To The Bride Who Doesn’t Enjoy Wedding Planning

Once I came down from the high of our engagement, the expectation of what being a bride should look like and how I’m just not there really hit me. I found myself flooded with questions about every detail and how excited I must be to plan. Except I’m not.

Let me be very clear about the fact that I can’t wait to be married.

I love Conor and the week of our engagement was hands-down the happiest week of my life. Then we started talking about dates, cities, countries, locations, and budgets and it’s just stressful. It feels as if the entire world is telling me that I should be excited about planning “the best day of my life”. I am so excited for the moment that we become husband and wife but when I dream about that day, my head isn’t flooded with flowers and place settings. I imagine standing someplace beautiful, what we’ll say, and the people we’ll celebrate with. That’s it.

For as long as I can remember, I always thought I’d elope. Then I met Conor. I’ve mentioned that my family hasn’t really made me want a big wedding but after celebrating our engagement with family friends, I want to share this moment with the people we love. When presented with the idea of having private vows–like just the two of us–the thought Conor’s family and some of our close friends not being there didn’t feel right at all.

Unfortunately, the road blocks have been nonstop. Budget, availability, and locations are all so up in the air. Some of my closest friends are wedding photographers with tons of dates blocked out, and I can’t not have them by my side. We were all set on a private ceremony and dinner at the Zero George in Charleston when they backed out last-minute shattering the peace of mind I had with my low-key no frills patio dinner wedding. And just like that, the charming little hotel we stayed at years ago was off my list.

Finding the right non-wedding venue in the right city isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I’d find a restaurant, make a reservation for 20 people, and be done. But $10k minimums for a dinner for 20 had us feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.

I’ve wanted to be real for you and with you–to share what’s going on but need to respect the privacy of people in my life. Even though I can’t share the actions of others, I can share what I’ve been feeling, so after almost two months of ups and downs, I want to finally talk to you about how i’m feeling.

If you’re a bride who isn’t excited about planning her wedding, this is for you

There’s so much pressure to feel like you’re supposed to enjoy this time but it’s ok if you don’t.

It’s ok if you don’t care about all the details.

It’s ok to tell people you don’t enjoy wedding planning, but remember what you are excited about and why you’re doing this in the first place. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress.

It’s ok if your upcoming wedding makes you feel sad because you don’t have strong relationships with your parents, if you’ve lost a parent, or if it brings up something you’ve lost. If that’s where you are, I really feel for you. Do not let what you don’t have take away from what should be a happy time. It’s ok to feel those losses but do your best to focus on the good.

It’s ok if there isn’t a parent to walk you down the aisle.

Your wedding day doesn’t have to be the best day of your life and everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s one day – and the details of that day will not define your future. It’s ok and probably best if you focus less on the day and more on what it’s really about. Focus on the good. The people who love you and the reason you’re doing this. Focus on your marriage.

It’s ok if the planning process doesn’t feel like the happiest time of your life. If I’ve learned anything over the last two months, this time is difficult for almost everyone and you are most definitely not alone.

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  • I like to say that my husband and I got married and then had a wedding. We were married with our moms, a best friend, my godmother, and grandma in the courthouse and then threw a wedding party with our closest friends and family a year+ later. Initially, I was against the courthouse idea, but when I realized that the morning after everything would be exactly the same, it didn’t matter how we did it, just that it was happening in a way that worked for us. We saved writing vows and exchanging rings for the wedding. While I enjoyed planning the big party, I also was able to be very decisive about everything, often meeting a single vendor and just knowing it was the right fit. Since the marriage/commitment part was no longer mixed up with the “wedding day,” I was planning a fun celebration because my husband and I were already all in to being with each other. Good luck with planning and just do what’s right for you and Conor!

    1. I love that you waited a year. We do need to have a big party but it will likely be within a few weeks. I’m glad you enjoyed the process. I plan on handing it over to other people though. Ha.

