RSVP, it was a vendor on the other line asking to confirm details that I’d already confirmed… at least once and sometimes twice. Even with a wedding planner, there was too much to do and not enough
time to get it all done in one day.

Looking back, I didn’t have a single moment to stop and reflect on what was about to happen — on the fact that I was about to marry my best friend. Not a single moment. It was so rushed. It was so insane. I had too many people to greet. I had too many responsibilities to fulfill. There were too many people to disappoint… I was not a bride. I was a cog in a wedding machine that had to “do my part” in order for the day to be successful…

With that said — I did enjoy moments of my wedding. What moments you ask? The moments with Adam… The moment I looked into his eyes and promised to never let anything come between us. The moment we danced and I laid my head against his chest and just listened to his heart beat while our song played. The moment I was having an obligatory conversation with a wedding guest and caught Adam’s eye from across the venue and saw him smile…at me… his wife. Yes, those are the moments that I enjoyed.

And you know — I could have absorbed all those moments and more without spending a small fortune on rentals, alcohol, and worrying about whether we had enough cheese on the cheese tray. If I could go back in time, I would take Adam up on his offer. After securing the ring, I would pick a destination, book a photographer, and it would be all “wheel’s up” and wedding bound. All the friends and family who wanted to attend would just have to be disappointed. Adam and I could have avoided all the stress, saved all that money, and put it towards what really matters: Our future together. Our lives together as husband and wife.

But what done is done. I chose to have the “big” wedding (although only about 100 people showed up) and now I have the photos and the memories (plus the bad bridesmaid stories, photo disappointments, and leftover booze) that came along with it…

But if there was a time machine, I would go back. I would grab Adam’s hand when he suggested an elopement, look deep into his eyes and say, “Honey. You won’t always be right in our marriage. But you are this time. Let’s go!”

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  • Reply Rachel

    It happens. I have no idea where the myth "Happiest day of your life is your wedding" comes from. I wouldn't say that about mine, and I didn't even have any disasters. I do think it generally is a high-stress day for just about every bride, even when everything does go well! The good thing is that marriage can be significantly more fun than a wedding! 🙂

    December 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Samantha

    Awe, I love this story (is that bad? I hope not). As someone who's planning a wedding, I can honestly say I've thought about just foregoing all the plans and running off to some secluded locations, just my fiance and I. I know I won't do that, but the thought is pretty darn tempting….

    December 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Morgan Rae

    First off, I just stumbled across your blog and I'm so glad I did. It's adorable!
    As someone planning her own wedding this was a post that I really needed to read. I needed to hear about the chaos that will surround my big day in only 4 months. This post also convinced me that I will be handing my phone over first thing that morning to my mother or Maid of Honor and let them handle all the annoying calls for the day. Thanks for sharing!

    December 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Awww this breaks my heart as someone who was lucky enough to love her wedding from start to finish! Obviously what is important about a wedding is all the days that follow, but still – for all of the planning and expectations and expense not to make you want to relive it – it stinks!

    If any of your readers stumble across my comment and are worried about their wedding day, I would strongly encourage them to hire a day-of coordinator who comes with an assistant and be direct in every single thing you expect them to accomplish. This is not to say you didn't, Kate (it just sounds like you had a whole heck of a lot going on!), but in my experience I did and it is what completely saved my sanity. All vendors had to come to her with issues. She ran interference between my mom and I when we got on each other's nerves. Best money we spent the whole day – better than the open bar!

    And at least you have beautiful photos and at least some good memories, right?

    December 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Pleas(e) and Carrots

    I really want to go to like an island with just our closest relatives and get married, but Brian is actually the one who wants a big wedding! I am totally afraid of being so stressed on my wedding day with all the little details that I won't be able to enjoy it!

    December 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply Karly Kim

    I'm with you sister! My dad offered us cash to elope in Vegas, and I was like "you're crazy!"

    December 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply Brittany

    I am soooooo with you. Looking back, I wish whole heartedly I would've listened when people told me to elope!

    December 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm
  • Reply Allie @ Everyday Adventures

    I fluctuated between wanting to elope and wanting the wedding. We did eventually have the wedding, and I enjoyed it, but that didn't stop me from asking hubs if he wanted to elope just an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start!

