My husband and I planned our wedding in August of 2014, while also figuring out the Green Card process (he’s from England) and our careers. The wedding planning was fun, but it was a lot to handle. Predictably, it sort of became an outlet for my stress surrounding everything else that was going on, because it was something I could be in control of. Looking back, I probably could have relinquished a bit of that control and saved myself a bit of stress. I don’t regret anything about the wedding, but when talking to couples now, I’m a little bit wiser.
It’s impossible for me to tell couples not to stress out without feeling hypocritical. I always tell them that on the day they are not going to care about the small stuff, because that they will be so happy and excited that all of that won’t matter. And I honestly do believe that. But leading up to the wedding can feel like a huge deal! When else have you planned a party for 100+ people? Even our 62-guest wedding was a ton of work.
The other thing no one tells you is that if you’re creative, trying to plan a wedding can start to feel like building a brand. What message do I want to send with my wedding colors? What does the “theme” say about us? There is a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s best to step back a little bit. It’s fun to have a theme, to make decorations, or to have handmade favors and invites if that’s your thing. But it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Your friends, family and loved ones are mostly excited about your future and getting to hang out with you, not the favors.
So, a few things I learned from planning my own wedding:
1. If you can’t keep plants alive, you probably should hire a florist. I had my heart set on fern bouquets, which are sort of a specialty item, as it turns out. So I thought I’d do them myself. Completely ignoring the fact that I can’t keep any plant alive for more than a few weeks (update: I now have had a succulent for two years!).
I ordered about 50 ferns online, two days before the wedding. Our apartment looked like a tiny jungle. They managed to hold up and actually looked really nice in the end, but I should have delegated that one to a florist.
2. Your wedding doesn’t have to include everything. For some reason I had that idea that our wedding had to reflect every part of our personalities. I love artichokes, we have to include them! Remember those stick-on earrings from the 90s? Should we give them out as favors? At one point I suggested having the Twin Peaks theme song as our processional. Owen said that might be kind of creepy. Looking back, I think he was right. Although we did have Hitchcock movie posters as table settings.
I definitely don’t think a wedding needs to have one “theme.” I tried to do that initially and realized it wasn’t what we wanted to do. But I think I could have relaxed about the whole “incorporating every single interest we have” thing.
3. There’s nothing wrong with you if you feel stressed out. I was really nervous on the day of the wedding. Everything I had read online said that I would be floating on air, that it would be a perfect and blissful day. And once we were saying our vows and dancing with our friends and family, it was. But I was also extremely nervous for a good portion of the morning! And that’s okay. Everyone is different. Don’t make things more stressful by putting unrealistic expectations upon yourself.
4. Hire a day-of coordinator if possible. If there were one thing I would have included, it would be a day-of coordinator. You don’t want to be worrying about herding people in the right direction or making sure things are running on time. If you can delegate responsibility, do it!
Overall, there were only a few things that I’d advise you to do differently to save yourself a little stress. In hindsight, it doesn’t matter-our wedding was so happy. Try not to sweat the small stuff, and delegate responsibility when you can. And don’t try to become a florist overnight.
Additional tips? Feel free to comment below.
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