What I Learned From Wedding Planning

From the very beginning of my own wedding planning I KNEW I wanted to take notes the entire time and share a big blog after to share all the tips and things we did to plan a wedding without the headache that comes along. Because if you are in the middle of wedding planning right now or you have planned a wedding in the past, you know that wedding planning can SUCK. A LOT.

I want to give you actual advice and steps to plan and have the wedding of your dreams without the debt or the pain of it all. So I have created this blog to give you my TOP 5 tips to how to make wedding planning EASY, FUN and ENJOYABLE – 3 things that you are probably not using to describe it right now.

1.      SKIP TRADITION. The very FIRST thing that I did before wedding planning actually became enjoyable is I sat down and decided that just because culture plans weddings a certain way, didn’t mean I had to. Stop trying to please everyone and sit down right now and decide what YOU want your wedding to look like, not what you think you should be doing.
I spent 6 months planning the wedding, planning the parties, planning and re-planning everything possible to please everyone else. No one asked me to do this. No one pressured me into it or even told me what they wanted me to do. I just simply put expectations on myself of what I thought other people would want based on society and traditional weddings. It was terrible. The BEST thing we did was ditch every normal tradition and built our wedding from the ground up. We chose what we thought was special and the things we didn’t want, we simply didn’t do. We had 30 people at our wedding, instead of the 200 we originally had planned for. We didn’t want a traditional ceremony, instead we wanted to worship and take communion with everyone there. We didn’t want to write our own vows because it just felt like so much pressure, so we didn’t. We didn’t want to have a formal rehearsal dinner, instead we wanted to grill out and spend that time passing out letters we wrote to each person there.  We didn’t have time for first dances and chose to do speeches and eat cake with our family instead. It was too stressful to plan a bachelorette party during this pandemic, so I cancelled it. Once I realized I didn’t have to do any of the traditional wedding things and we really were allowed to focus on ONLY the things that were important to us, wedding planning became SO much easier.
                                                                                                                         2.     Choose your top 3 priorities and focus on ONLY those. Wedding planning gets stressful and expensive when you are trying to do EVERYTHING. The best advice I got before I started was to choose my top 3 priorities and only spend my time and money on that. I chose 1) Photography 2) Wedding Dress 3) Intentional time with Friends and Family.                                                                                                                                                                    Half of my budget went to Photography. The ONLY vendor I even hired was my photographer. Who said you needed to hire 10 different humans to get yourself married in the first place? This was where I cut out things like catering, venue, Dj, etc. Because I focused on ONE thing. Second was my wedding dress. I spent a good chunk of my budget on my dress and alterations because that was what was important to me. Third was our friends and family. One of the most important things for Aaron was making sure his groomsmen could be there and were not going bankrupt to be in our wedding. That allowed us to spend a majority of our time and money on paying for the Airbnb and travel costs for our wedding party so that they could be there and wouldn’t be stressed for money. This priority is also what turned our wedding from a traditional wedding into our intimate destination wedding. Our priority was our immediate family and closest friends so we changed our wedding to be just about these three things, allowing the rest of the things I thought I had to do just fall to the side.

3.  The wedding is about the MARRIAGE. So often we forget that we are getting MARRIED and the reason for the wedding in the first place was to have a covenant before God and marry our best friend. The media, movies, and our culture has changed weddings into these HUGE epic days that have to be expensive and perfect and extravagant and if they aren’t then it isn’t as fun. Well you know what? My grandmother got married in her church with a pastor and their congregation and that was it. No flowers, no dress, no reception, no photographer, nothing. And then they spent their honeymoon in a motel that was so cheap the shower fell over while my grandpa was in it. And they’ve been married 60 years and had the most beautiful life. Because their life was what the wedding was about, not the wedding itself.

Wedding Planning brings out the worst in you sometimes. You grew up dreaming about this day and you want it to be PERFECT and you don’t want to settle on any of the things you are dreaming about. Honestly, I even expected myself to be perfect. I expected my teeth to be white, my hair to be long, my skin to be tan and my body to be perfectly skinny. I expected to get all the decorations that were on my Pinterest board and everything about the entire day to be exactly like I was dreaming. I expected the tables to look a certain way and the chairs to be the one on Junebug Weddings. But that just isn’t reality. And more than that – it is exhausting and isn’t a fair way to think about anything, especially yourself. Things go wrong, plans fall through, decorations are too expensive and pandemics happen that shut down the whole country. If your focus is on how perfect the wedding can be, planning will be miserable, stressful, depressing and exhausting. But the days that my focus was on MARRYING Aaron and not the wedding itself, it was exciting, joyful, beautiful, and everything I ever dreamed it to be. When marriage was my focus, none of those other things mattered as much. I was marrying my best friend, so if all the flowers weren’t perfect or if the table cloths weren’t as pretty as the wooden tables that were too expensive, it didn’t matter. Because the reason I was having a wedding was to marry my best friend, and that was perfect.


4.     Ask others for help. When you are the only one planning, it sucks. Plain and simple. Especially if you don’t have a wedding planner. But you are surrounded by people who love you and want to help you. Me and Aaron had a very tight budget so we couldn’t afford to hire vendors for everything we were wanting to do. So instead of going into debt, we did it all ourselves. Flowers, cake, food, decorations, music, etc.

Honestly, this was one of my favorite parts of my entire wedding weekend. Every single part of my wedding was special and intimate. Right down to the cake. Every piece of my wedding was made, owned or put together by one of my friends or family. We had an army to help us, but it made every part of my wedding that much more special. My grandmother made my wedding cake. My mom and my mother in law put together all of the flowers. My in laws put together all of the table settings and we used their family glasses for the décor. My uncle and brother in law strung lights in the backyard for us. My family friends sang during our entire ceremony and my dad officiated my wedding. I couldn’t have done any of that on my own. But it was made possible because of the army of loved ones who came alongside us and made our wedding happen.

5. ENJOY EVERY MINUTE. I feel like every single wedding I have done in the past year has absolutely EXHAUSTED my brides. I have heard things like, “wedding planning has made us fight more than ever it isn’t even worth it,” and “I haven’t had any fun and have hated every minute,” and then even “I don’t even want a wedding anymore.” I have heard every one of these sentences over the years and it absolutely BREAKS my heart every single time. This should be the MOST exciting time of your life, you should be full of bliss and joy because you are getting married, but instead wedding planning in today’s culture has turned this season into misery. And to me, that is just plain WRONG and we have to do something about it.

The months before you get married you should be falling more in love, getting ready to join together and do life with one another, creating an even stronger foundation for the marriage you are about to build. You should not be fighting and yelling at each other over a party. The moment me and Aaron started fighting every single time the wedding was brought up was the moment we threw it all out the window and I am so glad we did. So my advice to you is, if you don’t enjoy it – DON’T DO IT. You are allowed to enjoy your wedding, you are also allowed to enjoy planning it and throw out the things that aren’t enjoyable. Let’s make this season a season of growing together, a season of excitement for what’s to come, a season of building up your foundation together and becoming a stronger and closer couple. THAT is what wedding planning should be like.                                                                         

Wedding Planning can be daunting. It can be stressful and exhausting and sometimes it seems like it just isn’t worth it. That is what I HATE about weddings right now. No bride should be so done with wedding planning she just wants her wedding to be over with. And I refuse to sit back in a world where the happiest day of your life has been morphed into something that is dreaded. It just shouldn’t be like that, this IS one of the happiest days of your life and planning it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you. So step back and just choose what is important to you and only plan the wedding YOU are dreaming of.