I am a girls’ girl.* I can appreciate the subtle differences between Vogue and Bazaar, and I can advise you on mineral eyeshadows all day long. I am one of those people who started a dream wedding board on Pinterest long before I was even engaged, and I love attending other people’s weddings.
When my fiancé proposed with a plastic ring a year and a half ago, I was elated. Until we designed our real engagement ring, I wore that vending machine ring like it was made of platinum, diamonds, and fairy dust.
We put off planning the ceremony, however, until my fiancé got his career off the ground and we felt more “settled.” (Does one ever feel truly settled?) A year and a half later, we finally feel ready (and excited!) to plan the big day. After the initial glee of purchasing my first bridal magazine, however, I suddenly felt overwhelmed, nervous, and not sure I was the girly wedding enthusiast I thought was.
Fortunately, my friends and family reminded me of a few important things that I believe all brides-to-be should keep in mind for the sake of maintaining their sanity.
*An athletic, intellectual, and feminist girls’ girl! 🙂
1. Involve those you love. As soon as I started discussing potential wedding décor with my mom, I felt more at ease. I realized that I didn’t have to do the entire thing by myself. Chatting about bridesmaid shoes with my cousin made me feel like this was going to be a real thing—not just a scattered fantasy in my head. My friend from elementary school has been sending me pins on Pinterest for inspiration, and I know I’ll be able to turn to her for style advice and moral support. My future mother-in-law may not know it yet, but I’ll rope her into the process, too! I know that these women, among other friends, will help make the process less stressful and, more importantly, very special—which leads me to my next point.
2. View the planning process as a journey rather than a chore. It’s easy to feel anxious—or terrified—when you look at the standard wedding checklist that spans 12 months! Even for someone who loves charts and lists and organizes things for fun (really), I thought: ooohhhh…my head hurts! The checklist may never stop being scary—I’m not sure; I’ll let you know when I reach the end!—but try to find the joy in the journey. Keep a scrapbook of your plans. View your dress search as a fun outing with your mother or maid of honor. Indulge in those glossy bridal magazines. Go crazy on Pinterest. Be present for everything you’re feeling.
3. Decide early where you will save and where you will splurge. Immediately, my mom and I knew we were going to create our own vegan wedding cake with a very simple frosting design. We also plan to design and put together the save-the-date notices and invitations ourselves since we naturally enjoy these kind of things. Really, we deserve honorary degrees in paper crafts! 😉 Although these projects will take a good chunk of time and effort, we feel confident that we can do a nice job and save a little money in the process.
I’ve accepted, however, that I’ll probably have to budget more for my dress. I stopped growing when I was twelve, and even then I was on the petite side for my age. That dream dress will probably require more than a few alteration, I foresee. But that’s ok—it’s going to look great.
4. Do whatever the h-e-double-hockey-sticks you want! This is your day. Let that sink in. While it’s true that wedding ceremonies are, in part, a way to invite others to witness a public symbol of your union and love, the structure of the event is still up to you and your partner. Not religious? Hold the ceremony at a vineyard or a historic estate and ask a friend to officiate. If you and your beloved are of two different religions, sects, or cultures, blend their wedding customs in a creative way. Only want two bridesmaids? That’s totally up to you. Need ten girlfriends by your side plus your best guy friend? That’s fine, too! If following traditional wedding rules sounds easier than customizing the ceremony, follow away! Personally, the thought a bridal shower makes my hyperventilate a little bit, so if I do have one, it will be very small and not, um, shower-y because, hey, it’s my choice!
5. Take care of your health—mental, emotional, and physical. I’m not saying that we should all follow six-week upper arm toning regimens (but if you’re up for it, by all means, knock yourself out!). Rather, amidst all the planning, prioritize your well-being. Reward yourself for being you (not just a bride) by eating whole foods, exercising in a way the brings you joy and possibly spiritual bliss (hello, long morning walks!), giving yourself a little quiet time (especially in the few weeks prior to the wedding), and doing whatever leisure activity makes you feel human again (even if that’s watching reruns of True Blood).
And finally, breathe.
A throwback story about our family: Luna – a Story of a Rescue Kitten
Photos: Mary Hood