  • I just need to say, I did not see a wedding happening to me, especially not in my late 40s, ha! Somehow, being sure of us, being older, I knew what we wanted for a wedding. Well, Steve would have eloped, ha……but it was one of the best days I have had. As a person that isn’t about attention, this was just right. It was small, family and a few friends. It reminded me go with your gut, do what you want. The day goes pretty fast and you want to enjoy every minute!

    1. That’s what we’re doing. I’ve always said I only want people I go to lunch with regularly to attend my wedding.

  • I eloped and it was the best decision of my life! Although, I really want you to have a big ceremony because I feel like you would plan such a gorgeous event and I selfishly want to see the pictures! Either way, congratulations on your engagement! <3

    1. Yay for eloping! And so many people assume that but I have zero desire to plan anything so that’s just not happening. Ha. We’ll have less than 20 people in a pretty room, but I’m keeping it as simple as possible.

  • Hi Danielle, I appreciate this post so much. I just got married 6 months ago and although I did love the planning process and our beautiful wedding ( – as weddings are a fun and symbolic celebration of love and commitment – what really matters is the marriage. I’m in my late 20s and have many friends who recently got married or engaged and you can really tell who’s in it for the partnership they’re forming and who’s more smitten with the ring and fancy wedding. As happy I am with how the details of our wedding turned out, what mattered most the whole time was that I got to marry my now-husband and the promises we made to each other, celebrating with our loved ones, and that everyone had fun. So, regardless of whether you enjoy the planning process or not, I think it’s important to remember the reason behind the wedding in the first place. Thank you for this reminder!

    1. I’m with you! I care about the vows and getting to spend time with family and friends. That’s it.

  • I didn’t enjoy wedding planning either! It was stressful, expensive, and impossible to please both families. I’m so thankful I married my wonderful husband, but if I had do it again I would plan something completely different. A big wedding just wasn’t for me. Plan what makes you and your future husband happy! Congratulations!

  • I’m in the midst of wedding planning right now, and honestly at times it feels like a part time job. It’s not fun – it’s a lot of work, money, decisions, hard discussions and compromise, on top of a normal stressful, long-hours job. And I’m saying all of that even when I lucked out in having a good friend that is a wedding planner.

    The best decision we made was to pay for the wedding ourselves, and to not tell family details until after contracts have been signed and deposits have been made. We want our wedding to be a reflection of us, so we are doing our best to make decisions together without input from anyone else.

    1. Just finding a venue is so much work. I 100% understand why people hire planners but that’s not in my budget, so I’m a stressball over here trying to figure things out. So hard!

  • I could not love this more! I felt exactly the same throughout our 10 month engagement. I wish I had read something like this when I was planning my wedding! If I had to do it all over again, I would have simplified everything. Thank you for being so open and honest with us. Good luck girl!

    1. No one tells you how much fun it isn’t or how hard it can be. I’m so glad we’re keeping it small and hope we’ll have a location and date figured out soon.

  • Does Buddy fly? Could he walk you down the aisle?? Or maybe one or two of your close girlfriends can walk with you? How frustrating for that restaurant to back out – that must have been devastating! Hope it all works out for you guys, and you’ll have Conor at the end of it all! Good luck!

    1. That is the best idea I’ve ever heard (zero sarcasm, it’s brilliant) but I’m not sure it would work to have him there. I’m going to figure out some sort of alternative solution, but since I may only have 2-3 close girlfriends there (total) might seem odd. Ha.

      I don’t know that I’d call losing the restaurant devastating but we were SET and so excited, then BAM–they backed out. The biggest disappointment was that they initially lied about why. Anyway, they sort of killed Charleston since that hotel was a meaningful spot and I never want to stay there again. Sooooo…back to square 1.

