For Partner X:
On a vast private beach, on a cool summers night, at the top of a cliff – your partner pops the question. Finally the day has come. There you are standing before your future life partner who looks up at you with loving eyes asking for your hand in marriage.
For Partner Y:
Finally the moment has come. Having checked that the ring is in your pocket what seems like a million times you attempt to stay calm and breathe. “Can they tell that I am about to ask? Act cool! Okay, I’m going to do it…here I go…”
For Both Partner X and Y:
Music plays as joyful weeks of engagement celebration unfold. Then the first conversation about the wedding occurs. Music screeches to a halt. Sigh. Bang. Clash.
This admittedly limited romantic scenario, which occurs in a plethora of ways, is merely to illustrate that the proposal is the “easy” bit. The euphoria and relief is quickly diluted by the actual planning of the wedding itself. Many of us enjoy imagining our wedding and some of say things like, “I just want to keep it low key, you know, a party for our family and friends” – really?
As with everything we do in life, honesty is key. Planning a wedding is a wonderful yet stressful event. Try and keep your feet on the ground and your head level. Easier said than done. But when going in to battle, you must go prepared. As Norwegian’s say “there is no such thing as cold weather. Just the wrong clothing” – so brace yourself and do this right.
1. The very Basics – A, B…D
Do not discuss anything about the wedding when:
c) Ladies: PMSing
d) Gentlemen: going through male PMS or a man cold.
2. Establish a Zen- like Wedding Mood
Set aside time to talk “Wedding”. Have a glass of wine, cup of tea, put on some soothing music. Make the environment calming and pleasant. This is supposed to be fun, remember?
3. Confession time
When planning a wedding the most important thing to do, prior to starting any planning at all, is for you and your partner to establish the space to air how you have (or have not) imagined your wedding at one point in your lives. If you want butterflies released as you enter the reception room– admit it. Get it off your chest and speak your mind. After your confession take a break, have a laugh, dance around the kitchen; let it all sink in.
4. Post “wedding confession”
Compromise time. Spending the rest of your life with someone includes making a multitude of compromises. Your ideal wedding may be a little, or way, outside of your budget and not to your partners liking. Fear not – your wedding will be beautiful no matter what. Try and remember the simple things along the way and pinch yourself when you get bogged down with minuscule details. Instead of your glass being half empty, make sure it is half full. Then you can focus on all that can be done and all the things you do agree on.
5. Guest List – Round One
Simple Fact – Many Guests = More Dinero. The more people you invite, the more expensive the party. Try and invite the people you and your partner actually want at your wedding. Sounds obvious, no? Well as you all know in many cultures one invites everybody, even the best friend of your fathers best friend – and their cousin. You may not know them, but you “have” to invite them. Traditions change – this is your day. Don’t be afraid to do things your way. Everybody else can do it his or her way when it is their wedding but this wedding is you and your partner’s day! (This mantra should be repeated every day please). Using Google Documents make an excel sheet with a list of people you would want to invite. Try and organize them under categories i.e. friends, family, other. Some people you will invite out of courtesy knowing that they won’t come. Try and limit the extent of this courtesy, being too polite can be unnecessarily costly.
6. Guest List – Round 2
Now go back over the list you and your partner compiled. Attempt to minimize polite invites and shorten the list. This can be stressful – remember candles, wine, tea and soothing tunes in the background. Smile, this is all about enjoying the process, okay? Once you have a guest list you will have a rough idea of how many people you need to budget for. Now stop worrying about this part.
When do you want to get married? Take into consideration vacation times. If you want your nieces and nephews to be there remember they have school etc. Think about your closest relatives possible complaints. If your mother cannot tolerate heat due to health conditions don’t get married on the beach in Mexico when it’s at it’s hottest. Decide if you want to do your wedding sooner rather than later. Be patient and give yourself time to do things your way. Remember that even if you take people into consideration, this is you and your partner’s day. Repeat manta “this is our day”.
Pick a country and location. If your partner and you come from different countries consider doing it in a neutral area; a location that is a place you both share and feel dearly about. Don’t be hard on yourselves; you can have a couple of countries/locations in mind. Think about the style of wedding you want when you are thinking of location. Consider whether those closest to you will have any limitations in arriving to the locations you are considering. As you finalize the budget you will find that the option will become clearer – compromise, remember?
9. Wedding Planner/List
If you can, try and meet with a wedding planner. They will talk you through the basics and offer you some guidance and perhaps help get you focused on what you want.
If you prefer to plan your wedding yourself consider using the valuable resources online and in magazines, for example theknot.com or Real Simple Weddings. There are tons of tips and organizational tools available online. Use these to make lists of what you need done prior to the big day (remember: it is a lot so get started as soon as possible).
Ask for help: Reach out to friends and family and start to delegate the work you need done. Set up a plan so that you do not micro-manage. If you ask your best friend to scout out bands, give her a period of time and then reconnect with her findings on a set date. Note to (your) self: Do not nag.
10. Let the Wedding planning Commence!
Planning the rest of the wedding will take a lot of energy and good humour. Nobody is saying that it is easy, but fun is not always easy.
Along the way keep asking yourself two simple questions that will re-focus you and your partner in times of panic, stress and general frustration:
- Why are we doing this? (Because we love each other, we want to share our love with all of our friends and family etc etc.)
- Who are we doing this for? (First and foremost: Ourselves – then our family and friends)
Always remind one another how much you love each other.
Smile. Laugh. And enjoy the process.