It is well into 2017 and my reign as a bride is over… the torch must be passed on. Really it is rather devastating as I realized with my mom coming to visit a couple weeks ago that there would be no more “wedding outfit” shopping. The last three times she has come to visit we either had gone, wedding dress shopping or mother of the bride dress shopping and consumed our time with talking about details of the wedding. That has come to an end… and I must say it is rather heartbreaking.
Since this is the case, its feels that I should re-live some of my last year through telling you what I learned. After all, this is a once in a lifetime event and anything I can share with you in going through the process myself, should only improve your wedding journey.
Therefore, here are here are my lessons I learned in planning a wedding.
- Hire a wedding planner.
Seriously this is a non-negotiable. If you feel you can’t afford a wedding planner, create some sort of arrangement with a family friend or cousin or acquaintance that is very organized and has planned events before, to take over AT LEAST the week before the wedding and and or give you some support throughout the process. If you CAN afford one, this should be your first expense. All your day dreaming, years of planning should not be be overtaken by your stress because you think you can “do it all yourself “ and “it is going to be easy.” Just because you can plan your fiance’s birthday, or your mom’s 50th surprise party does not mean you should take on the responsibility of planning your own wedding. You are so emotionally involved and there is so much to coordinate.. things that you can’t EVEN REMOTELY imagine at this point … i.e. transportation and accommodation for all of your vendors, what kind of generators and sound system your band needs.. does the venue provide that ? if not, you need go buy what they need.. what is your rain plan if you get married outside ? If it does rain, who will be in charge of changing everything on the day ? Who will tell the guests? Who will tell catering that they can’t set up outside and who is going find a kitchen space for them inside… ? Surely I hope you don’t think that person will be you!? It is not all flowers and cake tasting…..
Create a situation to have the most enjoyable day possible, where you can relax and be in the moment. GET A WEDDING PLANNER, I seriously cannot even fathom my wedding without one.
- Do a re-cap of your budget once a month.
Set a day, be it the first of the month or the 15th, but set a day and review and make sure your budget is up to date. There is no such thing as being OVER aware of where you stand in the finance department. You might approve a quote on contract, but after three months of back and forth emails, you will find it hard to keep track of the extra part for the sound system that the band needed, or the extra shipping you paid on the linens or the alteration cost on your dress, etc. All those little extras add up VERY fast. I am speaking from first hand experience… I don’t really have too much regret about my own wedding, except that I should have made a budget review every month. It will save a lot of tears and stress in the last couple of months.
- Hire a Videographer.
Nothing will be able to bring you back to the moment like watching a live playback. Photos are wonderful, but they don’t capture the sound and energy of what was happening in a moment. If I HAD to pick one over the other I would choose to have a professional videographer and then ask a couple people I know with a fancy cameras to take photos for me. Also, if there are budget restraints you could also just hire a photographer to come and do portraits for an hour. That way you insure that you had a couple very nice posed photos. Because let’s be honest… what do you do with the 1500 photos your photographer gives you…. ? They will most likely just stay in your Iphoto album. A video will be able to bring you back to that day and you can watch it over and over again.
- Be prepared for PTSD with regards to your dress choice.
If you the least bit cared about your dress in the first place, you will have chosen your dress the 8 months before your wedding and then continue to see new dresses come to market. This will make you wish you could go dress shopping again, because you think “ou ! I didn’t see one like that when I was shopping…” Women are fickle, especially any that are interested in fashion. Even on the day as much as I loved my dress I got super insecure that I didn’t choose the right one, will people like it? is it the statement I should have made on the day? etc. Then after the fact, I look back on all my dress trying-on photos and torture myself with thinking that I didn’t give this dress or that dress enough of a consideration and really it photographs really well etc. etc.
I heard the other day someone talking about after wedding how she was still following all these wedding dress designers on Instagram and it was basically like and inflicting regret and confusion onto herself.
I have to say… I was relieved to hear I was not the only one!! I think it is party of the process, as basically it is like choosing your dream outfit for one day and you will be forever be remembered by it… it is a lot of pressure!
- Your relationships will change.
It sounds a tad dramatic, but it is true. I remember having lunch with a friend I had not seen in a long time at the beginning of my wedding planning. She has just gotten married and she said to me… “I’ll warn you, everyone will disappoint you throughout this process.” I stared at her blankly thinking… whatever do you mean!?… it sounded horrible. She went on to say “You don’t think they will…but your parents, your bridesmaids…everyone will disappoint you at some point. But it will be ok and you just have to remember its part of the process. “
After walking away from that lunch I thought that obviously she doesn’t have the same kind of people in her life that I do and that would never happen with my family and friends!
Cut to 6 months later and me in a puddle of tears because someone in my family or my husband’s said this, or someone had been making passive aggressive comments about that, people weren’t acting how I expected them to.. etc.
It sounds Bridezillish I am sure, but once you get there you will understand.
You have had so much expectation for so long around this one event, it will be guaranteed that people in your life won’t necessarily go along with exactly how you imagine things should play out.
So, be prepared for the evolution of relationships… Some relationships may end throughout the process or at least be damaged.
Having said that, on the flip side some of your relationships will flourish and grow, you will be come closer to some of the people in your life after reconnecting through the planning and event. You can simply prepare yourself for it and then take it all in as part of your life’s journey.
Overall let’s hope you have a supportive fiance, as I could not have gone through my planning process without my now husband. He very gently took my hand and walked me in the other direction when I was ready to walk off a cliff. You and everyone else has to understand that this is about you and your fiance’s union. Your parents, your aunt, sister and your all of the rest of your family and friends had their own time or will have their own time to have THEIR wedding, but this is yours. So regardless of how their express their opinions to you, what you and your fiance’ want is really what matters in the end.
If my now husband would have listened to our families initially, we would have had a local, large wedding wedding which everyone has been to some version of before and no one would probably ever talked about it after the fact. When instead we had the most amazing 55 person destination wedding at a French Chateau, which no one stops talking about.
YOU DO YOU!
Happy Planning !