As a child, I held enchanting visions of planning my wedding—filled with rainbows, butterflies, and pure fairy tale magic. However, when the time actually came, I encountered a blend of fairy tales and stark reality.
What I once perceived as an effortless, seamless, and joyful process revealed itself as a mixture of ups and downs, with occasional smooth sailing amidst the chaos.
Now, don’t get me wrong—getting to marry your best friend is more than worth the chaos. But the truth remains: when you enter the world of marriage, you embark on an accelerated journey towards ‘adulting’. Adulthood arrives fast, bringing with it valuable lessons.
With that being said, here are five things I wish I knew before embarking on the wedding planning adventure.
1. It’s work.
When it comes to planning your wedding, one of the stark realities that often catches couples off guard is the sheer amount of work involved. From the outside, it may seem like a magical journey filled with love and joy. And while those elements undoubtedly play a significant role, it’s essential to acknowledge the effort and dedication required to bring your dream day to life.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate and filled with gratitude for the invaluable support and involvement of my family throughout my own wedding planning journey. But it’s not always like that for everyone. In today’s world, many couples take on the responsibility of planning their own special day. And let me tell you, it’s a labor of love like no other.
The process begins with selecting a date and finding a venue that aligns with your vision. However, it’s not always a smooth ride. Popular dates may be booked, and you find yourself competing with other couples vying for the same dream location. Negotiations, compromises, and tough decisions become the order of the day.
Once the venue is secured, a cascade of tasks follows: creating a guest list, sending out invitations, choosing vendors, deciding on a menu, and designing the perfect decor. Each decision requires careful consideration, research, and, at times, tough choices.
And let’s not forget the countless hours spent communicating with vendors, attending appointments, and managing budgets. From selecting the photographer who captures your most cherished moments to coordinating with the caterer to ensure a delectable feast, it all demands time, energy, and attention to detail.
Wedding planning becomes a juggling act, balancing work, personal life, and now the added responsibility of orchestrating this significant event. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and even second-guess certain decisions along the way. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks when needed. Don’t hesitate to lean on friends, family, or wedding professionals to alleviate some of the burdens. This is something that has been super tough for me, as a people pleaser, but save yourself the burnout and just ask for help.
As the big day approaches, there are numerous day-of wedding logistics to manage, including timelines, rehearsals, and coordination of various moving parts. The workload can be intense, but the reward is immeasurable—a celebration that reflects your love story, shared with those closest to your heart.
Need help planning your wedding? Check out my day-of-wedding planner template.
So, as you embark on this journey, brace yourself for the work involved. Acknowledge that it won’t always be smooth sailing, but remember that with dedication, organization, and a support system, you can navigate the challenges and create a wedding day that exceeds your expectations. And don’t lose sight of the purpose and blessing behind it all: a lifetime with your best friend.
2. Friendships and family relationships may change.
As part of the many bittersweet realities that accompany wedding planning, unfortunately, one of the less-discussed aspects is the potential strain it can put on friendships and family relationships. It’s a truth that many couples face but may not openly discuss.
Wedding planning is a time of immense focus and dedication, and it often consumes a significant portion of your life. As you navigate the intricate details and make decisions that align with your vision, you may find that some friendships experience strain or even falter along the way. Or that you may not be available (emotionally or physically) for all family events.
Why does this happen? Well, there are a few contributing factors. Firstly, weddings tend to stir up a whirlwind of emotions, opinions, and expectations. Conflicting ideas about guest lists, seating arrangements, or even the overall theme can lead to disagreements and tension. Friends and family who were once close may find themselves at odds with your choices or feeling left out of the decision-making process.
Additionally, the demands of wedding planning can consume a substantial amount of time and energy. As you invest yourself in the logistics and intricacies of your special day, it’s natural for other areas of your life to take a temporary backseat. This shift in priorities may inadvertently lead to less time spent nurturing certain relationships, causing them to fade or become strained.
Moreover, financial considerations can also strain relationships. Weddings often come with hefty price tags, and discussions surrounding budgets and contributions can create awkwardness or resentment if not handled delicately. Disparities in financial situations among friends can magnify these challenges.
It’s essential to remember that losing people during this period does not diminish your worth or the value of your relationships. Sometimes, circumstances change, and people grow apart. Wedding planning simply acts as a catalyst that exposes underlying dynamics and reveals the strength (or fragility) of certain connections.
While it can be disheartening to experience relationship shifts during such a momentous time, it’s essential to focus on the positive aspects. True friends will stand by your side, support your decisions, and be understanding of the temporary nature of this phase. They will cherish your friendship beyond the wedding, celebrating your happiness and maintaining a deep bond regardless of the complexities that arise.
