Congrats! You’re engaged! It’s now time to plan the wedding many of us ladies have been dreaming of. We’re suppose to be princesses for the day, with all eyes on us. Straight from a fairytale.
Well, I was never that girl. I didn’t dream about my wedding, never wanted to be a princess, didn’t see myself in a white poofy dress and I never made getting married a goal or aspiration to hit before I reached a certain age.
I was not the traditional bride. I had 18 guests, no bridal party, cake, first dance, bouquet toss or invitations. My husband had more “Say Yes to the Dress” moments when he got fitted for his suit than me who walked into a store while window shopping on my lunch break and bought a dress. It was not a wedding dress and cost me less than 100USD.
Wedding planning for me was fun, but it was also a big headache. Reality hits us hard and fast. As I moved along the life cycle of this project, I soon realized that it was not all that it appeared to be. Planning this ourselves, while working with a strict budget, taught us that this could be a great experience for some (some people even go into wedding planning after) or it could be a total nightmare. For us, well, more so me because hubby could not care too much about the details, it was a mixture of both.
Without exaggeration, the day itself was perfect. Everything turned out to be exactly how we wanted and we only have good memories. The days, weeks and months leading up to it however, was might i say, quite trying. There were lots of tears and lost relationships but through it all we learned some things. Here are some of them:
Up Your Wedding Budget
This is important. You’ll be flabbergasted when you hear the prices of ANYTHING wedding related. When vendors asked “What’s the occasion?” I cringed and silently thought about not telling the truth because from the moment the word wedding gets introduced, I was screwed.
It is quite unfortunate as couples go into planning thinking their wedding will cost a certain amount, I guess judging from hosting regular parties, getting their makeup done etc, only to be faced with exorbitantly increased prices. I personally think that the wedding industry is a BIG scam. I asked several times for the reasoning behind the pricing and I got no answer that made sense.
My advice? Set a budget very early on and be realistic with it. We paid for our own wedding (aside from a few things) so we had to set up a savings plan. This helped us set a realistic date (15 month engagement) and determined what we could and couldn’t do. Our honeymoon was 75% of our budget because this was what was most important to us.
Don’t forget those little miscellaneous items that are not included in the budget as it adds up, and fast. Finally, try your utmost best not to go into debt for your wedding. It may be considered the best day of your life (I don’t believe that at all) but it’s just one day. There is life after.
Everyone will have an opinion
Three words: stand your ground. When I tell you, you will get so much unsolicited advice and opinions, that you will either become quickly overwhelmed or highly annoyed.
Newly-weds will now become wedding connoisseurs (similar to what I’m doing here, oh the irony), everyone will know what is best for you and the wedding will no longer be about you. Do not under any circumstances, let this happen. You will regret it. Many brides have told me that they wished they could re-do the entire thing.
Keep in mind that your family and friends will, after your wedding, go home and by the end of the weekend, forget about the embossed napkins and the DIY favors you slaved over. But you, you will have no choice but to live with the wedding you had. Whether it was what you envisioned or not, you don’t get to change it.
You will lose people, but you will gain some too
I, sadly, lost a few relationships while planning my wedding. Some of the people I thought would stand strong with me, did not shine through. The underdogs appeared and came to my rescue. The people who you talk to once in a while but yet they know everything that’s going on, the ones you see once in a blue moon but when you do meet up it’s like you saw them yesterday. Yup, those ones.
This taught me some valuable lessons. People will disappoint you, and that’s alright. The ‘that’s alright’ part took some time to resonate with me. I struggled with losing those relationships but I soon realized that people change, they also have their lives to contend with and sometimes, people just aren’t as happy for you as you’d want or thought them to be. This is life. What can you do? Learn from it and move on.
The day will come and go. Fast!
My day flew so fast, that in the end, I struggled to remember everything that happened. I can’t to this day remember what I said to most of my guests. And I had 18 of them. Imagine when you have 80 people. What about when it goes into the hundreds? Some couples will tell you they can’t remember who actually came and who said what in their speech. It’s just too much going on and you can only do so much. Try to delegate responsibilities for everything on the day of and make sure to take some time outs with your partner throughout to just observe and relish in the moment.
It can be tiring and frustrating but remember the true essence
After the wedding, all the party and glass clinking, you go home with the one you love with a great chance of building a life together. This experience (good or bad) will surely bring you a new found closeness and appreciation of your partner and you’d be stupidly dizzy for the first couple days after the wedding. We relaxed on the beach the day after for a little cool down.
It’s a good feeling and once you keep in mind the TRUE reason behind the wedding, all shall be well.
Will I ever want to do this again? NO WAY! Everyone has a different experience when planning their wedding and even though these are my important lessons, yours may be different and that’s what makes this so much fun.
P.S. See my (other) dress (the one I didn’t wear) swatches here. That’s a whole ‘nother story for a whoooooolllleeeee ‘nother time.
We would love to hear your stories and impressions. Feel free to share!
…and thanks for stopping by!
(Photos by Dream Arrow Pixels & Catherine O’Hara Photography)