Good/bad idea: going to our friends' wedding a week before our own?
April 8, 2016 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Our dear friends are having their wedding on October 8th. Our wedding is October 15th. Gulp. We really want to go. But is that a bad idea? What even happens the week before your wedding?

The fiancé is fine about it, but I'm on the fence. I really, really want to go, but I'm nervous.

I guess I'm worried about stuff like, "the caterer backed out at the last minute and now we have to scramble." Or, "for whatever reason, our flight home is cancelled and now we're both missing of our final fittings."

To note: Their wedding *is* in another state, which is a bit tougher, but it's a really short plane trip.

Also to note: We have a planner, who is badass. I'm pretty confident she could handle *most* fires.


What even happens during the week leading up to your wedding?
Would you go to the friends' wedding, if you were in our situation?
posted by functionequalsform to Human Relations (41 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You'll be fine! Go. I would go! It will give you something fun to focus on in the run up to your own wedding.

This is probably obvious, but...try not to talk too much about your wedding at their wedding :)
posted by netsirk at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2016 [22 favorites]

I would go. At one week before your wedding, your planner will have a few things to do (confirming things, etc.) but you two should be pretty much done. It sounds like a great way to de-stress!
posted by yawper at 12:29 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

From what I remember, the week before our wedding was a fucking madhouse, albeit we didn't have a planner (although we did have a day-of coordinator which took some heat off) and were putting together a bunch of decorations, etc. ourselves. I do not think we would've gone to a wedding a week before ours in another state.

So I guess it would very much depend on how hands-on you are/prefer to be! If anything that needs to be sorted out can be sorted out by a phonecall to the coordinator, then it probably wouldn't Ruin Everything for you to go barring god forbid something happening to the venue or to the vendors. But you would have to really trust your coordinator and I don't think either of us would've been okay with trusting another person that much.

posted by griphus at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yes, go. Especially if you have a planner.

Lots of people (most?) TRAVEL for their own weddings, so think about that one..
posted by sandmanwv at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

One week is the point where anything huge that can go wrong and actually be fixed already has, and it's not last-minute enough for the last-minute things that will go wrong. A mini-getaway (for a wedding! prepare to be a weeping emotional "they're so beautifulllll love is beautiful" wreck from the minute you sit down) the week before is not a terrible idea.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

With apologies to griphus, I think about 90 percent of wedding panic is self-imposed. The most valuable wedding-planning advice I ever got was "No matter what happens, at the end of that day, you will be married to someone you love. Everything else is bullshit."

Go to your friends' wedding. Have a great time. Steal some ideas.
posted by Etrigan at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2016 [28 favorites]

I totally agree with those above, go. And wedding-induced panic is self-inflicted for the most part. My wife and I took the approach of "you get to care about three things and you need to let the rest slide," which worked perfectly for us (our three were venue, small guestlist of our choosing, and good food/drink). So if you go that route, so long as your three things are buttoned down before this wedding, you're golden.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The only reason I wouldn't go is because you said it's in another state. I get sick every time I travel/get exposed to so many new germs.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

What even happens during the week leading up to your wedding?

Depends on how on-the-ball you are. I was working on seating arrangements the during the week before my wedding, but that was because I had a final exam on Monday and the wedding was that Saturday. I could have gotten that together beforehand. Work with your planner to make a "to-do" list and schedule keeping in mind the fact that you'll be away the weekend prior. If you weren't already planning it, try to make it so that neither you nor your spouse-to-be are working any days during that intervening week. You'll be fine.

Would you go to the friends' wedding, if you were in our situation?

YES! They are your "dear friends," and you both "really want to go." I've missed the weddings of friends in the past , and while I thought at the time that my reasons were good, and we are still friends, I still regret not being there.