  • Oh boy. Do I feel you. Dead father who was shit to begin with. A mother and sisters (3!) who are uber religious and don’t approve of the fact that I’m not. I literally NEVER wanted a wedding because the absences would be palpable. Add in my poor (then fiancé) with a past family life to rival mine and we decided in one fell swoop to elope. Eight years later and I kinda remember that I had the wrong strapless bra for my dress, that I was getting my hair done next to Madeline Albright (surprisingly stressful), that the courthouse had pictures of Teddy Roosevelt EVERYWHERE staring down on us during our vows (hard to swallow as a Dem;)). But what I vividly remember is him telling me I was beautiful, my best friend with an uber stressful job with one of the most important people in our government taking the morning off to take our pictures, smashing a Georgetown Cupcake in his face (back when they were just a wee 2-woman shop) before heading off to our honeymoon. And it wears perfect because in the end – all you need is the person you’ve hitched yourself to. Talk to any happily married couple and they will literally tell you their wedding was on the scale of “meh” to “apocalyptic shit storm” and when they were taking their vows nothing. else. mattered. TLDR: you got the right guy so you got this.

    1. Oh wow. I feel for you, too. I’m so sorry! My dad has been out of my life since I was 19 and things with my mom are just not good. Fortunately Conor’s family is wonderful and I have great friends, but it’s still just hard. I love the moments you remember–that’s what it’s all about. And it’s just one day so I’m just hoping I won’t have to put too much time into the planning it and just have fun with our people. 🙂

  • Hi Danielle, your story rings so true to me on so many fronts and I wanted to say thank you for sharing. I too did not enjoy planning my wedding…..and I’m a wedding planner! There are many reason that brides don’t enjoy the process, not the least being that it is a ton of work. And family dynamics. And budget. And the list can go on and on. For me, it was that I’m so comfortable being a behind the scenes person and could not imagine being front and center. So we invited our parents and a fantastic photographer and eloped. The perfect solution that ended up being the absolutely most perfect day for us.

    And though it is my job to help plan those perfect days, the truth is that there is no one size fits all in terms of what a wedding should look like. i always recommend to my couples to, first and foremost, plan the day that feels right to the two of you. Yes, there may be compromises to be made, especially when parents are helping with the budget, but those should be minimal (in my opinion!) and the day should still reflect the two of you.

    Also, to reiterate what so many of your smart readers have said….the wedding is one day that leads to the rest of your life together. Marriage is really the point of a wedding, but I see that fact get lost so often in the process of planning a wedding.

    If you ever want to pick a wedding planners brain you are more than welcome to reach out to me. (not trying to drum up business from you – just a wedding planner who understands the overwhelming feeling of getting started on the process and I felt compelled to offer a helping hand!). Best wishes to you and Conor!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. As I said in my post, I’m much more concerned with the marriage than the wedding, and the details and planning are just not exciting or fun for me. Thanks so much for offering to help! One of my closest friends is a planner so I’ve been able to chat with her a bit. So sweet of you though!

  • I couldn’t agree more! We ended up having a civil ceremony and an elegant dinner party for 40 close family and friends and it was perfect for us! Good luck!!

  • Wait, can you explain who backed out of Zero George? Not the venue, correct? It’s your pals who can’t be there?

    1. THE VENUE! We emailed, had a call, were told we would be all set and got so excited, then we were told there was a res. for 2 the night we wanted and that they weren’t comfortable canceling. Conor called to find out what was going on and eventually got it of them–they didn’t want to be associated with a wedding (even though it was for 25 people and we wouldn’t be getting married on-site). it was just a dinner! Back to square 1.

  • Danielle – I had such a hard time as well planning my wedding, you aren’t alone!!! Between family dynamics and budget (we were also at $10K), not to mention the fact I’m actually a WEDDING PLANNER and it should have been easy, what was supposed to be a happy time just made me MISERABLE. So my now husband and I shelved it. We said “we’re going to wake up one day and just know.” Three months later we were on family vacation in Kiawah Island with both sets of parents and siblings and just drove up to Charleston and got married at Battery Park under a gorgeous gazebo. We had a fabulous dinner at my favorite restaurant, and then stayed at Zero George (I can’t believe they backed out on you guys, tbh…) A month later we had a no-frills, laid back, fantastic brunch reception with 100 of our loved ones. I remember EVERY single part of my actual wedding day, which I know many brides can’t say… Did we upset some people because they weren’t with us at the ceremony? Sure. But guess what, I was the happy one. And that’s all that matters.

