It's bittersweet to think of the end of something that you poured your heart into and added your personal touch to for the better part of a year.
In my case, our wedding is the single most exciting, nerve-racking, stressful, personal — and somehow fun — planning venture I’ve undertaken. It’s hard to believe that in two weeks, every little detail planned will add up to standing at the altar with my best friend and fiancé, as we take on new titles as husband and wife in front of our family and friends.
But what would I have done differently in the whole process? Here's my advice to those entering the wedding planning phase:
Take your time
If there is one character trait I will not claim, it is patience. As soon as Jeremy and I got engaged in Colorado, I was reaching out to wedding vendors on the flight back home.
Enjoy at least a month of just being newly engaged. Talk through each other's must-have wedding elements, and prioritize where money will be spent. The average engagement lasts more than a year, and I can’t tell you how fast that time flies. Slow down and use at least a month to grow your relationship foundation as the wedding planning process will present its share of challenges and opportunities.
Talk money early and often
Arguably some of the most awkward and sensitive conversations revolve around money — but those don't have to be as treacherous as they may seem. I recommend that you and your fiancé each establish the one most important element of your dream wedding —whether that's a specific venue, food, photographer, attire — and allow those things to be the two main financial allocations first.
Discuss with each other and whoever else is contributing funds what a realistic overall budget will be, and the remaining details can fall in between. This way, neither of you is steamrolled in the process, and money doesn’t become a stressor in the final days of planning (when every vendor will need payment).
Do your research
No online review beats a word-of-mouth recommendation. Ask fellow area brides, peruse local bride blogs (hello!), and enlist the help of your bridesmaids to learn about the best and worst experiences before settling on any vendors or handing over deposits.
This exercise is tied in closely with your level of patience, and I was one of those frantic brides eager to secure my date with various vendors and may have rushed into some decisions. I would highly recommend meeting vendors face-to-face when possible before committing to their services. You are trusting that these individuals will hold up their end on one of the most important days of your life, and it’s essential that you and the vendor vibes and communicates well.
If they don’t fit in your budget, or they don’t have your date available, it wasn’t meant to be. There are many other spectacular vendors in the area to check out. Ditch the 21st-century technology here and schedule in-person meetings. When you meet a vendor, you’ll know if it’s right for you!
Allow others to feel joy in helping
If there is any single piece of the wedding planning process I could hop back in a time machine and change, it would be accepting help when it was offered. If you've read my blogs, you know I pride myself on being organized, time-efficient and stubborn, so delegating tasks was next to impossible, and I always felt like I had “plenty of time” to get it all done.
In a similar fashion, it fulfills me to help others. I realized by not accepting help, I wasn’t allowing other genuine-hearted people around me to feel fulfilled, and this put further unnecessary stress on myself.
If this resonates with you as a bride, take my advice and delegate small tasks along the way! When you get down to the final weeks, many of the remaining to-do items will be things only you and your fiancé can handle, and you’ll wish you had asked for help earlier in the process. Even the smallest things — like scheduling a nail appointment, organizing breakfast for the bridal party or arranging transportation — can be enough to help others feel needed and involved, and they lighten your stress load in the final stretch.
There is not a single part of the wedding planning process (so far!) that I regret, but there are many takeaways that I feel other brides could learn from my experience.
Everyone kept telling me to enjoy the wedding planning process and how fast time ticks away. Boy were they right. Now as I think about our wedding day quickly approaching, I find myself dreaming of how all the details will come together — some perfect, some imperfect — but no matter what, the day will be uniquely personal to Jeremy and me. It is our vision of a magical day celebrating our new chapter as husband and wife. And somehow, we found a way to love each other more through the craziness of it all.
All of my hard work as “Mrs. In Training” is about to come to an end — and I feel ready to take on the title of Mrs. Mohr!