    December 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Christine @ Kouisse's Korner

    My wedding cost us $1,000. Only 20 guests and no regrets! So sorry to hear about your day!!

    December 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Katie

    I have always thought it would be great to elope! And possibly have a reception-type party when you've already been married for a few months.
    Maybe y'all can renew your vows and do it the way you want to?

    December 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply Anonymous

    As a girl who loves a good wedding I can honestly see where you're coming from. I've seen brides get incredibly stressed about throwing "the perfect wedding" when really, it's about joining your life with your perfect person. I know when my big day comes (if it ever does) I will need you to remind me that it's just a day.

    I think this post is freaking awesome, by the way. <3

    December 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Jenn @ WLB

    I'm not married or engaged but whenever the subject comes up I can't help but think about what I would want. I go back and forth all of the time, but I really think I would love a private ceremony. Just us to really take it all in. Maybe some immediate family and those who should be family and a photographer? Soooo 10-15 people including us? Then a big, fun party can come later. I definitely want a celebration but I don't think it has to be so formal. Who knows I guess!

    December 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm
  • Reply Margaret

    This is such a great post Kate- a real look into the fact that not all weddings are sunshine and rainbows. I did love my wedding day- but I won't lie and say that it wasn't ridiculously stressful at time!

    December 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Melissa Suggitt

    I've always said I wanted to elope and then just throw a party when I get home. Don't get me wrong, I have a pinterest board of "future wedding" things but I just think I'd rather run away to vegas or mexico with my best friend in tow to witness. no hassle no fuss just love.

    December 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Rebecca Jo Vincent

    Again, as a wedding photographer, I see this happen so many times. People focus on the event & miss the big moments… I totally understand what you're saying.
    I was lucky, my wedding wasn't huge & it was a while back so weddings weren't like they are now. They are just SUCH BIG EVENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think eloping is actually a very smart idea & suggestion.

    December 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm
  • Reply LindiNicole

    Your honesty is very refreshing! Thank you for sharing this! It helps others who are planning their future weddings get some insight on what to avoid. I completely agree though. I just can't justify myself spending a fortune on my wedding when money could be spent on other areas of our life!


    December 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm
  • Reply Amanda - Voyage of the MeeMee

    I'm SO with you, Kate! Pete and I have made eloping a SERIOUS option for once we get engaged. I mean, if we were loaded and I could buy stuff without having to worry about money or hire someone else to do EVERYTHING for me then I would do that in a heartbeat. But, we're not and so I can't. I would absolutely LOVE to have my family and friends surround us. At the same time, the main point of the wedding is joining with EACH OTHER and no one else.

    December 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    • Reply Anonymous

      Interesting what lessons we learn AFTER the wedding, right?! We too had talked about eloping to make everything so much easier, but I was scared of hurting my family's feelings. In retrospect, what really mattered in the end was that I married the man I love, and we had the right to do it whatever way WE wanted. Oh well, we can't go back in time, so all we can do is share what we learned with others.

      December 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply jackie jade

    see this was my fear with having a wedding. I originally wanted to elope and jarrod said no. and now I think he wants to elope but I want the wedding now ha. i'm most stressed about "wasting" money but now that we've picked the venue, church and my dress I kinda want to follow through on it. I might be singing a different tune once it is closer!
    — jackie @ jade and oak

    December 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm
  • Reply Katie MacDonald

    This is so honesty, I love it! Even though I did love my wedding day and had no real big disasters, I see exactly where you are coming from. Up until the point where I was walking down the aisle I was a big, crazy ball of stress worrying that something was not going to be PERFECT! I love all our memories though and all the fun that went into the planning and picking out decor etc. But it was more of a day for family and friends than US. I hope you made up for it on the honeymoon 🙂

    December 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm
  • Reply Samantha @ Life is But a Stream of Thoughts

    I truly appreciate your honesty. I cannot explain how much I needed to hear this. I'm far from getting married, but I have always loved the idea of weddings. This is the kind of honesty women need to hear. Weddings have become such a show, such a form of entertainment. It's supposed to be about love and about what you want, not what your guests want. I want to do exactly what you suggested if I ever reach that point of life. I want to pick a destination and go. I don't care who comes to the wedding, we'll have another ceremony afterwards. I want it to be a wonderful day for me and my future husband.

