Where do you start?
Oh My Gosh! There is just so much to think about! Is this you?
If you’re already feeling the pressure, please know you’re not alone, but also that it doesn’t have to be so stressful. I have spoken with two couples recently who have been engaged a short period of time and whose weddings are more than a year away, and they are already worried about the details. Planning a wedding should be a fun and an enjoyable process for the two of you. This brief post is just to help you enjoy your engagement for a bit and hopefully help eliminate some of the anxieties that planning a wedding can cause for couples. I will also provide some resources for next steps and one very important MUST have, if you intend to be legally married in most states in the US.
Suggestion #1: Breathe and enjoy your engagement with each other.
Before you tell anyone else, even your parents, your children or your best friends, enjoy the experience together. After all, the two of you have just decided you want to spend the rest of your lives together. You may as well start now. Give yourselves a few days to a few weeks to live in the bliss. Talk about your future together. What do you envision? Talk about your ideal wedding…Are you wanting a faith based ceremony? Outdoors, indoors? Do you want a large event that includes all your family and friends, or an intimate affair with just a few? As the two of you decide what’s most important to you, you’ll be able to answer the questions that your friends and family will ask just as soon as you share your news. Most importantly, enjoy this time.
Suggestion #2: If you can fit it into your budget, hire a wedding planner.
I think you may be surprised at how affordable they can be. If you can't swing a professional planner, connect with someone in your life that is excellent at organizing events. You WILL appreciate the support…trust me. The wedding planner’s role is to help you know what to think about and when, as well as to help you manage all the little details and vendors, and they are indispensable on the day of the event.
Recently, I officiated two weddings in a weekend, one without a planner/coordinator and one with. At the wedding without the coordinator, which was an intimate event with about 20 guests. The groom and his groomsmen were hurriedly building the arch that they wanted to be married in front of an hour before the ceremony was to start at 10:30 a.m. and the bridesmaids were decorating it at the original planned for start time. The bride had had to return home because her dress had been left behind and ended up almost getting a ticket because she was running late.
In contrast, the very next day I officiated a wedding where the couple had asked one of their sisters to be the planner and day of coordinator, even though the bride is extremely organized herself. When I arrived, the entire outdoor area had been transformed into a beautiful wedding venue, the 100+ guests were having a great time mingling and munching on their own blend of trail mix, no one in the bridal party was building anything and everyone was completely relaxed. We signed the license, had the ceremony and the couple had a brilliant time enjoying their guests. Their wedding coordinator managed to get over 16,000 steps in by the ceremony ended and the reception was in full swing.
In case you’re still feeling a little anxious and wondering where you find these people; no worries. Check with your venue. They either have a wedding planner or a list of them. Also...if you would like the names of some amazing wedding planners in Washington State, let me know. I will happily hook you up.
Suggestion #3 is to use the resources at hand:
You can also utilize our friend, the Internet (aka Google and Pinterest) and friends who were recently married. Wedding sites such as www.theknot.com and www.weddingwire.com are just two of the many internet resources for couples (you can google those too). They have checklists, lists of vendors in your area (or the area where you would like to get married) and the capacity for you to create your own wedding website where your guests can go for details. AND…we all know that person whose wedding you attended last month or last year. I bet they would love to share their experiences and maybe even their Pinterest page with you. They know the things you definitely want to do and totally want to avoid. I mean, what are friends for?
The most important thing to remember is that the two of you have decided that you want to be together and whether you choose to commemorate that with a large family wedding or sign your license with your witnesses and officiant in the mountains or at your favorite winery overlooking Lake Chelan, it’s YOUR special day and you want it to be meaningful to the two of you, not stressful. There are many, many resources available to help alleviate stress, but if you start with remembering to enjoy your engagement together and ask for help, the rest will all fall into place.
Congratulations again and remember that Life and Love should be celebrated every minute!
Chanelle Carlin is an ordained minister and professional wedding officiant. She collaborates with couples to create custom, memorable ceremonies for their intimate wedding or elopement in a natural setting in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her family in rural Okanogan County, Washington, USA and believes that life and love should be celebrated every minute. Visit Chanelle at www.chanellecarlin.com, on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.