You’re engaged. Now what?

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.

Wedding Ideas Pinterest

With so much inspiration it can be difficult to know where to start

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).

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Wedding fever is worth the wait

Whether in a relationship or single, many young women find themselves getting carried away with thoughts about their future engagement and wedding. (In fact, some women claim to have dreamed about their wedding day since they were a child.) It is hard to avoid thinking about (and planning for) these momentous life experiences when pop culture emphasizes the importance of being in a relationship and getting married. With television shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” (and 90% of all of TLC’s programming) and David Tutera’s “My Fair Wedding” it is hard to resist catching wedding fever.

When Jesse and I started dating in late 2010 I knew that he was going to be my husband. After being friends for so long I was already familiar with some of his good qualities. Within months we were talking about our Future. (The big “F”-marriage and spending the rest of our lives supporting one another.)  In January 2012 I attended a bridal show at the Bertram Inn in Aurora even though I was not engaged at the time. I’m not going to lie, it was a little awkward to go around to each of the vendors and answer questions like “when did you get engaged?” (I’m not engaged yet but I will be soon) and “when is the wedding?” (We don’t have a date set yet since we are not technically engaged). I had caught wedding fever and I allowed myself to get wrapped up in the excitement of being a bride and preparing for a wedding.

I joined both Pinterest and in early 2012. I spent hours pinning wedding ideas that inspired me, such as bouquets and “save the date” invitations. I visited the websites of various gown designers and pinned my dream dresses. I watched “Say Yes to the Dress” and enjoyed critiquing the gowns the women said “yes” to. After joining I browsed their list of northeast Ohio vendors (photographers, reception sites, etc.) and searched for wedding up-dos that worked for women with bangs.

By summer my enthusiasm for wedding planning faded, especially since I had yet to be proposed to at that time. Eventually, I lost interest entirely and I began to develop more negative feelings about the getting engaged and planning a wedding. When my mom would approach me with certain wedding ideas I would tell her I didn’t care since I wasn’t even engaged. I refused to get sucked into the wedding culture.

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