The planning process can be summed up in one word -- stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my wedding. It was everything I wanted it to be, surrounded by our closest friends and family. The part leading up to that wedding week, however, was one of the most hectic years of my life. The friend who keeps reminding you “but this is the best time of your life!” is living a lie and you should tell her to beat it. That kind of optimism is unnecessary when you’re staring down 10 months of invites, plate settings, flowers, guests… oh god, the guest list still gives me hives. Planning a wedding can be like childbirth. Women never talk about how absolutely insane and painful the delivery process is, but just how amazing it is to have the little one in their arms. But it really is worth it, stupidly annoying at times, but the best week ever, and as long as you stay organized and don't sweat the small stuff, you're going to do great.
Couple of obvious lessons I learned along the way, but kept reminding myself:
- You can buy anything online and have it shipped. Google is your friend and do comparison shop.
- Everybody has an opinion and sometimes you just have to tell them you didn’t exactly ask for their opinion to begin with… in a calm, stern voice. This includes family.
- You don't have to please everyone. Focus on pleasing yourselves. This day is about you and your partner, not your best friend’s new boyfriend who is away the weekend you’re considering to be married.
- Invite people YOU want to see and celebrate with -- people that you want to be a part of your life forever. Not that random friend your dad had 10 years ago who even your mom can barely remember. Parents will want to include the world. Remind them: more heads = more money = more problems (Diddy and Mace know). If you haven't seen someone in the past 5 years, they probably don’t require a ticket to the wedding.
- Just because parents help pay for something, doesn't mean they get to plan the wedding they want. It's your day. They had their time and they can do it again… vow renewal, second marriage? Never too late!
- Really can't stress these last few points enough!
- $$: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Ask questions. Ask for it in writing (contracts are your friends). Stick to your budget, but if you're slightly over it's not the end of the world so don't beat yourself up!
- Don't overthink things and sometimes simple is really the best option -- though I still wish we had rented that confetti cannon for the reception.
- Go out on dates with your partner and don't talk about the wedding when you're out (because it can become all consuming and there are so many other, often more fun things to talk about than napkin color… and this from a person who really loves linens).
- Ask people for help if you need it. People love helping and doing crafts!
Just remember, the day is about you and your partner so make it what you want because it is a big investment and it really is about you. Anyone who tells you otherwise is insane. Slowly back away and run. Run as far as you can.