I really and truly feel like I need to get into the wedding planning/organizing industry. No, not because I think that my wedding was particularly beautiful, but because it was 100% exactly what I wanted. What makes that so impressive, is that I had NO idea what I wanted! Let me explain..
I was never the girl who grew up dreaming about my wedding day. The most I ever really thought about it was, I wonder what my husband will look like.. Whose face will I be waking up to every morning?
As I got older and started dating, I started to believe that I didn't want to get married. That maybe I didn't even believe in the idea of it all. It seems like such a big fuss over what? Publicly announcing that you wont cheat on that person, and that you want to be with them forever? I knew from a young age that as people age, they change and are shaped by their experiences. I worried, what if you grew apart, which just seems so possible.
I met Alan and we started dating 6 months later. I still held these same beliefs. I told him that I wouldn't even entertain the idea of engagement unless I knew the guy for at least 5 years. I told Alan that I wasn't sure of marriage. He calmly understood my feelings and persisted through my bouts of anxiety when things felt too serious. I started to change. I started to realize that I wanted more out of our relationship and I couldn't imagine myself without him. I ended up even being the one to lay on the engagement pressure. He wanted to marry me, but we weren't there financially, he was in between jobs, but I thought that I would have been happy to run to a court house and not tell anyone (I shamefully always wanted a big beautiful rock, which Alan knew and wanted to give to me).
Alan proposed, 5 years exactly from the day that we met. Next came.... compromise. Ideally, I wanted to have a fun trip to Vegas and party with close friends and get hitched. Easy, breezy. No fussing with family drama and making it a fun, no stress, memorable occasion.
I'm not going to say it was easy. And it sure didn't happen over night. But we talked about our options, bought books full of ideas, read online and asked family and friends. All signs kept pointing to a local wedding with close family and friends. This irritated me, and I found myself terrified. Then I realized, I needed to figure out what about this scared me. I was afraid of having a tacky, typical, fake wedding. Ahh.. there is was. FAKE. For too much of my life, I had to suffer in silence while I was in situations that I shouldn't have had to be in, I put up with being treated so poorly and was expected to accept it and wear a smile on my face. I watched fake people with their fake possessions show off to their fake friends. For what? It was meaningless and empty, and so much of my life was filled with this. I wasn't going to continue the cycle, that isn't my life. I needed to set that fear aside, and figure out what was important to me?
1) I want to be cool as a cucumber the day of the wedding. I don't want to be stressing about details or worrying if Person A is at Location X at such and such a time. No. I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy my time with my bridesmaids before I walk down the aisle and the whirlwind of the following events took over.
2) All parents needed to be treated equal. We are both from separated parents which is a juggling act. I wanted everyone to participate at the level that they wanted, but also, no one noticeably more so than anyone else.
3) I wanted to my Grandmas to feel important, special, and loved.
4) I wanted every detail to be genuine.
5) I wanted it to be very personal. I wanted it to scream Sara and Alan. So many weddings are so generic, it could be for any bride or groom. Ours was to be no denying, ours.
These items were my ingredients for my wedding. Everything I did, I kept these in mind. This really helped me focus of positivity. With these I know that every decision I made, I would be happy at the end of the day, so long as it met these 5 criteria.
Alan and I also developed an unspoken (well, kinda spoken) rule: This day is about the TWO of us and no one else. Outside influence (and guilt trips) can be hard. I recommend recruiting a mediator of some sort if dealing with this. Honestly, stick to your guns or else you will develop resentment and have an overall shitty time.
My last tidbit of advice is this, I asked myself "Why do you want to get married?" My answers were: A. Because I want to celebrate the beginning of the next stage in my life by declaring in front of family and friends that I found someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with (vows) B. We want the legal rights (sign the documents). In preparation of potential drama, I rehearsed with myself, am I still saying my vows? Am I still signing the documents? Then that is ultimately all that matters. Everything else is extra.
Happy planning, and congratulations!