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Ask Team Practical: I Hate Wedding Planning


by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

Ask Team Practical: I Hate Wedding Planning | A Practical Wedding

So far, I hate being engaged.

I have always envisioned being the most relaxed wedding planner who has ever lived. I don’t care about details, I don’t care where the wedding happens, I don’t care about anything besides throwing a fun party for all of our friends and family, and at the end of the day, ending up married to the love of my life. I also care about staying within our budget of family contributions, because we just bought our dream house and money is tight.  

My fiancé wants the same things but, unlike me, he is unwilling to settle for “good enough” or “fine” or “in our budget, so let’s do it.” He wants to get married somewhere beautiful, because we are better than “good enough,” and has accused me (rightfully so), of just wanting to get the planning over with so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. I have accused him of having specific ideas and opinions for the wedding but not being willing to do any planning to see if those ideas are viable (like calling venues for pricing and capacity information). I have accused him of having unrealistic expectations for our wedding, and being uninformed about the actual cost of the ideas that he likes. I send him too many wedding-related emails that he doesn’t respond to, and he has recently told me that the only thing I talk to him about anymore is the f*cking wedding.

I HATE talking about the wedding. I don’t want to talk about the wedding. The wedding stresses me out. I cry about it regularly. So far, we have done nothing but fight about this day that’s supposed to be the jumping off point of our happy, loving, meaningful life together.

We both want a wedding. We love the idea of having all of our family and friends together to witness our love and joy. But, since the first steps (making a guest list, trying to find a venue) have been so hard and so stressful, I’m scared there won’t be any joy left to celebrate at the end of this process.

How can I make this process more relaxed and more joyful? What am I doing wrong? I’ve already said “F it” to all the b.s. that I don’t care about, but I feel like I may have gone too far to the other side and have ceased to care about anything that my fiancé still cares about (and that, in my heart, I care about too)—like a meaningful, beautiful space for our ceremony? We’re on the verge of eloping, but I’m scared we’ll regret that decision later—that it will be a quickie solution and we’ll end up married, but we’ll miss out on the wedding we wanted before we realized that we hate planning.

How do I make wedding planning more fun?

Please help!

Ah, dammit. I’m sorry, dear Anon. This is where I have to be the bearer of bad news. Sometimes wedding planning isn’t fun. There. I said it. That’s not altogether avoidable. Deciding who not to invite? Not fun. Determining how much cash to spend? Not fun. Mapping out a seating chart? REALLY not fun.

Luckily, beyond a few specifics, you get to pick and choose what other grueling work you do. It sounds like you’ve already decided on a budget—fabulous! Next up, guest list. Then, date (or at least time of year). Once you hammer out those major sticking points, you can really get into the nitty gritty. Or, not, if you choose not to. That’s really the next big decision: what are we going to do? (And, by default, not do?)

There are certain aspects to planning that you don’t need to spend a lot of time or energy worrying about. If you don’t want to bother with flowers, just don’t. If picking out music sounds daunting, plug in an iPod and leave it up to fate. All those pretty DIY wedding blogs con us into believing that making eight hundred tissue paper flowers is all so much fun! Make a party of it with your best friends! In fact, make the tissue paper by hand, too! But the people who write those blogs enjoy it not because it’s inherently fun, but because they’re type-A, DIY type people. They generally like planning and hostessing and spreadsheeting into the wee hours of the morning (I know, because I’m one of them). The fact that you’re not enjoying wedding planning doesn’t mean that you’re broken or you’re doing it wrong; it might just mean it’s not your bag. And that’s okay. If you’d rather not spend hours choosing the exact shade of sunshine yellow for your paper napkins, you don’t really need to. Your wedding will still be fine.

In fact, that’s just one more little sneaky lie we’ve been told—that everything needs to be “personalized” and “meaningful.” Don’t get me wrong—it does! But sometimes that meaning isn’t invested before the wedding. Sometimes it’s a result of the wedding. So, maybe you just pick some random restaurant that makes good food for cheap. Maybe it’s not the place where you had your first kiss or your first date or your proposal. That’s okay. Because from here on out, it’s the restaurant where you got MARRIED. That’s meaningful enough, wouldn’t you say? If part of your wedding planning stress is wrapped up in deciding on what’s most “meaningful,” take a breath and cut yourself some slack. Picking what you like and what fits the budget is work enough. And by default, whatever you both pick will, ta-da, represent you naturally.

So! Your homework assignment! Set a night with your fiancé to hammer out some details. Be clear that it’s a designated time to talk about wedding planning, so there’ll be no more naggy emails that are just ignored anyway. This is the chance to knock it all out so you can move on with life and, you know, enjoy one another. If your guy is still resistant, this is also your chance to be frank with him. He’s been sort of a butthead this far in planning, and you have my permission to tell him so. Well, maybe not in those words. But, you can tell him that 1) this is “our” wedding and requires the attention of us both, 2) this is important to me and I’d like for you to see it as important for that reason alone and lastly, 3) this is stressing me out, and I’d like for you to help relieve that stress, person-who-will-be-my-husband. Teamwork, respecting what one another finds important, and helping to lessen each other’s burdens are all important in marriage, so handling this issue now will set the tone for other things once you’re married (like choosing a cable provider or deciding who to invite to Thanksgiving dinner).

Before you get started, flip through the book and maybe pop over here. You’re not the first to wonder why this planning stuff isn’t more fun, and luckily, you don’t need to go it alone. Then, pick up a bottle of wine and a cute notebook, and have that night of knocking through those main decisions with your fiancé: budget, guest list, and date. Once you’re done that, decide what’s important and what maybe isn’t. If something is important to both of you—like choosing the venue, like you mentioned—divide up the tasks for that one job. “You call this many places, I’ll call this many.” If something is important to one person and not the other, that person can handle the calling and figuring and planning. If something isn’t important to either of you, easy. Drop it. “Do you care about favors? No? Me neither. Cut.”

If you realize you both don’t care to choose any specifics but really want a gorgeous day, an all-inclusive (like a hotel ballroom or historic mansion) or a wedding planner may be worth the cash. Like I said, even if you go this route, there may still be some tasks you need to do, but don’t want to. Your wedding planner can’t decide whether or not you’re inviting cousin Frank. But this, like so much else in marriage, is just a matter of teamwork. I hate dishes but don’t mind cooking, and the reverse goes for my husband. That makes it easy—I cook (or drive-thru Taco Bell), he cleans up after. But for certain jobs—changing poopy diapers, for example—surprisingly, neither of us is super enthused. That’s when we need to both suck it up and be adults and take turns doing the (literal) dirty work. Do the same with your wedding planning. Divide according to interest where possible, but when you get down to the truly icky bits, just bite the bullet and share responsibility.

Then, your next bit of homework. Leave the planning alone for awhile. Maybe you hate wedding planning in general, but it’s also possible that you just hate it right now. Things that we love to do can become almost painful when we feel pressured and stressed about doing them. Take a break, and maybe eventually you’ll get the itch to browse through Pinterest for centerpiece ideas. Once the pressure is off and your relationship isn’t strained, it might just become fun.

It’s not all bad news, dear. You mention how excited you are to share your wedding day with your loved ones. That’s the happy ending here. Bringing your friends and family together is worth all of the work of planning—whether you’re enjoying it or not.

*****

Team Practical, how have you managed to make wedding planning fun? Have any tips for involving your partner in knocking out the ickier tasks?

Photo by APW sponsor Jesse Holland Photography

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.  Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

 

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

    We did something similar to Liz — made lists of what we wanted to care about, and we didn’t worry about everything else. We also knew what was most important and least important.

    What also simplified our life was doing “good enough” versus searching for the “best.” We went with a reception venue that was mostly inclusive (restaurant ballroom with a bar that included linens and a lot of the decor). We looked at literally one venue, said “yup, we like it, and the price is right,” and we called it good. Same with a cake person and a florist. If we got a good feeling, we went with it. On the flip side, we did meet with several photographers. I got all squicky feelings and eventually justified flying out some good friends from half way across the country because they’re pros, and I trust them and their vision. Can you guess that photography is the most important detail for me? I used to be a photographer. The “good enough” worked really well for us. We didn’t compromise quality. We just didn’t force ourselves to meet with more than one vendor if we liked the first person we met and they were in our budget. Maybe there would have been a more awesome venue in town. Know what? I’ll never worry about it, because I liked the one we had, and I didn’t visit any others to obsess about comparison.

    We did favors only because I stumbled across something cute on etsy. We did partially assigned seating because I was lazy. Actually, our mothers did the assigning during the setup of the venue by just putting place cards of family members and friends at tables.

    Also, we didn’t follow this, but I like the advice I’ve read here before: pick a day or two a week that is the “no wedding day.” I’m guess you don’t live together, so take this night to go on a date and not talk a single bit about the wedding. Revel in all the things about each other that made you want to get married in the first place!

    • Jess

      This. We went with the first venue we visited, first DJ we talked to, only caterer we sampled at, and the first photographer we interviewed (that one was lucky – I was prepared to look at more, because, like Leah, photography was important to me).

      Made everything so much simpler. And everything turned out great!

    • moonitfractal

      Regarding the “best” versus “good enough” comment. I’m in my last week of wedding preparations and I’m still training myself to strive for “optimal” rather than “perfect.” “Optimal given the situation” has been a helpful way of thinking of things, especially things that can’t be changed this late in the game. So remember: whenever you start thinking about how a given detail should be ”perfect,” replace the word “perfect” with “optimal.”

      • carrie

        I put this up on my wall when I was planning my wedding:

        Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.

        • Becca

          Wow, I need that as the motto of my LIFE :)

    • MDBethann

      I wholeheartedly agree with Leah. We did have a few more venues to check out, but because of the budget we set for ourselves, we ruled out most places once we got prices (or menus) from them. We’re getting married in a week – ceremony is at a church and our reception is at a restaurant/microbrewery that takes care of everything but the cake for us, which is AWESOME. After doing some research, we met with 2 DJs and picked one. We looked at photographers online and ended up picking one recommended by a friend. We had several cake appointments set up over the course of 2 weekends, but we liked the first bakery soooo much we cancelled the rest of the appointments. Since we’re getting married in May, I’m using small potted flowers for our favors – I have to pick them up at the nursery, add the placecards and voila – favors that double as escort/placecards AND its something green that people can use.

      The great news about all of this? I started feeling my wedding zen 2 weeks before my wedding while at a rained out baseball game that was supposed to be my bachelorette. I am not worried or nervous about my wedding day, but I’m not. I may sing a different tune in 7 days, but right now, we’re both really happy with the choices we’ve made (and our families seem to be as well) and neither of us are stressed with only 7 days to go.

      For Anon, I hope once you make your decisions you get to enjoy just being engaged and together. We got all the decisions made in the first few months and then we really only thought or talked about the wedding sporadically until about February, when the invitations came in and things started to pick up steam.

      Good luck!

  • Amanda

    Early on in our wedding planning I was under the impression that wedding planning was supposed to be fun and romantic. It wasn’t (at least, not for us), and no number of emails or conversations was going to change that. Once I let go of the frustration and guilt about planning not being romantic, and started treating it more like a group project, things got better. We had scheduled meetings with goals and agendas, which sounds nothing like the picture of wedding planning I had in my head – but that picture of what wedding planning “should” have been like wasn’t working for us. There were days neither of us wanted to have those scheduled meetings, but we reminded each other that if we could cross X Task off the list today, not only could we move on to more fun things (wedding related or not) but we then didn’t have to think about it again. Wedding talk free days (or dates) helped a lot too.

  • Rachel

    Great advice, Liz.

    The part about all-inclusive venues or hiring a wedding planner was my first thought too. They’re not for everybody, but there’s situations where they make sense, and this could be one of them. Of course you’d want to find a sane, awesome, down-to-earth planner who isn’t going to stress you out more, but if you find the right fit, they could really make this whole process a lot more enjoyable. Most wedding planners charge a portion of your wedding budget as their fee (usually 10-15%) so in other words, they charge less for lower budget weddings (to a point, they usually have a minimum charge). That being said, if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money. Good planners can often save you money in other areas by finding you discounts and sourcing the best possible prices for you – but none of that matters if you simply don’t have the money, full stop. “Tight budget” is a relative term – to some people that means a $2000 budget, in which case a planner is probably out of the question, but to some people that means a $10-15K budget, in which case a planner is totally doable.

