When I first began this blog, my intention was to document my experiences during the wedding planning process. It was an idea I had for a manuscript, a book I wish I could have read while I was organizing all the crazy details of my wedding, one where all of my neuroses were validated yet somehow soothed.
But after the gown and the bouquet were preserved and the thank-you notes were mailed, I had to make the shift from someone who was just (newly) married to someone who was just (yawn) married. Or at least, that is what I imagined. And oh, was I wrong. Though I wasn’t sure what I would write about once the honeymoon ended, three and a half years and over three-hundred and fifty posts later, I somehow keep finding new topics about married life, baby life, and, well, life life.
And there is nothing yawn about it.
Even though I don’t get many chances to write about my own nuptials any longer, the act of planning and exploring every aspect of the biggest party of my life has given me a great affection for weddings in general. That is what makes it all the more exciting each time a friend or family member gets engaged. In fact, in the last few months, several friends have began planning their weddings, and I have loved witnessing their enthusiasm via tweets, status updates, and photos. In fact, it was right around this time four years ago that I was in their position, fretting about how I would pull off such a major undertaking.
Those first few choices, when the venue is being chosen and the pictures of gowns are being torn from the magazines, when the bride-to-be is still so enchanted by the site of her sparkling ring that it’s everything she can do not to stare at it while driving/walking/doing anything at all, those days are the dreamiest. The edges are fuzzy; the wedding hasn’t yet begun to take on a concrete form. All of the fantasies of said day buzz in and out of the excited couple’s imaginations as they talk “when” and “if” details.
It’s a blissful time.
And then, once the date is set, all those gauzy details come into focus. It is real, and it is happening, and that is when planning takes a turn for the serious. Though the venue sets the overall tone for the day, it is the smaller choices–the color scheme, the theme, the music, the flowers–that help the bride and groom turn a room into an experience, to turn a party into something magical.
For me, one of the most significant hallmarks of the wedding planning process was selecting and mailing of our Save the Date cards. Not only did it add a sense of realness to our preparations, but it was a way for us to set the tone for our guests. Whether it’s formal or whimsical, black-tie or barefoot, the Save the Dates help the bride and groom generate excitement for their big day by saying:
“Our wedding is going to be so beautiful/awesome/super-fun that we want to make sure you go ahead and put it in your calendar RIGHT NOW.”
With so many decisions racing around my brain, I had a difficult time committing. I was having meltdowns about everyday dinnerware in the home department of Macy’s, and hyperventilation fits about duvet covers, so how could I possibly capture the essence of my entire vision for my wedding in one card and then mail it to everyone I loved? It felt overwhelming.
After several deep, cleansing breaths and some serious perusing on Wedding Paper Divas, I felt much better about the whole thing, and realized that in picking out my Save the Dates, I had the opportunity to share both a sneak preview of my wedding AND my enthusiasm for said affair with all the people who were all rooting for me. They were going to receive the card in the mail and say:
“I can’t wait to share this day with Gina and Mike.”
I wasn’t just asking my guests to put a date aside. I was opting to forever hold that date in my heart, and I was asking my friends and family to envelope me with their support and love, to dive in with me. When I focused on that thought, it made the process that much sweeter.
Now if only I could have held onto that kind of serenity until my wedding day.
For any brides or grooms-to-be out there, I came across this infographic and thought it might be helpful/interesting. Happy (and calm) planning!