The Atypical Bride-to-Be: Paying it Forward

Photo by Marlon Ming

Well folks, I’m in the home stretch. I’m two weeks away from becoming Mrs. Evans and I can’t wait. It’s been a rocky road, for sure, but thanks for going along for the ride. I’ve reached a point in this process where I’m actually relieved because there is nothing left to do except walk down the aisle and marry my best friend.

With my newfound joy in being completely done with wedding planning, I thought it would be nice to pass along some valuable information and lessons I’ve learned this past year. This isn’t your basic list of “How to plan the perfect wedding,” I mean, is this your first time here? This will be things that I wish I had known before I started planning this wedding and I hope it will be helpful for a newly engaged person who is as freaked out as I was at the thought of planning a wedding.

Be proactive.

I am an overly organized person by nature, so staying on top of things was a breeze for me. But beware of outsiders telling you that you have so much time to plan and prepare because that is absolute B.S.

For me, the year between my engagement and my wedding date went by so quickly. Yes, a year sounds like a long time, but when there are so many moving parts, it’s hard to stay on top of everything.

I’m an avid believer in lists. That’s what helped me stay organized and proactive with the planning. Unlike my fiancé who waited until the last minute to do everything, I was ahead of the game and I’m so happy that I was—it saved me from a lot of stress. Giving yourself a goal to meet is key. It’s also so satisfying to check something off your never-ending to-do list.

Stay away from wedding forums.

Those people on those forums are disguised as a supportive community meant to help you through the process. In reality, they are judgmental, rude, and offer no real assistance. I know it may seem like the logical place to go, but the best advice I can give is to rely on your own instincts.

No one on those forums knows you personally and everyone’s situation is different. Simply rationally think about what it is you need to do, figure out what you think will be best, and decide the proper way to execute it.

People want you to be a Bridezilla.

Yup, even if you aren’t, everyone secretly wants you to be that person. I know for a fact that I was not a Bridezilla because I didn’t care about half of the stuff that was going on (I still can’t tell you what my bridesmaids dresses look like). No matter how easy-going you are, or understanding, the minute you voice your opinion about something or disagree you are labeled a Bridezilla.

I know it’s a free pass to be cutthroat and ruthless, but it’s honestly not necessary. At the end of the day, people will bother you, ask you the dumbest questions, and try to tell you what to do, but the best thing you can do is gently let them know that this is your wedding and you will plan it the way that you and your fiancé see fit. End of discussion.

Contrary to popular belief, the wedding is not for your family.

When I voiced my objections for wanting a wedding, so many people told me that I should do it for my mom, or my fiancé’s mom, or my grandmother. It’s so easy to fall into the “people pleaser” trap. You will be made to feel guilty because you mother wants you to walk down the aisle to a song you don’t like, or your grandmother will pressure you into getting a dress you don’t love.

Remember, this day is not about them, it’s about you and your partner’s declaration to love one another for the rest of your lives. I found myself falling into that trap so many times, my fiancé as well, but I had to remind myself that what they want doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter.

Keep yourself grounded.

There were several times when I just wanted to elope and be done with it all. I let the pressures and stress weigh me down. I lost sight of why I was going through all of this in the first place. I had to lean heavily on Joe and him on me to get through this process because it truly is a true test of patience.

Keeping myself surrounded by people who only wanted what’s best for me was key. I had to block out all of the outside opinions and criticisms of what we were doing and remember that come December 31, none of this will matter.

Just remember to stay focused on your love for one another and everything will work out fine. And if it doesn’t, oh well. None of that will prevent you from marrying the love of your life.

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