    1. I am so glad that worked out the way it did. I would have LOVED to plan my “wedding” in a week but that just wasn’t going to fly since not everyone is in the same city/state and there are people I do want by my side. That sounds so perfect though. I wanted that small group so I could actually enjoy being with everyone and take it all in vs getting 20 seconds with everyone and feeling like it was a blur.

  • Danielle, I’m so happy that you’re talking about this. After watching both of my sisters get married, I quickly realized that a traditional wedding isn’t for me. I can’t wait to be married one day, but I absolutely dread the planning of a wedding. It’s just not for me, and it’s so difficult to share with others the “why” behind the way I feel. The few times I’ve mentioned my feelings to others, I’ve been met with some nasty responses. Honestly, it feels sometimes like it’s not okay to feel the way that I do. I read your post and found myself nodding in agreement the entire time. “Yes! I feel the same way!” Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Amber. I am with you! However people decide to celebrate is a personal decision, and to each his/her own!

      Our wedding is going to be very small but handing it over to someone else was so worth it, and making it a trip takes so much pressure off of us–it’s just a chance to get the people we love together in one of our favorite cities.

      It’s 100% ok to feel the way that you do, but it’s often assumed that something is wrong with you if it’s not your thing and that’s just not the case. It’s not for everyone.

  • Wow I almost cried when I read this. We will be married in one month after getting engaged in April – we didn’t want to wait because as you said, for us it’s about the marriage and not the wedding and we knew we didn’t want a big wedding because we are building a house and would rather spend the money there.
    Initially we wanted to do a ceremony for just the 2 of us – still make it pretty for us, exchanging vows near the sea where we had oir first date, then escape to some tiny hotel in the woods. It’s just us – we don’t like attention and all that matters is that we are together.
    My mom found out and offered to organize small dinner for family only (20 people together with us) in a cute little restaurant. I started to think how I would actually love to have my sister and grandfather there and said yes. Even though it hasn’t meant much more organizing for me, I still have got weird looks and questions why we do it so fast and why there are no invitations and kind of sad looks from people that almost feel sorry for us. Plus my mom has a very strong personality so when she is stressed she makes everyone feel it.
    That makes me freak out a little and I am thinking if we should stick with the original plan..I really only want to feel joy and love to my future husband that day and not to think what other people, even family, think we should have done on this day. So I’m struggling right now as well..
    Thanks for sharing! I really wish people would talk about it more.

  • I found this post by googling “what’s wrong with me that I don’t enjoy wedding planning?” I have a sneaking suspicion this applies to a lot of people. I like party planning so it’s surprising to me that I have been so roller coaster emotional over this since getting engaged a little over a month ago. I hate that everything costs so much and that it all seems so difficult to pull off without a million professionals. Everyone just keeps saying do what feels right to you and your FH but nothing feels right. And the minute I’ve hit on something that feels right, something grabs the rug out from under me. Inevitably it involves the budget skyrocketing to the point of being ridiculous. And I wish I were just stupid and willing to put my head in the sand and not care about the money and get swept up in romance. But I doubt even that would happen with everyone giving their 2 cents.

  • Wow, Thank You 🙂
    I have been on the brink of tears for the past few months trying to plan. I even had an Aunt recently suggest that “Maybe I just didn’t want to get married”. Planning a wedding is hard… if you are on a tight budget it is even harder, and on top of that, the burden of tradition and etiquette — I HAVE to do this or I HAVE to invite that person. I feel like what my fiance and I wanted – an intimate and affordable celebration – went out the window months ago. Im glad to know i’m not alone in my dislike of the planning process. Thanks for sharing!