Hindsight is 20/20. Now that I have lived through the planning my own wedding and have been a part of subsequent friend’s and family members’ weddings, I have learnt a lot over the last year and a half. Seeing how other people behave, prepare, and execute wedding duties has taught me a lot about weddings, especially my own. I can now reflect back upon my own wedding day and share some insight into what I would have done differently. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy every second of mine and Michael’s (or Mike Jr. as you may know him as) special day but there are always lessons learnt in everything and I want to share those with all of you.
Growing up I was never the girl dreaming about her future wedding day. I knew I wanted to get married but the logistics of the wedding itself was something that I didn’t get invested in. I had heard horror stories from other people over the years about how the bride turns into a hot mess (“bridezilla”), or family members fight, friendships becoming ruined, etc… and it really stressed me out. This fear of the “crazy” that weddings can evoke in people had a profound impact on me and made me terrified for my own wedding day as I didn’t want to become the next bridal disaster story. Often times, this one day gets built up so much that, in my personal opinion, people end up placing too much pressure and expectation on it which only leaves room for disappointment.
Leading up to, and including the wedding day, I tried my best to keep it as simple as possible. I wanted to be as cool as a cucumber - but, to be perfectly honest, in doing so I think I slightly minimized myself and the occasion and over-compensated in the opposite direction. By being so acutely aware of everyone else’s needs, I found myself dismissing my own.
As much as I still believe in my original philosophy of making every day as important as a wedding day, I think I could have basked in the bridal bliss role a little more fully and guilt free.
If you are someone like me who is unsure of how to find a healthy balance between bridal bliss and bridal nightmare, here are my biggest tips to future brides and grooms:
1- Live it up - Don’t be afraid to go into full on bride and groom role, or groom and groom, or bride and bride. If you let other people’s judgements hold you back from diving into your dream wedding day, you will quickly realize that you cannot make everyone happy and the only thing that matters on your wedding day is you and your partner - the rest becomes fluff. I discovered that if someone is offended or criticizes you for asking for something simple, then they aren’t really celebrating you after all and they are not deserving to be there. However, please keep in mind that there is a fine balance between dismissing your own needs and becoming self-centred and overly demanding (cough *bridezilla* cough). Essentially, don’t let the culture of weddings change you. Follow your heart and do what serves you and your partner above all else.
2- Veils - Based off of point number 1 - If I could go back in time, I would have worn a veil. In an effort to play the bride card down, I didn’t wear a veil. At the time I didn’t quite understand the concept and symbolism of a veil however, after seeing a few of my friends get married wearing them it really grew up me quickly. I now appreciate the value of a veil from a bridal fashion statement perspective and I think that it adds a nice delicate touch. And seriously, when will you ever again get the chance to wear a veil again in this lifetime!? Don’t be afraid!
3- Vows - Michael and I read beautiful vows that were full of truth, love, and words that resonated with us. However, they were not our own. If I could go back in time I would have written my own vows and asked Michael to do the same. We didn’t do that mostly because we didn’t know how. We found it difficult to put into words the love we feel for each other, and not having an older sister or someone to guide the way for me left many questions unanswered. We made the best choices we could in the moment; however, after experiencing the effects of personalized vows at subsequent weddings, Michael and I both said we wished that we had of written our own. Luckily for me, on our 1 year anniversary, Michael gifted me vows that he wrote by hand, so I ended up getting them after all :)
4 - Hire a professional wedding planner for the day of the wedding - After Michael proposed to me my mom quickly volunteered herself to be our wedding planner. This was gratefully accepted as it saved us a lot of money by not having to hire an official wedding planner. Click here to read my other 5 tips on how we saved money! However, come the actual wedding day, my mom was in a frenzy. She was super stressed out about the execution of everything, set up, tables, etc… and wasn’t able to enjoy the day of the wedding with me, the bride! She also didn’t have as much time on the day to dedicate to herself for hair, makeup, etc… Poor thing. My mom had the best of intentions but for everyone’s sake, hiring a professional wedding planner at least for the day of, would have been great for everyone’s sanity. Therefore, as much as I encourage you to save money by being smart (here are my top 5 tips to save big money) I highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner just for the day of the wedding so that those tiny details such as design, chair set up, etc… can be delegated.
5- Pre-made photographer shot list - This is probably one of my biggest and most important tips. Again, without someone giving me advice on how to organize the photographers, (I naively assumed that they would know what to do and guide us effectively on the day of), I didn’t end up getting as many varied group shots with friends and family as I would have liked. Had I given a shot list to my photographers outlining every photo, I would now have a lot more precious moments captured with different group from mine and Michael’s lives.
These are examples of 5 lessons that Michael and I learnt leading up to and including our wedding day. I hope that these insights help shine light on a few things to consider when you or a loved one is planning a wedding and may have feelings of bashfulness like I did.
xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes