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I love my wedding but … I hate planning it.


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Jane McGraw isn't your average twenty-something. Yes, of course she's stylish and she paints a picture of perfection if you're looking at her Insta-life. She's more than that. she's smart, I mean SMART - not only is she a graduate of The University of Notre Dame, but she was also accepted into Columbia University. She's a powerhouse of academic excellence, she's emotionally intelligence, make wise life choices and  her life experience far exceeds what's typical for someone in their twenties. Sitting down with her is enlightening to say the least. Oh, and hey Jane ... thanks for turing me on to Casamigos.

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Let’s get down to it. Some girls are born with the blue prints for their wonderland wedding already inscribed in their little baby brains with the only missing puzzle piece being finding prince charming and inserting him at the altar. Other girls, like myself, have never thought about the planning process until, well, they woke up one day with a ring on their finger, a champagne hangover (you know the kind) and co-workers on a continuous loop of asking if they’ve set a date. Not that I can speak from experience…oh wait, yes I can. I have been engaged for almost 3 years. I tend to joke that I am the Emily Blunt to my fiance’s Jason Segel a la The Five Year Engagement given that it took us a bit to mobilize and dive down the deep dark rabbit hole of matrimony. I deemed the whole process too daunting to embark on early on and gave us a full year to just enjoy the simplicity that comes with being engaged. People are happy for you, you get free upgrades and alcohol.

My dad calls engagement “the high water mark” as in it’s the best you and your significant other will ever be, the happiest of the happy. Now I am not that cynical but I can confidently say that the time at which you get engaged to the time at which you start planning your wedding is, indeed, the high-water mark. The wedding planning process is the tidal wave that destroys that mark and sucks you out to sea. There is a reason MFT therapists call the wedding planning process “the inferno” – or is that just mine that calls it that? I digress. Think I am being a bit dramatic? Well, that’s because I am…and wedding planning does not skimp on the drama either. How many forks do you want? What vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, non-dairy, paleo, macrobiotic, soy free meal alternative are you going to offer your guests? Do you want Cabernet from the northern or southern region of Italy? Where are you going to seat your divorced parents? Your racist grandfather? Your lesbian aunt? Don’t even get me started on the dreaded +1 conversation.

I could go on and on about the questions you never in your life thought you would have to answer but, alas, here you are sitting with your planner on a Tuesday afternoon answering these hard-hitting inquiries worried that your full-time job may catch on that you have had a few too many “doctors appointments” over the last few weeks and you may get fired because you took too long deciding on if you wanted 1 or 2 salad forks for the reception dinner. Was that a run-on sentence? Great. Run-ons can be a metaphor for wedding planning. It’s a marathon, an expensive one. Which leads me to my next gripe – the cost. Now, I know the value of a dollar but I am also one to use the “you can’t take it to the grave” mantra a little too liberally from time to time. I am not cheap. I have fleeting moments of frugality but am generally not afraid to spend my hard-earned cash on experiences, friends and family, and ok fine maybe a cross body bag or two (sue me).

But this wedding planning process throws all common spending practices out the window. First of all, if you are as fortunate as I am, you have a set of parents who are willing to pay for the whole dog & pony show. I have a lot of friends who have or are paying for their own weddings and I bow down to them with the utmost respect and honor. I also pray for their bank accounts. Traditional weddings are expensive. Traditional in the sense that you invite all of your friends and family, host them at a location, feed them, fill them with alcohol, make them dance to curated tunes and send them home to nurse their hangovers the next day. I joke that I once walked into a venue and asked if the air was free and they replied “yes!” I then asked if the air was free during a wedding to which they scoffed back “20 bucks a breath.” For all your former or current brides out there, you know exactly what I am talking about. The up-charging that goes on in this industry is infuriating. Vendors hear the word wedding and immediately envision dollar bills falling from the sky while Travis Porter’s “Make it Rain” plays in the background.

My cost breakdown spreadsheet has just become a thing I actively avoid. We are over budget, under prepared, and in the middle of a year-long panic attack. They should really adjust the spelling of matrimony to matrimoney, which would be far more accurate. Time and money suck aside, the worst thing about planning a wedding is that everyone expects you to enjoy it. There is this societal pressure to be the blushing bride who is tickled by the task of researching which flowers are in season around her wedding and who is just delighted by the process of picking which size, shape, weight, and texture paper she will use for all of her delicately printed goods. Now, some of those brides exist – and to them I say good for you. But to the rest of us girls who are not quite as thrilled by this process, I say hey, I’m with you. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the flower arrangements, the hand-painted seating chart, or even the fully stocked open bar (huge plus though) – it’s about the truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get everyone you know and love in the same room to celebrate two people choosing to spend the rest of their lives together. I whole-heartedly believe that one beautiful day surrounded by friends and family can make up for the entire unpleasant planning process. So, the moral of the story is: it’s ok to love your wedding but hate the process. After all, you’re not the only one!

Well Jane, I for one, am beyond anxious to see how your day unfolds. I'm sure you'll let us know. In the meantime, I'll meet you at Coyote Grill next week ...

If you feel that the mountain of wedding planning just might not be for you a microwedding might totally work for you.

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