Remember, it’s crucial to communicate openly and honestly with your friends throughout the process. Share your excitement, concerns, and any challenges you may be facing. Cultivate an atmosphere of understanding and respect, allowing room for differing perspectives and emotions.
Ultimately, while you may experience shifts in your social circle, your wedding day will be a celebration of love, commitment, and the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Cherish the relationships that endure, and embrace the opportunity for new connections that may arise along the way.
3. You may lose yourself.
Now this one, I was not expecting at all. I was so excited to step into this new chapter with the love of my life. But amidst the whirlwind of wedding planning, work, moving into a new home, on top of caring for a new puppy, and trying to maintain friendships and relationships in my life. Well, I lost myself. I forgot my interests. I was so invested in everything but myself.
I feel it very necessary to pass on this truth, so other brides won’t be blindsided and can potentially prevent total self-loss. As you delve into the world of wedding planning, you may find yourself making compromises, accommodating the desires and opinions of others, or striving to meet unrealistic ideals. In the pursuit of creating a flawless day, it’s easy to lose sight of your own values, preferences, and dreams.
Suddenly, decisions that were once deeply personal become influenced by external voices and societal norms. You may feel torn between what you truly desire and what you believe is expected of you. The lines blur, and in the midst of it all, you may find yourself questioning who you are and what truly matters to you.
It’s important to remember that losing yourself in the process is not uncommon. The sheer magnitude of planning a wedding can be overwhelming, and it’s natural to prioritize the happiness and satisfaction of others. However, it’s crucial to maintain a connection with your own needs, aspirations, and values throughout this journey.
4. You will find yourself again.
Despite everything mentioned, the silver lining is that you will rediscover yourself. In the process of wedding planning, I have gained more wisdom in a year than throughout my entire existence. It has been a transformative journey, teaching me valuable lessons about friendships, multitasking, homeownership, and navigating the complexities of my twenties. The knowledge and growth I have experienced are immeasurable.
Take moments of reflection and introspection to check in with yourself. Reconnect with your inner voice and rediscover your personal vision for this significant milestone. Embrace your unique story and find ways to infuse it into the wedding planning process, allowing your authenticity to shine through.
Surround yourself with a support system that understands and values your individuality. Seek the guidance of loved ones who will encourage you to stay true to yourself and support your journey of self-discovery. Remember, a wedding is a celebration of your love and union, and it should reflect the essence of who you are as a couple.
Give yourself permission to prioritize self-care. Take breaks, engage in activities that bring you joy, and help you reconnect with your own passions. Nurture your emotional well-being and seek moments of solitude to recharge and reconnect with yourself.
While it’s natural to get caught up in external pressures and expectations, remember that your wedding is a chapter in your unique story. Embrace the opportunity to rediscover yourself and align your choices with your authentic self. By staying true to who you are, you will create a wedding experience that resonates deeply with your soul and leaves a lasting impact on everyone involved.
5. It all works out, even when it seems like it won’t.
Let’s face it: wedding planning brings forth moments of doubt, and can, at times, feel like everything is spiraling out of control. However, here’s the beautiful truth: despite the challenges and uncertainties, it somehow all works out in the end, even when it seems impossible.
Weddings have a way of testing our patience, resilience, and problem-solving skills. From unexpected obstacles to last-minute changes, the journey can feel like an intricate puzzle with missing pieces. But in the grand tapestry of wedding planning, these perceived roadblocks often reveal themselves to be stepping stones leading to a more remarkable outcome.
There will be instances when you question whether you’ve made the right decisions or if things will ever align as envisioned. But remember, God (or the universe, whatever you believe in) has a way of orchestrating serendipitous moments and aligning the stars just when you need them the most.
The key is to trust the journey and embrace the unexpected twists and turns along the way. Allow yourself to surrender to the process and let go of the need for absolute control. Sometimes, the most beautiful moments unfold when we release our grip and allow life to unfold naturally.
As you navigate the challenges, remember that setbacks and detours are often blessings in disguise. They provide opportunities for growth, resilience, and learning. They teach us to be adaptable, creative problem-solvers, and to appreciate the beauty of imperfection.
So, when it feels like everything is unraveling, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will work out, even if the path forward isn’t clear at the moment. Trust in the magic of the journey, and have faith that the pieces will come together in their own time.
When you stand at the altar, surrounded by loved ones, and exchange vows with the person you cherish most, you will look back and realize that the obstacles and uncertainties were mere stepping stones on the path to an extraordinary celebration of love.