    And as for the all-inclusive venue – there’s a stereotype that these are always banquet halls or hotels, but in my part of the world at least, there’s lots of really cool, laid-back, fun venues that offer all-inclusive packages for reasonable rates, that do most of the work for you. It’s worth looking into to, at least. All-inclusive venues can seem more expensive at first, because you’re seeing all of the costs up front, but sometimes they do work out cheaper. We originally had our wedding booked at a ‘bare bones’ venue where you bring everything in yourself. The venue fee was fairly cheap, and we were able to bring in outside catering and booze, so it seemed like a great deal. However once we started adding everything up, it kept getting more and more expensive (tents, tables, chairs, linens, plates, glasses, utensils, sound system, etc, etc, etc) and more and more stressful. Then, a blessing in disguise hit, and we found out they’d double-booked us 4 months before our wedding (we’d been booked for almost a year). This left us scrambling to find another venue that was available on our date (many guests were flying in and already had their flights booked) in our small rural area. The only place that was available was all-inclusive, and although the pricing looks scary at first, with all the numbers crunched, it’s working out to be cheaper (and less stressful).

    Anyway, moral of the story, if you really hate planning, you have options that can get you out of most of it :)

    • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

      Even if you don’t have the money to hire someone to plan the whole thing, many planners offer a la carte services, where you can pick and choose places where you need help, or one-off consulting appointments, which could help significantly. But, it is very important to note that you don’t have to have a humongous budget to hire a planner.

    • http://medeamaterial.com Jules

      Seconding getting places that do most of the work for you. In our case, we thought about our favorite restaurant, but it wasn’t going to work out. Someone suggested a different option: breakfast service at a small boutique hotel and it turned out to be perfect for us: for the price of reasonably priced food they included most everything we needed to have a sit-down-breakfast, and it worked out perfectly because they also gave us a great price on rooms for out-of-town guests, and a 50% discount on a honeymoon suite for us… it was a great deal. Bed and Breakfasts and other small hotels might also do that for you, I guess the only limitation would be the number of guests. For our small morning wedding, it was just right and I didn’t have to make any annoying choices and decisions for things I didn’t really want to think about! (like linens and chairs and dishes and cutlery )

  • Harriet

    I was not a fan of wedding-planning (as Liz said, it’s just not my bag!), and neither was my fiance. We were lucky because we were both happy with a small and very simple wedding, and because certain big decisions fell into our laps (venue and photography were both provided by family). Once we had the guestlist, we made the following decisions: food, drinks, music. We divided them up and didn’t really discuss them. We weren’t even thinking about decorations of any kind until my mom saw a great deal on roses, and suggested we get a bunch for the tables. Seriously, that was it. Except for guestlist issues (which I think are unpleasant for almost everyone), it was a mostly stress-free experience.

    Word of caution if you take this approach: I think sometimes weddings are such a big experience precisely because people devote a lot of energy to planning. My wedding was a lovely day and I spent most of it over the moon, but I’ve definitely been to better parties. If you want the best party of your life, you may have to work harder.

  • http://somevagueutopia.blogspot.com Catherine

    It’s one thing if one partner’s easygoing and the other loves to organise. But in your situation he needs to let go of his assumption that you are responsible for the organisation and help out.

    Also, I think the current trend for a couple of years wedding planning (I did it too) is a big mistake. You don’t end up with a better celebration, you end up with more stressing time. My grandfather (a man! amazing!) organised my parent’s wedding in nine days. And it was awesome, or it looks it in the pictures. I’m not saying you need to book it for next wednesday, but there’s something to be said for doing it within a shorter time frame and then getting on with the fun stuff of living. Why prolong a process you dislike?

    • Maggie

      “Also, I think the current trend for a couple of years wedding planning (I did it too) is a big mistake.”

      This is an interesting point. I’m one of those planner, DIY-lover types, so I really enjoyed (most) of the process–but from engagement to wedding day, we only had 7 months total, which felt like PLENTY of time to me. Not sure I could’ve dealt with it dragging on for a full year or more.

      • One More Sara

        We got engaged this January and our wedding isn’t until Aug ’13. We already decided a lot of stuff (all-inclusive venue [cake! florist!]! photog! dj! [halfway done] invitations!). Being an ocean away from where our wedding will be, I don’t think I’ll be able to dive into crafts the same way I might if I were more local. As a result, it feels like time is c r a w l i n g by. I think I probably could’ve had the whole thing planned for this autumn, but then many of our loved ones wouldn’t have been able to make the trip, which is our #1 priority. So, wait we must. ::sigh::

      • carrie

        We were engaged for 13 months and I was unemployed for five of them, from months 3-7. Wanna guess how much wedding stuff I did? Practically nothing because of the timing (and the depression but mostly timing). We had to wait the 13 months b/c we got engaged in the summer and David’s a teacher so we didn’t want to get married during the school year. But I would recommend shorter engagements fo sho, if it’s logistically possible.

        • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

          Yeah. When all is said and done our engagement will have lasted 14 months. Too long, too long!

    • Nicole

      I AGREE. I think I would have gone insane if I was trying to force myself to make decisions that wouldn’t come to fruition for another year or two.

      We got engaged at the end of September and married January 7 – that’s three months and some change. It was hectic and we were busy, but the fact that the end was so clearly in sight was very motivational for me – I was able to get /excited/ about stuff, because it was so close.

      Ideally I probably would’ve liked another month (did you know wedding stores claim it takes THREE MONTHS to deliver a bridesmaid dress?), or at least a span of three months without holidays in the middle. But I think there was a lot to be said for the crunch. It brought excitement, I saw a clear endpoint, and it encouraged us to discard all but the things we really cared about and to take people up on their offers of help.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        Yes, we had around 3.5 months and it was great to do in an intense “season” and then it was over. (And I am a planner and a DIY-type and still feel that way…)

    • EM

      Catherine, I think this is very wise — and a good reminder that there’s always time to take a step back. One of my best friends had to re-plan her entire reception six weeks before the big day because of a natural disaster. And it was beautiful.

      There are a lot of great tips floating around here about specific ways to reduce planning stress, but it sounds like what Anon is describing is two people who love each other and are having difficulty communicating their expectations. What makes it especially difficult with wedding planning is that it just seems so absurd that Cousin Frank/Chair Covers/Favors are what are coming between you two. But the truth is, we’ve all been in that place of having trouble discussing expectations — even those elusive folks who had a happy magical time during the whole planning process have been in that place. And, obviously, it’s not about Cousin Frank!

      So Anon, when you’re done with your break and you’re ready to tackle this again, even more than pounding out the guest list, maybe it would help to return to the values talk and to discuss — in generalities — what you both want the *process* to be like. If you can come up with a nugget to encapsulate that conversation, then you’ve got a kind of shorthand for it later on if you bump into some of these same challenges again.

      • Another Meg

        “…maybe it would help to return to the values talk and to discuss — in generalities — what you both want the *process* to be like.”

        COMPLETELY. The wedding is one thing, but it very much helped us to discuss *how* we wanted to plan it. We talked about how we’ll handle stressful decisions, and we even have a plan B in case it gets too stressful. (Which might now work for everyone- we’re both ok with running off to a courthouse if I’m freaking out.)

        • Lana

          I’d just like to agree with Em and Another Meg about deciding on the experience of planning. My first two months of planning were hell. I jumped in the deep end, head first even though it wasn’t my thing. I immersed myself in the planning since I’m the bride…that’s what I’m supposed to do (and like it), right? Wrong. Cut to me crying on the bathroom floor because I felt I was failing and that I was a bad bride. After that, I decided a couple things:

          1. He wants to be involved and WE are going to need to make decisions. There is no point in me going it alone and getting worked up/overwhelmed ahead of time about picking out save the dates, for example.
          2. Once a decision is made, we’re done with it.
          3. I went on a wedding porn diet. I deleted all my bookmarks for invitations and flowers and place settings and every other thing. When it comes time, we start from scratch, instead of having me search and dwell on things for months (and months and months) needlessly.
          4. I’m ok with being a bad bride. For real. Judge me if you dare.

          Also, a year is too long to plan a wedding. My mom asked me for weekly planning updates. Last week I told her we confirmed the ceremony time. About a month and a half ago I told her I bought shoes. Ooo wow wow. So much excitement is happening I can barely contain myself…

    • http://www.breakingdownthebank.blogspot.com EmilyEF

      On timing – YES YES YES! When we got engaged, we asked the planning commission “do you want to stress about this for 2 years or 9 months?” Guess what? No one wanted to stress about it for 2 years. Also, giving yourself less time limits your options. If you’re picky, that might be a bad thing. For me, I’d rather choose the best of 2 available venues than agonize over 20 options any day of the week.

    • http://pinterest.com/lildutchgrrl/wedding-style/ Remy

      I am a compulsive planner type, and I liked the long engagement. She officially popped the question in June 2011, and we set a date in October 2012. I COULD have planned and executed the whole shebang by October 2011, but tacking on the extra year gave us time to save up (avoiding debt is a big thing for us). And, hey, the venue’s fallen through a couple of times, and it SUCKED to have to rethink the logistics — we’ve gone from 5 hours at a city park facility with commercial kitchen and icky bathrooms to a charming preschool/private home backing up to a forest to a suburban home garden with detached cottage where we will stay over the night before and prepare food for the reception ourselves — but the extra time kept me from freaking out.

      Murphy will happen. I choose to thwart him by scheduling ahead as much as possible, and rolling with the last-minute stuff. :)

      • H

        Another long engagement here- we got engaged October of 2012 and are getting married in May of 2013. LONG TIME. But worth it- because we were able to take time to settle into planning. We’re both pretty Type A, and I am very crafty, but we needed time to wrap our heads around what we wanted and how to make it happen. We also really needed to save for a big wedding (over 200) because we have huge families and we want all of our loved ones there.

        Having extra time has given me some headaches (ie, I wanted to get our hotel figured out three months ago but no one would give me information so early), but having it has also been way more beneficial than I expected. So far I’ve managed to remain very calm and enjoy *most* of it. And of course, the meltdowns I’ve had regarding wedding planning have actually been more about other, more emotional things than the thing I thought I was stressing about. Having a long engagement has given me time to let it all really sink in (and I didn’t think I needed it, because we’ve been together for six years, but I DID!). And I’m still over a year out. I have a feeling by next January, I will be wishing for time to go faster. But for now? I’ll take it.

        Also-ask people for help on the stuff you really don’t want to do. We want our registry to be small, but do want to have one. And the idea of doing research to find the best knives for us made me cringe. So my bridesmaid, who loves that kind of research, did it for me. I told her what I wanted and what function it needed, and she did the legwork and told me what to go with. Such a huge relief.

  • http://www.madeinmorningside.blogspot.com Ashleigh

    OMG tell me about it, we are just at the start of wedding planning and it’s not nearly as fun as I was expecting – and I love to organise! We just cannot find a venue that we like, and anything we do like is booked up years in advance. I think the decision making process is going to be stressful as that’s not something I am good at. Good luck Anon :-)

    • Lana

      Once you get over the hump of who, when, and where, everything else is gravy though. You only need to deal with it if you want to. Or at least that’s how it’s been for us.

  • Kimberly

    I am hating wedding planning, too, so I feel the pain you are going through, Anon! My parents are divorced and every venue or dream I had was crushed early on. So I did the best thing possible for me: I GAVE UP. I still cared about the wedding, but I gave up trying to have it be something it can’t. IT WAS HARD. I’m one of those people that dreamed about my wedding as a young girl and have a fairly set idea of what my wedding would be for many, many years–in fact, I’d joke with my friends that all I needed to complete the picture was the groom: “Insert Groom Here.” The funny thing about all that is that I never took my groom into much consideration. I didn’t think he’d want to be a part of planning (guys hate this stuff, right WIC?) or care much about how it all turned out. So when I hit wall after wall, I decided it was time to give up. I still cared about marrying my guy, but I wasn’t going to stress any details. I was going with the flow.
    Best. Decision. Ever. I had regrets at first, but as the wedding day approaches, I am so relaxed. I thought originally that I’d have so much time to plan and work on the wedding, but it’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve done any of the detail work. Letting go of a dream can be hard (so be gentle with your WIC-fed fiance), but it opens the doors to new and wonderful dreams that you build together!

  • SW

    Excellent advice as always, Liz. Hugs to Anon.

    For us it helped only to think about one thing at a time and to have at least a few weeks to make each decision. First, budget. Then, guest list. Then, venue. Then, photographer. That way I never (well, rarely) gor overwhelmed thinking all at once of the dress/celebrant/stationery/flowers/transport/wine/etc. At any time we only had one thing to think about and one decision to make.

    • Nicole

      This is great advice. Even if you don’t take a few weeks with each decision, focus on doing one thing (or maybe two if you’re really adventurous), then marking it off, and don’t worry about any of the rest of it til its time comes. Don’t let yourself get buried under the mound. Don’t worry about favors and flowers until you have your guest list and invitations.

      You might be surprised at the number of things that flow better that way, too – our invitations led to our centerpieces led to our church décor led to our program, and in the end it looked like we planned out a whole theme – but we didn’t. We just found some invitations we liked. And it just kept flowing.

