One thing I learned very quickly after MT and I got engaged in January of last year was that "wedding planning" when you aren't planning your actual wedding but rather fantasizing about one in your head is absolutely nothing like the real thing. How many of you have--or have friends who have--a Pinterest wedding board (or several) but aren't looking for a serious relationship/engaged/planning a wedding? I did too! And it was loads of fun. But honestly once MT and I were engaged, I never looked at the thing again.
I can honestly say that for 99% of the time that we were planning, both MT and I maintained our sanity and even enjoyed ourselves. There are a few key reasons why.
1. We sat down and created a budget before we decided on anything else. We looked at our savings, our monthly incomes, and decided what we could afford to save each month to pay for the wedding. We guessed what each element of the wedding would cost and then added an extra 10% for unexpected costs. And then we stuck to the budget.
2. We decided what was most important to us and focused on those aspects a majority of the time. For us, those elements were writing an intimate, personal ceremony, making sure we had excellent food and wine, creating a fun party atmosphere, and building a sense of community amongst our guests. The flowers? Not so important to us. The cake? Not so important either. Did we have beautiful flowers and cake? Yes, but we let the professionals do their jobs and we didn't try to micromanage the process.
3. We took our family's input in stride and we remained a unit. Both of our moms at various times pissed us off or rubbed us the wrong way over some detail of the wedding. My mom, for instance, insisted that MT and his groomsman wear identical khaki tuxedos, to which we said, "OH HELL NO." MT's mother, on the other hand, insisted that the Embassy Suites across from our venue--a five-star hotel--was a much better options for guests because--get this--it has an indoor pool. I should also mention that we offered up our house to her for the wedding weekend to save on costs. But, even when those little inevitable moments of differing opinions came up, we stayed a unit, laughed at our moms, and never made it a conflict between the two of us.
4. More for me than for MT: I did not read wedding porn, aka wedding blogs, wedding magazines, etc. We would occasionally watch Four Weddings from time to time for ideas, but all of the rest of the TLC wedding franchise was swiftly deleted from the DVR. I didn't want to second guess every decision we'd made. The one exception re: wedding blogs was that I devoured A Practical Wedding because it affirmed that we could plan a wedding and maintain our sanity. And they are right!
5. We took what we wanted from traditions and said to hell with the rest. I walked myself down the aisle. We didn't do a bouquet toss or garter toss. MT and I spent the night before the wedding together and had a lovely wedding morning eating breakfast in bed and enjoying each other's company. You have to do what feels right to you, even if other people don't understand. If you are out to please everyone, you will please no one, especially yourselves. Sure, you want your guests to be comfortable and enjoy themselves, but that doesn't mean you must give into their every whim and expectation. Just make sure the booze is a'flowin' and people will quickly forget that you didn't read that awful passage from 1 Corinthians or take your new husband's name.
I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot to say on this topic. Stay tuned!