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Bride-to-Be Saba Gashugi: The 'Unglam' Wedding Tips No One Ever Discusses

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See more photos of Saba's makeover >>

Our very own ESSENCE.com coordinator Saba Gashugi aka The BlackBerry Bride is preparing to go from Ms. to Mrs. in three weeks. Check out her hilarious tales from the road to the chapel.

It's not really your day. Between your mother's grandiose dreams and your fiance's mafioso touches, you might be only lucky enough to choose your dress and groom. I wanted a small wedding on the shores of St. Thomas. What I got was a wedding in Michigan with 350 guests and 14, yes, 14, bridesmaids.

The true meaning of hips don't lie. My mother and I went to a bridal shop in hopes of me trying on some dresses and I gave the attendant my measurements, 36, 25, 46. She asked me what size of dresses I typically wear and I said 10. She then told me that their dresses ran in European sizes and were probably not going to fit me. I told her I was a size 10 African. Unfortunately for me, the trumpet-style dresses that I wanted didn't' fit. They only carried dresses that ranged from size 4-10 European. 

Wedding vendors keep bank hours. It's much easier to plan a wedding when you're unemployed. To keep a job in this economy you have to work smarter, harder and longer hours. That makes it is almost impossible to make it to the printers, florists or caterers before 5 P.M. The first wedding vendor that is open 24 hours a day will make a bundle and should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Read the fine print. I found out six weeks before my wedding that my reception site was under construction although they knew it wasn't going to be complete until after my wedding. When I threatened to cancel, they said that meant my deposit would be forfeitted and I would have to pay an additional $2500 to cover their losses. I've since learned that you can get great deals on wedding insurance coverage at wedsafe.com. If I had wedding insurance, it might have covered my losses.

I see fine men...EVERYWHERE! It seemed like the moment that ring was on my finger, I saw fine men everywhere! One time I was walking down the sidewalk with one of my single girlfriends who was complaining about not being able to find any good-looking men. While she was talking I saw like ten of them within one NYC block and she saw none. It's as if the moment you're no longer looking for a man, you start to see what's really out there. Get behind me, Satan!

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Let's talk about it. My fiance had to go to premarital counseling in order to get married in our church, and it seemed as though everyone who had been through it took a vow of  silence about what goes on in their sessions, so I was a little nervous at first.  When we started our counseling we took an inventory questionnaire that asked us questions from where we fell in the family birth order to how we much money we made. For great advice on how we can reach our financial goals together I've turned to fidelity.com.

Change is coming. Marriage brings with it a lot of changes, moving, changing jobs, and changing your last name. As much as I love my fiance, and look forward to being one with him, I am not looking forward to changing my last name. When we first started talking about getting married, the name change didn't seem like a big deal, but now that it's less than a month away, it is a somber thought. Other newlywed women I know have told me that it is traumatic at first, but over time you get used to it. Change is coming, ready or not.

It's not all going to work out. There seems to be this unspoken code among everyone who is around a bride that makes them say "don't worry, it's going to be a beautiful wedding," when you tell them about the latest catastrophe. If your dress doesn't fit or the church you booked has just burned down three days before your wedding, everyone around you will make it seem like none of that matters. The truth is, it does! Remember the last wedding that you went to that you thought was awful? Well, everyone told that bride it was going to be beautiful too.

It's called the Justice of the Peace for a reason. Some days planning for your dream wedding is a nightmare. I often just want to throw in the towel and go to the courthouse and forget the hype. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have "your day," but when the stress builds and the bills mount, you'll think of the peace that passes understanding that brides who go to the courthouse must feel. 

Where my girls at? I have girlfriends of all shapes and sizes, but that never seemed like a problem until they were in my lineup. Finding a dress, or even two, that would cover the spectrum of their shapes is not easy. The big girls will complain if it's strapless and the thinner girls don't want to wear a shawl. Even though it's the bride's way or the highway, you want everyone to look good and feel good. Your bridal party really does boil down to the sum of their body parts.

Filed Under: Expert Advice
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