Saturday, February 14, 2015

5 Wedding Planning Tips from the Bride

Valerie Lynn Photography
Friendly acquaintance: Ooo wedding planning, aren’t you having just so much fun?!
Me, outwardly: Yeah…it’s going ok I think.
Me, inwardly: Um, I’m so stressed out about this guest list that I spent two hours last night crying and binge-eating Pringles!

                Although I am an amateur in the wedding world, I hope being a bride gives my list a bit of credibility! In our wedding, my husband and I made choices that I am very thankful for, but there are also things I would consider doing differently. As we were reminded in the days of preparation: If at the end of the day you are married, the wedding was a success! I could actually leave my encouragement at that, but I do want to share a few extra thoughts for any brides-to-be.
1) Set your priorities early.
Weddings are expensive. Somehow that has become the lay of the land. However, whether you are in a financial crunch or not, I highly recommend frugality. Talk with your fiancé to determine what areas hold the greatest value for you, and in which areas you’re willing to be more flexible. Don’t drain the bank for photography, videography, catering, decorations, clothing, venues, and wedding party gifts; invest in a few, and get creative with the rest. You don’t have to buy diamond jewelry for your bridesmaids, and you don’t even have to buy Save the Date cards at all. A couple weeks into marriage when your pipes burst and your roof starts leaking…you may wish you hadn’t spent thousands of dollars on floral decorations and monogramed napkins!

Valerie Lynn Photography

2) Strive to be selfless.
At every turn, someone is telling you: “This is your day.” Oh, how this mindset makes it very hard to not be greedy and controlling! The truth is, your friends and family have preferences and hopes for your special day as well. I was not expecting this, but requests and recommendations will be made that go against your original plans.  Resist bitterness and every now and then take one for the team, so to speak. In no way do I suggest becoming a doormat, but I do advise taking the opinions of others into true consideration. For example, if your mother has been dreaming of an elaborate dinner, but you and your fiancé have already determined the meal to be one of your lower priorities and want to do light hors d’oeuvres, gently but firmly tell her you want to take a different route. If possible, find a way to compromise, such as hiring a caterer she likes. But in areas that you choose to be more flexible, be prepared to let a few preferences go. This is your wedding day, but it’s a day shared with many loved ones and is not intended for your enjoyment only. Look for ways to ensure that your guests will feel loved and have fun.

3) Ask for help from a variety of sources.
You’re surrounded by friends and family (also coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, and more!) who have a wealth of talents and connections. Turn to these people for assistance; do not try to accomplish everything alone! Planning a wedding can be a monumental task, but I encourage you to not let it become a burden. My parents spent countless hours helping me with wedding favors and decorations, and our church family was involved in officiating, leading worship music, coordinating, catering, and more. I was astonished with how many little details arose each week that I had never thought about, and many days I felt overwhelmed. It was not until I received help from others, professional or not, that I was able to relax and truly move forward.

4) Let your personalities shine!
God has made you and your fiancé unique. Although weddings involve a great deal of tradition, your day does not have to be like everyone else’s. You are not required to have a cake, bouquet, music selection, and hair-do like those found in magazines or found at your best friend’s wedding. Take hold of this freedom and have fun! Personal touches will mean much more than any pricy ideas the wedding industry may push your way. So if you love Taylor Swift, give the DJ a list of her songs to play. If you collect cute soaps, find some in bulk and share as the wedding favor. If the smell of pine brings back sweet memories, raid your grandparents' neighborhood trees for centerpieces. If you or your fiancé are known for being intellectual, goofy, athletic or artistic – let this be reflected in the rehearsal, ceremony and reception.

Valerie Lynn Photography

5) Seek to glorify God.

If you are a follower of Christ, I cannot urge this enough. Marriage is God’s design, his institution. He desires that marriage reflect the gospel, the relationship of Jesus and the church. As the public celebration of this gift and responsibility, our weddings should point not just to ourselves, but to God. This is a challenge, and I had to remind my heart with these words: “This is God’s day. This is not MY day. This is our wedding, but we are God’s.” This desire to glorify God can be manifested in the wedding setting in countless ways. Please take the time to prayerfully consider how to praise God and draw near to him in each aspect of the day.

Valerie Lynn Photography
I wish you good luck in your planning! Remember that the wedding day, like your marriage, will not be perfect. But it will be an exciting, beautiful time with your future-hubby, and the importance of this day is found in the commitment you're making to each other (not the commitment you make with a band or bakery!). Happy planning!

 For further exploration:
Wedding vow samples - Even if you don't want to write your own vows, there are many options to choose from!
Genesis 2:15-24, Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 5:22-33, Philippians 2:1-18, 1 Corinthians 13 - A few verses from the Bible that may serve as good reminders/encouragement.