    • efletch

      YES! I really thought that I would like wedding planning, but I very quickly became overwhelmed and stressed out. My new plan of attack is one thing at a time. This has really made life so much easier!
      When I get upset or frustrated and think about eloping, I keep in my mind how much I want my friends and family with us on that day. Instead of picturing the perfect venue, or dress, flowers, whatever I picture their happy faces in my mind and that reminds me of why I am going through all this work and stress.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Well, for us, one-at-a-time was great in theory. January – caterer. Except we still haven’t signed a catering contract. First my fiance had religious obligations. Then I had professional obligations.

  • http://www.the-briefness.blogspot.com Rachelle

    You need an all-inclusive venue. We had a limited budget so we opted to have our wedding on a Sunday afternoon because it meant (1) cheaper package and (2) availability 6 months away. It was the only thing that kept me from going crazy with wedding planning because at that point, everything left to do was optional. Even if I did nothing else except send the invitations, the wedding would have been good because everything was included and planned out by the venue. I highly recommend seeing if you can do a Friday or Sunday wedding at an all-inclusive.

    That being said, it sounds like there are some serious communication issues happening between you and your fiance. He ignores your emails? The ones that are trying to involve him in the process of planning *his* wedding, the one that he clearly has strong opinions about? That is not cool. He needs to get on board with the planning train, like, yesterday. It’s not your job to plan everything for him.

  • Sandy

    Don’t jeopardize your relationship for a party.
    Go to the courthouse or equivalent and get married.
    Invite your friends and families for a day/night of fun; go bowling, roller skating, go to a few clubs, go out to eat at your favorite restaurant or have a backyard potluck.
    I planned my wedding for approximately 3 days before I was completely stressed about all of the crap I don’t care about and was sidelined by a migraine. I stopped planning my wedding.
    I am getting married by a Justice of the Peace this summer with only our parents as witnesses. Afterward, we are planning (sort of!) a week of fun with family and friends. (Dinners out, museum trips, etc.). It has totally eliminated the stress for me.

    • Jo

      This is a great suggestion, and I SO wish I could follow it.
      Any recommendations for someone whose family and closest friends live plane-flight-distances away? It’s very hard to casually celebrate with people who can’t just casually hop on over. It’s what I dream of though.

  • Laura M

    Well I’m not hating wedding planning, but I’ve got a similar dynamic going on with my other half. I had been reading (mmh… devouring?) wedding blogs for about a year before he proposed (woo for pre-engagements) so once it was official I could rush off and actually talk to vendors and go to fairs. But for him, it’s all new and bewildering. He has opinions, but doesn’t really appreciate all the options out there. In fact he has vetoed some of my ideas. Now that has really thrown a spanner in the loop!

    Our typical decision making process is that he comes up with lots and lots of ideas, I veto, edit and tweak. This role reversal is tricky: he doesn’t have the ideas yet, but hates me nagging to go and look for them. I hate him vetoing my ideas, especially without a decent alternative.

    There’s plenty of things we do agree on, so we will get there eventually, but yeah, it’s tough.

  • http://minnesota-chic.com PA

    That sucks so much, doesn’t it – when you hate hate HATE something, and then you get accused of being obsessed with it. And you want to burst into tears and go, “I’m just trying to get it done and out of the way!” It feels incredibly unfair.

    One of the most stressful parts of this year for me has been people thinking that they know how I should feel. I really internalize that, and if I’m not careful I end up feeling like a failure. I think Amanda hit the nail on the head when she said that it was better once she stopped expecting it to be cuddly and romantic.

    I think Liz is perfectly correct that you need to get this DONE so it’s not hanging over you. As an outside question, have you considered eloping and then having a group wedding? I know it may not be your fiance’s cup of tea, but one thing it might do is take some of the pressure off the wedding planning: “We’re already married, and this is now more of just a party.”

    Good luck, Anon!

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      Ugh, YES to your opening paragraph. Seriously, I am curling into a ball of frustration just thinking about it.

  • granola

    It seems like the big issue in this case is difficulty dividing and conquering. You have more information, but your fiance has more strong ideas. It may be that if you can lay it all out, he’ll adjust his expectations on his own. The fact that you’ve jointly agreed on a budget and hopefully aren’t going into debt to achieve it is a good sign. Creativity comes from constraints, not limitless possibilities. When you can dispassionately discuss the constraints, then it’s often easier to say that X venue is worth/not worth the expense, etc.

    Also, i too got hit with the “all we talk about is the wedding” line. and it really hurt. I think sometimes it’s just a panicked reaction as the weight of everything settles in. Which is no excuse to take it out on you, but does mean that you should confidently take a deep breath and let go of the worry that you’re a bridezilla, because you’re not. You both will find the balance between getting things done and having a life. That being said, not everything needs to be done Right. Now. So it’s ok if you wait a week becuase you want to go out and celebrate.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      Or take a day off every week from (or just take one day to do) wedding planning. We had No Wedding Wednesdays. Not a wedding-related word could be uttered that day, every week, so we could just be normal people for 5 minutes together. It saved us many times.

      Also, the way I work is I don’t want to have to explain all the options to someone because I’m afraid they’ll pick it apart. But presumably the person you’re marrying is someone who respects your opinions. SO laying it all out is likely to be fruitful – everyone then can work from the same information. And if he’s not being good at listening to those options while you lay it out, remind him that the whole idea here is to work together, respectfully, yada yada.

      I think the best thing you can do to regroup on how to proceed together is to sit down the fiance and find out what “beautiful” means to him. Do the wedding visioning process thing where you really articulate what you’re wanting the day to reflect. Not just one word, lots of words. Images. Etc. Then it makes the decisions (and needed creativity when budget options are few and far between) simpler as you check back in with those initial values. For us, it was wanting to create the feeling we had when we got engaged. So we wove that through in big and small ways, and when we had to be creative (read: cheap), we could at least do it in a way that had some sort of meaningful touch so it felt personal.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        This is good advice about defining what beautiful means.

        At some point my husband said I was talking too much about wedding stuff, so basically he ended up telling me which areas he was particularly interested in and wanted to be involved with. For everything else he had no opinion about, he was fine with me doing the research and then choosing 2 or 3 options that I thought were good. Then we talked only about those couple options and made a decision together.

  • Chris B

    Oh man, I’m sorry. I want to give you a big hug. I could almost have written this 9 months ago. One thing that I did that helped was to assign things I (and fiance) did not care about at all to (responsible!) family members who wanted to help. My dad pre-scouted venues and chose the song for the father-daughter/mother-son dance, my sisters picked out their own bridesmaid outfits with no input from me, my mom planned the decorating, and my future-sister-in-law made the guestbook. You may not be able to (or want to) assign choosing a venue to someone else, but the small stuff can be delegated and crossed off your to-do list. Bonus: people will do a good job, because it’s your wedding and they love you, and they will be excited to have a role and help out.

    One thing we should have done but did not do was to discuss beforehand, in great detail, not just “I’ll make a to-do list, and then we’ll do it together”, how we both wanted to do the planning. I had this idea that I would email him an excel list of to-do items, we would divide it up fairly, I would knock some tasks out, and he would knock some tasks out, and we would high-five at the end of the day. He had this idea that I would say, “Ok, today we look at venues. Here is your computer, here is mine next to it. Let’s both start with a Google search of ‘restaurant wedding Ourtown’ ,” and later, “Ok, today we will visit together the venues we chose from the internet last weekend and discuss them together.” Although his way does assume it’s my job to say, “Ok, this is what we’re doing,” at each step, which annoys me, like, a lot, it is also very sweet that he really wanted us to work side-by-side on the whole thing. Although my way is awesome and efficient, and the way I generally get shit done, it didn’t work for him because he didn’t want to make such big, important, high-stress decisions on his own.

    I really think that if we had brought these very-different-visions of planning out of our heads and talked them over, we could have compromised and had a MUCH better planning experience. We really didn’t, and although our wedding was joyful, the planning of it was awful. The bright side, though, is that now we both KNOW we have such different planning styles, and I’m confident that in the future we will be quicker to talk through our plans-to-plan, and find a workable compromise.

    My advice is to set aside making the actual wedding plans for a night, and talk about HOW each of you wants to make the plans. Maybe if you each get your plans-to-plan out on the table, you can find a way that works for you both. I wish you the best of luck!

    • Karen

      I totally agree with this. You have to decide HOW you’re going to make decisions. That’s where the real kicker is in this. This sounds very emotinally draining. You need to get on the same page regarding communication styles and decision making. Wedding planning is a joint project and both people need to feel like they are listened to and heard. Hang in there!

    • Christy

      This is exactly the issue my fiance and I have run into. I’m very organized and efficient and have multiple spreadsheets because even though our wedding will be pretty simple, because we’ve got a pretty DIY venue, there’s a lot of details – especially since we are on a tight budget, and neither of us has any family that is available to help in this part of the process.

      Because this is what works for me, I envisioned the process being: “Here’s the list, I do my thing, you do your thing, go!” This did not work AT ALL, and I was doing the vast majority of the work. (Why I thought that he would gladly volunteer to look at spreadsheets, I do not know – he’s very spontaneous, fun, and affectionate – but NOT organized and NOT a planner.) It wasn’t until I had a massive crying meltdown about how much I hated planning the wedding and just wanted the damn thing to be over already that we figured out how to work together better.

      I realized that, if I want him to be involved, we will have to work on stuff together at designated time periods, with me being the one to set priorities and deadlines – which isn’t as efficient, but unless I want to feel like I’m doing the whole thing myself, that’s how it needs to be.

      In retrospect, this process would have been a lot easier if we’d talked about how we wanted to plan upfront. Thank god our engagement is only six months – if I had to do wedding planning for longer than that, my head would explode.

      • Chris B

        Christy, are you sure you’re not me???

    • DKR

      Definitely have the planning-to-plan talk; sort out how each of you plan and how to combine those planning styles to get the wedding planned. When my fiancé and I had that conversation, he said he wanted to be the “tie-breaker vote”: rather than give him a long list of choices, he wanted me to go to him with three or four options and we’d narrow it down together. I can handle that; I want a wedding and he just wants to tie the knot, so it’s fair. So far it’s working (the wedding isn’t till Dec 2012).

  • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

    Oh, Anon, all my hugs today are for you. I could have written this part:

    “I HATE talking about the wedding. I don’t want to talk about the wedding. The wedding stresses me out. I cry about it regularly.”

    I hate talking about my wedding. In fact, the wedding topic I talk most about is how much I hate talking about my wedding. It sucks. I, too, have found no joy in the planning process (despite being a type-A super crafty, DIY, born-hostess person! Somehow, none of that matters in my wedding planning process, and I feel sort of like Eloise? I feel like I am stamping my feet a lot saying, “I AM A CITY CHILD. I LIVE AT THE PLAZA.” Ok, not really. But who doesn’t love a Kay Thompson reference?).

    The thing I cannot agree enough with is Liz’s advice to schedule wedding talks. Schedule that shit, honey. You and your intended just pull out your calendars and you make Wedding Talk dates and you stick to ‘em. That is the only, only, only thing that has worked for us. And it was a rocky start, for sure, but the beauty of it? All of that time, all those other days that are not Wedding Talk days? Are so FREEING. And then when one of the Wedding Talk days does show up, we are productive as hell because neither one of us wants to schedule more of those than we absolutely have to.

    It’s a fine line to straddle between caring too much and not caring enough, and it only gets harder when you throw a tight budget into the mix. Get Meg’s book. Make some ultra big, no restrictions, dream wedding lists, and then work backward. Find a way to translate those thoughts and ideas and moments of meaning and beauty into something that exists with in your budget without losing that FEELING. And read a lot of the wedding grad posts here, and know that when you finally let it all go it will be enough.

    • Nicole

      Yes yes yes yes! And if you find Wedding Talk encroaching on non-Wedding Talk days, be sure you set aside time that is Wedding-free. Go on a date, sit around in your PJs watching movies, play video games, whatever – just do it wedding free so you both remember why you’re getting married.

      I was so caught up in all the stuff I had to get done NOW NOW NOW that I was really guilty of being all-wedding all the time. My husband had to ask me for days when we didn’t do any wedding stuff, and he was right – and those days were awesome.

    • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

      Coming up on three weeks to the wedding, we took a trip to DC (work trip for me, he tagged along, and we extended it over the weekend) and made it a wedding-free zone. If one of us thought of something wedding related, we asked (“Can I talk about something wedding related?”), and then either person had permission to say, “Ok, enough for now.”

      It was amazing. We did get some things done, but in very short bursts. I can only imagine if we’d had wedding-designated and wedding-free zones during the year+ of our planning! It just gets SO all-encompassing and life-eating.

