Looking at this photo, our Santorini engagement feels like it happened lightyears ago (even though it was only last August). Wedding planning has been a trip in itself and I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned throughout the process thus far, whether you’re in wedding plan mode or soon to be!
- Choose vendors you love & click with. This was so important to Neal & I when selecting for our big day. We just wanted people who genuinely love what they do and that would bring the best energy at our wedding to not just us, but our guests. We were over the moon when we booked Ryan Ray as our photographer — not only did we love his aesthetic, but he has become an encouragement and dear friend to Neal and I. Your photographer is who you’ll spend most of your day with, so it is so important you click with him/her. The wedding machine can be a crazy one, and you’ll find some people in this industry don’t have your best interest at heart (sadly). We are so thankful and confident in all of our vendors and I can’t wait to see how they bring our wedding to fruition. It’s worth mentioning to your vendors what is important to you, so they can capture all of those details, so take your time and take calls or coffee dates with them to see if they’re the right fit for you! Have a vision/inspiration board in mind when taking those meetings to help focus the conversation.
- Be authentic. It was really important for Neal & I to be authentic to who we really are through every detail in our wedding day. It’s so easy to get pressured by friends, family, and let’s be honest even Pinterest at times (although I love me some Pinning!) into making decisions that really don’t reflect you as a couple and thankfully Neal and I are on the same page. We want to look like ourselves (I don’t want to look like a totally different person), play music we love (incorporating both of our cultures and tastes), and have our faith be the center of it all. I’m all about a little compromise, but when you’re both giving up everything to please others, the heart of it all can get lost. Trying to make everyone happy is virtually impossible, and people will always have something to complain about — so just be true to yourselves & do what makes you happy.
- Accept that not everything will be perfect. I’ve attended and been apart of many weddings and I can assure you something will always go wrong. This fact is inevitable, even for our upcoming wedding — nothing in life is perfect, so don’t put so much pressure on this day to be any different. The weather, your hair, or the food — it’s different for everyone, but at the end of the day as long as I marry my best friend, everything will have been perfect to me! Some things are out of your control and you have to just let go sometimes and laugh through it.
- “I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding.” I always got goosebumps when I read that quote because it’s such a great reminder, especially if you ever feel overwhelmed with wedding planning, that your marriage and relationship comes first. A few people said to us when we first got engaged that planning a wedding would be extremely stressful, basically “just wait for it and good luck” and we thought, how unfortunate that what should be a beautiful event becomes so materialistic and argumentative for couples. Now, not everything will be a smooth walk in the park (like anything in life), but I am grateful Neal and I made a commitment that when we started our planning we wouldn’t let it become a “stress” in our lives. Our faith has helped so much in centering us. We’ve done a lot of praying, reading ( The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller is one of our favourites), talking and even sat down with our awesome pastor who has been such an encouragement to us throughout our relationship. Our church offers amazing classes/seminars for pre-to-just married couples and it’s just so grounding. We’ve felt God’s presence through all of the decisions and difficult moments (some stress is out of your control, and external), but we have learned to lean in to God and His word.
- Have fun. If I’ve learned anything from planning a wedding, it’s that it should be fun! Neal and I are so excited for the big day to just get here already, but this season is still sweet and will only happen once. I’m learning everyday to just be present and enjoy the moment we are currently in – Godspeed. Soon we’ll be married and we’ll never get back this time. I understand that planning a wedding is a different experience for everyone (some positive and some negative) but at the end of the day, even if it’s only you two standing together and committing yourselves, it’ll be the most beautiful day.