Hitched 2.0: 11 Things I’ve Learned About Wedding Planning

Holy crap, I’m getting married in 10 days. I can’t fully wrap my head around that fact, and it now feels like the days are going by at warp-speed. I’m beyond excited to get married, but I have to admit I’m already feeling a little nostalgic for the engagement chapter of my life, and it hasn’t even officially ended yet. Though there were some seriously stressful moments in the past 20 months, overall it’s been a uniquely amazing time, and a serious learning experience. So, as part of my pre-marriage reflection (also known as distraction from the madness that is these last 10 days) I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned about wedding planning.

1. Writing your own vows is one of the most daunting tasks, ever.

I’m a freelance writer by trade, and I’ve trained myself to write about pretty much anything, in almost any style, while on deadline. Somehow, none of that has helped me with this one kind-of important assignment which, as of today, still has me suffering from the most extreme case of writer’s block I’ve ever experienced.

2. Everyone has an opinion.

Expect to encounter an endless amount of strongly opinionated people, whether it’s strangers on message boards, overachievers on Pinterest, or random acquaintances. They’ll tell you (and the rest of the Internet) that you can’t possibly get married in the winter, or your wedding party is too big, or you absolutely must incorporate mason jars into your décor. And they’ll defend it until they die.

3. No one else’s opinion matters.

Except for yours and your fiancé’s, and perhaps some close family and friends. But ultimately, it’s your wedding, and you should do what you want to do. Just because people have opinions, doesn’t mean you need to follow them.

4. Wedding planners are underrated.

Way underrated. What once seemed silly and frivolous now seems valuable and necessary. Even if you’re the most organized person on Earth, chances are you don’t have excessive amounts of time to devote to planning your wedding in a manner that doesn’t cause you to go insane. There’s a reason there are people who do it for a living.

5. There’s no such thing as starting too early.

Have a long engagement? Absolutely take some time to just enjoy it before you dive into the craziness of wedding planning. But don’t fool yourself into thinking everything can wait. Even if your wedding is two years away, it can’t hurt to start checking a few things off the list, saving yourself some serious stress in the future.

6. The little things are the worst.

Sure, it was overwhelming to select a venue, photographer, videographer, and even a dress, from the endless options out there. But overall, those decisions felt manageable and there wasn’t a whole lot to them: Research the options; narrow it down to the ones you like most; meet with those people; pick your favorite. It’s the little details that come up later—seating charts; stationary design; ceremony components—that can be a real, tedious pain in the ass.

7. People will help you…

But only if you ask them. And only if you are willing to relinquish some control and not hover over their shoulders and micro-manage whatever they’re helping with.

8. Wedding planning exposes your most innate personality traits.

Before I got engaged, I knew I was type-A. I just didn’t know how extreme my urge to be in control really is—until now. But the process doesn’t expose only the bad; it can bring out your strengths, too. Who knows: Maybe you’ll discover you’re amazing at balancing tasks and responsibilities, you have a knack for negotiating, or you’re more creative than you ever knew.

9. Your best resource is already-married couples.

I can’t tell you the amount of time I spent reading online vendor reviews and advice on how to do things cheaply and efficiently from other couples who have been there before. And even better, getting suggestions and referrals from my own family and friends. If you liked the DJ at your friend’s wedding, get his name. If you know your sister had a bad experience with her transportation, steer clear of that company. Sure, you probably won’t copy someone else’s wedding start-to-finish, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely reinvent the wheel.

10. Being engaged and planning a wedding is at once thrilling, maddening, overwhelming, and emotional.

It’s a real rollercoaster of emotions: Some days you don’t even want to hear the word “wedding,” and others you’re so giddy to be getting married that you can’t stop smiling. But, even the bad emotions have a positive overlay: Sure, you may be staying up until 2AM finalizing seating charts a week before your wedding (oops), but you know you’re doing it in preparation for an amazing day and a momentous new chapter of your life.

11. In the end, only one thing really matters.

Even though I don’t have that crystal-clear, post-wedding perspective, I can already anticipate it. I don’t regret putting the time, effort, and insanity into any aspect of my wedding, and I’m so excited to see how it all turns out. That said, I know it’s all just icing on the I’m-getting-married-to-my-best-friend cake, and even if the harpist doesn’t show, and someone falls into the cake, and it monsoons all day long, that part won’t change. And that’s a good feeling.