Congratulations on your engagement! Exciting times ahead for both of you.
You are going to be on the receiving end of a lot of (sometimes unwelcome) advice and it will all start from the moment you announce your engagement. So I wanted to give you a little heads up BEFORE you start planning ANYTHING.
You see, by the time my couples get around to hiring me to officiate their wedding ceremony (in my capacity as a celebrant/officiant), there have already been dozens of decisions made, promises sealed with handshakes, expectations set and dollars shelled out.
Generally, couples will set a date, book a venue, and start pulling together a guest list long before we sit down to talk about their ceremony. And THAT part is okay – everyone’s priorities are different. The part that mystifies me is when brides and grooms sit in my meeting room and bemoan their own decisions…as if they weren’t their own.
Their wedding is already not what they want.
Because, very early on, they felt the weight of (family/friends/social) expectation and caved into it before they listened to their own instincts.
But what if we turned the wedding planning thing on it’s head?
What if the journey WAS the destination?
What if I told you that you are ALREADY setting the tone for your marriage TODAY? Would it change your attitude towards your engagement?
What if every decision you made about your wedding planning depended on only three things;
1) Enjoying your engagement and the planning process.
This means trusting your gut instincts.
Asking yourself: "Am I enjoying talking with and feel comfortable around this photographer/makeup artist/venue manager/celebrant/florist?"
If the answer is 'no', then get the hell out of there.
Is wedding planning taking up every single conversation that you and your fiancé have?
Yes? Then back off, or hire a planner, push the date back, delegate some tasks or simplify; MAKE IT FEEL GOOD.
Protect your engagement experience and your relationship, by prioritising how you tick things off your 'to do' list.
Because, if it doesn't feel good, it doesn't feel good.
And why are you doing this, if it doesn't feel good?
2) How do you want to feel on your wedding day?
You’re getting ready the morning of the big day; how do you want to feel?
Pumped? Calm? Nervous? Wonderful? Relaxed? Giddy with excitement?
Each one of these feelings is linked inextricably to decisions that are made LONG before the big day: like the people you choose to have in your bridal party, where you get ready, when you get ready, how you get ready and the suppliers you've hired.
Do you have to have music around you, or prefer peace and quiet?
Would you love to do a morning yoga session with your girls?
Do you need to get a jog in every morning to feel human or do you need industrial quantities of caffeinated beverages?
Do you feel energised in a group or are you more of an introvert?
Determine who you are, what you like and how you want to feel before you make the big decisions about your wedding.
3) How do you want your guests to feel on your wedding day?
I say this to my couples all the time: if you didn’t care about your friends and family and how they feel, you would have gone to the registry office. So if you are going to the effort of planning a wedding where 2-200+ guests are assembled to celebrate your relationship, think a little about how they feel; put yourself in their shoes.
When they arrive at your ceremony will there be someone to welcome them?
Will you have signage, shade, water, music, a program to tell them what’s happening?
Between your ceremony and your reception how will you communicate to them where to go, what they can do, if they’re needed for official photos and when to meet at the reception venue? Because, although many of these details are covered in the invitation, not one of your guests will be holding an invitation on the day itself.
The list goes on and on and it is possible to get carried away with ultimately insignificant points and plans that no one else is even going to notice. But the core question I want you to come back to is this: how would this make my guests feel?
I’m guessing you are aiming for a mixture of happy, entertained, loved, included and relaxed.
But write it down. Seriously. Because, when things get crazy in your planning (and they will) having a written list will help you keep focused on what really matters.
So before you make any (more) decisions about your wedding, maybe check in on how you are feeling right now, how you want to feel on the day and how you want your guests to feel and good luck!
How are you going about planning your wedding? Do you have a plan for keeping it all relevant, realistic and sane?