Today’s Bride on the Brink is a soon-to-be law school grad who will use up the world’s supply of ink writing thank-you notes! 230 of her closest relatives and friends will be in attendance as she walks down the aisle with Chris, the man of her dreams, to whom she’s been engaged since 2006. (Editor’s Note: I highly recommend the “It’s About Time! Let’s Celebrate!” Champagne Bucket Timer for your favors!) And she was the anti-bride until she started planning her wedding…
NAME: April Sheehan
LOCATION: Cape Codder Resort, Hyannis, MA
DATE: May 29, 2010
THEME: Traditional, elegant, funky fun!
COLORS: Black and white, with a touch of fuchsia
Q. Let’s start with a little background on your wedding.
A. Chris and I are getting married on May 29, 2010 at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, Massachusetts. It will be a 230-person affair. My dad has 12 brothers and sisters, so family is gigantic. I always loved coming from a large family—but I am rethinking that now that I see the bill.
We chose black and white as the colors, but we’ll glam it up with just a little bit of fuchsia. For example, the bridesmaids are wearing very simple but beautiful black dresses and gorgeous, hot pink shoes. I am also wearing the same hot pink shoes. The scheme is traditional/elegant/funky fun. Essentially, the theme is the exact same as our wedding colors.
Q. When did you start planning for 230 people?
A. Although I have been engaged since June of 2006, I did not begin planning then. Anything I thought I had set down was changed. In 2006, 2007 and even 2008, I was sure I would get married in the winter, wear red and have a tiny little ceremony and BBQ reception. None of that is happening.
In May of 2009 I realized that getting married the weekend after graduation from law school would resolve any wedding planning/bar prep issues*. ( I didn’t think about the wedding planning/graduating issues that might arise.) So I moved our wedding date from Memorial Day weekend 2009 to Memorial Day weekend 2010, and that’s when the planning began.
Q. Betweeen law school graduation and the wedding, what is the most important thing on your mind right now?
A. I think at this very moment the most important thing is remembering us. There is so much, so many worries, that it’s very easy to immerse yourself in wedding planning and in the rest of your life and forget the most important part: him. I am getting married because I love him. Yet, I still have to remind myself to take time for us. Just last weekend we spent the evening on the couch playing Wii Monopoly and Wii Mario Cart, eating General Gau’s chicken, drinking Bud Light and B&J’s Margarita spritzers, and cuddling with black labs. It was everything I needed to reground myself, take a night off from the wedding, from law school, from his job search and be the couple that wanted to get married in the first place.
Q. Sounds like things are crazy for you right now! How are you handling the stress, if any?
A. I am using ice cream and cigarettes to handle the stress. So, not well.
I quit smoking just before getting engaged. Although I will still firmly check the non-smoking box on a questionnaire, the stress of the planning, keeping the peace, and balancing my wants and his wants and their (parents–both sides) wants and then remembering to include our bridal party in decisions sometimes sends me screaming into the arms of the Camel #9s in my freezer. You are all probably screaming “NO DON”T SMOKE – IT WILL KILL YOU, YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR DOGS, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD WILL BLOW UP!” Chill—it’s temporary and, like I said, those “babies” are in the freezer with the ice cream. I am not smoking on a regular basis, but it helps calm the stress nightmares.
Just 10 minutes ago I was all stressed about invitations (because they aren’t done, let alone sent) and I took the Ben & Jerry’s and put it back. Then I took out the smokes and put them back. Then I ordered a cheeseburger…I mean, a girl’s gotta eat, right?
Q. Given what you just said, we have to ask–what has been the most difficult or stressful part of preparing for your wedding?
A. Obviously, you must mean aside from money. We are in a desolate economy and the hardest part of everything— from grocery shopping to major event planning—is [finding the] money. Otherwise, not being a bridezilla, keeping my temper, keeping my cool, and staying on track are the most stressful parts. When you get married, people don’t listen to you, and they don’t always care what you think. They care what they think. Except it’s not their wedding, so I don’t care if you don’t want to be introduced at the wedding to Led Zepplin’s Immigrant song—it’s my wedding, it’s my visions, and I won’t make you dance to it later. So not exploding into a million pieces of angry-bride shrapnel and demolishing my criticizer, target, mother, fiancée—whatever—is probably the most stressful part. That, or registering. Registering was obviously a test thought up by the wedding gods. If you can’t survive a knockdown fight, an over-the-top “I hate you” screaming match over a cleaver in Bed Bath & Beyond, you aren’t ready to get married.
Q. What, if anything, would you do differently if you had the opportunity?
A. I would scrap it all and go to Disney world!
That is so untrue. I would hire a Dj so that I didn’t have to kill my family over music quarrels. Rather than a DJ, my best friend is emceeing, and I am so grateful he is doing that. He will do a fabulous job. However, in hindsight, $600-800 is totally worth not wanting to kill my entire family over who is entering the reception hall to what song.
Q. What has been the most rewarding part of your wedding-planning process?
A. Finality. As I said, I have been engaged since 2006. We were never in a rush to married. I got into law school in 2007, and we decided it would be better to wait until I am done to get married. So starting to truly plan after 3 years of waiting was really rewarding. It was exciting for my thoughts to finally matter. Also now, the coming to a close is rewarding. Four years of engagement is enough. I’m ready to be married. So each month closer to the wedding brings a new rewarding feeling, a new excitement.
Q. With money so tight, did you even think about a wedding planner?
A. I did it alone. I am broke and have 230 people coming to my wedding. We cut costs wherever possible.
Q. So, is your planning complete? If not, what last- minute details are left?
A. Oh, Lord! Transportation, invitations, mailing invitations, programs, favors, attendant gifts, decorations (some,) printed menus, etc. The list goes on. Wedding planning is hard, and law school is harder. I am doing the best I can.
Q. What, exactly, did you choose to forgo in your wedding plans because of the economy?
A. DJ, videographer, quartet for ceremony, possibly favors, floral centerpieces (we made our own out of lighthouses that cost $2.99), wedding planner, invitations (I handmade them.) All décor will be handmade. I am putting a lot into the wedding to save money.
Q. What life lessons did you learn from planning your wedding?
A. What I have learned—and am learning—is who I am. I spent a long time saying I would never get married (it’s just a piece of paper from the state,) that I did not want a wedding (an outdated patriarichal business transaction, and I will not be sold,) that I never want a diamond (everyone gets one—children lose hands, fingers and lives over them,) and I would not under any circumstance wear white (outdated notion from Queen Victoria, a Queen bitch woman hater, about as outdated as the concept of laying back and thinking of empire. Also., we live together, so the jig is up.) Yet here I am, diamond on my finger, days away from being Mrs. My lastname-his lastname, wearing white, and having a huge wedding and ceremony.
In the last months I have had a mini crisis, or a quarter-life crisis. Who am I? Where is the girl who said “eff it!” to tradition and did as she pleased? How does this white-wearing, business transaction-like, ceremony-having woman I am match up to the girl I was?
The answer is I can’t. I have to find equilibrium. I am working on that. I have made small changes to my approach to do this. We are dancing to Radar Love, not a slow song; we will have temporary-tattoo favors (but no real favors,) a margarita toast and an after party at a karaoke bar. My shoes will be pink, just like my bridesmaids. I am using small things to remind myself of who I am. I am not lace and pearls, I am sequins and rhinestones.
Q. I can’t wait to hear the advice you would give your friend who was planning her wedding!
A. Elope. (Kidding.) Hire a DJ. Take up smoking. (KIDDING!!!) Remember who you are, and that the most important thing is you and him.
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