Planning a wedding is thought of by many as a stressful and expensive ordeal. The stereotypical wedding planning experience involves navigating family-members strong (and perhaps unsolicited) opinions, spending way too much money on every single wedding detail, figuring out a menu that is agreeable to everyone’s dietary restrictions, graciously dealing with last minute RSVP changes, and perfecting that damn seating chart.
Are these wedding-planning stereotypes true, though? As someone who is almost at the finish-line of planning a wedding, this topic is near and dear to my heart. Taking into account my (purely anecdotal) experiences, these are my opinions on wedding planning:
- This day is purely YOURS (and your partners). As such, you get to create a ceremony and reception that is reflective of your unique personality, and your love for your partner. This is a rare – maybe even once in a lifetime – opportunity!
- Some aspects of the planning process are fun! Personally, I loved designing invitations, doing menu and cake tastings, and going wedding dress shopping. Different people like different things, but if you and your partner are on the same page about wedding planning, parts of the process should be quite enjoyable. And the stressful parts of wedding planning can be a bonding experience for you and your partner!
- You might reconnect with old friends or extended family during the planning process. This depends on how many people you will invite to your wedding, and how close your family is…but my experience was that family-members I hadn’t talked to in years contacted me to congratulate me on my engagement, and offered to help in any way during the wedding planning.
- Yes, some people really will find a way to make YOUR wedding about themselves. Chances are, though, the people who bring more stress than support to your wedding planning process are probably not doing so intentionally. This doesn’t detract from the annoyingness – but keeping this in mind helped me not to take this difficult behavior personally.
- It is expensive. There is no getting around this. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is about $35,000, and depending on where you live, the average cost may be even higher than that. You can work around budget constraints by doing things yourself (DIY-ing it), but what you save in money you will pay for in time. My partner and I recently spent a full day designing, printing, and assembling handmade table-number signs; we saved a bit of money by doing this ourselves, but it was a lot of extra work. The more you DIY, the more money you potentially save, but the harder you will need to work and plan.
- There is a lot to keep track of. No matter how many budgets, spreadsheets, and to-do lists you make – the wedding planning process is still bound to be overwhelming at times. Having a master checklist can help with this, as can delegating tasks to people that you trust. Even still, there will be moments where it feels like you are drowning in wedding planning tasks. This is just part of the wedding planning process.
So is it worth it?
That really depends on how you weight each item in the pro/con list (side note: I firmly believe that pro/con lists must be weighted according to the values of the person making the list – more on that another time, perhaps). For my partner and me, the pro’s outweighed the con’s. But we were engaged for about seven months before we even started planning, because we weren’t immediately ready. I have noticed (anecdotally) that long engagements are becoming increasingly common. I wonder if this is to prepare logistically, financially, and emotionally for the stress of planning a modern wedding.
Have you planned a wedding? Do you know anyone who has? If so, what were your experiences like?