Our Wedding: Planning

Eric and I were engaged for almost a year (from July to June), and it was a busy one! Both of us were finishing our PhDs and going on the job market for the first time, and I was also teaching Russian. Adding wedding planning to that list probably sounds crazy, but, actually, wonderfully, we found that it was a blessed relief from the pressures of work. Each weekend we tried to tackle something on our list, and thankfully, we both love list making! We had a complex series of google docs, which were great, since we could both access them all the time. But I have to tell you what made wedding planning really work for us. It is so high up there in the echelons of the best advice I have ever received.

A few weeks after we got engaged, my sweet cousin Meredith called to congratulate us. She and her husband had already been married for a while, and she told me the best advice she received when she was engaged. Here it is: Choose three or four things you really care about. Don’t sweat the rest. I cannot tell you how liberating this was for us! We knew right away what we cared about individually. For me, I wanted a dress with some kind of sleeves, a good dj (so we could dance the night away), and a ceremony that was special and sacred, in the cathedral where my parents and grandparents were married. Eric was focused on the tuxes (making sure they didn’t look like tacky prom attire), the photography (I cared about this one too!), and the ceremony. We put our energy into those three or four things each, and we were really happy with them. It made the decisions about other things so much easier. The food? We wanted it to be good, but we didn’t need to do tastings at five different catering companies. The invitations? We wanted them to be elegant, but we didn’t need them to be hand pressed. The flowers? Well, we wanted some, but we were more than happy to delegate to the professionals. The programs were actually created by the church, and we were glad to let them do it! The fact that we were planning our Memphis wedding from California made it easier to do this–we couldn’t have spent months tasting cake if we’d wanted to! This method had the added benefit of helping us support each other’s decisions. When Eric asked me what I thought about the tuxes, I gave an opinion, but I was happy to let him drive the boat on it. He did all the research on photography and found the amazing Amy Dale, and that was just awesome! By the same token, he was supportive of whatever dj I chose, since he knew that was important to me. When we made decisions about things that weren’t on either of our lists, it was easy to let the person who felt more strongly make the choice, since the other wasn’t too invested. It is no exaggeration to say that this strategy was a life saver!

Some of this might come as a surprise, given how much I love to make things, and, really, I would have loved to have been able to do that, but I didn’t think I could have both that and my sanity. We had a fairly large wedding (about 160 people), since both Eric and I have big families, and it was so important to us to have them there. Had it been a smaller wedding, I might have DIYed everything, but in those last few weeks before the wedding, I was so, so, so glad that we had kept everything so simple! (And I am sure that my mom was glad too, since she, of all people, knows that I am not very pleasant to be around when I am stressed!) I love seeing the beautiful things that other brides make for their weddings, but for us, this was absolutely the right choice. I don’t think that I could have made 160 of anything without losing my mind, and, in the end, we had just the wedding we had hoped for: sweet, simple, and full of family and laughter. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Iย feel like it was very us without making us miserable in the process, and I am so very grateful for that.

In the end, we were married, and blissfully so, and that was the most important thing. Looking back on this whole process, I kind of can’t believe we did it! It was a lot of work, but so worth it. A huge thank you to my cousin Meredith for helping us so much with her invaluable advice! For any of you brides or brides to be, I’d love to hear how your planning process went and what worked for you!

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