If anything, this trip away a few days before YOUR wedding can give you a bit of a stress-free oasis of time when you don't have to worry about your own plans. Do it!
posted by sparklemotion at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nah, don't worry. Go. Nothing so catastrophic is going to happen with respect to your wedding planning that you should skip the wedding of close friends, especially since you have a planner.
posted by holborne at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2016

Q 1: depends on what you're scheduling. You're in charge and it's half a year from now, so--
Q 2: yes
posted by Namlit at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2016

Bad idea in my opinion, unless you're really good at foreseeing and handling everything that might be coming up at that point. You might be:
- Dealing with last minute cancellations or changes (e.g., telling the caterer that two people backed out or have allergies, hearing updates like "it turns out that violets haven't bloomed yet, so I will substitute daisies in your bouquet, okay?")
- Preparing for your guests' arrival (e.g., answering questions from the more last-minute among them like how to get from the airport to wherever they are staying)
- Doing the final prep for yourself and your outfits (e.g., doing a trial run for the makeup or hair, getting your fingernails manicured, doing a final dress fitting to see if it needs taken in now that your pre-wedding jitters caused you to lose several pounds -- real life example)
- Finalizing the preparation to be completely busy for a weekend (e.g., cleaning your house, packing what you need to take to the wedding site and maybe the honeymoon, realizing you forgot to get a catsitter)
- Doing anything you could have done earlier but didn't finish yet: assembling favors, printing out programs, finalizing or revising the seating chart and guest table numbers...

I agree with Lyn Never that to some extent, it is the calm before the real last-minute storm (e.g., picking up the cake since the baker doesn't do deliveries), but I personally wouldn't choose to use that moment of slack in the schedule to travel out of town. I'd leave it open as insurance, and then worst case you get a few moments to take a deep breath and relax.
posted by slidell at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2016

I think it depends on how good of friends they are. If they are really good friends and you'll look back in ten years still wishing you had been able to go, I'd go. I nearly didn't go to a close friend's wedding for a litany of practical and financial reasons, but I sucked it up and went and was really glad I did.
posted by whoaali at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2016

I'm getting married two weeks after some close friends whose wedding my fiance and I wouldn't miss for anything. I think it's in the same city we live in, where our wedding will also be, but I hadn't even given thought to any of this until right now, that's how sure I am that we're going to their wedding.

I can't think of any pre-wedding catastrophe that could happen that you could have any real control over (so not, like, the venue burns down), but that you would have to be physically present to deal with and could not handle it over the phone or via email, or just take care of it when you get home.

Also keep in mind, in terms of things like "stressing about seating charts" or "frantically doing a bunch of DIY projects", those are also things you guys can just 100% forgo if you want. I don't give a crap where people sit, so we're not having a seating chart. If you would honestly rather do DIY crafts than be at the wedding of close friends, so be it, but typing it out that sounds kind of dumb. Especially since you could probably do the crafts beforehand knowing you'll be out of town.
posted by Sara C. at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

What even happens during the week leading up to your wedding?
Everything. And Nothing. It's a crazy time in general because, you know, you're getting married. I'm a planner so I planned a lot of stuff, particularly because I had a lot of friends and family flying in for the wedding. It was a crazy time but only because I was busy making time for everyone

Would you go to the friends' wedding, if you were in our situation?
100% yes. Yes, yes, yes. Weddings are awesome. Other people's weddings are amazing, you'll look at your Fiance with googly eyes knowing that you're both about to take the plunge too. Even if the week on the run up to the wedding is crazy, this will be a nice event you can enjoy relatively stress free.
posted by JenThePro at 12:55 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

We went to the wedding of friends a week before ours, and I'm super glad we did. Among other things, it was a really lovely way to get away from the stress of our own wedding at a point at which there wasn't anything more we could do, barring major emergencies. Our journey was about three hours by train (London to Durham in the UK).

We stayed up there the night before their wedding, and came back after the ceremony, lunch and speeches, which meant we missed the dancing, but we made it up to them the following week (they came back early from their honeymoon to be at our wedding)!
posted by featherboa at 12:55 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

What even happens during the week leading up to your wedding?

You get excited as hell

Would you go to the friends' wedding, if you were in our situation?

