So I just assumed that I had a pretty good handle on this whole "being engaged/planning a wedding" deal.
And in some regards, I was right.
Because I have been around the wedding world so much over the last decade, I have formed pretty strong opinions on things. I know what I like.
Before I got engaged, I knew I loved a simple dress, no beading, no sequins, and no tulle. When I went in to my first dress appointement, I told the consultant 3 things, and the dress I purchased has all 3 things. I knew exactly what I wanted.
But it has also been a huge learning experience as well.
•Weddings cost money. And I'm the biggest cheapskate. I don't want people to spend buckets of money. I don't want to spend buckets of money. This is something I am working through. Cutting corners where I can, and changing my heart attitude towards gratitude has been HUGE.
•Just because most bridesmaid dresses cost in the neighborhood of $200 (looking at you, David's Bridal), doesn't mean I'm going to make my girls spend that. I found a simple black maxi dress at Old Navy that I loved. It came in tall, regular, and petite sizes. I also found a coupon code, so my girls only paid $21, with free shipping. You don't have to be bullied by the wedding industry.
•The wedding is a constantly changing beast. I have learned to be flexible. Just because I wanted one thing doesn't mean it's what is best. (Hello parking fees, tiny parking lots, porta potties, and no rain back up plan) Letting go is okay, and could bring less stress in the long run.
•But also. I'm the bride. This is my day. So learning to stand up for myself and my special day has been important. And has certainly caused some friction. But I refuse to feel guilty for wanting some things for my wedding. It's my wedding. It's my turn.
•I didn't realize I would feel SO WEIRD all of the time. I have ALWAYS been the bridesmaid. My opinion has never really mattered. And all of the sudden, the focus is on me. I'm being asked what linens I prefer. It's soooo bizarre. And I just can't get over that it's actually my turn.
•Honest talk. 95% of all our fights are about the wedding. Bless Steve's heart. That man is a saint. And I'm borderline Bridezilla some nights. Weddings are stressful. Normally the bride and groom have different opinions. But because we are so vastly different culturely and style wise, (Hello Baghdad, Iraq. Meet The City of the Village of Clarkston, MI, USA.) it has only fanned the flame of wedding stress.
•Learning to fight fair has been HUGE. Learning my triggers, calmly talking things out, and being prepared to make a compromise has been life giving. Steve has really been amazing as we work through wedding expectations. I am learning to be amazing. It's hard work some days.
•I have or will offend most people I know. And I hate every second of it. Because I do live my life so openly, and so publicly, it complicates things a bit. I love people. Wherever I go, I make friends. But I cannot invite 2,000 of my closest friends to the wedding. And I can't have 25 bridesmaids. Scaling back a bit (a lot) has been soooo hard.
•Every time I cut the guest list, I cry. This is probably the worst part of planning a wedding. Argh. The worst.
•My sister is amazing. She is soooo good at managing all of the details, and she thinks of everything. She has been my saving grace in all of this. I am so thankful for her.
•It's wayyyyyyy more fun than I expected. It's really my turn. I really get to put on that beautiful white dress, with flowers in my hair, and get married to my Prince Charming. For the love. It's the best.
•Pinterest is my best frenemy. I have gathered sooo many ideas, but I also sleep a lot less now too.
•Wedding nightmares are a real thing. And I hate them. Spilling a pot of pasta sauce down my dress two minutes before walking down the aisle is a reaccuring one. I don't even know man.
•People want to celebrate us. And it's wicked cool.
