3/7 Real Bride Heather: Reaching for the Light at the End of the Planning Tunnel

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Planning a Broke-Ass wedding can be hard!! I will just go ahead and state that for the record. Sometimes I look at all that we have to get done, and most discouragingly … all the money we will have to come up with to pull this off, and I think that there’s absolutely no way! Then, I stress. Then, I get sad. Then, I avoid. So, that’s where I have been since my last post, in full on defeat mode. As I sit down to write this, I have no crafts to giddily write about, no super deals to discuss  and nothing more than just my thoughts to share. Sorry in advance.

I will just do a little reflecting here in order to hopefully offer a bit of motivation to anyone who hits this discouraging place where the costs seem insurmountable, and you start feeling that wedding planning defeat set in.

As a homeowner,sole bill payer and single mom to a 10 year old, my life over the past decade or more has been a hard knock exercise in frugality. Learning to make it in a world where money talks and Broke-Asses walk has been a task that I have risen to, even when I feel like I fail at it daily. When I became a single mother at the age of 25, I was terrified. I thought there was no way in the world that I would make it. In 2006, when I knocked on my parent’s door with a 3-month-old baby on my hip, tears in my eyes, no job and all of my belongings packed into my car, I just knew that I was defeated. I wasn’t. Eventually, (with a lot of help and motivation from my parents and grandparents) I picked myself up. I enrolled in college, got a job, graduated with honors and then progressively got better jobs. I ended up where I was convinced I would never be — making it.

Flash forward to 34, I found myself in a similar scenario: Navigating a divorce. Earth shattered. Life turned upside down, again. This time, there were lawyers fees, paperwork, divisions of property and it left me financially strapped to even keep the lights turned on. I still made it. I worked three jobs at one point to keep everything barely afloat. Luckily, I have a network of incredible friends and family who helped me so much and they never let me lose hope. Even in the darkest of moments, and during times where the numbers seemed impossible, somehow I made it anyway.

When I met my fiance, I was not exactly looking for anything. I had resolved to be OK if I never found a person who would love me for me. The messy, less-than-perfect, opinionated, quasi-crazy me. I was fine with that, too. On the night we met, I was headed out for a girls night with my friends. There were four of us going out for drinks, and I was the last one to get the use of the bathroom to get ready. My best friend yells to me, “The Uber is here, c’mon! It’s not like you will meet the love of your life at this place!” I remember thinking, “You’re right, because I’m pretty sure that crap doesn’t exist anyway,” and I left to have fun with my friends.

So here I am now.

My life is coming together quite nicely, actually.

The point is, it’s OK to get discouraged, but it’s not going to fix anything by staying discouraged. Life is funny, and it has a way of working out when you need it to. The key factor in things working out is to never give up. You can resolve to be OK if things don’t go your way, but it doesn’t mean that you stop trying. How does this apply to a budget wedding? On your wedding day, you will get married. That is the part that matters. Favors, color schemes, centerpieces, chair sashes, vendors, etc., will have no bearing on your day to day life with your husband or wife. It will all get done. You can and will find a way to make it happen! Don’t let stresses about one day ruin the joyful time that is your engagement. It always seems that the wedding takes over that part of this process, don’t let it. You won’t get this engagement part back once you’re married, so enjoy this piece of the puzzle, and don’t let the large task that is wedding planning take over and discourage you.

Take it one step at a time because your steps down the aisle are brief, and all of this stress is — after all — just for one day that will go by in the blink of an eye. So I am vowing right now to stop stressing over the big number at the end of my budget. Instead, I will break it into little pieces, and we will chip away at it one thing at a time. After all, that is how life works best.

How have you remembered to keep your head up during the harder times of wedding planning?

I am a mom to a pretty fantastic little girl, a small business owner, photographer, writer, and my alter ego is a cubicle dwelling software trainer....but that's just my superhero disguise. (sssshhhhh) I'm also an animal lover with 2 dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon. While I'm running out of room and things for them to destroy, I fight the urge to bring home more pets all the time!
  • elliejay23

    This is such a great piece! I’m barely started planning and I’m already exhausted and sick of answering people’s annoying (but well-meaning) questions about who/what/when/where/why/which color. It’s really hard to find the joy in this engagement phase, especially when I feel like I’m planning and taking care of everything by myself and work/grad school is taking over my life. However, I’m going to do my best to take your advice and find some scrap of joy in all this madness.

    Best of luck as you keep moving towards the finish line, and kudos to you on taking whatever life throws at you and making it work!