  • Allison

    I’m knitter and sewer and a general crafty person, but my dirty secret is that I absolutely hate wedding DIY. There is just way too much pressure to make it all perfect. I’d rather find a cheap way to buy stuff than spend ages assembling little tissue flowers with my friends. Screw it, I just want people to do stuff for me on that day, and if I can’t afford to have it done and nobody will volunteer to do it, it’s just not happening.

    My other dirty secret is that really the only things I care much about re: the wedding are my dress, his suit, and the cake. The decor, flowers, guest list…I can flex on all of that. I just want a kickass dress, delicious cake and to get married. I suppose this makes me not a very good bride according to some people’s standards, but I just don’t care.

    As far as advice, I say delegate everything you can, preferably to someone who cares about that particular thing. If your mom (like mine) is obsessed with the idea of personalized napkins, that’s her job. If your fiance is totally into the idea of lots of flowers, then he has to coordinate with the florist. Just because you’re the bride doesn’t mean it has to all fall on you to meet others’ expectations.

    • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

      It’s funny you say that. I’m a writer but wanted nothing to do with writing vows or anything about the ceremony. Too much pressure to deliver perfection.

      • Allison

        I’m also a writer in my professional life, but I do not want to write my own vows. People’s expectations will be unreasonably high, I feel.

  • carrie

    Liz, this is fantastic advice, as usual. To Anon, my first thought after reading was, “oh, honey. Hire a planner.” But that’s not the way for everyone (and I didn’t do it), of course. My next thought was to go through the APW book, especially the exercise of what your wedding looks like in your heads and the anti-to-do lists.

    Good luck!

  • http://redandtheengineer.blogspot.com Elle Marie

    One thing that helped in my initial planning was, after we had a set guest list (and therefore a number that our venue needed to accommodate) and a time of year (we wanted December), I gave my fiance the task of contacting venues to get actual prices. I did the initial searching and gave him a set of questions, i.e., “Our budget is $X for food + any rental fees. What do you offer that can work with that pricing?” “Do we have to do catering through you or through approved vendors?” “Can the catering provide vegan options?” (these were questions that were important to us, obviously every couple will have different ones!). It gave him a sense of ownership to that part of the process and made him face the cold, hard numbers right from the start. It also kept me from having to deal with nasty venue representatives who scoffed at our budget (which is NOT a super-low number, either!), because I would just get too upset if I were dealing with that directly. And, in the end, we found a venue that is happy to work with our budget and is GORGEOUS. Since our venue does the food and alcohol in-house, they have an on-site coordinator who takes care of all of those details… Which helps me sleep at night.
    One thing I found super-helpful was that I do event-planning for part of my job and had a better idea of what reasonable catering costs were for our area, so I had NO problem telling venues that a minimum of $90 per person was absurd. If you don’t have that kind of information easily at hand, as friends and family who live in the area if they have had good/bad experiences with events (birthday parties, anniversary parties, family reunions, work functions) that were catered and what the cost was (roughly) per person.

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    I think ‘wedding planning is not always fun’ is one of those secrets that are true for many people but never get talked about. You know, like ‘therapy is OK, and lots of people go and benefit from it,’ and ‘sex is challenging for many couples.’ I hated planning my wedding, but I felt like I was alone because the only voices I heard were those of my friends who would go on and on about how much they LOVED planning their wedding and how they MISSED their wedding long after it was over. Lo and behold, plenty of people hate wedding planning.

    Here’s something to keep in mind, just in case it’s in the back of your head: hating wedding planning does not mean you will feel the same about the end result.

    I think the thing I’m most concerned about in your question, anon, is the animosity that seems to be present between you and your fiance. I think it’s important to work on that before worrying about wedding planning. See a therapist or just sit down and talk, but the way the two of you are communicating now very well could set the tone for your marriage. Once you and your fiance are on the same page, wedding planning may not seem like such a bear.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      Yes. The good news is, working OUT your communication now will also set the tone for your marriage. To be honest, I’m pretty sure every couple learns at least one major communication lesson because of their engagement. Which, to me, is kind of the point?

  • Molly

    We instituted a “no planning without wine” rule. It worked out great.

  • SarahToo

    At exactly the point where my fiancee and I were starting to go out of our minds with stress over the wedding planning (just weeks into the process!!) I stumbled across a post on planning a wedding in a blog called 2000 Dollar Wedding (www.2000dollarwedding.com/2008/07/from-conception-to-reception.html). This has been one of the most helpful things I’ve read. The author advises a “backwards planning” approach in which you begin by deciding what your core vision, values and objectives for the wedding are, then base all decisions on whether or not they support that vision.

    So my fiancee and I took a deep breath, stepped back from the crazy details we were getting sucked into, started fresh, and brainstormed the WHY of our wedding. We thought about the values we wanted the wedding to be based on (commitment, community, and celebration) and came up with goals that naturally grew from those values. Since then, our decision making has been a lot easier…we’ve been able to remind ourselves of our vision and values when planning started to get tough.

    Also, by working out our vision and values together at the beginning of the process, we made sure that we were in synch for the planning. Other things that have made planning much less stressful: working on things in manageable chunks (eg. no more than a few hours at a time) and taking breaks regularly. Also, lots of high-fives each time we achieve another step in our planning (like booking the venue, or mailing out the invitations). It’s important to celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small, and give kudos to each other for our contributions.

    • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

      I remember reading that post when I was planning my wedding in 2009 and it reaaaaally helped. Thank you for bringing it up again so newer couples can see it!!

    • http://pinterest.com/lildutchgrrl/wedding-style/ Remy

      My sweetie and I had the same planning session, and came out of it with a Google Doc called Mission Statement. When things get hectic, I refer back to it and remember that some of our core values (for the wedding as in life) are things like Sanity, Simplicity, Authenticity.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      Yes, this is what I was referring to above. I forgot where it came from!!

  • Nora

    YES on Liz’s advice. I didn’t like wedding planning. And I AM a type-A, paper flowers making type lady. For me, I didn’t actually like the “engaged” part, which made me that much more anxious. It felt as if we’d already said we want to spend forever together, so let’s start now! But here’s what I know: there ARE fun parts. Whether it’s riding the metro to buy a used wedding dress with one of your best friends, or making numerous types of test cake and using it as an excuse to have a get together, there are some nice pieces. But don’t feel bad for joining the chorus of people who didn’t like wedding planning. It’s a hoop. You jump through it. And having everyone standing there with you, if it’s something you want, is so. damn. cool.

  • Elle

    Yes! A Planner! I can’t imagine our planning without her.

    And if you hate talking about wedding planning when other people ask, I found these words to be magic: “we’re not sure yet, we’re just enjoying being engaged.” This worked wonderfully early on especially for people I didn’t have the emotional energy to delve into all the nitty gritty details with–like our office secretary. She means well, but I can’t break down in tears every time she asks about floral arrangements or colors.

  • Laura

    Wow. This is exactly the topic I needed today. I actually thought (grumbled) to myself as I clicked over to APW “the only thing I even want to read about is how much wedding planning SUCKS.” And here we are!

    I’m about forty-five days out from the wedding and I’ve reached a level of anxiety where I cannot think about it anymore. I start to and immediately my heart starts racing and I get really depressed, so I veer off and try to think about something, ANYTHING else. I just want it over. How do you deal with not caring anymore? The invitations are late, we have no photographer, we’re supposed to send our requirements to the volunteer dj, and I just can’t make myself care about any of it. I think I’m doing that thing where I’m trying to protect myself by distancing myself from the whole thing because deep down, I think it’s going to be a disaster. I’m at the point where I want us to just elope in secret before the wedding so I won’t always look back on our wedding as this terrible thing.

    To be clear, I love my fiance and we’ve been a united front through this whole process. He wanted a wedding, I didn’t. He’s apologized because he hates planning as much as I do; he just didn’t know that he would whereas I had a better idea of what we’d be getting ourselves into. Sadface.

    • katieprue

      Hello, parrallel universe self! We are in pretty much the same boat. I am fed up with planning a wedding that I never wanted. My fiance has also come to the realization that it sucks royally to plan that big family wedding that he wanted, but we are way too far into it to back out. Things have gone well in teeny-tiny little spurts (getting a dress, sending out invites even though they were late, etc. etc.) It just feels like the list keeps growing! It’s not as easy as saying, “Okay, cake from this bakery. Done.” People expect you to make decisions and shit. Ugh. I think I am suffering from a case of chronic over-decision-making. I keep thinking well, if I don’t choose something then we won’t have it even though I kind of want it and the wedding will suck, suck, suck! Sigh. Sorry that I don’t have anything to contribute really, other than letting you know you’re not alone!

    • Marina

      You know, if your wedding didn’t have a photographer or a DJ, it’d still be a totally awesome wedding. Because it would be your wedding.

      Sounds like you need a wedding vacation. Take a deep breath and take care of yourself.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I just wanted to reassure you that you have time to figure those details out. (Or decide to crowd-source photography or have a potluck reception or some other solutions .) We decided to DIY cater a dessert reception only a month before the wedding (when the caterer we were inquiring with finally gave us her price list and we realized it was more expensive than expected.) And we found a photographer about the same time. And it turned out just fine. :)

      Hang in there….

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    “But the people who write those blogs enjoy it not because it’s inherently fun, but because they’re type-A, DIY type people. They generally like planning and hostessing and spreadsheeting into the wee hours of the morning (I know, because I’m one of them).”

    Well put, Liz. ME TOO. I love crafting and am tooootally a list maker, so we had lots of DIT stuff and I had a zillion spreadsheets. But that is not the way for everyone, and that’s totally okay. This is one of my favorite ATP– especially since it is something I think a lot of people relate to but we don’t talk about very much!

  • Kristen

    I had a friend that only did her wedding planning one day of the week. Of course, there were a few calls that had to be made other days, but for the most part, Tuesdays were her day to make calls, visit venues, talk with her fiance, have coffee with her mom and hammer out details… Maybe a less extreme version of this would be to say X, Y, and Z are off-limits days for wedding planning each week. That way, it doesn’t consume your life.

    Hey – is it common to have a seating chart at weddings? I am from the midwest and I’ve been to about 15 weddings in the last 5 years and only 1 had a seating chart. All the others were wherever you wanted to sit. Our own wedding last fall was a BBQ with tables all over. Whenever I see seating chart ideas in wedding magazines, I want to cry. How is that even possible to make a seating chart with the high number of non-RSVPers? Is this common in other areas of the country????

    • Amy March

      Every wedding I’ve been to (NJ native) has had a seating chart, and people who don’t RSVP are called. No one just says nothing and shows up. So, yes, regional. Which is why planning a wedding where the community is from multiple locations can be so hard.

    • Jo

      Definitely regional/ different in different socio-economic demographics and also generations.

      I was incredibly frustrated when my mother insisted that assigned seating was a must-do (as in, if we don’t it’s a deal-breaker and we’re not getting her help and she’s going to forever hold it against me). In my world it’s not a vital aspect of a successful celebration and I’ve been to tons of successful events without it.

      This disagreement started a pivotal moment in planning for me. After that day we decided to cut back on the production and do a smaller family-only thing. And even more recently we’ve decided to put the whole thing on hold b/c these sorts of expectations and frustrations were making me and my partner miserable. I can relate to Anon. My partner and I, who rarely ever fight, have been together very happily for years, were finding ourselves fighting constantly about the wedding. We decided that one day wasn’t worth months of anger, frustration and misery. We’ll still probably do something to celebrate at some point, but for now we’re going to be more assertive about our Common Law status because it’s not the wedding that matters, it’s the marriage.

  • amysee

    So many thoughts! First off, Anon, I think your fiance’s feeling of “we are better than ‘good enough'” is really important and meaningful and should be explored. Like, there are lines you need to read between here. If I were you I would try gently to coax him to articulate what that really means. It might help you help him through this. A corollary to this (which others have mentioned) is that being truly aware of the strengths you both possess, and dividing tasks accordingly, will save you. I don’t answer my email either. :)

    Second, I haaaated the first parts of wedding planning. Loathed them. I have an event planning background so I felt like I knew exactly what to do and how to go about it. I just hated scouting for sites and caterers and resented my time being spent that way. My train of thought often traveled down these tracks: I used to get paid to do this sh*t! People should get paid to do this sh*t! We can’t possibly get this sh*t done unless we pay someone to do it! I quit!

    But now, we’re about 3 weeks out from the wedding and both my fiance and I are in the zone. I think what did it for me was culling our RSVPs and suddenly being able to envision what our venue will look like filled with those people we love so much. Sure, I’m pissed at myself for leaving a bunch of stupid crafts until the last minute, and I cannot believe we are spending so much gee dee money on a party, but I feel like everything we went through- planning hell, family drama, uncomfortable disagreements between the two of us- has been worth it. And the wedding hasn’t even happened yet!