Heck yeah!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:02 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Personally I wouldn't, but that's because I sort of hate weddings and so the idea of having to go through another wedding right before my own wedding would have just been too much for me to handle. :) I find weddings to be pretty intense emotional affairs, and I guess I would (maybe selfishly!) want to save up all that emotional energy for my own wedding and not spend it all on someone else's -- a week would definitely not be enough for me to recharge and feel really ready and present to go through my own big day. Although we didn't have any big disasters or mix-ups in the week before our wedding, it was a pretty intense time not only in terms of finalizing details but just in terms of mentally getting ready for the wedding.

But, that's just me! It sounds like in your case you both really want to go and are just hesitant because of logistical things, in which case I would probably lean towards going. That said, if you're feeling like you're already at the end of your EMOTIONAL rope, I think it is reasonable to say you can't add another big emotional event a week before your wedding, even if logistically it is possible to deal with things like caterers from afar.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was sitting around doing nothing and getting more anxious by the hour the week before my wedding. Everything was done and there was nothing to do except sit around and be anxious. I was also thinking nonstop about weddings. I wish I'd had a wedding to go to! That would have been perfect.

I say go, especially since you have a planner. You have a cellphone, right? They can call if you they need to. (Just be careful to wash your hands and get enough sleep because yeah, you don't want to get sick either. )
posted by epanalepsis at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

I feel like you could scramble to find a new caterer just as effectively from another state as you can at home. I mean, that's why we have cell phones! Just try to get anything that absolutely requires your in-person presence out of the way the week before your friends' wedding (this seems like it would be nice to do anyway).

And you can always cancel at the last minute if something really does go terribly wrong.
posted by mskyle at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

We did this. It was great. Then the next week many of the same people were at our wedding and that was great.
posted by OmieWise at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2016

Would you go to the friends' wedding, if you were in our situation?


In fact I was a bridesmaid two days before my wedding.

We have a planner, who is badass. I'm pretty confident she could handle *most* fires.

Perfect! Just make sure she knows how to reach you in case of any last-minute changes/decisions, and let her carry out those decisions.
posted by whoiam at 1:22 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

With apologies to griphus, I think about 90 percent of wedding panic is self-imposed.

Etrigan, with all due respect, this is true of damn near everything, and weddings are often complicated events worthy of some extra fuss. You and I may not give a damn about seating charts, but you can bet somebody out there has a Great-aunt Millie who will raise almighty heck for years to come if she's forced to sit with the riffraff, so I can sympathize with anyone who worries about this kind of stuff.

But, OP, I think you should go if you want to. All weddings are celebrations, and it sounds like you want to be a part of this one. If you have a planner and anticipate all the big pieces will be more or less squared away by then, you can spare that weekend.
posted by Diagonalize at 1:26 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The week before our wedding I hosted an Empty Bowls dinner at our church (and cooked two pots of soup), took the PRAXIS, and hosted our families. I trust you're not mad enough to have all that BS scheduled.

If you plan for it, and get all the other stuff done before hand, go! It's only a couple of days and it could be fun. You'll still be back in town a few days before your wedding to do everything that needs to be done within that time-frame.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2016

In my opinion, it depends entirely on how you respond to travel and what you're like under the pressure that is hosting your own wedding and how keyed up you'll be with the thought of your wedding and not much on last-minute wedding business. Chances are, there won't be that much to do the week leading up to your wedding (maybe a haircut?) because you'll have taken care of it all ready.

BUT I would not travel the weekend before my wedding because traveling exhausts me (no matter how much fun I have or how much I enjoy what I did while traveling) and I would not want to spend the next weekend (the first weekend home) hosting a bunch of people and throwing a big party (even if all the work was being handled by someone else).

I guess what it comes down to is: are you the sort of people who have the emotional and physical reserves to have back-to-back blow out socializing weekends, especially when one of them is the intense thrill of your own wedding? If you're not, don't go to the wedding before your own wedding and risk being exhausted, drained and sorry you're not home alone, relaxing.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:53 PM on April 8, 2016

I don't like weddings. And I say go. The thought of a pre-wedding to amp up your own wedding excitement sounds like so much fun, and will get you into the wedding zone a week early, and will help you remember your priorities, and keep you from spinning on your own to do list.

