10 Thoughts from a Bride-to-Be

Planning a wedding is no walk in the park — the food, the venue, the gowns, flowers, favors, and the constantly-evolving guest list are each their own whirlwind of emotion. In the event you’re wondering about the experience or thinking about getting married or even just trying to be a better friend to the affianced in your social circle, the bride-to-be of the Goodsey team, Michelle, sat down and answered all the questions that have been on your mind.  

What were your ideas on marriage and wedding planning before you got engaged? What did you expect?  

I had no prior experience, so I assumed it would be a lot simpler. I just kind of expected everything to sort of fall into place. I never considered how I would budget or plan.   

Have your views changed at all? If so, how? 

My views have changed dramatically. Luckily for us, we were engaged in 2016 and planned to get married in 2018. Having a two-year engagement served as a strong buffer for all the planning and budgeting that I hadn’t counted on. I feel really fortunate that we had so much time; I don’t know what I would have done if we had been one of those couples trying to do it all in a year or less.  

What’s been the most challenging aspect of planning your wedding? 

Budgeting has definitely been the most challenging. I found it really helpful for my fiancé and I to take the time to pick out what was most essential to us. Those items on our list were the venue and photography. Knowing that those two aspects of our wedding were most important to us enabled us to allocate funding to those areas and cut back on things that we didn’t find to be as crucial.  

What style of wedding did you choose and why? 

Initially, my fiancé and I wanted something that wasn’t too modern; something that was more-or-less a rustic wedding. We came to find that a certain amount of modernity was kind of necessary or else you end up with — well, a ho-down. 

So, as we’ve continued to plan we’ve created a ceremony and reception that are a lot more balanced. For instance, our venue is an historic inn, however, the inn has a restaurant and bar in-house that will do our catering. We’ve come out with a mix of modern and classic.  

How involved is your fiancé in the planning process? 

My fiancé has actually gotten really into it! He has a lot of input, but he’s been mainly involved in budgeting. 

When we first got engaged, we sat down together and planned a comfortable budget, considering our contributions and those of our parents to the cost of the wedding. From there, my fiancé did a lot of the organizing of what we spent and where we spent it, so that we work together to balance the budget with our vision.  

For instance, I was putting together little gift baskets for my bridesmaids recently — and the little expenses somehow seem to add up rather quickly — and I bought baskets that were on the larger-side, so now, of course, I feel obliged to fill those baskets and I’m consulting with my fiancé who then checks the budget and says, “hey, listen, you got all your bridesmaids gifts initially; this is extra,” you know, “‘slow your roll.'” 

What are you most excited about? 

Honestly, I’m most excited about being married. My fiancé and I have been together for seven years so, in a way, I feel married to him already. Of course, I’m excited about the official ceremony and the reception, but really I do think I’m most excited about just being married.   

What do you think first-time bridal shower/wedding attendees should know? 

People make wedding registries for a reason. It’s actually been a point of stress for me that people often disregard the registry and get the couple whatever they want to get the couple while, in point-of-fact, couples make a registry with things that they need.  

Additionally, cell phone usage at weddings really bothers me. I’ll go on social media and see people livestreaming — livestreaming! — someone else’s wedding! It just feels wrong to be on your phone during a wedding ceremony. Even further, I think about walking down the aisle, and the last thing I want is a photo of me on my wedding day with someone on their phone in the background.  

What is one thing you feel you need most in this process, material or immaterial? 

I think I need to stop comparing my wedding or my choices to Pinterest or to people I know. Especially at a time in our lives when everyone seems to be getting married all at once, it’s easy to fall into the hole of “I’m doing this” or “she’s doing that.” I think it’s important to stay away from that kind of thinking; to avoid stressing about being different or standing out. 

Further, I’ve been learning to stop stressing about the little bumps in the road, the little things that change your course. The most recent one that comes to mind was realizing that our reception begins at 6:30 in the middle of November, and it will be dark for taking pictures. That was a problem we needed to solve, but you take things as they come. It’s senseless to drive yourself crazy over one day — an important day — but just one day in the grand scheme of things. Everyone has something that’s going to go wrong, so it’s necessary to take a step back and to focus instead on the reason for the wedding.   

How do you think you’ll remember this time years down the line? 

I think I’ll remember this time as being an exciting time. Of course, it has been challenging, and a little stressful, but overall a really exciting and beautiful period. 

Is there anything you would like to say or like people to know that I’ve not asked you? 

I would advise parents of a bride and groom to understand that not everything must be traditional. For example, I got a lot of push-back recently over a seating arrangement. Our parents were adamant about where the bride’s family ought to be sitting and the groom’s family ought to be sitting and they wanted to change our whole seating chart. I think parents should remember to be sensitive to what is necessary and unnecessary as far as tradition goes and leave those decisions to the couple. 

I would advise an affianced couple to do what makes them happy; to really plan their wedding, first and foremost considering what it is that they want out of the event, before dealing with what everyone else has to say. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding. It should be the kind of start to your married lives that you envision.

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