Planning a wedding without losing your mindWritten by Lindsay Hawkes
Under the guise of being unable to find the TV remote, my then-boyfriend lured me into my parents’ basement where he dropped onto one knee, told me he loved me and slipped a beautiful, sparkly diamond ring onto my left hand’s fourth finger. Between that time and a then-yet-to-be-determined point in the middle of our Mexican honeymoon, the rest was a complete blur.
The chaos that comes with planning a wedding is indescribable. Many nights were spent trying to calm my constantly racing brain in order to gain at least a couple hours of restful sleep. Pages in my planner were no longer used to keep track of daily activities and appointments, but to house the never-ending to-do list as the next wedding items to address popped into my mind. Trying to make decisions between countless varieties of continually arising options – flowers, venues and food ideas, oh my! – was overwhelming, and the pressure to have it all be perfect seemed an ever-present burden.
Keeping it all in perspective
Luckily, it is possible to make it through your wedding planning alive – and with your sanity intact! Amidst the blur, people who’ve gone through this before gave me, and some of my other recently married friends, some pieces of wise advice that carried us through the chaos. These tips helped keep our perspective in check and can help you, too – future brides and grooms, alike!
Focus on preparing for the marriage during the wedding planning. Yes, weddings can be a lot of work. But, the wedding will only last for a day; the celebrations, maybe for a few more. Yet it’s the marriage that will last for a lifetime. This period of engagement is the time to begin to set foundations for your marriage. Take time to work through conflicts and make decisions with your fiancé/fiancée. Take notice of how they react to stressors – trust me, there will be quite a few of those the midst of wedding planning – and what they need to resolve them. Premarital counselling was an asset to my fiancé and I because sessions led to longer discussions and attempts to understand each other’s unique perspectives. As one recently married friend of mine noted, "Have one goal: get married." Don’t let the focus on, or preparations for, this one day overshadow the importance of preparing for the rest of your lives together.
It’s not about you, it’s about the two. There are too many bridal reality shows that showcase women who frequently demand to get their way because, after all: "It’s my day." Contrary to what they may believe, a wedding is about more than just the bride – there’s a groom, too. While tablecloths and flower arrangements may not be your soon-to-be husband’s forte, see if there’s a niche where he can get involved in the preparations. For example, you could choose his favourite cupcake flavour instead of the one you’ve been pushing him to like. There are points in a healthy marriage where we need to humbly put ourselves and our needs second to those of our spouse. Start putting that into practice even before the exchanging of the rings.
Relax. Both in the midst of planning and on the actual wedding day itself, that is. Set aside time to spend with friends or on dates with your soon-to-be spouse. Don’t make the wedding the central topic during those times. Also, steal little moments to relax whenever they arise: fit in a nap, go for a jog or watch a funny movie. Taking time to relax and recharge will do wonders for both your physical and mental health during the season of wedding planning.
As far as The Big Day goes, relax and enjoy it. The planning has been done and decisions made – there isn’t much you can do once the wedding arrives. My friend, Mary, experienced this first-hand: ". . . one of our groomsmen fainted during our ceremony, [the] maid of honour didn’t have her shoes and forgot her speech, our venue didn’t put all our food out, etc." Despite all of the wedding day hiccups, Mary is still quick to note that it was okay. "That doesn’t matter," she said, "people are there to support and love us! I wish I put the laid-back mentality of the wedding day into planning the wedding, too. It’s supposed to be a fun time!"
Things won’t always go as planned, but that shouldn’t deplete the joy that comes with the covenant that you two are establishing before God and your loved ones.
Most importantly, stop and take time to enjoy the journey. Laugh a little, smile more. Make time for fun activities in the midst of the busyness of planning a wedding. Better yet, go out and have fun with your not-quite-yet spouse. Make this stage of your relationship every bit as memorable as the one that has passed and the one that’s yet to come.
Lindsay Hawkes was an in-house writer with Focus on the Family Canada at the time of publication.
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