    It sucks right now, but there are things along the way will lift you up. I promise.

    • EM

      Amysee, if you’re not a therapist of some kind irl, you definitely have a fallback career there. That first paragraph was SPOT. ON.

  • http://kirstenandjeremy.com Kirsten

    I found APW just a couple months before my fiancé proposed, and I was so excited to find a wedding blog full of practical ideas for wedding day-bliss. I told my soon-to-be fiancé that I’d found the perfect resource for planning and that I couldn’t wait to start coming up with amazing ideas for our day, whenever that ended up being. I had no idea that he’d be proposing on top of a mountain a few months later, but I knew that once we were ready to dive into wedding planning, I’d found *the* website that was going to make it all so easy.

    No disrespect to APW (it has been far and away my favorite wedding resource), but nothing can make wedding planning as fun and easy as everyone expects it should be, unless you’re the kind of person who happens to love planning events of this size and nature. I have actually been incredibly lucky during this planning process – I have a family that contributed money to the day, but has not made any demands of us in the planning, I have an incredible fiancé who has been willing to help me every step of the way, and we both have relatively small families, so creating a reasonable guest list was not difficult.

    And even without encountering many of the major hurdles that slow so many other couples down, wedding planning has not always been fun, and is certainly not easy. We did everything we were supposed to – created a budget, picked a date, made a guest count estimate, had a venue within a month – and hit the road armed with all the info we needed to really get things rolling, but there were still plenty of times I ended up stressed out (and maybe – okay, definitely – ended up crying).

    There are just too many options! For everything! I LOVE the internet, but having infinite options makes decision-making nearly impossible. Every decision I’d make was followed up by serious second-guessing, and third-guessing…until I was at the point I couldn’t even remember the idea I originally had. I picked my dress out early on and I loved it – lace sheath dress with keyhole back and so light I can dance in it all night! But as soon as I made that decision, I was inundated with ads and emails about new dresses and what people are wearing this season, and I felt like maybe I’d picked a dress too quickly – what if it was the wrong one? These were silly thoughts because I knew I loved my dress – that hadn’t changed just because there were other options. This is how the entire planning process has been for me.

    To avoid any misdirected blowups or total burnout, when I start feeling overwhelmed and completely overcome with decision exhaustion, I just look at Jeremy and say “okay, babe – we need a break from the wedding for a week or two”. He takes one look at me, sees the wrinkles in my forehead, and the tiredness in my eyes, and agrees immediately. We are both pretty aware when the planning process is taking a toll, and so we just step back for a little while, and come back refreshed. We also make a point to remind each other how awesome the day will be, and celebrate small victories with a high five or a slice of pie when we complete a task and get to cross it off our to-do list.

  • Teresa

    For us, what worked was deciding on a time frame and then me having a total meltdown! For our year or so of pre-engagement, we talked a lot about what we wanted our marriage to be like. We would be at our friends weddings and talk about what we didn’t really want at ours, but we never really talked a lot about what we did want. He knew I didn’t want a wedding and I knew he wanted one, or at least a big party with all of our friends and family. Once we finally got engaged, and decided we didn’t want to be engaged for a long time, the questions from well-meaning people started pouring in and I felt very resentful. I wasn’t the one who wanted this wedding and yet, no one is asking HIM about dates and colors and dresses and stuff! I am having to do all of this one my own! And so I cried and had a bit of a meltdown. Then I looked at him and said I feel resentful that I am doing all of this and I don’t even care about it. It pisses me off that people are asking me a thousand questions and you get a pat on the back for picking a pretty ring! From that moment on, his attitude became “I know that you are doing all this work because it is important to me to have a wedding and I want to help you as much as I can.” I am so glad I was honest and didn’t just let my cranky resentment build up. I went from rolling my eyes and being all “we need to talk about the wedding stuff,” to lots of high fiving b/c we were getting married! I needed a bit of an attitude adjustment and he needed to know how I felt.

  • http://www.yourbestweddingsupplies.com Sharon Ferris

    When I got married, many, many moons ago, it was such a hassle that I decided that I didn’t even want a wedding. I had been a bridesmaid 4 times and I was fed up with the whold wedding scene and costs for the people not getting married. I wanted to elope. However, my mother insisted that I have a wedding – it won’t be proper not to have a wedding. So we planned a very small wedding with just family (ended up with 45 – I have a rather large family) and it worked out fine. Not too much planning, but did everything that was expected.

    Then 3 years ago I saw my son and future daughter-in-law plan a $40,000 wedding. They used spreadsheets to cost out everything against the budget, etc. They took it all in stride and it was a beautiful and fun wedding.

    Part of the problem is that people feel they have to outdo their friend’s recent wedding and that causes all the stress because of a tug-of-war between budget and desires.

    My advice would be like the blog. Decide what you really want, not what you think others are expecting, and take it step by step (with a glass of wine as someone above suggested). Remember you don’t want the most beautiful wedding ever, you want to be almost stressfree, visit with friends and relatives, and have fun,. That’s how it will be memorable.

  • Kara

    My advice is to find one aspect you like & care about & do that soon. For me it was cake tasting. I set one up every time wedding planning was getting particularly annoying and found that after my tasting I never hated wedding planning as much

  • S.

    APW Team, you’re totally in my head right now. While our internet was down this morning, I sat and wrote something about having the wedding we want (in three weeks!, after two years engaged) but not the wedding planning we wanted.

    We’re usually a great team. But, for a variety of reasons, it rarely felt like we were working well on together. For two years of wedding planning, it felt like we were failing at a teambuilding exercise and that it would bode poorly for our future (we were, and it doesn’t). When I got upset it was about how we were planning and not what we were planning.

    Having talked things through, I know there are things we would both do differently if we were planning this wedding again, having had this experience. But I’m still not sure what we should have done differently the first time around.

  • http://www.breakingdownthebank.blogspot.com EmilyEF

    I had a slew of these same problems with my fiance, and I’ve found 2 things that really helped:
    1. Running our wedding like we would run a company. Fiance had all of these big, creative, elaborate ideas, and I kept having seizures over cost and “doability”. So we designated roles – he is the creative director and I am the CEO/CFO. This way, I feel more comfortable listening to his creative vision without visions dollar signs and late nights at the sewing machine dancing in my head and he doesn’t feel like I’m attacking him when I edit his wild dreams for practicality. We’re just both doing our jobs. Somehow, framing it this way makes us both check our emotions a bit.

    2. Bridezilla points – I know some people find this word offensive, this is just what we went with. I think you could also call them “Bridal Sanity Points”. The basic concept is that I started with a given number of points (we chose 10) and every time something comes up that I just cannot deal with anymore, I use a bridezilla point and someone (either fiance, mom, or bridal brigade) makes it go away. Either we ditch it altogether (like embroidered napkin favors) or someone else deals with it. A great example is our groomsmen’s attire. Finace was obsessed with mens clothing, and things got to the point where I literally could not hear ONE MORE WORD about it without screaming. I used a bridezilla point, never heard another word about it and we avoided some screaming.

    Good luck – you’re not alone!

    • Jashshea

      Love those ideas. More than just exactly’ing would possibly convey.

  • Karyn

    Man, do I hear you. I HATED the beginning stages of planning our wedding. I hated it SO MUCH that I had to stop planning my wedding.

    Because sometimes, that’s what it takes. When just thinking about planning your wedding makes your skin feel tight and your eye starts to twitch, it might be time to stop planning. Take a week or two, or even a month (like me). Put it in a box (real or metaphorical) and shove it under the bed.

    Everybody you talk to will tell you that wedding planning has to be SO MUCH FUN. They are liars. It sucks. It SUCKS to have to pick venues you love in theory, but in practice are run-down or too expensive or simply not available. It SUCKS to have to wade through the stupid Flash websites of 32 photographers before you find 3 (THREE!!!!) that you actually like. And it SUCKS when you ask the officiant you LOVED meeting if she’s available on your chosen day and they say, “No, I have a wedding out of town that day, so I can’t make it to yours too.”

    That is what happened to me, and so I needed to stop for a while. My fiance and I were fighting constantly (which we don’t usually do) because I was having a near-permanent anxiety attack over the whole stupid thing.

    So maybe what you need to do is sit down with your beloved and ask him if he’s okay with putting the whole thing in a box under the bed for a few weeks or so. Explain that you feel like you need to clear your head of all the wedding planning crap. Quit the blogs and the magazines (they only make you feel like you have to live up to the WICs standards – hint: YOU DON’T!), and put away your planning folders/binders. Take a week or a month and just be yourself with your fiance. If people ask how the planning’s going, be polite and tell them you’re not worrying about it right now. If they give you “the look,” ignore it (and them).

    Don’t feel like you fail at wedding planning. You don’t need the stress and the anxiety it can bring. Sometimes you really just need a break and that’s okay!

  • katieprue

    We are getting to the frustrated, end-of-our-ropes point of wedding planning, but what does make us feel better is to just get shit done. Hash out the communication issues with your fiance NOW. My fiance isn’t a big email-er, but he’s realized now that when I’ve sent him something he should probably at least acknowledge it at some point, say when we are together that evening. Once you figure out what the best method of communication is for you two, then you can start tackling things when you figure out what kind of wedding you really want. As much as I loathe planning the wedding, it’s a thrill every time something is knocked off the list.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    As soon as I say the title of this question my heart did a little leap.

    Because I, too, hate planning my wedding. I’m crafty, but I don’t want to try and make a million DIY things that I know will become stressful. And I just don’t think I’m a wedding person at all (I love weddings, but I really want or need a big fuss for mine) which makes planning even harder sometimes.

    I think you and your fiance really need to have a talk about what your planning roles are. Because it’s not fair for all the work to be on you, especially for things that he cares about but you don’t.

  • Alison

    I also hated wedding planning. I hated wedding planning so much that I told my fiance I wanted to elope, because like you, dear reader, I was crying constantly. However, my fiance knew that I didn’t want to elope and thus, we made a lot of lists (Must Have, Would Be Nice, Couldn’t Possibly Care Less, Definitely Don’t Want), got a binder (labeled on the front with DON’T PANIC, a la The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and talked about what my fiance wanted to be involved in (basically everything that wasn’t bridesmaid dress shopping or flowers) and how much we wanted our family involved (not very, because they are nuts).

    And since then, it’s been a lot more fun. It hasn’t been all fun (because talking about the budget never is), but it’s important and it’s given us a lot of time to communicate, talk about what’s important to us, and figure out how we work together as a team to achieve a common goal (getting married!).

    I feel as though there is a myth that wedding planning is SO JOYOUS because YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED! And yeah, that’s awesome. But between the “buy all the things!” mentality of the WIC, Pinterest trying to sell you on 485 things YOU MUST HAVE for a beautiful wedding, and the pressure of family and friends just “trying to give advice”, it can make you want to tear your hair out. I hope that we’ve all been able to band together as Team Practical and help you regain some wedding planning zen. I know that no matter what, your wedding will be awesome because it’s YOURS. Good luck!

  • Irene

    My concern in this was raised above , but to repeat as I think a lot of posters are sticking to the ‘I am always talking wedding’ point: your fiancee is a butthead. Sit him down and offer him a choice: if he wants to stay checked out and have things magically happen, he gets no say in being part of the spell-casting. If he wants to have a say and achieve his vision, he needs to step it up, maybe at a scheduled one day a week meeting.

    Otherwise? I’d be thinking DTMF, but that’s just me. This is a preview of how other stressful seasons in your lives will go. Two year old having tantrums? You’re it’s mother, fix it while he has a beer. 16 year old struggling in school? His parents need a nursing home? The idea that certain aspects of life are “women’s work” chaffs me to no end, and that’s what I’m reading in your letter.

    • Chris B

      I hear you, Irene. However, I do think we can all get blinders on when it comes to wedding planning. Since it’s something that (often) only happens once, both men and women – even otherwise thoughtful and feminist ones – can find themselves in brand-new situations, which can make it easy to fall back on sort of stereotypical gendered thinking. This absolutely happened to me and my fiance during wedding planning, and it doesn’t reflect how we handle the rest of our lives.

      • Sarah

        I “exactly”-ed you, Chris B. I wrote the question to APW (7 months ago! So much stress/anxiety has been relieved since then), and it really hurt to see someone suggest that I DTMF, referring to my wonderful, amazing, the-best-ever fiance!

