Our wedding planning was pushed aside a little by my move South, but we still have more than a year to go and some pretty major stuff nailed down: Church, reception site, engagement photo and annoucements, wedding photographer. The church won’t “officially” confirm the date until it passes this year because they won’t book more than a year in advance, but we’ve been penciled in. So losing a few weeks wasn’t an issue.

A couple of people have commented that they were impressed by how quickly I was making these decisions. I tell them that I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the last few years and know exactly what I want out of our big day. In honor of the return of wedding planning Friday, I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane — to all 12 of the weddings I have attended since the age of 18.

August 2002: My mom’s second wedding

October 2002: My cousin Jamie’s wedding

Summer 2005: A college friend’s wedding

Sadly I do not have any photos from this wedding, but I wish I did. I was down about 15 pounds, just enough for me to see a difference, and the blonding of my hair had just begun. It was in a very small town and I danced with a man who twice my age and half my weight. He licked his lips the whole time we were dancing.

July 2007: My stepcousin Janel’s wedding

No photos from this wedding either, but it was my first wedding of a legal drinking age, so this was when I really started to enjoy weddings.

September 2007: My cousin Craig’s wedding

September 2008: My friend Cregan’s wedding

October 2008: My friend Teri’s wedding

I caught the bouquet.

December 2008: My cousin Jessie’s wedding

I don’t know where the cowboy hat came from or when it entered the picture or how I came to be wearing it.

March 2009: My cousin Jodi’s wedding

May 2009: My friend Melissa’s wedding

I was the maid of honor.

June 2009: My cousin Jerry’s wedding

Don’t ever press your arm against your side in a photo.

September 2009: My friend Wendy’s wedding

So, as you can see, I’ve been to a lot of weddings. And it made me realize what my priorities are. I think that is one reason brides stress out so much — there are a lot of details, there is a lot to do, but once  you know what’s important, the whole process gets easier.

My priorities are:

  • Good meal
  • Fun party
  • Amazing wedding dress
  • That the bridesmaids feel cute and comfortable in their dresses

Here’s the thing: I love gorgeous invitations and pretty table settings as much as the next girly-girl, but unless they’re really, really terrible, no one remembers that. I would much rather have extra money for a honeymoon than get really fancy invitations. I’m not saying I’m going to handwrite them on notebook paper or anything, but they won’t be over-the-top. I have always remembered whether I had a really good (or really bad) meal and how the bride looked, as well as the overall atmosphere of the party, so that’s what I’m focusing on.

Tell me, brides and brides-to-be, what were your priorities?