You’re engaged. Now what?Posted: February 18, 2013
After an engagement I think it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the decisions you realize you will be making when planning your wedding, especially if you are going to be planning most of your wedding on your own. Where do you begin? How soon should you commit to a venue? Who should you invite? When do you ask your closest friends to be your bridesmaids? Should your wedding have a theme? Should your reception meal be buffet style or plated? There are an indefinite number of questions that arise when you realize that actual wedding planning is not as fun as pinning ideas to your “My Future Wedding” board on Pinterest.
Since my engagement I have realized the importance of defining my own expectations of how I want my wedding to be. I reflected on this topic in my last post. This mindset has helped relieve a lot of my worries about planning a wedding. It can be difficult to find your own bridal voice when there are so many sources dictating what a wedding should look like. On page 3 of her book, “A Practical Wedding,” Meg Keene suggests that wedding magazines, among other resources, dictate the expectations of a modern bride.
“Every book or wedding magazine has lists—lists ordering that you immediately do this, lists forcefully suggesting that maybe you should start doing that, mile-long lists of activities that you to complete if you want to be a Proper Bride.”
Even though I have spent very little time reading wedding magazines or articles on wedding websites I have seen these lists and expectations Keene is referring to. In the months since my engagement my best friend, mother, and future mother-in-law have all purchased wedding magazines for me. I haven’t taken a serious look at the content because I am more interested in finding inspiration from the colors and images. However, I did mark “The list: Your wedding to-dos—And when to do them” in the December 2012 issue of Brides magazine. Included is a checklist of what to accomplish 12 months before your wedding, 10 months before, etc. For example, 8 months before your wedding you are supposed to: “Book the caterer, florist, band/DJ, ceremony music, and photographer; order your dress; block hotel rooms for out-of-town guests; and register your wedding” (p. 54).
When women read wedding planning to-do lists, or any other wedding planning related content, they need to be critical consumers of the information. A woman needs to ask herself what, from these lists, will be the most important to her and which items she thinks are unnecessary. Keene shares this perspective. Through both her book and her blog of the same name Keene encourages brides be independent thinkers and pragmatic planners when it comes to organizing their special day.
“A whole industry is set up to sell you a beautiful wedding; it’s set up to sell you how things will look,” Keene says on page 2. “But what matters on your wedding day, what you will remember until you are old and grey, is how it felt.”
While the weddings you see on television or profiled in magazines may look fun, certain aspects of these weddings might not be realistic (or necessary) for your wedding day. Also, there are many creative DIY wedding ideas you can find on sites like Pinterest. It is easy to get both excited and overwhelmed by all of the clever ideas you see that you would love to have on your wedding day but, as Keene says, “the carefully crafted details are, in the end, just that: details” (p. 2). The best thing you can do to stay grounded during the wedding-planning process is to establish what is important to you and your husband-to-be before committing to anything. From the day you begin planning until the day of your wedding try not to get caught up in all the details. Not only will this overwhelm you but you may also set yourself up for disappointment when you realize you can’t afford an ice sculpture “liquor luge” or you do not have time to decorate mason jars that will be used as centerpieces.
So, I want to hear from you. What are some modern wedding details or practices that you think are too over-the-top or unnecessary? Where do you think these expectations come from? What are some are your wedding “must haves”?