Happy Valentine’s Day!
Holiday proposals have given way to the hustle and bustle of making sure everyone’s Big Day goes off with(out) a hitch *haha. I crack myself up*. Have you picked a day? Reserved your vendors? Sent out your invitations? Don’t worry, I know the struggle is real. It wasn’t too long ago that my Mr. C. and I went through this famous rite of passage called Wedding Planning. It’s a busy time!
Through our engagement we laughed, we cried and we considered eloping a few times. Wedding planning can get complicated fast especially since for many it’s a brand new experience! My blood pressure went up when I tried on my bridal gown and found out it was the wrong size (and by the way, they couldn’t get the right one until after my wedding date). My mind went numb with all the number crunching and list making. Add in the extra work of coordinating people and I often felt like my head would explode. *So, dad needs to pick up someone from the airport, the moms need to get their dresses, I need to get with the musicians about their questions, the DJ needs our song list, and has anyone paid the caterer yet?!?* Oh, and have we forgotten I have Chronic Fatigue? Without some strategy, the end of our ropes can come a lot sooner than later.
Let me share a few things that we found super helpful:
1.) Start wedding planning early (even before engagement)! When we knew we were getting married, we started researching and planning. Mr. C. had a special proposal date picked out that was a few months down the road, so we thought it best to not waste precious time getting a few details lined up. Among other things, our church’s premarital counseling was completed in advance, I bought my dress (which ended up being fine after a few months of serious alterations), we had a date picked out and reserved a venue. This was very important because we didn’t want to be crunched for time or unduly stressed with what would’ve been a tighter (and maybe impossible) schedule. We had a 5.5 month engagement, but 9 months of wedding planning. Some people thought it was unconventional, but you should know your limits. Sometimes it’s necessary to break from tradition for the sake of your health and wellness. When you guys are happy, everyone is happy!
2.) Delegate. Some of you might be perfectionists or natural planners. You may have all your brilliant ideas saved to Pinterest, and only YOU know the details. Though I get that this is your big day, I promise you that it will be a much better experience if you let people help. Yes, I know that tendency to micromanage everyone you’ve delegated tasks to, but you need to let them handle some things so you can rest. Some of you may be tight on cooperative friends and family, but don’t fret. This gives you and your mate some practice planning, communicating and working together. Let the experience be more about memories and milestones than about letting wedding prep consume months of your time. The ceremony and reception will be over in a few hours. Your marriage is for life. Focus on each other. Breathe. Enjoy.
3.) Closely tied with delegating is communicating. Don’t be shy to speak up and ask for help. A lot of times people may not know if you want help or even how you’d like them to help. Weddings are very personal, and many people feel the need to respect this and give you space. With that said, assume it’s up to you to initiate. If for some reason (that I can’t fathom!) you feel like you really don’t need help, or you don’t want to bother people, at least communicate with your fiancé. It’s important that you both are on the same page about your needs right now and through marriage. Speak up!
4.) Once it’s done, it’s done. Don’t go back and second guess. Move on. This was fantastic advice given to me by a close family member. I had to recall this many times while picking colors, themes, food, music, ceremony specs, table decorations, invitations…OK, you get it. You may feel unsettled, insecure, or unsure about EVERYTHING. Set yourself free. Check it off the list! This same person also gave me the advice to mentally let go of all the decisions and details after the rehearsal. You need this time before the wedding day to take a step back and get yourself together. You shouldn’t have to make any more decisions (consider delegating someone else to field questions and comments). The pressure is finally off! Congrats! Calm your mind and get ready to have the party of your life.
5.) The Newlyweds shouldn’t be responsible for guests on the big day. This came as very good advice from very good friends. Though the Bride and Groom are the reason for the season, you are not obligated to host, entertain, coordinate, serve, etc. on the wedding day. You are there to enjoy each other, take care of each other and bask in the magnificence of what the day means for your lives. For those of us who’ve attended weddings, doesn’t this go without saying? We don’t expect special attention from the happy couple. We just come and enjoy. It’s your day, and guests really don’t mind if you need to get away from the crowd to rest here and there. Our friends told us that everyone will think we’re out taking pictures anyway. Though we found that we didn’t need any breaks, we still reminded ourselves that we are not responsible to make sure everyone is having a good time. Good advice!
6.) Plan to rest after the wedding. We heard from a few people that even without chronic illness, heading straight to the airport from the send off made for an exhausting honeymoon. Now factor in your health needs. Maybe plan to rest for a day or more before traveling. You may not feel like the wedding day was long (for me it zipped by!) but your body may feel it the next few days. Discuss your travel concerns with your mate so that you can both be ready to rest when needed.
7.) Factor in moving. Mr. C. and I have the conviction that it isn’t right to live intimately together before marriage. For those of you with similar lifestyles, the packing and moving process should be considered. Plan time for this! I had a hard time managing wedding planning and moving especially during the exhausting crunch time at the end. Thankfully, I had fantastic bridesmaids come help, and with my dad and Mr. C.’s trucks most of the packing and haul were done in a day.
8.) If you remember anything from these notes, it should be this: ALWAYS GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME. When you research all those wedding checklists (and there are many), increase the time. If it’s a 6-month wedding checklist, rewrite it for 9-12 months. If your hair stylist or photographer suggests certain blocks of time for things, increase it in case you need breaks. Dress shopping will take longer for you, decision making may be slower, and the hours in the day you can dedicate to planning may be limited. Things will not all go as planned, and you’ll need time to recover and re-plan. Give yourself time and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of great memories from “Will you?” to “I do”. Good luck!
Do you have any advice you’d like to add? What was your wedding planning experience like? I’d love to read your thoughts.