        Since the time I’ve wrote into ATP for advice, he and I have dealt with pretty much all of our wedding planning “stuff” (knock on wood!). From his perspective, he and I have joked that he was sold a bill of goods, in that he’s been told his whole life that once he met a woman he wanted to marry, all he had to do was buy a ring and she’d take over from there. He thought (society/all his friends told him), that I’ve been dreaming about this day my whole life and that I’d have everything planned out and that he’d be lucky to get a word in edgewise in terms of planning. What he got was me- someone who had not spent one minute of her life envisioning her wedding, didn’t enjoy planning a wedding, and desperately wanted his input. It was tricky ground for us to navigate, but we got through it and we’ve been on the same page for a long time now.

        p.s. The APW community is the best- I’ve been stalking the comments all day long and I can’t get over how kind, wise, and hilarious you people are! I wish I could go back in time and read myself Liz’s, and everyone else’s, wonderful advice, and all of your wonderful and supportive comments. <3

        • EM

          Sarah, thanks for following up! I’ve always wondered what the time lag is for the Ask Team Practical Fridays…and now I know! Also, it is SO GOOD to hear that you’re on the other side of the rough stuff.

        • Chris B

          Glad to hear things have improved and you and your fiance have worked some things out! Yay!

    • Liz

      Yeah, I’m all for playing that “anti-feminist!!” card, but I don’t think that every guy who doesn’t immediately contribute to wedding planning is doing so because he’s expecting the womenfolk to handle it all in between making a casserole and changing a diaper.

      Some folks- male and female alike- don’t know how to begin planning any type of party. Others are procrastinators. Others don’t realize the timeline for wedding planning. There could be any number of reasons the emails are unanswered. (I’m really bad at answering emails in a timely way, important to me or not.)

      Regardless, whether or not to dump her fiance was NOT the question at hand and as Sarah illustrated below (above? I lose track of where comments will post…), it’s the sure way to offend the contributor. So, this line of conversation will not continue any further.

    • CBaker

      My fiance and I have definitely had that discussion (we only talk about the wedding). Sometimes your partner (or you!) needs a break, and I think it’s wonderful that he can honestly tell you what he needs (a break!). I didn’t get from the original post that he was unwilling to help plan or provide input…

      Wedding planning, and the way you and your partner communicate during, IS NOT THE END ALL OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP. The WIC has been telling me that if my fiance and I can’t plan this party in a joyful and agreeable manner, then we shouldn’t be married! (it’s not meant to be, my future husband doesn’t want to talk about veils…)

      I think that’s crap. You are obviously marrying this person for more than his joint-party-planning skills. In reality, unless you own a husband/wife party planning company, this particular frustration will not ruin your marriage.

      Congrats on your upcoming marriage, OP. Wedding planning will be over one day and you can continue to enjoy all the things that led you to spend your lives together. (and never plan another party together if you so choose).

  • Jashshea

    Did I blackout a few months ago and write this? Where do I start this comment? Imagine these are bullet pointed:

    My fiance is also of the mind that the party has to be better than good enough, but can’t articulate what that means. You know, other than a bespoke suit.

    No one ever talks to me about anything other than the wedding. I feel like I used to be fairly interesting and now I’m just a bride. I’m getting used to it.

    I nearly had to trick my Dad into giving me the budget. He wanted to “pay for all of it,” which is awesome. But we’re having nearly 300 people and food/booze cost tons of money. I told him that I was a grown woman that handled multi-million dollar projects for work, but that I needed to know pretty much exactly where our budget fell so that I could do my job. My wedding planning job.

    I also tried to speed-plan for a few months. We booked the 2nd of 2 venues that we visited (during our visit). I found a DJ online who allowed you to select every song yourself. When I tried to hire the 1st caterer we talked to, Fiance shut me down. I took some deep breaths. I finally got out that I didn’t think he fully understood my position – every meeting we go to represents several hours of research on my part – checking reviews, contacting the people, answering their initial qs, etc – and that I had a full time job already.

    So I made a two-columned list. You could call it the GAF/IDGAF list. GAF is woefully short – my outfit, food, booze, people, dancing, photogs. I told him to make his own GAF list, which ended up similar to mine (replace “my outfit” with “bespoke suit” obviously and remove dancing. Homeboy hates dancing.)

    I’ve pretty much appointed co-chairs of the wedding committee – Fiance’s Mom and a hired friendor to plan. I’m on the BOD of the Committee – I only show up when a check needs to be signed or a tie needs to be broken. When I interviewed the planner, I told her that I didn’t want coordination help. I wanted planning done for me on the things that fall on my IDGAF list. I’m lucky that a) I can afford to pay someone to GAF, b) Fiance Mom has great taste and WANTS to help out, c) that my parents want to and can afford to foot the bill.

    • http://www.thatbridesgotmoxie.com Renee

      YES. This exactly: “I nearly had to trick my Dad into giving me the budget. He wanted to “pay for all of it,” which is awesome. But we’re having nearly 300 people and food/booze cost tons of money. I told him that I was a grown woman that handled multi-million dollar projects for work, but that I needed to know pretty much exactly where our budget fell so that I could do my job. My wedding planning job.”

      We have only been engaged for 3 weeks, but I’m planning a Philly wedding from Los Angeles, and the ONLY think my Dad will say is, “Whatever you want, let’s just have a great party.” I’ve expressed to him how grateful we are for his generosity, but also, that line of thinking is VERY unhelpful. I don’t know that he knows how much this will cost. I know we need a for-real face to face meeting. He’s in CT. I’m working on it. From 3,000 miles away.

      So far, I’m hating wedding planing, especially long distance wedding planning. And, I LOVE planning and parties in real life. Or Xmas party this year had over 100 people and I catered it myself!

      I feel like my brain is melting….

      • Liz

        Sorry I’m not in blue today- I’m typing from a phone!

        I think it’s easy to get wrapped in guilt when parents foot the bill, but sometimes they’re spending money for themselves (in a sense). Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is to allow them to be generous to you.

        Of course, that doesn’t help with setting parameters for planning. So, I’d suggest you go with what’s “reasonable.” Figure out about-ish how much things should cost and decide from there. If you need help determining what’s reasonable for a Philly wedding, email me! (Philly native) once you start talking hard numbers with dad, maybe he’ll be more up-front with what he can or can’t manage. My guess is he just doesn’t know what things cost, so doesn’t have any idea how to set a budget that’s realistic and allows room for you to have fun.

      • Jashshea

        I had to do a face to face with dad. I opened my budget.xls (different from guestlist.xls and vendorcomp.xls) on my laptop and walked through it line by line – I had line items, plus low and high estimates (some totally made up, some from vendor meetings), I told him what I thought was important (GAF list) and he added Videography (which was on my “please god no” list). I showed him the numbers and asked where he was most comfortable. After an hour of that, he finally said “I have $XX in an account for this.” Birds sang, unicorns danced.

        Just kidding on that last part. Planning still sucks. I just found wiggle room in that budget for “neccesanities.”

  • Newtie

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat, but I wanted to say a similar thing happened with me & my fiance, in that I was Very Practical and thought “ok, let’s just find stuff in our budget and Get It Done,” and my fiance was the one with big dreams and specific ideas about what he wanted. At first, I was frustrated by this, too, but then I remembered he hasn’t had the “advantage” of thinking about his wedding, letting go of the fantasies that need to be let go of, and reading wedding blogs like this one that help you have a more practical approach.

    So we went on vacation, *right* when we got engaged. And I used this time to really pick his brain and find out what he really wanted. Then I started explaining how what he really wanted might not be what we could afford, and we would have to think about what was *most* important to us. And I talked about how I couldn’t make it all happen, but we could make it happen together, and I described how one goes about calling vendors, knowing what questions to ask, etc. We took time to grieve the things I knew he wanted but also know we really couldn’t afford (for him, it was a band – he wanted one, and I knew it just wouldn’t be possible if we also wanted to feed our guests). It was like I crammed everything I’d learned about weddings from my friends, from books, from this blog, etc, into one week of mental-wedding-bootcamp for my fiance. And he didn’t even think it was painful because we were sitting by the pool while this was happening.

    I let him have things that were important to him (he really wanted paper invites, when I thought electronic ones would be greener; he really wants a beautiful cake, when I thought a dessert table would be just as fun) AND I told him I had full confidence that he could make those things happen. Which, so far, he has. And it makes him so happy to have things like a fancy cake, that the practical part of me doesn’t even care that it means we skimped on other parts of our wedding.

    Basically my take-home message is that it helped a LOT when I realized he really *didn’t* know how this all worked, and that it wasn’t his fault. He’s a smart man, and he can learn. But I had to help him out if I wanted him to help me out. And I had to understand his “vision” first, so I could make sure both of us were working toward something that made us both happy, instead of trying to be responsible for everything. And it helped to make sure we were both on the same page early on, and to do that emotional work (of getting on the same page), at a time when we were also doing fun things. I don’t think you have to go on vacation to work things out, but even going out to go out to dinner or doing something fun *after* big wedding conversations can really help take any bitterness out of wedding planning.

    I hope things get easier for you, writer! Best of luck!

    • Chris B

      Wow, you sound so wise! I wish I read this comment a couple years ago!

  • Steph & B

    Anon, girlfriend, we be soul sisters. It felt like there were not even enough words to describe how much I hated the planning process. I had so many other things to do … and the wedding was. just. getting. in. the. effing. way. It came to the point where “wedding” pretty much became a swear word. The only thing I liked to talk about was how much I hated every freaking process of it.

    Eventually, I reached the point of no return. I remember looking up at my now husband, and thinking that the wedding was no longer something that was about us and about our love and joy. I was dreading it. Not because I was dreading getting married, but because I was dreading the whole process of the wedding day, and that was not fair to my husband at all.

    So there’s hating your wedding planning right now and hanging in there for the parts that really truly do end up being fun or bearable like Liz has said. But then there is HATING your wedding planning and quite honestly the entire wedding itself. And you should not have to feel that (and should most certainly not have to feel that alone). If you reach this point, my best advice is to sit down and talk with your fiance about it. Not about the wedding and sharing wedding responsibilities, but about the fact that you are not being hyperbolic or dramatic when you say that you hate everything about this process. Remind each other that the wedding is about your commitment. If this commitment has been taken over by planning and relatives and organization and decorations, then carve out another separate day for just the two of you. Sans all that wedding crap.

    My husband and I ended up having a civil ceremony two months before our “big” wedding in Montana. We still had our wedding too, but it wasn’t so big and bad anymore. I was already married. The wedding and the rest of the world could stuff it. And that attitude suddenly made it bearable, and, dare I say, enjoyable. I realize that this may not be the solution for everyone. But if you are truly in a position where you really do actually hate your wedding (not just parts of planning it), taking some time to reclaim your relationship and commitment from the wedding beast could be one of the best decisions you ever make (whether you do this through unofficial or official means). Sometimes the pressure of combining a celebration that shouts your joy from the rooftops with a sacred and intimate ceremony is just too much. It’s okay if you need to break them up a bit or claim a certain part of it for just the two of you — whether that means “eloping” beforehand, sharing and reading your vows with each other beforehand, or just holding hands and sitting quietly together. Sometime just doing something that cements and signifies your commitment to each other beforehand is all you need to make those spreadsheets and decisions more bearable.

    • Steph & B

      Oh and the feeling after the wedding ceremony, going in to the reception. The. Best. Feeling. In . The. Entire. World. that makes all of the pain in ass planning somewhat better. So there really is a giant cookie filled with chocolate gold waiting for you at the end of the finish line (along with your wonderful new husband). (The fact that we were already legally married at this point didn’t make our ceremony in front of our friends and family any less significant or emotional … B cried the entire time… and it didn’t dim the relief and joy afterwards)

  • tamara

    hmm. one other thing to throw out — do you have an insanely organized and creative friend that you guys (mutally) trust and love? designate someone to be your “Wedding Planner” who won’t cost a dime, and will help out becuase he/she just wants to & is able. this person would be like a third-party mediator for any disputes. So instead of you looking at your partner going, “yes, but how much does it cost?” this Friend Planner could ask that question & it might hit home in a way you asking did not. or this Friend Planner might be perfectl happy to call this World’s Best Venue on your guys’ behalf & ask the question….. i dunno. just help out & help remove some of the direct stress from your shoulders. you may not have someone like this, but if you DO……think about it!

    • Laurel

      Whoa, does anyone have a friend like that?

      • http://pinterest.com/lildutchgrrl/wedding-style/ Remy

        Yeah, but none of ‘em would do it for free! Either they do it professionally, and I wouldn’t take advantage of them, or they’re as flat-out busy as I am, and don’t need to add wedding planning on top of it.

        Do ask for help from the people you would normally ask for help. I’ve got some EXCELLENT members of the wedding party who are volunteering time to, y’know, taste cakes and try on dresses. Or make an iPod playlist with all the songs we’ve chosen. Or loan us multiple teapots and cupcake holders. They are AWESOME. But I would not put them in the position of wedding planner. (To be fair, my “clipboard holder” for the day of our wedding is providing her services as a gift, but I think that job’s in a different plane than “full event planner and relationship mediator”.)

