So - yesterday we got married! Theo proposed to me on the 9th of November and on the 30th of November, we fixed a date: 21.12 (or for you Americans: 12.21!)
A few hours later we found ourselves wondering what the h$&@ we had done! Giving ourselves only 3 weeks to plan it all!
So here we go:
1. Get your friends to lend a hand! All it takes is one capable best man or woman to hear your wishes and then communicate with all the guests. Turns out, people love to help with such a happy occasion! Thanks Rob Uijterlinde and Canan Mizrak, our witnesses!
2. Pick your rings ASAP. Especially if you want them lovingly handmade, for example by our amazingly sweet and capable Sandra Savelli - who, despite her name, is not Italian, but Estonian! It takes time to decide on a design, fit them and everything. A beautiful ring doesn't just make itself, you know!
3. Be decisive about your dress. There's no time to order hand made silk lace from Florence, but there's no need to wear your old beige dress either! I put up a "help me" post on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook page and within the hour had over 40 helpful tips and advice how to get a dress. The next day, I dropped into the Bijenkorf department store (yes, 'Morning Shopping,' ladies, that's when there is no one else and the friendly staff are all yours!), and within 1/2 an hour had picked my dress! (Karen Millen). Guess what? It was even on sale!
4. Guests need some advance warning. I guess it helped that we had at least announced our engagement 3 weeks earlier - so that my family- who live in Israel- could work up the courage to join us on the shortest (but not coldest!) day of the year! Prepare for surprises when you plan a whirlwind affair. People will say "I can't make it, sorry!" And then show up last minute! So don't be upset when it takes them a few days to figure out the logistics and make it after all.
5. Cater or die. The night before the wedding - we invited the guests from abroad to a small dinner at our house. Without the delicious lasagne, salad and garlic bread that my friend and caterer had made, we would have had far too much to do! Thanks Colleen Camastro!
6. Do NOT stress the minor details! Of course I did. But it wasn't helpful! I found a book on my shelf called "letting go" or something similar. Another friend told me, "take it lightly." She was so damn right! No one noticed the 2 mm black spot on the weave of my jacket. My shoes were a tiny bit tight but my feet felt fine the whole day! No, we didn't make a seating arrangement- and that was fine!
7. Relax when possible! I was not relaxed at all, trying to keep my full time job while planning my wedding, and oh yes, we had the small matter of our mortgage to arrange as well... Then I started taking "Rustgevend" (rest giving) supplements (A. Vogel - for those readers in the Netherlands). Bach's Rescue Remedy helped too. Also Drop Dead Diva, long baths, whatsapp support from my sister and best friends and some meditation!
8. Ask your fiancée for support. It's really not just your party, Miss Bridezilla! By me asking Theo for help we were both equal partners in "getting things done." Once we realized we had succeeded, we felt we had strengthened our bond and learned more about project management. Yay Daselaar-Weinberg team!
9. If you have kids (like I do), then try to involve them! They also want to be a part of the celebration and can be super helpful as well! Naomi and Yoav also gave speeches that left no one's eyes dry!
10. With such a short time to arrange things, you might not have time to pull out all the bells and whistles. Instead, Why not surprise your guests? We took ours on a boat trip, but didn't let them know until they had boarded that we'd be showing them the yearly "Amsterdam Light Festival" from the water! It was both a surprise for them and fun for us!
If you're as crazy and spontaneous as we were, we wish you the best of luck! Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the slightly bumpy process as well as the wedding itself! After all, marriage is not just about falling in love and the honeymoon, but all the stuff in between. Some of it is bound to be a bit messy. But that too can be an adventure, if you let it!