Here are some helpful tips on how to keep wedding planning a happy time for both you and your partner and to not lose sight of your ceremony.
photographer: Joe Banker Photography
Over the past several months I've encountered two different couples (not clients of mine) who are getting married. When I asked them how the wedding planning is going, their responses kind of surprised me. "Ugh - I'm so over it. We're just ready to be done with it and get this out of the way." Oh...
That response made me feel sad, honestly. I truly wasn't sure how to respond either time. Getting married should be an exciting time, not a miserable one. I obviously LOVE planning weddings, and I often forget not everyone does. A large part of why I do this is because I genuinely love helping people such a big step in their lives. What confuses me though is - if you hate it this much - then why are you doing it??
Getting married is a massive step & commitment in your relationship. It's choosing to love one another until death do you part. Uhh.. that's kind of a big deal. Most of the time that feeling of security brings happiness, right? I remember when Jason proposed to me, I think I was on Cloud 9 for at least a week straight. And in all seriousness I felt like I was glowing! It was an incredible, different kind of feeling.
Take that feeling and ask yourself why you feel this way? Have you been waiting to start a family until marriage so you can't wait for a family of your own? Are you ready to fully commit to the one person in your life you love the most? Whatever your reasoning may be, THAT feeling is a gut reminder that tying the knot is the right next step for you and your relationship.
Take that feeling again, and then start planning your wedding. For some of you, that feeling may quickly disappear and turn into STRESSSSSSSSS. You've fallen off of Cloud 9 and just want to get to the big day already. This whole planning stuff isn't for you - and that's okay! It doesn't have to be.
Planning your wedding isn't supposed to be miserable and stressful. You're finally marrying the love of your life! That's LITERALLY the entire point as to why you're having a wedding to begin with. It's a day to celebrate love and your commitment to one another. If you're reading this and you resonate with those couples who want it to be over with - stop and remind yourself why you're getting married in the first place. Take yourself back to that glowing feeling right after your fiancé proposed. Take a step back from the chaos and all of the decision making, look at your fiancé, and say "Damn, I am so grateful I found my person and that I get to spend the rest of my life with them."
.....Did that help a little? I get it - your family's wants and opinions can make things tough, but putting their thoughts entirely aside, there are a few things you can do to put the fun & love back into planning your own wedding and actually enjoy your engagement a little more.
Get a full service planner. I'm not just saying this because I'm a wedding planner, I promise. I always tell my clients - if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! My team and I take great pride in making planning easy & fun, and I'm a firm believer in leaving things you hate to the hands of professionals. We CAN stand the heat - that's why we stay in the kitchen for long 12 hour days, so to speak. Because we love it and we want to.
Keep your budget small for all the glitz and glam, and make room for a full service planner who will literally do everything for you. Aside from meeting with your planner and vendors, you'll barely have to lift a finger. If you can find room in your budget for your dream $4k photographer, you can find room for a wedding planner. A wedding can take anywhere between 100 to 500 hours of planning depending on the budget and scope of wants & needs. That's... a lot. If you know you're the type of person who is absolutely going to hate and dread planning your own wedding every step of the way, then make the investment, relax, and put the enjoyment back into your engagement and wanting to get married by knowing you can rely on someone else to handle the stress for you.
Book a full service venue. Find a venue that includes most of these amenities if not all: food, bar, cake, tables, chairs, and linen. Find a venue too that has such a beautiful space that you barely have to decorate. Two boxes of personal items & a Welcome Sign - no problem. I wouldn't suggest getting married in a blank canvas space that requires you to think heavily into decor. Make things easy on yourself and cross of a ton of planning items right off the bat just by finding a venue that can do a lot for you. If they have a recommended vendors list, life will be easier if you just adhere to it, too. Instead of looking at 300+ photographers on Instagram and overwhelming yourself, research the 5 on their list, instead.
Minimize your budget. I briefly touched on this, but if you don't love wedding planning to begin with, then why have a $30,000+ budget? You already know this, but weddings are EXPENSIVE. Take that large blow up photo booth off your list and eliminate any plans you had to find wedding favors or create ceremony programs. There are several things you can do to cut down on costs. Cutting down on costs also means cutting down your to-do list. No ceremony programs means no research or time needed to choose what kind of programs you want. Tri-fold or bi-fold? What design do you like most? Do you prefer this font or that one? ...do you see where I'm going with all of this? Shorter to do list = less stress. I've even had not one but two clients choose to play music from their Spotify Premium for their reception vs having a DJ. And you know what? Their guests still had a fantastic time. A hype man DJ isn't the reason behind you tying the knot, the ceremony & your marriage license is. Make a list of must haves and wants, and begin eliminating from there.
Keep it small. I feel like I used to attend and help plan so many 250+ weddings. Then COVID hit and everything changed. Most guest lists now hover around a solid 125-150. You don't need to invite Great Great Great Aunt Sally because your Grammy says so. It's YOUR wedding, not anyone else's, right? Like I already mentioned, your wedding day is the day where you get to celebrate your love for one another. So only invite people who genuinely care about you and love you. Invite people who are close to you in your current life, not someone you haven't spoken to in 5 years, but "you used to have a history" so you feel obligated to invite them. Keeping things small & intimate helps take the pressure of planning off, too. Intimate weddings are my favorite, and I truly believe they're here to stay. And by the way, if you don't like being the center of attention, I'm not sure why you have a large guest list! Keep your guest list below 100. Heck, make it 50! This also goes with keeping a small budget. If you have a small guest list, that means less alcohol and less food - less you have to spend.
Elope or Court House it up. And then have a celebration picnic afterwards. I'm being totally serious. If you hate planning such a big event then why are you?? This may not be the answer for all, I understand that. But don't force yourself to do something you don't want to do. Follow up your small court house or beach ceremony with a casual outdoor picnic at a pavilion. Way easier and less stressful to plan than a large wedding, and it's more laid back, too.
Ignore All Opinions! That aren't your own or your fiancé's. One of my closest friends is getting married next year and her future MIL is acting like this is her wedding, and it's making my dear friend lose her mind! What's the fun in being miserable while planning your own wedding?? If you're in the same predicament as her, honestly - try to plan silently in private. This is a little extreme, I know, and can be tough, but you'll thank me. Every time those problem family members ask you how the planning is going, say "Great!" and leave it at that. If you would like assistance planning from someone who's not going to add more stress to your plate, let's circle back to my first point - hire a wedding planner who will have your best interest at heart the entire time through the planning process.
The stigma of needing a huge fancy wedding is unfair, because I think sometimes it makes couples who don't want it feel like they have to have it. I have assisted several $10k budget weddings. It's an incredibly feasible thing to do, and the couples were always so thrilled with how their day went. What matters the most is that you walk away from your wedding day feeling loved & happy, and I hope you remembered to slow down and just soak it all in with your new spouse, too.
When asked what my favorite part of any wedding day is, I've had the same answer for years. And it's a large part of why I do what I do & LOVE what I do. Every time I make that final fluff of my bride's dress and watch her walk down the aisle to her forever person - I get chills every. single. time. It's really special watching their eyes well up with tears as they see each other and think - wow, how did I get so lucky? I am SO happy to be marrying this person today.
Before all the sparkle & glam, and before all the stress starts to kick in - remember what your wedding day is truly about. That love you'll feel by officially becoming a team with your spouse in this game of life - THAT is why you're getting married in the first place.