How It Feels to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months

My fiancé and I have been dating for eight years. So it’s no surprise that, when he proposed in a park overlooking the Manhattan skyline, we wanted to have a really short engagement — the birthday of my late uncle, who was like a father to me. Which was six months away.

It seemed like the perfect idea: it was the ONLY date available on the calendar for the venue we loved (A sign!). So what if it was six months away? We’ve budgeted! We’ll work it out! (What else can you expect from a musician and writer?) We didn’t want anything close to a long engagement — we were dating for eight years!

We came to a point where we were able to make a decision on whether or not we’d stay in NYC. To save up for our wedding, we decided to move back down south. We came up with our budget with our combined incomes, including what family members wanted to gift us. We moved out of New York City just days later.

Within a month, the venue and date were set. As soon as we saw it, we fell in love. It personified exactly what we wanted our wedding to feel like. I wanted to honor my late uncle in some way, and since his birthday fell on a Saturday, I wanted to entertain the idea of having our wedding day then, even if it was just six months away. To our surprise, someone cancelled for that date the same day. My family, fiancé, and I all took it as a special sign to move forward — that we’re supposed to get married on that day.

Our next vendor was our photographer — she was exactly what we were looking for, and was miraculously free on our big day. We knew, even then, that a full-out wedding planner wasn’t in the budget, but we at least wanted a Day-of-Coordinator. She was the next vendor we booked, and afterwards everything felt real.

 

The thought of not having my engagement go as easily as it does in movies stressed me out. Why wasn’t anyone talking about the endless EXTREMELY URGENT!! decisions?!

 

 

Immediately after we set our date, it seemed like we were bombarded with roadblocks. I found out that my wedding day is the same day as my hometown’s big university’s graduation, so a lot of our ideal vendors were booked up or charging extra. I had a major snafu with my day job. I’m on a few deadlines with writing. Family members I didn’t talk to very often were confused as to why they didn’t have larger parts in my wedding, and only called to talk with me, not about the wedding, but to “vent their feelings” about it. These same ones withdrew their financial help. Others seemed inconvenienced or stressed by the date that, before, seemed like an easy no-brainer, but after the non-refundable deposits were set and life happened, seemed like a challenge.

I started to compare my engagement process to my peers’: It seemed like they had months upon months to do cake tastings while we were in a whirlwind of doing all the things. I, an INFP introvert, was slowly starting to get decision fatigue. There were things we were “supposed” to do, but I didn’t even think of (like, an engagement party?), things that seemed suddenly out of reach (Are we going to go to Europe for two weeks the day after the wedding?) and things that were totally different than I’d ever imagined (while I love my venue, I’m not getting married in a church, like I always thought I would.).

The thought of not having my engagement go as easily as it does in movies stressed me out. Why wasn’t anyone talking about the endless EXTREMELY URGENT!! decisions, the nice-but-firm tone you take with your wedding party, the amount of money that really goes into it? And then there’s the guilt that I had about stressing about something that seemed like fun (how many eye rolls have I gotten by simply saying “wedding planning is hard”?) It seemed with my day job, my writing, our moving, and the wedding planning, I became preoccupied with the notion that I may not look back at my engagement and remember it fondly. That was something I wanted to change. And I did — by simply focusing on the thing that mattered the most: the marriage.

 

I became preoccupied with the notion that I may not look back at my engagement and remember it fondly. That was something I wanted to change. And I did — by simply focusing on the thing that mattered the most: the marriage.

 

 

Normally, I’m an optimistic person. I pray hard, and I believe that everything works out the way it’s supposed to. Once I put into perspective that the wedding is only secondary to the main event — getting married — I slowly started to get that mind frame back. It helped me bring the good in all of it to the forefront of my mind — the excitement of this being the first wedding of all of the women on my maternal side. Finding my dream dress with my mom, future mom-in-law, aunts, bridesmaids, and grandmother for $1000 less than sale price. Watching my grandmother model her own dress choices. My fiancé and I having our first professional photoshoot. I’d say that a lot of these mishaps have brought us even closer together.

And it’s extremely important to know that my family that’s been there, has been there. We are extremely close — which is a part of the reason that I want to get married on my uncle’s birthday. Whether it’s been a special gift (I’ll be wearing my aunt’s tiara as my Something Borrowed), just taking the load off (I don’t know how many times I’ve vented to my Maid of Honor), or taking the reigns completely when I seem overwhelmed (My mom surprised me by paying for the rest of my dress), this process has only solidified how blessed I am to have the immediate family that I do have. They know who they are.

It also puts into perspective that my wedding doesn’t have to be Pinterest-ready to be meaningful. It’s a lot easier to think about what we actually want versus what’s already been done or what’s expected.

I think we women should spend a little more time talking about the stresses of planning a wedding. Of course, it’s a wonderful, special time, and when someone asks me about it in the future, I’ll probably tell them all the misadventures with a big grin on my face. But the things we don’t talk about — the family drama, the invoice you almost forgot to pay, the “Maybe-We-Should-Just-Elope!” thoughts, the vendors that aren’t secured even though the wedding is in less than 30 days — would be nice to share with each other as a reminder that bumps here and there don’t mean that you’re doing it wrong, and don’t take away from how special your engagement is, whether it’s long, short, or even long distance.

 

It also puts into perspective that my wedding doesn’t have to be Pinterest-ready to be meaningful. It’s a lot easier to think about what we actually want versus what’s already been done or what’s expected.

 

Pretty soon, I plan to marry the love of my life and hit the dance floor with my family when our anthem comes on (hint: it’s a DMX song). Our wedding day will be special. Take it one day at a time, and remember, if nothing else, you’re doing it with your person right beside you. Oh, and just remind yourself that you’re one day closer to the newlywed days of ordering takeout and watching Netflix uninterrupted, no wedding planning email in sight.

 

How did you handle wedding planning deadlines and expectations? Tell us your story in the comments!

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