He knelt beside a beautiful river. He popped the question. She glowed with the anticipation of a betrothed woman. It was a gorgeous moment we happily enjoyed through pictures on Facebook. They were engaged. (How precious!)
Then, our eyes widened when we promptly received an invitation to their wedding… in three weeks!
This couple was not messing around with long engagements. We know we want to get married. Now let’s do it! ~smile~ Who can blame them? Long engagements are rough!
Thankfully, we were able to attend their big day and we were happy to see how well everything came together in such a short time. It made me wonder, “Do we really need so much time to plan and execute a beautiful wedding? Can the process be simpler?”
As I chatted with the grandmother of the bride at the reception, she told me about the time her son (the bride’s father) called her from college and said, “My fiancée and I don’t want to get married next summer. We want to get married in ten days!” (And, I thought, “It runs in the family!”) Somehow, and in some way, they were able to pull off a beautiful wedding in a week and a half. Though not recommended for the faint of heart, it can be done! (And, I should add, they are celebrating their thirty-third anniversary this month and are as in love as ever. ~smile~)
When Possible, Consult a Professional!
As much as I love talking about relationships and learning about relationships, I am under-seasoned in the art of wedding planning. My own wedding stressed me out; and, compared to my godmother (who did most of the planning and grunt work), I had very little work to do. What can I say? I am not an event planner! And, since Eric and I are blessed to meet and work with numerous couples on the verge of wedded bliss, I am incredibly thankful God saw fit to bring my friend, Alicia, into my life. She is an event-planning extraordinaire who designs stunning weddings. When I have a wedding question, she is my first go to, and she graciously agreed to help me with this post! Check her out at Tina Lane Events! (They are based out of central Virginia and are available for travel!)
So, my first and only piece of advice is this:
- Hire a Wedding Planner! You may not think there is room in your budget for a wedding planner, but you may be surprised! Even if you are not sure, sit down with a professional and talk through some ideas. A wedding planner may help you save money (and certainly sanity) by letting you in on some tricks of the trade. Not only that, but wedding planners often have professional connections with quality service vendors – photographers, videographers, caterers – and can put you in touch with the people you need.
With that said, here are six more tips straight from my friend, the talented Alicia, at Tina Lane Events!
- Focus on what is important to the two of you. Try not to compare your wedding to other weddings. This can be difficult, but comparing weddings can really steal joy during your wedding planning. Limit your inspiration searches on Pinterest. Those pictures found on Pinterest may be out of your budget. Remember your wedding is about the beginning of your life together. Prioritize what you want for your day. If it is not important to both of you, consider not including it.
- Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Your wedding day is such an exciting time for you, so getting overwhelmed by the details is completely understandable! When you feel this starting to happen, take a moment and just breathe. Do something you find relaxing which is not part of the wedding planning. Clear your head a bit. Then you can get back to the tasks and excitement at hand.
- Keep the guest list small. Do not feel like you have to invite every single person in your life or especially every one of your friends on Facebook! Trying to interact with 500 guests or even 200 guests at your wedding can be challenging. Consider having only those closest to you –immediate family members, close friends – people you would miss if they were not there. If you would not have them over for the holidays or go on vacation with them, think about why they need to be at your wedding.
- It is okay to say, “No, thank you.” People will want to give their opinions. People will want to help. If you need help, then great! However, just because they are a close friend or family member, that does not mean you have to agree with them about everything. Listen to them and perhaps even consider what they are saying. If it does not work for both of you, be polite – but firm – and let them know.
- Keep your vendors updated. You have hired vendors because you trust them. Do not forget that they want to take care of you. There is a reason you have gathered a strong team of professionals for your day – because they are good at what they do. The last thing a vendor wants to hear from you is, “Oh! I forgot to tell you!” Professionals are good at going with the flow, but if you have the opportunity to tell them you have gluten-free guests, or you want a different first dance song, or you want to have a first look after all, let them know as soon as possible.
- Have someone else take care of the details. Not everyone can afford a full-service wedding planner; and, if you are a well-organized person, planning your own wedding may be right up your alley. However, no matter how organized you are, you should not have to deal with the little details of the day. Consider hiring a Wedding Day Manager. This professional has the knowledge to handle any crisis which might arise and answer any questions other vendors may have. This will allow you and your family to relax and enjoy your day!
Fourteen years ago, I wish someone had looked me in the eyes and said, “Your wedding can be simple.” (Maybe someone did and I was so overwhelmed and I did not listen?! ~smile~) No two weddings are the same and, if possible, they should reflect both the bride and groom’s personalities. Some weddings have long ceremonies and lavish receptions. Others have short and sweet ceremonies and heavy hors-d’oeuvres receptions. Some weddings are in the woods with ten people followed by a Buffalo Wild Wings reception.
When it comes to your wedding, you do you. And, have someone (or multiple people) in your corner who will help you do you as simply as possible.
A couple of years ago, one of our former clients said, “Engagement is where fun goes to die!” Though humorous, her comment reflected the stress brides and grooms often feel as they plan a wedding – especially when trying to make everyone happy. So, before you and your spouse-to-be start putting plans into motion, sit down and thoughtfully consider what you both want. Which memories do you want to look back on with a smile? I assure you stress and conflict is not what you want to remember about your special day. Decide what you both want before you talk to anyone else about it. Then, stand together as a unified couple for your vision (it won’t be the last time you’ll need to do that in marriage – so, it’s good practice).
And, if you can, seek a relationship with a professional who can help you create the wedding of your dreams while preserving your lucidity and sanity. Engagement does not have to be where fun goes to die. ~smile~
How else might you simplify your wedding day?