Wedding Planning Basics 101
Let’s face it: the engagement process is an emotional rollercoaster. You start off at the very top with the proposal, riding an emotional high as you swoon at each other with every chance you get, marvel in calling one another fiancé (ugh, it’s just so french and exotic and you love it) and can’t help but steal glances (or open-jawed stares, let’s be honest) at the new rock glinting on your finger. Don’t get me wrong, this initial state is absolutely wonderful. Full of champagne toasts, congratulations from people you didn’t even know you were still friends with on Facebook, and endless opportunities to shamelessly flaunt your left hand while you retell the proposal story (for the billion-zillionth time), this is the honeymoon stage of the engagement – ironic, I know.
Soon enough, however, the questions and advice come bombarding in.
When is the wedding date? What are your colors? Send me a picture of your dress. What do you mean you don’t know yet?? You’ve been engaged for two hours already. You must do a summer wedding. Pastels are so in right now. June 14th would be a marvelous day. You MUST do it June 14th with pastel colors. Want me to call to reserve? No, not another word – I’ll do it right now.
And Oh, your kids will be so cute. When are you going to have them? How many? What will their names be? Oh-my-god are you pregnant right now?? I knew it! What’s that? You’re not pregnant? So you’re getting married just because? Huh.
Or Where are you doing it? In the church? Wait, what do you mean he’s not Catholic, too?? Did you know that when you were dating him? Where will you go on Sundays? What will your children be? Do your parents know? (makes sign of cross)
These questions, while I’m sure coming from a good place (most of them, at least), might incite the downhill ascent from the rollercoaster high into sheer panic. So if you’re anything like me and have fallen into the anxiety-inducing terror brought on by the magnitude of planning what HAS TO BE the Best Day of Your Life Ever (no pressure, right?), well then stop. Take a deep breath. And relax. Here are three steps to help you through it.
1. Hash out what’s most important to you both. To start the planning process, sit down with your partner and brainstorm your dream wedding. It doesn’t have to be realistic, just make a flowchart/wordlist/whatever-you-want with words or ideas related to your wedding that bring you both joy. Once you combine ideas, your ideal wedding will likely begin to materialize from the haze of all potential possibilities. Circle the top 3 things you want to focus on. Are they the band, photography, and dress? Or food, open-bar, and flowers? Whatever they are, make them a priority and keep them at the forefront before you start delving into the deep and dark recesses that is wedding planning.
2. Set a budget. Make it realistic and stick to it. Don’t become indebted because of a wedding. ‘Nuff said.
3. Make a timeline of what needs to get done and when. Better yet, check out The Every Girl’s Wedding Timeline and adjust as you see fit. Once it’s all down on paper, believe me, you’ll feel much better.
As you move forward, remember that perfection is the enemy of good. Find somewhere you feel comfortable, people you want to work with, and things that bring you joy. The details and decorations can all be figured out later. This should be an exciting and happy process, so as soon as it gets overly stressful, take a step back and do something entirely different. Go on a date with your boo. Read a non-wedding-related book. Take a warm bath. Then return to it when you’re ready. Wedding planning will take a lot of work, but keep in mind that it should be a (mostly) enjoyable process and that it will be worth it in the end. Not because the decorations will all match perfectly or the day will flow seamlessly, but because you get to marry the love of your life and nothing can be better than that.
4. Enjoy it! Believe me, the time will fly by! Before you know it, it will already be your wedding day and all of the painstaking planning and organizing will all come together to be a beautiful day. Don’t fret about the details – when you stare into your SO’s eyes and say “I Do,” nothing else will matter except you two in that moment. So embrace the color palettes, the fabric options, flower galore, and Pinterest frenzy that will surely ensue. And remember that at the end of it all, you get to promise yourself to your best friend.