Reflections upon the planning process

Happy Wednesday, EAD! FYI, if anyone ever asks if you want to get married, take the board exams, move, and take grad school finals in one week, please say no. Just trust us on this one.

Big realization today: it’s my last week as a single gal. The last 15 months have been quite the crazy journey, and it’s only just beginning. I can’t wait to start my life with dr. dave and see where it takes us. The love we have is like nothing I’ve ever seen and it amazes me on a daily basis.

That said, planning a wedding that would suit our personalities and express our joy has been tumultuous. Trying to stay within a budget in a rocky economy, please our family, and make it meaningful is never easy for any bride and groom. However, there are a few things that we’ve found have really made a difference for us in our planning process…and we hope they’ll help you, too!

{Photo via OnceWed, photography by Tec Petaja)

NUMBER ONE: Keep it practical.

A Practical Wedding inspires me daily and makes me think about the things brides feel “pushed” into doing in today’s mega-weddings. This quote pretty much sums it up better than I ever could:

We’re all doing our best to have the wedding that is the right cost for us and our partner. That’s it, and that’s enough. If you are spending no more then the cost of your marriage license on your wedding, you deserve to feel supported. And if you are spending quite a bit more then that, that’s fine too. (we are!) I talk about making savvy spending decisions a lot here, but the site isn’t “A Budget Wedding” it’s “A Practical Wedding,” and it’s about supporting practical and sane wedding choices in a world that’s pushing you towards doing some nutty things.

The whole point is that, what’s “practical” to one bride, may not be so for another. For example, we decided against matching bridesmaids, hair and makeup artists, calligraphed envelopes, letterpress, designer couture gowns and shoes, and big flower arrangements. However, we did go for a great caterer, dr. dave’s brother the guitarist, and a beautiful, home-y venue. Each bride has her own priorities within her wedding and her budget. Something that may seem “extravagant” to one bride is a must-have for another…but remember to stay true to yourself and not get sucked into the wedding “porn.”

NUMBER TWO: Keep your friends and family close by.

In moments of insanity, they will be your best resource. As my dad says, when I get a bit anxious about things, “just breathe.” And as my mom says, “I’ll take care of it.” ;) Because, what else does a mother do? In the end, it’s having these people be a part of the process that makes it special. Chatting with my bridesmaids about great dance music, delicious cake, silly photos, and other random things has produced some priceless conversations. Quite honestly, my wedding would be nothing but an empty shell without these people, who give it such punches of personality. To those of you I’m referencing: thank you for everything, and I love you.

NUMBER THREE: Don’t let the wedding “industry” take over.

This is what we’re all about. Keeping it DIY and true to ourselves. There are a million little details that I’ve crafted lovingly over these past few months. Some may think it silly and a waste of time. For me, my wedding wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t put my artistic side into it. Maybe nobody will notice my chair covers, or our flags, or our banners. But in 20 years, I’ll look back at our photographs and show my daughter the things I made for our wedding. And hope that she’ll cherish them the way I cherish my mother’s hand-sewn wedding dress, or the pictures of their wedding (VERY indiebride chic!).

Sure, we could buy these things pre-made. I could buy dozens of things for our wedding. But for us, it’s been much more special to make them for ourselves. It’s easy to see a beautiful picture on Style Me Pretty or Snippet and Ink and think, “maybe my wedding planner could do that…” And maybe you have the budget for that. But if you don’t. Do not think that these things are out of your reach.

The truth is, in the long run these things will be forgotten. But they’ll live on for me in the memory of the way dr. dave and I started our life together: doing it ourselves, for ourselves and our family.

NUMBER FOUR: Spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets.

NUMBER FIVE: Don’t forget what it’s all about.

When your wedding day is over and you finally gratefully collapse into your bed, you’ll have a few things. You’ll have a new ring. Hundreds of beautiful pictures. Gifts. But most importantly: you’ll have a partner for life.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Much love,