5 Ways My Wedding Was Different Than I Imagined

I still can and can't believe I am a married woman!

I always knew I was going to get married, but I can honestly say the wedding I dreamed of as a little girl could not have been more different than the reality.

The Groom

rachel ritlop eric dresdale wedding

How handsome is he? Haha!

Call it daddy issues, but I honestly never thought I would find a man as kind, generous, and patient as Eric. I sometimes feel like I am cheating life having gotten such a great guy. He listens to my rants, he challenges me to be a better person and is my perfect compliment.

During our wedding day, the videographer asked when I realized I wanted to marry him – and I couldn't answer. I always just knew he was the one. From the first time we hung out, I couldn't imagine my life without him… Which is probably why I basically moved in with him three weeks after the first time we hung out haha.

The Dress

rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused millennial sarah seven

While growing up, I always imagined myself in a white version of Belle's iconic Beauty and the Beast gown. As a little girl I would constantly sketch out my dream wedding dress. Over the years I've watched hours of “Say Yes to The Dress” and never in a million years thought I would end up with five wedding dresses for under $1500 (that's an entirely different post in this series!). The dress I settled on could not have been more perfect for what I was looking for. I didn't worry about tripping, the train getting dirty, or holding my stomach in. I could just enjoy myself, which was all I really cared about in the end.

Who Would Give Me Away

rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused millennial sarah seven

My dad passed away when I was 19 years old. And growing up a “Gilmore Girl,” I never in a million years thought my mother wouldn't come to my wedding, let alone not give me away. But alas, she didn't come. Despite getting offers from my grandmother (who also did not come) and Eric's family, I chose to walk myself down the aisle. While it was an emotional decision, and also a large part of why we had a two-year engagement (which you can read more about here), I am really happy with the decision.

I've had a “different” life than most people, this is something the people tell me on a monthly basis, I have taken many difficult walks through challenging times that most people can't understand. While Eric still doesn't understand the things I've been through, he always tries to and never judges. He always asked questions and never tries to give me a “quick fix band-aid” statement (does anyone else hate those as much as I do??). He lets me talk and cry until I can't anymore. Something that no one else in my life has ever done. Marrying Eric, I truly feel like I am joining my life to a partner. He has never backed down from the darkness that comes with me. I wanted to talk myself down the aisle because it truly felt like the last walk I will ever have to do alone in life.

The Setting

rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused millennial sarah seven

As a little girl and typically anxious Type-A person, I never thought I would have a wedding entirely outside. When I was little, I thought it would be in an outdoor ceremony and then into a ballroom. When I started searching for venues, I knew I had outgrown the traditional “ballroom” idea, but still didn't plan on having the entire wedding outside. In fact, even when we booked our wedding, we planned on the ceremony and cocktail hour outside, then moving inside for the reception; but the space we rented ended up undergoing renovations! Which meant we moved everything outside (only twenty minutes before the reception was meant to start we made the decision to move dinner inside!). I'll be talking more about this in another post coming up on “how to choose a great venue”.


rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused millennial sarah seven

I remember saving Bridal magazines as a kid and always thought I would be that girl with the giant wedding binder and totally indecisive, but planning was actually surprisingly easy and stress-free! The emotional stuff with family definitely took a toll on me, but everything else came to me with ease. Which is why over the next few weeks I am going to give you all my secrets and hacks for choosing a venue, choosing groomsmen and bridesmaids gifts, strategies for coping with family and your partner while planning a wedding, how to choose a wedding dress without breaking the bank, and so much more!

Despite all the ways my wedding was different than I imagined it would be, it was absolutely perfect because it was about my husband and I joining our lives together as partners. We had so much fun through the actual planning process and truly felt like everything embodied who we are as a couple. Sometimes letting go of expecations gives us the space to make the most magical days happen.

If you have a specific question or post you would like to see in the series that I didn't mention was coming up, let me know in the comments! I want you to plan your dream wedding with ease!


Planning a wedding of your own? Grab TCM's wedding planning checklist!

Photo cred: Brooke Images

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