First, let me say that wedding planning can be incredibly fun. I love event planning, so I might be biased, but it’s so special to plan the biggest party of your life (which happens to be celebrating true love!). Also, it’s one of the rare events where you get to call the shots and get exactly what you want.
Well, do you?
Your special day is supposed to be about you and your husband-to-be, but along the way so many opinions get thrown in the mix.
I made one of the more controversial decisions, and planned a destination wedding. This opened up a whole additional set of questions, interrogations and comments. When people hear the words destination I swear they have one of two reactions.
Option 1: “That’s amazing! So much fun- we wish we did that when we got married!”
Option 2: “Wow that must have been expensive… How many people came?” (implying no one would want to make that trip)
So, having navigated the waters of all these opinions, I now want to share a few important things I learned. I am so grateful I made the decision to plan a destination wedding because not only did it give me a magical two weeks, but it also opened my eyes to what impacts us during big moments of our life. Looking at the list, not only are these important lessons for planning a wedding, but also life in general.
1. Don’t be afraid to dream big.
Planning a wedding can feel very intimidating, especially if you are on a small budget. We were extremely budget-conscious, but that didn’t prevent me from having the wedding of my dreams. A tip in this area is to identify a few things that are most important to you: maybe the photographer, venue or band. Then, plan the rest of your budget around that.
I cared most about the venue, food and photographer. So, I made sure my dreams came true on those three. I still kept them within a reasonable range for our budget, but there was a lot less compromise there. Other areas, such as centerpieces and the wedding cake, we made some less traditional decisions that saved us tons of money. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice though, because cutting back in those areas got me a beach wedding in Hawaii.
In life, this is the equivalent to focusing on how you want to feel and one important big-picture vision, vs. worrying about how exactly each step along the way is going to look.
2. Get comfortable asking for what you want.
Sometimes we don’t realize how many decisions we let other people make for us. From simple things like where to go get lunch to bigger decisions, like if we should stay with our significant other, a lot of people get outside opinions on everything. But with a wedding, all of a sudden a million choices are popping up all at once. Some that you care about, some that you really don’t. Along with the long line of choices comes a million comments about what you should do.
Before you start planning, and asking for outside opinions, really sit down and figure out what is important for you. The number one thing I cared about was a fun atmosphere, and getting to spend quality time with the friends and family who came to the wedding. Having this core vision helped me stick to my guns on what I wanted, and what I didn’t.
3. Stop worrying so much about what other people think of your decisions.
Since I planned a destination wedding, I heard lots of commentary. That it was too expensive. That we should’ve done it closer to home. That we should be paying for everyone’s flight and accommodations. I’m a people-pleaser, so at first it really worried me that so many people had potential issues with our plan.
After a while I realized that no matter what I chose, people would likely have things to say about it. So I stopped worrying. I focused on my core vision, and kept moving forward.
4. Your insides are just as important as the outside.
This tip is honestly important for any wedding, not just a destination wedding. So many people focus on looking good on the outside, getting a haircut, spray tan, manicure etc. Those things are so important if they help you feel beautiful and confident, but don’t forget about taking care of your body. Not just so you can look good in pictures, but so you can have the energy and mental clarity to fully enjoy the experience.
Your wedding goes by in a heartbeat, so I was extremely grateful to have taken my diet and exercise routine seriously for the year prior to my wedding. With a destination wedding, it helped me stay healthy through multiple flights, long days of hikes and swimming, and spending time with all our family members and friends.
5. Give yourself plenty of time to work out the details.
Some people pull together a wedding in just a few months, and from my experience it’s definitely possible. However, most people need a more drawn out process to make sure they enjoy each step. I found myself extremely grateful that I took a full year to plan my wedding.
There were some times where I was extremely excited to plan and make decisions, and then some days where the idea was extremely overwhelming. When planning a wedding, and in life, it’s so important to enjoy the journey. So whatever your timeline is, give yourself permission to enjoy each step, and do whatever it takes to ensure it remains fun.
Nothing feels better than creating the vision in your dreams. As I look back on these lessons, they’re true for so much more than just planning a wedding. If you approach all your big dreams and decisions using the same guidelines, you’ll find yourself creating a pretty incredible life.