•Registering for gifts is potentially one of the most fun parts of being engaged. Stores no longer give you a scanning gun. There is now an app for that. Which may make it a bit more dangerous. I think within 4 days last week, I went to Target 7 times. It's like fun shopping, without spending a penny. It was really fun to go with Steve. We learned so much about each other, our styles, what is important to each of us, and the way we compromise. My favorite thing on the registry is the Pioneer Woman floral dishes at Walmart. I have wanted them for almost a year. Steve really wants a nice tv from Target. #priorities #putitontheregistry
•I put Oreos on the registry, because I'm certain at some point, I'm going to need a snack. #idowhatiwant #allthesnacks
•Real talk. That whole "this is the man I love, and we're getting married" junk realllllllllly gets those hormones flying. We really limit our time alone alone, especially at night. There's so much to say here. But I don't want to be weird. I'll save that for a different post. But seriously. It's a thing. And we just want to honor Jesus. Which feels almost impossible some times. So I'm thankful that we live an hour away from each other. #letsgetmarried #letshavebabies
•Starting a new job in the midst of being newly engaged and wedding planning has been interesting. I can't believe every piece has fallen into place. Dream job and dream man. It's incredible. But there's been a couple moments of being completely overwhelmed. Trying to divide time wisely isn't my strong suit.
•I have been struggling to eat right and to exercise consistently. Last year I completed a half marathon. And I'm supposed to be training for my second right now. But.... #wahwah I don't know what my deal is. Maybe being busier? Maybe being happy and content? Maybe tired? I don't know. But I need SERIOUS motivation.
•SELF CARE. SELF CARE. If I'm not taking time for myself, I'm useless to everyone else. So I have implemented phone free hours in my day. I take weekly bubble baths. I wander Target alone. I drive in rush hour, singing along to Taylor Swift, with full dance moves. I read books for fun. I try to sleep enough. Because I want to be the best version of me. And sometimes that means powering down for an hour to recharge. And that's okay. And I'm glad I'm learning that.
•Wedding life can easily take over real life, if I'm not careful. Constantly looking at our registries, looking up outfit ideas for engagement pictures (seriously. What do we wear?!), trying to find a good deal on a honeymoon, searching for the right black skinny tie for the groomsmen, calculating every cost "in theory", reading wedding blogs until 1am, among a thousand other things can easily replace quality time with Jesus and Steve. I don't just want to plan for a wedding, I want to plan for a marriage. But it's so easy to get caught up in all the fun details.
•We heard a statistic that 80% (or something close to that) of couples that go through premarital counseling have happy and successful marriages. So naturally, we're doing double the premarital counseling. Because I want to go into marriage with eyes wide open. and I want us to be happy and successful. I've never done this before. Neither has Steve. And we want to do it well, with Jesus at the center. So we're doubling it up.
•In theory I should've booked everything last year. But I didn't even know Steve last year. So that's been pretty funny to tell people in the wedding industry. (also, we're waiting til we're married to have sex, we aren't having alcohol at the wedding, we want the first thing we do as a married couple is to worship Jesus, I want to be barefoot, etc...) I know I'm not the average bride. And I probably get too much joy out of seeing the facial expressions as I say all of that to people.
•People have loud opinions about everything. And that's okay. But at the end of the day (and at the beginning) it's our lives. He's taking my last name, I want to eat fried chicken at our wedding, and I have 13 bridesmaids. It's all good. It's my turn.
•He is moving in with me after the wedding. And it has brought up a lot of feelings. Most of them good. (I don't have to take the trash out alone anymore) I have cleared out a closet for him, and lay awake thinking how to rearrange the furniture to best fit two of us. I am excited to play house, for real. And have someone to snuggle up with every night. But it's also bringing up a bit of an inner struggle. I've been stubborn and independent for so many years. A man in my house means letting go of some of that responsibility. Which of course sounds great, but is also just overwhelmingly unfamiliar. Jesus is kind to me, and is helping work that junk out.
•I really do have an amazing tribe. One if my dear friends is organizing church ladies to bake all of my favorite pies for dessert at the reception. I'm giddy. My family had been incredible. They even tolerated my need for a run through at the new ceremony location. My bridesmaids are always sending me articles and pins. It's a good life.
•I love this man more and more every day. He really is wonderful. He's every thing I've prayed for. And nothing that I expected. And I am so excited to marry him.
I'm getting married y'all.
This is my real life. For the love.