I was married in November 2013, and during the last two years I have looked back on my wedding with great joy, love and amazement. I still wonder how I pulled it off, how all the little pieces came together in a way that was so “us” (meaning my husband and me). That perhaps was the best compliment I received about our wedding – that it was so us.
Creating a wedding that is so the couple isn’t as easy as one might think it is. Everyone has an opinion about how things should be done, and if some of those people are contributing to the wedding itself, then it can be even harder to not agree to every idea they have.
I have a few friends who have been married recently, and in hearing their struggles about the planning process I realized there are some things I feel every bride and groom should try to remember. Note that this opinion is coming from someone who wanted a wedding that was “so” the couple. If this is not you, then feel free to read another post.
To all future brides and grooms,
Too often I am hearing friends say during the wedding planning process that they are doing things they don’t want to be doing out of guilt. I feel it is possible to keep the focus of the wedding on the couple. Your wedding day doesn’t belong to your parents or your siblings or your in-laws. It doesn’t belong to the society or the culture or your friends. It belongs to you both because it is a day to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.
This, I know, is harder said than done. But it is possible, and here is how we did it.
- Talk through your dream celebration with your fiance only, early in the process, before getting others’ opinions.
- Why? It is important to discuss what you both want without thinking about anyone else’s opinions. We opted for a place in DC so our guests could experience the city as well. We wanted the ceremony and reception at the same place to avoid excess transportation on the guests. No church. Big party. Desire to keep it under 150.
- Define your most important things. (Good to do in the process above)
- Why? There are WAY too many decisions to make. So if you know your big items, then you can prioritize those and not worry so much on the things that don’t matter as much to you both. I really cared about the flowers, so we paid more for a trial of the arrangements so we could tweak them if needed (which ended up being needed). I, however, didn’t care about the linens. My husband planned the music for the ceremony as music was important to him. We even went to hear the band before we hired them to confirm.
- If you are lucky enough to have family and/or friends contribute to the wedding, ask them too about their most important thing to have at the wedding.
- Why? My philosophy was that since they are helping to pay, they can get have input on one specific thing. My step-dad wanted us to have a cake. We could have cared less, but he wanted a cake. My mom wanted an open bar for the entire wedding. My in-laws wanted live music for the ceremony. My father and step-mom didn’t really have a thing, which I believed and took at face value. After this round of questioning, we sought advice only when we wanted it.
- Expect drama.
- Why? Big parties with lots of family, relationships and baggage bring drama regardless of how much you try to avoid it. So when it comes, just say “hello drama, I expected you,” handle it and move on. I have a big family and I expected drama, but I didn’t get what I expected. I got a whole different type of drama. But, I said hello to the drama and tried my best to handle it with grace and without letting it destroy the planning process overall.
- Wedding planning doesn’t understand the word budget.
- Why? Who knows! You can try hard. We tried hard. I thought we were doing really well. And then I added it all up and we were over. But, once you’re in it, you’re in it, and you’ve just got to let it go. Don’t let it add more stress though. Deep breathe, and let it go.
- Find time to treasure your relationship as you are planning the celebration.
- Why? Because it is a process. It is logistics all the time. Sometimes my then fiance (now husband) would look at me and say “can we not tonight,” and others “are you sure you don’t want to elope?” You both need to take time away from the process and remember why you are doing it in the first place.
Choosing to do you, to keep the focus just on you two during this process, isn’t always possible. I get that. However, the day also doesn’t have to get completely away from your vision because of the pull of others. It is possible to keep some control.
So, this is my wish for all future brides and grooms. Remember it is your day. Take back control.
Photo credits the one and only Carly Fuller.