    December 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm
  • Reply Kalyn V

    I'm not engaged but Derek and I talk about getting married all the time. He is 100% on board with eloping, however I want my family to be there. I know they would be devastated if they couldn't witness the joint of our lives because we are all so.close. Derek isn't as close with his, so I think that's why he'd rather elope. But I definitely don't need a huge wedding! I am not good under pressure!

    December 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm
  • Reply Brittany Jean

    As a single girl I really, truly appreciate this post. I have seen so many friends exhausted at the end of their weddings, who can't even tell me about it the next day because it was such a blur. Thank you for sharing.

    December 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm
  • Reply Anonymous

    Wow, I am so moved by this post. I too have regrets about my wedding day, including being in the moment more, and would do a lot differently if I could go back in time. It feels so good to know I am not alone, I am so glad you share this!

    December 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm
  • Reply Erin LFF

    This is such a refreshing post. Although I hate that you were stressed and felt you didn't enjoy your day, you are enjoying your marriage now and that IS what matters. I always feel weird when friends tell me their wedding day was THE BEST DAY OF THEIR LIFE, because it wasn't for me. Our wedding day was fun, went smoothly and I remember all the little moments of seeing Jared the first time, dancing together, etc etc… but I think I have this stress/anxiousness about the whole day too. Nothing dramatic happened AT ALL, but I think I felt awkward being in the spotlight all day and didn't fully act "myself" So while our wedding day still is an incredible, amazing memory for us, I'm not that bride that LOVED IT and would do it over and over again.

    December 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm
  • Reply Casey Aslan

    It is definitely a day about everyone except the two of you…that was a huge disappointment for both of us. I just read through your entire "jane" saga and that infuriates me for you…just WRONG

    December 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Grad Student Needs Hobby

    Your post makes me so grateful for everyone around us who ensured I did enjoy my wedding. We had so much fun, we both woke up at 4am the next day and got excited just talking about it. I'm so sorry to read that wasn't your experience – and from the comments, it wasn't how many people experienced theirs either. I may just have to post my own story and some of the wonderful tips that got us through the day not only unscathed but overwhelmingly happy with the whole event.

    December 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm
  • Reply Nadine Lynn

    My husband and I had started planning our wedding. Some stuff happened and we postponed it but never really set a new date, just knew that we would eventually get married. A year went by, and one weekend we just decided that we were done waiting and we wanted to be married. We called our friends (a couple) who were photographers and asked them where we could take pretty pictures. They suggested Oak Mountain. I then called a non-denominational officiant and booked a time the following weekend. I picked out our vowels with some examples the officiant had sent me, put together my own bouquet of fake flowers and that following Saturday married Chris. Just us, the officiant and our photographer friends. I did my own make up and I got my usual hair stylist to do my hair before hand. It was the most chilled relaxed ceremony I could have ever imagined.

    Sometimes I wish my family could have at least been there. Mainly my parents and my sister…and Chris's family. We had talked about doing a reception a few months afterwards but nothing ever came of it. I don't regret getting married the way that we did, but I do wish we would have had a casual reception at some point to celebrate with our families and a few close friends. My mom had bought my wedding dress for me when we had planned our wedding the first time and I hate that I don't have a single picture with her and me in my dress.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm
  • Reply Anna

    When I was a little girl I wanted the big wedding. Now all I want is to choose a great destination, buy a wedding package, hire a local officiant and enjoy a week or two off. No stress :). It friends did it and it was so beautiful & romantic.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm
  • Reply Rebekah @ Rebekah’s Ramblings

    This makes me so sad for you. I've been in so many weddings over the last couple years and have not seen one of the brides truly enjoy themselves all day. They have all been balls of stress and nervous wrecks. It makes me want to either elope or have a tiny no big deal wedding when I do it. It is nice you got to share the day with so many people that care about you both. That's something you can't get when you elope.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm
  • Reply Laura Beth

    This sucks, but I know what you mean. When I watch my wedding video I look at it and try and remember being in the moment but I really can't. All the planning and stress and then in 24 hrs it is over and there is hardly enough time to breathe, to remember what the day was really all about.

