One minute my boyfriend was kneeling in the wet grass with a beaming smile and a shiny diamond. I blinked my eyes, and I was standing on a pedestal in my first choice bridal salon while wearing the gown of my dreams. I was starting the process of wedding planning, and discovered that time really escapes you as a bride-to-be.
Somewhere in between the two events I probably cried four times, was told by a family member which single style of wedding dress my plus size body would look good in and asked when I planned to get pregnant (you know I’m not getting any younger). Your bookstore wedding planner won’t tell you about these fun details. They also don’t tell you that you might just call your fiancé once or twice and ask if you can simply elope in Hawaii. The answer is always no, in case you were wondering.
I’m not going to fib—planning a wedding takes dedication and some extra doses of positivity. I learned early on that zero planning can happen when the bride is running on fumes. You’ll only exhaust yourself and scare the local Starbucks staff. I now make sure I have “me” time, as in no wedding planning, no fitness training or meal prepping and no emails. Last Friday I sat in bed watching The Great Gatsby from under my comforter. Zero guilt.
It’s definitely hard to escape the constant need to write to-do lists and check for emails from vendors every five minutes—especially as an avid smartphone user. Within 48 hours of being engaged, I downloaded various wedding planning apps—each with their own timelines for planning.
Although I found these timelines to be helpful as general guides, I’ve decided not to use them as the ultimate outline for my wedding planning. They throw in a lot of unnecessary, anxiety-inducing tasks. Book your day after the wedding brunch? Hire a personal trainer? Interview babysitters to watch your guests’ children? No thanks. I check the apps maybe once or twice a month just to make sure I’m generally on top things.
My true path to organization has been my wedding binder. I took elements from the physical wedding planning books my friends and family purchased for me, and organized them in a way that made sense to me. The wedding binder lives in two places—in the car or on the dining room table. The sooner you can organize yourself in a way that makes sense to your brain, the more mentally stable you will be in the long run. Trust me on this.
One of the most aggravating aspects of wedding planning for engaged couples is the big old budgeting task. Everyone has a different budget, and all I can say is try your best to stay on track. Most importantly, leave some wiggle room in the funds. Don’t overextend yourself, because there can be hidden expenses you never accounted for. It’s all just part of the process. Just find yourself a fiancé who cuddles well and pours wine as often as needed.
Which brings me to another important point: make sure that you and your fiancé continue to make time for each other throughout the process. Don’t lose sight of what brought you here in the first place. You’re still dating– spend time together using some of these date ideas. In many cases, you’re still balancing your relationship with not only your wedding planning, but also with work. It can be done. It’s not only about the wedding. It’s about the two of you, together.
My last bit of advice is super unpopular. I avoid Pinterest-only wedding planning at all costs. Although it’s certainly helpful for inspiration and ideas when needed, every aspect of one’s wedding shouldn’t be drawn from a super perfect Pinterest ideal. If you pinned a wedding dress in 2013, chances are the designer discontinued the style already.The flowers from your inspiration bouquet may not be in season for your wedding, and therefore super pricey. Don’t fall in love with only one idea—be open to changes as needed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the end result.
At the end of the day, it can be hard to remember the most important part—this is truly a labor of love. I trust that every worry will work out, even the tiniest of details. When family and friends tell me to simply enjoy the process, I know that at times I really will. I think of how happy my fiancé will be when he sees me walk down that aisle, and I realize it’s all worth it.
About the Author:
Alaina Gizzo graduated from Salve Regina University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and English Communications. Currently living in Long Island’s wine country, she is an insurance professional with a passion for collecting antique books. When she’s not at the office, the local bookstore or a winery/brewery tasting room, she can be found befriending almost any furry creature on four legs.