Below, one of our 2018 brides tells her real life experience with planning her wedding. She offers her perspective on the advice she was given throughout the wedding planning process. We hope that you find solace and inspiration in the relatability of her thoughts and experience. - Social+Co.
Getting engaged was one of the best moments of my life. However, feelings of excitement and joy were quickly clouded by the inevitable question; where do we start?! Quickly followed by the even more inevitable friends and family questions of “when’s the date?”, “what’s your budget”, “I’m a bridesmaid, right!?”.
The details and to-dos seemed to continuously grow and we hadn’t even had time to sit back and enjoy the engaged life. It was this intimidation that actually stopped us from moving forwards and in some ways that was exactly what we needed. A minute.
It was in this clear-headed moment we could properly analyze our finances, our hopes and dreams and, most importantly, our capabilities. Together, those topics led us to the realization we needed help. And not the friends and family kind (bless them), but the professional, know-how-to-plan-a-wedding kind.
Cue the sigh of relief! It’s hard to describe, but the insurmountable feeling of stress lifted the day we met with our wedding planner. It sounds so obvious, yet I know so many other brides resist just sitting down with a planner to see what they can offer. Aside from my fiancé, this was the best wedding-based decision I had made to date.
Fast-forward to today, I am happily married, incredibly satisfied with my wedding experience and now even work in the industry! Yes, that’s how drastically my experience changed for the better. So now I feel this responsibility to share with you what I took away from my journey and perhaps encourage and inspire your own wedding plans.
E N J O Y B E I N G E N G A G E D
I could not stress this enough. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you need to wait over year to get married, if that’s not what you want. If you wanted to zip down to city hall tomorrow and seal the deal, that’s incredible! Just try to silence the overwhelming amount of opinions that will start flooding your way the moment you get engaged and the sense of urgency to get down the aisle. A lot easier said than done, but one suggestion that I took away from my first meeting was to step away from Google!
The first mistake I made after getting engaged was looking up everything. One of those searches being, “How long should I wait to get married after being engaged?” I look back on this and have to giggle. Did I actually think the internet knew what was best for me, or that there was even a right amount of time?
Alas, the articles and blogs got to me. They didn’t even seem to use casual suggestive language, but rather stated things in a matter of fact way. You must wait three months before the engagement party, and typically the etiquette is 12 months to the wedding. Exactly whose etiquette are we supposed to follow when getting married? Not only are we reading articles that tell us the right and wrong way of how to be engaged, but social media and Instagram influence are inescapable.
So naturally, it came as a shock to me when our planner told me to ignore the common specifics. Only you can decide when you want to get married. No number of months, weeks, or days is more right than the other. Choosing when you get married is so deeply personal and all part of the beautiful process in building a life together.
Soak. it. In. You are no more or less committed to your partner if you decide that waiting five years to get married is the right step than if you waited merely a day.
D A T E , C H E C K . V E N U E , C H E C K . N O W W H A T ?
Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment and also the next reason to press pause.
Take your time! It’s human nature to want to get as much done as quickly as you can once a date has been set. Once you have secured the date with the venue you have plenty of time to dream about your day and explore the possibilities. It’s in these slow moments that you’ll make the right decisions.
Admittedly, my fiancé and I were one of those couples who set the date, booked the venue, then sat down with our wedding planner and said “now what?” We had a huge long list of all the things we planned to get done that month, finalize the guest list, start thinking about seating arrangement, order all our save the dates, book all our rentals and start on our wedding speeches.
Her calm smile and next words were powerful, “That’s wonderful, but let’s dream a little first!”
Both of us sat there like deer in headlights. We never slowed down to dream, let alone to catch our breath since booking our venue. Dream to your heart's content, dream dreams that you aren’t even sure can become a reality, because you would be surprised at all the things that fall together, even two weeks before the date. If that sounds anxiety inducing, it’s not. When you spend your time dreaming rather than caught up on meeting every mental deadline, you are far more relaxed.
