My two-year engagement was a whirlwind of emotions. I went from 0 to 60 with 10 different wedding-dedicated Pinterest boards (one for each category, naturally), a bloated registry wish-list, and the need to incorporate every offbeat wedding detail into our big day. I rode that Bridezilla wave safely to shore, and became grounded, centered, and focused on what really matters. But how, you ask? I came to 5 major realizations.
- Personal trumps unique
I went to eight weddings in 2013, and another seven in 2014, and I can honestly say that my favorites had nothing to do with how different they were, and everything to do with how lovely of a time I had. This all boils down to two simple ingredients: a fun atmosphere, and pure love & joy emanating from the bride & groom. I tried to keep this in mind every time I got overwhelmed thinking that my wedding wasn’t “unique” enough. Every flower arrangement and escort card and hors d’oeuvre and reception entrance song has been done before, somewhere, by some bride & groom. I learned to focus less on making my wedding unique, and more on tweaking a few details to reflect something special about me & MPR that added to the personality of the night.
- Everyone has an opinion
You know those people who have a friendly face that just makes strangers want to spill their guts? Yeah, I’m not one of those people, but whenever someone saw my engagement ring or heard I was planning a wedding, they wanted to share their thoughts and opinions. And they had a lot of opinions. While most people have the best intentions, there’s always a few Debbie Downers that can sour the experience. Instead of getting frustrated or upset about the unsolicited advice, I added this handy phrase to my vocabulary: “That’s a good idea. I’ll look into it.” Learn it, live it, love it.
- Developing a style mantra makes decision making easier
With the endless amount of wedding inspiration at our fingertips, it’s hard not to get swept away by glamorous styled shoots in old museums or lush flowers tied together into an altar on a calm beach. But while your wedding is arguably the most extravagant event in your life, it should still be true to you. I learned to not let trends sway my decision-making and stick with my gut by observing my everyday life. True to my personal style, I stuck with a fusion of classic and modern, and clean lines for all of my wedding decor because I knew that in 10, 20, and even 50 years, I wouldn’t look back at any of my photos with regret. One of my best friends shared this mantra for choosing outfits that perfectly reflects our personal style: Would Kate Middleton Wear This? I adopted the same strategy for my wedding. Would Kate Middleton Wear This Dress? Would Kate Middleton Pick These Flowers? Find your celebrity spirit animal and let her/him guide your wedding vision to keep you on track.
- It’s not a one-woman show
I often joked that MPR was a Groomzilla because of his high level of involvement in every detail of our wedding. But when I tripped and fell down the wedding rabbit hole known as Pinterest, he was the one who pulled me out, dusted me off, and reminded me what really mattered. We approached everything as a team and I’m so thankful. For some people, that person is their maid of honor. For others, it’s their mom. Whoever it is, make sure you have that rock who will save you from yourself, pry that wedding binder from your hands, and pour you a glass of wine.
- Your life together > your wedding
Wedding planning is fun and exciting and magical and makes even the most serious girls giddy. But it really is just a big party that’s over in one day. I’m not saying that means your wedding isn’t important or worth putting effort into, but make sure you’re thinking beyond the wedding day and honeymoon. For me, the most fun part of the wedding planning process was putting together our registry – not because I love gifts, but because it allowed me to visualize the life MPR and I were building together. With every dinner plate and teacup & saucer, I imagined the lovely dinner parties we’d throw together, and with every pot & pan and sheet set, I imagined pancakes in bed on Sunday mornings. We were building a home – at the time in a 650-square foot apartment, but a home nonetheless. Build something beautiful together that will last more than 5 hours and run deeper than your bank account.
Did you make any major realizations during the wedding planning process? Share your wisdom in the comments below!