As soon as you get engaged, the questions start. “Have you set a date yet?” “Did you choose a dress?” “How many guests are you inviting?” We’ve heard these questions before, we’ve asked them ourselves, and they’re all indicative of the preconceived ideas we have about what a wedding is and isn’t, and what the planning process will entail. Luckily, your wedding is your day and that means you get to define what planning your celebration will look like. Here are five of the sentiments I heard again and again — and why they didn’t ring true.
1. It’s a Full-Time Job
Wedding planning requires thought and effort, but it does not have to be a full-time job, and it doesn’t have to be stressful — even if you didn’t hire a planner. Go into the process with a few ideas, book your vendors early, and make decisions firmly. Don’t second guess, don’t ask for input from every friend and family member, and work ahead of time.
Focus your energy on the areas you care about and go with vendors’ recommendations on the areas where you don’t. Yes, the last couple of weeks will ramp up in terms of emails and calls, but you’ve got this under control.
2. DIY is the Budget-Friendly Option
DIY projects can add a wonderful, personal touch to your wedding day. But, before you go overboard on Pinterest thinking that you’ll save oodles of money by DIY-ing everything from cocktail hour decor to cake toppers, remember that doing it yourself requires time, skill, supplies, and back-up supplies. The costs accumulate quickly — and they can sometimes add up to more than it would have been to buy the finished product.
I DIY’d pieces in my invitation suite and quickly realized that I would have spent less ordering it all from the vendor rather than getting fancy with a glue gun, ribbon, and metallic paper. Lesson learned.
3. Your Wedding Must Follow the Traditional Format
Many of us have been to a traditional sort of wedding — a ceremony followed by ballroom reception, and we’ve had a blast cheers-ing with champs and dancing to Shout! However, that doesn’t mean you have to follow the same itinerary.
Think about the type of celebration that illustrates who you are as a couple. Perhaps it’s a lovely brunch, a casual backyard affair, or a just-the-two-of-you destination elopement. For my husband and me, an intimate, candlelit dinner party with an elaborate tasting menu was the answer — and I have zero regrets about skipping the (official) dance floor.
4. Relationships are Ruined Over Who You Invite… and Who You Don’t
Unless your budget is unlimited, your guest list likely has a cap. And there are always going to be more people that you want to invite. We had a small wedding, so we had to make a lot of cuts — and there were no hard feelings. There have been weddings where I wasn’t invited and I have close, lifelong friends who I couldn’t invite to mine (when I say small wedding, I mean 35 guests total). No one held it against us — and, hey, it’s one less gift they have to buy!
On a similar note: the best way to avoid bridesmaid drama? Don’t have them! That is, hands down, the biggest trend I’ve seen at weddings over the past few years. You avoid the hurt feelings, the “she had me in her wedding, so I have to put her in mine” pressure, and, trust me, your friends will still want to celebrate you despite their lack of matching dresses!
5. It’s Going to be the Best, Most Emotional Day of Your Life
Was my wedding awesome? Yes, absolutely! I look back on the memories and the photos and I can’t believe how incredible it was to marry my husband with our loved ones by our side on a perfect 60-degree December day — and throw a great party. But, do I think that’s going to be the most amazing day of my life? Probably not! My husband and I have many, many years ahead of us to top that one day!
Also, I’m not a terribly emotional person, so, no, I was never overcome with happy tears or sentimental sobs at any point. If you’re a crier, yes, you’re probably going to be overwhelmed with emotion on your big day. If you’re not, it’s doubtful that a white dress and vows are going to turn you into that person — and that’s 100 percent okay!
Remember, your wedding day is about you and your partner being together to honor and celebrate the start of your married life. If you want to get into the hype of planning, go for it! If you want to go sweet and simple, you do you! All that matters is that you’re happy to be marrying your person — and that means throwing the myths we’ve been told out the window and creating your own special day.