To The Bride Who Doesn’t Enjoy Planning a Wedding
If I've learned anything the past 2 months, it's that so many brides don't enjoy the planning process. If you've struggled with family issues and planning, this is for you.
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 wasn’t. I didn’t have a bachelorette party or bridal shower and kept our engagement shorter (7 months) because I didn’t want to go through a year of everyone asking about wedding plans. We invited a few friends and close family members. It was supposed to be an exciting time, but I was so focused on my complex family dynamics. Let me be very clear about the fact that couldn’t wait to be married. But I did not enjoy planning a wedding.
To The Bride Who Doesn’t Enjoy Planning a Wedding
Our engagement was magical, but…
I love Conor and the week of our engagement was hands-down the happiest week of my life. Then we started talking about wedding plans. It felt as if the entire world was telling me that I should be excited about planning “the best day of my life”. I was so excited for the moment that we would become husband and wife, but I didn’t have my dream wedding planned. I imagined standing someplace beautiful, what we’d say, and that was it. I did not need a wedding and while I’m glad we did it, I would have been fine eloping. =
After celebrating our engagement with family friends, I understood why people have their families by their side when they their vows. When presented with the idea of having private vows–like just the two of us–we couldn’t leave Conor’s family out. So we started working on a small guest list for the big day. I understood why my husband needed his family there, and I’m glad we were able to celebrate with them.
For as long as I can remember, I always thought I’d elope.
Very complex family dynamics meant not having my family at my wedding. I haven’t seen or heard from my dad since I was a teenager and barely saw him before that. And I have an incredibly difficult relationship with my mom. I’ve always been a target for her – since. I was as young as 5 – and it just wouldn’t have been healthy or enjoyable to have her there. Not having both sets of parents was hard going into the wedding – I did a lot of work in therapy and if you’re struggling with something similar, will say it was fine (for me) once we were actually in Paris, because I wasn’t focused on our wedding. The trip was a great distraction. Spending less time focusing on the wedding and more time with friends was just what I needed.
We did it our way – a destination wedding, weekday wedding date, and no wedding party. It felt like the best way to plan the perfect wedding day (and weekend) for us.
Planning a wedding timeline and budget
The wedding budget stuff was so stressful, but the planning process wasn’t bad. It’s just not how I wanted to spend money, and it’s super-competitive. Availability and locations can be tough, so look at the total budget and figure out what matters to you. 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.
Here are some reasons why you might feel this way.
There’s so much pressure to feel like you’re supposed to enjoy this time but it’s ok if you don’t. You don’t have to 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. the stress can be consuming.
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. Our wedding ceremony wasn’t about old traditions. It was about us.
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 not about the money, decision making, or delegation.
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. Yes, it’s a special day, but it’s about your marriage and not a seating chart, color scheme, wedding invitations, and all the little details that go into planning one day. It’s about being with people you love, and starting your lives together.
How to get through it
So here’s what helped me. We kept the number of guests low (18) which made things easier and more affordable. It’s what felt right, and planning a trip made our wedding a fun weekend, so there was less focus on one day. Once we got to Paris, it wasn’t about wedding preparation. I met my planner for a few minutes and enjoyed a couple days with friends. it was such a great way to have a wedding, because we had time together in one of our favorite cities in the world.
How we made our wedding our own
First, we got married in Paris. I set up a wedding website, figured out a wedding style (it was pretty simple, skipped the wedding cake, only invited close friends and family. Our wedding photographer was one of my best friends. I did hire a professional wedding planner which, in Europe, was significantly less than in the US, and we kept things simple, so in the end, he saved us money by helping us find a simple venue. Planning a few days in Paris gave us plenty of time with friends and family. When it comes to your own wedding, just do what feels right and remember that all the details don’t really matter. The wedding planning process isn’t for everyone, so focus on what makes you happy. Maybe it’s the things you’ll do after you’re married.
Just remember that it’s not about wedding details. This is about the rest of your life. About love. Your ideal wedding probably isn’t my ideal wedding, so do what feels right for you. Maybe you, like me, don’t have a wedding vision and there isn’t a perfect wedding dress because you don’t care that much about any of it. So focus on what matters to you. And remember that it’s about so much more than a single day.