The moments leading up to your engagement and seeing your loved one go down on a bowed knee or simply stating how much you mean to them can hold a few million emotions. When asking brides of their wedding planning, most brides would state being engaged and planning the ultimate wedding can be a time of many emotions and endless nights spent hunting for that showstopper of an wedding outfit.
It’s also a time of pure joy, unmentionable exhaustion and a never-ending rollercoaster. As someone who has been in your shoes, there were days I loved the thought of having a big day filled with loved ones and those who had to be invited to save face. Other days, I imagined grabbing my immediate family and secretly eloping on a beach somewhere. Needless to say, it’s completely normal to have these rollercoaster emotions.
Being someone who has been there and experienced everything short of a mental breakdown, I thought I’d sum up the 10 important things I learnt wedding planning…
01. Post engagement bliss and photos, sit down and establish your boundaries.
By settling on the time and season for your wedding. How you envisioned your wedding and if you want an outdoor or indoor wedding. Lastly: what is budget amount, how many people are going to be invited and stick to it!
The cost of a wedding will make you cry a little or in some cases, a lot as you apply for a second mortgage. If you are considering applying for a second mortgage for your wedding, I’d recommend taking a step back, reevaluating your picture and asking yourself “is it really worth the 18.99% pa. interest?”
Most times, the answer should be: NO!
02. Weddings can be defined as being one big mammoth task. Prior to becoming engaged, I had a secret little folder filled with fabulous images of Indian brides in their traditional wedding outfits, the gorgeous hued reds and golds and designs of bridal henna. When meeting Mr. Darcy and my in-laws, my little folder was soon thrown out the door and I started planning a western based wedding, I discovered there was so many elements to a wedding. From favours, venues on the Sunshine Coast, lighting to flowers and catering…. I was up Schitts Creek and I turned to my Mum for advice.
03. Planning will come and go in waves. There were times of pure denial and relaxation and I’d be simply enjoying the time of being engaged. However, there were times where I’d wake up in the middle of the night, sneak into my study and with an intense bursting of panic-inducing motivation, I’d tick off about 20 things on my to-do list. I guess procrastination can be a frenemy…
04. The feelings be real! One thing I learnt from planning our wedding was it become a pretty emotional time for me and I would often find myself, crying into my hands. Although I had an abundance of support and knowledge from my Mum and Mr. Darcy had given me free reign, there were times I still felt incredibly lonely.
I felt like everyone else gets to experience the big life event from planning a wedding and hitting those milestones… but for me, it felt like it was me planning the whole wedding by myself. Saying that, I can not see the positives in everything and Mr. Darcy and I got to capture some traditions of my parents and interweave them into our wedding.
05. Some would say I’m a laidback kind of gal. I always picture myself as being quite casual and calm when it comes to the idea of of planning a wedding, but when it actually comes time to doing the hard work, my opinion of myself changes.
In return, I definitely got to know myself in a whole different light and it made it easier to pinpoint exactly what was special to me and us (Mr. Darcy and I as a couple).
I also wanted a rather nice and spectacular day for us, our loves ones and guests. Whilst mentioning repeatedly that my Mum, Lois, was not to become a go-to gopher for the various companies (that didn’t last long) and I wanted various moments with those who have been in my life and shaped it from the get-go.
06. I discovered it’s hard to keep a wedding intimate! Whilst dating Mr. Darcy, I discovered his father was the oldest of 16 and in return, Mr. Darcy had a wide array of first and second cousins. This truly resonated with me as I’m the eldest of four children and the second eldest of the youngest group of cousins on Red and Lois’ sides of the family.
With this in our minds, we wrote several Excel guest lists (best way to plan a wedding!) of who we’d seen and spoken to in the last three years. Before cutting the list down to 18 months and than, eventually 6 or less months.
We also had a secondary running list containing the names of loved ones who not only meant to the world to us (key theme here!) as individuals. But, they’d structured our relationships with ourselves and family dynamics with our son, and into the future would continue inspiring us. As for those guests who didn’t fit into that category, Mr. Darcy and I soon learnt we didn’t have to invite everyone!
