My fiancé and I had what the wedding industry would call, “a short engagement”.
I mean, it was nine months.
You can grow a human in that amount of time, (and no, I’m not pregnant), so I have no idea why it’s considered short, but alas, I digress.
Wedding planning can be BANANAS. And so, in the effort of learning from my mistakes, here are the top ten things I wish someone had told me while planning my wedding:
1. Find a space that is a reflection of you and your future spouse. Don’t get swept up in what other people want for you, remember what you want for yourselves. So, if that means a crystal palace, go for it. If it means a backyard barbecue, go for it. If it means a destination wedding, go for it. If it means getting married in a park, or a castle, or a loft, or an artist’s colony on the water – go for it. We chose a vineyard, which, brings me to my next point…
2. DIY weddings are not less expensive. I’d love to meet the person who came up with that narrative, cause it’s just not true. DIY weddings are a lot of work, a lot time, a lot of phone calls, and emails, and meetings, and whatnot – so if that’s going to push you over the edge as far as sanity is concerned, perhaps you might want to think about a venue where you don’t have to bring in everything yourself. There are happy mediums – for example, the vineyard where we are getting married is a little bit of both. They have tables and chairs (you might laugh when you read this, but rest assured, some “vineyards” or atypical wedding venues do not.) They have beautiful grounds. They have a list of approved caterers, but we’re not locked into any which one. They also will not give us WINE GLASSES – which, I know is insane. But alas, it’s true. The list can go on and on….so, this brings me to my next point…
3. Do your research. When a florist tells you that there fee is $4700.00, and you don’t want to pay that amount of money, look for someone else. It doesn’t mean you have to forgo your dreams of white roses, it just means you have to find someone who will work with your budget. And they’re out there, I promise. Same goes for all of your vendors/expenses – photographers, videographers, bands, DJ’s, caterers, rings, etc – you don’t “have” to pay anything. It’s your wedding. You get to pay whatever you want, and there’s nothing written in stone that says you must pay “x” amount of money for something. Do what makes you comfortable. Do what makes you happy, and what doesn’t hurt your wallet beyond repair. You make the budget, which means you make the “rules”. But, here’s the secret to staying sane throughout all the mayhem…
4. There are no rules. Do you want to have a wedding menus of burgers and truffle fries? Do it. Do you want to have a wedding of 20 people? Do it. Do you want to have a three course meal with French table service? Do it. We’re having an ice cream cake at our wedding. I don’t like regular cake and I absolutely love dessert, and I wanted to have dessert at my own wedding, so, I found someone in the area who will do ice cream cake. Did it take a couple of more phone calls? Yes. But, I posted on my personal Facebook page, and the Hive Mind gave me plenty of suggestions, one of which I ended up using! Which brings me to my next point…
5. People will want to help you. All sorts of people. Maybe it’s your family. Maybe it’s your friends. Maybe it’s the family you’re marrying into. Maybe it’s the people who have watched you grow up, that think of you like one of their old children. Maybe it’s colleagues – I don’t really know. But what I do know is that when you get engaged, people from all different moments in your life are are going to be excited for you, and their going to want to help, and for my fellow workaholics/control freaks out there, hear me when I say, “let them.” Let them shower you with love and help and light. There’s so much sadness in this world, people are happy to celebrate moments of joy.
6. Let yourself live in the moment of joy. You don’t have to announce to the world that you’re getting married on Facebook immediately. Take the time to live in that happiness with you and your beloved without watching “likes” on a screen. And for the love of all that is good and holy, call or text people to let them know you’re getting married. You don’t want your Grandma finding out from Facebook. Enjoy the little things, like telling the engagement story, like reading the cards that people will inevitably send, like doing an engagement shoot- (which, was one of my favorite parts!) Perhaps you think it’s cheesy, but let me tell you, if you find a good photographer, it’s a lot of fun.
7. Find a photographer you love. For me, the biggest skill a photographer can have is capturing the essence of a person in film. That’s a skill you cannot edit. That’s something a filter cannot do – capture those magical moments of love between two people. My photographer does that brilliantly, so, if you’re in the market for a wedding photographer, I’d highly recommend David Perlman of David Perlman Photography. He did a beautiful job of making our story come alive in photos during our engagement shoot, and I cannot wait to see what he does in TEN DAYS! David’s artistry is amplified because he really does love, love. He loves weddings, he loves people, and that’s the lens in which he shoots – and that’s the kind of photographer you want at your wedding, someone who loves, love.
8. Live in the love. A wedding is a day. Just one, really beautiful day. But that’s not a marriage. That’s not what matters. What matters is the love between you and your spouse. What matters is the promise of forever. When you’re marrying the love of your life, nothing else really matters.
9. Keep repeating to yourself “when you’re marrying the love of your life, nothing else really matters. Even rain. I just looked at the projected weather forecast for my wedding day, and there’s a 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms. For a moment, I got a. little teary, because we’re getting married at A VINEYARD AND COCKTAIL HOUR IS SUPPOSED TO BE OUTSIDE, but then, I just started laughing. Cause you know what? It’s just rain. We’ll get cute umbrellas, and just as long as we all keep laughing, all will be fine.
10. Keep the love and laughter present. Let yourself drink it all in. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, your wedding is a day that celebrates your love, the start of your marriage, and you get to do that surrounded by those who love you unconditionally – and there’s no vendor that can put a price on that.