It’s been one year since D. and I got married. I’ve had some time to enjoy married life and reflect on the whole chaotic wedding planning process.

Here’s a couple of lessons I learned:

1. Don’t make friends with your vendors. Be clear in what you expect from them. If you are afraid of being perceived as a bridezilla, hire a coordinator or designate someone as your “heavy”. Your contract outlines your expected deliverables. Don’t be afraid to cite it.

Yeah, I wanted to support small businesses and artists. However, I have to admit I was disappointed by a few of my vendors.  My florist worked out of her home, didn’t have access to the high-end flowers I really wanted, and wouldn’t listen when I told her that I didn’t care that she was saving me money by suggesting gerbera daisies. (I don’t like daisies, at all. They were on my Do Not Use These Flowers list.)

I still have outstanding deliverables from another vendor. I must say I’m disappointed about the delay and lack of communication.

2. Don’t get wrapped up in making your wedding unique or offbeat.

Of course, you want your wedding to express the personalities of you and your fiance. I know you don’t want a cookie-cutter wedding. However, it’s not a contest. Offbeat weddings are trending towards this bigger than life, let’s make it weirder than the last couple, reality tv show-esque mess. Do you really want guests walking away from your wedding with memories of how much it reminded them of the Jim Rose Circus, or do you want your guests remembering how much your wedding showcased your love for each other, quirks and all? All those quirky little details need to be tied together somehow, and due to the lack of time, you may end up scrapping or forgetting them at the last minute. You don’t want to be up at 1:30 am the night before (well, technically, the day of) your wedding, burning CDs of your wedding soundtrack as favors.

3. Don’t let your family (or friends) affect, dictate, or ruin your big day.

If you’re paying for your wedding, like D. and I did, don’t let people who aren’t paying make demands. It doesn’t hurt to be flexible where you are willing to be, to avoid big blowups over small things, but don’t back down on the things that mean the most to you, or would cause you to incur crazy debt. Speaking from experience, if your mother bought an inappropriate dress from a thrift store to wear at the wedding (without a bra), be prepared to drag her kicking and screaming to the department store and buy her a bra and a dress. I’m all about creative and unique clothing, but wearing a yellowed slip with no bra is not appropriate attire in which to meet my future-in-laws, let alone to wear to a wedding.

Are there things I would change if I could go back in time and do it again? Yes.

Am I happy with the way it all came out in the end? Absolutely.

Do I secretly want to wear my wedding dress around the house? Yup, the only thing that stops me is that the dress requires another person to lace me up.