And like mentioned above, it's not like you won't have cell service or Internet to handle a last minute challenge.
posted by Vaike at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2016

If you're not planning to make an extended trip out of it (like you're just going to the wedding and coming back) I think I would do it.

The amount of stuff that happens during that week really depends on how fancy and how DIY you want things to be. At a relative's wedding, the bride/groom and their wedding party spent the week deveining shrimp, folding 500 tiny paper cranes to decorate the handmade menus, hand-throwing 150 mugs for the guest favors, etc. That was a lot of work. At another wedding I went to that summer, the bride basically said "I hired some good vendors and a coordinator to manage all that stuff and I'm not doing anything extra other than making the seating chart." But if you have a competent planner and you yourself are even a little bit organized, you will still have at least 5 days to get everything done. Really the last 1-2 days before the wedding are the busiest because you are actually in the process of bringing all the stuff together (like flowers, etc.)

So, if these are your good friends, I think you should go to their wedding. It will mean a lot to them to see you there and you will have nice memories of the event. In ten years, will you want to say "We didn't go to Fred and Wilma's wedding because we needed to stuff 100 guest bags?"
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 2:14 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it makes you feel any better, we went to a wedding in another state two weeks before our own wedding, and then ended up getting stranded in a racist meth bar on the rural Georgia/Tennessee line when our car broke down, and didn't get back to our home state until like 5 days after we had planned to be back. And I still think if I had to choose whether to go to the wedding again I would go. And they weren't even close friends. Weddings are the best! And as other said, it'll give you some time to take a breather from your own wedding-stress, most of which in my experience was just catastrophizing anyway.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2016 [9 favorites]

then ended up getting stranded in a racist meth bar on the rural Georgia/Tennessee line when our car broke down

It was fine, we got a ride into Atlanta with that monkey psychiatrist
posted by Greg Nog at 2:59 PM on April 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

If I were in your shoes, I'd go to the wedding. I'm also pretty sure that I'd catch myself at the friends' wedding saying "Oh damn, I like they way they did the namecards, I should do the napkins like that." with every big and little thing.

You're going to be up to your eyeballs in planning details around that time, and you will inevitably see something that your friends did that you wish you had thought to do. You're just going to have to swallow any urge to change your own plans, because with a week to go, it's almost certainly too late to change, and there's no point in spending your own wedding thinking that your folded napkin animals aren't as good as they could've been. Resist the urge to upset any commitments to the event program, the guest list, and the little details, and just do the thing that you've been working towards for months.

Good luck and congratulations.

P.S. Get started on those folded napkin animals right away!
posted by Sunburnt at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Will you have a few days off from work/other responsibilities after getting back from your friends' wedding but before your own? If so, assuming you've already met any deadlines that need to be met the week of the wedding, totally go.

We spent the weekend before the wedding doing stuff like buying last-minute alcohol, putting together gift bags, buying extra table decorations - all really totally optional stuff that we could have done well in advance and some of which was totally just using up extra nervous energy. We definitely did need the couple days before our own wedding to focus on details and deal with family, but I think a trip to celebrate someone else the weekend before would have been lovely.

Go. Enjoy. You'll remember it forever as the last wedding before your own wedding.
posted by DuckGirl at 3:08 PM on April 8, 2016

You have a phone that does email, right? So if relatives, vendors, etc need to contact you and freak out, they can. You're fine. Unless you're hand making all you food and decorations, you're fine. Go. Have fun!
posted by olinerd at 3:58 PM on April 8, 2016

The answer to your question is very personality dependent, I think. Would you have everything taken care of weeks ahead of time, and need something to take your mind off your own wedding? Or would you need those last few days before your wedding to finalize plans?

