Friday, July 18, 2008

TAKING THE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES (NOT THE LITERAL ONES)... REFLECTIONS ON MY WEDDING PLANNING (PART I)

One of the things I commented on in a recent post was how FAST the actual wedding went. It was all a beautiful blur, and while TallGuy and I had an amazing time, we really couldn't believe it was over, just as soon as we felt it began.

What DID feel like a long process--and which I really savored and enjoyed--was the wedding planning. Yes, there were some tears and frustrations along the way (as some of you may have read about with my being "favor-less" two days before the wedding!) But because I had a good deal of time to work on the dirty details (TallGuy proposed in February '07, and we were married in May '08), I was really able to think through every decision, and sit back and take it all in.

Even if you don't have that much time to plan, I think it's really important to have someone to go through the planning stages with--and I'm not talking about your husband-to-be or wedding planner. Sure, your fiance will be with you every step of the way, but let's be honest: most grooms-to-be will be happy if YOU are happy with the decisions, but won't necessarily be fretting about the flower arrangements or the color scheme. Some will--for sure--but did I fault TallGuy for not coming to the florist appointments or perusing a stack of magazines for cake styles? No way.

I couldn't afford a wedding planner, and frankly, I think having a confidante who is someone you've known a long time is the way to go (Not to say that I discount having a wedding planner, by any means, but I would think sharing the experience with someone you are close with--while simultaneously working with a planner, would be the ideal route).

I have talked before about not overwhelming friends and family with the details and endless lists of things on your wedding agenda -- but if you have ONE person that you know, trust, and love, and that person (you truly believe) is genuinely happy to throw themselves into the planning process with you, or even just act as a sounding board, then you will not only have someone as your "right hand woman" (or man -- I am completely gender neutral here!), but you will also avoid being the self-absorbed bride that I have encountered. Talking to 1 person A LOT about your wedding(as long as you know that they are cool with it), is definitely better than talking to MANY people about your wedding. Even if you think you aren't doing it a lot, it's good to cut back and be careful about what you tell to whom.

My mother was really my "right hand woman" through my planning - and we had such an amazing time bonding. My mother and I have always had a very close relationship, but planning the wedding, despite the tears and the freak outs (like our contact at the florist getting fired 2/3 of the way through our planning! Yikes!), was our special time, and our connection that no one else shared.

It was really neat to be able to sit down with my mom and show her swatches for the bridesmaid dresses, and go with her to appointments. My mom and I have very similar tastes, which was also great, and she was able to help me organize myself and my thoughts, and work with me to convey to the florists, to the band, and to anyone else involved what, exactly, I was looking for. But even if we didn't? It still would have worked, because I trust her opinion, as she trusts mine.

As a career gal in Manhattan, I KNOW that I could not have done the wedding planning alone. And if I wanted TallGuy to become more involved, I'm sure he would have been happy to do it. But to have a "buddy" or a confidante was not only helpful in terms of the actual results, but helped me maintain my sanity through the process. And the funny thing was - I really came to enjoy every single minute of it. If I were doing it alone, then I'm not sure I could say the same thing (I probably would have been too overwhelmed to really savor every day of planning).

Not everyone will have a mother who they want to involve - and that's totally fair (circumstances are different for everyone). But a close friend, or a sister (or brother), or a favorite cousin.... anyone who you think would be interested in helping you that you could go through the experience with is a great person to ask.
And if you don't? Then DO get your fiance more involved.

Wedding planning should not be a burden -- the joy of planning should far outweigh the stress and the down days. As TallGuy and I surveyed the empty chairs and the last few uneaten cupcakes that night at 2 AM, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by how fast everything went. But then I thought about the planning process, and how positive a process it was--and even if my wedding went by quickly, it was still an amazing day/night, as the planning process was an amazing year long journey. Did I have an unlimited budget? No way. Did everything go to plan? No. But working with someone--and bonding with someone special to me--really made the process so special.

The bottom line I can give you all - ENJOY YOURSELVES, AND YOUR TIME PLANNING. If you can find a confidante/friend to work with and talk to along the way? Even better.

Stay tuned!

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