Congratulations on your engagement!
There are exciting times ahead but right now, you’re just drunk on the love, right?
But that’s when they get ya..
Like it, or not (mostly, not) 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 (I’m wearing my marriage celebrant hat now) get around to booking me for their wedding ceremony, there have already been dozens of decisions made, promises sealed with handshakes, expectations set with immediate family and dollars shelled out.
And THAT part is okay – everyone’s priorities are different.
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.
The part that saddens me is when brides and grooms sit in my meeting room and bemoan their decisions…as if they weren’t their own.
Their wedding is already (and we’re talking as fast as a couple of weeks after getting engaged) not what they want.
Because, very early on, they felt the weight of their family/friends/social expectation and caved into it before they listened to their own instincts or sometimes even asked each other what they want.
But what if we turned the wedding planning thing on its 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 chatting 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. (It’s what Unbridely TV is ALL ABOUT!)
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? In control? Relaxed? Giddy with excitement?
Each one of these feelings is linked inextricably to decisions that are made LONG before the big day, such as 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/vendors you've hired.
Do you have to have music, or do you 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/where to meet at the reception venue?
I know what you’re thinking: “aren’t these points all covered with the invitation?”
And yes, but none 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.
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:
1) how you are feeling right now,
2) how you want to feel on the day, and
3) how you want your guests to feel
and good luck!
For more no bullshit, values-driven wedding planning inspiration, advice and HELP, check out UNBRIDELY TV.