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Thing #1) Nobody knew who should make the first move in actually planning this thing. Back around Christmas time, my future mother in law started grilling me about it, so I gave her my mother's number. I also gave her number to my maid of honor and all other inquiring female friends. "Go forth, and plan!" I said. "I do not want any part of planning my own shower." I said. But nothing happened. And months went by, and no one did anything, and I was so busy that I mostly didn't care if there was going to be a shower at all. But again, everyone kept asking about it, and so I finally gave in and made sure that several of us were in one room for a weekend to plan....
Thing #2) When you wait until the last minute, you're stuck with last minute dates. Our preferred venue only had two weekends left in the whole summer, one of which would definitely not work, so we were stuck with the one that only sort of worked. My maid of honor had a conference the week before, and wouldn't be back until the day of, but we'd just have to manage.
#3)...Then one bridesmaid found out she couldn't make it because of work.
#4)...Then my fmil had a gall bladder attack, and found out she needed surgery. She pushed the surgery back to a week after so that she could still make the shower, but was obviously much less able to help with set up than was originally planned.
#5)...Then, after weeks of job hunting, I finally found something, which was great. But they wanted me to start working nine hour shifts right away, cutting my free time instantly in half.
#6) So the night before, I'm trying to bake cookies and put together games last minute when I get a call from my maid of honor. Her flight got cancelled due to weather and she was stuck in Denver. No way to make it here in time. So now I'm up to my eyebrows in cookie dough and I'm worried about my best friend getting lost and/or mugged in Denver.
#7) The cookies kept melting and my back was really sore from work, and by the morning of I was unbelievably exhausted. My mother, too, was sweaty and tired and nervous about everything. And I want to say that, in my defense, I was a really good sport about everything, but there was just so much everything. I told my fiance, in a moment of frustration, that in the future I was never throwing a party, ever, unless it was after we won the lottery and hired an army of servants.
Here's what helped turn the event around for me: My last remaining adult bridesmaid instantly kicked it into high gear and started doing the work of four people to make everything work. She passed out name tags and called bingo numbers and kept track of presents. It was like the origin story of a new super hero--The Incredible Bridesmaid, with the power to organize ALL THE THINGS in ten seconds or less...
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...I'm now confident that, should my wedding be interrupted by gun wielding villains, she will be just as effective as Kate Bishop.
Plus, there's nothing like a party to remind you that there are people who actually like you--or at least are willing to put up with you in exchange for delicious cake (there was strawberry shortcake, and it was divine). Everyone was so warm and so generous, and so while I missed everyone that couldn't be there, I couldn't really feel sorry for myself about it. I think my favorite moment was at the end, when Josh walked in with a big smile and a dozen roses. He has never failed to make me feel loved, but these little moments where he treats me like a princess are still particularly special to me.
My advice to other brides is this: 1)Be more successful at forcing other people to plan for you, because you can't do everything. 2) Expect things to go wrong, and roll with the punches. 3) Thank everyone who comes through for you when your in a pinch, and most importantly, 4) Don't forget how lucky you are that all of this is happening to you. Not everyone gets to marry their soul mate. Even if every other thing goes wrong, you'll have been extraordinarily blessed because you met him.