      • Lturtle

        Um, I do. A committee of them in fact. I know I am super lucky. :)

  • Liz

    My fiance did EXACTLY the things you describe (being picky but absent, ignoring emails…), until we hit 6-months-out. I don’t think he was ready to be interested in more than the venue a year in advance like I was, and I don’t think he understood that my interest was “let’s get this done” and not “I love talking about reception music!”

    The good news is, he is now a wedding planning superstar and has taken so much pressure off of me.

    The bad news is, I still kind of wish these things had been done months ago, but maybe I just have to let the feeling of responsibility for every. last. thing. go.

    • Marina

      Yeah, this… My husband just did not get the idea that there was any point in doing anything more than a few months in advance. He got the idea pretty quick when the first two officiants we asked were already booked, though. But, you know, the officiant we ended up with was pretty awesome. It takes months and months of advance work to get your first choice, but hey, if he’s willing to spend the time going down the list asking 6 extra people because the first 5 are booked up, no skin off my nose.

      I did have some stickler things where I told him either he got them done by a certain date, or I would do the parts that were important to me and he would have no input. This resulted in, for example, several members of his family not getting their invitations until a month after my family got theirs, because he didn’t manage to get their addresses until then. But seriously, whatever! It wasn’t a big deal!

  • http://lucyguest.com youlovelucy

    I think that part of what really tripped me up in wedding planning is what ALWAYS trips me up in creative endeavors, and it’s this idea of “perfection.” That everything should be a certain way before you can actually start doing/making things.

    It’s not just that your wedding needs to be perfect, but that the timing of when you start should be perfect, you’ll have all your materials gathered and ready, you’ll have all that money (the perfect amount, of course) saved up in the bank waiting for you, and your family will suddenly be whole and happy and at peace with one another.

    Of course, that’s never the case, in anything, but it seems to me that we’re constantly sold this idea that the stars will align and suddenly everything will just work. So when it’s not, we get frustrated and dejected that this process isn’t living up to our expectations. I think it just stings even more when it’s something as personal as a wedding.

    For me, wedding planning became a little less stressful, and a little easier to bear, when I finally threw out all expectations and just started over. Bryan and I didn’t necessarily go by the APW book, but we took the massive list of to do items, copied it into Word, and started hacking it down to suit us. Once things looked a little more feasible (we deleted any reference to the number of places we *should* be going) we buckled down and started making decisions.

    And then, magically, we were planning a wedding! My friends tell me I look so put together and at ease, that I’m so organized and relaxed! In reality, I feel like a mess who’s going a million miles an hour. Reading Meg’s posts on entrepreneurship, I relaxed my notion of what I think success feels like. I am successfully planning a wedding. I don’t feel like it, but I know I am. Maybe it’s not perfect, but I’m an imperfect person, so that’s just fine with me.

  • Angie

    I also hated the beginning of steps of wedding planning. It is hard to see when you are stuck there – especially when you’re still trying figure out how to work with your fiance – but it will get better once the biggest and most stressful choices are made. But I also got a lot of comfort from emailing my friends who had already gotten married saying that I wasn’t enjoying the planning the process and hearing them say the same thing. It is hard and only parts of it will be fun. I’m glad that we can be honest about that on APW.

    I would suggest that you at least meet with a wedding planner. Just doing one meeting with a planner helped me discern what I was looking for and get some advice on how to find it. Then I ended up hiring that planner to do day-of-coordination as well.

  • Kathryn

    T minus 14 days to go! …and I think last night my fiance and I FINALLY got to a happy place where we could talk about what’s left to do without getting cranky. I guess that’s cold comfort – it gets better, but only right before the wedding? Ugh, sorry.
    For me, the problem is that when he came to me with his “wants” they represented more work for me in my head, because he was long-distance for most of our engagement and had not helped with much of anything so far. Also, he hadn’t been particularly helpful with things I asked him to do up to this point (which is weird for him, he’s super helpful normally). So he comes home (yay!), but he has opinions (what?!).
    Turns out I did what Liz suggested and it worked. For example, he wanted my Grandmother’s arrangement of Ave Maria printed complete with music in the program so that his family could join in, which would need to be transposed and re-arranged to take out the harmony, and shrunk, etc etc. This project made my head spin. I envisioned never getting the music from him in time (which he promised to fix), rushing to print the program… so we decided that he’s doing the whole program. I’m happy- I get to cross a big project off my list, and he gets his song and feels included on something that’s important to him. Delegating projects that your partner isn’t into won’t work though, you’ve got to find the projects that they are into. Good Luck!

  • Jordan

    Hugs to you, Anon! I could’ve written your question myself! My husband and I both hated wedding planning, we fought through most of it and wondered at times why we were even doing it–and my husband also had very specific ideas about what a wedding should look like and what he wanted, but didn’t realize how expensive his ideas were and/or wasn’t motivated to do the research or work to enact them, until finally, somehow, three weeks before the wedding it all clicked and he sprung into action (better late than never…but until then, I was one frustrated lady.)

    A big part of our problem is that a) we’re both hardcore procrastinators, and b) we wanted to elope, but our parents insisted we have a wedding, so we were angry and resentful the entire time we were planning a wedding we didn’t feel we needed or wanted. We were sure we were going to hate the entire thing and feel like it was a waste of time, money, and effort.

    That said, we had the wedding, and I was shocked to hear myself telling everyone “IT WAS SO WORTH IT!” and running around with a grin on my face from ear to ear, unable to be anything other than completely ecstatic that everyone was there and everything looked so pretty (and honestly, we didn’t put that much into it, and it was pouring down rain, I was just so dang happy that everything seemed to be dripping with joy and sparkles).

    So yeah, wedding planning sucks (for some of us) and I don’t have much advice as to how to get around that, because we never did get around it. But despite all the frustration, we gave ourselves permission to enjoy the hell out of our wedding day, and the fact that we did, made the pain of planning it all a thing of the past.

  • kathleen

    I’m the youngest of four, and in my family we weren’t allowed to discuss two things at the dinner table- college applications or wedding planning. And I’ve stuck to it- planning my wedding now, and no matter who I’m having dinner with (fiance, best friend, sister, parents), no wedding planning talk allowed. It is AWESOME.

  • Class of 1980

    He cares about the location and you don’t, but you can’t move forward with plans until you have a location.

    Tell your fiance it’s his job to find the location and that you can’t go forward until then. Stop driving yourself crazy with the one job you don’t want.

    The ball will be in his court and I’ll wager he is up to it.

  • Christy

    I adore this post. It easily could have been me, 12 months ago.

    First, for what it’s worth, I found the beginning stages, the pre-venue stages, to be the most challenging. You really can’t do ANYTHING until you know where you’re having it, and it was exhausting to try to figure that part out. I found that once I had that one constraint in place, I could plan everything else around it. At the unconstrained and amorphous phase, the wedding seemed like a nightmare to me with literally infinite possible permutations of every possible decision. Once you have the venue, that puts constraints on the catering options. Once you have the venue, you start to get an idea about the dress. Once you have the venue, the type of music you want will be clearer. It just gets much easier after that. At least it did for me.

    Second, I so relate to that feeling of, “oh, he wants this or that to be a certain way and has no idea how much time and/or money that is going to take and how many things that is going to add to my to-do list.”

    At the beginning stages of planning (three weeks away now), I was all, “Meh, if you insist, we can have a wedding, but it is going to be a laid-back wedding,” and he was all, “Yes! Laid back! I love it. Let’s rent a house on the beach for a week and we can set up croquet on the lawn and beach volley ball, and we can have badminton and eat cake, maybe we’ll have a clambake! Then when the sun goes down, we can toast marshmallows and a whole bunch of people can stay in the house.”

    I agreed that it was all lovely and Ralph Laurenish and I could totally see it for someone who had a staff who could just make it all happen. And for someone who had the money for the beach house. And all tables, chairs, catering stuff, porta-johns, tent, etc. etc. etc. And the time to find a rental on the beach whose owners didn’t care that we wanted to pitch a tent on their lawn and invite a hundred people over. I was just starting to get wound up and resentful at the thought of running around like a maniac on the morning of my wedding, getting sunburned while trying to follow a croquet wicket chart, hosting a wedding we could ill-afford, when I just had to level with him about the amount of money and time it would take to create his vision.

    The way we came to resolution was that I started listening very carefully to his suggestions. I’m from New England and I had New England venues on the brain, and he’d say “I don’t care where we do it,” but then he kept mentioning his alma matter as a place where people have weddings and suggested we go for a weekend to poke around. I don’t think it was even conscious on his part, but I realized that it was a place he still felt very connected to and once I realized that and suggested that we do the wedding there, things started to fall into place. He felt comfortable with the location and the elaborate fantasies fell away. It happens to be a service academy and thing are very reasonably-priced, so we’re having a nice, practical wedding. Not the wedding of my dreams, but I think it’s pretty close to the wedding of his dreams, even though he would never admit it.

    Since I was all, “meh” about it to begin with, I’m glad we found a compromise that was satisficing for me, and gratifying for him.

    • Laurel

      At the beginning stages of planning (three weeks away now), I was all, “Meh, if you insist, we can have a wedding, but it is going to be a laid-back wedding,” and he was all, “Yes! Laid back! I love it. Let’s rent a house on the beach for a week and we can set up croquet on the lawn and beach volley ball, and we can have badminton and eat cake, maybe we’ll have a clambake! Then when the sun goes down, we can toast marshmallows and a whole bunch of people can stay in the house.”

      I agreed that it was all lovely and Ralph Laurenish and I could totally see it for someone who had a staff who could just make it all happen. And for someone who had the money for the beach house. And all tables, chairs, catering stuff, porta-johns, tent, etc. etc. etc. And the time to find a rental on the beach whose owners didn’t care that we wanted to pitch a tent on their lawn and invite a hundred people over. I was just starting to get wound up and resentful at the thought of running around like a maniac on the morning of my wedding, getting sunburned while trying to follow a croquet wicket chart, hosting a wedding we could ill-afford, when I just had to level with him about the amount of money and time it would take to create his vision.

      OMG I love this. There’s so much fantasy about what you can have and still have things be ‘laid-back.’ I’ve done exactly the same thing. “We’ll have a barbecue! Maybe on the beach or a farm, and we can set up a picnic and have lots of iced tea and lemonade and then get married and grill sausages and fish and have a bonfire. Maybe we’ll set up bocce! We can all camp out at the farm after! It’ll be so relaxed.”

      • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

        RIGHT?!

        “Exactly” times infinity.

  • Laurel

    I never thought I’d love wedding planning (it’s work, people) but I did have an idea of which parts would be fun. So far, I’ve been really surprised. I loved looking at venues. We spent a whole day driving around a really gorgeous rural part of northern California together (including impromptu skinny-dipping) and had a really nice lunch on the coast. I also really liked the one and only catering meeting we had. We got along really well with the caterer and have really similar food aesthetics, which is a fucking miracle. So basically the meeting involved meeting someone awesome who made us a delicious lunch, and talking about food and the food world. That’s something I’d do for fun.

    On the other hand, I thought the invitations would be fun: I love making things, so does my partner, but hammering out a design has been nothing but trouble, and it turns out that making things on the computer doesn’t feel as fun and homemade as making them out of physical objects. Invitations have been nothing but trouble and grumpiness.

  • Jane

    Oh man, if only we spent the amount of time working on our relationships that we do on our freaking weddings! What kind of world would that be? We hate wedding planning because it often ends up taking away from our relationships; because we were not put on this earth to obsess over party favors and wedding colors–not all of us, anyway.

    Boys generally do not spend their days frantically scrolling through wedding blogs (it’s really one of their best qualities). So as others have said, sometimes they have a very hard time visualizing or putting in words what they want. So take him to actually see some venues, then take yourselves out to a nice lunch. Make a day of it. I think (hope) that once he begins seeing these things in person he’ll not only realize what’s possible and what’s not possible, but find a way to contribute more meaningfully and articulately.

    My fiance asked me this morning, over coffee, whether we could work on invitations tonight–a Friday night. He thinks it’s FUN. What?

    So, just saying–you’ll come out of this period. Remember the love and the luck you already have. You can still enjoy each other, even if you hate the process :)

  • Julie

    Awesome post! I was feeling like I was the only anti-bride in the whole wide world!

    I am struggling with our ideas. We both decided we wanted to get married somewhere (not where we live) and we think there may be 9 of us going. We can’t pin down a location! Then we thought we could have a bash here for our close family and friends, I’m beginning to feel like I could skip that whole event entirely! I just don’t care.

    Add to that, he is currently across the country with a potential transfer over the summer…..I’m stuck in a rut!

