I have the privilege of talking to brides when they are in the trenches of their wedding planning. While I style their hair, they sit in my chair chatting away about the ups and downs of planning their wedding. I hear about how hard it is to find the right songs, where to find affordable flowers, reconciling different style ideas with their mother-in-law, and the stress of a mile long to-do list. I hear about the seamstress who messed up their hem, the bridesmaid dresses that came in the wrong colors, the search for the perfect champagne colored heels, and trying to make everyone happy. Any of this sound familiar?
Wedding planning in America can practically become a part time job. It is a lot of extra work, extra time, and can suck some of the joy out of your engagement. I believe that your engagement season should be an expectant, full time of excitement and preparation. Unfortunately, as I have conversations with brides to be, I mostly hear engagement as a time of stress, overwhelm, and just wanting to make it through. My desire for you is to be able to not only enjoy your engagement, but look back and see it as a sweet season of life where you prepared to marry the love of your life and experienced a lot of joy in the process.
I would like to share with you 7 ways you can start finding more joy in your wedding planning right now:
Start a journal. Find a pretty journal or notebook and start writing down the lovely times you are experiencing. Write down your proposal story and how you felt. Write about what you are most excited for on your wedding day. Write about your showers and bachelorette party. Write about dates you and your fiancee go on, and the fun shopping trips you have for your wedding. This will be beautiful to look back, and help keep things in perspective during it all.
Start your vows, today. If you are writing your own vows, start a list of the things you want to tell your One and Only on your wedding day. Revisit them once or twice a week and think of all the joys you felt when falling in love. If you are reading traditional vows, print out a copy and look over them when you are getting overwhelmed with planning-remind yourself that this is the reason you are doing all of this work.
Ask for help. Look at your list and find a few things that you can delegate to others. Call up your best friend or that person who really wants to be involved but doesn't have a place yet, and ask them to help with those tasks. People are probably more willing to help you than you think, and you are giving them a gift but letting them contribute to your wedding.
Make a date with your mother, grandmother, or another special woman in your life. Take some time out to listen to the story of your mom's wedding day, or another special woman in your life. Listen to their stories, what was special to them, and what advice they have for you. This can help bring you closer to your family ties, and also give you some perspective on your big day ahead.
Commit to date nights. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to lose sight of the reason you are planning your buns off. Plan an intentional date once or twice a month with your fiancee to just spend quality time together-not planning your wedding.
Enjoy the party! You will have showers, bachelorette parties, etc. Enjoy the gathering of your friends and enjoy the celebration with your family. I know they can seem like a lot of work, but people want to celebrate you and it is rare season of life to do these things. I want to encourage you to be fully present, let people give to you, and enjoy the experience.
Be grateful. Start each morning with one thought of gratitude. You found the one you are so in love with, you are loved beyond measure, you have the resources to plan a wedding, and you have family and friends that are rejoicing with you-remember these things! Remember your love story, remember the feeling of falling in love, remember your first date, and remember why you are doing this in the first place. A few moments of gratitude can carry you through to a joyful day. Then, when those bridesmaids dress arrive in the wrong color you can say "I am so thankful to have friends who are willing to stand up and support me in one of the best days of my life." (And then you can talk to the manager about rush ordering the correct color.....!)
Happy wedding planning, and remember to find JOY in this most beautiful season!