Today is my 15th wedding anniversary.
I just feel grateful to able to write that down. It feels like such a privilege to be able to have my strongest supporter, my closest friend and my safest heart to confide in by my side, as my husband for 15 years. In some ways it feels like yesterday we got married and in others I can’t remember a day when I had to go to sleep without him. Marriage is the hardest and most amazing privilege, all at the same time. I seriously adore my husband.
I’m also really glad I’m not planning my wedding currently. If elopements had been popular back in the day, believe me, I would have been first in line. But they weren’t. So here is how that story went. I was super young, SUPER overwhelmed. My soon to be groom was the most popular guy in town and I got nervous if there were more than five people in the room… the long story short is that I freaked out and quit. Not even kidding. I told him I was done talking about what food to serve at the reception and where we were going to find a place to accommodate a large guest list on our very small budget. We asked our families if we could move our wedding date up, not tell a single person and get married on the side of a lake in the southern California mountains with our parents at our side. Boom. 😉
How ironic is it after all the stress and panic I now help people plan their own weddings on a continual basis and love it. Yes, I know….
Fast forward 15 years and I’ve been a part of a just a few nuptials. 😉 On our tenth anniversary my husband and I (and my family) planned a renewal of vows. It was awesome. By then I knew a thing or two about weddings. I knew I wanted my family and friends with us, but not ALL of them. We capped it at 50 people and were able to keep it small enough to have it on a large deck of a family home in those same mountains of southern California. It was the perfect venue for me. I found my wedding dress at a thrift store and a friend of ours who is a brilliant seamstress was able to take it apart and fit it perfectly to me. Our day was special, it has great memories, and it was us. I spent $24.99 on my wedding dress, and a WHOLE lot more than that on my photographers. 😀 he he Shows you where my priorities lie. 😉
When I chat with brides on wedding planning there are a few things that I will always come back to. I think it’s become (and rightly so) a priority of today’s couples to have their wedding days be a reflection of who they are. They want their wedding day to be unique, their details, their ideas… all their own. But that’s a difficult thing in a world of social media, Pinterest and The Knot all at your fingertips.
So in honor of my absolute failed first attempt at wedding planning, let me share with you my thoughts on wedding trends and how to be unique when planning your wedding:
- It’s about the marriage
In the midst of the enormous task of wedding planning it’s really very easy to lost sight of the actual point of the wedding; to get married. I always encourage my brides and grooms to not lose sight of the idea that you’re marrying your best friend. In the end of all the details and problems and vendors, you will hopefully end up married. You MUST have a sense of humor in planning. Don’t forget your date nights and just being together. Although I realize that time is hard to come by and it’s a huge temptation to get into the habit of every time you sit down together talking about wedding plans. Stop it. Seriously, nothing is more important that actually liking the person you’re marrying. Not even the dreaded seating arrangements. I promise. 😉
- Something has got to give
Everyone has a wedding budget. Everyone. They may be separated by hundreds of thousands of dollars, but we all have price points that we’re comfortable spending on our big day. One of the most important thing you can do in planning and budgeting your wedding is make a list of priorities. Right at the very beginning of planning I suggest you sit down with your significant other and write it out. DON’T write prices by each item, just talk about what’s important to both of you. When you have a clear vision of what needs to be a priority on your wedding day it will make it all that simpler when you have to say no to something else. And chances are you probably will. Very few people don’t have to compromise for the sake of budget somewhere. It can become really overwhelming when you’re surrounded by so many options. But if you already know what your priorities are it becomes really easy to see where the bulk of your money needs to go and it makes it an easy decision.
- Pinterest is your bff and your worse nightmare
Ah Pinterest. A brides dream. Or not. Before you all stop reading and call me a hater let me explain. I scroll through pin after pin with the best of them. I love seeing venues, beautiful photography, ideas and wedding trends. Here are the two issues I see with Pinterest;
1. once you’ve seen it on Pinterest, it’s been done. And probably done a lot more than you realize. Although it’s a great place for inspiration, your wedding needs to be about YOU GUYS. My favorite events to photograph are always those that have a really unique touch to them. She used his grandmother’s 100 year old wedding ring. She walked down the aisle over flowers from a family garden. The food choices you make, the music you dance too, the venue, the wedding vendors you choose. It’s ok to start your own trends.
2. Pinterest has the ability to make you see all the things you don’t have. Ok, again. Don’t shoot me. Bless the favors guys, really, they’re cute. I get it. But at times I think Pinterest can make you feel like you’re the only one in the world that didn’t include favors at your reception and that none of your family and friends will ever speak to you again because of it. Perspective people, there is always more you can do. It comes down to again… priorities.
- Ask for referrals, borrow and find
There is a whole lot going on out there in wedding land. So much to chose from, I think overwhelming is the name of the day. I just want to remind you don’t just talk to Google, talk to people. Sometimes your best friends raving review about how amazing or different their photographer was is all you need to get you on the right track for finding the perfect photographer for you (or floral designer, or bridal gown). Talk to wedding vendors. Your photographer, wedding planner, venue, etc. Oh my goodness, we have opinions and we will tell you all about them. 😉 But the reality is that we’ve seen FAR more weddings than you have. We’ve seen them work beautifully and not so beautifully. I will happily tell you all about the vendors that I love and even more importantly why I love them. That intern helps educate you on your decisions.
Also, I know this probably sounds a little like an ‘echo’ of above and it’s not going to be everyone’s thing but borrowing that amazing arch that your friend’s husband hand carved for their wedding. Yes, obviously, duh. Same goes for thrift stores. It takes some time and a very specific vision but you can strike gold there.
- Plan, Plan, Plan and then let it go
My last wedding planning tip is a little odd. But I promise it’s based on years of experience and seeing it done well and not so well. You will in the end spend countless hours, days sometime even years planning your perfect event. Never in your life will you have cared so much about where a plant is sitting, what place cards look like or if the color of your frosting matched your custom dyed silk ribbon. That’s all good and comes with planning the most important event of your life. However, If I could offer one last thing it would be this. Do everything you can now, plan, coordinate, hire excellent vendors. But then tell yourself that your wedding date is a week before it actually is. Have EVERYTHING done at that point and then… quit. Enjoy the ride, play with your bridal party. Be excited about marrying the man of your dreams. DON’T. MISS. IT. Seriously, do everything you can and then let it go. There is no detail gone wrong that is worth you missing the joy of the most important day of your life over. Your day is going to be awesome, because it’s about you guys.
More than anything enjoy the journey, because it’s your journey. 😉