    I don’t want to plan a wedding on my own and I don’t know that I want to plan a wedding to happen during the short visits he might be home! Feels to me like we’re just trying to fit it all in. Blah.

  • ProjectWed

    My FH and I are both project managers in our “real lives”… although it is probably the most unromantic wedding planning EVER… after all of these comments, I am feeling very thankful.

    Hugs!
    ~Good luck all

    • Chris B

      Wow, what is that like, two project manager planning a wedding? I would love to read a wedding graduate (or undergraduate) post from this perspective, because I’m really curious!

      • ProjectWed

        It is incredibly boring and work-like– but from this angle planning a wedding is incredibly easy. (Hides from boquets and engagement rings flung in her direction.)

        • Lizzie

          I’m with you on this. I’ve done construction project management, so the logistics part of wedding planning seemed comparatively simple. Whenever someone would ask me if I was stressed about all the planning, my answer was, “Well, it doesn’t involve a crane, a forklift, or a backhoe, and OSHA isn’t going to be checking up on us, so I think we’ll be alright.”

          On the other hand, this didn’t save us from getting worked up over the guest list, whether or not our wedding had to be our legal marriage, where people should stand during the ceremony, and all sorts of other emotionally-laden matters.

      • EM

        Ditto what Chris B said — a post!

  • Janet

    Srsly I could have written this post. I’m recently engaged (3 weeks tomorrow) and I already hate wedding planning. The first question people ask after they’ve congratulated us on our engagement is “So when and where are you getting married?” I haven’t even had time to enjoy being engaged and already I’m tired of it?!

    We’re planning a June ’13 wedding and since the early summer is one of the busiest wedding times of the year (yes I am fully aware I have lost my mind to plan a wedding in June, but the fiance is going to school full time, working alternating swing day/night shifts at his gov contract job, I live in another state, AND we’re trying to sell his house to get a place together in my state of residence, so we decided to push the wedding to next year) I know we need to book a venue and other things pretty damn soon to get a date in June next year.

    Secretly I don’t want to wait so long to get married, but I don’t think I could handle the additional stress of a sooner wedding. Neither of us wants to elope or have a destination wedding as our families are very important to us and wouldn’t be able to attend for health/finanical reasons. Additionally, we’re being guilted about possibly having the wedding closer to where we reside and not back home where our families live. We had thought about doing it back home, but the thought of extensive road trips back and forth to view venues, meet vendors, etc. all without him 99% of the time due to his school and work schedule just made me depressed and even more stressed.

    We have at least gotten a pretty firm guest list together and talked some about the budget, but haven’t gone any further. It’s almost as if we continue to make plans, the more we’ll have to deal with it and I’m not sure we want to right now.

  • Audrey

    A lot of great stuff has been talked about here, so I only have two additional contributions:

    – It sucks that your partner doesn’t quite get that strong opinions = more work for you unless he steps up. That said, maybe he’s like my now-husband who gets easily overwhelmed by lists of options. We found it worked a lot better when I gave him large scale tasks (the invitations, the music) and completely took over the other tasks (Me:”today we’re going to drive to these 4 venues and figure out what we think of them”Him:”okay”).

    – We just celebrated our anniversary a few days ago and we keep telling people “actually, we aren’t celebrating 2 years of marriage — we’re celebrating 2 years of NOT HAVING TO PLAN A WEDDING!”

    Hang in there. Our planning was totally stressful but the day was good and the marriage is awesome!

    • Chris B

      Yes. Not planning a wedding is AMAZING.

      • Marina

        Every wedding my husband and I go to, we look at each other and say, “Wasn’t our wedding great? Aren’t you glad we NEVER HAVE TO PLAN IT AGAIN?”

  • Lturtle

    I am seeing a lot of comments here advocating hiring a planner or inclusive service, or dropping the things you don’t care about. What I am not seeing is what we’re doing; delegating and asking for help. DIT doesn’t just have to be for fun crafty projects, it can be for planning stuff too. We are blessed to have an awesome community of friends who are interested in helping put this wedding together, partially because they know our budget is pretty much $0.

    If your MIL is interested in fancy letterpress invites, give her the wording and let her run with it. If your bridal brigade is into food, ask them to choose a caterer or at least narrow down the options. Obviously this only works if folks are interested in helping out and available to do so. I am not suggesting you put people on the spot, or that they are obligated to help you. We have made it clear to our friends that we see their help putting the event together as a gift, and to not bring other gifts please.

    Wedding planning can be really isolating, but often if you reach out to people you will find that they want to help out or be involved and just don’t know how. Some folks will really surprise you if you let them. When I was tearing my hair out with stress and ready to call the whole wedding off my bridal brigade flat out told me that wasn’t an option. If I couldn’t handle putting on a wedding, they were going to do it for me because they wanted us to have that special day. Cue huge sigh of relief and now we are working on it together.

  • Jess

    I’m sorry that I don’t have time to read more of the comments today, but I do want to chime in, because this sounds so much like me a year ago. Half-way through a year and a half of wedding planning, my husband and I had a melt-down. This meltdown extended to our relationship with his family, which has been almost uniformly strong, warm, supportive and wonderful… except when we all had different expectations for this huge event and communication halted. We had planned a day on the Sunshine Coast BC to look at wedding venues with my father-in-law to be… so when shit hit the fan that morning and he drove off in a huff, we said “F-it! We’re still going, and maybe we’ll get married while we’re there.” My sister was coming anyways, so we figured she could be our witness. We pulled the vintage wedding dress I had bought on Etsy (that was too big for me, but was so lacy and beautiful that I loved it anyway), grabbed an old suit of my husband’s, a cocktail dress that fit my sister and whatever shoes were on hand… oh, and a polaroid camera. (The rest we bought at a curiosity shop in the town of Gibsons)

    And then, on the Ferry on the way over, we realized that this was a knee-jerk reaction…. that we didn’t want to exclude our family from this, that we really did still want a wedding with everyone we loved. But we also realized that maybe it couldn’t be the destination-wedding-in-the-forest that we had worked so hard to plan… maybe we needed to make a concession. This made us sad, so we decided we would do both. And we did. We weren’t legally married the first time… we hiked into the rainforest, to ‘our’ waterfall. It was february. My husband built a fire on the cliff, we got changed by the water in the morning light, my sister married us. We read poems to each other. We got a bit drunk on champagne and toasted giddily and shouted ‘best wedding ever’ to the bears we imagined were our guests. We hiked back in a profound and joyful silence. We had an INCREDIBLE meal at our favorite restaurant. We were married, and it was the most magical day of our lives. And then we went home, and we were ready to deal with the wedding planning madness without the stress, and we were ready to make our ‘other wedding’ a beautiful day designed for the joy and comfort of everyone involved. And it was. And it still felt like a ‘real wedding’. It was spiritual and transformative and the best party we’ve ever been to. And the second half of planning was a lot more fun. But I don’t think we could have done it without allowing ourselves to get married the way we had always wanted… both events were equally real and equally important.

    I’ve been wondering about writing a graduate post (also because the photos are amazing), but part of me wants to keep it private . I did want to share it with you today, because I know how tough it can be in the middle of planning hell… but the other side is waiting, and it’s wonderful… and the bullshit? It is actually worth it.

    • Catherine B

      Thank you for sharing this lovely story! I hope you do write a graduate post! Or maybe a wordless wedding?

    • Liz

      Ditto!! Please share this somewhere everyone can see it! I think it’s a beautiful story.

  • tenya

    Let him do it. For us, we had a number of timing mishaps so it has ended up repeatedly that we have only one option (like venue, or officiant..), but it is one we liked so it worked out. For invites, though, man that was stressful, trying to find a good balance of budget and elegant and lazy and.. finally I turned it over to the fiance, and whenever they’re done they just need to be mailed. Yay. Same thing with accommodations, let him spend a few weeks trying to get a hold of the right person on the phone at the right time with the right information and yay, it is done and I didn’t have to stress over it. The fear is that we’ll get to a week before the wedding without a place or invitations, but if we completely don’t care, then justice of the peace and email about the backyard barbeque after? And not to say that will happen either, but sending things like timelines and price quotes and so forth is somewhere between the two.

  • Jill

    This post could have been mine a few weeks ago. I was ready to cancel the things we’d already booked and elope. Wedding planning sucked from the beginning, I felt a little better about it after reading Meg’s book and getting a new perspective on the whole process and not getting focused on what the WIC thought I should have. However, the fiance, and his mother (who is footing the bill) was falling for all the WIC bulls***, which made everything worse. All we talked about was wedding stuff, and when we talked about wedding stuff, we would fight, so we weren’t spending any quality time together and spent all of our time arguing about the wedding. Even though I know that a wedding is just a day and a marriage is forever, nobody prepared me for how everyone thinks the wedding should be and how stressful saying “no thanks, I don’t want to do that” actually is. The best thing my guy and I did was take a week off from planning. No wedding talk at all, which is a lot easier said than done, since the wedding had taken over our lives. The week without planning or even saying wedding was great. It relieved so much stress and allowed us to reconnect as a couple. So my advice is to take a break from wedding stuff and do something fun with your partner to help you relax.

  • Kari

    I was SO grateful to have a community of women around me when I was planning my wedding who were generally willing to pitch in and help. I like what you say here, Liz, about the fact that some things can’t be delegated. Many times, you have to work your plan to the point that something is repeatable so friends can join in. I did this for my homemade wedding invitations (which we did to save cash, not to be cute). People were so willing to help, but they couldn’t glue invitations together or emboss or cut paper if they didn’t have the materials.

    One of my favorite wedding planning moments was when my roommate was pressing me to plan a fun Saturday to celebrate my birthday. She was staying in town specifically to celebrate with me and go to the beach or get pedicures or do something spontaneous, but all I could think about were the unaddressed wedding invitations. I finally told her that I was so grateful for her friendship and would love to do something fun but really the funnest thing of all would be getting the invites addressed.

    So, she sent an email to a bunch of ladies, and at least 10 people showed up for wine, cheese, and wedding invitation addressing. I was so surprised and pleased. I thought we’d get through around half the invitations, but they FINISHED them, and FORCED me to let them stuff the envelopes too! Best birthday party ever.

  • http://bonnieprojects.blogspot.com/ Bonnie

    I’ve gotten a little tired of planning my own wedding, but I still love helping out with my friends weddings! You might have a friend or two like me, who would LOVE to make your wedding favors, centerpieces, or pick out your cake. It makes us feel special!

    Best wishes!

  • s

    Thank you so much for this. It’s good to know I”m not the only bride-to-be that doesn’t necessarily enjoy all of this stress. I am over the moon to be engaged, but planning a wedding (to me) feels like being put on a deserted island with nail clippers and dental floss and being asked to make a canoe out of bark and find my way back to land.

  • future mrs. u

    This is absolutely me on and off throughout this process. We got engaged Labor Day but avoided doing any wedding planning for a few months because we were both dreading. It has since become my third job. Sometimes it’s great simply because it keeps me distracted from jobs 1 and 2 and feeling productive and satisfying my workaholicness without actually doing work. However it can be depressing and isolating as I often see a gap between what I want and what I’m capable of (financially and time and effort wise). My fiance is as supportive as he can be, but he gets overwhelmed so easily and seriously just asking him if he want to look at venues at 1pm or 3pm Saturday or Sunday freaks him out and he shuts down. This leaves me to send dozens of inquiries, check them against our budget, make appointments, schedule all venues in similar areas together with travel time in between, make overnight travel and dog sitting arrangements if the venue is out of town plus make restaurant reservations and plan fun activities between venue appointments so my fiance is not overwhelmed and sees it as a “trip” and not a hassle. Then I tell him to show up. Sometimes this is great, other times when one of these “show up” conversations occurs around other people he responds like “we are?” or rolls his eyes or basically acts resentful that I hadn’t consulted him earlier. Then there’s a fight and I get overly emotional and he is baffled because his simple question of “but I wanted to watch the game that day” didn’t seem like a big deal, even though I had sent him several emails and asked him verbally double and triple checking times and weekends before I’d made all the arrangements. But then after all this, we end up going, and what do you know, we actually have a great time and actually viewing the venue and particularly these venue viewing trips I’ve put together end up being a ton of fun and when a venue actually ends up within budget and isn’t atrocious, it’s a win win. Just a few weeks ago we narrowed it down to 2 venues and after daily emails with the place, think we picked the one. Last week we combined a trip to the wedding site bridal fair with a trip to the spot we he proposed to me and made a day out of it.
    At one point, while visiting the site of the beach ceremony on a rare perfect sunny day in Carmel, we kissed in the spot the wedding will take place on. It was wonderful. It reminded me of why we’re getting married and how planning a wedding is in many ways a test run for planning your life together. It’s a lot of work but it does have its moments.