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!


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Photo cred: Brooke Images

102 thoughts on “5 Ways My Wedding Was Different Than I Imagined”

  1. Stunningly gorgeous for your special day! I’m still single and def have some specifics in mind for when my turn comes. Your post is a good reminder that even if the day doesn’t look like what I had dreamt about through the years, it will still be a day I’ll never forget!

    1. Exactly! It was interesting to see how much things had changed from my vision, but i am so happy it did because everything turned out to be a perfect reflection of us as a couple

  2. You are a beautiful bride and your wedding was gorgeous too! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  3. I don’t know your story, but my heart broke for you when I read that neither of your parents walked you down the aisle. I could never imagine the same for me, so that alone is enough reason to be grateful! We had a traditional wedding, a Filipino one at that, and I wouldn’t change anything if I could!

    P.S. I, too, wanted a Belle-inspired ballgown for my 18th birthday!

  4. First off, you looked stunning! Even though it wasn’t the dress you thought you were going to wear, you still looked stunning. As a person who likes to plan out everything to a T, this just reminds me everything doesn’t always work out they way you want it to be, but it may be for the best. Thank you for sharing this!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  5. I think it is great that your ideas for what your wedding “should be” were able to evolve to fit your life at the time. To be honest I am not a huge fan of big ball gowns for adult women, maybe that’s just the area I’m from though? Seattle tends to have a more laid back and less “southern belle” sorta vibe haha. Your dress looked stunning! This might be weird to ask but was it Sarah Seven? I used to work in the bridal industry and your dress looks like one of her lovely designs!

    1. Haha i agree – i think the ball gowns thing is weird for adult woman too now a days. I think they often look cheaper in the end. And yesss girl it is! Good eye!

  6. Wow! I am so sorry your mom and grandma didn’t come to your wedding. That is so hard. I remember that Summer had a post about her mom not coming either. Don’t know if you’ve seen it.

    I have no idea what all you’ve been through, but rest assured (even though I’m sure you know this) that you have people who care. I am so thankful you have Eric, and I am also thankful for whoever else who has supported you in your journey.

    Also, your wedding, your dress, and YOU are all GORGEOUS. Love these photos!

    1. It’s okay. No one from my family actually came. I read Summer’s post a while back when I was going through all the feels. And you are so sweet. Thank you for all your kind words and support always Kristin <3

  7. First off you looked stunning! Second, what a gorgeous wedding setting. I think it’s important to realize sometimes it’s okay that our expectations in life change. As long as it made you happy, in the end that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚

    1. Totally agree! I hope this post is a reminder to all the brides and future brides that it doesn’t matter what you envisoned at the end of the day! And thank you!

  8. This is such a beautiful and honest post. Wishing you every happiness in your marriage, it looks like a gorgeous wedding!

  9. despite not thinking this was how it would turn out, looks and sounds absolutely GORGEOUS! you look great & I’m so happy for you and Eric πŸ™‚ xx

  10. Because I got married WAY before Pinterest and Instagram I seriously had NO expectations for what my wedding would be like — and I honestly remember SO little of it! It was just like this big, huge party and I got to wear this AWESOME DRESS! Everyone says they had fun so it me someone’s expectations I hope!

  11. “…the last walk I will ever have to do alone in life.” <— beautiful!! And what an absolutely stunning wedding! I pictured my wedding very much the same as you pictured yours for a long time. One like my sibling's weddings. But we got married in the morning and had a brunch reception. It was perfect! Well, we'd have rather eloped, but still πŸ˜‰ I think this post rings true for SO many in that often times our weddings turn out much differently than we originally picture them… usually in good ways!

    1. Love it! We were actually supposed to have a brunch wedding! I write about it in tomorrows wedding wednesday post! They ended up renovating the room we originally booked two weeks before our wedding so we couldn’t do it! We heavily considered eloping for a year but are happy in the end we didn’t. And thank you!

  12. I’m sitting here crying reading this because I feel like there’s SO much we can probably relate to and don’t even know it yet.

    J’s mom didn’t come to our wedding either. But in the end, everything you said here is so beautiful and spot on. You have a partner for life – a true best friend – and you never have to walk alone again. Ugh. Crying.

    Coming Up Roses

  13. I feel the same about my wedding…wasn’t what I imagined. But I agree with you that the best part was marrying my amazing partner in life:) Congrats, beautiful! May you both have many wonderful and joyful years!

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