Wedding planning is different for everyone. Some people know exactly what they want, others have no idea. Some people have the colors picked out before a boyfriend is anywhere in sight, others care about colors but want a professional to pick them out for them. Some people have been dreaming of their wedding day their entire lives, others doubted if the day would even ever come. Some want the world to know, others are much more private and even embarrassed feeling about the attention and excitement.
All of that being said, I’d never pretend to be an expert on being engaged, planning a wedding, etc. because this process is truly different for everyone and affects everyone differently. I do, however, think there is some value in the fact that my process didn’t end in me walking down the aisle and hopping on a plane to Aruba or Hawaii or Italy the next day. Everyone can look back and draw conclusions about what they loved and what they would have done differently, but I am a different sort of Monday morning QB. My game played out differently than most people’s, and these are my important takeaways, a few years later.
Do not lose focus of the goal, which is nothing more than to get married to your person
Although there is much more smoke and mirrors surrounding a wedding these days, do not forget that the underlying goal and motivation is still to get married. That is the purpose of the day. Otherwise, you’d just stay boyfriend and girlfriend and throw a big party. A good friend told me that planning a wedding is like a runaway train that just keeps barreling down the tracks, and in many ways it feels like you can’t stop the momentum (from a size, budget, vision perspective). Don’t let the train get away; stay focused on the goal and the underlying motivation to keep your head on straight.
You and your fiancé are likely going to approach the process very differently, and it is not an indication of either of your love for each other, your excitement about the day, or your care for how the day goes
People are just different in their approach to getting there. I can remember coming away from an early meeting with our venue about food and being so frustrated that Jon didn’t remember the menu items we had discussed in the previous meeting that, to me, were so detailed and lovely and perfect sounding. I was shaken early on, realizing that this day’s details didn’t hold the same weight with Jon that they did with me. As silly as it sounds to me now, it really did shake me. Make sure your expectations align with reality—you know your person, and you know what does or does not make him/her tick. Wedding planning is certainly not going to change any of that.
Flush out the value-laden questioning and feedback from others
We are all guilty of it: berating the newly engaged about their plans for the nuptials. Because it’s exciting! And they should be excited too! Aren’t they excited to tell me about their plans?! There’s so much to plan and figure out! Tell me everything! Ahhh!!
When you’re on the receiving end, it is exciting. But for me, it started to subconsciously drive home the point that this wedding was not about me and Jon; it was about everyone else. It began to color the way I looked at everything. I found myself seeing everything through the lens of What would so-and-so think? Would so-and-so like that? and in summary, viewing my wedding through everyone’s eyes except my own.
Get the f*ck off Pinterest
Sorry… being a little dramatic. Although it’s a good thing in many ways that so much of a wedding can be DIY these days, do not be fooled: it’s also a nightmare. Be careful what you dream of tackling for your wedding and what lofty goals you have for your special day: it can be a very difficult thing for perfectionist people to be able to see pictures and photographic evidence of what they want, running the very real risk that theirs won’t look the same (as always, my literal life mantra: comparison is the thief of joy). Your wedding should be about you and your fiancé, and nothing should be taken away from that by all the nameless and faceless brides and grooms all over Pinterest.
Be upfront about your expectations and wishes
I know I’ve been harping on the fact that it’s your day, but I do think it’s important to be honest and upfront with the people in your life who are excited to hopefully be a part of your wedding and the days leading up to it. I am not someone who naturally comes out and shares every detail without being prompted, and then sometimes even still not, and although I meant no harm by this trait, I found that it could be misconstrued or taken to be something more negative and value-laden. In being myself and acting independently often, I sometimes thought I was doing others a favor by not burdening them. Turns out, most people don’t find this burdensome and would rather know every detail. This doesn’t mean you have to share every detail, but I think it would help to be honest and upfront about your intention to share or not share early on so everyone is on the same page. Of course, be open to people’s opinions and feelings, too, but if you’re communicative about your desires and goals from the get-go, anyone who cares about you will be understanding of your wishes. If you aren’t the type to have all your female relatives and friends there to help you dress shop, be upfront about how you see that day going. If you know what something is going to cost your wedding party, or you know who’s IN your wedding party, or if there’s things you’d love help with, and other things you’d much rather tackle by yourself, or just with your mom, or just with your best friend, be clear about it early on. People appreciate information, and by holding it in or putting it off, you’re not doing anyone, including yourself, any favors.
Stay true to yourself, and think big picture
It's the only time (hopefully) in your life that you'll be able to experience this fun time, so spend it positively and authentically. If you're letting little things or people stress you out or bother you, keep focus on the bigger picture and remember that the day is going to be wonderful, regardless of most of the details. Someday you'll miss this time - even the frustrating parts. It will all be something you look back on fondly and warmly as long as you stay true to yourself and keep a healthy perspective.