I’m 75 days into the happiest time of my life. I’m floating on Cloud 9, the new accessory on my left finger continues to sparkle and the engagement glow is bright, everything is just as I imagined it and I am itching to plan the wedding of my dreams. There’s just one small challenge … the budget!
Professionally, I have planned thousands of events for many major brands. I am the go-to friend that plans every surprise birthday party, baby shower and bachelorette party. If a celebration is in order, I have probably planned it. The beauty in all of this experience is that I know how to plan one H-E-double-hockey-sticks of a party … oh and spend other people’s money.
You would think that with all of this experience, wedding planning would be a no brainer. I have my checklist, I have my Pinterest board and most of all I have the love of my life by my side; what more could I possibly need? Simple answer: MONEY!
Having the answer is only part of the solution. Making sense of how the budget will affect your peace of “planning” mind is the other part of the solution. My job here is to keep you sane, follow the three “Bs” below as you map out your wedding budget
Be honest, with yourself, your fiancé and your family. Before you get your heart set on the perfect (overpriced) venue, share your vision with your family and allow them the opportunity to weigh in if they are able to provide financial support. Trust me; it’s better to know what you have in the bank before you start to work with vendors.
Be intentional. Of course I selected my favorite girlfriends to stand by my side, when I wear the title of bride.I hand-picked each of them because of our special bond and their DIY skills. Some will help to design the bouquets, others will assemble the favors and a couple will be in charge of pizza ordering and keeping the wine glasses full at the DIY party! One of my fabulous bridesmaids has recently developed a knack for designing floral arrangements. I hit the jackpot!
Photo Credit: www.RosalynnDaniels.com
Be willing, to stretch out of your comfort zone. I HATE personal budget plans and my idea of a fun Friday night is not staring at an Excel sheet and monitoring a budget. The upside is that once you have the budget squared away, the plan in place and the DIY party on the calendar you are ready to plan the BEST.DAY.EVER.
Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!”
Confession time: We only got to share one day together engaged before Michael had to go back home. That night, I had a nightmare where I was standing on a tiny island alone, surrounded by a sea of wedding ideas, concepts, colors … junk essentially. I could see a tornado of all of this screaming towards me, and I had no place to run. I get swept up in this swirling vortex of nuptial doom and I’m trapped with no way out. Even in my dream I start having a mini panic attack. OMG, what color will the napkins be? Should I use real flowers or silk? Is there really a difference between ivory and ecru? Faster and faster I’m swirling until I wake up in a cold sweat gasping for air. Holy crap, did I just have a nightmare about wedding planning?! UGHHH! I had the same nightmare every day for the rest of the week. By the time the weekend came, I made a mad dash to Connecticut to see Michael. Maybe we could help me master the nuptial vortex.
Now, I’ll admit I had been quasi wedding planning for about a year or two. Don’t pretend you don’t have that secret Pinterest board where you squirrel away your wedding ideas. We all do it. My fiancé, Michael, on the other hand, has not been secretly planning a wedding since birth. So, while I was sort of expecting this bombardment of people demanding information, he was completely blindsided. It doesn’t help that we are separated by 250 miles and didn’t get a chance to absorb everything in one sitting. I was going to set some things straight if it killed me. Four sleepless nights aren’t pretty.
Everyone always teases me that I live my life in a series of lists. Meh, so what, it’s how I organize my thoughts. After we had full bellies and a glass (or three) of bubbly to celebrate, I pulled out a notebook and started making a list. We realized, before we could even begin navigating this insanity known as wedding planning, we at least needed to lay out our priorities. In hindsight, this is perhaps the best thing we could have done together. There are all of these things I’d love to have and have always wanted but this one little list made me stop and think: What are the absolute most important things that I want for my wedding day besides my guy? What did I absolutely have to have in order to be happy? We both set out to write three things we needed in a wedding and then shared the notebook.
Once I sat down and really thought about it, the only things I HAD TO HAVE were great food, fun (hopefully in the form of a bouncy castle) and a short wedding dress. All Michael wanted was to minimize cost and scale. Bless his penny-pinching skills! Putting these things down on paper lifted a huge burden off my heart. No matter what happened, as long as we had these things and each other, we’d be just fine. It felt like we had waded through the wedding planning tornado and actually found ourselves on the other side. . That night, I slept like a baby. I now know who we are as a couple, and this can keep me anchored as I navigate these stormy seas.
What about you? Did you feel suddenly overwhelmed once you landed the ring? How did you find yourself again?