How Planning a Wedding Changed Me

April 18, 2010

This was one of the happiest days of my life. I think I started shaking at about 3 p.m. and from then on it was like I was just walking on clouds.
We had been together seven years and in the back of my mind I expected it was coming…someday. Did I expect it would be this day? No. Did I expect it to be that perfect? No. Did I stop shaking? Yes, eventually. And before we laid our heads down to sleep I let out a deep sigh.
That day was the most restful, blissful, beautiful day of all. After that it was into wedding planner mode. Rest and relaxation turned to stress. Bliss turned to argument. Beauty turned to grotesque. And wedding planning proceeded to take over my life.
Pretty quickly I learned some tough lessons about myself, my partner, weddings, friendships, and ultimately life. With the wedding less than a month away I am sitting here reflecting on these lessons, ready for the next step.
Lesson 1: Never Lose Sight of the Real Meaning
Sometimes when you start to get sucked up in the seating chart, guest list, invitations, favors, rings, vendors, payments, and meal options, you start to forget that this is actually just about the two of you. The purpose of the wedding is to unit us in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God. Nothing else really matters. I’ve had to keep telling myself that when the stress level starts to rise.
Lesson 2: Have a Little Faith
There were some times during this past year that I didn’t think the wedding was going to happen. Financial problems were the main hindrance but I never lost my faith. Like my mother said to me a few months ago, “You set your mind to it. You made sure it was at the top of your priority list.” And that is the exact truth. Rob and I decided – no matter the outcome – whether the wedding was this year or 10 years from now, we would be happy. And as soon as I let go and focused my attention elsewhere, everything seemed to fall together. Like Imogen Heap says in her song Let Go: “So let go, jump in, oh well what you waiting for? it’s alright ‘cuz there’s beauty in the breakdown.” It’s a lesson Rob has taught me through the years together. Sometimes you just have to let go of the reigns.
Lesson 3: Most People Aren’t Happy For You
Sometimes it takes a wedding to discover that the people you thought were happy for you and supportive are actually not. Drama, drama, drama. From the beginning of the wedding planning there has been hurt feelings, bad mouthing, and negativity. At first it really had an impact on me. It was something that kept me up at night, or caused me to cry. I always pride myself in caring how other people feel so I assume that they will care how I feel too. But really that is not the case, and unfortunately you can only see clearly sometimes when the rug has been pulled from under you. At the end of the day you can only focus on your journey with your partner. Hopefully the awesomest people will still be there for you at the end of your journey, kicking back on a deck chair and sipping on pina coladas.
Lesson 4: The Wedding Industry Makes a Shit Ton of Money
Wedding vendors are playing you. After you get done paying for the cake, the DJ, the catering, the favors, the limousine, the dress, the photographer, the videographer, the minister, and the venue you will probably be flat broke, or close to it. They understand that this is big business and will make sure to squeeze every last dime out of you. A young bride can get caught up in this web and next thing she knows she has spent thousands upon thousands of dollars- and it’s easy to do! The best advice I can give is to look around for the best prices, never jump into things, make a wise and thought out decision, and negotiate.
Lesson 5: It Ain’t That Serious
When I first started planning this wedding I was literally on cloud 9. It didn’t take me long to come crashing down to earth. I have been planning my wedding day since I was eight years old but over the planning process I have come to realize I don’t really care how well planned it is. I care more about signing that paper and being his Mrs. I can’t wait to continue with our lives together.
Lesson 6: The Smaller the Better
If I could do it all over again I would keep it short and sweet. I would get right to the point. The bigger it is the more drama that ensues. Over time I have realized that my parents said all along…invite the top 20 people in your life and keep it at that. Less money, less stress and more love!
Lesson 7: Take a Pre-Marriage Vacation
Boo and I went to Florida two months before the wedding…it was the best idea we ever had! For those few days I didn’t THINK about wedding stuff, I didn’t WORRY about who was sitting where, I didn’t REALLY care about the wedding at all! I basked in the Florida sun, we laughed together, swam in the sea, kissed each other tenderly. For those few moments I was ALMOST as relaxed as I was that day we got engaged. It was one of the best things for the soul, and I am glad we had those moments together before it was back to reality and stress.
Lesson 8: Art and Crafts are Awesome
How did I forget about my passion for the arts all these years? This wedding has reawakened my creativity! Even Rob has realized his love for the crafts. I am glad I decided to do my own wedding projects, it was a great way to tap into the creative.
Lesson 9: It Never Goes as Planned
We wanted a beach wedding. We wanted a wedding by the lake. We wanted a lot of things that didn’t pan out. But as long as you are happy and go with the flow everything will happen the way it is supposed to. I am glad that the wedding located where it is now, and I am so excited to see how it flows. It doesn’t always have to be perfectly planned.
Lesson 10: I Love Him With or Without the Ring
Whether we are married this June or not-I know one thing now for certain: I love him and I love him right now. Eight years after we met in a trashy basement party at UD the love between us continues to bloom. And I don’t really have to explain it to anyone, because I don’t really need to..and there are no other words.
Have I changed since that day in April when he got down on one knee? You betcha. I am a tremendously stronger person. And I understand that weddings are not about walking down the aisle, or the dress, or the cake, or the reception…they are about the love. And when our wedding day arrives I am ready to bring it.
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