I myself would agree to go to the friends' wedding, and then be very stressed out about it because I find preparing for travel to be stressful (and finding wedding attire). To top it off, thinking back to the weekend before my own wedding, I was scrambling to do last minute stuff, because I took on almost all of the planning and logistics myself and things seemed to keep coming up. I think building in unplanned time before your wedding is good because it allows for relaxation, and for taking care of things that still need to be finished up if need be. And it is not that I value DIY crafts over actual people in my life, that's a pretty uncharitable thing to say. But you should carefully assess what your own needs will be.
posted by JenMarie at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2016

GO! It will be such a relief to not be the FOCUS OF EVERYTHING.

Get your stuff done in advance and have a relaxing weekend when someone else is the star of the show.
posted by 26.2 at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The stuff that happens the last week before the wedding is either all the stuff that literally can't be done earlier (e.g. pick up flowers, arrange for cake pickup if you don't have delivery, pick up any rented items, and possibly a final fitting for the dress if that's down to the wire for whatever reason). It's nothing your planner can't handle without you present (well, except for the dress fitting), and getting away will be so good for your soul. If you know in advance that you're going to be out that weekend, you can make sure the dress is really, really done before then, and nothing else requires your presence until the actual day.

I think the only way it might go wrong for you is if you see something at your friends' wedding that gives you the FOMO, and it's not something you can implement in a week. If you know you can suppress that, GO TO THE WEDDING.

FWIW we had friends at our wedding who were getting married the very next weekend (and whose wedding we missed because we were on our honeymoon). I know they were very glad they came.
posted by fedward at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2016

Go! I hosted a bridal shower the weekend before our wedding, and at our wedding was someone getting married the following weekend, and someone getting married the weekend after that.
posted by notjustthefish at 8:09 PM on April 8, 2016

I just closed on a house purchase and mortgage while on the other side of the globe. You can deal with relatives' last-minute lodging questions while in another state. It is amazing how much can be done with phone and email. And you will have a planner! Sounds great.
posted by Lady Li at 12:44 AM on April 9, 2016

We drove 12 hours to be at a friend's wedding the weekend before ours, drove back, got married, then drove the same trip again for another friend's wedding the following week. And this was before cell phones and wedding planners were a thing. It all worked out and we had a great time.
posted by CathyG at 6:22 AM on April 9, 2016

I wasn't even in the town I was getting married in until a week before my wedding, and that was my husband's college graduation weekend. If memory serves, the things we did between the one week mark and the day before were:

-got the wedding license
-confirmed cake flavor
-did final confirmations with catering, DJ, florist, location
-wrote up a day-before to-do list
-did the final rsvp/seating check, did the name card and table number thing
-got sick

Those all could have been done either two weeks before, or the day before. If anything major had imploded it would have been too late to do anything about. Any minor implosions (I was sick, one relative deemed the seating chart All Wrong, an uncle from out of town had an infected abscess and needed to sort local medical stuff) won't happen until the night before or day of. Make sure the planner knows, but it should be fine.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:49 AM on April 9, 2016

In your situation, we went to our friends' wedding do. It was out of state and so much fun - and having gone to each other's weddings the same week gives us a lovely memory we'll always share.

But for context : we live abroad and only flew in to the US about a week before our own wedding! So we were generally very relaxed about the whole thing, and arranged the entire wedding long distance.
posted by harujion at 6:51 AM on April 9, 2016

You have a planner you trust. The whole lovely thing about having a wedding planner is that they deal with almost all the planning, including last-minute mishaps, so that you don't have to scramble. You are paying someone to do that sort of worrying and fixing for you (plus, they have experience with the fixing part of it, so they probably don't have to do so much worrying). Vendors with questions or freak-outs should be contacting the planner, not you. Unless you have voluntarily taken on DIY tasks, the planner and their staff should be dealing with those, not you. There are things that you will need to do yourself, of course (dress fitting, seating chart [probably]), but you can talk to your planner about it now and get that list figured out -- it will likely be extremely manageable. Because you have a planner! The lists of "Things to do in the week before the wedding when one does not have a wedding planner" and "Things to do in the week before the wedding when one has a wedding planner" are very different lists.
posted by lazuli at 8:57 AM on April 9, 2016

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