    Thanks for sharing Kate and Adam I'd print this off and frame that you were right, once! 😉

    December 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm
  • Reply Jessa @ Life of A Sports Wife

    We've had this talk that before, but the marriage is so much better than the wedding day.. I really want to write a post very similar but kinda afraid of who will read it and be offended.

    December 5, 2013 at 2:36 am
  • Reply Nikki

    I'm a wedding planner and I still would have eloped. Mainly because we let his family take over but we footed the bill so I had a huge wedding that wasn't my dream and am still paying for it but…iI feel you.

    December 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ Love is the Point

    Thank you for writing this! I found your blog through "Grad Student Needs Hobby" and I knew I had to check out this post, because I feel EXACTLY the same way! It's so nice to know I'm not alone. I've always wanted to do a post on this topic, but haven't been able to find the words yet. Maybe now I'll give it a shot.

    December 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Meg @ Meg-in-Training

    Aw, this makes me sad. It sounds like your family was super helpful, but i wish there could have been someone to keep you from having to do so much on your own so you could focus on the real important meaning of the day. Thanks for putting this out there, I am sure there are so many people who will be relieved to read this!

    December 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    This is a great post! We have been married for a little over two years and we eloped. We started off planning a bigger wedding but then family didn't want to get along, and the details were over overwhelming. We had to pay for everything and everyone else wanted the top notcth things. It was not about us but everyone else. So I planned our own destination wedding. We went to Jackson Hole, a place neither of us had been. I got a photographer, we stayed at a bed and breakfast and the owners were our witnesses. We got married in the back yard, no family was invited because they couldn't get along. I had a wedding dress, I didn't need ten people to help me put it on. It was simple. It was beautiful. I have no regrets in that decision because we enjoyed it, it wasn't stressful, and it was what we wanted. We sent out marriage announcements and had a small party about two months later.
    It doesn't need to be stressful! Im sorry to hear yours was not perfect but the pictures are great!

    December 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm
  • Reply Kelly Ann

    I am so sorry you did not enjoy it!

    Sparkles and Shoes

    December 9, 2013 at 1:04 am
  • Reply crash.

    I didn't read all of these comments so I am sorry if I repeat something that someone has already said. I feel like most people aren't happy with their weddings. People who spent a gazillions dollars feel like they should have put their money else where. People who feel rushed like yourself wish they would have done something smaller. People who elope like myself wish they would have had something bigger with pictures and cake and bridesmaids. I don't know. Maybe I am wrong and maybe this is only true with the circle of people I run around with. I just wish that people would look at their marriage and not at their wedding because they are two totally different things.

    December 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm
  • Reply Samantha Angell

    I feel you on this one- totally. Planning my wedding was so stressful, especially doing it while abroad and then not seeing my husband for the last two weeks up until the wedding. Pair that with everything that went wrong, and it didn't allow time to really enjoy it! I suppose I could have hired a planner, but I'm too type-A and didn't want to spend an extra 1,000 for someone else to do what I can. In the end, I was just glad it was over and I was married!

    March 7, 2014 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Cassie Lee @ Sage the Blog

    I can so appreciate this. My wedding is quickly approaching and I so desperately do not want to get carried away in the things that are temporary and completely out of control. I needed this.

    May 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Anonymous

    Obviously I am late to the party with this post… Thank you for this. I feel exactly the same about my own wedding, even after having been married for 5 years, especially the parts about being a referee and vendors re-confirming. I really wish we would he just done the court house and saved all that money, and avoided the stress. So many people really disappointed us, friends, family, and the bridal party =(.

    April 16, 2016 at 3:37 am
  • Reply Justina Charchut

    Wow! I am so so glad I wasn't the only bride that felt that way! I didn't even feel like a bride myself! The day went fast and every second I had a chance to have "fun" it was like I had to go do this and that. I just wanted to dance and be stress free but instead I felt like I was running around all crazy without even taking a breath. I put all this time and effort for a day to go by in a blink of an eye meanwhile my husband (who didn't do much of the planning) said it was the best day ever. I feel so guilty when I don't think it was that great. We invited 125 and only 45 showed up. It was really disappointing. But now I can really focus on the marriage which is what I'm trying my best to do!

    December 8, 2016 at 8:33 pm
  • Reply anniebaker

    Good article!

    March 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm
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    October 16, 2019 at 1:03 pm
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