After all, what did you hire a planner for!? If she’s relaxed, you can relax too. She’s the expert. Now that I’m on the other side working in the industry, it’s a lot easier for me to see why this is possible. Nearly everyone in the industry is super eager to make your dreams come true and because of this are always flexible to meet your schedule.
R E M I N D E R : Y O U ‘ R E P L A N N I N G A W E D D I N G T O G E T M A R R I E D !
It’s so easy in the jumble of opinions, social media, wedding fairs and your desire to please the people involved in your wedding, to forget that the day is about celebrating your marriage not just planning an event.
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, stop. Remind yourself the end goal and move forward. Put a sticky note on your fridge if you need to, but don’t let the details distract you.
Of course, it’s easy to remember on the day of your wedding that it’s a celebration of your love, but it is far more rewarding to be able to feel this all the way up to and after the wedding. Keeping your focus on each decision of your day being about you and your other half should give you a little more confidence to make the decisions that perhaps not everyone is going to like. Which leads us into the next section:
R E B E L ( I F T H A T ‘ S W H A T F E E L S R I G H T )
Tradition, Tradition, Tradition. Our planner always talked about how this word pops into her couple’s conversations so often. What do you traditionally do for this? What do you traditionally give your bridesmaids? Where do you traditionally seat family?
Nowadays, we have seen an amazing and empowering shift in the industry towards relinquishing tradition. Wedding planners simply don’t have an answer to those kinds of questions anymore because there really is no tradition. This is nonetheless a hard pill to swallow for parents, and grandparents. Sometimes it’s even difficult for your bridesmaids and groomsmen because preconceived notions of what ought to be done still exist.
My husband and I really struggled with this. We had to make a lot of difficult and non-traditional decisions in order to accomplish what we really wanted out of our wedding. At times we were completely shocked by the lack of understanding we faced, but were reminded time and time again that our wedding. Those who care will ultimately understand. Especially when they see how happy you are on your wedding day!
Don’t be afraid to openly share your dreams for your wedding with everyone, in all its non-traditional glory. It may just help adjust their expectations. We strive to be unique in our everyday lives, and yet when it comes to our wedding, we become people (family) pleasers. Ultimately, you do not have the power to make everyone happy, but you do have the power to make yourselves happy.
O K A Y , W E G O T M A R R I E D . . . W H Y D O I F E E L S O S A D ? !
This is so important. I don’t want to rain on your happy wedding planning parade, but I want to prepare you for the steps following your wedding to make it easier. You’ve just planned the biggest, most emotional event of you life to-date and then it’s over. Harsh, yes. But, oh-so-real.
Our wedding was the best day of our lives, and the honeymoon was the most fantastic vacation we ever had! Yet, when we came home we were both filled with sorrow that we couldn’t quite pinpoint.
I had spent a whole year with our planner counselling me through family politics, wedding party politics, meltdowns from the stress of meeting everyone’s needs, and celebrating like no tomorrow over the small victories. If anyone had the answer, I knew it would be her.
Before I even had the chance to tell her my woes over lunch, she gave me a sympathetic hug and told me “it’s okay to grieve.” That’s what it was, I was grieving, we were grieving!
We spent three years engaged, and all the while dreaming and talking up to the most magical and beautiful moment of our lives. To say the day goes by in a flash is an understatement. The honeymoon probably saved us from an even greater emotional downfall after the wedding. We had two weeks to digest that the wedding was over, but still be in complete bliss.
It is normal to grieve, and everyone’s grief looks different. Our planner told us right from the start that she always recommends her couples to go on their honeymoon or mini-moon right after their wedding, if possible. It wasn’t until after the fact that I understood why. Associate your grief with the positives, after all you are only grieving because of how amazing the whole experience was! And lastly, be kind to yourself, it’s okay to feel sad and take the time you need to adjust to all your new free time! There is always more to look forward to in life.