After 3 years of marriage, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a post on wedding planning let alone a piece on why I hated planning our wedding. The truth is, I wanted to write this post then and the conversation has come up time and time again with friends and strangers alike. So, if you are the bride-to-be, this is the post you needed and I’ve taken way too long to write it. Now that I’ve made it to the other side (hah!), however, I think I have a better handle on the whole process and hopefully can write more eloquently on the topic…
The Proposal + Avoiding Wedding Planning
When my husband proposed, we’d been together four years and “it was time.” Though he was sure this was the right time and I was pretty sure I could see spending the rest of my life with him, I was completely blindsided with his proposal and seriously wondered how in the world he thought it was a good time. When he proposed, I was a few months out of grad school with my PhD, no concrete career plans, and we were about to move to LA. I basically had nothing figured out in my life. And he thought we were adult enough to get married. HAH!
We moved to LA a short month later and I managed to avoid talking about wedding planning for about 5 months. Then one day, before we walked in to see a movie with friends, I told him that I didn’t think I was ready to get married. He looked at me in a bit of shock and awe (not in the good way). And the movie started. It was Anchorman 2 – not a great movie by any standards, but memorable for me because of what happened before and after. When the movie ended, he looked at me and said that he was ready to get married. So whenever I was ready, he would be ready. WHAT A GUY, RIGHT? I thanked him profusely for understanding and felt a little calmer but still didn’t start planning for a few months.
Over the next six months, we started taking occasional trips to find a venue. I hoped finding the right place would calm me down. Instead it aggravated me more. We looked in Yosemite Valley and were hugely disappointed with the offerings (on multiple levels). We also looked in Santa Barbara. I love the ocean and the seaside area is one of our favorite getaway destinations. Each place we visited seemed to emphasize all the ways I could DIY decorations. If there is one thing you should know about me (besides my love for coffee and french fries), it’s that I don’t DIY. At all. I’m an impatient perfectionist. I don’t consider myself artistic. And unlike many brides, I hadn’t been saving ideas on Pinterest since we started dating. Each time people excitedly looked at me with DIY on their lips, my comfort level sank a little lower.
So, how did we finally get married?
We finally found a venue. Running out of ideas in southern California, we opted for a small town in Northern California with a lot of meaning for my family (though my husband was the one to recommend it). We found a location where we could stay on location for the weekend with my family. And they only had one August date available, so that became the date. Plans atarted taking shape and over the next year, we slowly started figuring pieces out.
With all that, I certainly have a few pieces of advice and comfort. And I do want to tell you that I COULDN’T WAIT TO GET OUR WEDDING OVER WITH. I think at some points I was more excited to be done wedding planning than I was to be getting married. And at the wedding, I was still very much on edge until after we finished the family photos. At that point, Karen, our photographer took us off for our own photos and I finally started to release my tension. By crying. All the pent up emotion could finally come out and it took the two of them to keep me calm and happy. I think I’m the only one who can see all that emotion on my face in some of our photos, but it’s so obvious to me. After that point, however, the party started. We ate dinner. I danced with friends. I giggled with family. I swapped my pink suede wedding shoes for my Chuck Taylors. And we celebrated!
So. A few important things to discuss..
Does Not Wanting to Plan My Wedding Mean I Don’t Want to Get Married?
Oh my goodness, NO!!! One of my fears about hating wedding planning was that it meant I didn’t want to get married. THAT IS SO NOT THE CASE. I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but I can say without a doubt that not wanting to plan your wedding doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to get married OR that you don’t want to marry the person you’re engaged to. The wedding and the marriage are two separate things. And if we’re being honest, marriage is a crazy huge commitment, so it’s ok to be nervous.
How do you Respond when People ask how wedding planning is going?
In trying to be decent humans, people ask you about wedding planning. They ask how it’s going. They seemingly want all the details. Since I HATED talking about it, I found the one thing I liked about wedding planning. For me, it was that my sister was making my dress. I could show them pictures of the inspiration for the design, her mock drawings, etc. If you tense up everytime someone asks, I recommend selecting the one thing about wedding planning that you like talking about. The venue? The location? The honeymoon? The first dance song? It doesn’t matter – just always report on that same one thing. It’s new for everyone else and nobody will know you’re giving the EXACT SAME UPDATE to every single person. And then you won’t get stressed out!
If you haven’t started wedding planning yet…
We were engaged for two years and got questions of why we were taking so long. I have friends who are taking even longer. There are two reasons you haven’t planned your wedding. Either you don’t want to get married OR you have other things going on in life! I have no right to judge on the former, but I can certainly help you on the latter. Only you two really know why you haven’t started planning yet. Likely there are other things taking up your time/money/energy. Tell people as much as you feel comfortable with and move on. Don’t feel guilty and don’t await their judgement. If they’re judging you, it shouldn’t affect you. They aren’t the ones getting married
I do want to mention one thing however… I LOVE BEING MARRIED!! The first year of marriage wasn’t super easy, the second wasn’t entirely straightforward, but oh my goodness do I LOVE it now (and so does my husband). People who are married and love it, want that same happiness for others, hence some of their excitement for you. It’s a feeling you won’t understand until you get there and we want you to get there. Is it our business how long it takes you? No. But as somebody who didn’t like wedding planning and who now rejoices in being married, I think it’s important to understand some of the enthusiasm with which you’re being bombarded!
My Advice if You Don’t Like Wedding Planning
Anytime I meet engaged couples, I offer them two pieces of advice, one of which is incredibly pertinent to those of you struggling with how to plan a wedding when you don’t like wedding planning.
The first piece of advice every couple needs to hear – but especially those struggling with wedding planning – is not to plan anything you don’t care about. My husband and I knew a few things going in – I didn’t want a wedding party (so much drama) and we didn’t want a big wedding. We ended up with just 60 people at our wedding – many of whom were my immediate family – and it was just right. As we moved through the process of wedding planning, anything we hadn’t decided on, we quickly talked about, and usually dismissed since it hadn’t been important to us before. For our wedding, that meant no guest book, no garter, no bachelorette party for me, and just a very few number of speeches, etc. Each detail no matter how much you love it will become something you have to deal with and worry about later. Don’t add stresses about which you don’t actually care.
I hear horror stories of family putting pressure on couples to do certain things. I don’t have a good answer for that since everybody’s family dynamic is different. As much as you can, however, I recommend trying to be firm about your decisions one way or another.
The second piece of advice is to go out on a date in the last month or so before your wedding and don’t talk about wedding planning. When you start planning, you can get to a point where your time together is consumed with plans. Take a little to to enjoy each other and remember why you’re going through all this work – to marry the person you’re going to adult together with for the rest of your lives.