I have a confession to make. Up until a few weeks ago, I was furiously googling emotional phrases like “Is it too late to elope?” and “I hate wedding planning” and “Am I am horrible person for not being excited about wedding planning?”
It wasn’t a momentary freakout, but rather an ongoing feeling since getting engaged that wedding planning was all stress and no fun. People would attempt to talk about the wedding with me and I would more or less shut them down and change the conversation. My close friends got an earful on how stressful I found it, and my poor fiance was left wondering why someone who claimed she was excited to marry him was suddenly so against discussing our big day.
I didn’t really understand it myself. I was so thrilled to be marrying my best friend! How could I not be over-the-top enthused about choosing napkins for the reception?
It turns out that my ‘vision’ of wedding planning didn’t quite match reality, and I didn’t know what to do with that besides not talk about it. In the hopes that another super stressed out bride-to-be sees this, here are the three things I’ve learned about wedding planning:
1. Unrealistic expectations
I want to be clear here: I am more than grateful for the people in our lives who are helping us financially and otherwise to have the wedding. I am so excited about our day and how we’ve chosen to run it.
That being said, it is a harsh reality check when what you have seen in magazines and on television about weddings do not match up to what your budget and/or resources allow for. When I think of weddings, I think of Will & Kate, I think of Disney princess weddings, I think of the brides on “Say Yes to the Dress” who are like “Oh, yes, my budget is $100,000, let me try on a few.” You don’t spend your whole life dreaming about having arguments over guest lists so you don’t go over the limit or comparing catering costs per head.
I feel like that sounds incredibly spoiled, but I’m just being honest. Unless you are actually the future King of England, “wedding planning” is not like a Disney dream where you snap your fingers and it all comes together while you’re out at the ball. It’s a large-scale event that you have to plan with consideration to cost and time. There are no little birdies fluttering down around you while you try on your dress. There are, however, a lot of excel spreadsheets.
2. Social media pressure
I’m at the age where a lot of my friends and my fiance’s friends are getting married, which means I am exposed to plenty of brides-to-be gushing over Save the Date’s or ‘proposing’ to their bridesmaids with DIY tulle-covered boxes dripping with beads and bling and miles of ribbon. I see wedding rings on Instagram, entire forums dedicated to girls describing how they broke down in tears after finding the dress, and Facebook posts on how excited Sally is to get to spend the whole day cake-tasting with her mother.
I am genuinely happy for these people and am not taking away from their excitement. Trust me, I am always one to ‘like’ an update and comment telling them how beautiful their venue/dress/ring is.
But as a girl, I feel an immense societal pressure to do that too. Why was I not posting “Said yes to the dress” updates and happily Instagramming an afternoon spent shoe-shopping? Is there a quota for how much time I need to spend on Pinterest before I can go through with this whole thing?
The more I looked around me and saw people who seemed to be non-stop excited about wedding planning, the more I freaked out about why I wasn’t feeling the same. Why did I find it so stressful when everyone else seemed to be living in DIY bliss?
3. Some stages are harder than others
As with planning any big event, it has to be done in stages. The first ‘real’ stage for us was a lot to handle. We had to decide on a “type” of wedding (local or destination), choose a wedding date, choose a ceremony venue, choose a reception venue, and decide on a rough draft guest list all in the span of a few weeks. These are decisions that will completely shape your wedding day experience, but you can’t just say “Oh, well, we’ll pick a date and then a few weeks later pick a ceremony venue and then a few weeks later pick a reception venue.” They all have to work in tandem, and a problem with any one could really alter your plans.
As we’ve made those big decisions now, I find myself a lot more excited about the planning. I can take it in ‘chunks’ rather than feeling like I’m deluged with these decisions all day every day. The only major thing left we have to do is figure out our food situation, but the rest is all fun stuff and those little touches that are going to make it “ours.”
On that note, I just want to tell any other bride-to-be that whatever you feel is totally okay. We’re not all natural event planners and feeling stressed and overwhelmed about wedding planning is completely normal. For me, recognizing and accepting that I was feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning (and that I wasn’t a horrible person because of it) went a long ways towards helping me let those feelings go.
In the end, as long as you are genuinely happy about the marriage aspect, you’re all set. I’m not sure if I will ever be 100% sure of which tableware we should go with, but I am 100% sure that the guy standing up there next to me is the right one.