Ultimately: if you are the ones paying for the wedding, you have free reign to inviting anyone and you shouldn’t be pressured into inviting those, who don’t support your marriage, relationship and hopes of the future.
07. Tailor the wedding to suit you and your person. Whilst some women dream about having a gigantic wedding with an equally big wedding dress, there are some who want simplistic and unique. Both of which, are completely and utterly fine.
I learnt when planning, I was somewhere in the middle. I wanted simplistic and unique with a big personality that’d leave a lingering thought in someone’s mind. So my individual tastes were accentuated by having my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to Etta James’ ‘At Last’, which highlights my thoughts and feelings of meeting Mr. Darcy.
While Red and I walked down the aisle to ABBA’s, ‘I Do, I Do, I Do’. Something of which had some of the guests cracking up with hysterics as they know I’m a big fan of ABBA and Muriel’s Wedding. As for photography, I asked Tara, our wonderful photographer, to capture sentimental and natural photos for our cherished keepsakes.
08. I felt incredibly excited to plan our wedding. Sometimes, it felt like my stomach was going to burst from the sheer amount of butterflies I had swarming around in it when going from venue places, in search of ‘The One’. Until I knew when the butterflies stopped and everything went silent within my body that we’d found what had been nurtured and created for us.
Other times, I felt immense self-doubt and frustration leading up to the big month because guests hadn’t RSVP-ed or refused to send their invites back in the mail. Thus causing the panic-induced anxiety attacks as I thought about walking into an empty chapel, naked (worst nightmare ev-er!) and finding no one but my celebrant standing there, at the end of the aisle.
While it sounds all doom and gloom, a majority of my wedding planning was spent either hysterically laughing at the wedding gown choices sent by Lois (think 70’s shag pile carpet, baby!) and Googling if someone could possibly die from consuming to much chocolate cake. The answer will always be: no!
09. Unlike other brides, I had no idea where to start when looking for that moment when I said, ‘yes to the dress!’. In fact, I didn’t even go dressing shopping a’tall. Simply for the fact, I had found my dream dress nearly a year before Mr. Darcy even proposed and it had been on another bride at the time!
My friend, Yang, proposed to me with her beach-towel wrapped champagne silk and lace wedding dress, I screamed with excitement and said, “YES!” repeatedly. It was such a contrast as to how I’d reacted when Mr. Darcy proposed and this time. Only this time, it clearly didn’t feature me hysterically laughing in his face.
Although my dream dress was hung up in my walk in wardrobe and enclosed in a spill proof bag, my one regret that I do have is: not having booked an appointment for a bridal store and trying on dresses as Lois kicks back with a glass of bubbly and a box of tissues waiting, beside her.
I’m not sure if its because most women get to have this experience with their Mums’ or the women who have been mother figures to them; but ’tis something I reflect back on. However, I’m equally grateful I didn’t get to experience this.
Simply for the fact, the inner securities I carry about my postpartum body and of how I should feel about my body and looks would’ve changed. Therefore, I would’ve lost weight to fit in with the lean-machine brides, which is something I didn’t want to do and my concept of what feeling and looking sexy is, would’ve gone out the door.
Even now, when I stare at my champagne and lace wedding dress and run my fingers over the delicate lace work, I knew it was the best decision I’ve made.
10. My favourite comment to make while engaged was, “I just want to be married and start our lives!”
The time spent planning our wedding was a time spent in happiness and it truly was a lovely and wonderful time. Although there were a few disagreements about wedding guests, the numbers and if it were best for us to elope in secret, I don’t think I’ve ever been this settled and content as I have been in the past 12 or so months.
Even now as a married woman, I still ask Mr. Darcy on a daily basis if he’ll marry me and spend the rest of his life with me. Like clockwork, the same answer is stated and my heart does that funny little skip, each and every day.
I guess at the end of the day, wedding planning is what you make of it. Enjoy the time spent with your significant other as you plan for your future and the day that’ll see you go from being Ms to Mrs and Mister to Mr.
Lastly, don’t let your dreams and visions of how you wish to celebrate your big day be crushed by someone who can’t see the bigger picture. More importantly, a new chapter is being undertaken and its just for the two of you!
All the best and Good Luck!