We gon' get real here - none of that "I learned I didn't like my flowers." or "I learned I should've hired a day-of planner." type stuff because wedding planning is deeper than decor and you should know to hire a day-of or month-of wedding planner by now. ;) This list is one that my husband, Matt, and I put together when we talked about what we learned.
To listen to us chat about our engagement and planning process, listen to this podcast episode here. It's the first time Matt speaks on my podcast! If you're a married couple, comment on the bottom and let me know what you learned when you were engaged.
Alright, let's get straight to it:
1. Our relationship felt different. We were together for five years before getting engaged and had a ton of deep conversations, but being engaged felt different. We had deeper conversations about ourselves, our relationship, who we are individually and as a couple. We talked about our families, values and what we wanted to bring into our own family. What started as dream talks while dating turned into reality. Our faith also strengthened thanks to our priest and Deacon. To read about the topics we had to talk about and our Catholic engagement experience, click here.
2. Stress can take away the joy of planning so easily.
You can so easily get caught up in the stress and frustration of planning. It's real - the anxiety, small or big panic attacks, eye rolls, numerous deep sighs. There are times when you'll be like, "Why am I even doing this?" and end up losing the point of it all. Remember the bigger picture: you are getting married to the love of your life. That's the point. It's not your mom's happiness, your best friend's wants, or if your flowers will be fresh. You're getting married! Tell your significant other why you're grateful for him/her. Go on a date. Take it back to your WHY.
3. Find the balance in planning and having fun.
With all the stress coming in, you need to make planning more fun! I know you're excited (or stressed) and just want to get things done but be careful about planning your wedding every day. Carve out specific days out of the week for planning. We would do "Wedding Wednesdays" so every Wednesday night, we'd drink wine while we plan or go to a cafe or restaurant to focus on planning and not get distracted with the couch or Netflix at home. Just know that the month before your wedding is typically when it gets cray cray so plan ahead
4. GROOMS: Don't just go with the flow.
This one is Matt’s tip, not mine. Ha ha. “So many grooms told me to just go with the flow, whatever your wife wants but don’t go with the flow: PARTICIPATE!” Show your wife or partner that you are in this together. It’s not just the one person who’s planning everything. It’s both of your wedding and marriage. Work together and collaborate! Team work makes the dream work.
5. Acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses helped us.
As we got deeper into planning, we talked about what we liked doing and didn’t like doing. As a planner, I liked organizing everything into my Excel sheet and researching as much as I could. We chose who would research what: photographer, cake, etc. and placed all this info into a Google spreadsheet. As the wedding got closer and we had to focus on more planning, we organized it so that Matt would do everyday essential stuff like cooking or cleaning while I researched or planned, then we joined forces again. I also enjoyed budgeting so I managed the finances but we still went through the budget together so we were always on the same page. When we acknowledged what we each enjoyed doing, it made the planning process easier for us!
6. Our family and friends play specific roles in our lives.
Your maid of honor might not be the best planner for your bridal shower. Your groomsman might not know how to plan your bachelor party. Your bridesmaid might not have time to help with set up. The list goes on. You can’t expect your loved ones to drop everything in their life to cater to your big day. They may not know how to be there for you on your special day or this planning process, but they know how to be your friend in everyday life situations.
You’ll learn a ton about your family and friends and how they are in stressful situations. You’ll learn that some people might not be your real friends. You’ll learn that some of them suck at planning and being creative, some of them may be tight on money, some just don't know what to do, but they know they love YOU. Think about your family and friends’ strengths, and how they can help you in their own special way. Do they play the role of going shopping with you? Do they play the role of listening to you cry? Creating signs for you? Just as you talked to your spouse about what he/she likes to do, think about this with your family and friends, and let their light shine through!
7. You can't make everyone happy, so stop trippin'.
You’re going to get so many opinions and feedback. “This person isn’t doing that... You didn’t ask for my opinion... I don’t like this dress... You should have an open bar…” The list goes on. It’s easier said than done but I’m gonna say it anyway - stop trippin’ off of your loved ones’ words, feelings and actions. This is yours and your partner’s wedding. Do what makes you both happy! You cannot please everyone and that’s okay.
8. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
THIS. Let’s say it louder for the people in the back: DON’T be afraid to ask for help! If you need help, ask your family and friends, and ask them sooner rather than later. Don’t hold back. They’re here to help you and be with you through the process. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Ask for help!
9. It's hard AF to stick to your budget.
Yo.... you will always be looking at your budget. It’s ever-changing. You’ll find things you love so much and be like, “Can I just squeeze that into my budget though?” This is why it’s so important to have an understanding between the both of you of how much in TOTAL you want to spend and what matters most to you. If you need help with budgeting, take a look at my blog here that has downloadable budget templates.
10. Chill. The wedding doesn't have to be your vision of perfect.
I can’t stress this enough. There will be things that go wrong on your wedding day. At some point, you just have to let it go. Chill out and let Jesus take the wheel. The ceremony and reception itself won’t be 100% perfect, but you know what is or what will be? You’re marrying someone you love, trust and respect. You’re marrying the person you’ve been waiting for. You’re starting a future together. So forget all the minor details on the wedding day and focus on the big picture: you’re about to be husband and wife, and that is the most beautiful, perfect part about this day.
Congratulations to my engaged couples! I’m so happy for you! I hope you took away some insight from this blog. Listen to our podcast episode about our engagement process here in case you missed it!
As always, I’m here if you have any questions. Happy planning!
Sending you all the love & confetti,